2.27.2010

Leviticus 8-16

8 - consecration of priests: wash, oil, clothed; sin and burnt offering
8 - blood sprinkled and poured; sacrifice eaten
9 - Aaron begins sacrifices: priests' & people's sin, burnt, grain, peace
9 - Aaron blesses people; glory and fire from God
10 - Aaron's sons innovate in worship and die. No wine in tabernacle
10 - Aaron's sons mess up, but Aaron follows the law's spirit, so it's okay
External conformity not the end-all
11 - no touching or eating unclean animals; be holy as God is holy
12 - impurity after childbirth; sacrifice at end of time
13 - priests diagnosing various skin ailments as clean or unclean
14 - ritual of cleansing after a leper is healed or house is cleansed:
wash, shave, quarantine, sacrifice, anoint
15 - bodily discharges: unclean until evening, and anything touched
16 - how and when Aaron is to enter the holy place: with blood

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2.26.2010

Withdraw from Sin, not from the Table

2 Cor 6:15-18 - "And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”

We invite to the Lord's Table all those not under the discipline of Christ’s church.

If you are not faithful to Christ, according to your age and ability, the church will not allow you to partake of this supper, just because you are baptized. We expect growth in the Spirit of holiness to follow your baptism. We expect you will sin, and that you will repent of that sin.

Now, God made us to need help from others to view ourselves rightly. We can deceive ourselves and think we are repentant, when our consciences are really seared. Or, we can have ultra tender consciences that don’t want to partake, when we need to receive strength and assurance from Christ in this meal.

So we urge you, do not withdraw yourself or your children from this table without talking with the elders. It is not dad’s place to keep this blessing from his children. He is to have them ready to receive it. We insist that you receive this bread and wine, as it is strength for your weakness. As overseers of your soul it is our responsibility to provide Christ’s sustenance in this way, or to deny these signs of forgiving grace to the impenitent.

What of those who are suspended or excommunicated from the table? If they really repent, they will willingly come back, as the prodigal son did, even if it means an awkward shame. This is the goal of discipline - bringing them to repentance, faith and purity. This is what God was doing in Israel as Saul fell. This is what God is doing in your life today. Sit before Him as children, humbly accepting His correction, His forgiveness, and His love.

9/6/09

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On 8th commandment

The commandment against stealing is a command to work, take dominion, and produce or maintain useful and beautiful things, to serve and help people meet their needs in ways that advance the kingdom of Christ. We work to get, so we may give, so we may get more, so we may give more, and so on. May your flocks and your herds increase.

This commandment also forbids. We may not steal time that we have promised to our employer, by using it for non-work reasons. We may not try to get something for nothing by gambling. Don’t seek to harm your neighbor’s estate by getting him into a transaction you know is no good for him. We may not waste the resources God has given us to steward.

While this commandment assumes private property rights, against socialism, the NT church also showed us that the grace of Christ will overflow into not grasping those rights and our things against others who are in need. We will give generously, as God has given to us

9/6/09

A Mixed Bag

Galatians 6:7-8 - "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."

Our hearts are divided between wanting to serve the Lord, and wanting to sin. Our seed bag that we sow from is a mixed bag. After you plant good seed, you have to tend, cultivate, and wait. But we want payback right now, so we plant bad seeds. Satan maybe gives us some junk food right away, but then strong weeds grow up that choke us to death. Sow righteousness, and wait for God’s timing, with faith. We are called to plow in hope because our labor is not in vain.

9/7/09

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2.25.2010

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival


The big area quilt and fabric show is this weekend. I can't wait to go! It's like a fine art museum, only all textile goods. Of course there are the gorgeous quilts that were part of the competition, but there will be tons of vendors selling fabrics, patterns, books, notions, yarns (!); and then there will be demonstrations, classes, and fashion shows. I'm just doing a quick morning to take it all in, but one of these years I'd like to take a class or two! For now I'll content myself with a few fabric stash enhancements.


What kind of fabric would you get??

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2.24.2010

A Chair for Mother

We've had our "fat man chair" for nearly 12 years. (It's so shy it would only show you it's backside.) It fits two people very cozily, or one fat man quite comfortably, thus the name. (not that we've had any fat men try this, we're just supposing, you know?) It's been through 4 kids and a lot of guests...and it's showing it's age. Permanent marker tattoos. Several rips. General dingyness. And it's so....neutral. Functional. Safe. Boring.

Selling it and buying a new chair or two was not an option, I thought of a slipcover. But I don't like the unfitted look of many ready-made slipcovers, they remind me of sheets draped over furniture before you paint the ceiling. Ugh.

So I made my own. This is the dominion mandate as it pertains to housewives.

Not quite finished yet, but coming along nicely. Most of this was done in one day. Really. This isn't hard folks. Go get your 40% coupon from JoAnn and buy 7 yd of fabric and do your own chair this weekend! It's cheaper than buying one pre-made! And much prettier, too.

The best part: the chair is now too "girly" for the man of the house, so it is officially MOM's chair! Of course I'll welcome snuggles and reading time with a little boy on each side of me. It's a perfect fit!

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Do you?

Sermon on 1 Samuel 30. See vss 22-25

1 Cor 10:17 - "For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread."

Last week I explained the requirement of baptism, in coming to this table, an outward thing. This week we look at the inward. “All those faithful to Christ according to your age and ability.”

David was careful to give the weak among his people their share of His plunder, His gifts. Jesus does the same in 1 Cor 10-11. If we are counted among His people, we should receive His gifts, whether we can afford wine, or not. We must share together, as one body in Christ, as long as we are faithful to Him.

Now, faithfulness is not determined only by how much we understand about Jesus. In Ps 22 David says that God made Him trust while nursing on his mother’s breasts. “From my mother’s womb you have been my God.” Faithfulness to discern the body of Christ is not passing a theology test. Discerning His body means not callously excluding God’s people from the supper, not disregarding but honoring and acknowledging His people. If we can’t partake until we fully discern and honor the body, then none of us may partake. No, we extend grace to those among us who don’t understand, yet. So, just b/c my 3 yr old doesn’t understand and express his faith as fully as I do doesn’t mean the Son of David keeps back his portion, b/c of his weakness. No, he needs the strength of this food to nourish his faith to fullness. Is he faithful according to his age and ability? Yes. Does he sin? Yes. Does he realize the full horror of sin and fully repent? No. Do you?

If we confess our own repentance is imperfect, and still come to the table, how can we keep our children from the table for not understanding as much as we think they should? The Lord’s requirement for coming to his table is baptism and faith according to our ability to understand. We ought not replace that requirement with a certain standard of mental understanding. God is merciful to give the weak and helpless what they cannot understand. He treats us as His before we can appreciate what that means. We are all children of the heavenly father.

8/30/09

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Living the 7th commandment

Keep your body pure, for your present or future husband or wife only. Keep your mind pure by praying out impure thoughts. Keep your heart pure by fanning to flame your desire for the living God, and His Christ. When His Word dwells in you richly, it will drive out impurity that crops up. Focus on and foster your relational commitments to your Lord Jesus, your spouse or parents, your children, your work, your Church.

Preserve your purity, and your neighbor’s. Just as a young man can break this commandment with lustful thoughts about girls, so young women can invite men to sin this way by how they dress and act, excusing it as style or beauty. Women are tempted to stumble men physically on this commandment. Men are tempted to stumble women emotionally on this commandment, getting a girl to like them to soothe their fragile egos, and excusing it all as just friends. God isn’t against guy-girl friendships, just like He isn’t against style or beauty. But we all have to put to death our natural desires, and love one another in a way that takes account of how God made the opposite sex.

8/30/09

Patience leading somewhere

Romans 2:1-4 - "Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?"

As we seek the wisdom to discern good from evil and judge accordingly, God preserve us from presumptuous hypocrisy, from committing the very sins we condemn. We do this in all kinds of subtle ways. We condemn an over-sexualized culture, while privately struggling with lust. We hold family members to a stricter standard than ourselves. We condemn the sins that our politics point out, like the theft of inflation or wealth redistribution, but embrace other sins like envy, or loving money.

God is patient with us, and that patience has a purpose. He isn’t being lenient and lax in dealing with our sin, but is giving us a chance to repent. You have it now. Take it.

8/30/09

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2.23.2010

Knitting Olympics

The Knitting Olympics - started 4 yrs ago by a famous knit blogger, it is now a worldwide contest, but against yourself. Pick a project that will challenge and stretch your abilities, begin during the Opening Ceremonies and finish by the end of the Closing Ceremonies, then receive your (imaginary) gold medal and congratulate yourself.

My project: to knit a sweater for moi in the 2 week time limit. Ambitious, yes, but there weren't any technical challenges to contend with. This would be a speed project. SPEED knitting. Sparks flying from my needles. Best performed to the soundtrack from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".

I was late out of the starting blocks because I made myself finish the red cape first, which had it's own snags to contend with. Two days into the Olympics, I cast on the stitches for my sweater. Cruising along, I stumbled over a buttonhole, but pressed on.

Then Grandma came. And we all got sick. Sob story, yes, and the knitting ground to a full stop.

But maybe a better reason for the full-stop was the "oh! shiny!" nature I tend to have. I saw *those* moose hats the USA Olympic team wore in the opening ceremonies and was smitten. I've never done fair-isle (two or more colors at a time) type of knitting before... and surely someone must've reverse engineered this hat that sells for $75 (I heard one went for $500 on ebay after the Ralph Lauren site sold out). About 10 minutes of internet searching turned up the needed pattern for the hat, published already back in December!

I switched events, so to speak. The sweater is marinating in my work basket, and a tangle of 3 different colors of wool and 5 double point needles occupies a place on the sofa with a pizza pan and moose chart. The pizza pan is technical gear...it's the needed metal base for my magnet that marks which row I'm on. Fair isle knitting is kind of like counted cross stitch, only you need to be more monkey-like to pull it off. Juggling 5 needles, knitting with both my right and left hand (each with their own color of yarn), AND counting while living in a home with four active children is down-right an Olympic level feat. And if you're wondering, I couldn't leave well enough alone and had to make those antlers look more moose-like, and the tree got beefed up, added another tree...and my name and TEAM USA 2010 was knit inside the brim... because doing something as written would be rather, well, predictable, don't you think?

I'm half way to the finish line and love learning this new technique! Now it's a race against the clock... stay tuned!

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Lace that Never Disappoints

Lace knitting is sooo rewarding, I have yet to find a lace pattern I don't like. Here are my two latest lace projects, the first I can finally reveal because it was a surprise birthday gift for Grandma.

US 4 needles, KnitPicks "Gloss" wool/silk yarn
10" x 62"
This grey scarf is made with skinny, skinny yarn, a bit heavier than thread. It seems a bit intimidating to work with fine yarn at first, but you quickly get the hang of it. I love the delicate, floating nature of this scarf...I confess I nearly kept it for myself!!
Instead I ripped out an old project that was *UGH* and made this fat, squishy capelet instead. The biggest challenge here was deciphering a Japanese pattern, but luckily it was charted fairly well and I could "wing it" on the unknown parts. The yarn here is no skimpy yarn, it's about the diameter of a fat crayon! That makes the lace motifs super-sized, in your face kind of lace. There's a chunky ribbed fold-over collar and a hefty crocheted edging to finish it off. Sorry the picture doesn't show it very well, this is the best I could get by handing the 7 yr old the camera.
My favorite part of this cape is the baby alpaca yarn. Mmmmm. It is like butter against the skin. No, better than that. It's so soft and lofty, I can hardly describe it. If this was food, it'd be the most velvety chocolate mousse you ever tasted.
Retro Cape (ravelry link)
US 13 & US 11 needles (big ol' fat ones!)
Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande yarn

A friend saw me working on this and ran after her pretty leather heart pin - perfect for Valentine's Day!

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2.22.2010

Free music

Whoa.

I just discovered www.lala.com

Wow.

Wash up, first

When I invite us to the table, I typically give three requirements for you to come. I’m going to explain each of those in the next few weeks. First, I say, “All those baptized into the Triune God.”

Before you eat, you have to wash up. When God saves us, He washes us, making us His heirs, Titus says (3:5 - "according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit"). The washing is the baptism; the heirs sit at this table. In baptism we are marked as God’s covenant people. At the Table, the Lord feeds His covenant people. This same requirement existed in the OT – (Ex 12:48 - "And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it"). To partake of Passover you had to be circumcised. Likewise, to partake of this NT Passover you must be baptized. This is not meant to keep you from the Lord’s table, but to bring you to Him in the right way. If you are not baptized, but have come to Christ, then we invite you to be baptised, and then to come to this Table.

You do not have to remember your baptism for it to count. I don’t remember mine. But you need to have been baptized into the Trinitarian God, according to Matt 18:28.

We are the people God has washed and set apart for His Son, by His Spirit. Let us partake remembering His Son’s sacrifice, His Spirit’s baptizing us into His Body. Let us discern that body into which we are baptized. There is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.

8/23/09

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Thou shalt not murder

6th commandment

We may not murder b/c man is in the image of God.

Not all killing is murder. 3 examples

1. Self-defense in Ex 22.2.

2. As an agent of the state in the army, killing an enemy combatant

in a just conflict is not murder – Rom 13

3. Capital punishment is not murder, but punishment for murder.

In the same way, a parent can spank a child for the sin of

hitting his sister. He can’t protest and say, well, you’re just hitting me. No, both the death penalty and a spanking are God-ordained wrath on the wrong-doer.

Positive application – 3 examples

It is wrong to risk your life or safety unnecessarily, for a thrill.

Treat our slower and frailer members with care and respect. An accident can do a lot of damage.

Seek your neighbor’s good, positively, instead of live and let live.

Life must be cherished, preserved and protected from the womb

to the tomb. The state should outlaw abortion, but more importantly the church should show the world how to value life, especially at the beginning and end of it. Near the end, we don’t use medicine to end life before it gets painful, costly or inconvenient. Then again, we can wrongly grasp after every medical treatment to prolong life unduly.

Like vomit and dung

Isa 64:6 - But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

This verse is familiar enough that it loses much of the shock contained in it. Our righteousness is filthy. Not the sin that we know to be sin, but the things we commend ourselves for doing well, are packed with filth, in God’s eyes. We have to learn to repent of our sins, yes, but also to repent of our virtues, of what we think we are doing well, and stop slapping ourselves on the back for it. We must be found in Christ, not our own righteousness, which we must count as trash.

8/23/09

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2.21.2010

Gross germs... and Grandma!

So, our whole family caught some Noro flu virus. Two of us went down Wed-Thurs, just as Grandma arrived for a visit. 2 more Fri-Sat. The feminine element came last, Sat-Sun. First time I had someone else preach a sermon that I wrote, me being too sick to be there. Heard it went fine! Strange, though, to not even be at a church service I prepared to lead...

We're all on the mend - hear it stays contagious a while. Hopefully we get some good Grandma time in yet! Had a good time reading about 7-year old Joash needing to be protected from his mean grandma Athaliah tonight. Grandma got a kick out of that one, and we thanked God for GOOD Grandmas. (Check out 2 Kings 11 for the details.)

Which Table?

Sermon text - 1 Samuel 28 - Saul with the witch of Endor

This table engages not only our mouths, tongues, it engages our heart, our loyalties. We are doing this to acknowledge and remember Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, which we believe sealed our pardon with God. All our hearts and all our songs join to admire the feast. Is your heart, soul and body leaning toward Jesus here? God is at work in strange places, purifying a people for Himself. He removed the dross of Saul, condemning him in a witch’s house in Endor, at the table of demons. He preserves through fire the silver of His people here, feeding us in His house, at the table of our Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t be found at the table of demons, with your heart, soul and body yearning for forbidden things. Give Him your heart to purify further. He is looking upon it even now, sifting your intentions and desires. Covenant with the Lord, according to His covenant of grace with us in Christ, to believe His Word and live for Him always.

8/16/09

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Honoring authority

I did a 2-3 minute commentary through the 10 commandments during successive Sunday worship services a while back - here is one of them.

Fifth commandment: children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Beyond this, the authors of the Westminster confession wisely apply this commandment not just to parents, but to all God-ordained authority. In the beginning there was just the family. The church and state functions were part of the family. Due to sin, God has wisely divided society, not just into languages, but into different institutions. No one institution has a corner on the market. The church shepherds and teaches the family and state. The state protects the family and church. The family fuels and forms the church and state. Scripture calls both kings and church leaders – fathers, because honor and obedience are due to both. It is very easy to get out of balance and put any one of these over the others. Big gov’t liberals and libertarian individualist conservatives both look to the state against the family and church, violating family boundaries and moral standards. The church breaks apart the family when it gathers and it ignores political issues that the Word addresses. We tend to look to the family, emphasizing the state and church getting out of the family’s way, instead of honoring and obeying them. We get a fleshly thrill from hypothetical situations where we would need to disobey the church or state, rather than grieving over such a situation.

Finally, God calls us to honor father and mother. Fathers, while you seek to take responsibility for your office as head of the home, realize that one of those responsibilities is to train your children to respect and obey their mother. To do this, they will need to see YOU honoring their mother in front of them.

8/16/09

Heart desire

1 Samuel 16:7 - "But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Where do you go to satisfy your life desires? God doesn’t just check you off as okay because you are physically here. He looks on your heart and knows whether you really want Him or not. What table has the menu that suits you, the Lord’s table, or the world’s? Re-acquire a taste for the Lord’s fare, and renounce the world’s dishes.

Isaiah 55:1-3 - “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance.3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you— The sure mercies of David.

8/16/09

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2.20.2010

Leviticus 1-7

1 - animal burnt offerings. Kill, sprinkle blood, arrange pieces, burn
2 - grain offerings of flour, oil, incense. If baked, unleavened, with salt
2 - Handful burned, rest to priests.
3 - peace offerings: same as ch 1, but meat not burned, only fat & guts
4 - unintentional sin: sprinkle&pour blood;burn the whole outside camp
5 - trespass offerings: lamb, doves or grain
6 - restoring 120% of what is lost/stolen; handling various offerings
7 - handling offerings; don't eat fat or blood; thigh of peace off. to priest

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2.19.2010

Take up the cup

As we receive bread and wine from the Lord Jesus to remember Him, it is important that we examine ourselves. Do we come here, pointing to our good deeds, our healthy spiritual lives? Or do we come knowing our weakness, wearing the wedding clothes of Christ’s righteousness? If we take up this kingdom cup in vain, not reverencing the Lord who bought us with the blood it represents, we eat and drink judgment on ourselves. Do not abuse the gift God gives you.

But realize ultimately that it is a gift. He is your Father, seeking to give you good gifts, and knowing how to do that. As you repent, He will cover all your sins in Christ’s blood, even your sin of worshiping carelessly, or partaking here while lacking gratitude and reverence. Of course, the wicked abuse this grace; but for the believer this free forgiveness will drive us all the more to do His will, from sheer joy at being welcomed into the kingdom, to the King’s table.

8/2/09

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God's name in vain

On the third commandment:

Taking God’s name means more than just speaking it. When a wife marries, she takes her husband’s name, and that involves a whole lot more than saying his name in the wedding vow. She is to be true to him. When you take up the name of Christ as a Christian, you are to be true to Him. All of us break this commandment, even if we never swear, when we break faith with Christ and sin.

8/2/09

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2.18.2010

Another thing CS Lewis taught John Piper - Deliver us from Morality

The Incompleteness of Duty Without Delight

Lewis’s analysis of Joy impelled me deeper into the biblical reality of what it means to walk by the Spirit—or to live “worthy of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27). Until we are gripped with the joyful impulses of gospel grace from the inside, we will always be thinking in terms of doing external duties as pressures from outside. This is called morality. But here is what I discovered with Lewis’s help:

A perfect man would never act from a sense of duty; he’d always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and of other people) like a crutch which is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need the crutch at times; but of course it is idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (our own loves, tastes, habits etc.) can do the journey on their own. 44

The implications of this for my own pursuit of holiness and my teaching on sanctification have been pervasive. Lewis brings this insight to bear on the Puritans and William Tyndale in particular in a way this is profoundly illuminating:

In reality Tyndale is trying to express an obstinate fact which meets us long before we venture into the realm of theology; the fact that morality or duty (what he calls ‘the Law’) never yet made a man happy in himself or dear to others. It is shocking, but it is undeniable. We do not wish either to be, or to live among, people who are clean or honest or kind as a matter of duty: we want to be, and associate with, people who like being clean and honest and kind. The mere suspicion that what seemed an act of spontaneous friendliness or generosity was really done as a duty subtly poisons it. In philosophical language, the ethical category is self-destructive; morality is healthy only when it is trying to abolish itself. In theological language, no man can be saved by works. The whole purpose of the “Gospel,” for Tyndale, is to deliver us from morality. Thus, paradoxically, the “Puritan” of modern imagination—the cold, gloomy heart, doing as duty what happier and richer souls do without thinking of it—is precisely the enemy which historical Protestantism arose and smote. 45

This is what I want to keep smiting with Christian Hedonism: The gospel is designed to make forgiven sinners love righteousness, not do it against all their inclinations.

John Piper

One thing CS Lewis taught John Piper

Liberation from False Dichotomies

Lewis’s pursuit of Joy by means of rational defenses of objective truth has had liberating effect on me. He freed me from false dichotomies. He demonstrated for me and convinced me that rigorous, precise, penetrating logic is not inimical to deep, soul-stirring feeling and vivid, lively imagination. He was a “romantic rationalist.” He combined what almost everybody today assumes are mutually exclusive: rationalism and poetry, cool logic and warm feeling, disciplined prose and free imagination. In shattering these old stereotypes for me, he freed me to think hard and to write poetry, to argue for the resurrection and compose hymns to Christ, to smash an argument and hug a friend, to demand a definition and use a metaphor.

John Piper

2.15.2010

Exodus 31-40

Exodus 31 - craftsmen to build tabernacle; Sabbath; stone tablets
32 - Aaron makes golden calf; Moses comes down, stops it, intercedes
33 -God says to go to Canaan w/o Him. Moses intercedes; God relents
34 - New tablets; renewed covenant promises&laws; Moses' shining face
35 - Offering taken for tabernacle material; craftsmen pointed out again
36 - Offering stopped; building begins: curtains, frames, veils
37 - Ark, table, lampstand, incense altar made
38 - Making altar of burnt offering, bronze basin, and court
39 - Making priestly garments, ephod and breastplate; work done
40 - Tab set up; priests consecrated; glory cloud covers

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2.12.2010

Judgment at the Table

Sermon text - Matthew 7:1-12 - Judge not, lest ye be judged

Rev 3:19-20 - "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."

The Lord’s Table is a place of judgment. It is possible to eat and drink judgment on yourself here, not discerning the body. This is because the Lord’s Body, His Church, is being made spotless and unblemished. We lose focus, though, if we only emphasize this side of the coin. We lose the joy of the table, we don’t want to partake too often, b/c that’s all the more jeopardy we are in, we become scared of the table. The other side of this truth, that the Lord’s Table is a place of judgment, is that it shows forth God’s judgment on sin by showing us Christ’s death. This is judgment b/c as you partake by faith, you receive God’s judgment upon you, and it is: not guilty. Adopted. Loved, in Christ. He may rebuke and chasten us here. We must be zealous and repent, open our door to Him, and He will eat with us. What greater statement of acceptance and love is there from God to us? Believe. Rejoice in His judgment, accepting you as His child.

7/26/09

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Confess, to conform to Christ

Prov 28:13 – “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

Confession is extremely important for our sanctification. If we are to conform our lives to Christ’s image, we are going to have to change. And we have to remind ourselves of that often, b/c our self-centered hearts assume the world has to conform to our needs and ideas, and we know how it should be. This is not true. We have to conform to Christ, and to begin, we have to agree with God that we have not done so in the past. If we cover our sins, treat them as exceptions to the good people we really are, we block the Spirit from doing His sanctifying work in us. We will not prosper. But confessing them brings the double blessing of mercy from God, while it also leads to forsaking those sins.

7/26/09

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Lap of Luxury

Amos 6:1, 4-6

God condemns luxurious self-indulgence that doesn’t care about disobedience and God’s coming judgment. We are quick to qualify verses like this, since they describe us pretty well. We have luxurious beds, succulent food, and enjoy interesting music. And it is true these things are not wrong in themselves. But we shouldn’t breath a sigh of relief, and go on thoughtlessly in our luxury, then. We must mourn the disobedience of those around us. We must mourn the disobedience that these nice things can lead us into.

7/19/09

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Pick me ups

Eh. Grey winter gets to a gal after a while. A sweet friend knew that the Domina wasn't 100% and besides making me a carmel decaf with frothed milk, she gave me this great pick me up. This book is so full of burn-your-eyes-out color combinations in knitted projects it warms my heart. There is no fear here, and no safe neutrals either! Love it!

And now as I look around the house I realize how dreadfully not colorful it is. Perhaps some new wall colors will shake things us. I hope my friend is handy with a paintbrush, too!

2.11.2010

Dim-watted bulbs

Isaiah 6:1-5

We often consider the sinfulness of sin, in how it violates others, or how it keeps us from being what God meant us to be. But God wants us to compare ourselves to His holiness. He is the standard of purity and righteousness. When you are in a dark room, even a low-watt bulb looks bright. But it is nothing compared with the sun. This generation is in darkness, God’s holiness is the sun, and we are the dim-watted bulbs. Though you may give light to the darkness, do not be content with this before God’s brightness. Be undone, like Isaiah was.

We are not to be like God in His exaltation, power, glory or beauty, we cannot have that high a voltage. But we are to be like Him in His holiness, and we are not. Instead, we have unclean lips, hands, eyes and hearts.

7/12/09

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52 second video - count it all joy!

Brush Strokes by Doug Wilson - "God strikes us like a pianist strikes the keys" from Daniel Foucachon on Vimeo.

Facebook

I'm descending into particulars here, not to legislate detail in a "you're sinning if you do this" way, but to apply some truth right where you live.
Maybe I'm just personally frustrated with the whole enterprise, but it seems there's more to it...

What are your desires and where is your heart when you are facebook-ing?

One of the problems I've noticed with Facebook is the way it carries unhealthy young person interaction (read Flirting) to the web. (I'll save the distinction between healthy and unhealthy for another day.) Avoiding this is easy (in theory), so here's a suggestion. You know how you can initiate something on fb, you write something, then people respond. Well, just don't respond. Only write your own stuff. Responding sends strong signals of "I'm noticing you" to others. Response equals relationship. This is great in most settings, EXCEPT when a guy is trying to get or keep a girl's attention! What kind of relationship is it? Is it appropriate? (Again, lots more to say on that another time.)

Keep fb what it was for originally: letting all your friends know what you're doing/thinking/feeling. Eliminate the "how many people are fans of my idea?" goofiness (guys like group attention) or "who responded to my post?" (girls like to be noticed personally).

Post stuff worth your friends' time, not just to say "notice me!" (Check this comedy out, on that kind of guy.)

Drop FB like a hot rock if you find yourself neglecting the people physically present with you, with whom you are covenantally bound - like say, your parents, spouse, or children.

Okay, that might qualify as rant status, but do you get my point?

I guess if you comment on this, then you're flirting... ha!
Such a connection would be the legalistic mind at work, applying things woodenly across important category lines...

Exodus 21-30

Laws for justice in society
21 - no indefinite involuntary servitude; violence; animal control
22 - theft, damage, loaning of property;
22 - no fornication, idolatry, exploitation; honor God in word&sacrifice
23 - don't wrong anyone; Sabbath, 3 annual feasts;
23 - Angel goes before Israel to bring them into Canaan

24 - Israel covenants with God by blood sprinkling&feast; Moses up mtn
25 - God's instruction: take an offering; make an ark, table, lampstand
26 - make walls&roof for the tabernacle&veils to screen the ark&door
27 - make the altar, tab court; keep the lampstand burning continually
28 - make priestly clothing: ephod, breastplate, robe - for glory & beauty
29 - priests consecrated by washings and sacrificial feast; daily sacrifices
30 - make incense altar, bronze washing basin, oil&incense; temple tax

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2.10.2010

Facelift

Our beloved "fat man chair" - just the right size for a cozy couple to snuggle in - has seen better days. It's been a faithful friend through for 12 years, but is showing it's age. It bears the badges of living with 4 kids: a few tears on the seams, random lines from markers left uncapped, general dingyness. So I'm going to attempt the biggest sewing project ever done: a slipcover. Here goes!

No to Sin; Yes to God


This is was a really good book. It looks like a book for addicts, but it's for everyone. Practical, street-level, sanctification stuff - taming your sinful desires by replacing them with thoughts and desires for God from His Word.

I recommend it.

Looking back, ahead, and to Christ

Well, it was on this date some 20 years ago that I professed before the church my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to forgive me of my sins and take me as His own, body and soul, in life and in death.

A faithful Christian upbringing of church attendance twice on Sunday and Wednesday night "catechism" classes contributed mightily to this coming to faith, as well as Vacation Bible School with Uncle Tim and his flannel-graphs of Bible stories, applying the gospel of grace to children ages 3-13. I have known I am a sinner and Jesus is a Savior all my days. But each day I increasingly learn to my horror how great a sinner I am, and to my relief and gratitude how great a Savior Jesus is.

After that profession of faith, great religious fervency followed, praying and reading my Bible diligently. Then a falling away into love of peer acceptance, and trying to be cool in high school. Skipping Sunday School to watch Star Trek. Political ideology also came to the fore: first socialism, then Rush Limbaugh and libertarian convictions. Disillusionment with the messianic hopes many conservatives place in the free market led me back to the Lord Christ. (Reading Idols for Destruction by Schlossberg, later, helped.) A concern for His church as I experienced it, foundering as it was in liberalism and sentimentalism (Christianity and Liberalism, by J Gresham Machen). My wife's experience with youth group in the church in which I was raised only confirmed this. (A Critique of Modern Youth Ministry, by Chris Schlect.) I became concerned that my "gift of discernment" would just make me a prideful, cranky, reactionary, hide-bound traditionalist. Reading Holiness by JC Ryle helped keep me on track, I think. I didn't want to react against slackness in the church and become a legalist (I saw that in plenty splinter denominations), but I saw around me and in myself a lack of desire or zeal for real holiness. I began to see my way forward more clearly in reading Reforming Marriage by Doug Wilson, where holiness is one's spiritual aroma in relationship with others, not deep thoughts, a presentation of piety to others, somber airs and church services, or long pious faces. Holiness is disciplining yourself and your family to enter the joy of the Lord. This discipline is given by grace, when asked for desperately and humbly, knowing there is no where else to turn.

And we have no where else to turn.

Movies, books, sports, sex, alcohol, facebook, houses, work, reputation - all kinds of things, good bad or indifferent, are out there to turn to, instead of Christ. These things are good in their place and to be received with thanksgiving. But they are distractions or detours that damn us, if we let them diminish and delete our devotion to the Lord Christ, His Spirit, and His Father.

My strongest temptations remain pursuing some ideology instead of Christ. Reformed theological trends, past and present. Upholding family and church authority. Male leadership in both places. Small government. All good things, but they consume me more than zeal for God's house, and His name. I try to correct error more than I try to love and magnify the Lord. I get frustrated with my children, because I'm frustrated with my own sin and weakness, because I don't find free forgiveness at the cross of Christ. Instead, I try to do it on my own. (Parenting reveals one's faith or lack of it more than anything, except trials and suffering generally, of which parenting is often a subset.) I get bogged down in paralyzing self-pity and fear in the face of criticism and conflict. I should expect opposition from within and without, and count it all joy as it tests and strengthens my dependence upon and faith in Jesus.

God forgive me. Refine me as I seek to follow You, and as I feebly try to point my family and church to You.

Feast, or pig trough?

And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” - Luke 13:20-21

Jesus deals with sin at this Table, but not necessarily in the way we expect. Too often we think of this as a second time of confession, to examine our lives again to make sure we are righteous enough to partake. But our Lord deals with our sin in a different way here. He knows we can’t sweep the house clean of sin and just leave it empty. Seven more sins will invade it. No, that house needs to be filled with something else. We are to put off sin in our lives. But we can’t just squash it. Self-denial must be directed positively to Christ. We must repent to Him, and desire to serve and honor Him. We have to pull up the weeds, and plant vegetables or flowers. We have to remove the leaven of wickedness, but let Christ suffuse the loaf with the leaven of the kingdom. So how does Jesus deal with our sin here? He crams us full of the bread of life, so we don’t have room or need for habits that eat away at our soul. He gives us the wine of joy so we don’t need weeds of bitterness. Why go back to pig slop, when you have such a banquet of love spread out for you?

1/24/10

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Tools, or treasures?

“Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?” ’ 11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ - Ezek 33:10

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, when we remember the plight of the unborn. Our nation’s guilt does lie heavily upon us, and we pine away. As we prepare to confess our sins this morning, it behooves us to consider not only the sins of others, sacrificing lives on the altar of their own convenience, but also to consider the ways in which we do this ourselves. How often do we see others as obstacles or tools to get what we want? Do we view our little brothers or sisters as inconveniences? Do we count up the families at church that see things our way, or love each family as they are? Let us recognize the image of God in each person we meet.

1/24/10

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The bride makes ready

Sermon on David and Bathsheba - 2 Sam 11:1-5

What Jesus says here to His disciples in the upper room (John 14:1-3), a groom would often say to his betrothed, in that day. Jesus is defining His relationship with us here, as akin to marriage. We are moving towards a wedding day, as the Bride of Christ. We have been bought at a price. Christ has shown us He can provide for us. He did it at the cross. He will give us all things with Him at our resurrection. We can rest fully in our faithful husband, to cleanse us by the water of the Word from every spot or wrinkle. He has gone to prepare a place for us, and He will take us to be with Him. Let us be jealous with a godly jealousy to be spotless for Him when He comes. Let us anticipate eagerly His coming, proclaiming His death for us until He returns.

1/10/10

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Total dependence

Rev 3:14-20

The Haitian people have undergone a crisis. They are completely dependent on foreign aid to survive. We are dependent on God, like those Haitians. We have nothing that God didn’t give us, and He can take it away from us at any moment. We talk like the Laodiceans, “We don’t need anything, we provide everything we need ourselves. Independence, man.” But we don’t realize we are wretched, poor and blind. Let us pray that it won’t take an earthquake or other kind of disaster to teach us this lesson of humility and need.

1/10/10

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Not for men, but for God

Sermon on fasting, praying and giving before men (Matt 6:1-8, 14-16)

After the fast comes the feast. After the day of atonement, when Israel was to afflict their souls, came the feast of tabernacles, a day of high joy. After Moses fasted on Sinai, God gave him the law. After Esther fasted and interceded, there was great feasting at the salvation of the Jews. After Jesus fasts for 40 days in the wilderness and is tempted, angels come and minister to Him. After Jesus was deprived of God’s fellowship on the cross, He was exalted to the highest place. After we repent of our sins, we are brought into God’s presence, and seated at His table. The purpose of the fast is to express your desire to be closer to God.

At this feast, be careful to purify your motives. Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. We don’t partake because we are righteous enough to do so, but because we know we need mercy. Do not take a perverse pride in your being reconciled enough with all to partake. We believe it is right to partake weekly of the Supper. Receive that from the Lord, not condemning others or priding yourself in it. We believe it is right for our children to partake. That doesn’t make them better than other children for doing so. We believe we ought to take note of Christ’s body, the church, at the supper. But we partake not to be seen by men, but to receive grace from, and express faith in our heavenly father.

Instead, we come with a submissive will to the Father, with trust in His Son to atone for our sins, with joy in the Spirit who assures us we are beloved of the Father.

7/5/09

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January reading

Homer Price – McCloskey – CHILDRENS
Matchlock Gun - CHILDRENS
I Kissed Dating Goodbye - THEOLOGY
A Bear Called Paddington – CHILDRENS
Porn-Again Christian (not a typo!) – Mark Driscoll - THEOLOGY
Search for a Homeland – Virgil’s Aeneid retelling – CHILDRENS
The Light Princess – George MacDonald – CHILDRENS
The Borrowers – Mary Norton – CHILDRENS
Knowing Scripture – RC Sproul – THEOLOGY

2.09.2010

Learn from your elders

This is a really good and short post on why students (young people) should spend time with the elderly.

Exodus 11-20

11 - Egypt's firstborn will die; Israel will go free
12 - God prepares Israel for Passover; 1st born die; Exodus
13 - Unleavened bread; consecration of 1st born; pillar of fire & cloud
14 - Pharaoh pursues; Israel falters; God parts the sea and delivers
15 - Moses & Miriam sing of God's deliverance; God provides water
16 - God provides daily manna. Israel struggles to obey basic laws.
17 - God provides water from rock; Israel fights Amalek; Moses' hands
18 - Moses greets Jethro, who worships Yahweh; J helps M rule better
19 - God has Moses sanctify (& protect) Israel for His advent on Sinai
20 - God speaks the 10 Commandments; Israel asks for a mediator

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2.08.2010

The Mark of a Christian

by Francis Schaeffer

I recently listened to this and it was a great help and providentially timed.
Read it and weep. Read it and consider how to change your life accordingly.

http://www.ccel.us/schaeffer.html

Deliverance

Exodus 14:13
"Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.... The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."

Psalm 7: 3-5
"O Lord my God, if I have done this: if there is iniquity in my hands, if I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me, or have plundered my enemy without cause, let the enemy pursue me and overtake me; yes, let him trample my life to the earth, and lay my honor in the dust."

2.05.2010

Paper cutting love

I mentioned awhile back that I was digging scherenschnitte - the European art of paper cutting. Besides being a fun word to say, it really plucks the strings of my designer's heart.

Here's a silhouette of our youngest I drew and cut in 2008. While not technically scherenschnitte, don't you love the little intricate details, the bold graphic reduction of a complex object? Mmm. It's very close to how logo design works. The aim is a readable shape or image with good balance between complex and simple shapes.


The other reason I love this fancy papercutting stuff is because it's essentially lace - paper lace! Lace shows up everywhere in my life: iron grille lace, lace floral designs on wax candles, lace knitting, even in my cooking!

2.03.2010

School

You wonder what homeschooling looks like? Right now it looks like this:



What does it sound like? It was nice and quiet when I took these pictures, but stories and math problems don't last long. Right now it sounds like the Vikings attacking England in the boys room, and judging by the squeaking noises, I'd say the bunk bed is their ship.

2.02.2010

Exodus 1-10

1 - Israel multiplies & prospers in spite of Egyptian persecution
2 - Moses spared in an ark, as prince of Egypt, then exiled to Midian
2 - God hears Israel's cries & remembers His covenant with Abraham
3 - God comes to Moses in the bush, revealing His name & plan
4 - Moses protests; God gives him signs; he goes; Israel believes
5 - Pharoah refuses Moses & gives Israel more work; Israel complains
6 - God promises Israel redemption; Moses' extended family listed
7 - Aaron's rod; Pharoah says no; first plague of water turned to blood
8 - Plagues 2-4: frogs, lice and flies. Pharoah's heart hardened
9 - Plagues livestock, boils & hail; Pharoah hardened, to exalt God
10 - Locusts and darkness. Again, Pharoah relents, then hardens

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