3.30.2010

Deuteronomy 27-30 Covenant witnessed

27 - Gather on Mount Ebal, rejoice and remember.
28 - Curses for disobedience; blessings for disobedience.
29 - God renews covenant. If you run after idols, you'll be exiled, too
30 - when you repent, God will purify you to love Him, and bless you
30 - you are able to obey; when you do you will live; disobey and you die; choose life

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3.29.2010

Rebuke or forgive?

Question: How should a Christian respond when he has been offended, and the offender either won't repent, or repents in an obviously insincere way?

Some say that if he doesn't repent, you cannot forgive him. Luke 17:3-4 implies this:
"If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

But other texts do not have the condition of repentance:
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses" (Mark 11:25).

What do we make of this?

Forgiveness cannot be complete, or bring full resolution, without repentance. But neither may forgiveness be withheld in a way that leads to vengeance or bitterness. If repentance is verbalized, it should be taken at face value and forgiveness must be extended (2 Cor 2:6). Only in extreme cases of insincerity should such repentance be questioned on the spot. You give them the benefit of the doubt and even extend a great deal of patience with repeat offenders (Matt 18:21-22).

If someone wrongs you and won't admit it, justifies it, or apologizes perfunctorily to get you off their back, your obligation is one of two directions. Either you let love cover a multitude of sin (Prov 10:12), thus you drop it and let it go, and work on a forgiving, non-bitter spirit in yourself (Eph 4:31; Heb 12:15). Or your obligation is to rebuke your neighbor so you don't bear his fault (Lev 19:17). This could mean just saying, "Look I don't have a grudge against you for this, but it seems like you really aren't acknowledging the wrong, and I'm concerned that you live rightly before God in this...." This probably needs to come from someone else, though, since you are the offended party. So this could involve taking another witness along in the second step of Matthew 18:16.

Which course you should take is a matter of wisdom, not absolute obligation. If you have pointed out someone's wrong once and they don't see it, you are probably clear of obligation, and need to work harder on letting it go yourself rather than getting them to see their wrong. It's different if you are in a close covenant relationship, like parent to child, or pastor to church member, and thus have a greater obligation to shepherd the person.

Neither course above allows for bitterness or for sweeping unaddressed sin under the rug. We must forgive, either way, meaning not holding on to a grudge, seeking vengeance or getting payback for our personal satisfaction. We do not have to chase every last suspicious behavior down to the ground. In fact that spirit is forbidden, and cannot be justified out of zeal for seeing others glorify God (Matt 7:3). We also should not wink at sin. This is quite the tightrope of wisdom to walk in a world of sinners!

Jesus does speak of withholding forgiveness, though. When He is with the disciples in the upper room after His resurrection, He commissions them with the Spirit: "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:23). People really balk at this today, but Jesus here really gave authority to human church leaders on earth to withhold forgiveness. This is related to the Matthew 18 process: if the offender won't hear the offended, and won't hear the 2-3 witnesses, AND won't hear the church leaders (apostles passed this authority on to elders, with the keys of the kingdom - Matt 16:19), then his sins are retained. Forgiveness is declared withheld and excommunication is the result. Even in that situation, though, we are obligated to have a spirit free from bitterness, eager to respond to their repentance with forgiveness.

20/10 in 2010 Update

Here's pair #2 for my goal of knitting 20 socks/10 pairs in 2010:

Cast on March 1, bound off March 28. They are made from Regia yarn, 100% superwash (machine washable) wool. Knit 64 stitches per round on 1.5mm diameter needles (US1). I think I used about 320-350 yards of wool, to put things in perspective.

I've *misplaced* one of my socks from the last pair, so I technically have 3 of the 20 socks I need to meet my goal. (sheepish grin)

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3.28.2010

Deuteronomy 22-26

Expositing the 7th commandment

22 - no mixed seed, animals, cloth; tassels on clothes. False accusations of sexual impurity severely punished. Adultery a capital offense.
23 - those excluded from the assembly; cleanliness in military camps

Expositing the 8th commandment
23 - don't charge Israelites interest; keep your vows; only pick from others' fields what you can carry in your hand and eat on the spot.
24 - a man may not remarry his divorced wife after she has married and divorced another. Newlyweds may not be drafted; don't take a man's means of livelihood as collateral; no kidnapping

Expositing the 9th commandment
24 - Maintain the dignity of the poor, pilgrim, widow and orphan. Give their wages, justice, and daily bread speedily and generously.
25 - If you beat the guilty, do it in the judge's presence, no more than 40 times.

Expositing the 10th commandment
25 - Don't keep the laborer from his wage (4). Brothers should propogate the name of their dead and childless brothers, to build up his house (5-10). Don't fight dirty (11-12)! No cheating in your currency exchanges. Destroy Amalek, who covetously attacked your weak.
26 - When you enter the land, offer the firstfruits/tithe of your harvest to God, professing and rejoicing in the great things God has done for you, and asking for His blessing.

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3.26.2010

Spring Sewing

Just to give you a glimpse of what's been passing under my sewing machine needle, here are some of the fabrics I've been working with this week:



I felt the need for some major color after a very grey winter!!

No stain; sterling silver, instead

Titus 2:11-14 - "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works."

God is about redeeming us from the guilt of sin. God is about cleansing us form the stain of sin. He deals with sin in His house. Those in heaven have white robes – they are clean – Rev 7:9. God is able to present you faultless before Him. He does not come to you as an avenger, as you are in Christ. He is not against you. He comes to refine you as silver. He comes to redeem you, and one way He does that is here at the table. God deals with our sin in many ways. He shows us the consequences of our sin in the lives of others, maybe friends or on the news. He describes our sin in His Word. He presents us with His mercy, too, in the Gospel. He also deals with our sin here, as we experience grace in abundance here. Instead of the wages of sin, our death, we are adopted into the royal family, and seated at His table. When we are faced with such overwhelming grace, we become sensitive to remaining sin.

10/18/09

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Deuteronomy 19-21 - dealing with murder

Expositing the sixth commandment - do not murder

19 -set up 3-6 cities of refuge for the unintentional killer to be safe from family members who seek vengeance. Premeditated murderers have no refuge. Need 2 witnesses. False witnesses should receive the punishment that would have gone to their accused.
20 - in war, release any who are afraid or newlywed. Offer terms of peace to a city, first. Kill everything that breathes in cities that are your inheritance. Kill only the men in other cities, keeping the rest for plunder. Only use trees that don't bear food for beseiging.
21 - for an unsolved murder in the field, the nearest city must offer a sacrifice and vow they did not do it. Regulation of taking women as plunder in war; give birthright of double inheritance to oldest son; stone a stubbornly rebellious child; don't leave a hung man out overnight.
22 - do due diligence to preserve life in various situations

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Deuteronomy 16-18 - Honoring Authority

The Fifth Commandment exposited - honor your father and mother

Judges
16 - appoint judges to do justice - no bribery
17 - prosecute and execute all idolaters - need 2 witnesses.
17 - go to the Levites/priests at the temple if a case is too hard

King
17 - when you get a king, he may not multiply horses, wives or gold
17 - he must write a copy of the law for himself and read it

Priest
18 - Levites receive provision from offerings, not land. They may sell their homes and move to the temple city if they want; they then are to be given provision from the temple.

Prophet
18 - no sorcery or false prophets. God will give you a prophet to listen to

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3.25.2010

Deuteronomy 14-16 - Sabbaths

Fourth commandment exposited: keep the Sabbath

14 - bring your tithes to the tabernacle and eat it there, rejoicing. Every third year, leave the tithe in your own city for the Levites there.
15 - forgive debts and release slaves every 7 years; don't borrow; lend to the poor, even if the 7th year is close; permanent slavery may only be voluntary; sacrifice every firstborn, unblemished animal to God at the tabernacle; if it is blemished, don't sacrifice it but just kill and eat it at home
16 - Passover - kill and eat it in the temple, not at home; eat unleavened bread for 7 days, Passover being the first day, to remember the hasty exodus from Egypt. Feast of Weeks - 7 weeks later, to rejoice: Israelite, refugee, Levite, widow and orphan together. Feast of booths - 7 day feast when harvest is brought in. These are the 3 required feasts (annual Sabbaths).

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Deuteronomy 12 - 2-3 Commandments

Second commandment - don't worship carved images
12 - upon entering Canaan, destroy all their idols; sacrifice only at the tabernacle; eat meat anywhere, but not the blood
13 - put to death any prophet or family member who tries to get you to worship other idols, and any city that actually begins to worship other gods

Third commandment - take up God's name/image
14 - don't deface your body with cutting or unclean food

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America among the Nations

One thing we need in this discouraging and polarized political situation, is a proper Christian perspective on it.

Doug Wilson does that very well, here.

3.24.2010

Deuteronomy 5-11 - 1st Commandment

5. The 10 commandments given at Sinai; people afraid; Moses mediate
6-11 - Sermon on the first commandment
6-7 - The greatest commandment; Israel a chosen, covenant people
8 - remember God's faithfulness in the wilderness, when you prosper
9 - it is not by your righteousness that you will prosper; you sinned
10 - But God spared you & gave new tablets & an ark; love & fear God
11 - love and obey God, and He will bless you in the land

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3.21.2010

Deuteronomy 1-4 - Historical overview

1. Retelling history: leaving Sinai; appointing leaders; refusing to enter
2-3. 40 years of wandering; Sihon & Og defeated; Moses doesn't enter
4. Moses commands obedience; Idolatry forbidden; God's acts unique

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3.18.2010

Numbers 26-36 -

26 - Israel numbered again: 601, 730 fighting men
26 - Only Joshua & Caleb left of the previous generation
27 - Zelophehad's daughters receive his inheritance; Moses to die
27 - he requests God name a shepherd for Israel; Joshua inaugurated
28-29 - kind and amount of sacrifices for each day, Sabbath, and feast
30 - keep your vows; father/husband may void wife/daughter's vows
31 - Israel defeats Midian, and divides the plunder
32 - Reuben and Gad ask for last east of the Jordan; Moses objects
32 - They commit to fight for Israel west of the Jordan; Moses accepts
33 - Wilderness wanderings reviewed;
33 - command to destroy Canaan's inhabitants and idols completely
34 - borders of Canaan Israel will possess; tribal leaders to divide land
35 - cities for Levites, including 6 cities of refuge for unintentional death
36 - women who inherit land have to marry in their tribe, so their land stays in the same tribe

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Holy or Hellish Criticism

by Doug Wilson:

"When we are critical of others, we are in it for one of two reasons. We are either critical because we are loving them, and are seeking their best interest, or we are critical because we are loving ourselves, and are seeking some way to compete effectively with them. This means that our criticism is either borne from a love of God, or it is borne from a love of self.

The critical spirit bites and devours. The critical spirit tears down and does not rebuild. The critical spirit speaks without thinking or reflecting. The critical spirit does not have equal weights and measures; it does not apply the same level of scrutiny to itself as it does to the other. The critical spirit always wins the game that it is playing, and does so by pretending to the neutral referee. The critical spirit belongs in Hell, but is often found in church.

The discerning spirit wants to protect, not destroy. The discerning spirit warns; it does not push. The discerning spirit can speak hard words, and often does, but it is the scalpel of the surgeon, not the cudgel of the mugger. The discerning spirit rejoices when corrections are made, and is glad when planned corrections become unnecessary. The discerning spirit is gentle or hard, depending on the need. The discerning spirit administers faithful wounds, not misplaced bruises.

Everyone here is in relationships with others, and so that means that everyone here is either critical or discerning. It is not possible to sit this one out."

European "S" words for 800, please

Move over "serenschnitte", here comes "smygmaskvirkning!" I'm not even going to attempt to pronounce that one.

Smygmaskvirkning is a Swedish word referring to a type of slipstitch crochet called Bosnian crochet or shepherd's knitting (even though it's not really knitting.)

At our last church I remember an older Dutch member talking about my knitting and calling the needles "pins" or "pens" (it's really hard to differentiate when she'd say it). I never asked her why she used that term, but she might have picked up the word from this old form of crochet. It uses a flat hook with a large oval-shaped handle sometimes called a "pen."

In order to preserve our fiber-related past, I must attempt this! Perhaps I'll find a grassy field and some sheep to really get the right context. :)

If you really want to know more, visit this website for a brief intro and more links.

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Ahithophel

Preaching on Ahithophel - interesting take here, halfway down the page...

3.17.2010

Saint Patrick

It's more than just an Irish, wear-green day.


And this prayer/song he wrote:

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
*
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

3.16.2010

Getting Health Care Right

If only Washington would listen...

Music

I'm listening to Coldplay on lala.com right now. Pretty good stuff.

Before this, it was Bach's St. John's Passion, Bach's St. Matthew's Passion, Schumann Piano Trios, Webern string quartets, Taylor Swift...

What musical artists do you think I should check out?

Providence

Excellent review of Ruth.

I'm taking off points from Crossway, though, (not Piper) for the needlessly sensational subtitle.

Piper deals very pastorally with providence, moving from bitterness to hope. He handles the threshing floor scene with great discretion and accuracy. He glorifies Christ and applies the book of Ruth to life with directness.

3.15.2010

Numbers 22-25 - Balaam

22 - Moab asks Balaam to curse Israel; he comes greedily
22 - God corrects Balaam through his donkey
23 - Balaam blesses Israel, instead of cursing, as Balak paid him for
24 - Balaam foretells the Star of Jacob who will conquer the nations
25 - Moab seduces Israel (Rev 2:14); Phineas' zeal puts a stop to it

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3.13.2010

Parenting teens

A REALLY good, balanced approach to shepherding teens. Avoids loose compromise and legalistic regulation of behavior.
Highly recommended for anyone with teens.

3.12.2010

A good joke for a Friday

Just don't try this at home... or at the track...

One day while he was at the track playing the ponies and all but losing his shirt, Mitch noticed a priest who stepped out onto the track and blessed the forehead of one of the horses lining up for the 4th race.

Lo and behold, that horse - a very long shot - won the race.

Before the next race, as the horses began lining up, Mitch watched with interest the old priest step onto the track. Sure enough, as the 5th race horses came to the starting gate the priest made a blessing on the forehead of one of the horses.

Mitch made a beeline for a betting window and placed a small bet on the horse. Again, even though it was another long shot, the horse the priest had blessed won the race.

Mitch collected his winnings, and anxiously waited to see which horse the priest would bless for the 6th race. The priest again blessed a horse.

Mitch bet big on it, and it won. Mitch was elated. As the races continued the priest kept blessing long shot horses, and each one ended up coming in first.

By and by, Mitch was pulling in some serious money. By the last race, he knew his wildest dreams were going to come true. He made a quick dash to the ATM, withdrew all his savings, and awaited the priest's blessing that would tell him which horse to bet on...

True to his pattern, the priest stepped onto the track for the last race and blessed the forehead of an old nag that was the longest shot of the day. Mitch also observed the priest blessing the eyes, ears, and hooves of the old nag. Mitch knew he had a winner and bet every cent he owned on the old nag.

He then watched dumbfounded as the old nag come in dead last. Mitch, in a state of shock, made his way down to the track area where the priest was.

Confronting the old priest he demanded, 'Father! What happened? All day long you blessed horses and they all won. Then in the last race, the horse you blessed lost by a Kentucky mile, then dropped dead. Now, thanks to you I've lost every cent of my savings -- all of it!'.

The priest nodded wisely and with sympathy. 'Son,' he said, 'that's the problem with you Protestants, you can't tell the difference between a simple blessing and the last rites.'

3.10.2010

Numbers 10-21 - Sinai to Moab

10 - Israel moves camp, leaving Sinai for the first time; Jethro comes
11 - Israel complains; God provides 70 elders, lots of meat, & a plague
12 - Aaron and Miriam contend with Moses; God rebukes them
13 - Spies sent into Canaan; good land, but strong people
14 - only Judah's Caleb believes God's promise; rest of tribes fall away
14 - God intends Israel's demise; Moses intercedes; 40 years in desert
15 - when you enter the land (!) offer grain, wine and oil with sacrifices
15 - distinction between unintentional and presumptuous sin;
15 - death for Sabbath-breaking; tassels on clothes-remember law
16 -rebellion against Moses; God judges rebels and complainers
17 - budding rod test - Aaron/Levi's rod blossoms with fruit
18 - Levites help priests; priests' portion of sacrifices; Levites' of tithes
19 - rituals for cleansing, after becoming unclean
20 - water from rock - Moses errs; Edom blocks Israel; Aaron dies
21 - bronze serpent; travels; defeat of Sihon & Og - Amorites & Bashan

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3.09.2010

Government efficiency

So I just got a letter from the Census Bureau saying I'd get a Census form in the mail in a week...

3.08.2010

Crazy woman with knife blades

You know I love knitting lace. Well, now I'm hooked on "paper lace" otherwise called serenschnitte. I printed a rough template then patiently started cutting away. Several X-Acto blades later, plus some stiff shoulders and a blast of spray adhesive, this lovely crest was ready to hang on the wall. I wanted to cut "2010" in the white band on the bottom, but my fingers were sore enough after finishing the rest.
You can see here how small the leaves are; those holly berries were the worst to cut out! I need to perfect my "round" shape cutting abilities.


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Rest and reward represented

Sermon text: Hebrews 4 - a better Sabbath rest

Nehemiah 8:9-10 - "And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.

10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”"

Ultimate rest happens here. When you sit down at your family table after a day of work and eat the evening meal, you are at rest, or should be. When God sits you down at our Lord’s Table after a week of work and you eat His covenant meal, you are at rest, or should be. You have repented, you are receiving, you are resting in Him. Ultimate rest happens here. Now, some of you are on eggshells as your children take the cup. Hold it so it doesn’t spill; not on the dress! Some of you are performing works of necessity even now. This side of glory rest is always mixed with distraction and anxiety. But ultimate rest is pictured here. In the place of responsibility Jesus will give reward. He takes your anxiety and gives relief. He does this as the burden and weight of your sin rolls off of you and on to Jesus at the cross.

10/11/09

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Repent, receive, rest

Westminster Shorter Catechism Q85-86

85What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?

To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.

86What is faith in Jesus Christ?

Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, (Heb. 10:39) whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation as he is offered to us in the gospel.

The evangelistic question “Are you saved?” meets today with the rejoinder, “Saved from what?” We must escape God’s wrath which we deserve. We have to repent and believe in Christ. Repenting is turning away from sin, seeing it for the horror it is. Faith is receiving Christ and resting on Him to take that sin away from God’s sight. Repent, receive, rest. This is what we must do. This is what we do each worship service. We have repented; we are now receiving Christ in His Word. Soon we will rest at the table as we receive Christ there.

10/11/09

Cravenness or surrender

Heb 4:12-13 - "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."

There are two ways to take these verses: craven fear, or surrender. The one who resists God, still knows there is an all knowing God out there who sees all his sin. And God is strong enough to judge him for it, too. He has a razor sharp sword that can slice and dice you for your sin, and He has an eye that sees every milligram’s worth of that sin. You are toast. So with craven fear, it’s either fight or flight. We cower in a corner and deny His existence, or we blaspheme Him.

But when we read ahead the next verses say we will receive grace. There is another option: surrender and submission. We give up, confess our sin, and trust Him that we will survive under the knife of His Word.

So don’t play passive-aggressive with God, covering up and denying your sin. Don’t argue with Him, or wish Him away. Confess to Him.

10/11/09

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Reverence and discernment


Chapter 3. Te Deum: Remembering the Most High
The medieval conception of God was reverent and humble before His incomprehensible majesty. By contrast, moderns are irreverent, crass materialists. Doug Wilson looks at how Beowulf speaks of the Most High. Pagan converts to Christ had (have?) a greater reverence than secular converts, who have little prior conception of deity. At least the pagans had an unfocused reverence in place already. Most of us lack this, and need to learn reverence from the ground up. How do you reverence God in your family? How do you speak of the Lord of life? What names do you use for the King of glory?

Chapter 4: The Emerging Divide: Losing the Serpent... and the Greeks
Modern Christians are embarrassed about some Scriptural truths ("excommunication, the death penalty, patriarchalism, slavery, a young earth, and monarchy..."). Medievals weren't embarrassed to grapple with the best human wisdom and toss it if it was inconsistent with Scripture. The best example is philosophy. Medievals engaged with it. They appear to us to have compromised with it, but how often do we compromise with contemporary thought? As often, they expunged the worst of the Greeks from the worldview they were constructing. Don't follow modern scientific findings blindly. It can be a long, complicated process to find the divide, the antithesis, to discern between good and evil in a given cultural phenomenon. Sometimes we draw the line in the wrong place (all movies or alcohol are sin), sometimes we draw a line when there doesn't need to be one (one nursing method as God's way?), sometimes we don't draw a line when there should be one (David with Absalom). In your family do you need to draw, erase, or move the line in any area of life, to follow God's Word more faithfully?

3.07.2010

Surrender

Sermon text: 2 Samuel 3

Whether you are tempted with subtle pride, like Abner, to think you are the center of things, or have committed horrendous sins like Joab, you are at the son of David’s table, and He receives you like He did Abner, on one condition – that you hand over to Him your Michal. This means 2 things for us. We must hand over to God alone our guilt, not trying to deal with it ourselves by covering it up or by working harder, but trusting God to take it away at the cross of Christ, by grace. And second, we have to hand over to God our hopes and dreams, the life we hope to have. It is His kingdom, not ours. We are not the center, here to give Christ our all-important allegiance that He so desperately needs. No, no. We are here to receive HIS blessing. We are Ish Bosheth – we used to claim the throne, but we have to give our Michal to David. That highest hope you have for your future – lay it at the feet of Jesus, surrender it to Him. We must give our all to Christ.

10/4/09

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A New Center

Phil 2:1-4

Each Christian goes through a Copernican revolution at his conversion. We realize that what we think, and do and feel isn’t the center, the standard, it isn’t right just because it is ME. Rather, we have to confess to God that His will and Word is the standard, and that we have broken it. As believers after we are converted, struggling in the remaining sinful nature in us, we are still tempted to make ourselves the center. The pull of gravity to selfish ambition, interest, and conceit is not gone. But the Son has risen in our hearts, and we now have a new center.

10/4/09

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3.04.2010

Postage Stamp quilt

I can't decide if Ilike this latest quilt or not. I started it by trying a new technique of piecing the "postage stamp" squares in the center. I first ironed all the squares onto a piece of water soluable interfacing, then sewed up the long seams. The process is described here. It was an interesting way to piece a lot of little squares quickly, but I was not a fan of sewing through the water soluable interfacing. It was like sewing through plastic! Some squares shifted a bit, so the corners are a bit wonky in a few places. The finished postage stamp section is only about 8x11 inches.
Here's where my dilemma comes in... I had this fun tiny quilt, but wanted to make a it larger, perhaps a baby quilt. But what to do for the rest of the top? The center part is busy, so I decided a nearly-solid surrounding fabric with some simple quilting would balance it out. But I'm not sure it worked. I feel like the center section is "trapped" in a box, but perhaps the diagonal quilting gives the piece the needed movement. I did end up putting a bright yellow binding around it, so the eye bounces back and forth between that and the center . I guess I like the finished effect, but perhaps the colors aren't quite "baby" colors. What do you think?
Finished size is 30x31".

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3.03.2010

Happy Bloggy Birthday to us!

We're 5 years old!! Last month, amidst the craziness of flu bugs, the Olympics, and other life events, the Hemmeke Blog turned five.

What do you enjoy the most about our blog? What would you like to see more of?

Numbers 1-10

1 - census of men over 20 who could fight: 603,550. Not the Levites
2 - placement and movement of tribes in the camp; Judah leads east
3 - Levites to serve in tabernacle for Aaron; census, placement, duties
3 - Levites taken for the Lord's service instead of firstborn of Israel
4 - duties and census of Levites
5 - ritual for testing whether a wife has been unfaithful or not
6 - rules for the Nazirite vow: grapes, hair, dead body; priestly blessing
7 - offerings for temple: dishes with grain, incense; animals for sacrifice
8 - tabernacle lamps; Levites set apart to serve in the tabernacle
9 - second Passover a month later provided for; cloud/fire over tab
10 - trumpets for assembly, moving camp, warfare, feast gathering

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3.02.2010

Turn toward Him and others at the Table

1 Cor 11:17-29

The church continues to misunderstand the warning in these verses, not remembering the context of Corinthian division in the body of Christ. The problem wasn’t that they weren’t doctrinally discerning where Christ’s physical body was in relation to the Communion elements. The problem was that they were acting like lone ranger individuals in the corporate body of Christ, with no obligations to their brothers and sisters. This makes it especially ironic that our common practice is to descend into ourselves, away from others, and close our eyes when Paul warns us against this very thing. You’re not seeing Christ’s body, you aren’t recognizing, perceiving it, in the church gathered to partake. So I do strongly encourage you, open your eyes to partake; even turn around and look at others with a smile. In dealing with your sin at this meal, don’t turn away from others; turn to them. See other redeemed sinners; see yourself in them. God has made us to need one another in our fight against sin. This Supper is a sober reminder of Christ’s death for us and our sin; it is also a picture of what resulted: food for God’s people. We are the bread. Consider the body of Christ, the fruit of His death, as you eat and drink, proclaiming His death.

9/20/09

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Contentment

10th commandment

The commandment against coveting is a command to be content in whatever you have. We are to be content with our station in life, our income, our family. Were you called as a slave? Don’t be concerned about it; but if you can gain freedom, do so and use it. Do you find yourself single? Poor? Be content, and also be diligent to improve your state for God’s glory and the service of others.

The first and last commandments deal with the heart. Idolatry and contentment are matters of where your heart is. Take time on this Lord’s Day to consider the state of your heart. What do you want? What do you spend your time pursuing? Why?

9/20/09

Turn back toward Him and them

Gen 3:8-11 - "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

Sin makes us afraid. We run from God; we run from others. Forgiveness and love received casts out fear. We turn TO God; we turn TO others. God invites us to receive forgiveness by confessing our sin. Have you eaten from the tree? Yes, we all have. Own up to it all. Take the consequences. Tremble before Him, but know He is a merciful Father.

9/20/09

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10 in 2010

The Olympic knitting is over and now it's back to my goal of 10 pairs of socks in 2010.

Cast on pair #2 yesterday with some lovely March green yarn. The familiarity of sock yarn and itty bitty needles is wonderful.

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Leviticus 17-27

17 - sacrifice only at the tabernacle; only blood atones, so don't eat it
18 - don't do like in Egypt or Canaan: incest, fornication, homosexuality
bestiality. I'm driving out the Canaanites because of these things
19 - laws of justice and mercy, mostly: love your neighbor
20 - death and exile for idolatry, sorcery, adultery, incest, bestiality
21 - priestly holiness: no defects or ritual impurity, only marry virgins
22-sacrifices accepted:no defects, only priest's immediate family eats
23-feasts:Sabbath,Passover, Firstfruits, Pentecost/Weeks, Trumpets
Day of Atonement, Tabernacles/Booths
24-oil for lamps, bread for table; death penalty for blasphemy, murder
25 - sabbath for land, Jubilee, rights to buy back property (or self from slavery) that had to be sold in poverty; permanent servitude allowed of foreigners, not of Israelites
26 - faithfulness to God brings blessing; disobedience brings curses
27-valuations to buy back persons/property given/consecrated to God

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3.01.2010

The right truth at the right time

9th commandment

The commandment against lying is a command to speak the truth in love, for the edification of the body. We are to guard the reputation of ourselves and our neighbor, by exercising discretion. Discretion is a virtue, which speaks the right truths in the right places. Discretion does not cover up the truth, but knows where and when to speak it. We may not pre-judge what the truth is. We are often tempted to do this by undue speculation, trying to see God’s hand of providence in what just happened; or by coming to a conclusion without enough good evidence, just so we can opine and display our great wisdom about things. We should take as seriously what we say to one another as if we were on the witness stand in court, under oath.

Knitting Gold Medal!

The Team USA Olympic hat is complete!! I finished it just before the men's hockey game went into OT last night. Fun to watch, but more fun to finish my first fair isle knitting project!

What your sins will be

Isaiah 1:18 - "Come now, and let us reason together," says the LORD, "though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

We are to reason with the Lord, to deal with Him, and let Him deal with us. He gives us the promise, even as He calls us to confess, that He will forgive us if we are willing and obedient. You will know your repentance as you are willing to repent before the Lord, as you are willing to offer it to others you have wronged, and as you desire to act differently.

Assurance of Forgiveness – As you have confessed sincerely to God, know that your Father in heaven isn’t angry at you waiting for you to get your repentance right. He is instead loving you as a father, and teaching you how to live a more godly life. As an ambassador of Christ, authorized to speak in his name, I declare to you your sins are forgiven through Christ.

9/13/09

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