Tuesday, May 17, 2011

He Will Provide the Way of Escape

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Cor 10:13 ESV

I have had cause recently to think about this verse.  To be honest I think for the past few years I had let myself forget that it existed.  Let me elaborate.

I sin.  Probably no big shock.  I wouldn't be surprised to hear that you do as well.  The problem though doesn't lie just in that.  Don't get me wrong- sin is a big problem.   So big in fact that God sent His son to die.  But the further problem comes in when we think we have no choice but to sin.  That somehow whatever circumstance that was before us was so unique and so powerful that there was no other option for us but to sin.  For me the mental justification usually is along the lines of crazy post-partum hormones, crazy pregnant hormones, lack of sleep, or a personal "favorite" if they hadn't sinned first then I wouldn't have sinned second.   Hormones, lack of sleep, and people sinning against you are very real temptations.  But they aren't anything that is not common to man.  They don't suddenly make God not faithful.  They don't suddenly vanquish the Spirit from my life.  In every situation that I have sinned it is because I made a choice- I did not take the way of escape that was provided for me by God.  I know that one was there because God said it was.   And I can believe Him or I can choose not to.  I am going to choose to believe Him.

Practically what does this mean?  I mean it kind of seems like I am saying that it isn't inevitable that I sin.  In fact that is exactly what I am saying.  And I am saying it because I believe the Bible says it.  The problem I think so many of us have (many times myself included) is that when we look at scripture like 1 Cor 10:13 the first thing that comes to mind is all the times I have sinned since becoming Christ's.  I greatly desire to interpret this passage through my own experience, when instead I should be looking at my life and asking why it isn't lining up with the truth clearly shown in scripture.  When my life does not line up with scripture then the problem isn't with the truth of scripture- it is with my life. The other problem I know I have when thinking about this is the temptation to think ahead to all the times in the future that I know I'll be tempted to sin and think it is utterly impossible that I'll always follow God in the way of escape.  The solution for this is two-fold: first and most importantly it is impossible for me in my power to obey God.  Completely impossible.  But it isn't impossible for God.  He has given me everything needed for life and Godliness (2 Pet. 1:3) and if I come to Him and obey through His power, His spirit, His work then it isn't impossible.  If I try to obey through my power I might succeed a time or  two, but ultimately I will sin.  And truly obeying through my power isn't success, it is self-reliance which has no place in the life of the Christian.  The second solution to the overwhelming idea of obeying God in all circumstances is to stop worrying about tomorrow for sufficient for the day is it's own troubles (Matt 6:34).  In fact, we are commanded not to worry, so to do so is sin.  But that is the good news- if we aren't to worry because God has commanded us not to then we don't have to try and not worry through our own power- this is something else that God will work in us and for us to do!

So what to do with this?  Choose to believe God.  Choose to say to Him "God I choose to obey you and I choose to do it only in your power, through your spirit."  Get up in the morning and do not be anxious (Phil 4:6-7), but pray to our great God to show you the way of escape, pray about specific areas of temptation that you know will arise, and pray for the ones that you don't know about so they don't catch you off guard.   And if we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1).  We can confess our sins and we are forgiven.  We do need to confess our sins, even if we are already Christians.   Don't neglect this.  Confess to the Lord, immediately and fully.  Recognize that it is sin against the Holy and living God, not something to be down played in your mind and heart.  Name the sin for what it is, repent, and ask God for His power to take the way of escape next time.

Scripture to reflect on on this topic:
But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 1 John 3:5-6

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 1 John 3:9

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.1 John 5:18 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. By faithAbraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. (Hebrews 11:7-8 NIV)
        Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call         
        people from among all                             
        the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. (Romans 1:5 NIV)
... but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him. (Romans 16:26 NIV) 

And because the whole passage is just too wonderful:
 Romans 6: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can nwe who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized pinto Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We wereqburied therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as rChrist was raised from the dead by sthe glory of the Father, we too might walk in tnewness of life.For uif we have been united with him in va death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know thatwour old self1 xwas crucified with him in order that ythe body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For zone who has died ahas been set free2 from sin. Nowbif we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.We know that cChrist, being raised from the dead, will never die again; ddeath no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, eonce for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.11 So you also must consider yourselves fdead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Let not gsin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 hDo not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but ipresent yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For jsin kwill have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? lAre we to sin mbecause we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves nto anyone as obedient slaves,3 you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But othanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to thepstandard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, qhaving been set free from sin, rhave become slaves of righteousness. 19 sI am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. Fortjust as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members uas slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.20 vFor when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 wBut what fruit were you getting at that time from the things xof which you are now ashamed? yFor the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you zhave been set free from sin andahave become slaves of God, bthe fruit you get leads to sanctification and cits end, eternal life. 23 dFor the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  

And of course and very importantly in the end when we don't sin, when we flee to God and take the way of escape it is God who deserves the credit, the Glory, the praise.  It was Him who provided the way, the power, the strength.  Indeed it is His spirit that allows us to even know that there is a way of escape to begin with.  We work out our salvation with fear and trembling for it is the Spirit of God that works in us.  None of this is cause for boasting in our own strength for we have none.  But praise be to God that we need none of our own.  Praise Him for the faith that makes obedience not only possible, but easy and normal.  Praise Him for the gift of His son that makes the faith possible.  Praise Him. 

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Guest Post: Stuff Christian's Like

The “Is that contestant on American Idol a Christian? Scorecard”

40. They scrawl some sort of secret alphanumeric Bible code on a piece of their clothing, e.g. “PH4:13.” = + 2 points   
To add up your score with over a 130 other ideas on this scorecard, visit stuffchristianslike.net.

(While there check out Jon's other great posts.  This guy should be on your bloglines.)

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Cloth Diaper Rant

We are going on a trip tomorrow.  And by we I mean just me and the girls (I have 3 under 5).  We will be gone for a month.  I have opted to use disposable diapers while gone.  In the past I have done these trips both ways (cloth or disposable, usually disposable for sort trips and cloth for long) and really cloth isn't  that big of under taking.  But this go around there are more children, my husband can't come, and I am not well going to visit family members that are even sicker.  So we are doing disposable.  I hate disposable.  They are flimsy and leak and cause rashes.  Does it seem at all right to anyone else that food products have to list all of their ingredients but not diapers?  I mean these are chemicals that we are putting next to the most sensitive  parts of babies for 24 hours a day for something like 3 years.  Shouldn't we get to know what those chemicals are? And what chemicals are going to the landfills for that matter? And if you are advertising your product as "natural wipes" all of the ingredients you use should be pronounceable by people even if they don't have chemistry degrees.

This is the third baby I have cloth diapered.  I didn't hate disposables with the first.  In fact, if we had had more money I might have never tried cloth.  But my husband was in grad school and cloth seemed like a great way to save money.  And it was.  By my last estimate I think I have saved about $4,000 these past 5.5 years.  (More than paid for that fancy washer and dryer that are downstairs).  With each baby I have fallen more and more in love with cloth diapers.  And I have also learned with works well and what is worth spending your money on and what isn't.  I wrote a review of diapers a while back and "reviewed" a brand that I hadn't tried but really wanted to.  Unfortunately they didn't work well at all.  And they were expensive to boot.  So first piece of advice- don't buy boutique diapers.  If they are so cute you can barely stand to put clothes over them chances are they don't work very well.  Any diaper that has cotton on the outside of the water proof layer (PUL) is prone to leaking, some more than others but they all have this design flaw.  Same with diapers that take ordinary material and convert it to waterproof.  They will be fine for awhile but you will have problems later.  If you want super cute diapers find a pattern online and make them yourself.  You will have the same design problems, but at least they will have  been inexpensive.

For the newborn/small infant stage pre-folds and inexpensive covers are my favorite.  You are changing their diaper so often that you don't need a bunch of bulk for absorbency.  In fact the first few weeks I use a baby washcloth and a piece of fleece for diapers.  After that my favorite (and the ones that have stood the test of time) are Mother Ease.  I have used both their one size diapers and their All-in ones.  Both have lasted through an amazing amount of use and have proven themselves as working incredibly well.  In fact I am still using the ones I bought when my first was a newborn for baby number three.  They are just now starting to lose some of their absorbency.  Which is to say they still work, but I have to change them more often than I used to.  Next month when I return from our trip I am buying more to replace diapers of a different brand that my little one has out grown.  (They were a gift and much appreciated, even if they don't work quite as well as motherease.) And from here on out I will never buy any other diapers except prefolds and motherease.  There simply is no point when they work so well and are so economical.

I wish more moms would give cloth a try.  You save so much money, you cut down on diaper rashes, your baby is exposed to less and it is better for the environment.  Basically, every one wins!  Yes, they are little more effort, but not that much.  And no chance of ever having to make a late night run to the store because you are out of diapers! Just toss them in the wash.  So if you are on the fence about this, give it a go.  You don't have to use them very long in order to break even and  then you can sell them and actually come out ahead, so even if you hate cloth diapering you are out nothing but a little time.  And I can pretty much guarantee that if you go with motherease diapers, you won't hate cloth diapering.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I have a theory

That the vast majority of parents (approximately 76.9%) who have a television let their children watch about 2.3 times more TV than they will ever admit to watching to either their Christian or academic friends.  I'm certain of it.

On that note, did you know that 82.5% of statistics are made up on the spot?

Food for thought.

I wish I was funnier....

And that I had a funny blog.  But I am just not, and I don't.   I do better with passion and critique than humor.  And while I might say something sarcastic on here ever now and then that warrants a chuckle, this blog certainly isn't laugh out loud funny.  Maybe I should start posting clips from "The Big Bang Theory" on here, then you would laugh.  That show is fantastic.  But in the mean time, this blog might be getting temporarily funnier. Jon Acuff, the man behind the curtain over at Stuff Christian Like has offered to guest post on peoples blogs in the advance of his up coming book release.  (The book sounds great, looking forward to reading it).  He made the offer for anyone- whether you have 2 readers or 200, which I think is pretty cool. You can find a link to his site on my side bar under "it's funny 'cause it's true" which it is.  Evangelical Christendom as a sub-culture can be pretty amusing when you stop to think about it and I think it is good to be able to laugh at yourself.  So stay tuned.  My thoughts about the stay art home daughter movement are also forth coming.  Just in case you don't like to laugh.  In the mean tim, add Jon to you RSS feed, his blog is a great blend of humorinsightlove (for lack of a better word).  Anyway, go read.  He actually posts regularly.

And because you should watch this clip.....

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Well, so much for regular posting...

In December I had so many things I wanted to write about: further thoughts on children, on marriage, thoughts about Advent, about the Theotokos (mother of God) and evangelical fear of her, and just a general "family update."  None of that happened.  Oh well.  We had a wonderful December all the same, and January has been very crazy.

We have been renting a little (kinda run down) house for about a year and a half.  It wasn't perfect, but it worked.  Enough room for our stuff and close to work.  But it was on a death hill with a hidden driveway and no fence around the yard.  Not the most ideal circumstance when you have three small children who seem to not hate sunshine as much as you do.  So we have been keeping our eye on the paper for other rentals.  Ideally we would love to buy again (I miss home ownership for many many reasons) but we don't know if this job is long term or short term yet and would like to have a better idea of that before committing to a mortgage.  But on January 6 my husband found an add new to the paper that day about a house in the area we wanted, big enough for the whole crew, and even in our price range.  We saw it on the 8th and then moved in on the 16th.  All really fast considering on the 14th we didn't know we were moving and by the afternoon of the 15th I had maybe two boxes packed.  But we have an amazing church family and they came over Friday evening (one family) and then a whole crew saturday and just got it done.  Really amazing.  So now we are in this incredible new home that I love so much and that is starting to come together.  It is a lot more space than what we are used to and I have discovered that after over a year in a one story place that I am out of shape.  These stairs are killing me.  And they are trying to kill the baby.  She thinks she is hot stuff and one of the big girls  and just should go where ever they do.  Which means going up the stairs- usually quietly and fast when mommy's back is turned.  We just got our washer and dryer here yesterday.  So picture if you will a family of 5 (with one baby in cloth diapers) and 2.5 weeks of not doing laundry.  It is scary around here.  But my husband assures me he can get them all hooked up tonight.  Hurray.  Last week I bought the big girls new jeans just so we had enough clothes. (some might suggest going to a laundromat, to be honest it didn't occur to me....)

So that is the first part of the summary.  The second is that the girls and I are going to Idaho for a month starting next week to spend time with my Dad.  He is in the end stages of congestive heart failure, and although this might not be the last time we see him, there is a very good chance of it.  Both of my brothers will be there too (we all have the same dad, but different moms) and I am looking forward to all of being in the same place at the same time.  That has only happened once before and it was 16 years ago now.

All that to say, I have a lot I want to write about.  But might not for awhile.  Although I just saw the movie "The Return of the Daughters" and have much to say about it and would love to process that out loud here.

If you are still around, thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


The title of my blog is To Love, Honor, and Obey.  Obviously you know that already.  My point is that I chose it for a reason.  It is what I vowed on my wedding day, and very purposely vowed at that.  The pastor performing the ceremony (my pastor from growing up, but who had since moved away and most pre-ceremony planning was done via email) was very against using the phrase.  Or if I was going to say obey then we should both say obey.  I would have loved to have an in depth conversation about it with him, pouring over scripture together, and who knows maybe even coming to his same conclusion- but he didn't bring the objection up till about 5 min before I walked down the isle (and based the objection on a more cultural view point rather than the Bible), so alas there wasn't much conversation to be had. :)  Which was fine.  Ultimately when it come to wedding vows I think a person needs to pick them for themselves- afterall it is what YOU are vowing to do and be for as long as you both shall live. It is pretty weighty stuff.  So to included or not to include a phrase because it is popular or not popular is silly.  But so is to include something just because it is traditional.  Like the word Obey.  Really what is meant is "submit" not obey.  Most modern couples who use the word obey in their vows are referencing the verses that tell "wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord".  These verses don't say "obey your husbands" and I  think if that was what was meant then that is what would  be used because in most passages addressing this issue children are told to obey their parents as is fitting in the Lord.  The command to obey seems to me to be something different than submit.  Now, at this point I am not sure what the nuances are, but I think it is likely significant that children are told in multiple places to obey but  never to submit and wives are told to submit but never told to obey.  I'm still trying to work all this out in my mind.

Does that mean I wish I hadn't used the work obey? Not at all.  I used the word obey purposefully.  I used it even being given an updated list of various vow suggestions (in pre-marital counseling- with a different pastor than who performed the ceremony) that used submit instead.  It is what I meant to say, meant to vow, and attempt to live. Most of the time I think I do pretty well at it for that matter.  But my disclaimer comes in here- not everyone needs to vow to obey. And not everyone needs to take my perspective on what it means to submit.  When I started this blog it was with the intention of writing mostly on the husband wife relationship, which I haven't really done much.  That is largely due to realizing that what my husband and I have works very very well for us.  It fits who we are: our personalities, our strengths, our weaknesses.  And it is something that we work well together at, as equals, figuring out how to keep things running smoothly and in a way that causes us both to thrive.  And for the first few years of marriage I rather naively thought that that was how all Christian couples functioned.  That telling the wife to submit as unto the Lord and the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church was all the real direction needed.  That nobody who loved Christ would abuse the relationship.  There wouldn't be some sort of power struggle because the relationship would never be about power, but about sacrificial love and respect and honor.   I have come to learn though that that isn't that case with everyone.  One of the benefits of the internet I think is getting to meet people you wouldn't come in contact with otherwise, people who have very different life experiences than yours.  And in doing so I have realized that in the practical day to day living my marriage probably looks a lot more Egalitarian than it does Complementarian.  Which is fine by me.  But not everyone who I would say "yes, submit  to your husband as unto the Lord" will have the same experience.  I don't know yet what to do with that.

So this is my disclaimer: I vowed to Love, Honor, and Obey.  I still mean it.  And for me, it is a beautiful thing.  Please however, don't take my life or writings, musings, etc and make some sort of doctrine out of it for yourself.  This is something, like parenting, that is so important to figure out where you are at and how it should play out in your home.  A biblical truth upheld doesn't have to look the same in every believers life.  In fact I don't really think that it should.  I stand by submission, just perhaps not in the same way I did when this blog started.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Biblical Parenting

Because it isn't really fair to spend a whole post critiquing a philosophy without putting forth my own for critique, I bring you this post.  But as a brief disclaimer I don't have this all worked out in detail and am still very much in process.  This is most definitely not meant to tell anyone else how to raise their children.  That is between you and God.  

Which brings me to the topic: Biblical Parenting.  May I just say that I don't think there is any such thing. Or at least not how the phrase is typically used.  If by Biblical parenting we mean living our lives in the way God directs us, honoring Him, showing His love to those in our charge, to those we meet along the way, giving the glory for our  lives to Christ,  living out his redeeming work on the cross, and being able to give an answer for the hope that is in us-  then yes, sign me up for Biblical Parenting.  However, if by Biblical parenting we mean a certain way to relate to our children, a certain way to punish them, a certain way to address disobedience and sin, then no thank you.

So what then do I want my parenting to look like? What do I want it to accomplish?  When they are thirty and have families of their own, what will I consider success to look like?

I want my parenting to look, sound, smell, and taste like Christ.  To quote a friend, I want the "sweet aroma of Christ" to permeate every aspect of my home and interaction with my family.  This is no small goal.  I think the first way that this begins is to consider myself a servant of my family.  Not in a "I wait on you hand and foot" sort of servant.  Or even "I never tell you what to do" sort of servant.  But rather, my life for yours sort of servant.  Christ poured His life out for us, and that is what I desire to do for my family- children included.  I am still working out the practical details of this though.  I think it would be easy for me to allow this mindset to let me justify too low of expectations in behavior, to shrug away disobedience.  But that certainly isn't what Christ does for us- He tells us to be perfect as His Father is perfect.  He tells us that those who love Him obey his commands.  But here is the kicker- He then gives us the power to do it.  He doesn't expect us to do it on our own.  It is the spirit of God dwelling within us that He gave us that enables us to become more and more like Him.   Likewise, if I want to give my children high goals to reach and expect obedience from them even when it is difficult, it is me that needs to make that possible.  

So how do I do that? First way I think is very easy- tell them what I expect of them.  If we are about to get out of the car in the parking lot and I want them to wait by their door for me to come to them, I need to tell them.  If I want them to stay out of the bag of candy I left open on the table they need to know that.  These are things that seem obvious to adults (of course I don't want you to have 3 snickers bars for breakfast!) but to children they aren't.  The second way is to make obedience possible by considering their capabilities.  This means that if you have tired and hungry children who want a cookie from the dessert table at church and you don't want them to touch every cookie on the plate that having them go sit down while you get the cookies is a good idea.  Would it be good for them to be able to look at the cookies without touching? Sure.  But it might be asking too much of them.  These are things we need to know.  And to know that we need to know our children.  Really know them.  Their personality quirks, their likes, their weaknesses, what their little looks mean.  God knows each and every hair on our head,  He understands us better than we do ourselves.  And although we might be able to know our children that intimately, we can *really* know them I think.  But a big part of that is getting to know them how they truly are, how God made them, rather than figuring out who we want them to be and then trying to teach them to become that person.   It isn't that we don't need to teach them things, but I want to focus more on teaching them skills, not personality.  

The big thing for me is that my life should be something that they would desire.  If my life is repugnant to them why would they want to obey my rules? Why would they want to learn my skills? And most importantly, why would they want to obey my God?  There is a wonderful piece written here about this very things.  My favorite part:

Your children, O Christian parent, want a Peace and have ample time to perceive it in you. If you have it, Peace not merely placidity, do you know why and can you communicate that why? If they want to be like you (does anyone want to be like you?), they will want to know and they will follow.

(As an aside: they don't want denominational/orthodox peace first and foremost so don't base the home order on catechizing. They need to see you satisfied by the Love of God, obedient by grace not Law, loving your neighbor as yourself, living by reason not passion).

That for me sums up what my parenting should look like.  It should look like Christ.  I have some of the details worked out, but still working on the rest.  I know that I am in a family to serve, not be served.  That if I want obedient children I need to give them the tools to do that.  I know that if my life isn't worth emulating I have missed the mark not only as a parent but a Christ follower as well.  Another post to follow on what I consider success to be and what I consider to be the important things to teach and such.  Until then, off to seek the sweet aroma of Christ.  

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

I know where they are. They are at my house.  When the wild rumpus is over I will post again.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Weight of Glory

I love this offering from C.S. Lewis.  I love pretty much all things Lewis, but this ranks as one of my favorites.  I think it is very applicable to the discussion on parenting.  

It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.”

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