Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘salvation’

Insurance Policy

Charles Spurgeon was asked, ‘How do you defend the Bible?’ He answered, ‘Very easy. The same way I defend a lion. I simply let it out of its cage.’

Yesterday I explained a little bit about why I keep believing what I believe, and why I don’t find it offensive at all when others try to explain to me why they don’t believe. Having said that, I do find it confusing. What harm could it possibly do to believe in a faith that causes us to be humble, serving, loving, giving and good? How could it be bad to believe that everyone needs love and help and care?

Obviously I believe that you should choose your faith based on your conviction that it is true, and not as some kind of cosmic insurance policy.

BUT the way I see it is, either

  • What I believe is not true or right. In this case I live a good life, then I die. The End. If reincarnation were true, I’d come back on a higher plane because I was so good on this one. OR
  • What I believe is right and true. In that case, when I die, I’m sorted: pearly gates, streets of gold, mansions of glory. Everyone who doesn’t believe is less fortunate.

Isn’t it rationally safer, then, to choose to believe and miss all the unpleasantness at the end?

As I said, faith is not some kind of “get out of jail free” card. It needs to be based on an honest acknowledgement of sin, repentance, and faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ.

I just don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t.

Missionaries or Mission Fields?

A few weeks ago a missionary was speaking to us, and he said, “You’re either a missionary, or you’re a mission field”. His point was not that we should all be out in full-time service. Who would support us on the field? His point was that if we’re not supporting missionaries financially and in prayer, if we’re not supporting our church’s outreach efforts, and if we’re not actively winning the lost we know and love, perhaps it’s because we ourselves are those very lost.

Once we fully grasp the depth and the vast extent of the grace and love of our Lord for us, and for each soul on earth, how can we do anything but share that miraculous gift with everyone we meet?

The other day, Goldilocks was stumped by a verse in Proverbs that said that the righteous are better than the unrighteous. She pointed out that God says each of us is lost and sinful, and none of us is better than any other.

I explained it like this: we may not be better, but are we not better off? Is the person saved from drowning not better off than the one who is drowning still? And does that person, so recently saved from certain death, not have a duty and a responsibility towards his drowning fellow? Absolutely.

As we immerse ourselves daily in the Word of God, and every day ponder His precepts, we become completely convinced of His love for us and everyone we meet. We become convicted of His urgency in meeting the need for salvation in the lost. We are driven to do all we can to be part of His saving grace in the lives of those we meet. When we find ourselves caught up in pettiness: loss of joy, disputes over length of skirts and hair and beards, legalism and liberalism, we know we’ve lost sight altogether of our Maker’s plan, and it’s time to get back on track. Fast!

Sabbathing

See what I did there? I think I made up a word.

If you’ve read my blog a few times, you’ll probably have picked up a theme. I’m curious about a lot of things. I always want to do better, to be better. If there’s a better way to live, behave, eat, prioritise, parent – whatever it may be, I want to find the best way and then be that. It’s a continual search, and sometimes it seems like it consumes my waking hours.

This is just as true in my spiritual life as it is anywhere else. If I can do God’s will better, then surely I should?

So: Sabbaths. Or, more accurately, The Sabbath

I’ve always wondered how it can be that the Sabbath is in the Ten Commandments, and we’re expected to keep all the other nine of the Ten Commandments, that we no longer observe a day of rest? Especially when the Sabbath is the very first commandment God ever gave. Well, the first commandment He ever gave mankind. Obviously, “Let there be light” was the first recorded commandment.

But I digress. It’s been troubling my conscience more and more, trying to work out what the rules are as far as the Sabbath goes. We’re under a new dispensation, aren’t we? Jesus’ death fulfilled the law, and Paul even berates certain of the believers for their dissension over the observances of days.

Besides, the only prerequisite for getting into heaven is believing that Jesus is the Son of God, fully God yet fully man; that He came to earth to live among us; that He died to take our place, paying the ultimate price for our sin, and that He rose again within three days, glorious and victorious over death.

If that’s all I need for getting into heaven, why keep any of the laws?

The truth is, I don’t know. I’m still working it out.

I do know that we can’t keep sinning once we’re born again. It’s against the nature of the Holy Spirit within us. It just doesn’t feel right, and as we spend more time in the Word, growing in faith and understanding, things we may have glossed over before begin to stand out as glaring transgressions. Paul exhorts us in the letter to the Romans not to take advantage of our Christian liberty. If we say we have the true, living God inside of us, and we then live a life characterised by acts of disobedience to His law, we make Him a liar. Imagine you lived with a traffic cop. How inclined would you ever be to speed, talk on your cellphone while driving, not buckle up? Not very, I’m thinking. In the same way, living with the Lawmaker makes it much harder to consider breaking the Law.

Alright, so we’ve established that while we don’t need to obey the law to get saved, we can’t help but obey the law once we’re saved, since the lawmaker now takes up residence inside us. We know that the law is there for our own protection and that of others, so it makes sense to obey the law even if your only motivation is pure logic. Without God we can’t manage it, but with Him, we can do all things.

This brings me to my next question: which laws do we obey? All of them? Some of them? The most convenient ones? The not-obviously-Jewish ones? And if not those, then why not?

Being of a pharisaical bent myself, I like a To Do list. I love having the freedom of a checklist. If I can put a tick in every box, I feel safe and assured that I’m on the right track, doing what needs to be done. That’s what I love about the Ten Commandments. I know they won’t get me into heaven, but my theory is that if I’m following those, I should be showing my love for God by keeping His commandments. I don’t take His name in vain or swear. I don’t worship other gods (well, sort of. More on that tomorrow – unless this post doesn’t wrap up soon, in which case it may be the day after). I do my best to honour my parents. I’m not good at it, but I’m sure I get an “A” for effort. I don’t lie, cheat, steal or covet (mostly. Actually, I do covet: a working vehicle; a house with interior doors; an office. Chocolate).

As you go through the list, is it as glaringly obvious to you as it is to me that we just don’t seem to expect people to honour the Sabbath day anymore?

Gospel Parables from Red Riding Hood.

Truthbrush

Truthbrush

I’ve mentioned before that my girls are great at parables, and I know I promised to share some of them here. The most recent one came from our youngest, who explained life to me in this way:

All the humans on earth are teeth, and we’re all covered with plaque. The person whose mouth we’re in is God, and he hates having dirty teeth. (Who doesn’t?) So He brushes His teeth with the Truthbrush, which is Jesus. The Truthbrush cleans us and removes all of our plaque, making us clean and shiny.

Unfortunately, not all the teeth want to be clean. Some of them stay plaque-y, get cavities and fall out. When they fall out, that’s when they die and go to (what she calls) “the Other Place”.

Isn’t it great? A little shaky around the teeth-making-their-own-decisions bit, but she is, after all, only six. I loved it.

It does rather give one pause for thought as far as Wisdom Teeth are concerned … are they the pastors?

Storms, calms, highs, lows, deep breaths and stepping back.

After my last post, I took a little time for reflection. It seems necessary in this life to step back and gain some perspective, and some of us need to do this more often than others.

The very next day, we sat down, zoomed through all our school work with no hassles of any kind, and the girls spent the rest of the day exploring their best friend’s wonderful new house and riding bicycles. It was idyllic for them and gave me a chance to evaluate things. I realised that I had expected far too much: we’d already done 30 minutes of maths when we had our altercation, and that was after reading, language, writing and Bible studies. Without a break. No one can be expected to stay focused for that long, especially when the work at hand is boring and repetitive.

I don’t think I was wrong to reiterate the value and importance of focus and concentration, but I do think I pushed too hard. I’m grateful for gracious daughters who forgive and understand (as much as they can) that their parents are human.

We all know the idiom “Calm before the Storm”, but I’d like to introduce (or revisit) “the Low after the High”. This weekend and the few weeks leading up to it have been full of energy and achievement. We’ve had wonderful family devotions, learnt valuable lessons, applied those lessons and seen the fruit of our labours. We have been deeply aware of God’s blessing in our lives on every level, and the activity seemed to culminate in DH preaching one of his most successful sermons on Sunday.

Since then, not so much. There seems to be a slump hanging over the whole family. Moods are low, health is quivering and tempers are short. I was listening to a sermon on the radio recently where the pastor described this very scenario. He gave some Biblical examples of it, too: Peter acknowledges Christ’s deity and messiahship, then denies Him three times! Elijah defeats and destroys 450 prophets of Baal in one of the Bible’s coolest demonstrations of divine power, then runs and hides in the desert from a single (albeit powerful) woman.

It’s comforting to know that we’re not alone in these experiences. Even heroes from the Hall of Faith share them with us, and received their due reward.

It was also interesting to be reminded of Elijah’s trials, since we’re studying this prophet’s life in Konos at the moment. In fact, we’ve just covered that very bit about the prophets of Baal being destroyed and we’re heading towards Elijah’s flight to the desert. When all the messages from all the channels say the same thing, you can be sure God’s got a lesson in there for you. What is this one? Well, I suppose it’s trust.

As I was trying to get through the appropriate amount of educational material today, while juggling some perilously late deadlines, I began to spin into my panic-mode: we’re only studying Elijah. We’re not doing any contemporary history, geography, science … I’m not giving my kids what they need! I’m a terrible mother – and everything else. AAaarrghh!

I took a step back.

I returned to the Konos resource material and saw that we’re about to start a unit full of geography, history and science. I remembered that this week the girls presented some of their own parables: allegories for Christian living today. The metaphors were rich, detailed, accurate and full of scripture. What a blessing! Who really even needs history or geography when you have a living relationship with the One who made and owns the mountains, who was there for all the history?

When I have a chance, I’ll transcribe and share their beautiful parables, but just for today I take comfort in the fact that they are getting what they need: they’re getting Life.

Our very own Cold War (had me in stitches).

One of the things I LOVE about the way my life works right now is that I get to sit at my computer, working (for the most part), and eavesdropping on my little angels. Although perhaps today that’s not the right term for them. They’re playing a very complex game that involves them being witches. And I’ve learnt something I never knew before: Witches speak with Russian accents!

DD1: “Who vantz de cockrroach? De CockROACH!? De COCKROACH!!”
DD2: “No! It’s time for ze pizza. Vurrrm pizza.” (that’s WORM, not warm).

As if that wasn’t funny enough, a little later the witches were evangelised by a passing missionary unicorn or some such, They each prayed a prayer of salvation (in fluent Russian accents) and then, lo and behold, began speaking in perfect American!

It was hard keeping the giggles in on that one!

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