Friday, December 3, 2010

Blogging Break for the Holidays

I have decided to take a blogging break for the Holidays. I thought I better tell everyone so you don't think I've abandoned the blog. ;-) I'll continue my postings (especially on So Much More) in January.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and am now having a wonderful time (so far) preparing for Christmas. Not that I'm not stressed. I am. But even so, I love Christmas!

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!!!
See you in January!

Monday, November 22, 2010

So Much More Chapter 2 Part 2

Page 18
"But man is incomplete without her. It is the two of them together that reflect the image and glory of God. It is only when woman is, in effect, restored to man's side, that the two are fully complete."

In Genesis it doesn't say that God made Eve because Adam was incomplete without her. Nor does it say that Adam didn't reflect God's glory without Eve. Eve was created to be a companion and to be a helper. (Gen 2:18)

Even though I am single, I still reflect the glory and image of God. I do this when I show to others mercy and comfort (2 Cor. 1:3) and am tender hearted and forgiving (Eph. 4:32) love them as Christ loved me (Jn 13:34) and when I serve others (Matt. 20:25-28) The list could go on and on!

I think this is an important point especially for those still single. I can reflect God's image to others now! I am not some half baked witness. True, I don't reflect the marriage picture of Christ and the church as married couples do. But even married couples do no represent Christ's image 100% because God is perfect and we are a far cry from that. (Not that I'm downplaying the beauty of marriage. I would love to someday be "one flesh" with my future husband whoever that is. Hopefully sooner rather than later. :-P )

Page 19

"Ms. Stinem's statement [A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle] was not only absurd; it was blasphemous. This is because the relationship between men and women parallels the relationship between Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:23)"

I disagree that "the relationship between men and women parallels the relationship between Christ and the Church" Ephesians does not state that. It says husband and wife. My relationship with my father can reflect my relationship with my heavenly Father but it doesn't reflect my relationship with Christ and His bride the Church. Therefore how I relate to men who are not my husbands will be different without being considered blasphemous.

Page 20

"God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone and said, "I will make a helper suitable for him." Being companions and helpers is more than just a job God gave us. It's what we were actually created for. It's what we were designed and specially equipped to be. In fact, it's an intrinsic and inextricable part of our natures to be helpers to men. It's not something we can get away from, even by choice."

I find it really interesting that Eve was created to be a companion and typically women are very relational people. ;-)

I'm not making a blanket rule for everyone from this, but in my own life I find the above true. I am discovering that I would much rather help someone than be responsible for leading a bunch of people. (Or running my own business!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So Much More Chapter Two Part One

Page 17
The fact that God describes himself as a Father to us shows us that the position of earthly father is like an earthly reflection of God.
I was struck by this statement. Still being single, it confirmed the fact that I definitely want to marry someone who, if we have children, will love and raise them the way God fathers me. With grace, love, a servant's heart, etc. It's an important responsibility.
Our fathers are supposed to be dear, trusted confidantes and friends, but God has given them a charge to be much more than this. They are to be our knights in shining armor, our protectors, our guardians, and are even supposed to represent God to us.
I'm not exactly sure what was meant by our fathers "are even supposed to represent God to us" If the authors meant they are a picture or reflection I would agree.
By this I mean, pictures/reflections are just that, they are imperfect pictures and are not the same as the real thing.
God as our Father is just that. He is still God. Our fathers are not. Therefore our earthly fathers have limitations and guidelines in how they use their authority as our father and the way we relate to our father is not the same way we would relate to God as our father. Our fathers are also not a go between us and God.

I'll finish Chapter 2 on Monday

Friday, November 12, 2010

So Much More: Finishing Chapter One

Last but not least....

Page 7

"We believe in a day of extreme apostasy and judgement, extreme measures are exactly what are called for, and that a drastic step in the opposite direction is exactly what we need to take."

I do not agree that a drastic step in the opposite direction is exactly what we need to take! This is so typical! Everybody keeps doing the pendulum swing. I don't care how wrong something is. Going in the opposite direction is not going to fix the problem!!! Most people go from lawlessness to legalism. Neither are right! Sure, legalism looks good but the religious leaders of Christ's day had that and Christ didn't have too many kind words for them. When we see that something is wrong we shouldn't swing in the opposite direction and expect it to fix the problem. Creating rules doesn't fix anything! It may look good for a while but it doesn't fix anything because it doesn't change the heart. Gossiping about those who have "gone astray" and looking down on others doesn't help anything but self-pride. Instead of trying to come up with solutions, rules, answers, and backing your "position" up with Scripture...Run to Christ!!! He is the Only One with answers because He is the Only answer! Even the Bible is not the answer. Jesus told the Pharisees "You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!" (John 5:39) How often we do that as Christians. We think we can find all of the answers in the Scriptures yet our rules and convictions start replacing a relationship with Christ.

I found this interesting:
"They [stay-at-home daughters] must continually endure the disapproval of many people who call their zealous obedience to Scripture "legalism" (pg.8)"

They defined Legalism as:
"We define legalism as the fleshly pursuit of man's moralism in hope of earning salvation." (pg. 334 point 4)

I definitely do not define legalism as only relating to the hope of earning salvation. It encompasses more than that. I hadn't ever sat down and defined what I thought it is. I suppose right now I would have to say legalism is trying to earn God's favor (salvation or sanctification) through our own obedience. But we couldn't earn God's approval before we were saved so why do we think we can do it after we are saved? Or you could say legalism is trying to follow God's Word perfectly. We couldn't do it before we were saved so why would we think that we can attempt it now? The Christian life is only lived through Christ. Not a bunch of rules.

Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the law? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you believed the message you heard about Christ. Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christain lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? (Gal. 3:2,3)
     I'll be starting Chapter 2 next week. I will have positive things to say about this book. I know it doesn't sound like it now. :-P
     I did get some good things out of this book. It's just that I don't live my life anymore by trying to find out what God wants me to do and how He wants me to live my life. I live it now by seeing Christ and developing my relationship with HIM. God takes care of the rest. :-)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

So Much More Chapter One: Continued

Continuing with Chapter One

Page 6
This Book is about protection. We know a number of girls whose fathers are so passive they don't provide their daughters any kind of guidance, direction, discipline or correction. We know girls who like it this way. Said one of these girls, "I sure hope my dad never picks up any of these ideas about interfering with my life or what I want!"
That girl is afraid to lose a measure of childish independence. She is afraid of fatherly input and protection. If you don't want this from your father, then you don't have the heart for this book. If you are not willing to give your heart to your father, this book will put you at odds with the Scriptural mandate you will find here.
First of all, just because a father does not give as much guidance to their daughters as Mr. Botkin or Mr. Phillips does, it does not mean that their father is passive. Many men just lead differently then Mr. Botkin or Mr. Phillips. For many years after reading So Much More I would be frustrated that my father wasn't "leading" me. He wasn't telling me what he wanted me to do, how I was supposed to live my life after high school, and he wasn't sharing with me his vision and telling me I needed to follow it and make it my own.

Now don't get me wrong, my dad is a wonderful leader. I highly respect and value his opinions. He does care about giving me protection and guidance. But if there is one thing I know my dad doesn't want for me it is to be a "monkey on a motorcycle" ie. he wants me to think for myself and not just blindly follow someones commands without thinking. (I am not saying the Botkins or Phillips family is advocating that we be "monkeys on a motorcycle" but some of the ways they portray leadership and passivity I don't think are correct.) Therefore the way my dad leads me will be different from the way other fathers lead who have different "visions". 

My dad raised me to have a relationship with Christ and to be following Christ's will for myself not because someone else tells me this is Christ's will but because I knew it for myself. He basically raised me so that when I became an adult I was just that, an adult. He didn't need to be constantly giving me instructions about what I needed to be doing. He didn't have to check up on me. He knew he "trained me up in the way I should go and when I was older I wouldn't depart from it" 

My dad does lead and guide me. I always know I can get guidance from my dad. I go to him a lot. I know when I go to him for guidance it will be just that, guidance. He won't tell me what to do. He points me in the right direction but he rarely tells me exactly what to do. (I am not saying that there is never a time and place for a father to tell his daughter what he thinks she should do)

Once I got past trying to have my father fit into the Vision Forum and So Much More leadership mold I could actually start to see and appreciate the way my father leads, guides, and protects our family.

 A note about their opinions of girls who don't want their father's input. I'm not sure you can say they are "afraid of losing childish independence and afraid of fatherly input and protection". Some may be, granted, but other girls may just not see Scripture to be what they are claiming. Maybe it just means that they are like the Bereans and are searching the Scriptures to see if what they are claiming lines up. If God hasn't shown them that this is what Scripture is saying those girls should not follow what is being said in this book. Even if it means being labeled as "afraid of losing childish independence and afraid of fatherly  input and protection" and experiencing rejection from conservative Christians.

Remember the Pharisees studied the Scriptures and came to the wrong conclusions. Just because one can "find" it in Scripture or godly leaders say it is so does not mean someones conclusion is right!

I will finish Chapter 1 on Friday. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 8, 2010

So Much More Chapter One Page One

My Thoughts on Chapter One

Page 1
"The world is a mess, and it's our fault." This is one of the most important things our father has taught us over the years. It sounds hard, but sometimes we need to hear hard truths. God has given principles for all people to live by. Christians are supposed to know exactly what these principles are and live by them, setting the example and upholding the standard. Yet Christians can be some of the most careless and ungrateful and forgetful people. We Christians can be responsible for leading the culture either away from God's design or toward it.

As good as the above sounds it was thoughts like these that kept my relationship with Christ at a distance. It seems to me that the whole point of the above is to point people to standards. When was the Christian life about standards? Five or so years ago I truly believed it was. To be a good Christian you had to have different convictions than the world. They would see you lived differently, see your standards, wonder why, and presto! One had a great witnessing opportunity! All because we had standards and were different.

But its not about standards at all. Its about Christ. The world shouldn't know we are Christians by our standards, but by our love. (Jn 13:35)

In Colossians 2:16-23 is says:
So don't let anyone condemn you for what eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holidays or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules were only shadows of the real thing Christ himself. Don't let anyone condemn you by insisting on self-denial. And don't let anyone say you must worship angels, even though they say they have had visions about this. These people claim to be so humble, but their sinful minds have made them proud. But they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For we are joined together in his body by his strong sinews, and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do yo keep on following rules of the world, such as, Don't handle, don't eat, don't touch." Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person's evil thoughts and desires.
Pointing people to the christian way of life as standards is like pointing people to the law and keeping them there. The christian life isn't about what standards we have after we are saved. The law was only a shadow of the real thing, Christ. If you really want to fulfill the law and live like Christ would want you to, LOVE. "Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God's requirements. (Rom 13:10) Love satisfies ALL of God's requirements. It's not love plus homeschool. Love plus daughters staying at home. Love plus whatever else you want to insert. It's just love.

How do we love? "We love each other as the result of his [God] loving us first" (1 Jn. 4:19) We fulfill the law by experiencing a relationship with Christ! We love because He first loved us. It's not about trying to be nice to people, going to church on Sunday, dressing a certain way. It's about knowing and experiencing Christ.

NOTHING happens unless we experience the love Christ has for us! This was such a revelation to me. I used to try so hard. I would try to spend enough time in God's Word. I would try to help my parents. I would try display love and joy. I would try to be nice to my siblings. Try, try, try. I would go to bed and know I did not measure up so I would try harder. But what I didn't know is that it's not about trying! We could never become perfect on our own! We could never measure up no matter how hard we tried! That's why Christ came in the first place. It wasn't only about delivering us from hell but also delivering us in the here and now of trying to measure up. Delivering us from always having to try harder. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace....It's the Fruit of the Spirit not of me trying harder.

Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on Chapter One!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why I am Doing the So Much More Book Review

First of all, I would like to clarify my point in doing this book review. It is not to bash the Botkin family. I know there recently have been some book reviews on Hillary McFarland's book Quivering Daughters that by many was seen as mean spirited. This is NOT my intention in doing the book review of So Much More I have received many good things from their teachings and largely still live my life the way they believe.

However I did take away some baggage that I want to go back and remove. (From them and other conservative Christians.) I experienced a lot of gossip and rejection from conservative Christians growing up and it has negatively influenced me towards the wrong direction no matter how right, conservative, and good it appeared to be at the time.

I am writing these posts mainly to help me flesh out what I truly believe the Scriptures are saying and who my God truly is. I'm hoping that by sharing with you along the way it will help those with burdens Christ never meant to bear to be able to release those burdens. I also want to encourage and strengthen those whose convictions are truly from Christ. I by no means have all the answers. I am not God so therefore some of my conclusions will be wrong or continue to change along the way. I hope you will give me grace.

I recently was made aware of an article Anna Sophia Botkin wrote. I appreciated her honesty in sharing that even she discovered life didn't work out the way she wanted it to. Anna Sophia is human just like me. She doesn't have all the answers and neither do I. The point of these upcoming posts isn't to show how wrong or right the Botkin family is. I'm doing this to chronicle the journey I am on.

For those interested I will be publishing my thoughts on Chapter One on Monday.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Thoughts on So Much More

About 5 years ago I read the book So Much More by Anna Sofia Botkin and Elizabeth Botkin Let's just say I embraced it completely. I loved being a girl. I loved homemaking. I wanted to get married, have lots of children, be a full-time homemaker, and home school. I didn't want to go to college. I felt like the "world" pressured girls (and me) to go to college. I thought it was pointless. I didn't want to be a "career women" nor did I want to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on a degree I didn't want and thought I would never get my money's worth from. Well....those desires somewhat clouded my discernment.

When I found Vision Forum, I thought, "At last! I finally found a circle where it was okay to stay at home, where the first thing that popped out of people's mouth wasn't 'What college are you going to?' " At last I had moral backing to pursue what I wanted to do! After all, how can you argue with this way of life so "clearly" shown in Scripture? I felt like I finally had the approval I needed to do what I wanted. How can one argue with God?

The problem was I didn't realize that I didn't need any "authority" to do those things. I really do believe they were God given desires (enjoying the fact God made me a girl, loving kids, homemaking, having a desire to get married) That they were okay to pursue and I didn't need to twist Scripture to win someone else's approval and permission (or at the very least to feel like their disapproval of my choices wasn't validated.)

Well.....years later I really began to question if I had just put on myself a bunch of rules God didn't intend for me to follow. Don't get me wrong, I still wanted to be a homemaker, get married, have a bunch of kids, home school, etc. But after this many years, well....I'm still single. Life didn't go exactly as planned. (Does it ever??? Thank God!!!) I still wanted to pursue those things (homemaking etc) but now I was starting to have other things I wanted to do but couldn't. I couldn't because I couldn't leave the "protection of my father's roof". I couldn't because even though I had a home-based business it didn't generate anywhere near enough income to be able to have a car and pursue those other interests. I was getting frustrated because I wanted to live a life of service to others but I wanted it to come from me. I was feeling bad that my dad was always footing the bill and that they never had their own car because I always wanted to use it. Don't get me wrong my dad wanted me to serve others. He was okay with it. He wanted me to follow God's leading and he was willing to let me use the car and use up his gas. But the thing is, he never told me I couldn't leave "the protection of his roof", that I couldn't get a job outside the home, that I couldn't get my own car. They were my convictions not his. So I felt bad, I had myself living under all these rules and in a lot of ways my dad was paying for those beliefs even though they weren't his. Paying for things when I was perfectly capable of getting a part-time job so I could pay for those things myself. I was perfectly capable of having a part-time job and still having enough time to serve others.
My views are really changing. I've learned that living a "christian life" isn't about how you live but Who is your center. If Christ is your center than the how you live should naturally follow without any of the rules. That's like going back to the law. I don't know about you, but I didn't think that worked out too well for the Israelites.
So with a little bit of trepidation I'm going to read So Much More again but this time with my eyes open. I'm praying God will show me the truth and the error. I want to be free of the shackles. I don't want to feel guilt for getting a job with a boss other than my father. I want the freedom and joy promised me in Christ.
Please pray for me! I want God's wisdom, discernment, and guidance. I'll be posting about each chapter and my thoughts on it. (probably starting next week) If God gives you any insights on the chapters I write about please feel free to make a comment!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's All about Jesus

"The gospel isn’t about how well we perform or how we avoid sin. The gospel is about Jesus – who He is and what He has done." Quote from Grace for my Heart

I really enjoyed his last post. You can read it for yourself here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

If Jesus is Not Enough

I really appreciated this from Grace for My Heart
If Jesus in us is not enough to please God, then God will never be pleased with us. It’s all about Jesus or none of it matters.  The goal of the Christian life is not to try to please God, nor to deserve His gifts.  The goal of the Christian life is to know Him.  Spend your time just basking in the love of Jesus. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gratefulness Journal

I was out for a walk today in the beautiful sunshine and fresh air when I happened upon this tree that had turned an absolutely gorgeous orange. The leaves were falling and gracing the ground around it and the sunshine illuminated the tree as if in a perfect picture. The entire scene was one of peace and serenity. It made me smile.

I was so delighted my immediate response was "Thank you Jesus!" Then I smiled..... I realized I hadn't said "thank you Jesus" because of anything but a grateful heart. Not duty. Not trying to "be good" but because I was truly thankful.

Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness! Thank you for giving me a truly grateful heart. <3

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gratefulness as Duty

     How pathetically short I fall when it comes to gratefulness. It doesn't flow out of a sincere heart.     
     The parable of Jesus healing the 10 lepers (Luke 17:12-19) is a great story about gratefulness...or the lack thereof. Jesus healed 10 lepers yet only one came back to thank Jesus. How sad.

     I don't want to be like the 9 lepers. They got a negative report. They didn't get the praise from Jesus. I want the praise from Christ. I want to hear "Well done good and faithful servant" I don't want anything negative said about me. Besides, we all know people like to give to grateful people. Maybe if I'm not grateful, God won't bless me or He will take away the blessings He has already given me??? So my thinking went. And so I purposed to be grateful and always thank Him.

     I don't think that's the lesson Christ wanted me to get out of the parable. I realized for so long I was being "grateful" out of duty and fear instead of a thankful heart.

     Looking at the heart of the matter probably would have been a better idea. Why did only one leper come back? What was different about him compared to the others? I'm not sure. But one thing I do know is I want to be more like the one who did come back. Yet I know I can't force it to happen. It has to be Christ working in me.

    I'm sure of this though, I definitely don't want to give thanks out of fear or duty or "trying to do the right thing". I want to do it because its genuine and its who I am, because it's from the heart.

     I'm going to "attempt" to keep a Gratefulness Journal and record the things I am really and truly thankful for. Not because I have to, but because I want to. My only rule: I can only write what I'm truly grateful for and I can't write anything I'm not ;-) I will not write anything on the list I feel it is my "christian duty" to be thankful for :-P

      First on my list: Christ has shown me that my Christian walk is about Him and a relationship with Him. Not standards. Not rules. But Him. What a difference it has made in my life. What Joy it has given me! What a burden Christ has lifted. Hallelujah!!! :-) :-) :-)

Monday, September 27, 2010


     I just started following Hillary McFarland of Quivering Daughters It's been very interesting and given me a lot of food for thought.
     I read the book So Much More about 7 years ago and followed the book quite literally. Only to have myself wondering later if I just placed myself under a bunch of rules that Christ never wanted me to follow. Yet I can't figure out how to "free" myself since now I only understand those Scripture the way So Much More taught me. How do I free myself of those preconceived notions? How do I read Scripture for what it is actually saying and not as something more than it was intended to be?
     That's why when Hillary mentioned that Soul Liberty Faith was hosting a giveaway of her book I was excited. I'm really not sure if I truly recognize what Spiritual Abuse is. I think this book will really help me understand both sides and get some of my questions answered. I can't tell you how many times I have entered a giveaway to win this book and haven't. :( But maybe this time around????
     I think Hillary is doing a wonderful job of dispelling the myth that honor equates obedience and dishonour equates disobedience. I have never gotten the sense that she disrespects her parents and is bitter against them. I know many people who come out of that legalistic lifestyle and are bitter at their authorities. But in some ways I feel sorry for those in authority. They are in a lot of bondage. They are trying to do what is right and do everything to please Christ because they fear judgement day and are afraid they won't hear "well done." They fear they don't measure up.
     I know. Almost every night I used to fear I hadn't measured up. That I hadn't been good enough. I remember hearing Christ say "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" and thinking, "No it isn't. It would be so much easier if I weren't a christian and I didn't have to try to please God. If God didn't exist"
    But praise the Lord! He sent me the teachings of Jason Henderson and The Right Foundation Series What an eye opener! I didn't have to try to live the "christian life" and measure up. It was Christ's work! He wanted to form me into His image. It wasn't my work!!!
     Ever since then Christ has been faithfully showing me Himself. It's been wonderful! I can finally say that His "yoke is easy and His burden is light"
     If any of you are struggling, I pray that you will continue to look to Christ. He is so faithful!!! He wants to help and guide you!!!! He will show you the way.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What about me?

Jesus. Others. You. That spells JOY. Don't think of yourself but think of others first.

     I remember thinking to myself, "Don't I ever get to think of myself? Do I ever get to put my needs first? I have needs too that need to be met! Is there a balance?" I was finding this exhausting.
     Then I read about the 5 wise virgins and the 5 foolish. (Matt. 25:1-13) The 5 wise brought enough oil for themselves. The foolish did not. When the foolish realized that they needed more oil they asked the wise virgins and the wise said "no". No?!?!?!?!?! Wait a minute. Isn't that selfish???? Aren't we always supposed to think of others first? But God commended these wise virgins. He called them wise not selfish.
     Matthew 22:37-40 says, to love the Lord with all our heart etc. Jesus does come first. No matter what. But the second command is different. You should love your neighbor as yourself.  It didn't say more or instead of yourself, but as yourself.
     Now I do agree that Love can compel us. We can love someone so much that we give our lives in service for them and sometimes even our very lives for them. (John 15:12,13) But it is love for others that is driving it, not duty.
     1 John 4:19 says We love Him because He first loved us. and Gal. 5:22 says But the fruit of the Spirit is love. It's not us. It's completely Christ.
     When Christ fulfills and completes us we won't be looking at our needs and demanding it of others because we will already be filled. We will no longer need to look to others to meet our needs. We won't be selfish because Christ's love will overflow in us.  We will love others and want them to experience the same love that Christ has given us.
God's love is amazing!!!! Accomplishing what I couldn't!

Friday, September 17, 2010


     I believe God does call people to hold convictions in certain areas that aren't necessarily commands of Scripture. They need to follow that. But when convictions become someone's law and they start to look down on or gossip about those who don't hold those same convictions I think it's wrong.
     Many believe God has called them to certain convictions and then try to back it with Scripture often taking it out of context or making a Scripture verse into a command when it isn't. If God calls you to a conviction you don't need to try to justify it with Scripture!
      I was reading about the Rechabites and their father who had a conviction. (Jer. 35) The children chose to follow it. I don't think God is calling everyone to completely abstain from wine (though you shouldn't be getting drunk!) or live only in tents. But this is what one father believed. I think the Rechabites knew this was a father's command and not a command from Scripture. I don't get the impression they tried to twist Scripture to fit their father's conviction. They chose to obey their father's command and God honored them for it.
     Many times God will ask us to hold onto a conviction that isn't a command in Scripture. It's okay. We should follow it, but we need to remember its a personal conviction and nothing more. People shouldn't look down on us for having them and we shouldn't feel the need to justify it with Scriptures that aren't there. On the other hand those who hold convictions shouldn't look down on or gossip about those who don't have those same convictions.
     Just something that's been on my mind....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Listen to your heart????

     Don't listen to your heart! It is desperately wicked. (Jer.17:9) It will lead you into sin. There is nothing good in it!
     What I thought until I read a John Eldredge book (not sure which one it was. It's been a while since I read the book!) It dared suggest that God gives our hearts desires and we should follow them. Obviously if something goes against Scripture we shouldn't, but it doesn't mean we completely disregard out heart desires either.
     I remember going to a Bible study on Spiritual Gifts and being surprised to be told by the teacher that a lot of times what you like to do is a good indicator of your Spiritual gift. What I like to do???? I honestly remember thinking, "Wouldn't it be what I don't like and what I struggle with? Doesn't God like to give us what we don't like so in our weakness He is made strong?"
     I know Conservative Christians are constantly quoting Jer. 17:9 about the heart being desperately wicked but what about Jer. 24:7? "And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart"
     Our hearts can turn to Christ. He can give us a new heart with new desires. It doesn't have to stay desperately wicked and something that has to be ignored. Christ must always come first before anything, but just because He does, doesn't mean we completely ignore our heart and desires.
     I really enjoyed this blog post.On Emotions

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Cross as Center

"I fear that the cross, without ever being disowned, is constantly in danger of being dismissed from the central place it must enjoy, by relatively peripheral insights that take on far too much weight. Whenever the periphery is in danger of displacing the center, we are not far removed from idolatry."
                                                                                                 ~D.A. Carson

This was true for me. I thought I was seeking Christ as I tried to be modest and a "conservative christian". Really, I just replaced my center with something other than Christ.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The soul is in danger when knowledge of doctrine outsteps intimate touch with Jesus.
~Oswald Chambers "My Utmost for His Highest

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Who You are is More Important

I was reading an article in the archives of and this really struck me.
 Simply stated, the world, the traditions of men, teach that what you do is more important than who you are. Jesus teaches that who you are is more important than what you do.

May I remember that! I think I forget it so easily.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


     I had a lot of fear in my  life and unfortunately it clouded my discernment. I stumbled across this from A Queen in Her Castle:
F - Frustrates your emotional and spiritual growth.

E - Excessive worry about constantly trying to strive to do the "right thing" abounds.

A - Always wondering if you're going to be accepted by others because let's face it, being rejected hurts.

R - Ruins potential for future goals as well as slows down the ability to nurture the gifts that God has given to you.

     Growing up as a child I listened to a radio station that was always "right" in their christian beliefs and everyone who disagreed with them was on the path to heresy. I didn't always see the radio station's point of view, but I thought I must be spiritually undiscerning. How in the world could I fall for something apparently so false when the staff of the radio station saw so clearly the "error" ???? Well......maybe because it wasn't actually a grave doctrinal error and the radio station staff just might be wrong???
     Yet they absolutely tore people apart who didn't agree with them. What they really did to me was immobilize me into fear. Fear I would be branded a heretic for differing views, fear Christ doesn't give me discernment but only those more "spiritually discerning", fear that I would go into grave spiritual error, etc. Fear really shut down any discernment God had given me.
     Please do not let people "bully" you spiritually! Yes, the Christian family is important. They do help with accountability in avoiding pitfalls and doctrinal heresy but they are not your God or your Bible.
     If I only had realized when I was a child that Christ is the one who keeps me from falling. Not me, not other people, and definitely not the radio station staff.
Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Jude 24, 25

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Attempting to stay out of ditches

     Confused. I guess that's what you could call me. I'm starting to rethink everything I ever thought or believed. Well...maybe not everything, but enough to make my head spin!
     When I was young, I really didn't know how to discern the Truth. When people told me something, I feared rejection, so I conformed to what they said. Instead, I should have been firm in my relationship with Christ and went to Him to see if what people told me was correct. When people touted a doctrine and made those who disagree practically out to be heretics, I should have went to Christ. People are not my Bible! If I go to Christ for direction isn't He able to keep me from falling into false doctrine???
     It's not that I'm doubting Christ is real, completely abandoning the way I live, changing what I believe, or abandoning all my convictions, rather, I want my beliefs to be solely based on Christ alone and done because of love for Him and my neighbor, not because of fear of man.
     So many friends as they grew up went from one ditch to another. They were ultra conservative (probably due to all the gossip if you weren't). Then, as they got older, they realized what they thought was a must really wasn't. So they abandoned practically everything and went into another ditch, going into pitfalls their parents were trying to help them avoid. To a certain extent, I don't care if they don't live a certain way if its because they no longer have those convictions. But, to just completely abandon beliefs without finding out what God truly does want is a sure way to go from one ditch to another. It's something I want to avoid.               
     It's hard finding a balance. One I'm praying I will find. For now, I'm taking it slow, praying to Christ and crying out to Him to show me the way, and walking very, very slow. I want to stay on the straight and narrow path, not in the ditch on either side.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Is there a difference?

Submission verses obedience. I had never really contemplated the difference between the two or even the fact that there might be a difference. Must be at least some difference. They are two different words. I stumbled across this blog's article and it got me thinking about it. Check it out:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Desiring God Alone

When your deepest desire is not the things of God, or a favor from God, but God himself, you cross a threshold. ~Max Lucado

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Prodigal God

I just finished reading the book The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith By Timothy Keller. This book discusses the Parable better known as the Prodigal Son. I really appreciated how the author brought out the father and both sons. Each are equally important and each son is equally lost. So often those who do everything right are frustrated because they do everything right yet life doesn't work out the way they think it should. This author really shows that whether fleeing to do your own thing or doing everything right out of self-righteousness that both are not what God is looking for. I found this book at my library so maybe you can too. It would be a good read. I really enjoyed it. (I actually read the book in one day!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Final Thoughts on The Curse of the Standard Bearers

I really cannot encourage you enough to read these articles for yourself. It is so much better than my few highlights plus you'll get a better context. It can be found here: Year: 2007/2008

     All of Jesus' life was governed by His relationship with His Father in heaven, so His standards could be summed up in two categories. 1) Loving His Father 2) Loving others. These two standards could be combined into one: Love. That's how Jesus interpreted the Law of God. (Matt. 22:36-40; Gal. 5:12-15)

     In short the Holy Spirit using God's Word and love help us determine our speech and our actions. The True Image Bearer lives by the Holy Spirit rather than by standards. Paul admonished the Galatians a number of times precisely on this point. "This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" Gal. 3:2-3 "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. Gal. 5:25-26

     The Christian life is not governed by standards to control fleshly living (Col. 2:21-23). Instead, it is governed by the Holy Spirit internally motivated by love, the fruit of the Spirit. Paul understood that when people focus on standards to control fleshliness or worldliness, they become boastful because they think they are better than others.

     Study the Bible together.... and draw doctrine from the teaching passages, not historical accounts.

     (Others) need to see you trust them to the Lord while still loving them with no anger, manipulation, rejection, shame, or slander. If they experience any of these from you, it verifies that your position isn't Spirit-led, but Self-led.

     "But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler not even to eat with such a one." 1 Cor. 5:11 In this passage, the Holy Spirit set some standards for the church to apply to its members. So True Image Bearers must hold to standards corporately leading to church discipline. The ones listed by Paul in these passages are indisputable standards. Unfortunately, some misguided zealots in the homeschool and home-church movements add their own standards on disputable matters to this list of behaviours deserving disassociation. They reject or judge people who don't dress by their standards, have house mortgages, practice abstinence birth control, don't homeschool, listen to non-hymn music, etc, instead of loving them and encouraging them to press on to know the Lord.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Curse of the Standard Bearers Part 4, 5, 6, and 7

More great insights from the article by Norm Wakefield:

     (God's Guidance) will be through the inerrant Word of God, but He must also guide us in the interpretation and application of it. (How true! So often we think that when we search the Scriptures we can find the answers we need on the different issues. Little realizing that if God isn't the one guiding the interpretation and application we can really err. Think of the Scribes and Pharisees!)

     When the Apostle Paul wrote, "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) he was saying that God has taken not only our worst deeds, but also our best and most righteous deeds out of consideration. The new birth is 100% God's mercy!

     You belong to Jesus because God gave you to Him, not because of a decision you made or standards you keeps. (John 17:6) These gifts of forgiveness through His blood and righteousness through His perfect living are all that sets you apart from the most wicked sinner on the face of the planet and saves you from His wrath.

     Whenever the church worships anything other than the living Christ, it declines ~Pastor Robert Welch

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Curse of the Standard Bearers Part 2 and 3

Some more things I gleaned:

     The Standard Bearer feels content to learn the standards to be acceptable to God and others and then do them as a means of living for Jesus. The True Image Bearer, however doesn't view life as trying to imitate or copy the life of Jesus and live for Him, but seeks daily to find His life hidden in Christ and to experience Jesus living His life through them.

     The Scribes and Pharisees (the Standard Bearers of Jesus' day) elevated their interpretations of Scripture to the same level as the inerrant Word of God. They considered those who didn't live like they did to be heretics.

     (Standard Bearers) makes standards that are not explicitly given in Scriptures (like the Scribes and Pharisees) and promotes them as spiritual wisdom. (Col. 2:20-23) Image Bearers boast only in the righteousness of Christ before God, his standards are determined by (and flow out of) Jesus' standard: love for God and others (Gal 5:14)

     One of the reasons God does not bring people to see issues or interpret Scripture the same in a family, church, or community is for the purpose of making it evident who is a Standard Bearer and who is a True Image Bearer.

As I was thinking about this issue of Standard Bearers I was realizing how much of it flows from a fear of Rejection.  Even though I may not agree with everything in this book (after all it isn't the Bible!)I found this extremely helpful:

May you find freedom, peace, and joy in Christ and Christ alone.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Curse of the Standard Bearers

I've been reading through the series The Curse of the Standard Bearers By Norm Wakefield found here: Wow! I can identify with this series. I've experienced a lot of Standard Bearers in my life and unfortunately I've been one. I really encourage you to read the articles yourself for full context. Some things I found helpful from Part 1:

There is a subtle, yet significant difference between someone living for Jesus and Jesus living in them.

The true image of Jesus wasn't a life focused on standards, but a life focused on a relationship with His Father in heaven.

They (image bearers) don't think the Christian life is "living for Jesus", but instead it is "Jesus living in them." Gal. 2:20

To them (standard bearers) commitment to standards is the expression of their love for Jesus. However, they are not unlike the Pharisees in Jesus' day who viewed themselves as the "separated ones". In their zeal to be distinct in a complex, godless Greek culture, they established oral traditions (standards) and considered them not only equal to the written Law, but more important. Their judgement of others and lack of love, forgiveness, and grace was condemned by Jesus repeatedly.

Monday, June 28, 2010

From my Pastor's sermon:
When we look in the mirror of Scripture we see who we really are, but also who God really is instead of our misconceptions of Him.
This is one of the main reasons I've decided to read through the entire Bible four times in one year. It's not because I feel guilty and want to try to read a set amount to earn God or man's approval but rather I really feel like I don't know who God truly is. When I was younger I listened to so many speakers who sometimes would use Scripture to prove their point when it really wasn't the point that the verse was trying to give. I didn't know how to listen with discernment. I didn't know how to take what was true and leave what wasn't behind. I now want to read God's word with open eyes instead of with my preconceived notions. I want to know it backwards and forwards so I can rightly divide the Word of Truth. And most of all I want to know and see Jesus for who He truly is.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Seeing Christ Saves and Sanctifies

"When we see Jesus for who he really is, we savor him. That is, we delight in him as true and beautiful and satisfying. That is my goal, because two things flow from such an experience of Jesus Christ: He is honored, and we are freed by joy to walk the narrow way of love. Christ is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. And when we are satisfied in him, we are crucified to the world. In this way, seeing and savoring Jesus will multiply the mirrors of his presence in the world. As the apostle Paul said, "We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:18 RSV) Beholding is becoming. Seeing Christ saves and sanctifies."
~From Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ By John Piper

Beholding is becoming. Seeing Christ saves and sanctifies. Something I wish I had known a long time ago. "Are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Galatians 3:3 For so long I knew Salvation was through Christ alone yet I didn't fully comprehend sanctification was too. I was always trying to live the "christian life" to please God not realizing that I am acceptable to Him right now as I am through Christ. (Eph. 1:6) and that the by looking to Jesus and Him alone will I "become a better christian" because he is the finisher of my faith. (Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith...Heb. 12:2)
May you find rest today in the acceptance God gives through Christ and Christ alone!