January 30, 2010

Chapter 4 Access to the Father

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty...
1. A fundamental plank in the theology that came from Nicea can be stated as, "God can't be known unless He makes Himself known."
2. Christ Jesus is the focus of the Bible and also of all of history.
3. The coming of Jesus is the 'fullness of time' (Eph. 1:10, Gal. 4:4)
4. The gods of the classical world were nothing more than exaggerated humans associated with the impersonal forces of fate.
5. Mythology is the projection of human thoughts and ideals onto divinity. Theology comes from the Greek words theos (God) and logos (word). It originates with God, not man.
6. Our confession of faith comes from God, it originates in heaven not from ourselves. We can only confess what God has revealed to us.
7. If we seek to know God as He is, His true self as revealed to us by Jesus and His word, we will come to learn the way to attain all true knowledge (scientific method).
8. The true God of history is personal, all-loving and all-caring.  He loves us so much that He sent Jesus (His Son) to die for us.  We come to God as our Father.  He is not impersonal - He is warm, inviting and approachable through Christ.
9. We have access to God through Christ alone, this is not optional.  Jesus is the only way.
10. Verses:
John 14:6  Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No on ecomes to the Father except through me."
John 14: 9a-10  "...anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. ... Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?"
John 14:20-21  "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

January 28, 2010

Test of signature

Just testing my new signature...

January 27, 2010

Recipe Book

I am not a generally crafty-clever person.  I have some talents, but that isn't one of them.  However, since I have been on a quest to improve my domestic abilities, I have been collecting recipes.  LOTS of recipes.  I finally decided that I had to get a handle on all the loose pages floating around the kitchen and in a stack on the side shelf of the island.  They were a magnet for the dog's tail as she went by and almost daily they were scattered across the floor.
So... on Sunday afternoon I began the process of putting all the recipes into plastic file pages and organizing them into a 3-ring binder with tab dividers for each section and sub-section.  I had picked up some random scrapbook paper for another 'wanna-be' crafty purpose, so used 2 sheets to create a cover/back and spine insert for my new 'cookbook'
The photos are not great - I am not good with lighting/flash stuff.  But you can see the cool "kitchen/cooking/foody" stickers I found at ACMoore yesterday.  I had a discount coupon, so they were not expensive and they make my binder more fun!



More music

I love Casting Crowns.  So many of their songs have such powerful messages and really touch my heart.

January 26, 2010

Music is powerful

I love this song.

Chapter 3 Faith and Godliness

We believe...
1. Two other valid translations of the Greek "we believe" are "we trust" or "we have faith".
2. No one can truly separate what you live from what you believe. Doctrine is what you say you believe, but it is displayed in how you live.
3. Our words and our actions are completely connected.  They either match up to prove us upright - or they prove us a liar and a fake.
4. If we have faith, we must follow God and to follow is to live by His laws of righteousness. Godly living comes from faith. Faith is not based on human reason or emotion, faith is grounded in God himself.
5. In confessing our belief in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are offering praise & worship. This is a practical tool for liturgy and because it is so basic, it serves the whole Christian world. This is grounded in scripture, not in humanity.
6. The creed states simply the gospel completely. It is a complete outline of God's gift of grace through Christ.
7. Verses
Ephesians 4:3-6
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
2 Peter 1:1-2
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

January 25, 2010

Bratty Cat

I just found this photo of our cat Grace and wanted to share it.  She really is a brat, but we love her dearly.

Awesome post

I believe I've mentioned before how blessed I have been by some of Nancy Wilson's books over the last year.
This morning, Nancy has a tremendous post over at her blog "Femina"
I highly recommend checking it out if you want to be challenged and encouraged in your journey to be the woman God wants you to be.

January 24, 2010

Lack of focus or just a busy life?

I have looked back at the variety of post topics and realize that I am lacking when I compare to other people who can blog about just one topic generally.  Like my darling husband who limits his focus generally to his running.  I know why he does it and it makes perfect sense, but I am more scattered.  Not in a bad way I think, I just have more random thoughts that are spilling out onto the internet.  *S*  At least I have set up another blog to limit myself in one area - my sewing.
My life is changing, God is growing me in a lot of ways and I find that so awesome.  I love to see how things are improving in our family by God's grace.
I am learning new things all the time.  The kids are growing and learning.  We have difficulties that God can use to refine us and stretch us.  We have mountain top moments that thrust us up close to the glory that we are to reflect back to our Heavenly Father.  I am so blessed.
This journey is so exciting!  I get to find new ways to do things, find moments to savor - like right now the laughter from the living room where my 2 kids are playing while the dog barks at them to be included.
I can find joy in each day... even in the 'work' of everyday life.  I love and am so loved.  It doesn't get any better this side of Heaven.

January 20, 2010

Chapter 2: A Corporate Confession

Continuing my notes from my study time.
We believe...
1. The Nicene Creed - in Greek - begins with the verb 'pistuomen' meaning "we believe". The Apostles creed begins with "I believe".
2. The Nicene Creed was the first "official" created created for/by the church - it was written as an expression of faith of the church body as a whole.
3. Individualism tends to define life in terms of individual choices, isolating oneself from the culture or group collective.
4. Christianity is unifying and cohesive - God calls us, even commands us, to live together in peace. Focusing our attentions away from ourselves. It is a 'we' existence, not one of 'I'. The church is a big group.
5. Individuals are NOT free to modify or change the faith to suit themselves.
6. Individualism can be selfish and destructive, pulling people apart from one another.
7/8. Something personal is not made less when it is included in something corporate. We can be in relationship with God alone at the same time we worship with the congregation. Nothing is lost in the personal relationship by being part of the body.
9. "It is not good for man to be alone"(Genesis) God created us as social beings. He wants us to be together.
10. The 'we' demands unity and implies obligation and responsibility to one's neighbor.
11. Jesus came to serve others. He lived as a servant, humble - and died thus - being glorified by the Father in the resurrection.
12. Verses:
  Romans 12:  v5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.    v10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.    v13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.   v16 Live in harmony with one another....   v18  if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

January 18, 2010

Blissfully Domestic

Since we have had more snow and Steve worked from home today, it was one of those days when things are getting done, but not quite as quickly as I would like.
On the upside, we are all home together.  Which is my favorite thing.
Also, laundry is getting done, one bathroom has been cleaned, my Sweet Bread made last night was good and is almost all gone already.  I have made a batch of home-made granola.  The younger two are at least half-way done with schoolwork and we are off to piano lessons shortly where I will get to walk for at least a half-hour while listening to praise music.
I am Blissfully Domestic
I found this at a new blog I discovered recently... I will be updating my blog list soon since I've found a bunch of cool new ones!

January 16, 2010

Goodbye is really hard

Today we had to say goodbye to one of our dogs.  Molly was our 9 year old coonhound mix.  She had congestive heart failure and died with Steve and I and the younger 2 kids sitting with her at our vet's office early this afternoon.
She was a good dog, we loved her dearly and this is really hard.

January 14, 2010

Answered Prayer

God answered the prayers of hundreds of home schoolers across NH yesterday when the attempt to change our current law was resoundingly defeated in Concord.
The sponsor of all this upset was announced to speak - to open debate on HER bill - and she REFUSED to speak!  She chickened out!  I believe the final vote was 325-34 to kill it.
God is protective of his people and I am a very thankful person this morning.

January 12, 2010

Chapter 1 "No Creed but Christ"?

Each chapter focuses on one line or piece of the creed and has questions at the end.  Most of the questions deal specifically with information presented in the chapter and the last question is an instruction to find scriptures not mentioned in the chapter that address the same/similar issue.
Following are my notes/answers from the questions for chapter 1.

1. Some people avoid creeds because they believe 'doctrine divides'.  That dogma & doctrine creat a bad 'religious environment'.
2/3. Any statement about what you believe is a creed.  The word creed comes from the Latin credo which means I believe.
4. Even the demons believe in God (James 2:19), the real question is WHAT do you believe about Jesus.
5/6. Creeds were not invented by the church.  The 'shema' is a primal creed in Deut. 6:4.  Baptism, the Lord's supper and Peter's confession of faith are all creeds.
7.  Creeds help us answer old & difficult questions without reinventing the wheel. They act like a light in a dark world. Looking to the past reveals both wisdom & humility.  Creeds help us to worship in a way that is decent & orderly.
8. It shows humility to seek the wisdom of those who have gone before, as a son seeks wisdom from his father.
9. The Council of Nicea was convened because of controversy. Because of prevailing questions abou tthe nature of the relationship between Jesus Christ and God the Father.  It was a major controversery and serious division that drove the need.
10. Phil. 2: 10-11  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; to the glory of God the Father
John 14:11a  "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me..."

January 11, 2010

The Nicene Creed

I have mentioned that I am doing a devotional study of the Nicene Creed, working from a great book The Faith of Our Fathers.  I thought I would share the notes I am taking as I go through each chapter in answering the questions at the end of each.
I will start by posting the creed itself from the front of the book.  Please keep in mind that not all the words mean what you might *think* they mean.  I was very surprised at one in particular.

The Nicene Creed
(Translation: The English Language Liturgical Consultation)

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through Him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human.  For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried.  On the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; He ascended into heave and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic Church.  We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen

January 8, 2010

A blog I read

A blog that I've been reading for almost a year is found here:  http://pursuingholiness.com/
It is a mix of politics and faith written by a woman that seems to have a tremendous grasp of both tossed together with a healthy dose of common sense.

January 6, 2010


There is something horribly frustrating about the feeling that your government - which is supposed to be there to SERVE the people, is actually trying to come up with ways to make your life more difficult.
I am speaking very personally about a proposed change to the NH home school laws that was on the calendar for today, but has been pushed back another week.
Last year a woman who admitted to knowing absolutely NOTHING about home schooling, took it upon herself to submit 2 bills relating to home education in NH.  One was a seemingly harmless law that involved how notification was handled and acknowledged.  The other was a truly heinous piece of legislation that would make NH one of the most restrictive for home education in the nation.
We have a law that has been in place for approximately 20 years and seems to work just fine for those of us who are taking our responsibility seriously.  Those who don't...  well, we all know that more laws do not suddenly create better citizens or less criminals.
The really bad law was voted ITL (inexpedient to legislate) last year - basically it was killed.  The other law was retained to allow the education committee a chance to "study" home education in the state and determine if changes were needed.  They formed a bunch of sub-committees and looked all all sorts of things relating to home schooling all year.  They decided that things were pretty much just fine the way they are and we should leave well enough alone.
The final vote was overwhelmingly against any changes and the committee recommended to ITL the other bill.  Instead of going away quietly when beaten, the few people on the education committee who are bent on control of home schoolers have proposed an amendment that incorporates all the awful things from last years dead bill.  And to make matters worse, given the Democrat majority right now - the caucus has been doing it's little back-room-deal-dance and seems poised to actually go against the committee recommendation and pass the dang thing with the horrible amendment!
And if all this is not bad enough, we have just learned that the Dept of Education is poised to incorporate much of the awful bill into its "rules" for administration of home education programs as far as they can without over stepping the bounds of law.  Sort of a way to get their claws into us and side-stepping the legislative process.
I am so disgusted by government at the moment.  I would imagine that the founding fathers would be aghast at the charade that passes for legitimate government now-a-days.  Truly disgusting and disheartening.
The ONLY thing that prevents me from a complete downward slide to despair is the firm knowledge that God is sovereign and nothing happens that is outside His perfect plan.
So.... if all this nonsense goes through here in NH.  I trust that God will allow a way for our family - and those He has called to home school - to comply with what is necessary and will provide us the opportunity to be a witness for Him and bring Him glory.  OR... God may give Steve a job in another state where the home education laws are better.   Either way I am confident in the provision of my Savior.
But I'm still disgusted with government. :-P

January 5, 2010

Random thoughts from reading & writing

Generally I enjoy writing.  Blogging is an extension of that in a more modern sense, an electronic (and sometimes horrifyingly public) version of the old paper & ink journal by the bed.  At the moment, I think I'm pretty anonymous in the blog-o-sphere.  Not many people are aware that I have begun a blog, and I'm fairly certain that anyone who is aware, isn't reading or doesn't find it terribly fascinating.  That is okay and I'm not upset or offended - this isn't about anyone else anyway.
I read a lot of blogs and the ones where people talk about their faith, once they are discovered by someone who is not like-minded, tend to generate a lot of hate filled comments.  It is pretty sad really.  Those who claim to be "progressive" and "open-minded" are pretty hateful and intolerant of anyone who actually has a firmly held belief in something that disagrees with them.  Christians are often targeted as bigots, homophobes, racists, hateful individuals.  I suppose it can be a just criticism for some, at times, but those traits are not specific to one group.  Often the people screaming those accusations are guilty of the same intolerance, just directed in a different direction - like at the Christians.
Why would someone who claims to be 'tolerant' freak out that someone else doesn't agree with their point of view?  It seems counter-intuitive.  If you are really tolerant, you shouldn't care if someone disagrees with you.
I have a lot of things that I believe.  I believe above of all that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. That he died on the cross to pay for all sin, was buried, rose from the dead on the 3rd day and is seated at the right hand of the Father and will come again to judge the world and rule forever.
I believe that my husband loves me.  That my children are a blessing from God.  That trials and difficulties are meant to grow us in some way, even when we can't understand it. That pets add a great deal of joy and stress to life.  That chocolate and ice cream are good in moderation.  That reading is fun.  That sewing is fun.  That friends are a gift.  That exercise is a necessary, but not always fun thing.  Same for vegetables.  I also believe that our nation is the best in the world, though that may be a short-lived thing given the current people running things. I believe that God is personal and loves us yet will judge all sin.  I believe in absolute truth.
Knowing what you believe is really important.  It provides the foundation for the choices you make each day.
I am trying to teach my children that knowing what you believe, why you believe it, and how to defend your beliefs is important and necessary.  It has taken me many years to realize this importance.  When I was 20, I had no idea why it mattered what I believed.  Now, as my oldest child is almost 20, and I see the state of the world as run by people who don't really believe anything firmly or hold to what they claim to believe... it matters a great deal.  If you are standing on the sand.... you are not going to be there, upright and stable, for very long.  Stone is hard when it hits you, even for those who claim everything is relative.

January 1, 2010

2010 - Happy New Year!

Wow... 2010.  That sounds so very odd.
2009 seems to have flown by so quickly, though I suppose people always say that at the new year.  It seems more true now that I'm getting older.  When you are a child time seems to move very slowly and once you have children of your own it seems to accelerate alarmingly.
We spent NYE with friends out in Temple, NH.  It has become a new tradition in the last few years to share the evening with our closest family friends and have Chinese food and play games, chat, etc.  It was an exceptionally late night and I didn't get into bed until close to 1:30am.  That is unheard of for me now-a-days.  But I was able to be up and functional by 7:30 when the dog started barking to go out.  I guess that is a positive thing.
This new year we face many challenges.  Personally, as a state and as a nation.  Knowing that God is Sovereign brings great comfort in the uncertain days that lie ahead.  Those in power in DC seems set on running our nation into unfathomable debt and a horrifying socialist direction which will continue the recession and raise taxes.  At our state level we are facing heinous changes to our homeschooling laws/rules that will make life much more difficult and expensive as well as much reckless spending and potential for even more taxes.  Personally we have the ongoing changes of life - friends facing serious illness, growing children, home improvement projects, bills to pay and life to live for the glory of God.
I know - beyond any doubt - that the Lord will provide for every need and be a rock and shelter in every storm.  Psalm 62:1-2 says, My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. There is great comfort in those words when facing uncertainty.  
Jesus himself gave words of comfort many times, but this morning, I was reading from Luke chapter 12 where Jesus is speaking to his disciples:
Verses 4-7 say: "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 
and Verses 22-34 say:
Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
It is sometimes hard to remember that we are valued more than sparrows to our Creator.  It may seem that He is so busy that He can't possibly have time for our small problems.  But I know that is a lie.  God loves ME.  He gave Jesus to die for ME.  He values ME.  And even at the times when others may question my value or the worthiness of my contribution - God sees my heart.  I love the security that knowledge brings.  I am worth enough to the Maker of the Heavens that he gave his only son for me.  Purchased at a cost unimaginable.
It is a humbling thought as I sit here on this 1st of January, 2010.  
God loves me.  
I want to serve Him fully in this new year. With each day he gives me, I want to bring glory and honor to Him in all things.  It is a lofty goal.  In my own power it could never happen.  Yet I know that the Lord is faithful and as Paul prayed for the Ephesians, I know that prayer included me as a child of God.
Ephesians 3:14-21
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.