February 22, 2010

Chapter 10 The Ascension

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father...

1.  The ascension infuses history and our lives with heavenly direction, eternal purpose, and meaning.  We can only have a meaningful future because God rules it from heaven.
2.  The Latin phrase  anno Domini (AD) means "in the year of our Lord."
3.  The ascension of Christ is linked to the great commission that is given to the church. All authority belongs to Christ and our mission to carry out here on earth His commands extends from that authority.  Matt: 28:18-20
4.  The ascension is about Christ's enthronement as King.  He returns to glory triumphant!  He receives the seat at the right hand of the Father in recognition of his conquering of sin & death forever.
5.  Daniel 7:13-14 prophesy of the ascension of Christ and His enthronement as King.  "... His kingdom the one that shall not be destroyed."
6/7.  Psalm 110:1-6 speaks of Christ reigning as our Priest/King, "... according to the order of Melchizedek."  Both Priest and King of the city of peace.
8.  Christ's rule is best expressed by His church (or it should be).  We receive our authority to act here on earth from Jesus.  By His command we are to teach His words and make disciples for Him.
9.  Psalm 68 is a victory hymn composed by David, but Paul uses it to illustrate how Christ accomplished redemption and now gives gifts to us.  Christ's victorious ascension can be seen in Psalm 68.
10.  When the author states 'Jesus is the greater David', I believe he refers to Jesus conquering the last enemy of God's people - death.  He reigns as the perfect King - victorious.  David was a foreshadow of Christ.
11.  The ascension requires that we look heaven-ward while being active for our King here on earth.  We must be working diligently to be an influence for Christ in this world.  His light reflected in our lives in this dark world.
12.  The ascension focuses us on Christ above - not ourselves, therefore we can't hold on to our natural selfishness and self-centeredness if we are truly focusing on Christ.  It isn't about us - it IS about Him.
13. Verses:
  Acts 1:1-11  In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"  He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.  They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
1 John 2:28   And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

February 19, 2010

Comment issue is fixed

Thanks to my awesome tech support guy, aka my DH, the issue with posting comments as been fixed... I think... prayerfully.

God's Practical & Extravagant Provision

In my constant inconsistency of topics to blog about, I thought I'd share a bit about the past 2 weeks struggle with transportation issues for our oldest child.  A is 19 and a student at the local community college.  He is generally a good kid and gives us far less angst than most boys his age I'm sure - though he provides gray hairs for us in his own way. :-)  God is growing him and us through the journey - as it should be.
Anyway... A's car stuff has been an ordeal since he got his license at 18.  We allowed him to buy a car to use and that was its own adventure, but God provided a car that seemed good and it turns out the family selling it - here in town - were Christians and it was a painless experience.  The car was hit about 3 months after he got it and again God provided.  The other person's insurance paid for all repairs instead of totaling the car.  A had to put some money into it last summer to get it to pass inspection, but God provided the means for hard-to-find parts and a knowledgeable person to help him.
So move to now, well, two weeks ago, and the car starts making a bad noise... I mean a BAD noise.  Mechanic friends from church assessed the situation and told A that his engine is going.  Not good.  We seek a 2nd opinion from our local mechanic and he is told the car is very old and not worth trying to save at this point.  Money-pit is the term that Steve used. :-)
So we started praying.  A doesn't have a lot saved up after having paid for tuition for this semester of school in Dec. and we needed to find affordable (read CHEAP), and yet reliable and not total junk.  He needs safe, reliable transportation to get him back and forth to school, work and church.  Turns out that is really tough to find in NH at this point.  But we serve an awesome God who loves us very much and knows what we need, and even the secret desires of our hearts.
Last night A and I took a drive up to Concord to check out a 1994 Honda Accord.
Yes, 1994... as in 16 years old.  But as a Honda, that isn't really a major deal.  We are a Honda family - I'm on my 3rd and Steve is on his 2nd.
A loved the car, it drove great (I drove it), was very clean inside (if not so pretty on the outside) and the guy was very nice... turns out he goes to Manchester Christian Church. I love it when God steers us to certain people.
Back story to part of this is that Steve had a 1994 Honda Accord when A was a kid and sold it before A got his license.  A had really, REALLY wanted that car.
So now he has one - automatic instead of shift, red instead of green - but God gave him what he had been desiring (Extravagant)... AND what he practically (affordable/reliable) needed.  It just curls my toes to see the fingerprints of God in our daily lives, practically and extravagantly at the same time.  In His perfect time.  We have such an awesome God.

February 17, 2010

Apron Inspiration

Awhile back I was noodling around at Like A Warm Cup of Coffee and she was doing an apron give away from Flirty Aprons.  You have to check them out - they are sooooo cute!
I did not win the freebie, but was inspired to dig out a pattern I had bought back before Christmas to make my own!  So when my Mom came up for a visit on Saturday, we hit the fabric store and I splurged and bought some GORGEOUS Legacy quilting fabric to make myself a pretty apron.

My daughter J has been hanging around with me in my sewing area and says I will be stylin' when I make dinner in this beautiful creation!  Of course the photos are not very flattering - I should have waited until tomorrow morning to take some photos but I didn't want to wait.  :-)

And one of the side benefits is that I love to sew anyway and with sales, coupons, & discounts - my apron cost $12.50 to make.

February 16, 2010

Chapter 9 The Resurrection

On the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures...
  1. Without the resurrection there is no gospel or salvation.
  2. Paul makes this argument in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
  3. According to Carl Braaten, "The deepest fault line appears where faith and unbelief meet within the churches, among their theologians, bishops, and pastors. Nowhere is this more evident than in the matter of the resurrection of Jesus."  (from The Reality of the Resurrection Bazos Press 2001)
  4. Braaten & Machen both contend that without the resurrection  hristianity mutates into a different religion.  It is no longer Christianity.
  5. Naturalism is when supernatural elements that can't be generally explained in scientific or rational ways are simply dismissed as unreasonable.  This process makes the human mind - human wisdom - the crucible that tests all doctrines of faith.
  6. There are many 'explanations' that have been put forth that are contrary to the resurrection.  There is the idea that the disciples stole the body of Christ and made up the whole thing.  There is also the bizarre 'swoon theory' that says Jesus wasn't really dead when they buried him and that he revived in the tomb.
  7. Modernist theologians have dismissed the resurrection as mythology.
  8. The idea that people can search for a historical Jesus that is not divine and therefor supernatural is ironic because THAT Jesus doesn't exist.  The Jesus who lived - the Jesus of history - is divine, He is God.
  9. Braaten asserts the missionary movement collapses at the denial of the resurrection. 
  10. The hope of Christianity rests on our risen Lord Jesus Christ.  All other religions have founders who are dead.  Jesus is alive - raised from the dead, triumphant over sin & the grave.  This is the good news of the gospel for all of us!
  11. Verses:
    Romans 6:9  
    For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
    1 Corinthians 15:1-8  Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
    Acts 1: 3-8   After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

February 13, 2010

Awesome bread!

Doesn't that look yummy?

I found yet another wonderful recipe over at Frugal Girl.  It's for Oatmeal Cinnamon Swirl Bread and it is FANTASTIC!  It makes awesome toast and a friend tells me that it's great for French Toast as well - but we ate the whole loaf before I could try that - guess I will have to make more!
The recipe makes 2 loaves, so I took one to a neighbor in an effort to keep us all from over-indulging. *Note - you have to do this one by hand at the end.  I have a Kitchen-Aid mixer and it couldn't handle that much dough.  I know my bread machine would have had a heart attack if I'd tried it in there.

February 10, 2010

Chapter 8 Crucified for us

For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried.

  1. The section of the creed that deals with Christ's crucifixion is notably short - very basic.  Probably because there was no argument around it - it was a basic fact of the faith.
  2. It bears some elaboration today because there are those who deny the reality of the crucifixion and its vital work as Christ offered himself for our atonement.
  3. The doctrine of the "harrowing of hell" teaches that Jesus, while he was buried, actually descended into hell and preached to those in hell and then 'broke free', taking some souls with him. **Personally I have never read anything in the Bible that teaches this doctrine specifically and have never been part of a church that teaches it to my knowledge.
  4. Jesus' death on the cross provides salvation for sinners.
  5. Atonement means 'a covering', which Jesus' death provides for us. His blood covers us, pays out debt, our penalty due for sin.
  6. Irenaeus taught that the incarnation of Jesus was a recapitulation on behalf of sinners.  He became man in order to take man's place for the punishment of sin.
  7. Athanasius said, "...He surrendered His body to death instead of all,and offered it to the Father. This He did out of sheer love for us, so that in His death all might die, and the law of death thereby be abolished..."
  8. St. Anselm likened it to the payment of debt to divine honor, which was offended by sin.
  9. Romans 5 describes how Christ is the second Adam who brings life instead of death.
  10. Divine love is the motivation for the atonement. Such amazing love - so powerful and perfect - we can scarcely comprehend it.
  11. Verses:
    Isaiah 53:5   But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
    Galatians 2:20   I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
    Ephesians 1:3-8   Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

February 9, 2010

School topic?

Any guesses as to what we are studying in History?
B is absolutely LOVING this section... but you can't tell that from all his handiwork can you? :-)  Btw - his serious face is on purpose... he is trying to look intimidating to the enemy.

February 8, 2010

Chapter 7 For Us and for Our Salvation

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.

1.  The Fathers of Nicea were anchored in the love of God in salvation.  They used as a 'theological compass' the truth that Jesus as the Son of God is not separate from Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. 
2.  At the core of the incarnation is love.  God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. (John 3:16)
3.  Why did Jesus need to be both God and man?
         Athanasius is quoted in reply - "If Jesus Christ the incarnate Son is not true God from true God, then we are not saved, for it is only God who can save; but if Jesus Christ is not truly man, then salvation does not touch our human existence and condition."  [from Trinitarian Faith pg 149]
4/5.  The Arians tried to show from the scriptures that point to Christ as a servant in his human condition, the contrast with the majesty and glory of the Father.  This is clear, but far from weakening Jesus' position as Son, it magnifies our praise for the one who loved us so much He became one of us.
6.  Athansius embraced the human weakness and servility that the Son became as fundamental to salvation.  The irony of the incarnation becomes a point of praise.
7.  Gregory of Nyssen exclaims [ Trinitarian Faith pg 153] "Why did the divine being descend to such humiliation? Our faith staggers at the thought that God the infinite, inconceivable, and ineffable reality, who transcends all glory and majesty should be clothed with the defiled nature of man, so that his sublime activities are abased through being united with what is so degraded."
8.  Jesus incarnation as truly human allows him to sympathize with our weakness.  He truly understands us and all our frailties and temptations.  He can relate to us when we cry out to Him. He became fully man to take our place.  This is true philanthropy.
9.  Verses:
 John 8: 56-58   "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad." "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"
Hebrews 1:2-3  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
 Hebrews 2:10  In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Hebrews 2:14-18   Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

February 6, 2010

Chapter 6 God of God

 We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light...
 1.  The catalyst for Nicea was Arianism which taught that Jesus was not fully divine. This strikes at the heart of the gospel.
2.  Jesus must be fully divine (fully God) in order to accomplish the divine work of salvation. He had to be God to save man from the punishment/wrath of God against sin.
3.  The key phrase in this debate is "only begotten"
4.  Scriptures focus of Christ is redemption - keeping everything in context is key. By keeping the focus on the context of Jesus redemption of all mankind - the church fathers were able to stay true to scripture and not get caught up in a philosophical and semantic rabbit trail.  It focused them on the work at hand.
5/6.  The serious mistake or weakness in Arian theology is a mistake in categories.  Arianism projects human categories onto God.  Because God is eternal, the relationship with Jesus is eternal.  Jesus is eternally begotten of His Father.  Jesus is "of" the Father in a unique way that all other creation is not because Jesus is not created - He IS God, the creator.   John 1:1-3 states In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
 7.  The fathers of Nicea "anchor" their teachings about Jesus to the redemptive context of scripture. The Bible speaks of the Son as fully God, and since the Bible speaks of the Father as God, the phrase "only begotten" must be interpreted in this context.
8.  The fathers at Nicea used a very specific word to clarify all of this, homoousios which is translated in English "of the same essence".  Whatever one understands to be that which constitutes deity - it is the same for the Father and for the Son. 
9.  God gives Himself, in Christ Jesus, to save sinners. This is the truth and power of the gospel.  We are so loved that God gave Jesus for our redemption.
10. Verses:
Romans 5:8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 14:20  "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you."

February 5, 2010


I have mentioned that I am working (and praying a LOT) towards the goal being more successful in the areas of domestic bliss.
I have been doing menu plans in advance (right now I'm planned through to the 12th), baking bread, cooking from scratch, etc.  It is going fairly well in most areas.  Not truly stellar - but I am making progress I think.  So far there are have been only a few new recipes that have flopped and most have been well received by the majority of the family.  One child is not so thrilled about having to try new foods regularly - but he is getting better about it, and has even given approval to two new recipes this week!  :-)
Tonight was our tried and true pasta night - very easy and made a bit better by a new recipe for french bread from the amazing lady at "The Frugal Girl"   She has tons of tips, recipes and general life to read.  It's one of my new favorites.

February 4, 2010

Homeschool Heresies

I found this "Homeschooling Heresies" post shared in a homeschool newsletter I receive via email and decided I had to check out this woman's blog.  She is very interesting! *S*

February 1, 2010

Chapter 5 Almighty Creator

The Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth...
1. One of the most basic teachings of Christianity is that God is the creator of all things.
2. The basic doctrine of creation is a fundamental starting point. This means that if God is the creator and we are His creatures, we owe Him all that honor, obedience, and most importantly worship that is due to Him as the Almighty Creator.
3. The phrase "maker of heaven and earth" originates in Psalms and is one of my favorite comforts.  Psalm 121:1-2   I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
 4. In the Psalms, we find the context that links redemption and salvation and results in the natural expression of praise to God as creator.  I would personally be stunned if someone could look on the beauty and power of creation and NOT be moved to praise God for the awesomeness of creation.  His artistry is without equal.
5. Man is created as an expression of God's love.  All creation is a gift of love to us from God.  He didn't need creation - but we do.  It is an expression of kindness to humans.
6. All things have their origin in the creation of the world by God, which provides a foundational way of thinking about the world and our place in it.  If we attempt to redefine reality away from its creator's design, we pay a dear price for the confusion and chaos we create for ourselves.
7. Our worldview depends - demands - correspondence to the divine reality of creation. Our place in the world and how we view the divine pecking order and relationship in all of creation come from acknowledging the Almighty Creator and our relationship to Him.
8. When Adam named all the animals in creation, he was defining the divine significance according to God's creation. Putting things in their proper order for God's purposes for creation. This is still required today. Things must be called what they are according to God's structure. Denials of creation order by legislators, educators, medical experts, scientists and everyday people - subject our world to moral and social chaos.  Evolution, homosexuality, abortion - all are examples of such a decline and chaos.
9.  Scripture demands that we recognize God as creator.  Consider the obvious in Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and then consider Colossians 1:16-17 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
10. Verses:
Romans 1:19-20  since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.