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Thoughts on Reformation Day

 31.10.10

Stained Glass at the Wittenberg Church. We took this picture in 2006

Happy Reformation Day to all my brothers and sisters in Christ!


Today I want to share these notes taken from Practical Wisdom for Calvinists, I pray that you will be encouraged by them as I was.


1. Because all of us were Arminian in our thinking at once, let us "be patient with our brethren and recognize that both ethical and theological maturity takes time. In fact, there are some truths that, for whatever reason, we may not yet be ready to receive – as Jesus told His own disciples, "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now" (John 16:12)."


2. Let us love all saints, even our Arminian brethren. Spurgeon said:


"We give our hand to every man that loves the Lord Jesus Christ, be he what he may or who he may. The doctrine of election, like the great act of election itself, is intended to divide, not between Israel and Israel, but between Israel and the Egyptians – not between saint and saint, but between saints and the children of the world. A man may be evidently of God’s chosen family, and yet though elected, may not believe in the doctrine of election. I hold there are many savingly called, who do not believe in effectual calling, and that there are a great many who persevere to the end, who do not believe the doctrine of final perseverance. We do hope that the hearts of many are a great deal better than their heads. We do not set their fallacies down to any willful opposition to the truth as it is in Jesus, but simply to an error in their judgments, which we pray God to correct. We hope that if they think us mistaken too, they will reciprocate the same Christian courtesy; and when we meet around the cross, we hope that we shall ever feel that we are one in Christ Jesus (New Park Street Pulpit [London: Passmore & Alabaster, Vol.6] p.303)."


3. Most Arminians "are not rejecting genuine Calvinism, but distortions of it. One’s heart may be right, while one’s head may be wrong".  

4. "Calvinism is not the Gospel.  One is not saved by a proper understanding of election, Divine sovereignty, or the extent of the atonement. These issues, no doubt, are important, but they are not the core of the Gospel; they indirectly relate to the Gospel (as do many other Biblical teachings), but are not the essence of it. The puritan, John Bradford, stated: "Let a man go to the grammar school of faith and repentance, before he goes to the university of election and predestination." In the same way that it is wrong to detract from the Gospel message, so it is wrong to add to the Gospel message one’s particular theology. Once again, this is not to deny that the five-points of Calvinism are not important matters; but simply to point out that the minute one makes mandatory for salvation a correct understanding of election, effectual calling, or the extent of the atonement (regardless of how true they might be), they are guilty of adding to the Gospel. This is usually the error of young, zealous Calvinists (although not always), but to use the words of James, "My brethren, these things ought not to be this way" (James 3:10)"




Please, I encourage you to read the rest of this article here.




 Soli Deo Gloria!

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Time to Study Philippians -Week Four-

 30.10.10


Greetings to the ladies of our Philippians study!


Welcome to Week Four~ This study and the following lessons, for the next four weeks, will be a condensed version of Mining God’s Word – How To Study the Bible; Foundation Series by Bethlehem College and Seminary Press. I highly recommend that you purchase your own workbook at www(dot)bethlehemcollegeandseminary(dot)org - it would be a great tool for you to have!


Let us look at Proverbs 31 to begin our study. 

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than Jewels…She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” (Pr. 31:1, 26-28)

May we be wives who are more precious than jewels, and with whom our husbands’ hearts can rest.

Homework from last week’s study:

Did everyone find five questions to write down concerning Philippians 1:12-26? I will list some of mine. You may have different ones, but you also may have the same. Did your questions encourage you to look further to find the answers?


Thinking about verse 1:12, did the Philippians think that Paul’s imprisonment would keep the gospel from spreading because of what happened to him? That they would be fearful? It sounds like Paul may be answering this concern by telling the Philippians that his imprisonment has actually been beneficial for the spread of the gospel. (1:12-14)

Are you curious as to whom “all the rest” are in verse 13?


Why would someone want to preach Christ (vs.15) if they do not love Christ? It looks like they want to get Paul into even more trouble than he already is! (vs.17)

Why was Paul concerned about not being ashamed, “…that it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage, now as always Christ would be honored in my body whether by life or by death.” (20-21)? Have others been ashamed? Have they brought shame unto the Lord Jesus by their actions?

Why is Paul revealing to the Philippians the tug-of-war that is raging in his heart about wanting to die and be with Christ and yet live for the sake of the Philippians (vs. 21-24)? I think it shows us how close the saints at Philippi and Paul were to each other, that he should share with them such a deep, personal, battle he was experiencing.

A summary for Philippians 1:12-26:

I believe Paul is encouraging the Philippians that his imprisonment has actually been a good thing - the gospel has spread, and it has made other brothers more confident, or bold, in speaking of Jesus Christ. Also, Paul lets the Philippians know that he is sure he will return to them.

We have already spoken a little bit about context. Context is what is happening around the verse, or verses, we are looking at, that will help us determine the meaning of our text. But, how many verses surrounding our text should we look to find the context? The verse before or after our text? Two verses before or after? The chapter before or after? The entire book? It can be a bit confusing and overwhelming, but it is something we should pay attention to.

There is a term ‘canonical interpretation’ which means that we view a specific text in relation to how it fits into the Bible as a whole. Scripture cannot and does not contradict itself. (We may not understand what is being said if we think parts do not fit together.) This means that the New Testament was written in light of the words, promises, and actions of the Old Testament. Remember, in Paul’s day, there was no New Testament. The Old Testament is what the Jews memorized and quoted from. Jesus and his disciples knew the OT and it guided their lives, thoughts and actions. So, as we read our New Testaments, and we notice that a part of Scripture is referencing an Old Testament passage, it is good for us to go back into the OT, check the reference and see what was occurring at the time it was written.

So, let’s look at two passages: Matthew 4:1-4 and Deuteronomy 8:1-10.  As you read these two passages, I want you to be looking for words that are repeated in both. On a piece of paper, write down the words written in both passages. (Be sure to know your contexts!) Do that and then come back to class and I’ll walk us through this.

Words that are the same (or very similar):Led, wilderness, tempted (tested), forty, hungry, Son, command, bread.(Our translations might have this list slightly different, but they should be close.)


Why do you think Jesus quoted this passage from Deuteronomy when Satan was tempting him? The Deuteronomy passage is talking about how God has cared for His chosen people, the Israelites. He is making a covenant with them; He is telling them what they need to do, (vs. 1, 2, 6) and reminding them what He will do - how He loves them and how He will bless them. However, did the Israelites obey their side of the covenant? Were they faithful to their God? No.

In Matthew, Jesus is using this OT scripture, to show that He is the faithful Israelite. Jesus does in the wilderness what the Israelites were supposed to do, but failed. And what is that? To humble himself and rely on God’s promises to care for Him - to keep the commands of God! And Jesus obeyed even greater than they. He does not use his own ability as the second person of the Triune God, to care for himself. Rather, He completely humbles himself to the will of God. His obedience, here and on the cross, redeems God’s people from sin, and is leading them into the Promised Land. (Amen!)

Seeing Matthew in light of the OT passage gives the scene between Satan and Jesus a broader, and clearer meaning.

Our homework for this week will follow along this idea. Most of our Bibles have notes that cross-reference Scripture with other Scripture. Sometimes it is only words that are repeated, and sometimes the cross-reference is to an idea, or theme. We will use Philippians 1:27 –2:11 for this week’s homework and practice using our cross-referencing.

Day 1) Read Phil. chapters 1 & 2, then go back and read Phil. 1:27 – 2:11. Re-read these verses a few times. Begin to look up the cross-references listed in your Bibles regarding these passages. Can you find any Old Testament references? Record on paper what you are finding.

2) Continue to look up the cross-references, and record what you find.

3) Continue to study your cross-references. There is at least one OT cross-reference. Be sure to get the context for the cross-reference by reading the entire chapter in the OT. What is happening in the OT?

Day 4) As you examine your OT cross-reference, write down what relevance you think it has to our NT passage. Does it answer any questions? Does it clarify any statements? Does it broaden our understanding of our verses in Philippians?

Day 5) Write down a summary of what you think this passage in Philippians is saying.
And we’re finished!

Thank you ladies, for studying and making God’s Word an important part of your day. May God honor your desire to know Him by blessing you with wisdom, grace and great joy!

Thank you, Becky, for once again giving me your time and your blog space to write this down.

Until next week,

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

Eileen



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 Are you just joining us; no worries, you are never late!  You can start this study at any time.

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A Piece of Our Weekend

 29.10.10




These past two weeks have been full, the routine of our family which I much appreciate was broken and it was hard to keep up with so many little things, but I am grateful for mornings, aren't you? Mornings are the promise of a new brand day, a day in which no one, ever, has lived before. Minutes and hours ready to be used; a whole day ahead of us.

My friend died on Wednesday which was very sad, but it was encouraging at the same time to hear her husband saying that he was grateful to the Lord for let him "borrow" his wife's life for so many years, isn't that deep gratitude in the Valley?  Isn't that common Grace displayed in a broken heart? Keep him in your prayers as he starts his new life. His two sons are adults now and his first granddaughter will be born next month.

Our precious little one turned 7 years old yesterday and what a joy it is to see her growing in the Lord. Her big party will be tomorrow, so today, my friends,  I will be off to buy a piñata, candies, and everything to make lasagna. I wish you could join us!

By the way, and just for you to know, our family doesn't celebrate Halloween at all; we have never done that and are at peace with it. For us it just seems so clear, why celebrating the death when we have light? Why having a big festivity in the darkness when we love light?  My friend Diane wrote about Halloween today, you can check it out here.

Don't forget to visit this place tomorrow as we jump into our Philippians Study- week four- ; it has proved a great blessing to me to do all the homework; I am so grateful to my friend  Eileen because she has put a lot of effort into sharing this treasure with us. The nice thing about having the studies here, is that you can start any time, so if you missed the first weeks, no worries, you can even start today. Another good thing about this study is that it will help you to be more disciplined in your Bible study time, if you are still struggling with that; and as I mentioned this week, it is very important for us to encourage one another into godly disciplines; so here you have the links for the past studies.


Time to Study Philippians - Introduction- (meet my friend Eileen)
Time to Study Philippians - Week One-
Time to Study Philippians -Week Two-
Time to Study Philippians -Week Three- 

Rebecca Writes pointed her readers  (including me, of course!) to two very good articles, Presuppositionalism Anti-Evidence? and  the Parable of the Boat “distinguish between the various traditions with regard to divine sovereignty, free-will, and salvation.” I thought you might also enjoy reading them. Rebecca is also opening an invitation to have a Thanksgiving Celebration during November, would you like to join in? Read the details here. I am in!

Today I also recommend you to read some  good grammar reminders at Femina, Please feel bad, but don't feel badly.


Well, this is a piece of our weekend; what are your plans for this weekend?

Rejoicing in Him,

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The Holiness of God - Chapter Three-

 28.10.10




Can I tell you a little secret? I do not want to write my review on this chapter because I did not like the second half of it!

Yes, I feel terrible saying this, but I just can't help it. I read it twice and the third time I skimmed over it, and still, my thoughts were the same.

I enjoyed the first part of this chapter in which Dr. Sproul deals with the definition of holy:

"The primary meaning of holy is "separate". It comes from an ancient word that means "to cut" or "to separate...
"God's holiness is more than just separateness. His holiness is also transcendent. The word transcendence means literally "to climb across'... God is above and beyond us. Transcendence describes His; supreme and absolute greatness..."

This definition is just great, to think that He is higher than me, than the rest of us, helps my ego fall down and remember that I am clay made alive.

The author continues explaining how in the Word of God we find the word holy; used to express "something other than a moral or ethical quality"; In order for something to be holy, it first needs to be consecrated or sanctified by God.

"Only God can sanctify something else. God alone is holy Himself"

I learned in this chapter that when we speak of God as holy, "it doesn't signify one single attribute. On the contrary, God is called holy in a general sense. The word is used a synonym for his deity. That is the word holy calls our attention to all that God is."

If holy means transcendent, then worshiping idols made of wood, silver, gold, worshiping the moon, the sun, or anything else is nonsense because all these are not transcendent, "they; do not go above and beyond the creaturely. They are not holy", says the author.

And now comes the part I did not like of this chapter. Dr. Sproul talks about a German scholar, Rudolf Otto, and how he tried to study the holy in a scientific way. This man "coined a special term for the holy. He called it mysterium tremendum...'awful mystery'"  (My first doubt, question, objection is this, can one really study the holy in a scientific way? how? I just could not follow along.)

The author goes on to explain that we have mixed feelings about the holy,

"There is a sense in which we are at the same time attracted to it and repulsed by it. Something draws us toward it, while at the same time we want to run away from it. We can't seem to decide which way we want it. Part of us yearns for the holy, while part of us despises it. We can't live without it, and we can't live without it"

This is so true, this is why we need so desperately Jesus, a mediator.

But why does the author chooses to explain us such truth comparing it with his wife's feeling when watching horror movies; why using the images of  scary radio programs? This I did not like. I just couldn't understand it. How can we compare our relationship and feelings towards the Holy with our feeling towards scary radio  programs or horror movies. I felt lost.   

What are your thoughts about this?


Praising Augustus*




*"Augustus"; Sproul says that "only God could properly be called the augustus one. To be august is to be awe- inspiring, or awe-ful. In the ultimate sense only God is awe-ful" (p.44)

I am grateful to Tim Challies for inviting us to read along this book; it has proved a blessing for me to join a group of great people and thinkers.

The Holiness of God -Chapter One-
The Holiness of God- Chapter Two-
Holy, Holy, Holy 
The Holiness of God- Chapter Four- The Trauma of Holiness-

Living a Simple Life


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A Morning Prayer

 27.10.10




O God, ever blessed, who hast given me the night for the rest and the day for labour and service, grant that the refreshing sheep of the night now past may be turned to Thy greater glory in the life of the day now before me. Let it breed no slothfulness within me, but rather send me to more diligent action and more willing obedience.

Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life to-day that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.

Let me use disappointment as material for patience;
Let me use success as material for thankfulness;
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance;
Let me use danger as material for courage;
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering;
Let me use praise praise as material for humility;
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance;
Let me use pains as material for endurance.

O Lord Jesus Christ, who for the joy that was set before Thee didst endure the cross, despising the shame, and art now set down at the right hand of the throne of God, let me consider Thee who didst endure such  contradiction of sinners against Thyself, lest I be wearied and faint in my mind.

'But that toil shall make thee
Some day all Mine own,-
And the end of sorrow
Shall be near My throne'

Holy God, I would remember before Thee all my friends and those of my own household, especially__________ and _______________, beeseching Thee that in Thy great love Thou wouldst keep them also free from sin, controlling all their deeds this day in accordance with Thy most perfect will.

Amen.



A Diary of Private Prayer
Twenty- fourth day

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The Fruit of Her Hands - Part Three-

 26.10.10




I am so enjoying the conversation with you, my friends. Thank you for reading along and  tell me, isn't this book, The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson great?

Chapter Five. Contentment

"If we would have peace in our souls, we must maintain a war against our favorite sin and never leave off until it is subdued" Thomas Watson

"While sin in others is often blatant and obvious to us, our own sins are sometimes disguised. Because we don't see them for what they really are, we can trick ourselves into fighting and confessing the wrong sins altogether.
One such sin is morbid introspection..." (p.69)

This is the way this chapter starts; it is a great and important chapter to read because we are so blind and so many times we "fail to see that we are responding to self-accusations, and not to the Holy Spirit", as the author says.  Have you been there?

I have.

I have been in that situation when you just feel you are the worst mom, wife and daughter, that you don't cook great recipes, don't quilt or sew, and you feel so far from the Proverbs 31 woman.  Did you notice those little words: "feel"  We are reminded in this chapter that we need to dismiss "those vague accusations  grounded on nothing more than vague feelings" and  "which are not objective sins".

O this is so true, so true!

We know that we should not walk by feelings and yet we fall into the trap. Nancy Wilson says it well,

"Remember, it is God's Word that is the standard, not your feelings -good or bad, late or early. In the light of day it is easier to see your weaknesses, call for grace, confess your sins, ad thank God for His love and forgiveness. Like other sins, the sin of introspection can become a habit"

The chapter goes into a different direction and now the author talks about the big lie of  the world today: live fit and healthy, "for only the healthy and fit have fun".

When we believe this lie, we become hostages of fear.

"for the Christian, there should be nothing to fear in this...review your theology to deal with these fears. Sound theology is the cure for fear. Consider that God is in complete control of  His entire creation. Do you believe this?" (p.74)

Again, this is why I love Nancy's books. Her counsel goes right to the heart of the matter, where are you grounded? What do you believe? This is one of the reasons we ought to encourage one another to read big books, theology books, to the study of the Word. We must abide in the Word, in the whole counsel of God not only in some verses here and there taken out of context. O, how I love the Word of God!

The 7 closing words of this chapter are powerful, read them twice and think about them:

"Do not be afraid, but fear God."


Chapter Six.  Duties of Homemaking


This is also a very powerful and practical chapter, in which Nancy reminds us that our calling has to do with the things that fill our days, such as diaper changing, doing dishes, cooking, kissing foreheads, and listening to our beloved ones.

And because God himself has called us to do this "all the mundane things {we do} are sanctified, holy, purposeful, and honoring to God, and  {we} shall offer them all to Him" (p.75 I tweaked the text and wrote it on 1st p. pl present tense)

She talks about hard work, about being joyful while we pursue our calling. She encourages us to learn how to manage our households (I Timothy 5:14)  but she also addresses the sin of idleness, the sin of "having to know".

Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.  (I Tim. 5: 13 -14)


From the text I made up these questions that can help me examine myself:

How do I use my time?

Am I being idle behind this screen?

Am I wandering from one blog (house) to another "just because", just to visit? -and here, I would like to add a little more; next time you browse your favorite sites, blogs, etc, try to think and jot down 5 things you learned during those visits. Can you do that?  Be careful, I have noticed that sometimes I have had to answer to this question in a negative way.  Most of the time we are skim reading; maybe we will  be more blessed if we use that time to read a book, or pray, or read the Word, or memorize more verses, or sit besides our son just to hug him.

Can I afford spending all this time visiting?

"A woman's God-given duties must necessarily be neglected to carry on such extensive visiting"

This chapter closes with a great encouragement:

"...our homes should be practical extensions of what we believe to be true about God and His world and demonstrate that it is all under His ownership"

What is it in your heart today? What did you learn in these two chapters?

Let us encourage one another to be godly wives and moms.






Related Posts:

The Fruit of Her Hands -Part One-
The Fruit of Her Hands -Part Two-

Ten Reasons for Contentment at Femina  ("Here are ten reasons why we should find contentment, found from the matchless works on the subject by the Puritan ministers Jeremiah Burroughs and Thomas Watson")

Keeping up family Worship.
A Mom and a Wife in the Making

El Fruto de Sus Manos -Parte Tres- (en español)

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Gratitude in the Valley

 25.10.10

The Peasant Family, by Josef Israëls


Having a gratitude attitude when a table is full and your heart is merry is easy; but there are certain seasons in life when the Lord leads you to the valley. You know it is His hand  leading you into trial, and you don't want to go.

Our friend is dying; doctors say her brain is not working that she doesn't feel anything, yet she has tears and her heart beat raises when she hears her husband's voice or when her daughter in law lays her hand on her womb carrying her first granddaughter.

How do you find words of gratitude here?

Our friends do not know the Word of Life. They do not  know Grace. I cried. I prayed. But couldn't find gratitude words.

I am home now, my heart aches, my husband holds me tight and it is then that I think how gratitude also finds a way through tears and the holding of  hands of those hurting and whose hope is on images of saints. Isn't this what I have taught my children so many times? Give thanks to God in the valley, through tears and pain raise your voice and count His blessings.


824.  Being able to hold my hopeless friend's hands.

825. Crying with those who cry.

826. Praying in the quiet.

829. Common Grace flowing in a hospital.

830. Doctors.

831. The mystery of the human brain.

832. Reminders of how weak we are.

833. Coffee and donuts.

834. Kleenex.

836. Muttering prayers.

837. The family table.

838. Conversations around the table.

839. A kitchen full with my children talking about their day.

840. My mom's great  recovery from her broken wrist.

841. A kiss in the car.

842. Words to encourage friends in distress.

843. Being a phone call away from my sister.

844. Studying Philippians. What a treasure it has been!



845. Memory projects completed.

846. Having hope during the trials.

847.  Sloppy Joes on Sunday

848. Life in a clay pot.



849. Studying with diligence.



850. A house full of music.

851. Flowers bathed in morning light.




852. Being able to think.

853. Finding a way with words.



How do you praise God in the Valley?





More on Gratitude:

My Favorite List every Monday
Yes, I will Open the Box
Gratitude Monday, Borrowed Words

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Sunday's Psalm - Psalm 99-

 24.10.10




The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!

He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!

The Lord is great in Zion;

he is exalted over all the peoples.

Let them praise your great and awesome name!

Holy is he!

The King in his might loves justice.

You have established equity;

you have executed justice

and righteousness in Jacob.

Exalt the Lord our God;

worship at his footstool!

Holy is he!

Moses and Aaron were among his priests,

Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.

They called to the Lord, and he answered them.

In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;

they kept his testimonies

and the statute that he gave them.

O Lord our God, you answered them;

you were a forgiving God to them,

but an avenger of their wrongdoings.

Exalt the Lord our God,

and worship at his holy mountain;

for the Lord our God is holy!



Have a most blessed Lord's Day!




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Time to Study Philippians -Week Three-

 23.10.10




Good morning ladies of our Philippians study!

Welcome to Week Three!

This study and the following lessons, for the next five weeks, will be a condensed version of Mining God’s Word – How To Study the Bible; Foundation Series by Bethlehem College and Seminary Press. I highly recommend that you purchase your own workbook at www(dot)bethlehemcollegeandseminary(dot)org - it would be a great tool for you to have!

To begin this third week, let us ask our Father in heaven for wisdom, for James tell us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”(Jas. 1:5) 

Let us look at our homework from last week. You may have more or less sections in your Philippians outline, or more information within in each section than I do. Be careful not to pick it apart so much that you miss the overall message in each of Paul’s divisions. Just like any letter we write today, or papers your children may be writing for school, Paul’s letter has an introduction (or an opening), a body, and a conclusion (or a closing).

Here is the brief outline:

In the left-hand margin, I have written 

Introduction. Vs. 1:1-11

1)    Who is sending the letter, who is the letter is written to, blessings and encouragement
2)    Speaks of his affections for the Philippians
3)    Tells them how he prays for them

Body (This is when Paul begins to talk about why he is writing the letter.)

       A) Paul’s experience in prison (this is in my margin) (1:12-26)
            1)  He tells them of the good that has come about and his joy
            2)  Speaks of his release and wanting to return to Philippi for their sake.

        B) He exhorts them to be in unity with one another (in my margin) (1:27-2:11)
1)    Not to be afraid when in conflict but be united
2)    To continue to be united, have humility, and care for one another
3)    Shows how Jesus is the perfect example of all of these things.

         C) Their sanctification and joy (in my margin) (2: 12-18)
1)    Paul commands them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling
2)    Exhorts them to stop grumbling and be lights in this world
3)    That their Godly lives would make Paul’s trials worthwhile.
4)    He rejoices with them even while he is suffering.

          D) News of Timothy and Epaphroditus (in my margin) (2:19-30)
1)    Hoping to send Timothy back, commend Timothy for being focused on their well-being.
2)    News of Epaphroditus, and mentions he will also send him to them.

           E) Paul’s Godly example and his teaching to oppose false teachers (in my margin)(3:1-16)
1)    Warning Philippians about finding their worth in something other than Christ
2)     Paul uses himself as an example of Jewishness (value of his heritage)
3)     Paul shows it is all has no value compared to knowing Christ Jesus
4)     Even still, Paul is not perfect, but he continues forward living for Christ.

            F) Final exhortations and instructions (in my margin) (3:17-4:9)
1)     Have wisdom in whom they imitate, standing firm in their knowledge
2)     Paul points out Euodia and Syntyche to agree with one another
3)     How to pray, what to think about, what to do

Conclusion – Thanksgiving for their gifts and Paul’s benediction to them (in my margin)

(4:10-23)
1)    Acknowledges their efforts, past and present, to send him aid, he also thanks them.
2)    Lets the Philippians know that he has learned contentment during his trials and persecution, with whatever the Lord has provided.
3)    Final greetings from himself and other saints (notice where some of the other saints live!), and blesses them.


There is something I would like to point to us as women, and that is this: Euodia and Syntyche will be remembered for all of history as women who couldn’t get along. They were even Paul’s fellow workers, busy with the church and the gospel. Do we want to be remembered as women who bicker and quarrel with one another?

How did you like reading in Acts 16:6-17:1, Thessalonians2:1-2, and then again Acts 28:16-31? Isn’t exciting to learn about Paul and Timothy’s relationship? How it began? Learning about Timothy’s relations? He describes in Acts how he (Paul) was previously beaten and thrown into prison when he was traveling in Macedonia, preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. Even though at the time Paul was writing Philippians he was in prison in Rome, it opens our eyes a bit more to understand what he might have been experiencing while writing this letter to the Philippians. Also, the Philippians understood what happened when someone was sent to prison. In Phil. 1:27-30, it would seem that Paul is reminding them of his time in prison in Macedonia, and now also in Rome as an encouragement to them-“let their manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…not to be frightened by their opponents… but that it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear I still have.” What a view into the past!

As we continue on in our study of Philippians, I would like to point out the importance of understanding what a verse says within the context it was written. If you were interviewed, and then misquoted, you would know that what was written down was not what you said or possibly even meant. The same is true when it comes to our Bibles. The Holy Spirit was (is) active and moving in the men who wrote these sixty-six books. To misquote them or misrepresent any text, would show that we do not love God and His Word as we ought to. So, stay within the context when you are quoting scripture!

Here is an example: I have a friend who once told me that, “The Bible says that ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8, 16).” “But,” she went on, “if God is love then, then how comes he sends people to hell?” In her view, either the Bible is wrong, or God is not love. What she didn’t understand is that there is a third and a fourth option. The third option is that she doesn’t understand what her Bible is telling her. The fourth option is she doesn’t understand what love is. So, let’s look at the passage she was using. Please read 1 John 4:8, 16. Now read 1 John 4:7-20 (You’re welcome to read more, but this will give us the correct context of the passage.)

Does this passage define love as ‘not sending people to hell?’ No. This passage shows us what love is, as defined by the one who made love – God.  It is talking about the love that should exist between believers because of God’s love for them. (4:11-12) It is describing how God manifested his love to us or showed his love to us. “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (4:9-10) God’s love shows us that, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we don’t have to go to hell for our sins. Context is important.

Here’s another example: “Why are you pointing my sin out to me?” You’re a Christian. The Bible says you’re not supposed to judge people, (Matt. 7:1), so don’t judge me.”

Read Matthew 7:1 and then read Matthew 7:1-5. Yes, the Gospel of Matthew does say, “Do not judge”, but that is not all it says. Jesus teaches us that judging someone else (removing the speck from their eye) while we have sin (plank in our eye) is hypocritical. (vs. 5) Jesus tells us that how we judge someone else (thereby assuming we will) is how we in turn will be judged (vs.2). The point here is the way we judge someone else – do it without hypocrisy. Context is important.

To prepare us for our homework, let us look again briefly at Philemon. Read it through once more and while you read, notice if any questions come to mind. Do you wonder who Apphia and Archippus are? Do you wonder how Paul and Onesimus met? Did they meet before prison? Just how old is Paul? Are there questions that the text answers for you?

Use this same idea for this week’s homework.  

Day 1 – read Philippians 1:12-26. Think of five questions that come to mind while reading these verses. Write them down. Can you answer any of them from the text?

Day 2 – re-read Philippians 1:12-26. Think of five more (different) questions. Write them down. Can you answer any of them from the text? Can you think of more than five more?

Day 3 – re-read Philippians 1:12-26. Are there any questions that you can think of? Look at all the questions you have written down so far. Choose any five for class next week, and I’ll tell you what five I found.

Day 4 – Write down what you think the main point of Philippians 1:12-26 is, and we’ll go over it this next week.

That’s it ladies!

Thank you for another week together. Thank you, Becky!

Let us live this coming week in light of what James tells us. “My dear brothers [sisters], take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” (Jas. 1:19-21)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

Your sister, Eileen




Related Posts:
 

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Spanish For Children -a Review-

 22.10.10




I am thankful to the folks at Classical Academic Press for giving me the opportunity to review their Spanish for Children program.

As a teacher of Spanish 1 and 2 at Veritas Scholars Academy, I was intrigued about the Spanish for Children program. How good it is? How well prepared will the grammar students using this program be for high school Spanish?  I am a Spanish native speaker, and as you can probably imagine, I love to teach my students beautiful pronunciation; so I also wondered about the DVD's and CD; is the pronunciation clear and accurate?  Let me now tell you what I found.

Spanish for Children is a program recommended for upper grammar students (4th grade and up); their basic bundle includes the Student's Primer, the Teacher's Primer (answer key), four DVD and one CD, and a Spanish Language Reader, Tin Bot.

Spanish for Children 1 covers 37 weekly chapters which follow a very good and logic sequence. Starting from the -ar, -er and -ir verbs it covers about 142 verbs; about 150 nouns with gender and number,  adjectives and prepositions; starting to build on a new language in upper grammar stage with this great foundation is just an incredible way to start with the right foot!

Spanish for Children is Classically and Creatively taught, with lots of reviews, exercises and fun phrases that will put Spanish in context. It is a thorough program that will certainly prepare students in an incredible way for Spanish in high school, because it not only teaches isolated vocabulary but grammar structure, which is essential to be able to speak a new language; something that we want our Spanish students to be able to do.

I would say that if  Mom or Dad do not speak Spanish, they would definitely need to get the DVD set.  Believe me (I don't make money if you buy it), it is important to have the children's ear trained into listening good Spanish and Mrs. Julia Kraut does a great job; her pronunciation is clear and beautiful. The DVDs do more than teaching good pronunciation, they are a great help into understanding the lessons in-depth.  Mrs. Kraut explains every lesson in a very engaging way, and it is fun to listen to her class; it is not boring or tiresome. She starts each lesson chanting the weekly grammar chart, followed by an introduction to the new lesson, there are images accompanying the new list of verbs and vocabulary and then she goes on to explain the grammar concepts, always encouraging the students to practice what they have learned "even with their Teddy Bear". I really appreciated that she continually shares her experience with the Spanish language and different cultural aspects surrounding it, because as I always tell my students, learning a new foreign language is not only about learning the language but understanding the culture. If you don't get the DVDs you will certainly miss this part which I consider very important.

If students are diligent in studying the lessons every day and watching the  DVDs, I would dare to say that they would excel in learning Spanish even before reaching high school!

Classical Academic Press also offers many free on line resources to help students practice what they are learning, such as virtual flashcards, games, and readers. There is also a sample schedule ready for Mom to download and start planing the course. Mrs. Kraut has a blog where you can post your questions and read some more fun facts about Spanish and some teaching tips that the author likes to share.

In all, I highly recommend this program to all those families interested in introducing their children to the beautiful world of Spanish.

Giving your children the opportunity to learn a new language from an early age is a gift that not every one is willing to give because of the difficulties of teaching it, but this program definitely makes the task easier and really fun.







For more information visit Classical Academic Press



You can also find them on Facebook, where they have an active conversation with their followers.


Related posts from here and my former blog:

Classical Education and Memorization
More than Copy Work
Why Classical Languages Matter
Teaching the Word of God to our Children

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The Holiness of God -Chapter 2-

 21.10.10



We are reading at Challies the book The Holiness of God by Sproul  today we are conversing about chapter 2; Holy, Holy, Holy.

Here is where my thoughts find their place.

Isaiah's calling started with  an encounter with the Holy One. An encounter in a real moment. A life changing moment: A man and His Holy creator meeting alone. Once God called Isaiah, he  couldn't resist the calling. The man couldn't say no to such irresistible grace, he did not have a choice. "The call was sovereign" says Sproul, and I just nod as I read, I think on how The Holy One called me. Who can say no to the Sovereign One? Who thinks that we actually have the power to choose to come to him or not?

To come before the Holy One is to see your sinfulness. Isaiah cried "Woe to me!" And before the Holy, Holy, Holy God, he knew he was "guilty, guilty, guilty"

But once the Holy One calls us, we come and we meet Grace.

And what else can we long for once we have been called to Him but to see His face?

"[Isaiah] had heard the voice of God speaking to him out of the burning bush. He had witnessed the river turned into blood. He had tasted manna from heaven and had gazed upon the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. He had seen the chariots of Pharaoh inundated by the waves of the Red Sea. Still he was not satisfied. He wanted more. He craved the ultimate spiritual experience. he inquired of the Lord on the mountain, "Let me see your face. Show me your glory". The  request was denied..."

Exodus 33:19-23, tells us that Isaiah was only allowed to see God's back, never His face and Sproul reminds us that even by just gazing at His back, Isaiah's face was so radiant that people were terrified when they saw him.

How then, after reading this, I still long to see His face?

Sproul explains what I could not:

"The final goal of every Christian is to be allowed to see what was denied to Moses. We want to see Him face-to-face. we want to bask in the radiant glory of His divine countenance. It was the hope of every Jew, a hope instilled in the most famous and beloved benediction of Israel: 'The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace' " (Num. 6:24-26)

This hope, crystallized in the benediction of Israel, becomes more than a hope for the Christian-it becomes a promise..."

We shall see Him as He is. (I John 3:2)


Yes... 

WE SHALL 

SEE HIM

AS HE IS.


One day, if He has called us into His family we will SEE HIM!

What a promise!

What a joy!

Not only His back, but His face!

Not to find a judge but a Father.

Today we are still in a sinful body, we are abiding in a dark world, we are still defiled.

"None of us in this world is pure in heart. It is our impurity that prevents us from seeing God. The problem is not with our eyes; it is with our hearts. Only after we are purified and totally sanctified in heaven will we have the capacity to gaze upon Him face-to-face"

I just loved how Sproul says, that we are to be like Isaiah, who "measured himself by the ultimate standard" and the moment he did so "he was destroyed -morally and spiritually annihilate. He was undone. He came apart. His sense of integrity collapsed"

This is where I see Grace, the Holy One, the only Holy, Holy, Holy God calls us sinners into his presence, we meet with Him alone, we are undone. And just when we see our sinful nature, just when we come apart before Him, He washes our sins away and give us the gift of repentance, and promises us that one day, soon, we will see Him face- to-face.

Under his sun and by His Grace,





The Holiness of God - Chapter Three- The Fearful Mystery-

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Related Posts:

The Holiness of God Chapter One.
God's Sovereignty in the Gospel of Luke
In Silence
Woven


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From My Homeschool to Yours -Your Home Aroma-

 20.10.10


My dear friends, as some of you know, I am privileged to teach in the best on line Classical school and I am blessed to count among my friends beautiful ladies such as Julie Etter, who also teaches in this school. She is a great friend of mine, and has agreed to come and be my guest blogger today. 

Thank you, Julie!






This school year is quite a busy one for me. In addition to homeschooling my children, I have picked up teaching 4 classes of a History Survey and Transition class for an online Classical school. The class is going so well and I am enjoying all of studying that I am getting to do. In the past I have only had 1 class. With the increase in students, I have noticed an alarming pattern. After my friend, Becky, noticed the same pattern in her classes, she asked that I write a post about it. We are seeing the disturbing trend of laziness in the student’s work ethic.  Even more disturbing than that, I am also seeing it in some parents. I think we all know of the stereo-type of homeschoolers being unable to meet a deadline or having a lazy attitude about school work in general. I have always defended this. But, friends, it is something I can no longer ignore. Now, let me say, I have many hard working students. But, I have seen the inability to keep deadlines and complete quality work in enough students to become concerned.

I truly believe that our work ethic is tied to the condition of our hearts. God speaks of laziness many times in His Word. It is never in a positive light.  I believe that training our children that it is acceptable to not meet deadlines, or to turn in substandard work is training them that laziness is acceptable.

I plan to spend some time posting some tips that I have found helpful in helping to train a child who is not quite motivated to get the school work done.  However, in the mean time, please enjoy this blog post which I wrote a while back.


Homeschooling is a way of life. I really believe this is true, because if you try to separate it from every other part of your life, you are going to fail somewhere. It is just not possible to live two separate lives and be perfect at both. Actually, you are not going to be perfect anyway, and you will fail at times. Maybe I should say I believe it is difficult to function and be productive if you try to separate it. When someone spends time with us they will detect a certain aroma. It may be stinky or lovely. It does not take very long for others to decide what this aroma is. The aroma could be anything from chaos to stringency, or productivity to laziness. As believers, first we must produce an aroma which shows that Christ lives within us. This will be very evident to anyone who spends time in your home. Sometimes you can even just step in the door and tell. This aroma really envelops everything you do as a family. 

What does this have to do with homeschooling? 
 
You can not develop this lovely aroma by having family devotions, praying, loving one another, and then being completely lazy about your home-schooling. I am afraid it all comes as a package. Have you ever had this really good smell going in your home and then there is this nasty diaper or something else awful? It does not matter at that point how many candles you have been burning or pies you have been baking all day. It just really stinks now. Now you have to revamp and work a little to eliminate the awful smell. It is the same thing with your schooling. You cannot fool everyone by having this great aroma of Christ in your home, but completely nasty one in your schooling. The bad smell always wins over the good one. And it takes a little work to change things around. We all have different ways to achieve a wonderful smell in our homes. I love to burn candles and am pretty much a candle snob. I have one or two that I love and really do not use any others. There are others who use spray. Others love to just open their windows and air the place out. That does not work here in the midst of all of the farm land. Anyway, there are so many different ways to achieve a good aroma. We may all have different strategies to help us pull off a great homeschooling aroma. The point is, all areas of our lives are intertwined. Do not think you can take this one area and separate from all the others. It just does not work. Your home will have an aroma. Is it pleasant or not?


Julie. 

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Related posts :

More than Copy Work
Greek Myths and Homemaking
Classical Education and Memorization

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The Fruit of Her Hands -Part Two-

 19.10.10



When the lights go off, I open my book to read, and I think of my day and in all the areas I need to grow more into my Lord's likeness.

Pondering about His holiness, studying Philippians and tasting sweet drops of honey from this book, have me writing a lot on my journal.

How can you be a great wife and mother?

Nancy stated it clearly, we need to be "good Christian women"; and how can you be such a "good Christian woman" if you haven't met a Holy God in the quietness? "How can I meet Him, the Holy One, and not be crushed"? you might say; it is only through Jesus Christ, through His saving power that we can come confidently before Him and find grace.

And Paul says,

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4: 4-7 ESV


What a joy! Through Jesus, we can come and meet the Holy One and  pray and pour our heart in prayer and supplication at His feet, only to find peace; a perfect peace that is able to guard our hearts and minds in Christ, while we pursue our calling: being the good woman God wants us to be.


Chapter 3. Respect


"Let the wife see that she respects her husband" Eph. 5:33


Respect, is a verb, we  need to "do respect". Four words that the author emphasizes in her definition of the word are:

1. honor
2. esteem
3. deference
4. courtesy

In this chapter Nancy teaches that respect to our own husband is a command from God; and she points through out the pages, different practical ways on how we can show respect for our husband.

What about a "respect letter"? Yes, this is different than a "love letter", it involves more. It says more, it builds more.

Respect involves lots of things that can be done. It is more than a nice feeling towards our husband.

"Do not share your husband's weaknesses, problems, blunders, sins, poor decisions, or failings with anyone. It is disrespect if you do. He is not perfect, we all know that. But when you share unwisely, it does two things: it causes you to disrespect him more, and it causes the hearers to think less of him, too. Sharing problems is totally unproductive unless you are talking to someone ina position to help you. (i.e., your pastor)."

The author reminds us that if we have sinned by not being respectful we need to repent before the Lord, ask our husband for his forgiveness and then we will be ready to  "take concrete steps to respect and build up our husband"

Nancy goes on to explain to us how 1 Peter 3: 5-6  can be applied in a day to day basis,

"For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,  as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."

Four things we must note  as on how to "adorn" ourselves:

1. We are to trust God (v.5)
2. We are to be submissive to our own husbands (v.5)
3. Do good (v.6)
4. Be unafraid (v6)

For the sake of space and time I won't talk about each one of these (I encourage you again to get the book and read it all, believe me, it is worth doing it!) but one if the things that stand out for me is this: Trust God.

Here is where doctrines found us "in the kitchen", if we say we believe in God's Sovereignty, then we must not complain or have a critical spirit against our husband.
 
Nancy says it well,

"Trust in God is a great protection from fear because we see God in complete control of our lives. The more a woman studies the Word and comes to understand God's character, the easier it becomes to trust in Him. Submission frees a woman from many fears if it is rendered in an atmosphere of faith and trust in God"


Ephesians 5:33b says,

"let the wife see that she respects her husband."

Again, we are reminded that respecting our husband is one of the holy duties we have before the Lord. We are to examine ourselves, these questions are good starting points:  Am I respecting my husband on the way I talk to him and on the way I talk about him? 

"Remember that respect and submission are not what your husband requires of you, but what God requires of you"



Being respectful covers different areas of our lives including our finances. On this, I will share some of Nancy's words:

"When you are tempted to criticize your husband (and you will be), when you want very much to 'let him have it', pray for love--'Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins"(Prov. 10:12). Turn to the Lord for comfort, strength, silence!"

Some times being respectful means being quiet, and this last part of the chapter is addressed to women who are married to an unbeliever or a man who does not lead his family in a godly manner.

"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—" 1 Peter 3:1-3

 Quoting the author:

""Flaunting your spirituality is not being quiet. ("I hope he sees that at least I am reading my Bible, even if he isn't") What he needs to see is your sweet and courteous attitude, not how many books you are reading or how many prayer meetings you attend each week. Leave the results to God...You are to be obedient  to God regardless of the results."



Chapter 4.  Principles and Methods

OK, I now I took a lot of space and time to write about  the previous chapter, so I will use few words to talk about this one.

"A Christian woman must learn to think biblically; she must derive her basic principles of living from God's Word... if we learn to think like Christians, we can discern between worldly and Christian principles"

Not so hard right? Just abide in the Word!

In this chapter I learned that I should NOT criticize (even in my heart) what methods this friend or that family follow; what matters is the principle behind the method, and not the method per se.


"We ought to rejoice in a common commitment to biblical principles and in a variety of methods God's people employ"

How true is this!

We tend to judge our fellow brothers and sisters (or children and husband) on how they like to do things and we get mad and are hard on them... we should not. Methods are not God's principles.


Let His grace abound as we grow in our Christian life.






Get the book at Monergism


The Fruit of Her Hands- Part One - My comments are found here.

Nancy Wilson blogs at Femina

If you know someone who speaks Spanish invite them to join the conversation around this book at  Delicias A Tu Diestra Para Siempre. My friend Faby, is our guest blogger and she is a joy to be around.

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Who is Becky?

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Becky
If I am happy it is because of God! God, in His sovereign grace, has called me out of darkness into His Admirable light. He has opened my eyes and has shown me the way to Eternal Life. He has set my feet on a journey, and now I am walking Daily on My Way to Heaven. I did not find Jesus, He found me. I did not seek Him, yet He called me. I did not love Him, yet He loved me. I deserved death and He gave me Life. This is the place where I keep a journal of my life under His sun and by His grace!
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Borrowed Words

"It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven... to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?"

Jonathan Edwards

"I am still pondering God's greatness in His creation. I have so many questions that I would like to ask the Lord about the universe, creation, the fall of man... But when I'm in heaven, I wonder if I will even remember them. At that time, being in the presence of God will be enough. I'm thankful that I can look forward to that day."

-Persis

“Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”

- Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart



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