Praise God for his provision. Somebody who needed to dump a host of pallets stocked us up on kindling for the winter. Another man who needed to get ride of a downed tree , blessed us with fire wood. A women who desperatly needed to find a home for 30 chickens , filled our coop wth eggs and meat for who knows how long....Praise God for his mercy toward us.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Our hot water heater stopped working several months ago. We had already stopped using the hot water as much. We decided to stop using it all together, at least for a little. Since then it has sparked some interesting ideas. I know a man who used to be a missionary in Bolivia. After returning to the states his refrigerator stopped working. He was quickly troubled and, as i remember the story going, he did not have much in the way of extra funds at that point in time. After considering ways to deal with this dilemma he was comforted by remembering that he lived without a refrigerator before for quite some time. As i have considered this story i think it is very telling for the society we live in. We have made these modern conveniences (washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator, car, lawnmower,etc...) into absolute necessities. Of course, it certainly is not wrong to utilize these things especially if these things help to further the Kingdom of God. But what i am talking about is the fact that we as Christians in America have forgotten or never learned how to "be content with food and raiment." We have turned these usfull tools and conveniences into things we just cannot go very long without. Recently, i was told about the pioneers. We tend to glorify their lives in modern America, and think of them as heros paving the way. But these guys and families were rugged and they smelled bad. I was told they planned months in advance for their trips into the nearest trading post. They bought soap and flour and other such things and they rationed them diligently. If they ran out of something too early they dealt with it until the next trip. What a blessing it must have been to see that bar of soap after a month without it. Can you imagine how thankful to God these people must have been just for their very existence. Can you imagine the relief of the children of Isreal when they entered into the promised land and their enemies were vanquished. But it says that God suffered them to hunger in the wilderness. He let them depend on Him. He stripped them down, and sometimes all they had was their miraculous (wax not old) clothing, the hope of this strange food to fall from the sky and their God to guide them. Sounds hard. But how thankful would you be if you were then fortunate enough to enter into the rest your God planned for your people. Sometimes God might just suffer us to hunger in some areas (if we let him) just so we can truly appreciate the good things He is going to bring us. Some might say this is too much, but we are going without fixing our water heater this winter. We like the pioneers are planning ahead for when we need hot water and heating it mostly on our wood stove. It has been challenging at times and inconvenient at others. But it is good for me and my family to have just a little taste of perspective. Much of the rest of the world does not have water on demand much less hot water. We may fix the water heater at some point, but for now we will go without this luxury and pray that it does a good work in us; preparing our hearts with a perspective for the coming of of Lord Jesus. We sure appreciate hot water more these days. We would challenge you. Examine your life. What is needful? What does the rest of the world (third world countries) say is needful? What are you truly greatful for? What do you take for granted? I am not asking every Christian to throw our their laundry machine. But what if you went a week without it and washed by hand? Or what if you went without your car for a weekend? What if you did not use your water heater a month this summer? Use this experience to break the power of worldly comforts in your life and to trust more fully in the Comforter. Then, you can use the saved money to even bless the poor, or to make scripture signs. This can be part of following the pure religion James talked about, in keeping yourself unspotted from the world, and caring for the needy. May the love and grace of God guide us into all truth.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Why, on the day of gladness, do we neither cover our door-posts with laurels, nor intrude upon the day with lamps?It is a proper thing, at the call of a public festivity, to dress your house up like some new brothel. However, in the matter of this homage to a lesser majesty, in reference to which we are accused of a lower sacrilege, because we do not celebrate along with you the holidays of the Caesars in a manner forbidden alike by modesty, decency, and purity,- in truth they have been established rather as affording opportunities for licentiousness than from any worthy motive. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 44
Yes, and persons who are now daily brought to light as confederates or approvers of these crimes and treasons, the still remnant gleanings after a vintage of traitors, with what verdant and branching laurels they clad their door-posts, with what lofty and brilliant lamps they smoked their porches… arts which, as made known by the angels who sinned, and forbidden by God, Christians do not even make use of in their own affairs. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg.44
What less of defilement does he recur on that ground, than a business brings which, both nominally and virtually, is consecrated publicly to an idol?… New-year's gifts likewise must be caught at, and the Septimontium kept; and all the presents of Midwinter and the feast of Dear Kinsmanship must be exacted; the schools must be wreathed with flowers; the flamens' wives and the aediles sacrifice; the school is honored on the appointed holy-days. The same thing takes place on an idol's birthday; every pomp of the devil is frequented. Who will think that these things are befitting to a Christian master, unless it be he who shall think them suitable likewise to one who is not a master?Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 66
"Then," do you say, "the lamps before my doors, and the laurels on my posts are an honor to God?" They are there of course, not because they are an honor to God, but to him who is honor in God's stead by ceremonial observances of that kind, so far as is manifest, saving the religious performance, which is in secret appertaining to demons. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 70
Let, therefore, them who have no light, light their lamps daily; let them over whom the fires of hell are imminent, affix to their posts, laurels doomed presently to burn: to them the testimonies of darkness and the omens of their penalties are suitable. You are a light of the world, and a tree ever green. If you have renounced temples, make not your own gate a temple. I have said too little. If you have renounced stews, clothe not your own house with the appearance of a new brothel. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 71
But as for you, you are a foreigner in this world, a citizen of Jerusalem, the city above. Our citizenship, the apostle says, is in heaven. You have your own registers, your own calendar; you have nothing to do with the joys of the world; nay, you are called to the very opposite, for "the world shall rejoice, but you shall mourn." Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg.101
It would follow as a consequence that we might take part in public feasts, if it were proved that the public feasts had nothing wrong in them, and were grounded upon true views of the character of God, so that they resulted naturally from a devout service of God. If, however, the so-called public festivals can in no way be shown to accord with the service of God, but may on the contrary be proved to have been devised by men when occasion offered to commemorate some human events, or to set forth certain qualities of water or earth, or the fruits of the earth,- in that case, it is clear that those who wish to offer an enlightened worship to the Divine Being will act according to sound reason, and not take part in the public feasts. Origen (A.D. 248) Ante-Nicene Fathers