Wednesday, April 30, 2008

By Rule and Square

In celebration of a favorite annual Reins family event, I have a poem that depicts the character of our patriarchal birthday boy: for he is truly, "by rule and square."

Which Am I?

I watched them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in a busy town,
With a ho-heave-ho and a lusty yell,
They swung a beam and a side wall fell.

I asked the foreman, "Are these men skilled?
And the men you'd hire if you had to build?"
He gave a laugh and said, "No, indeed!
Just common labor is all I need."

"I can easily wreck in a day or two
What builders have taken a year to do."
And I thought to myself as I went my way,
Which of these have I tried to play?

Am I a builder who works with care,
Measuring life by the rule and square?
Am I shaping my deeds to a well-made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker who walks the town,
Content with the labor of tearing down?

Bappy Hirthday Dad.
Awaiting molten chocolate madness...
The old standby, the knife-through-the-head-trick passes the time.
Our order of "4 dirty suckers" arrives
(otherwise known as chlorinated water.)

Until next year!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Patman can't fly after all...Ouch that hurt!

Patman and Robyn
Just wanted to drop a quick note and ask for prayers. Pat Martin fell off a roof today and dislocated his shoulder when he tried to grab on with one hand to keep from falling. The bushes below broke his fall. ( I thought that only happened in the movies?) He was able to get a ride from the home owner for whom he was working to a quickcare facility to see a doctor about his broken batwing. Dad and Mom are heading over to pick him up from the doctor and give him a lift back home. Pat and Robyn have an 8 month old batboy at home. Robyn is a stay-at-home mom. Prayers would be much appreciated.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Effects of Charity

Amy Russell – Caucasian, doctor’s wife, mother of two – sat down at the mall one day to tend the baby in her arms. The newborn was African-American, and Amy was already accustomed to the sidelong glances, the occasional rude stares and the bold questions from strangers.
On this day, she was feeding the baby when an African-American woman sat down nearby. The newcomer watched Amy for a bit, then asked, “Where’d you get that baby?”
“From God,” Amy responded.
“Well, why’d He give ’im to you?”
Amy explained that she and her ophthalmologist-husband Randy were caring for the child until his parents either decided to be mom and dad or to place the child for adoption. The woman continued to try to comprehend the situation.
“But he’s black,” she said, still puzzled.
“Yes, ma’am.”
“And you’re white!”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Well, why do you do that?”
“Well, God doesn’t see color, and we don’t think we should see color either.”
The lady was quiet for a moment, then went on to ask:
“Then why are we always fighting?”
“I have no idea, ma’am.”
Amy’s new friend soon rose to go, then turned back, leaned over, gave Amy a hug and whispered, “Thank you.”
Randy and Amy Russell indeed believe God is color blind. The baby in the story above is one of 92 they have cared for since 1995. The great majority have been of another color or of mixed race.
Why do they do it? Because there’s an urgent need for Christian interim parents. (The Russells said that today, the term interim parent is replacing the earlier foster parent.) Most of the infants they parent are just as she told her friend at the mall, waiting for parents (often single moms) to do one of two things – decide if they’re prepared for parenthood or place the child for adoption. In the latter case, the Russells are committed to keep the child until adoptive parents are located. The average stay of a baby in their Oxford, Mississippi, home is seven to eight weeks.
“We were already pro-life Christians in 1995,” Randy said. “We supported pro-life causes and belonged to pro-life groups. But we felt God was calling us to do more.” They saw a newspaper article that talked about Catholic Charities and the need for interim parents for newborns, usually short-term care.
As they began investigating the possibilities, they prayed and quickly knew God was leading them to apply, and soon they were hosting their first newborn, a child awaiting adoptive parents.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sew Modest

Many times Andrea and I have received the question where do you find modest clothes. There isn't really one place we go. We are more or less always on the look out rather. What we keep in mind more predominately is the styles and ensembles we'd like to put together. And so when that special piece shows up while we are out and about we pick it up and add to the collection of separates that haven't anything to go with them. It's genius. Eventually an outfit does come together.

Other than that we sew. In the beginning serious planning and scheming was put to use when we invested in sewing an outfit. But more or less our casual way of shopping is creeping into this realm as well. We pick up a pattern here, a pattern there, some fabric at this sale and that sale.

Today in the mail we received the above patterns. They were an eBay purchase all from one seller, birwin9. She's got a neat little store and it's easy to shop with a search engine just for her store. Bobbye offers patterns sales and great shipping prices. She offers to stuff up to nine pattern in one flat rate box and ship them to you for $4.05. Her pattern prices are low and so it costs about as much as one of those $1 pattern sales at Joann's since you aren't driving all the way to the store.

I asked Bobbye if she purposely carried modest patterns and her answer was "Yes, that is intentional."

Pictured above: Butterick 3766, McCall's 2803, 3065, 3254, 8791

Also, we recommend Butterick 6715. It's one of our favorite blouse patterns. What can we say we are addicted to ruffles?

So I thought I'd let you all know since you been asking. Enjoy!

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Gardener With A Biblical Worldview

This week I have been listening to Dr. Greg Bahnsen's first apologetics series, "Defending the Christian Worldview from All Opposition." Dr. Bahnsen was a seasoned vet and well studied in the field of apologetics and so has some rich insights into what it's like to debate and instruct those with errant worldviews.

There has been helpful instruction about philosophy, logic, facts and faith. It's exhaustive or at least I think it is. What does one do when confronted with a errant worldview? What is the presuppositional approach to apologetics? How do you go about your apologetic argument, discussion or debate? There have been so many rich nuggets in my listening that finally prompted a late night energetic discussion which started like many others between Andrea and I. Sisterly pillow talk. But before we knew it, it was down to the kitchen for midnight cookies and milk and to continue our excited and energetic talk. Why so excited? It all has to do with our hopes for the future. How it will all come together and the Providences that we hope to see.
So this morning started later than usual. I went straight to the computer like I normally do and Andrea went to tend her gardens. A couple hours later up she came with more cookies and milk and stories to tell about what turned out to be a very interesting morning in light of our recent conversations.

And so unfolds the story of,

"The Gardener With a Biblical Worldview"
A Tale from the Secret Southern Sect of the Reformed Christian Spy Ring.

Be suspicious!

Up pulled a car and out stepped two conservatively dressed older women. They proceed up the walk and to the door of Liberty's* home across the street and knock and call out her name with the cheeriest of tones.

But there's no answer.

A quick look around back and the find noone and so they turn to leave with shoulders sagging, defeated. Until they spy a gardener across the street. Fresh blood....(sorry, I couldn't help it)

The gardener is minding her own business, or at least is pretending to, and pokes around in her garden beds as the ladies approach her. "Has anybody talked to you about God lately?"

"Yes. My dad." Andrea* replies.

Mrs. JW*, one of the visitors, is undaunted and continues on in her cheery voice and canned approach while the other* remains an onlooker, "What do you think when you hear the word...Armageddon?" (In spite of Mrs. JW's cheery tones that envoke memories of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood "Won't you be my neighbor?" her question is supposed to invoke feelings of uncertainty, so please insert overtones of curious yet slightly spooky sounding music.)

"End times movies? (Eeeert! The music comes to a screeching halt. How can you not laugh at that?) While this was indeed an honest answer, Mrs. JW doesn't see the joke in it.

Next, Mrs. JW presents her Watch Tower magazines and continues in a long drawn out memorized speech about what is really going to happen in the end times. (music with uncertain tones begins playing again but slightly lower this time) She is using fear tactics...just like Bahnsen said she would.

"Did you ever think that we were living in the last days?" She continues with her procedural approach while scanning the face of her convertee for traces that fear of the coming persecution and catastrophic earthquakes is starting to take hold and she is begining her journey of enlightenment. But no.

"No." Andrea replies, "The scripture talks about a 1000 generations that will occur before the return of Christ and so how long is a generation?" Andrea does not wait for an answer, "That would be close to 34,000 years to go still." So, no sweat in other words.

It would be dramatically climactic at this point if Mrs. JW and her sidekick shrieked in horror and with pained looks said, "What! You mean we have to take dominion over this mess?" But that isn't how it went in real life.

Mrs. JW again does what Bahnsen said she will do. She is older and wiser and so attempts to Lord her aged wisdom over Andrea and politely correct an apparent oversight in her calculation of generations. But she never makes a good counterpoint in spite of the fact that her cousin is 13 years older than her and by the time Mrs. JW is done calculating, there is still 7,000 years to be lived out.

So she does what Bahnsen said she will do. She sweeps her fumble under the rug in order to hide it and moves on. And the gardener is unshaken by Mrs. JW's unbiblical facts. There is more to this philosophy of hers however and so she continues.

Andrea looks over her shoulder as she thinks that she hears a bell ring signifying the beginning of round three. But no, it was just an early spring cardinal on the back fence.

"If Adam and Eve had not sinned we would still be in paradise." An interesting thought and what appears to Andrea to be a new angle. The Blame Game. Blame, blame, bah-blame banana fana fo fame, me mi mo mame and Bla-ame-0 was his name-o

Editor's interlude #1: The blame game is not actually part of Bahnsen's teaching or part of a reformed Christian's apologetic arsenal and so your opponant will not join the sing-a-long. Also, the reader must ask herself, "How thick is the JW training manual?" If this happens, turn here and if that, turn there.

This appears to Andrea to be a new maneuver for sure and she wonders if Mrs. JW is concerned about the depravity of man and their sin that is seperating them from God. But without responding, Andrea muses about the garden she is trying to tend, while she looks down at her green silicone bracelet with the acronym W.W.P.B.S. stamped in it and wonders, "What Would Pastor Bacon Say?" Okay, that part of the story isn't totally true, but here is a good article in response to this statement of Mrs. JW and you can also look forward to Pastor Bacon's series beginning this Lord's Day on Revelation. ( Not to be confused with revelations)

Mrs. JW refers to her magazine for scripture. Revelation 21:4, Isaiah 33:24 and 1 Corinthians 15:26 all talk about Christ overcoming the evil foe of death. Then she says, "Do you think that the government can accomplish that?" (It's the presidents fault again?) Mrs. JW doesn't stop there, "But I like to think about happy things." It is at this point that the reader will see that the JW manual apparently recommends using the "My God is a Santa Claus" approach, "My God will give you your happiness." First trap them with fear, then throw some bate in cage called comfort...but why isn't Andrea taking the bate and sobbing out words of gratitude towards Mrs. JW for bringing a salvation message? Let us return to our heroine.

Mrs. JW waxes elequent as she draws to a close, "In the last days perilous time will come, men will be lovers of themselves, blasphemers, everything is going to go all to h-e-double-hocky-sticks! Watch Out!" 2 Timothy 3:1-5 paraphrased

But the gardener shruggs, "That's always been that way."

"Have you ever seen people, not in your denomination of course, but people that call themselves Christians and don't live like it? The bible is inspired Word of God. The whole thing must be obeyed and salvation from all of this is only through Christ. He is the only way!"

The cultic nonsense based on emotionalism is shallow and untrue. The sales pitch isn't working like it should. Mrs.JW tries once more and asks her what Andrea thinks about their view of the end times.

"I am a postmillenialist."

"Oh, I have never heard of that."

After a brief description of the postmillenial position, the gardener asks Mrs. JW if she has ever read Foxes Book of Martyrs and recommends it heartily.

A spy's work is never done and Andrea quizzes them as to whether they really knew Liberty. (You see we don't know Liberty* or her husband Brian* all that well. They are a pleasant young couple in the neighborhood that just had their first child and Liberty is staying at home while Brian goes out to slay the financial dragon. So we sorta have this curiously since women don't do that anymore.)

"No, they really didn't now her," and are glad to leave their magazines. They don't change their worldview in spite of the biblical facts Andrea presented them, just like Dr. Bahnsen said they wouldn't. (Did I say that already?) Then they leave.

Editor's interlude #1: We realize that at this point some workers in the field may be clutching their chests and screaming "heart attack!" because we have gone about it with little skill. But our point of view is, "find a sinner and practice on them." The more you practice the better you will get at being able to give account 1 Peter 3:15

And we realize that evangelising the lost is a serious calling. It is serious to us and that is why we have embarked on a study of biblical apologetics and are attempting to put it to practice. But as we have just cracked the books, so to speak, on this reformed approach to winning the lost, we are newbies. But exuberantly so (Romans 1:6) and on this exciting new precarious journey it is difficult to suppress our giddiness, for we have so long gone about it the wrong way. Also, there is a fresh batch of popcorn in the lobby if anyone is interested. Sit back, relax and watch what happens next. (I wish I had something good to say)

Andrea becomes more curious than ever when she sees that Liberty has yet another visitor that has just arrived in a truck with a load of grain buckets and what have you.

She checks her spy cam to see if the battery has life left and walks across the street to make conversation, but before she can begin Liberty confesses, "I owe you for that. I was hiding from them." Conclusion, Liberty is not a Jehovah's Witness.

But Liberty's delivery says LDS all over it, literally, and thus enters onto the scene a third worldview.

Andrea starts a conversation with Liberty's friend with a question about grain grinders, speaking about a common interest. (Wouldn't Dale Carnegie be proud?) It helped that she received a question recently regarding which grinder is best.

A dry spot in the conversation emerges when Liberty's friend turns her back on Andrea and completely ignores her friendly converstional questions. Andrea doesn't have her spy field guide with her or else she would have known that chapter 9 secton 8 article 5 says what to do when the convertee is rude. And so she concludes her talk with Liberty and says, "Goodbye."

The End.

Perhaps future installments will contain news of a victory in the war of the worldviews, but until then...

We have to quip at this point. The Mormons are afraid of the JW's and the JW's are afraid of the Christians. It's becomes incredibly tempting to want to shout a real "boo" and tell them both that we are Amway distributors and envoke visions of us hounding them until Christ returns or until they buy products! But then that wouldn't help much while trying to win the war of worldviews, now would it.

*names have not been changed because no one here is innocent.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Time For A Yearly Reminder

We just experienced what I would consider a summer day yesterday, and the topic of "a pool in our back yard" which never comes up otherwise, was discussed. Every year we say, "we'll get one" and, "Doesn't it sound pleasant."

Signs of summer are showing up everywhere. Why just today at the grocery store...
What could possible be happening here?
A clever hat alteration...and then on the cooler isle we saw these.

...we did a double take. Makes you wonder if it's a hoax. I looked the box once over for an explanation but they gave none. Gelatin we reasoned. Because I couldn't read the fine print. I'm Blind!

But back to the point, the point is that it is time for a yearly reminder for, as well as an introduction to, the idea of modest swimwear for anyone new on the scene this year. Summer is coming.

Stacy McDonald has done a wonderful job already putting together a post, "The Empress Has No Clothes!" that is thorough and perfectly to the point, so we are going to point y'all in that direction this year. She advises:

"Yes, summer is quickly approaching. Many Christians are beginning to discuss and reevaluate their thinking regarding whether one should wear clothes or glorified underwear when swimming publicly."

"...there are certainly more reasons than that for not walking around in public practically naked. Scott Brown, in his article, Why I am Against Bikini Clad Girls and Bare Chested Boys Swimming in My Lake, wrote the following:"Over the last hundred years, we have had, as Jeff Pollard has said, 'The public undressing of America.' What was illegal in clothing 100 years ago, and would cause your arrest, is now popular and accepted everywhere — even in churches."

· 1890’s: Swimwear was modified street clothing

· 1910: Arms were exposed

· 1920: You would be arrested if you appeared in a modest 21st century bathing suit

· 1920’s: Legs and backs were exposed

· 1930’s: Cleavage was exposed and men began to swim bare chested

· 1935: Two piece bathing suits appeared with a small break between upper and lower half

·1940’s: New fabrics appeared which hugged the body

· 1960’s: Navels were exposed

"Today: Anything goes... One piece suits with fabrics like skin that really leaves nothing to the imagination and bikinis of various categories prevail as normal.

"Today, the fashions are so pervasively broadcast over every media outlet that everyone dresses the same when they swim. Movies and TV have so popularized nakedness, that if you challenge it, you are not thought of as being very accepting. In fact, if you do cover your body it seems odd."

Jeff Pollard says it this way, 'Fashion designers have used swimwear to undress America.' Who can deny this? It is as obvious as a fly on your nose."So it is time to shout it out with perfect clarity: The empress has no clothes! For the last two generations we have been told that swimwear is about fashion. They say, Fashion is neutral. Don’t criticize fashion, it is only fashion. No! It is public nakedness."

Read the rest here.

As an additional note. Yes, Andrea and I have these suits. Yes, all the young ladies of our church have these suits. Yes, you can have a perfectly fun time swimming with the other gals (while the boys are gone) while wearing these suits.

Also if you are a tall size and Wholesome Wear's sizes aren't long enough in the torso, you can make your own suit. Andrea did just that by combining a couple of sewing patterns. While she was at it, she made her skirt length longer, extending the hemline to mid calf rather than knee length. Funny thing is, when we swim, I feel immodest in my knee length swim dress because of her calf length swim dress. I'm thinking of adding a ruffle to the bottom of mine! ;o)

Friday, April 18, 2008

April's Garden In Pictures

Lolita and the Geraniums (kinda sounds like a singing group)
Strawberry beauties!
Primrose. Harvest the microscopic seeds and squeeze the juice out of them and what do you have? Primrose oil and a lot of work on your hands.
whateveritscalled herb. It's mine and I don't recall the name. Oh, chamomile, duh.

The Garlicshire woods.

Grapes. Don't eat too fast, there's plenty for everyone.

Sweet William

Rose climbers on the trellis

Beans, don't forget beans...
Peppermint, commonly mistaken by those that can't smell for basil.

Dad's cactus garden.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Corrie Ten Boom On Selfishness

Corrie Ten Boom found repentance of selfishness in a time when most would consider even the smallest bit of it justifiable. She found it one winter while withstanding the harshness of the concentration camp Ravensbruck. Here is an excerpt from the audio book as she puts it.

"And as the cold increased, so did the special temptation of concentration camp life. The temptation to think of only one's self. It took a thousand cunning forms. I quickly discovered that when I maneuvered our way toward the middle of the formation, we had a little protection from the wind. I knew this was self-centered. When Betsy and I stood in the center, someone else had to stand on the edge. How easy it was to give it other names.

'I was acting only for Betsy's sake.' 'We were in an important ministry and must keep well.' 'It was colder in Poland than in Holland. These Polish women probably were not feeling the chill the way we were.'

Selfishness had a life of it's own. As I watched Mein's bag of yeast compound disappear, I began taking it from beneath the straw (bedding) only after lights out when others would not see and ask for some. Wasn't Betsy's health more important? 'You see God she can do so much more for them. Remember that house after the war?' And even if it wasn't right, it wasn't so very wrong was it? Not wrong like sadism and murder and the other monstrous evils we saw in Ravensbruck every day. Oh this was the great ploy of Satan in that kingdom of his. To display such blatant evil, that one could almost believe one's own secret sins didn't matter.

The cancer spread. The second week in December every occupant of barracks 28 was issued an extra blanket. The next day a large group of evacuees arrived from Czechoslovakia. One of them asigned to our platform had no blanket at all and Betsy insisted that we give her one of ours. So that evening I lent her a blanket, but I didn't give it to her. In my heart I held on to the right to that blanket. Was it coincidence that joy and power imperceptibly drained from my ministy? My prayers took on a mechanical ring. Even bible reading was dull and lifeless. Betsy tried to take over for me, but her cough made reading aloud impossible.

And so I struggled on with worship and teaching that had ceased to be real. Until one drizzly raw afternoon, when just enough light came through the window to read by, I came to Paul's account of his thorn in the flesh. Three times, he said, he had begged God to take away his weakness, whatever it was, and each time God had said, 'Rely on me.' At last Paul concluded, the words seemed to leap from the page, that his very weakness was something to give thanks for. Because now, Paul knew that none of the wonders and miracles which followed his ministry, could be due to his own virtues; it was all Christ's strength, never Paul's.

And there it was. The truth blazed like sunlight in barrack's 28. The real sin I had been commiting, was not that of inching towards the center of a platoon because I as cold, the real sin lay in thinking that any power to help and transform came from me. Of course it was not my wholeness, but Christ's that made the difference. The short winter day was fading. I could no longer seperate the words on the page. And so I closed the Bible and to that group of women clustering close, I told the truth about myself. My self-centeredness, my stinginess, my lack of love. That night, real joy returned to my worship."

A Courageous Mama Says No To Abortion

From The Virginian-Pilot© April 14, 2008
By Connie Sage

"Tricia has cystic fibrosis, an inherited chronic disease that primarily affects the lungs. While other CF women have had babies and lung transplants, "it's usually years apart, not weeks," Zaas said.

A year ago, Tricia's cystic fibrosis had worsened to the point that she was eligible for a lung transplant.

But in September, the day before she and her husband, Nathan, were to leave for a month of pre-transplant physical therapy at Duke, they learned she was pregnant.

Not only was she temporarily ineligible for a lung transplant, her doctors told her there was a good chance that neither she nor her baby would survive the pregnancy. They recommended an abortion.

"She had end stages of cystic fibrosis and the changes of pregnancy put a large demand on her body as sick as she was," Zaas said, "We told her it was a serious risk."

But Tricia had been praying for a "miracle baby," Nate said. "It was a matter of do we trust God? We need to leave it up to him. That was our decision."
Two days after Christmas and after more than three months of physical therapy at Duke, Tricia was admitted to the hospital. She was transferred to Duke's intensive care unit on Jan. 3.

As she grew weaker, the transplant team put her on a ventilator, hoping to give the baby more time to grow.

When her vital signs dropped precariously, doctors decided to do an emergency C-section, Nate said.

"Do you want us to save Tricia or the baby?" Nate remembered the doctors asking before the surgery.

The answer was easy.

Do everything you can to save my wife and baby, he told them.

Both pulled through, but Zaas said the medical team knew it would be an uphill battle for both mother and child.

Because Nate is not a CF gene carrier, their baby does not have the disease.

Gwyneth Rose was so small at her Jan. 8 birth that she was considered a "micro-preemie" and placed in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Amazed at her size, Nate took off his wedding band, gently slipped it over his newborn daughter's wrist and found that he could glide the ring to her shoulder.

For nine days after Gwyneth's birth, Tricia lay in a medically induced coma, unaware that she had a daughter, he said.

"The two people who are the most important in my life were literally in the same medical state," he said. "Both were on ventilators, both on feeding tubes, both plugged into monitors."

Tricia's lung transplant team said it likely would be three months after she gave birth before she was strong enough to receive new lungs.

She started lifting weights and walking. Six weeks later, still on a ventilator, Tricia was back on the list for a double lung transplant.

Only 2 percent of all lung transplant patients have had the surgery while on a ventilator, Zaas said.

On the morning of April 2 - Nate's 27th birthday - Tricia learned of a suitable donor. That night, Duke's lung transplant team began operating, completing the surgery nine hours later.

Tricia has not rejected the new lungs, and her transplant team is cautiously optimistic.

"She was much sicker than the average lung transplant patient, but she's doing as well as can be expected," Zaas said.

Baby Gwyneth has had laser eye surgery, but her organs are developing well, her father said.
Last week, for the first time, Tricia held her daughter.

Read the article in it's entirety here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Christian Love & Conversations with a Prostitute.

It is a joy to share the gospel. I am not the type that walks the streets with tracts but now and again there is what I see as a Divine arrangement and it is my place to witness and share the gospel.

Some hear, some don't. There is a temptation to say that perhaps method of delivery is the problem, while I acknowledge that we are to reflect Christ's love, I have seen people saved when hell fire was preached at them and I have seen people saved when the gospel was served on a silver platter hostess twinkie style. I think this is an excellent reminder that salvation is a work of God and the result of his grace imputed in one's life.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" John 10:27

As expected there can be persecution because some do not hear. There is still a rewarding joy that comes with sharing God's truth. I suspect it's because when I share with others, I hear it again myself and it's a reminder of the gospel I love and the work the author of it did for me.

Recently I had the opportunity to share God's truth and his word with a prostitute that is apparently named Lena. While I see absolutely no sign of contrition in her after having heard the gospel, I was able to witness the power of the gospel shut up the mouth of the wicked. The Word divides. And while it's our hope that the lost will come to be saved and regenerate, there is an explanation as to why it is the way it is sometimes. Here's an excerpt from:

A Treatise of "Christian Love" with an extract form "The Sinner's Sanctuary" by Hugh Binning.

"And so, as long as the love of God may go before, the love of man should follow;and whatever doth not untie the bond of divine affection ought not to loose the know of that love which is linked with it. When the uniting of souls together divides both from God, then, indeed, an only then, must this knot be untied, that the other may be kept fast."

" But this beautiful and comely frame of man is marred. Sin has cut in pieces that divine love that knit man to God; and the dissolving of this has loosed that link of human society, love to our neighbor. And now all is rents, rags, and distractions and inordinate affections, which is the poison of enmity, and seed of all discord."

"If the love of God and the love of one another had kept the throne, there had been a co-ordination and co-working of all men in all their actions, for God's glory and the common good of man. But now, self-love having enthroned itself, every man is for himself, and strives by all means, to make a concurrence of all things to his own interest and designs"

"The first principle of love would have made all men's actions and courses flow into one ocean of divine glory and mutual edification' so that there could not have been any disturbance or jarring amongst them, all flowing into one common end. But self-love has turned all the channels backward toward itself; and this is its wretched aim and endeavour, in which it wearies itself and discomposes the world, to wind and turn in every thing, and to make, in the end, a general affluence of the streams into its own bosom; this is the seed of all division and confusion which is among men. While every man makes himself the centre, it cannot be otherwise than that all the lines and draughts of en's courses must thwart and cross each other."

"Now, the Lord Jesus having redeemed lost man and repaired his ruins, makes up this breach, especially restoring this fundamental ordinance of our creation and uniting men again to God and to one another. Therefore he is our peace; he hath removed the seeds of discord between God and man, and between man and man. And this is the subject of that divine epistle which the beloved apostle, full of that divine love, did pen. 'God is love. In this was manifested the love of God...that God sent his only begotten Son into the world'; 'Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God'; 'We love him, because be loved us first'; 'God so loved us, we ought also to love one another' (1 John 4)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Marriage An Idol ~ Another Perspective.

We've all been there before.

For me, I'm usually on the computer when it happens. I'm writing a groundbreaking narrative, full of earth-shattering subject matter, and I've gotten to the juiciest bit. As my fingers fly over the keyboard for those next fateful words...


And I sigh. I have to get up and leave, often never to come back for hours, maybe even days. Some days, I hear my name so many times from my siblings and my parents that I quip, "That's it! My name is Karen! If anybody needs anything, say 'Karen,' because I'm tried of hearing 'Jasmine!'" :)

And then I think, Oh, Lord! I can't wait 'till I have my own home. These people are driving me nuts!

Because of my convictions about godly womanhood, my motives for marriage have been questioned. Is it right for one so young to be so "preoccupied" with such a state? Am I making marriage an idol?

Personally, I believe a desire for marriage is right and good, completely normative within the biblical and cultural paradigm. But I do think, for a lot of young women, marriage does become an idol. And I don't just mean the desire for the beautiful, intimate state that mirrors that of Christ and the church, or the longing to raise godly children for God's glory, or the passion for impacting culture. I mean that marriage becomes an idol in a quest for something better than what God's already offered us.

Thanks Jasmine for your insights. Read the rest here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

We've been tagged...twice.

Well, we normally aren't the "tag playing type" but since we were tagged twice recently, we thought that perhaps we'd play along this time.

Only we are changing the rules. In honor of April Fool's Day, it will be a gullibility test, a game of sorts, rather than being singularly an informative post. As there are two of us, rather than giving the required six very unimportant but perhaps interesting things, we'll ask you true or false questions about us.

Game rules are as follows:
Please leave your answers in the comment form for this post. The person with the highest accuracy wins a prize. A free dinner! Contest rules stipulate that you have to come here to get it and travel expenses are not included in game winnings.

1. Kelly can't smell 85% of the time. True

2. Andrea was born with the left half of her head covered with brown hair and the right half of her head covered with black hair. True

3. When Kelly gets hay fever, she only gets it on the left side of her head. True (mostly unless they are real bad)

4. Andrea doesn't have a driver's license. False

5. Kelly was kept in a cage as a child. False

6. Andrea won a blue ribbon with our family's green bean casserole recipe in 1987 youth cook contest at the Columbia County Fair. False. Andrea wouldn't touch green beans or fish for that matter if her life depended on it.

7. Kelly is ambidextrous sometimes. True.

8. Andrea sings amazing grace in her sleep. False

9. Kelly and Andrea were proposed to by the same individual in the same year. True. It was Gator when he was 5

10. Andrea had a hereditary condition called trigger finger. True

11. Kelly and Andrea have hunted deer, elk, bear, pheasant, duck, cougar, sheep, bobcat, squirrels, zebra, Kudu, Wildebeest, Gemsbok / Oryx, Impala, and Warthogs. False

12. Kelly was scouted as an Olympic hopeful. True. She was in the fourth grade and a gymnist.

13. Andrea is proficient is calculus. Ha ha ha ha False