Monthly Archives: June 2006

Short Answer To A Long Calvinist Question.

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The question was: Where in the bible do people find the doctrines of free will?

To start I want to qualify that this is a blog.  It's not a treatise and therefore it is not a comprehensive argument. This is a short answer to a very involved topic. I am aware of what the Bible teaches on this and can defend it well, but that would take pages upon pages of defense.

I would say that the doctrines of Pelagianism and Arminianism have their basis and foundation in the human heart, not the Bible. Obviously this was an issue even during the forming of the new testament church – otherwise there would have been little need for the epistle to  the Romans (specifically chapter 9). Humans have always wanted autonomy (complete control of their destiny, being a law unto themself, etc) – hence the fall of man. In the last hundred and fifty years the church has blurred the distinction between autonomy and free will- I would argue that most of the followers of Pelagian-related thinking have always blurred that distinction. We have always had free will, but never autonomy. When I say free will, I mean a limited free will, but free nonetheless. The bible describes us as dead in trespasses and sins (not sick or dying, but dead) It also uses terms such as “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.” “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” We have free will to sin (and only sin, since the fall of man), and we do sin when we are outside of God. But as Christians, He has chosen us, made us alive, given us a new heart (not a refurbished old one) made us a new creature, etc.  God has given us the ability to not sin…to please Him as it were. So our free will has been expanded. It is the same struggle that man has been in since the fall: he wants to be autonomous, to be in control, to be God. But man is not God. So the doctrines of Arminianism are in our hearts, not really in the Bible. Pelagianism/Arminianism uses the premise that God would never give us a command that we were unable to fulfill. Everyone in the Bible is commanded to repent and so it is assumed (with Pelagian-ism and Arminian-ism) that everyone can if they so “choose”. The Bible says that everyone is commanded to repent, but is expressly clear throughout that you can’t repent unless God enables you to do so – we only love God because He has loved us first. God is sovereign, He is in control of everything-expressly in our salvation. If it were not so, he would not be God. If God’s will could be trumped by man’s will (and He is not ultimately in control) then how could we believe and trust that His promises will come to pass?

 

That said a couple of the verses that are commonly taken out of context to support the Arminian view are Matthew 23:37 and I Timothy 2:3-4.  I will attempt at a later date to expound on these and other verses a bit more.  I hope this has been helpful – please feel free to write if you have any questions about what I wrote.

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Tagged again!

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Tagged

I was tagged today by GenaMayo; Here are the questions:

 

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, and find line 4.

  “Oh yes, I can” From McGuffey's Pictorial Eclectic Primer

 

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What can you touch? 
   Juliette


 

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV? 
    Don't have TV, just a dvd player.  We watched Nanny McPhee – twas cute.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is. 
    8:49pm

 

5. Now look at the clock. What is the actual time? 
    8:52 pm – three minutes off, pretty good I must say!


6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear? 
  My husband testing our new “wisdom worker” on his own leg, and occasionally saying “ow!”  Also Juliette cooing – I should probably put her to bed, but she's being cute and happy.

 

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing? 
    About 7:45 pm -taking out the garbage as I do each evening at approximately the same time.

 

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at? 
    some cloth napkins on ebay, so I can quit buying paper ones.

 

9. What are you wearing? 
    a khaki skort thingy with a navy blue shortsleeved top, and some rather comfy flip flop slippers.

 

10. Did you dream last night? 
    Yes, I do believe so, but I don't remember about what.

 

11. When did you last laugh? 
    A few minutes ago as I was listening to Matt test out our “wisdom workers” (affectionately known by our girls as owie-sticks)!

 

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in? 
    Yellow flowered wallpaper from eons ago, Big antique-ish maps of the US and world, the wall chart of world history, a really cute set of alphabet cards, and the TATRAS phonogram chart (it's our school room, could you tell?)


13. Seen anything weird lately? Yes, on the movie last night, there was one character who was a pretty homely woman.  We realized later that “she” had quite the big adam's apple – I think it was really a man playing a woman.  I guess that's par for our culture, but I find it very weird (and an abomination, of course!)
  .

 

14. What do you think of this quiz? 
    Well, I'm still currently stumped trying to think of what I've seen lately that's weird to answer the above question – I'm sure there's something!

15. What is the last film or video you saw? 
    oh, technically I answered this above – it was Nanny McPhee.


16. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy? 

    Hmmm, a country – just kidding.  Maybe adopt some more kids, buy a lovely home outright so NO more mortgage, Matt says a first generation camaro (personally I'd go for a Karmann Ghia or horse, but hey, we all have our preferences). Oh, maybe my own ballet barre too.  I'm sure we'd do some much more philanthropic things, too, but I'm feeling silly tonight (probably the result of watching Matt test out our owie sticks on his leg)

17. Tell me something about you that I do not know. 
   Well, you probably don't know too much about me, since we've never met.  Actually, I'm pretty long-winded in my blog, so maybe you do.  I have been to Hawaii about seven times (my grandparents used to live there) and that's where I was married to Matt!

 

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do? 
     Make it a distinctly Christian world.  And make adoption way cheaper.

 

19. Do you like to dance? 
   Oh yes, but Matt says it looks rather like a full-body convulsion when I do.  My kids like it though.  Actually, I like ballet – Matt does say I look graceful doing that.  And I want to learn Irish dance.  Actually, pretty much any music you put on makes me want to dance.

 

20. Comment to George Bush: 
   This isn't very creative, but I'd probably say “It's an honor to meet you, sir”

 

21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her? 

Well, she was and we named her Isabelle Autumn

 

22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him? 
Thomas Jackson – that's what Matt says.

 

23. Would you ever consider living abroad? 
  Oh, I'd LOVE to – but Matt says no.  Thus, I LOVE to live here! 

 

24. What do you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gate? 
    Well done my good and faithful servant.

 

25. 5 people who must also do this quiz on THEIR blog (if they so desire and have the time):

mamaduso, karenw, tryoneverything, bbullard, mylittlewomen

 

Accountability And Sanctification

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“. . .Yet she will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith and love and holiness with self-control.” I Timothy 2:14-15

 

While I won't pretend to understand all that this verse means, I do think I've come to understand it a bit more lately!  In the days before marriage and little ones, I usually had an accountability partner – a girlfriend from church with whom I would pray, study the Word and share my particular struggles with sin.  For the last five years, Matt has been my wonderful accountability and guidance, and I am so thankful for him!  But what really amazes me is how much accountability (and conviction!) comes from my little girls.  Oh, they don't usually realize they're doing it, of course, but motherhood is one of the most humbling and “educational” things I've ever experienced!  I suppose this is how God intends it, and I must say the conviction it brings does more to humble me than verbalizing my struggles to a friend (not that there's not a place for that, of course – we should all sharpen one another as iron does iron!)

 

Somehow the things I am struggling with come out in my children.  Even when I think my struggles are inward (poor attitude, not having a merry heart, not feeling submissive), I still see the same things in my children!  Take for example a grumpy attitude.  I was not feeling especially chipper this morning, in part due to a lack of sleep lately with feverish children (not that that excuses it, but it does help explain it, I suppose.)  All morning, I felt like I was rebuking or disciplining my children for complaining and poor attitudes!  Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite for rebuking them for the same things I am struggling with, but that is the position God has placed me in as their mother.  While I do need to continue to faithfully rebuke them, it is always such a poignant reminder to me that I need to repent of these sins myself! Often (like this morning) this means I ask forgiveness from my children for being a poor example to them in this area, and having a grumpy heart myself.

 

How often I rebuke my daughter for “arguing” instead of obeying cheerfully (I put arguing in quotes because she “argues” SO politely that it usually takes me a minute to realize that she's not obeying my words), when I do the very same thing to my husband!  Of course I am to provide wise counsel to Matt, but I will admit there are many times that I continue to “attempt to provide counsel” after he has very clearly decided, and it just may not be what I would have chosen.  Thankfully, he gives me so much grace – far more than I deserve!

 

Another little example: I was talking to one of my children today about the importance of coming when I call her, and not ignoring my voice till it seems convenient.  Then after the girls were in bed, Matt called to me (when I was right in the middle of something that seemed so important at the time), and what did I do?  I waited until it was convenient for me to go to him!  Doh!

 

One great reflection of my speech is watching my daughters talk to one another or to their dollies.  Are they speaking kindly to eachother?  Are they “disciplining” their dollies with grace, or harshly?  I can usually gauge how I'm doing with discipline when I see them model it in play.  What accountability!

 

It really never ceases to astound me how often the sins of my children on a given day are the very same sins I am struggling with “inwardly”.  Yet I am thankful for this, for I know God uses it for my sanctification.  As much as it may be humbling, and even feel discouraging at times, I think I would be far more discouraged if there ever came a day when I no longer felt conviction for my harsh words, poor attitudes or lack of submission. And even on those days where I feel like I'm making so little progress toward becoming Christ-like, I know that it is at least a forward motion, however slow it may seem, for “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6.  For that I am so grateful.  Thanks be to our faithful God for loving me enough to discipline me as His child, even through the means of my own children!

 

PS:  a couple of pictures

 

Hannah is convinced the inside of her shirt is actually a “pocket” for her “tissue-rag” (otherwise known as a handkerchief/baby washcloth)  I will say it's handy that she often has one in there!

 

 

Isabelle (who has NEVER liked coloring, drawing, etc) just decided a couple of days ago that she now likes to draw and color and she sat down and colored this princess over the

course of a couple days.

 

 

Homeschool Contingency Plans

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I've been thinking much about schooling lately, and am starting to plan out our first somewhat *official* school year (pre-k, but I still get excited!).  Don't get me wrong, I'm not making lesson plans with text books, or anything.  But I have a huge stack of great read alouds, some fun historical dolly dresses for Isabelle to dress her dolls like the girl we're reading about, a simple phonics plan and some little readers from Veritas and a few other places (for Belle to read on her own if she learns this year).  Belle and I are also going to go through “Drawing With Children” together in her alone time.  The girls are so excited about the school drawer, because I let them just look at the covers of all the books, but then put them away.  Let's just say they can't wait for Autumn!  And I'm with them.  Since I was a little girl, I always loved Autumn, and the start of school.  That anticipation was part of what helped us decide to primarily homeschool in a “traditional” year, keeping summers pretty light.  It will make it so exciting every year!  There was a line in a movie I heard once that gave me the same thought:  something about loving Autumn because of the smell of bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils in the air.

 

In planning, though, I'm also finding myself thinking about future schooling years with all the girls (and whatever other little ones God sends our way!).  We are planning to school in a classical style with Teaching The Trivium as our framework.  We love the classical model (as well as the Bluedorns' advice for using it in a Christian homeschool), and think it will work really well in our family.  We've always loved reading aloud, and that will be such a large portion of educating around here.  But I also know the classical style is pretty academically rigorous, especially, I would imagine, in the later years.   I've known many other homeschool families who came to a point of burnout and ended up using schooling options they never wanted for their children in the first place.  In wanting to avoid this, while I do plan ahead, I also make a bit of a “contingency plan” which consists of sort of the bare minimum I'd want to do (not so much this year, as I'm not worried about “accomplishing” much at these ages – just thinking for the future).  Or even a different style of educating which I think will still fit our family and accomplish our most important goals, while not being quite as intense.  For example, I love classical education, but I also like many of the tenets of the Charlotte Mason style, and while we will use some of them regardless, I suppose it's also sort of my backup model if I get to feeling overwhelmed!  Anyway, just some thoughts on having good backup plans, instead of ending up overwhelmed and not knowing what to do!

 

Three more little random things:

1.  I had such a hard time finding “safety” scissors for Hannah, and she really wants to cut paper (but is a little clutzy like mom!), so we found a great solution for us.  The patterned scrapbooking scissors work perfectly for her – while not the easiest to cut with, they're also very difficult for her to get hurt with.  She loves them!

2.  I love having a king size bed.  It's big to me, so I know it must seem HUGE to the girls (especially as there's a weird platform thing on our bedroom floor, so it's about 3 or 4 feet tall!).  It's so nice for days like today when the girls aren't feeling well and we can all just snuggle up there and read (with room for a couple of toys, too).

3.  I made up some “story CD's” for Isabelle of her favorite stories (using Matt's voice recorder from work), which she absolutely loves!  But she's had a hard time remembering which buttons to push to pause, rewind, etc (and it's not easy to describe when I'm covered in soapy water at the sink!).  So I borrowed a tip from Kendra at preschoolersandpeace and put stickers above the buttons she needs (with two stickers on the “back” button to remind her she has to push it twice). Now, she will probably remember them herself, but if not, it's so much easier to just say, “push the pink button, honey”!

Oh Well . . .

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I was planning on writing a fabulous entry tonight!  But, it's way too late, and I need to get some sleep.  So instead I've settled for switching out the picture up top (to an old one, but one of my favorites!), and once again saying I love these bloomers – aren't they cute?  Oh, their dresses aren't that short – the girls are holding them up a bit for me 🙂

 

In Regards To Music…..

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Here are a couple of quick clarifications I thought I would make in regards to my posts on music, and also answers to a couple of questions people have asked, about Christian music we do like, and such.

 

I am not trying to say that there are no good Christian artists out there. Please understand that I am making a broad generalization when I am critiquing the industry and the music that they put out. Therefore, I don't think the particularized examples negate the majority. I am aware that there are “diamonds in the rough” in the modern Christian music industry.  I will even grant that most folks in the Christian music industry are quite talented to some degree or another-(good guitar players, jazz musicians, classical musicians, vocalist etc)-1,000 times more talented than myself. But unfortunately they are ensnared by shallow, feel-good theology and their music expresses that very clearly. Instead of honoring God by revealing who He really is, they (broad brush strokes and generalization here) play trite cheesy music. I'm not even saying that the cheesy ones are doing it with malice. I know there are many talented people out there trying to glorify God, I wanted to emphasize that we should not have to filter through a bucket of stones to find a few grains of sand. This post was mainly to point out that there needs to be change. It won’t happen quickly (as most Americans want a quick 12 step fix to a problem) and it won't happen without hard work. We are training our children. I am asking us to repent of our modern churches sin of abdication and teach our children to glorify God in music by revealing His glorious nature and put Him in the place of preeminence. Lets knock the secularists out of their seats by honoring the God of Scripture and revealing who He really is.

 

In the modern evangelical mindset we so desperately want to be like the world, but with the condiment of God added to our lives like salt or pepper is to corn. This should not be! We are a new creature in Christ. Christianity is not something to be added to an already existing life; it is a new life. By thinking like the world we imitate the world in a second rate way, making a vain attempt to win the world over to Christ on their terms and by their standards. If the world has Worlds Gym tee shirts, we have to have Gods Gym tee shirts….If the world has immodest tight clothes that say “hottie” across the area of a young girl that we need not be focusing on, we have to have the same thing with “God's princess” across it…..and somehow that makes all the difference. Instead of teaching our children that our God is Holy (and that can be very dangerous to sinful people) we cartoon Him up and make Him nice and friendly like a big puffy ball of cotton to everyone. We blur the distinction between Christianity and secular culture and end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We need a DISTINCTLY Christian culture to SHOW the secularist that there is something to repent from. We demonstrate to them how to repent by owning our sins and repenting ourselves.

 

This is how the majority of modern day Christians think. If it were not the case you would not see the FLOOD of that type of marketing in Christian bookstores. I am calling for a repentance, an owning of the sin as it were. Recognize that the majority of what we are doing is not pleasing to God. We just need to say, these are MY people too and I am grieved that WE are doing this.  Lord help us to repent and to teach our children how to glorify you in music, clothes, books, marriage, daily living, diaper changing, disciplining, playing, mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, eating dinner, learning to read etc. Let us show the secularists how to repent and live before our God.

 

We live in a community where there are hundreds of young children who are being brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  By God’s grace there is going to be a resurgence of placing Christ in preeminence where He belongs.

 

I thank all of you for taking the time to write me and post various comments. I enjoy talking with people and expressing similar as well as differing views. This is how we grow. This is how we learn…..iron sharpens iron. I am not the authority on music or Christendom by any stretch of the imagination and I admit that I have plenty to learn. I am struggling through all this myself.

 

FYI:

For your kids you could try “Hymns for a Kids heart #1 and #2, and Passion Hymns for a kids heart. These are books with an attached CD that has Joni-Eareckson-Tada and Bobbie Wolgemuth singing with children. They are classic hymns sung by children (with harmony) and Joni and Bobbie – No twaddle-.

 

Someone asked if we've found any scripture songs we like, and we have a couple.  We like the series just called “Scripture Songs” – it's pretty folksy, but just pure scripture.  It's in King James, which isn't the version we usually read, but makes it wonderfully easy for my wife and the kids to memorize scripture.  We also have a couple of Steve Green's Hide Em in Your Heart cds, which are just scripture, too, with little intros to each verse (that you can skip pretty easily). 

Bedtime Thoughts

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Quite honestly, I'm writing this because I really wanted to post this little poem I love that's been cracking me up lately.  It's from the Holly Pond Hill Child's Book Of Bedtime Prayers – although it's not a prayer at all, so I don't know why! I do love the little Holly Pond Hill books (one of the few “mainstream” Christian books I like nowadays – they have sweet poems, blessings, prayers and scriptures) and they're fun to sing the words to, instead of read sometimes.

 

Anyway, as a preface to the poem, and in case anyone here in blogville is interested, here are some of our thoughts on bedtime that we like in our little family (they might be in a random order, I'm pretty tired today!):

 

Our girls have always (within reason) slept at the same times as one another – naps and nights.  This allows me some project time or downtime during the day, time alone with Matt in the evening, and allows for those “special” times that we let one daughter stay up late!  People have always said we're lucky they do this, but it's really not luck at all – just training!  One trick is you have to be able to wake them up (either in the morning or after a nap) at the right time to ensure they'll be ready for bed for the next time.  Though now that I have four munchkins so young, I have “scheduled” myself out of a nap or time with all four asleep.  I find that I enjoy a little alone time with Juliette when the other girls are sleeping, so she gets up to eat after Isabelle goes down.  It's just working better for now . . .

 

Since they were babies, we've always put the girls down awake and let them fall asleep on their own.  We do rock and sing to them before bed quite often (or of course to comfort them if they're sick or had a nightmare or something), we just don't rock them to sleep.  This has always been a blessing, as going to sleep has never really been a difficulty for them.  The rules are (for the older girls): no talking (though they now are allowed to pray in a whisper voice if they desire, and they're doing well with this), and stay laying down happily till they fall asleep.  We've never let them fuss about bedtime, and though they've occasionally needed discipline for this, it hasn't been too often since they were used to it from infancy.  Now that Isabelle doesn't need quite as much sleep as her little sisters, she stays up a bit later and folds laundry with me, and then she can take a book to bed, to read if she's not sleepy (though she's never actually stayed awake!).

 

Our girls have never been attached to a comfort object (except little babies with paci's, though I go back and forth on this!).  I can't say that's from anything we've really done intentionally, but it is nice to not be tied to something.  I think they're more attached to the routine than anything else. Here's our routine:

 

Family worship is usually before bed (or before nap on this current schedule)

Everyone potties who uses the potty, and I change the two littlest girls' diapers.

Daddy blesses Naomi (I usually do too), I sing her bedtime song (we invented one for her) and we tuck her in.  She likes to snuggle any piece of fabric she can get her hands on, so any blanket works!  She still talks to herself and wiggles around a bit – soon I'll probably teach her to go to sleep more quietly (though I'm not sure it will matter since she often talks at full volume in her sleep .)

 

Isabelle and Hannah share a room now – We have tons of rooms here, but we'll probably still have all the girls share once they're all sleeping through the night and going to sleep quietly and such.  They enjoy it, and when they do go to sleep alone (like Hannah does at nap before Belle comes to bed), they usually ask if their “sister-friend” will be coming to bed soon!  Anyway, Daddy blesses both girls, and so do I (it started out as a daddy thing, but now the girls like both of us to bless them, and they bless their dollies when they put them down.), we tuck them in, kisses and hugs, turn on their Scripture Songs CD, and shut the door.  They each are usually allowed to sleep with one book, one bear and one hanky (in case of runny noses). When Hannah goes to nap by herself, I usually sing her “Edelweiss” – did I spell that right? The most important part is the blessing, and them being used to laying quietly, so they can *usually* go to sleep anywhere, without their bear for example.

 

The biggest difficulty we've probably ever run into with bedtimes is that one of our daughters is a total perfectionist, so she has a rough time if anything is askew (I mean really, if one corner of her blanket is not laid straight, she'll totally stress!)  While we do typically keep things just so, so as to bless our daughter, life is not always perfectly how we want it to be! So for training's sake, there are some days that we'll mix up the routine slightly, or let the blanket be a little crooked to help her learn to deal gracefully with change.  Then if it's not met with cheerful submission, she'll lose the priviledge of a book or something like that for the nap.

 

With babies, I think it's helpful to put them into a different bed or crib to sleep occasionally, so they won't be too attached to their own.  I think I forgot to do this with one of our's, and as I recall it was more difficult to put her to bed at a friend's house.

 

Last night Hannah had a fever, so I brought her in our bed so I'd know if she got too hot.  She's SUCH a wiggler – you should have seen how contorted she managed to get herself!  In her sleep, I think she was managing to kick me and Matt on opposite sides of the bed at the same time!

 

Lastly, they do stay in their bed until we get them up.   They can talk or sing quietly or quietly say “mommy, I'm awake” (we have a moniter so I'll hear them, and hopefully they won't wake their sissies up).  Except for Isabelle – she's allowed to get up and go potty, then she goes back to her bed and reads till I get her up. 

 

Ok, my favorite part, here's the silly poem.  I think it must describe what really goes on in kids' minds, especially in the summer when it's still so light at bedtime.  We always have fun reading this and “acting it out”:

 

Goodnight and Goodnight,

Goodnight, if you please

All I need is some water,

A kiss and a squeeze

All I need is some honey

Some milk and some pie

And to talk while we rock

And a long lullaby

Did I mention some hugs –

Just a hundred or so

And a back scratch

A head scratch

And tickle my toe

So good night and good night

May I have some cake?

How can you be so tired

When I’m wide awake?

 

I think a pillow fight should be in there somewhere, though … 🙂