Monday, June 14, 2010


Ok... I'm still SOOO way behind on blogging about everything... I believe I'm a whole chapter behind. But I don't want to lose this one in the shuffle. I don't know that I'll go back to all the others.... So here we land. Ephesians 5:3--But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you as is proper among saints.

Purity has been a big deal to me for a long time. Not that I'm perfect at it... far from it. I've struggled in multiple ways too. Just to briefly share my 'story' concerning purity I'll start in my teen years. I went to a pretty conservative, cuollot (how do you even spell that?!) wearing, non 'rock' music listening, KJV only type of church growing up. Despite those things, it really was a good church that loved the Lord, it was just a bit hung up on a few of those things. We went to a camp that also taught the same way and I remember one speaker sharing several times how that he and his wife didn't kiss until their wedding. Now coming from the source it came from, I thought the guy was nuts! At this point I think I was probably in Jr. High. I had had one 'boyfriend' in elementary school and hadn't dated since.... so I was kissless.

In early high school I got hooked on a book series called the "Christy Miller Series" by Robin Jones Gunn. In it there is a Christian couple that had chosen not to kiss until their wedding day. Same information, new source. I made the same commitment. I was a little older and wiser... probably 9th grade and still kissless. I knew that I desired to honor God and stay pure and I saw that as the ultimate act of purity. I wouldn't even venture into the arena of sex. Looking back, that was the best decision of my life! Not that it kept me from every bit of sin, but wow, did it protect me from a lot.

Over the years I watched my Christian friends date, and I knew that many if not all of them were 'making out.' I really didn't think a whole lot about it being sinful, but I was glad that I wasn't doing it. I knew my heart and I knew that I'd desire more than just a kiss or even kissing if I went there, so I was glad to stay away. It was protection from at least the physical sin. It was kind of a big deal at my high school too. I was the girl that wouldn't kiss. Then I went to Bible College and it was just as much of a novelty, which looking back breaks my heart. Purity at a Bible college should be the norm, not the exception. Sadly, I fear that it was very much an exception, at least among my peer group. I was still labeled the girl that didn't kiss and even had one guy date me with bets as to how long it would take him to get me to kiss him! Praise the Lord that I never did and he eventually moved on to someone that would.

Then, after 6 years of college and grad school at the ripe old age of 23, I got married and got my first kiss (with many to follow!!). I've NEVER regretted that decision. More than anything else I chose to do in my life, I'm so thankful for that one. After I got married I started reading more about purity and studying it from a Biblical perspective and realized that while I didn't understand the heart motives behind my decision at the time, it protected me so much from sin. And don't get me wrong I struggled. I wanted to be kissed. I craved attention from guys, among other sinful desires of my heart, but I'm quite sure that it would have been much worse had I been making out with a guy through all of that.

Why I'm sharing all of this I don't know except that this passage calls believers to another standard. Sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness should not be a part of our lives. When I teach unmarried girls about purity I ask them to think through kissing and making out with a guy that's not their husband... are we being 'holy' at that time as 1 Thess calls us to be? I can't fathom it! So why do we think it's ok as long as we're not having 'sex'? Would you want your married husband kissing another girl? No! So why do we do it before we're married? I don't get it. Where did we get that idea? I'm not going into much detail here and I hope I'm not sounding harsh, but somewhere along the line we aren't getting taught well in this area and it's causing so many brothers and sisters in Christ to stumble before marriage leading them to more struggles after marriage when God calls us to purity.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I admit it. My brain is in some kind of a summer mode right now. It. Does. Not. Want. To. Work. At anything... much less my disciplines of being in the Word. I spend my time in the Word at work right now. Is it ok to publish that on the world wide web? I have the luxury of a job that allows that I guess and it just works best for the wisest use of my time on most days. I tend to get my 'work' done quickly, but need to remain in my place of employment for the hours required of me and find that reading the word and good books at work is better than TV Watching on Hulu (which I also do way too much of). In fact I have two more days staring me in the face with, more than likely, plenty of free time to use wisely and I'm trying to figure out what would be the best use of my time and what I can bring with me to accomplish here... instead of staring at the new iPhone4 and lusting.

I had originally titled this post Chapter 4 Update and Catch Up. But I think I'll save that for tomorrow... or at least a post later today. Right now I just feel like sharing my heart. God has been really, really good to us lately. Chris has started this new job, for which we are immensely thankful for a variety of reasons. It also came to my attention (through Chris) that apparently there were SEVERAL applicants for his position. And they interviewed SEVERAL of those applicants. And in the end they chose Chris. Now, I know why. He's an amazing, talented guy. He'll be great in this type of position. I'm saying all that to brag on him. He was chosen from many interviewers because he's awesome:) And we're so thankful that God blessed us in this way. It hasn't been without it's challenges though. We still have just the one car and it's been fairly challenging getting him, our Little man, and myself all the places we need to go in a day. Like here in a few minutes I have to leave work to exchange the car with Chris, who is currently working at the location on north Glenstone and Kearney, all the way across town. Annoying, but necessary. And I think I'm annoying my bosses... which I hate. Hopefully it will come to an end though. And this process is a necessary evil. We have to have Chris' income to save for another car! So we'll get there in time. So I'm just praying that we can save quickly and find a good deal on a reliable vehicle that we don't hate. (I know I'm not going to LOVE whatever we get, but I just would like to not hate it!) All of this has its goods and bads... as do most things in life I guess. But in it all I'm SO very thankful for God's provision for us.

Next... lately I've become somewhat obsessed with organic eating. It started when I was pregnant with Landon. Like I said I have a fair amount of free time at my job and I spend much of it online. They recommend more than usual to eat as organically as possible while you're pregnant. That tiny baby can't handle all the chemicals like our bigger bodies can. So I started researching more and more and more and now here I am. I bought organic ketchup last night, mostly to get rid of the high fructose corn syrup that plagues most ketchups. Nonetheless though... I bought organic ketchup! I've also started buying organic apples because they fall in the 'Dirty Dozen.' I've been shopping at the Farmer's Market the last few weeks and I planted a garden! So far it's not really costing me any more than normal because I'm not buying a lot of processed stuff. I'm trying to eat whole, natural foods. Fruits and veggies, and products with the least amounts of ingredients possible. The next step for me I think is looking into different meat. I've been eyeing the grass fed beef and free range chicken (oh... I have been buying fresh eggs from a local farmer at a little nursery and garden store in Ozark and they are SO good! It reminds me of our fresh eggs when I was a kid... yes we kept chickens :) at the Farmer's Market and trying to figure out how to fit that into our budget. This year I want to save up so that next year I can join a local CSA... you pay for your meat up front and get a discount as your bring it home throughout the year. We'll see if I can talk my amazing hubby into that! So far Chris has been very supportive. I've had him read a FEW of the articles I've found and he's loving the fresh produce from the Farmer's Market. He says it's the best he's ever eaten. So he's all for it. Plus, we bought a grill a few weeks ago and we're just enjoying summer eating. If only I could get him to like tomatoes.... that will never happen though. Like I titlted this post... musings.

You've probably stopped reading by now so I'll stop rambling. In 24 minutes I get to leave to pick up my little man, Landon. I love my sweet little boy so much and can't wait to see him!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A little catch up....

Wow... I have a lot of blogging to catch up my Bible Study from where I left off to where I am now. Fortunately, I seem to have a little time this morning so I'll try to plow through it. It will be good review for me!

Ephesians 2:1-10 is the end of the first section of Ephesians and it takes us through a wonderful progression of thought that should at least cross my mind every day. It says that before salvation I was dead. I was a dead girl trying to find satisfaction in the passions of my flesh. (It kind of reminds me of all the dead pirates in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies that would eat an apple and never be satisfied with its sweetness. They searched and searched to fulfill their passions). I was in my very nature a child of wrath, deserving of all of God's punishment toward evil. BUT GOD stepped in with his rich mercy and in spite of the evil running through my body saved me, and raised me up to sit with him in heavenly places. He did this for his own glory, to show his kindness toward me in Christ. You see I am His workmanship, and long before I even knew I existed God created me in Christ to do His good works. I think I'm going to post that on my bathroom mirror as a reminder to myself every morning.

Wendy gives us a great reminder after thinking all of this through. "Paul goes on to point out that it is not only our salvation that is all of God and none of us, but that the subsequent good works that follow coming to faith in Christ area also the result of God's work within us. The implication is that our attempts to boast in any good work after our salvation are as naive as our attempts to boast in the act that brought us to salvation." H.U.M.I.L.I.T.Y. I do nothing. God does it all. Sure I 'work out my salvation.' I do make efforts toward change and sanctification, but when I really get down to it, I do nothing on my own. Even my own efforts are vain and futile without God's hand guiding me toward change. He does it all. I have to remember that.... constantly. I am nothing without him.

Section 2--Ephesians 2:11-3:21

The end of Ephesians 2 is full of some deep stuff, deeper than Wendy goes, and deeper than my cursory reading and study goes, but the main gist is this. There are Israelites and the rest of the world is Gentiles. I am a Gentile. At one time I was separated from Christ, alienated from the benefits Israel had and the promises made to them. But now, in Christ, I have been brought near to God. Christ is now my peace. Israelites come to God the same way now that Gentiles do. "And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to show who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father."

Moving into Chapter 3 Paul addresses the 'mystery' that he has referred to a few times. Building on what he said previously, 'we are reminded that.... the reason Paul is a prisoner for Christ on behalf of the Gentile believers at Ephesus is found in the closing of Ephesians 2--namely that the Gentiles are no longer strangers to God's promises, but are now being built together with Jewish believers into a temple or dwelling place for God the Spirit.' Paul goes on to explain that he has been made a minister of that truth. Basically it's his job to share it with the world. I would be saying 'seriously?!!' Not a job that i would want, but Paul took it and ran with it and we can see two character qualities in him that we should emulate: humility and confidence.

Paul knows himself. He says that he is the 'very least among the saints.' This job has nothing to do with his qualifications. Although let's face it he had a few--but he wasn't proud of them. He didn't revel in his own glory. He saw himself for what he truly was spiritually... nothing. I love how Wendy says this, "In reality, Paul has been entrusted with possibly the greatest message ever communicated. But instead of becoming puffed up with self-importance as so many of us do when entrusted with a great stewardship, he keeps an accurate assessment of himself. He is a good model for us here. He is not dwelling in self-condemnation. He is not insecure, searching for compliments to make him feel better about himself. Instead, he gets both the depth of his sin and the great grace that God has poured out on him." Paul was right on in his assessment. But instead of wallowing in self-pity over his true spiritual state, he trusted the riches of Christ and the grace that God had given him, which in turn produced confidence. Not in himself whatsoever, but in Christ. He is preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ! We should have the same confidence!

I also cannot move on without sharing the Tim Keller quote she uses. I've read it before, but it never gets old: "The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less." Enough said.

In closing out chapter 3 Paul wanted the Ephesians to be profoundly moved by the immeasurable riches of the grace of God through Christ Jesus. He wanted them to comprehend the breadth, length, height and depth of God's love--a love that surpassed their (and our) ability to grasp. But oh how we should try! Wendy explains that the last two verses in Ephesians 3 are verses often used to closes services in the history of the church, often called the benediction--Latin for a good saying. Paul is closing his thoughts on the mystery revealed of God's double reconciliation of Gentile believers to both himself and Jewish believers, focusing on the glory of God that is continuing to reveal through all generations, for all time. We are a part of that! And the same power that is accomplishing this is at work within each believer, day in and day out. Praise the Lord that he has revealed this part of his plan to us!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

I've been a bit absent on my blog lately.... I have been doing my Bible study though! Two weeks ago we were in Kansas City and the hotel charged more for internet for the week than we pay for a month at the house, so we decided to skip it. Then last week, I felt so behind on blogging that I never just sat down and caught up! I'm hoping to remedy some of that later today and throughout the rest of the week. However, I just wanted to share about our little weekend....

I just had the best time this weekend. Chris spent Saturday at the church in a Counseling Training session with Dr. Bob Smith. He said it was great. I however, hung out with our Little Man, which I always LOVE! We went to the Springfield Farmer's Market, where we picked up some fresh asparagus, new potatoes, strawberries, and green beans. Yummo! Then we went to the park. Landon loves to go down the slide and to swing! We seriously had a great time! While Landon napped I spent the afternoon working on a little tan (this preggo girl needs some color on her legs!) while I put together our new grill. We have been without a grill for over a year now. Our last one caught on fire (I guess we didn't clean it enough) and became way too much of a hazard to use! We had put off purchasing a new one for so long, but finally we purchased a charcoal grill and we're LOVING it! We used it a few times throughout the weekend. I had forgotten how good charcoal makes meat taste. Fantastic!

Later in the weekend we planted a new garden. Now I know... gardening and Abbie haven't really mixed for a long time. When I was a kid we had acres and acres of garden and I hated it. It was way more than we could keep up with (as far as weeding) so it was very burdensome (to me... apparently my parents loved it). I did however develop an appreciation for fresh veggies and berries and I've really missed them over the years. So this year, I decided to try my hand at it. Now our ground in Ozark is basically a gravel pit. So I had planned to purchase a small kiddie pool for my garden, but ended up with a neat little garden kit with a round outside container that we lined with newspaper and filled with organic dirt. Literally our ground is so rocky that all four stakes curled over as we pounded them into the ground. Ah the joys of the Ozark mountains! But we finally drove them in. I picked up a few plants that were already started at a local nursery... heirloom tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, and one butternut squash. I thought the squash would be great to get some baby food made ahead of time and in the freezer for baby #2. Then from seed I planted some spinach, lettuce, green beans, cucumber, and zucchini. We'll see how it all turns out. I'm afraid I put way too many seed in such a small place, but I figure that if I need to pull some out I can later on. It's all quite a learning experience for me. I don't remember anything from our gardening when I was a kid except pulling weeds taller than me and eating the yummy food! I may post pics on here or on Facebook at some point.