Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
"Well, the Calvinist doctrine states some very dangerous theology."
Me: "Like what?"
"A big one is total depravity of man. They believe we cannot choose (big emphasis on this word - stretch out the oooo) to receive salvation."
Me: "Oh, but you don't believe that?"
"NO (raise voice here), God gives everyone the opportunity to be saved. Then we can cho(oooo)ose to receive salvation or not."
Me: "Why would anyone choose not to receive salvation?"
"I don't know, but the point is we are given the choice - we're not robots being programmed by God."
There seemed to be great vehemence for this doctrine, but very little discussion as to why it was wrong. It was just wrong. Anyone who followed it was ignorant, arrogant or abhorrent.
Well...I've never been much of a bandwagon person. In anything from fashion and trends right through to my growing faith, the bandwagon wasn't an attractive place for me. Quite frankly, anything that is presented by people as THE only way brings instant suspicion to my mind.
Why is this doctrine wrong? Where in scripture is it outlined as heresy? Where did the doctrine come from? Who is John Calvin? Does he know Hobbs?
The more questions that I asked the more it became that obvious I would have to find out on my own (actually, I am blessed with a husband who avoids the bandwagon, as well, and had just as many questions). I looked at both sides of the debate. Turns out the Doctrines of Grace, a.k.a. the 5 points of Calvinism, make for enlightening reading. Calvin, himself comes across as a no-nonsense type of fellow. He doesn't pad the truth to make it soft. I liked it. I understood it. It opened up a greater relationship with the Lord.
Yes, I am a Calvinist. However, I don't generally introduce myself this way. My church does not have a banner over the entrance that says 'Armenianists stink!'. But, there is no denying that the Doctrines of Grace have lead me to serve the Lord in ways I never did before, because I understand and am humbled by the love Lord has shown me.
I know I was blind and He gave me sight: And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16 (emphasis mine)
I know I was dead and He gave me life: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2:1 (emphasis mine)
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Ephesians 2:5 (emphasis mine)
I know I was not capable of choosing righteousness while happily wallowing in my sin. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Romans 8:30
I know He had to drag me kicking and screaming from the life I lived for me, to a life for His Son to live through me. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why has thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? Romans 9:19-21
My husband has an analogy for the term 'receiving' salvation - if we receive a beating, it isn't something we ask for! However, we have received it nonetheless. Our salvation is completed in the same manner - against our sinful desires.
Does that make me a heretical zealot who lives as a robot under God? I can live with that. For eternity.
How do you hate a Calvinist? Jump on the bandwagon, you'll have lots of company!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
There was a time when that meant alot of wordly issues to me. Raised by a feminist, I believed that I, as a woman, would never be given a fair chance. That I would have to work twice as hard, and achieve twice as much to be given half the 'success' that my male counterparts would experience. To say that I bought into it hook, line and sinker would be an exaggeration; but, I believed that I alone would have to make things happen for a happy, successful life. What I gleaned from the feminist mantra was that I could trust no one, depend on no one and expect nothing from those around me. I - was - it. Hence the makings of a control freak.
Even after I was saved, my need for control was immense. This is not to say I didn't confess a recognition of God as soveriegn - I just wanted to keep that soveriegnty in a little box. Even my husband suffered through the times when I 'knew' I was right and everybody else was wrong. For instance if my husband was working outside of God's will, I took the opportunity to teach him my opinion(how many times have I seen other women doing the same thing with their husbands!). We, as women, need to learn to get out of God's way to see His power in our lives. After many years, I think I finally get it. John the Baptist helped me with this little tidbit:
He must increase, and I must decrease. John 3:30
So the wisdom I follow now is much, much different - but it is still a struggle for me to ignore my old teachings. Although I am not a biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination, my Lord is patiently showing me truth.
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith; Philippians 3:9
How can I claim any kind of growth in my faith by trying to do it myself. My faith came from God and only He can cause it to grow - if I get out of the way and watch Him work!
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesian 4:22-24
I picture this in simple terms. When Christ came into my heart, he only needed to have a crack in the door to enter. As I grow in my faith and understanding of how to give Him my 'all', I need to throw open the door and step out of the way. If anyone around me is outside of God's will, I can encourage them to turn back, I can even lead by example if it is a peer, but I can't change them. Trust me, nagging and manipulating may get the outcome we as women desire, but it doesn't lead anyone to the Lord. I have learned that the best way to allow God to do the work, is to shut my mouth and concentrate on my own walk of faith. Try it, I recommend this technique highly! The results are nothing short of miraculous.
I CAN'T DO ANYTHING RIGHTEOUS IN GOD'S EYES, but Christ can through me - through any Christian. All we need to do is stay out of his way.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
We reached to gorilla's outdoor enclosure just at lunchtime - for them and for us. So we decided to watch the action of their meal before digging into our picnic basket. What a show we got!
The authority of the dominant male was unmistakable because only he was allowed to eat - all the other gorillas, teenagers and one mama with baby, were sitting around the perimeter of the enclosure while the king gorged himself on the delivered food. There was some dissension in the ranks as one teenager (probably male) snuck a handful of celery and headed to the highest perch to eat as discreetly as he could. Otherwise, everyone seemed to know that there was no eating until the king was finished.
It wasn't any wonder why he was the king. He outweighed every other gorilla in that enclosure by several hundred pounds. He was the king of the castle and all the men standing around were making comments about it and elbowing their wives about how everything seemed to be in order with this system.
In the mean time, the zoo attendants were on the far side of the enclosure with some type of branches that must be a tasty treat because they were trying to entice the mama and her baby to eat some. The king took great exception to their attempts to override his authority and took a running leap at one of the staff - she was completely protected behind the fence line, but still fell back on her behind in shock and fear of this 500lb+ animal charging her. The whole enclosure shook from his body weight slamming against it in attempt to get at the staff. As a final note he grabbed the branch as his treat and headed back to the center of the feeding area - quite pleased with his performance. All the human watchers were duly impressed with his kingship.
After only a few moments the staff were again pushing branches through and mama had been inching her way over - always on the perimeter. When she and her baby reached the branches, she nonchalantly reached and pulled the branch to her with little to no notice by the king. The baby had one taste of the leaves on the branch and lost all sense of fear for the king - he jumped from mama's belly to the fence and actively began eating.
Well, the king may have been willing to ignore the actions of his wife (mama), because she knew enough to be discreet. However, the outward defiance of a the baby eating before permission was given was too much for him. In seconds of mama reaching for the baby to pull him away from the fence, the king was snorting and rampaging toward them just as he had done to the staff member - only there was no fence to stop this attack.
Every parent standing around the enclosure with us had the same thought at the same time, 'this gorilla is going to hurt or kill the baby - we've got to get our kids away from the view!'. My husband and I were making our way to step in front of the girls as other parents were corralling their kids to move away from what looked to become a gruesome scene. Then we all heard it. The baby let out a horrified screamed that raised the hair on my neck - this was it!
Then another strange sound rose from the midst of the snorting aggression of the king and crying hopelessness of the baby. Anger. Deep, maternal, anger. Turning to look, everyone focused on was the sudden change in events within the enclosure. Mama had heard her babies cries. Mama wasn't happy!
The king was running for his life! Mama, with baby attached again to her furry belly, was inches behind the king with a murderous look on her face. The king knew he wouldn't live to reign another day if he stopped. The teenagers in the enclosure were whooping it up - literally, laughing and chattering and swinging with delight to see the king getting a strip tore off of him.
And as quickly as it started, it was over. The king sitting in a corner now, sulking, and all the other gorillas eating with gaiety! Every man in the audience felt sorry for the big fella - every woman was laughing at the calamity.
It was funny!
However, I couldn't help but think how this could easily be transferred into North American homes. The husbands, who now cower in their lazyboy chairs because mama ain't happy!
I know we're talking about gorillas. I also know that any feminist watching the same scene that day would have said, 'See, it's natural for women to seek authority in the family. It's obvious men can be brutish when given the opportunity.'
All I have to say is, those were gorillas. We are God's children. Never should those two be placed in the same category! Never do I want to be compared to gorilla mama who was teaching her child to disobey, even discreetly. Never do I want my husband to feel it is easier, and safer, to simply let me be the head of the house.
Lord, let me never forget that!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Fourth question...what if the debt load is too high for one income? Well, that didn't happen by accident, did it? Absolutely take responsibility for debt that has been incurred in past times - but changing to a frugal lifestyle will show a walk toward God's BEST for the family. Our family is in this situation right now. I work part time as a nurse to pay off the debt that my husband and I incurred in the first part of our marriage. Keep in mind that my previous full time income was almost twice what my husband makes working full time now. But, since making the decision to seek God's BEST for our family, we have paid more than $28,000 off (some of it was simply removed by the grace of God!) in only 5 years! With just $14,000 left to go, my work time outside of the home is lessening every year. God has been gracious in this area by giving my husband a job that is flexible for scheduling and giving me a job that I can pick and choose my shifts. These two things make sure that homeschool is not affected and that one of us is home with Duck at all times - no need for babysitters. Blessings always follow when we seek out God's BEST for our lives. Why should we believe the blessings will come?
Last question...what if a woman is in an abusive situation? Get out. Take the kids and get out. God's authority structure does not include abuse of any kind. However, seek your heart for the truth first. Physical abuse is an obvious reason to leave, but emotional and verbal abuse are slippery ones. There are times that I have been guilty of emotionally and verbally abusing my husband! Sometimes, as wives, we must suffer under the persecution of our husbands who have yet to follow God's BEST for their role in the marriage. By challenging ourselves as wives to be a biblical woman, God can change your husband.
There are probably several more 'what if' questions that come up when discussing a woman's decision to stay at home, whether married or single. The ones that I did bring up in this series are the ones that come up most frequently among my community of friends and acquaintances and strangers. I do know that the decision to be wives and mothers at home, to make that a plan for the future when still single, has to be a conviction with solid biblical grounding. A woman without the conviction will find it is only a matter of time before the 'what if' arguments break down any shallow decisions and home life will never be good enough for her.
Just today as I was looking for a way to wrap up this series, Duck and I were picking wild raspberries. We were hindered by bees, thorns, heat and thick brush. All these hindrances were a perfect example of what living lives as women of conviction is like - there will always be something or someone that is intent on pushing us away from following the BEST path that God has for us. However, perseverance, patience and trust in God will always end in blessing - in this case by working past the bees, thorns, heat and thick brush we filled a basket full of raspberries!
So let me repeat my conviction from the first installment on this series - God's BEST path for every woman is to be a wife and mother. Period. Spare me the 'what if' arguments and show me the scripture!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Well, we have been searching for quite awhile to find the best canoe for our family and just found this beautiful vessel on Monday past. After trying out multiple canoes, we purchased this Clipper Tripper for an excellent price: In our part of the country the Swift Canoe is the most well known and is recommended highly by anyone who has used one. We did try out the Swift brand, and we did like it, but the price of that line of canoes was a little high ($2500+). This brand, Clipper, is mostly associated with Mary's end of the country - British Columbia. We found it at a local canoe store after someone had traded it in for a purchase. It was the perfect size and handles great in the water:
For more Show and Tell, go visit Mary!
We're continuing to look at the 'what if' questions that always seem to come up when the topic turns to women staying at home to be full time wives and mothers. First we are covering the idea of daughters being raised to see this choice as God's BEST:
Second question...what if the girl never finds a spouse that meets her standards for marriage and stays single? Oh, boy...has this been on my mind! There are very few choices available at this point in time for the young, single women that I know. However, dropping scriptural standards just for the sake of being married is not God's BEST. A woman who remains single should still be prepared for marriage and children - we can never know when God will send the husband He has prepared for her. If a husband is never found, a woman's life can still be full by working with other woman and helping in their families; by serving in great ways within a church structure; by standing firmly on her conviction of purity as a testimony to her trust in God. Yes, it would be hard. Yes, it would be worth it! James knew it:
Monday, August 3, 2009
There is no doubt that the secular worldview is that every family should be a two income family. If a woman is not working and building her career there must be something wrong with her - she's lazy - or she's being held back by her husband and children, etc. In the end, the current culture believes a woman who is a housewife and stay-at-home-mom is missing out on her full potential. Sometimes the christian realm isn't much different when weighing in on this topic. The questions about women staying at home, or daughters being raised with this future plan, almost always turns to the 'what if'.
- your daughter never marries,
- your husband were to pass away,
- that woman really is in an abusive situation,
- that young girl wants to go to college and have a career,
- the family has a debt load greater than the husband's salary?
God's BEST path for every woman is to be a wife and mother. Period.
This isn't something that is repressive or subjugating. It is a freeing and edifying role. Let me tell you why I believe this:
Ephesians 5:22&23 (emphasis mine)
Obeying God is never wrong and never degrading. He built this relationship into marriage as a protection for women. We are first under the protection of our fathers, then that responsibility is passed onto our husbands.
First question...what if the father is not a strong christian(or not a christian at all) who will take the responsibility to heart? This happens - we live in a sinful world and there are no guarantees that those around us will follow God's BEST. The key for young girls in this situation is to honour their earthly father without dishonouring our heavenly Father. If 'dad' says his daughter could or should date (or most often heard, doesn't care!), the daughter needs to purpose in her heart to seek God's BEST for this area of her life. Dating is 'normal' and easy and even fun - but it is not God's BEST for a single girl. If 'dad' does not actively support following a courtship model to marriage, there will likely be a pastor who can counsel the young girl during her single years. Regardless, young women cannot use those around them as an excuse to ignore God's BEST.
...to be continued...