Author Archives: MzEllen

I've rolled this around in my brain for a couple of weeks...and today I'm putting it in writing.  How and why do we give?

Our church spent the month of December looking at "The Advent Conspiracy" and something was said that I need to respond to.  I'm putting this in my own words and expanding on it.

What can we give God?

...that He has not already given us?  Answer - nothing.  God has given us creation, we have our life, we have our time, we have our talent, and we have our treasure.

In him we live and move and have our being ~ Acts 17:28\

God, in His infinite mercy, gave us His Son, Jesus.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~~ John 3:16

We recognize that there is nothing that we can give God.  When we see this, we begin to see the pattern.  What He has given to us, we pass on to others.

God blesses us, so we bless others.

We receive from God our blessings and we open our hands to let those good gifts bless others.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. ~~ Hebrews 13:16

give with open hands and open hearts

It should be in our nature to give...because that's God's nature.  When giving to others becomes part of our "new creature" - then giving becomes an act of worship.

The more we give, the more freely we give, the more giving becomes our nature.

When giving is truly an act of worship - we give with a smile on our face, and joy in our hearts.\

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.~~James 1:17

 

 

I can only shake my head at this article, and grieve - not only that this woman has gone through this trauma (rape) but also that this is the route she's gone in order to...I'm not sure what she'll gain from this thinking.

Here's the article, "Our culture of purity celebrates the Virgin Mary. As a rape victim, that hurts me."

Now the rest of us are stuck trying to be both a virgin and a mother at the same time.

"lunes linkage" is a collection of links, articles, etc. (anything) I've found interesting and might want to come back to.

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What Christianity Alone Offers Transgender Persons

The article is good and worth reading, but this line stuck out at me:

Creation isn’t right. The physical world has been “subjected to futility,” to frustration. It doesn’t work properly. It’s out of joint. It has been subjected to this frustration by God. The Bible’s wider narrative explains this. God cursed the ground as a judgment on human sin (Gen. 3:17). In other words, the world isn’t right as both a consequence and a demonstration of the fact that we’re not right.

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Campfire Blanket Scarf

Campfire Blanket Scarf - lunes linkage

Or maybe just a blanket 😉

This will be a good choice when I have spun all the alpaca fiber into yarn.

This piece will be easy and fast to knit, and it is just the sort of thing I like to curl up in when it's chilly, either indoors or out.

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California Could Learn From Puerto Rico Raising Minimum Wage

According to National Review, the impact on American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands was devastating. After only three of the ten scheduled minimum-wage increases after 2006, American Samoa’s overall employment dropped 30 percent — a 58 percent crash in for the critically important tuna-canning industry. Real GDP fell by 10 percent.

But that was much better than their Northern Mariana Islands neighbors, where employment had plunged by 35 percent, and real per capita GDP off by 23 percent.

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That's all for now (Tuesday)

I slipped up - at some point I changed the header pick and never told about it.

Two-and a half years ago, on our honeymoon, we took a walk in a slot canyon somewhere in Utah.  We walked along the stream, mostly looking up at the amazing artwork that God created.

I looked down and saw this rock.Layers

I 'm a geology nut, and this rock, layers upon layers.

Layers, lifting up, slanted toward the next, layers on top, covering and protecting.

How old are these rocks?  God knows...and scientists think they do.

Reason #ILostCount - I'm not going back"I'm not going back" is a refrain at our house, and we have reasons...we usually make up a number (reason #848) but I just lost count.

And I'm not going back.

My daddy died last week and  I know that he's with Jesus.  I heard another refrain:  If you want to see Jesus, you need to be holy.

Here's the thing - if you're holy enough to get yourself into heaven - raise your hand.

I'm not.

I'm not holy enough - far, far from it.  To paraphrase Mark Driscoll - this kind of teaching leads to either pride or despair.  Pride (I got this) or despair (I can't do this.)

Reason #ILostCount

When Dad got to heaven, I know that he lived his life in faith in Christ.  He never pointed at his works; he pointed to Jesus and the cross.

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28 ESV)

What is "law?"  Law (simple explanation) is God's character codified.  In the law, we learn God's character, and His standard for holiness.  God is perfect and His law is perfect.

We are not and we cannot be, this side of the grave.

Since we are not perfect, how do we see Jesus?  How are we justified?

We are justified by faith, and not by works.

Yes, sanctification is a thing and for a person who is justified by faith, that faith will be evidenced by sanctification.

I asked a Sunday School student - do you do your chores because you are part of your family?  Or do you do your chores in order to become part of your family?

Do we obey the law because we belong to Christ?  Or do we obey the law in order to belong to Christ?

The difference is worth an eternity.

So...we're starting this book club thing...and the first book is Athanasius' "On the Incarnation of the Word."  The questions in this post are "pre-book" questions and will hopefully stay in our minds.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL QUESTIONS:

Q. Who wrote the book?

St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria

Q. To whom was it written?

"Incarnation" was written to Christians who were being influenced by various heresies undermining the understanding of the life and death of Jesus.

Q. When was it written?

4th Century

Q. Where was it written?

Alexandria

Q. Why was it written?

The book explains why God chose to approach his fallen people in human form and defends the incarnation of Christ against the derision of 4th century non-believers

Exploratory Questions
  1. Why would one's view of creation influence one's view of incarnation?

All things were created by and through the Word. The Word created man, the Word became Man; because He because one of us, those who walked with Him gave testimony about Him

  1. Why is Christ's incarnation necessary anyway?

When we were separated from God by our sin, our very nature changed from one of perfection to one that is permeated by sin.

  1. Equally, why are his death and resurrection necessary?

Only the perfect could satisfy the Perfect.  Jesus’ death was the payment for sin, and His resurrection was proof that the Father accepted the payment.

  1. Should the death of Christ be seen as a triumph? Why or why not?

Absolutely.  When Adam sinned, the very nature of mankind was changed and without hope of reconciliation.

Because Christ died and was raised from the dead, we who are in Christ have hope for eternity.

My dad died a week ago today.  Because Jesus died, I know I will see him again.  Right now, my dad is reunited with his mom and dad, and his sister that he knew, and is getting to know his brothers and sisters who died before he was born.

That is a triumph.

 

  1. If Adam had not sinned, would God the Son have become incarnate? Why or why not?

I don't believe Jesus would have walked on earth to save us, if we didn't need saving.

  1. Has Jesus achieved anything since his incarnation that is not directly related to dealing with the consequences of sin? (You might like to take a look at Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8; Hebrews 1:1-2; 2:5-8.

Jesus holds the universe together by the word of his power.

  1. “Jesus died with his arms outstretched, showing his desire to draw all men to himself.” What do you think of this kind of exegesis? (THESE ARE NOT ON TheCity)

Jesus died with His arms outstretched because that fulfilled a prophesy that He would die on a tree (cross.)

I think this is not exegesis at all, rather it is eisogesis -

Exegesis takes what is in the text and allows us to determine what it means, and so it steers our beliefs.

Eisogesis starts with what we believe, and allows us to read into the text what we want it to mean, steering what we think is in the text.

 

Last week, we sang this at my dad's funeral, and we will sing it at my mom's funeral...remember...When We All Get to Heaven

my brother-in-law (Michael) reminded us that those who are in Christ will see each other again, "here, there, or in the air."

1. Sing the wondrous love of Jesus;
sing his mercy and his grace.
In the mansions bright and blessed
he'll prepare for us a place.

Refrain:
When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we'll sing and shout the victory!

2. While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
clouds will overspread the sky;
but when traveling days are over,
not a shadow, not a sigh.
(Refrain)

When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we'll sing and shout the victory!
3. Let us then be true and faithful,
trusting, serving every day;
just one glimpse of him in glory
will the toils of life repay.
(Refrain)
When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we'll sing and shout the victory!
4. Onward to the prize before us!
Soon his beauty we'll behold;
soon the pearly gates will open;
we shall tread the streets of gold.
(Refrain)

When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we'll sing and shout the victory!

My Father cigar band
Here's to you, Dad
Dad, here's to you.

My Dad, Thomas David Brown, died last Monday, January 2, 2017.  He was born on January 25, 1935 and in February, my mom and dad would have been married for 58 years.

There's still a lot of processing going on.  Memories shared.

A lot of back story - last August my mom fell and broke her leg very badly.  She's had several surgeries, and has been in several hospitals - she was in "Hills and Dales" in Cass City, MI. (I mention their name because the nurses are very wonderful!)

Dad took a really bad turn for the worst with his heart and lung conditions, and we spend Thanksgiving dinner at the hospital with Mom.  So Phil and I, and my kids, were able to spend Thanksgiving dinner with both of my parents for my Dad's last Thanksgiving dinner in this life.

I spent some good quality time with Dad before the rest of my family got to Sandusky, Michigan.  And I knew that he was ready to go see Jesus.  He made no secret that he didn't want to live like that.

After Christmas, my mom was released to an assisted living home (on Thursday.) My dad was released from a different hospital to the same home, in the same apartment with Mom on Saturday.  They were able to spend Saturday, Sunday and on Monday morning he was gone.

He wanted to be with my mom.

Mom and Dad at Stonegate
Mom and Dad at Stonegate
I think we were ready to let him go, but we weren't ready for him to go.  Are we ever?

I was going to commit to blogging from the very first of the year, but missed the whole first week because I was with my family saying "bye and I love you" to my Dad.

And still longing to hear him say, just one more time, "Love you back."

I intend to blog more this year.  Even now, I just feel a little more put together; my head, heart and spirit a bit more straight.  I have a few interesting projects in mind, including for my head, my heart and my spirit.

 

 

Lunes Linkage is the occasional Monday post linking to articles I have run across and found interesting...

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Here's one from a while ago (April) - Trump is a Fool.

Donald Trump is a fool—not because he is wrong about so many things, but because he is right about a few others. The fool is not only one who speaks nonsense, but one who speaks sense on the topic no one else will touch. He is the court jester pointing out the king’s failings. Were any sane man to make the same statements, he’d be put on a pole. But the fool, amid a general stream of nonsense, is able to touch on the rare uncomfortable truth.

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A possible treatment for the gene that I carry, and that affects my son,

Patients with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), a rare genetic mitochondrial disease that leads to vision loss, show sustained improvement in a follow-up to a Phase 1/2 clinical trial with GenSight Biologics’ therapy candidate GS010.

Patients recruited to the study had been diagnosed with LHON for approximately six years. After 78 weeks of follow-up, promising results were reported, with improved vision in the eye that was treated.

LHON is inherited through the maternal mitochondrial genes. It causes degeneration of retinal ganglion cells, a specific type of neurons in the retina. This condition begins with blurring and clouding, generally in a person’s teens or 20s.

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In the spirit of Christmas season, I want to be charitable to President-elect Donald Trump and express my thanks for his success in 2016.

While there still remains plenty of cause for concern, the continued boldness, energy, and vigor exhibited by the Trump transition team is giving me real hope and excitement. Here are 10 reasons this conservative is having a merrier Christmas season thanks to Donald Trump.

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At the heart of Christianity and the gospel is the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from the “Word becoming flesh” (John 1:14) and the incarnate Son of God living and dying in our place as our Savior, there is no salvation. Apart from the coming of the eternal Son, his taking on human nature and acting as our covenant representative, there is no hope for the world.

It is appropriate at Christmas to think more deeply about the incarnation. Here are 10 things we should grasp.

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Another from a while ago - courtesy Doug WIlson (there's a lot of political incorrectness, but good information.)

The Scars on Your Forearms -

Show me your forearms. Unless there are scars all over them, then I honestly don’t want to hear your views of the inadequacy of these cultural clashes (Gal. 6:17). When the barbarians are throwing their scaling ladders against the city walls, if the only defenders at the top of those walls are Chick Fil A employees in paper hats and hot grease from the deep fryer, and rednecks with their beards and shotguns, and nobody at all there from Red Brick Memorial Reformed, Rev. Forsythe P. Snodgrass, D.Min, minister, then let us be frank. We shouldn’t blame the folks who are there.