Thursday, March 29, 2012

planting ideas

paper roll idea found here

egg shell idea found here

On Sunday as I was moving my seedlings to cook dinner, the smallest container with the maturest seedlings dumped and three of the seedlings bent over. I was so disappointed but decided to just leave them alone and see what happened to them. One of them has apparently persevered through the trauma. So I guess I can transplant it and bury the bent stem in the dirt or I could experiment with growing hanging tomatoes upside down out of a bag. But in the meantime, I can admire the tenacity of this little guy.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Free Will" and the Problem of Evil

If you are interested in doing some follow-up reading on the topic of free will, mentioned briefly in my previous post on the doctrine of election, then I recommend starting with these two posts by Pastor Bret McAtee. Below each link are excerpts from each post. Click on the links to read each post in its entirety.

The Problem of Evil
Resolutions of the problem of evil that leave God less than good, or less than absolutely sovereign are answers that leave us with a god who is not God. I note this Freddy, because many of the answers to the ‘problem of evil’ that you find in the Church today reduces God to a being that men must pity due to God’s lack of ability of stopping that which He doesn’t want to happen.
For example, I remember going to a funeral once where the deceased had perished in a car accident and the first thing out of the minister’s mouth was “God didn’t have anything to do with this.” The implication was that, ‘God didn’t want the accident to happen but sometimes you got to feel sorry for God, because poor God doesn’t always get what He wants.’
So, whatever answer we come up with can’t end with some kind of sophistry that says that ‘God is sovereign enough to not be sovereign.’ No, our answer to the problem of evil must leave God to be that which the Scripture portrays Him and that is all good and all sovereign.

Yet another bad answer that many offer in the Church today to the problem of evil Freddy, is that God gave man free will and that God is sovereign right up to the point of fallen men’s free will. This ‘answer’ once again, limits God’s godness by suggesting that God’s godness is checkmated by man’s godness. God wants certain things or doesn’t want certain things but sometimes man is more powerful than God and so uses his free will to trump God’s free will.

Many people in the Church teach this idea trying to rescue God from from the lack of goodness and the perceived problem of God being charged with being ‘not nice’ for being in complete control of sin and evil. Often you will hear people using this kind of argumentation when they say things like, “Well, God didn’t want that to happen but He allowed or merely permitted it to happen. God gave man free will and so He can’t be blamed for evil.’ Free will in human agents has been put forth to clear God of the responsibility for sin and evil. It sounds so pious but it really is nonsense, and what is worse is that it doesn’t exonerate God in the least from the charge of being ‘not nice.’ Let’s examine why.

The Problem of Evil, Part 2
You see free agency teaches voluntary action and this every Biblical Christian believes. Every Biblical Christian believes that all men make choices wherein they consciously initiate and determine a further action. A choice is a deliberate and conscious volition on the part of the chooser even if the chooser could not have chosen differently. Biblical Christians believe that Judas acted voluntarily without the kind of compulsion by which a puppet acts, while at the same time believing that what Judas chose happened by necessity and was predestined from eternity past. Judas had a will. Judas used his will in a way to make a choice. Judas’ will however was not acting independently of God’s will, though it was acting contrary to God’s commands and as such Judas is responsible to God for his sin against God’s command because Judas was the sole author of his action — a action that in God’s sovereignty could not have been other than it was. Judas’ choice (like all human choices) was a deliberate volition on the part of the chooser, even if it could not have been different.
Similarly when we say that God is not the author of sin we mean that God is not directly responsible for the wicked actions of free human agents. Men themselves remain the immediate cause of their sins and so remain the author of their sin but all because men are the author of their sin doesn’t mean that there aren’t other causes and since God is the ultimate cause of everything and nothing could exist except that God caused it we must say that God is the cause of evil without being the author of evil.

*notes: the emphases are mine, also the original posts show comments that appear to be spam, just so you know.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

whatever is lovely

I don't think I'll ever do Pinterest, but I do like creating a place where beauty is collected, admired and shared.

Whatever is Lovely

p.s. if you hover over any image it will tell you the source. mine are usually watermarked by me.

pretty spring thing

Some homemade spring thoughts with thread and ink. It's one of my most favorite that I have ever made, even if it does look very homespun. It's the fun of it all.

in praise of election

Several months ago on our way home from our Sunday morning worship service, Shane and I were discussing the doctrine of election. The thoughts that follow are mostly Shane's words from that discussion. I scribbled them down when we got home and was reminded of them this morning as I read through James, struck again by how the doctrine of election is always presented as the means by which our salvation is made sure.
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. ~ James 1:18

God desired to save a people to give to His Son.
Election is the means by which He saves those given to His Son.
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. ~John 6:37

He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. ~John 6:65,66

The only people who come to Jesus are those who were given to Jesus by the Father.
Without election, no one would come and no one would be saved.
Some prefer to think that they come of their own free will, their own decision to accept Jesus. No, we come to Jesus because we are a gift from God the Father to His beloved Son. If you have come to Jesus, know that it is because you were given to Jesus by His Father. That is the doctrine of election and that is why our election is sure. It is all of Him and none of us.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4,5

If you have never been taught to embrace and enjoy this doctrine, may you this day, see with new eyes, God's gracious gift of you being given to Jesus.

How sweet and holy is the place
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores!

’While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast,
Each of us cry, with thankful tongues,
“Lord, why was I a guest?

“Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?”

’Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly forced us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.

Pity the nations, O our God!
Constrain the earth to come;
Send Thy victorious Word abroad,
And bring the strangers home.

We long to see Thy churches full,
That all the chosen race
May with one voice, and heart and soul,
Sing Thy redeeming grace.

~Isaac Watts

Monday, March 05, 2012

when you pray

She writes from her heart about the truth that is in her heart. I count her as one of my truest and dearest friends. Please read this small excerpt of Norma's words on praying in secret.
The Bible teaches us:
"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

It teaches us, that we should go into our room, close the door and pray. This is a big difference that should be evident from the believer to the unbeliever. This should be a great mark of the faith that we profess. When the ungodly, goes into his room and closes he door, it usually is to do something that is sinful; something he hides because he cannot do in public. He goes and does these things privately and does not announce them because they are shameful to brag about. Yet, those sins he does secretly, will be exposed publicly on the great day of the Lord. That should be of terror to him.

But to the Godly, when he goes into his room and closes the door, he prays. He does this act secretly, knowing that His Lord hears. He does not sin, but confesses his sins. Those private sins of the heart, those desires and thoughts he struggles with. And he does not brag about this secret time, because there is nothing to brag about, it was a humbling time in the presence of his Lord. It is at this time, that all the secret prayers are placed before His throne where the most intimate prayers are offered to the Lord. And it is there where the Lord hears in secret. And just as the sins of the ungodly will be exposed, so will be those secret prayers answered on the great day... for all to see, and for me to see and remember even those answered prayers that He heard and I paid little attention when they were answered. That should be of great joy to us who believe in Him and love Him.

Many are looking for an emotional experience in their churches, when they pray together, at the worship service,... but little is sought of the Lord in private. When no one but the Lord should supplying that need. You can have a most marvelous time alone with the Lord, time filled with emotions, when your batteries are charged, when your faith renewed, because you see those prayers said in secret answered! What a blessed assurance that you belong to Christ!

Enjoy Norma's entire post on her blog

Norma and her sister also write excellent thoughts for their children at To My Children

Here is part of a recent post on sin:
Do not get tired of hearing about your sin. The world and ourselves make great excuses to minimize its guilt for that which God calls downright wicked and ruinous to the soul. We need to learn about its seduction, its poison, its goal if we want to understand God's grace.

Sin will not come to you and look at you in the eye and say: "Here I am, Sin. I want to take you, destroy you, kill your soul and increase hatred towards God.". No. It will come in a very attractive way, it will come and be something you desire and that it may seem good and pleasing. Good enough, that will be worth risking many things for a taste of it. It will be very seductive.

Sin will not knock at your door. It will come through unexpected ways, it will come when your guards are down, when you were not looking for it it, when you feel secure in your own ways. Be on your guard. The Bible says: Watch and Pray so that you do not fall into temptation!

Saturday, March 03, 2012


A question and answer style post from Pastor Bret McAtee concerning the truest meaning of the word holocaust.

The reality is that Jesus Christ is the holocaust offering and no other holocaust can remotely compare to the holocaust offering of the Lord Christ.

Years ago, we were part of an after-dinner discussion wherein a practicing Jew was maintaining that the genocide of the Jews in Nazi Germany was a prophetic fulfillment of Isaiah 53. It was the first time I had ever heard such an assertion made and I took issue with the claim by asking how verse seven of that chapter could possible relate to the Jews when it states:
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

There was no response. How could there be? It wasn't a clever question, it was an obvious question.
Jesus Christ alone was our holocaust offering.

It may be a sensitive topic but it deserves our careful thought.

blobbing the continents (updated: Not a great method)

**I could delete this post and others like it, but I would prefer to revise it as a record of my own education. I have though removed the images from the mentioned book and links. The original images have been shared countless times on Pinterest but I cannot undo that.**
I no longer ascribe to this method of studying geography and would steer any reader far away from following my ideas or suggestions in the original post. Last year while meeting virtually with some of the moms in our local Charlotte Mason study group, the topic of geography and mapwork came up and I volunteered what I had done with my oldest and what I was currently doing with my youngest which is what is described below. 
One of the moms who was newer to reading CM herself offered a different suggestion which was based on what she had found when reading the methods and ideas of CM on geography. I was humbled by her gracious and insightful knowledge in an area in which I was still following blindly the newer models of education that claimed to be ancient.
Read for yourself. It's not complicated. Read what Charlotte Mason said to do and then get out the maps, globes or atlases and follow her methods. She wrote geography books and readers which are easy to read and use. Do not look on Pinterest or Instagram. Look at your children and talk about the places you are reading about while looking at maps together. The stories and people you are reading about will make you care about the places. Don't overthink it, it's a joy to know our Earth and the places that have been called home by our fellow-man. You will learn much more than you ever could from naming the continents or drawing the five great circles. You will care about what you know which is most important.
"Geographies," said the geographer, "are the finest books of all. They never go out of fashion. It is extremely rare for a mountain to change position. It is extremely rare for an ocean to be drained of its water. We write eternal things." (The Little Prince)

ORIGINAL POST with some images and links removed. 

Several weeks ago when a friend who recently started homeschooling her boys came over for a visit, one of the questions she asked was, "And what do you do for geography?". I weakly smiled and said something like, "Well, we haven't worked specifically on it for a bit." What I meant was, we have worked previously on the seven continents and four oceans, the Canadian provinces and the American states, using Uncle Josh's Outline Maps. We have all five Geopuzzles which are pulled out as a review or as a beginner crash course in a region. We do mapwork with our history lessons, for example by identifying the size of the Muslim Empire during the Middle Ages. But since I don't have a separate geography curriculum, it was kind of hard to pull all that together into an answer at the moment I was asked. The next day I got out my copy of Leigh Bortin's The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education to figure out how to implement her chapter on geography.

She advocates that the best way for people to understand and know geography is to make their own maps. So the first step for younger children and novice adults is to make a grid on a piece of paper marking the five great circles of the Earth and then complete what she refers to as "blobbing the continents".

This blobbing(or circle-drawing)is intended for students to be able to place the seven continents correctly on the latitude lines. I decided to skip the blob stage with Seth and go right for copying the outline shape of the continents. Younger students may find that too difficult, so the blobs are a good first step.

Using an atlas with a map of the world marking these five latitude lines, Seth and I copied general outlines of the continents' shapes and where they extend on the latitude lines. We also then labeled them and marked the oceans around each land mass. That was enough for Seth, for his first time. I found it relaxing and interesting; Seth was glad to be done. 

This is Seth's first attempt, which came out very nicely, all things considered.

The next step recommended in Leigh's book is to pick one continent and focus on mastering it by drawing it correctly and quickly. This may last several weeks or for a whole semester. She recommends starting with South America since it only has 13 countries and the outline is fairly simply comparatively speaking. I kind of wanted to conquer North America. I haven't decided yet, but in the meantime, we are continuing to study the maps of individual provinces of Canada, locating major rivers, lakes, mountains and cities and reviewing the fifty US states. That will keep us busy for a while.