Wednesday, January 30, 2013


 : : some thoughts that come to mind : :

*planning which seeds to start first in what is left of this week, herbs for sure

*encouraging my body to recover from the stomach flu

*thankful no one else appears to getting it

*wishing for an early spring for my friends who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

*thinking of what materials I need to order for our lessons

*surprised by a very nice rough draft letter Seth worked on this afternoon to send to some friends

*loving the thoughtfulness of his homemade "get-better" card he produced this morning quietly up in his room

*grateful for a close neighbor to take care of the kids overnight when Shane needed to take me to the doctor earlier this week

*enjoying many different books from many different genres

*counting the hours before I can crawl back into bed under the covers of warm blankets and darkness

*wondering if I will still want to be part of social media by the end of this year

*asking the Lord to remove my critical spirit

*hoping to sew some blankets for new babies in our church family

*dreaming of spring green and fresh flora

*listening to my children play and Karajan conduct

*keeping my drawing book close by to encourage me to keep practicing

*feeling my age, but keeping my youth

*caring for my husband with more love and understanding each year

*celebrating eleven years of marriage this spring and a ten year old firstborn this summer

*finding God's Word to be more faithful and true than ever

: : love to all of you who take time to read here : :

** Updated to add my crazy and wonderful friend Gina's own Woolgathering which is hilarious, where mine was more introspective.  You don't need to know her to enjoy reading hers!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

books in view

From the local library shelves:

Two are finished and two are likely to remain unfinished for different reasons. 

From our own library shelves:

Top three have been given the most time so far.

From the most-likely-to-be-read-before-the-due-date-arrives shelves:

Three picture books enjoyed and worth owning.

The Classical Side of Charlotte Mason

This is an excerpt from an article that was posted on Susan Wise Bauer's site, The Well Trained Mind entitled The Classical Side of Miss Mason written by Karen Glass.
Those who seek to incorporate the methods of Charlotte Mason with classical education will not find it difficult to do so, because the roots of her philosophy lie therein. She was seeking a classical education that would serve the needs of the general population, but founded in principles that had weathered well. The practical application of her philosophy is not always easy to discern, but the results are well worth the effort.
I have previously posted about this topic before which perhaps you may find helpful as well, if you haven't read it already. 

Who is Israel?

The focus of Matthew's genealogy is clear. The significance of Jesus is deeply rooted in the history of the Old Testament, so deeply that the blessings promised to Old Testament Israel find their fulfillment only through Him.  
Can the answer to the question, "Who is Israel?" be established by merely a genealogical record, even if it is a royal genealogy? (Here the author mentions Matthew 3:9.)
God's promises are for Israel, but Israel is not established simply by birthright. The blessings are not automatically guaranteed by preserving the purity of an Israelite or Jewish gene pool or an impeccable family tree. Much more is involved --and this is hinted at in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus. 
This hint comes with the women listed in Jesus' family tree. 
They are not the four famous matriarch's of Judaism--Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah--but four women who are foreigners and not especially "holy": Tamar and Rahab the Canaanites, Ruth the Moabite, and Bathsheba, the wife of a Hittite. At the very least, Matthew is saying that the true descendants of Abraham are not preserved by their purity of descent. As the people of God, Israel was always intended to be and to become a universal people, not limited by racial purity. These four women testify to God's initiative in incorporating outsiders into Israel and to His astonishing strange providence in placing these women into the royal lineage in which lay the hope of Israel. Thus even in this genealogical record the emphasis falls not on human initiative and planning but on God's intervention as it overcomes human obstacles and historical dilemmas on behalf of the Messiah who was to come. God decides who belongs to Israel. 
God's election shapes the genealogy of true Israel, and that election becomes especially apparent in the fifth woman mentioned, "Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah" (Matthew 1:16). The genealogy notes a "holy irregularity" in describing Jesus' ancestry. Joseph is simply "the husband of Mary", not the begetter of Jesus. Jesus was born of Mary. 
Therefore, though He is linked to the history of His people and is comprehensible only within the interconnectedness of that history, yet He is beyond history, beyond its potentialities and possibilities. He is more than His ancestry could produce. He represents the intervention of God, the creative work of the Holy Spirit, which was active once in creation and promised again the messianic salvation of the end time. God provided what human history could not. 
Israel came into being in the mysterious election of God and depends for its continuing existence on God's gracious and miraculous actions. Therefore the definition of Israel can never merely be a matter of proper genealogical connections, even if God chooses to use such connections. Matthew's genealogy of Jesus demonstrates that in the end, and often along the way, the genealogical connections to Abraham were insufficient and that God had to intervene to preserve a people for Himself. Jesus Christ is that intervention on our behalf. In His person and in His work, Jesus is all that Israel was meant to be because in Jesus, God Himself takes the place of His covenant partner in order to secure the continuity of His covenant with Israel. Jesus is Emmanuel, God-with-us. Consequently, the definition of true Israel is forever shaped by this action. Israel can never again be defined apart from Jesus Christ. 
Matthew's genealogy of Jesus signals that a new beginning as been inaugurated, a new era in Israel's history and a new area in the history of the world, for in Jesus God's centuries-old promises to Abraham and David have entered upon their historical fulfillment. After centuries of oppression and disappointment, of disobedience and failure in mission, Israel is renewed and the nations will be blessed. Through His providential guidance and miraculous grace, God has answered the question, "Who is Israel?"
Jesus & Israel: One Covenant or Two? by David E. Holwerda, p. 34-36, selected portions.

Jesus as Faithful Israel

Matthew 1:1
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
David Holwerda in Jesus & Israel: One Covenant or Two? writes:
Since no ancient genealogy is a complete record--it was always necessary to narrow the list down to a selection of names--various genealogies could be composed for one person depending on the claims or perspectives intended. Thus Luke's genealogy of Jesus, with it's focus on Jesus as the Son of Adam, the beginning of the new humanity, differs from Matthew's. Matthew has his own perspective on the meaning and significance of Jesus.(p.31)
He proclaims Jesus as the Son of David and the Son of Abraham. Such sonship undoubtedly has significance for a new creation and a new humanity(cf. Matthew 28:18-20), but here Matthew is thinking not of a parallel to Genesis 2 and 5 but of a fulfillment of Genesis 12 and 2 Samuel 7. Indeed a new age has begun, but it is new because after centuries of Israel's failure the covenant promises of God to Abraham and David are finding their fulfillment in their Son, Jesus Christ.(p. 32)
If Jesus is the one through whom the promise is being fulfilled, then He can lay claim to being Abraham's true descendant, the one who is what a descendant of Abraham is supposed to be. Jesus, then, is true Israel, the one who does everything that Israel was supposed to do and who is everything that Israel was supposed to be.(p. 33)
Baptism Insights by Pastor Bret McAtee, Iron Ink
The Gospel of Matthew gives us a great deal of recapitulation of the OT wherein Jesus is the Faithful Israel, that answers to unfaithful OT Israel. One such example is the Baptism of our Lord Christ. 
Just as Israel was led by Moses and had to go through the water at the Exodus to enter the the promised land, and just as the second generation had to do the same thing at the Jordan River under Joshua’s leadership, as a miniature second exodus, so again, now that Israel’s restoration is imminent, as led by One who is greater than both Moses and Joshua, true Israelites must again identify with the water and their anti-type prophetic leader in order to begin to experience true restoration and entry into the new creation.
And so, like Moses and Joshua, Jesus and His people are Baptized as on the cusp of entry into a new Kingdom.
Of course this has implications for the Church. Clearly Moses, Joshua and God’s people with them, were not immersed in their Baptism, but rather they went through the water without going under the water. This would give strong circumstantial evidence that Jesus Himself was not immersed, but as a true Israel passing through the Red Sea and later the Jordan, was sprinkled. If this continuity holds, this means that immersion is not Biblical as a mode of Baptism. 
Another implication, if this observation about recapitulation is true, would be that Adult-only Baptism (as practiced by Anabaptists) is also not Biblical. As infants and children were participants in those OT Baptisms of Moses and Joshua, together with all of God’s people, so this would mean that infants and children today should be identified with the Baptism of Christ just by virtue of belonging to covenant member parents.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Easy Chairs, Hard Words

This book by Douglas Wilson, subtitled Conversations on the Liberty of God, is written as a dialogue between two fictional characters. Martin, the older man is a mentoring pastor who answers questions from a younger Christian man who narrates the conversation.  The book is short and the chapters are brief, but the dialogue is full of biblical discussions and exegetical explanations.

This is not my first book on this topic, I have read several others over the last decade but this one did bring up verses and arguments that I had not heard before.  Since I am in agreement with Martin's position which is the teaching of Reformed theology, it was an enjoyable and helpful read.  I have selected three conversational quotes from three different chapters to help give an understanding of how this book is written and the content contained therein.
Chapter 3: Ideas Have Consequences 
"The basic issue we have been discussing these past couple weeks has been the difference between man-centered religion and God-centered religion."
"I follow that."
"Now, have you ever known any Christian whose beliefs or doctrines, were what we have been calling 'man-centered', but whose life was clearly God-centered?"
I nodded again. "Yes."
"And we would call that inconsistent?"
"And if you wind up changing churches, you will quickly encounter Christians whose doctrines are 'God-centered' but whose lives are man-centered. This is also inconsistent."
"Well this brings us back to my first question.  If this is the case, what difference does it all make?"
"It is quite simple.  The Church, being an assembly of people, will eventually live in a manner consistent with her doctrine over time. If the doctrine is man-centered, then there will come a time when the lifestyle, morals, ceremonies, teaching, etcetera, are also man-centered."
"So even though an individual is inconsistent with his false doctrine, the Church at large will eventually be consistent with it."
"Correct. This explains why certain beliefs can be held by pious Christians, while those same beliefs go on to corrupt and defile the piety of the Church."

Chapter 4: Carnal Reasoning 
"Now if carnal living is a lifestyle that does not submit to God's Word, then how should we define carnal reasoning?"
"The same way, I suppose?"
"Right. It is not enough to submit to what we do externally to God; we must also submit the way we think.
Your friends are trying to defend God's standards for living by abandoning His standards for thinking. It can not be successful."
"What does the passage say God is doing?" Martin asked. [Philippians 2:12,13]
I looked down at my Bible again. "It says that He is working in the Philippians, both in willing and doing, and that the result is His good pleasure."
"And what would carnal reasoning do with that?"
"Well, the response would be that if God is doing the willing, and if God is doing the doing, and the result is whatever He wants, then there is no reason for me to put myself out.  It is going to happen anyway."
"Right. The reasoning says that if God is going to do the work, then why should I have to."
I nodded, and Martin went on.
"But what application of this truth does Paul command the Philippians to obey?"
I looked at the passage again. "He tells them to work out their salvation, with fear and trembling. I glanced down further. "And in the next verse he goes on to specific ethical instruction--to avoid murmuring and disputing."
I sat and thought for a moment. "But my friends would say that the application they are making is obvious--common sense."
"Well it certainly is common.  But is it biblical?"

Chapter 16: God in the Dock 
"But couldn't an advocate of 'God allowing sin' say that He allows it for a very good reason?"
"Sure, but the other side could say the very same thing. God controls sin the way He does for a very good reason."
I sat for a moment, stumped. Martin continued. "The reason people accept the view that God allows sin is not because it deals with the question of the problem of evil effectively. It does not, as many non-Christian philosophers have seen very well. The reason people accept this explanation is because of 'the very good reason' God supposedly has for allowing sin."
"What is that 'very good reason'?"
"Free will. Man's free will is, in this view, so important, that God is willing to let little girls be murdered for the sake of that. Beyond that, He is willing for non-Christians never to hear the message of salvation so that messengers may have free will. People are willing to accept horrendous evil, if that evil exists for the sake of free will."
"What is the 'very good reason' of the other side?  Why does evil exist according to the view that God controls everything?"
"God controls everything for His own glory. In the minds of many this is totally inadequate. What is the glory of God compared to the free will of man?"
"Are you being sarcastic?"
Martin smiled. "A little."

Friday, January 11, 2013

Christmas at home and away

I apologize in advance for how long the post is.  This is the most photos I have ever put in one post.  Yikes!

We spent Christmas here at our home and then a few days later, after a tremendous snow storm here in Ontario delayed our departure, we headed to my parent's home in Pennsylvania where we woke up to a full day of non-stop snow.  It was wonderful!
The sledding and shoveling photos are from around their property.  The outdoor photos including a pond by the road, a log covered stream, a barn converted into a home, a tree fort and woodpile are all my parent's neighbors and places I lived, played and grew up around.

The barn has a special place in my heart as a second home as a child and even a third home as newlyweds as Shane and I lived in the bottom part where the horse stall doors are, the summer we were married before moving back to Canada.  The house to the left of the woodpile picture was the house I lived in as a newborn until I was about eleven or twelve.  In 1988, we built and moved into a new home behind that farmhouse up on the hill.  I would have taken a separate photo of that old house but I didn't want to alarm the current homeowners who might be wondering what I was doing.

The house seen in the distance beyond the tree fort and tire swing now belongs to the dear family friends who used to live in the barn.  (Oh my, I hope this isn't getting complicated or too tedious!) They bought and expanded the brick home that used to be owned by an elderly couple who served as an third set of grandparents for my younger brother and I.  So their property feels like home too as I spent much time playing and visiting there as a child.

And the goose came with the new owners of the barn who was strangely silent while I was there taking pictures, but whose honking can be heard often from my parents' home and others.  Rumors of someone having a Christmas goose for dinner were heard but I think the prospects of tough, well exercised meat were decided against.

All in all, it was a lovely holiday and we enjoyed ourselves both here at home and with my family.