Thursday, December 24, 2009

A right view of salvation

Instead of starting with a quote that will not encapsulate the fullness of the devotion for 21 November, I will link to it.

There is just so much truth in this passage.

Does God love His children? Yes. However, our forgiveness did not come about because we are loved. There is nothing great about us that earns merit with God. God is holy and cannot stand sin. Christ had to become our sin for us and die for us to be forgiven because the result of sin is death.

Jesus did not come to die a martyr for a cause or to be a good example or to spread love and then death sort of surprised Him. He came to die. He came to glorify the Father by showing God's mercy.

It is also not mean Old Testament God vs. Christ who came to save us. They were not fighting over how to save the humans. God had this plan from before the beginning and Christ submitted to the Father in perfect love. Our entire purpose is to glorify God.

Basically, I think all Christians should read this day of Chamber's devotional to be reminded of what salvation really is.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

peace from obedience

As long as we try to serve two ends, ourselves and God, there is perplexity. The attitude must be one of complete reliance on God...Whenever you obey God, His seal is always that of peace, the witness of an unfathomable peace, which is not natural, but the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, tarry till it does or findout the reason why it does not.
- 14 December, My Utmost for His Highest

I had trouble picking a quote from this day, because it really progresses through the whole passage.

If you disobey God to serve yourself, this causes you to lose sight of God and His peace that passes all understanding but when we obey God, regardless of what problems face us, we shall not worry.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Worth, poverty, Kingdom of Heaven

At the basis of Jesus Christ's Kingdom is the unaffected loveliness of the commonplace. The thing I am blessed in is my poverty.
--August 21st, My Utmost for His Highest

We do not enter the kingdom of heaven on our own merit, but on the fact that we have nothing to offer so Christ makes the way for us.

Once we are part of the kingdom, we are to praise God in everything we do . I think that is why I like this quote. I love the phrase "loveliness of the commonplace." It makes me think of Curdie in The Princess and the Curdie by George MacDonald who was scolded for taking what is common for granted. He needed to learn to love what was common around him andto take pleasure in the love of his parents, the breakfast he ate, and the ability to work.

It is good to take pleasure in God's good gifts to us, but first we need the realize the poverty in our spiritual lives to know that we need Christ.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

In the still quiet place I have yet to find...

Jesus did not say--Dream about thy Father in secret, but pray to your Father in secret... The great battle in private prayer is the overcoming of mental woolgathering. We have to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful prayer.
-- August 23, My Utmost for His Highest

Prayer has often been a struggle for me. I started reading the Bible when I was ten, I enjoyed singing praise and worship songs, loved church and learning about God, but prayer was always hard. When I did try to pray, I would either give God a wish list or I would distract myself. Disciplining myself to pray is hard, and a good reminder that I am not able to reach God without His grace.

Having a secret place, not just a closet or the front seat of my car (though both of those are very useful for praying), what I need is a secret place inside myself--A part of my soul, dedicated to communing with God from when I awake till I sleep. Sometimes more of my soul can focus on prayer, but that is something I need to cultivate.

Last night, I got to a Christmas party about ten minutes early, so instead of going inside, I prayed for about 15 minutes, out loud in my car. It was a sweet time, lifting up prayer requests, praising God for His forethought and His mercy and His creation.

Goal: To learn to better cultivate prayer.

What I have going for me: Church directory to pray through (tangibility), the Bible and other books full of encouragement, examples, and descriptions of what I need to praise God for. And the Holy Spirit can guide my prayers, and can give me the focus to remember to pray.

Friday, December 18, 2009

That Little Judgmental Voice inside...

If I see a mote in your eye. it means I have a beam in my own. Every wrong thing that I see in you, God locates in me. Every time I judge, I condemn myself.
-June 17th, My Utmost for His Highest

There are times where I find it easy to judge other people. The awful thing is, I judge the people who are most like me. As a Christian, I do not find it hard, generally, to respect the people I disagree with.

People I have met at university who have differing views on morality, religion, or politics who are not Christians, or who come from a very different background than me, I find easy to respect and love as part of the human race. I have had very fruitful conversations with people that support sex before marriage, abortion, or the idea that religious plurality will get you to heaven. I disagree with all these positions, but I can respect the people that hold them. I do not expect people without Christ to agree with me on issues like these.

The people I have trouble loving are the people almost like me. Sometimes I will meet someone who was sheltered homeschooler (like me), and I have this desire to open their minds, and I quickly judge them as ignorant for believing what I would have believed.

For example, I am not a Marxist. I have read Marx a couple times for class, and I see the value in some of his ideas and I see how some of his assessments of capitalism have merit, but I don't think his ideas will work. I have had conversations with non-christian friends about why I am not a Marxist. But if someone from my high school said that they hated Marxism or that socialism was stupid or something, I would start defending these ideas. I would not say that they were correct, but I would say how Marx did point out problems in capitalism and how his ideas are enlightening to understand a very influential worldview.

I have the same reaction when Christians try to say that some discovery disproved evolution or people try to define how Christian must view homosexuality. Now, I may actually agree with them on some of their points, but I almost don't want to agree with them. Part of me wants to be liberal, because it seems more open-minded, to separate myself from the person I would be if I never went to public school or a liberal university.

I am quick to judge fellow followers of Christ for their often correct beliefs, when I need to love them. I judge them for holding to seven day creation and the young earth theory (which I believe are possible) or other issues that are just not as important.

We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, and conservative Christians are also our neighbors.

I judge them for their beliefs, when they may actually judge people who disagree with them less than I judge them. So that is a plank in my eye...

Goal: Love as God loves me, especially those who are what I would be.

Follow-up from Saturday, 19 Dec.: Last night at the Christmas party, there was a guy who epitomizes the Christian conservative beliefs that I struggle to love. He spoke like evolution was obviously dumb, Congress would be perfected if we only elected believers and could reprove Senate with Bible verses, and all my professors must obviously be trying to convert me to liberalism anti-Christian viewpoints at school.

It was good to remember that he loves the Lord. I may have shown off opinions and knowledge developed in classes and from living in DC, but it was kind of the Lord to remind me that I need to love, even those who make me want to be a liberal.

A plan to actually blog

This past year, I have been reading Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. The days that I found most encouraging or powerful, I marked, and now that school is out, I intend to spend sometime over the next couple weeks looking at the days that moved me. This is also a test to see if I really can blog consistently for a while.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

We have a weird but awesome friendship...

My roommate and I were talking about her emotional constipation (her emotions are constipated because she doesn't deal with things).

I said that she should start dealing with smaller things because when something really big happens, she won't be able to deal with it if she doesn't deal with smaller things first.

It is like yoga. People do yoga to stretch and so when they fall they don't get hurt as badly as if they didn't do yoga. Caring about people can hurt like stretching when you are not used to it, but it is worth it. By dealing with small things instead of just ignoring them, you are better able to deal with the large things that would rock your world otherwise.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Oh how I love Victorian era British children stories...

"Don't you think it's rather nice to think that we're in a book that God's writing? If I were writing a book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right--in the way that's best for us."
--Edith Nesbit The Railway Children page 224

I love Victorian children stories because they often speak truth even when the author's life was filled with situations not for children stories. Also, unlike stories of today, the parents are usually good, wise people who care for their children and are smarter than parents in modern books.

My other favorite quote is from the first page:
Roberta was the eldest. Of course, Mothers never have favorites, but if their Mother had had a favorite, it might have been Roberta.

Haha!!! I am the eldest in my family, and this is totally true. I am not my mom's favorite, but my siblings think I am just because I have a lot more freedom and get the benefits that come with the responsibility that I receive. I can understand my mom better than they can and I get along with her better. We don't fight because any rules she would put I me I would already put on myself. I am not her favorite, but if she had a favorite, I might have been.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My new music playlist!

I love music.

My friend Bethany told me about this website where you can create playlists of all sorts of music. I really had wanted to listen to some hymns, and I was a bit disappointed when I could not find all the hymns I wanted. But I still made a couple of lists, one of mostly praise music, which can sometimes be so encouraging to hear.

On this playlist, there are a lot of songs put up by Church of Christ churches. Theologically, I disagree with the Church of Christ on several somewhat major issues, but I can't deny the talent that comes with singing everything A capella. Some of the best hymns on the list were by Church of Christ, and some of the other versions of the hymns I wanted sounded too commercial.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

quotes from D.A. Carson's book

D.A. Carson on how faith is connected to being reasonable and rational:

But on what basis do they come to faith? Is this merely an existential leap? Far from it. [John 20:29] is integrally related to verses 30-31: "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." In other words, later generations come to faith by means of the historical witness of the first generation, the generation that included Thomas. He saw, and he believed, and these things have been written so that we may believe too. Here, then, is emphasis not only on the truth of Jesus' resurrection, but on the historical nature of the truth and the need for reliable witnesses to that truth and for faithful recording of that truth in written form."

D.A. Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church
, 215

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

By the Pricking of my Thumbs, Is not Elisha also among the Prophets?

I began to enjoy Shakespeare the summer before my senior year of high school. I knew that I would have to read Macbeth and Hamlet the next year in British Literature, so I thought I would get a head start and read Macbeth, or 'The Scottish Play' if you are superstitious in the theater, during the summer. I also went and saw Macbeth and was well impressed.

Read Act 1, Scenes 1-3 which can be found many places online for free including here, on google books. Note, that from what we can tell, Macbeth had no plans of murder until the witches suggested it. This brings up questions of fate and human depravity. Clearly, Macbeth was capable of treason, but did he only do it because the witches suggested it, or would he have anyway?

Earlier this summer, I was reading 2 Kings, and was struck by a similar scene in 2 Kings 8 and Macbeth. A trusted underling of a king meets someone who predicts that the underling of the king will murder the king and become king himself. Here is the text from 2 Kings.

2 Kings 8:7-15
Hazael Murders Ben-hadad

7 Now Elisha came to Damascus. Ben-hadad the king of Syria was sick. And
when it was told him, "The man of God has come here," 8 the king said to
Hazael, "Take a present with you and go to meet the man of God, and inquire
of the LORD through him, saying, 'Shall I recover from this sickness?'" 9 So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, all kinds of goods of Damascus, forty camel loads. When he came and stood before him, he said, "Your son Ben-hadad king
of Syria has sent me to you, saying, 'Shall I recover from this sickness?'" 10 And Elisha said to him, "Go, say to him, 'You shall certainly recover,' but the LORD has shown me that he shall certainly die." 11 And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he was embarrassed. And the man of God wept. 12 And Hazael said, "Why does my lord weep?" He answered, "Because I know the evil that you will do to the people
of Israel. You will set on fire their fortresses, and you will kill their young men with the sword and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women." 13 And Hazael said, "What is your servant, who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?" Elisha answered, "The LORD has shown me that you are to be king over Syria." 14 Then he departed from Elisha and came to his master, who said to him,
"What did Elisha say to you?" And he answered, "He told me that you would certainly recover." 15 But the next day he took the bed cloth and dipped it in water and spread it over his face, till he died. And Hazael became king in his place.

In one of Donald Miller's books, a chapter is
subtitled, "Why William Shakespeare Was a Prophet." While I don't know about
that, I do know that reading the KJV version of the Bible in my quiet
time when I took Shakespeare my freshman year of college really

I am not going to argue here that that Shakespeare was a Christian writer as some
have because the similarities here do not point to that. But I just like to think that great books explore some of the same facets of humanity.

I think the most powerful difference between the stories is that Elisha mourns the evil that Hazael will bring about because his reign will bring about the death and torture of innocent people, and the witches celebrate it.

In both stories, we don't know whether the villains would have committed their evil deeds without the prophetic intervention. But in both cases, their is a sovereign author, writing for their own glory. Shakespeare bashed Macbeth and praised Banquo because the ruling monarch in England descended from Banquo. And in the Bible, everything works to God's glory and His own ends.

How to deal with bad moods...

"We have to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves, and we will find that we can do what we said we could not."

May 20th, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers

Monday, May 18, 2009

Another quote from Boxen

As I mentioned before, Boxen: The Imaginary World of the Young C.S. Lewis contains a collection of short stories Lewis wrote when he was young about talking animals.

In this scene, Puddiphat is asking two sailor characters to go out for the evening, one is trying to reform the military and the other is in the process of being reformed(see my other blog post on this book). Bar used to be all about having a good time, so for him to decline Puddiphat's invitation is surprising.

Boxen pg 183 In The Sailor: Volume II

'My dear Viscount,' protested Bar, ' we must decline your hospitality if it entails mixing with these low actresses, whose presence recalls a chapter in our life, which we would fain forget.'

'This is Saul among the prophets,' laughed Puddiphat. 'But come along, the girls can dine at the inn."

The book of 1 Samuel in the Bible describes when King Saul winds up prophesying even though God was no longer supporting him. "So it became a saying: 'Is Saul also among the prophets?'" which I always assumed meant that someone did something out of character for them.

The quote in Boxen excited me because I have always wanted to be able to use this saying, but had never actually seen or heard it used. Now to have confirmation that I can mention Saul being among the prophets and know that I am not the only person in the past century to use the phrase.

I always wondered why people at churches don't use this saying. I resolve to use this saying sometime soon.

Faith saves, not works, but works follow faith

"You cannot do anything for your salvation, but you must manifest it, you must work out what God has worked in."

--May 15, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers

So true! Works do not save you, but works do stem from your salvation.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I think I should start a Metro book club...

Yesterday, I was reading D.A. Carson's Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church on the Yellow line. A boy with a slightly Southern accent said next to me, and I kept reading.

I chuckled at an Alice in Wonderland reference in a footnote (page 84).

When the boy stood up to get ready to get off the Metro, he said, "Just out of curiosity, what are you reading?"

I told him a bit about the emergent church movement how Carson analyzes it and he asked me a couple of questions. When he first sat next to me, he looked vaguely familiar, but I have no idea why.

I think it's funny that not 24 hours after my last Metro-ride-book-conversation, I have another, with a completely different book.

Each led to interesting conversations too, even if neither lasted longer than a few stops.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reading a French playwright makes me a Calvinist?

On the Metro today I was reading a book of plays by Molière. A man in his 60s sat down next to me and asked me what I was reading. I showed him the cover and then when chatted about plays for a bit. Then he asked me if I was coming from the hockey game. I said, "No, I'm coming from church."

He did a double take, looked at the book by Molière in my hands again and asked, "Calvinist?"

"Yes," I said. "But I don't think that has anything to do with me reading Molière."

He then proceeded to tell me about his friend who was from France whose faith was in the tradition of the French Huguenots.

He talked about how he was a atheistic Catholic, and was surprised both that I went to a Southern Baptist Church in DC and that I didn't believe in infant baptism.

Why blog, and why now?

This past semester, I thought I would start a blog to keep track of the food I cook. Cooking for me involves a lot of throwing random ingredients into a pan and stirring, which is fun, but hard to reproduce if I enjoy something. I thought a blog would be a good way of keeping track of how I actually make to food I eat, and then maybe I would also blog about tea every so often.

Then, I actually started reading blogs about topics that are important to me. I started to read 22 Words, 9Marks, and Internet Monk, among others. I spend a lot of time thinking about God, theology, philosophy, books, and life. This blog is a chance for me to explore these more.

The title "My thoughts on display, that I may not fear" stems from the fact that I usually hide my opinions, and through this blog, I am trying to state what I believe because I know I am to fear God, not man. I should not fear to explore my theology and come right out and say what I think. I want to be intentional in stating my beliefs because it is all too easy to equivocate and hide ideas that would offend or accuse my friends who don't agree with me.

I am not the loudest person in the room, but I also do not consider myself as timid. I do not want to fear what others think of me, especially when it comes to my faith.

So I will not just keep track of my created recipes or the tea that I drink or humorous recounting of my daily activities. I might post about that sometimes, but the main reason for this blog is to be open with my beliefs to the wide internet world which only sometimes agrees with me.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Boxen: The Imaginary World of the Young C.S. Lewis contains a collection of short stories Lewis wrote when he was young about talking animals. One of my goals in life is to read everything by Lewis, and so it was fun to read this book. This quote is from the last story in the book, about a military officer in Boxen.

Boxen pg 164 In The Sailor A Study Volume I
'I know, My Lord,' replied Cottle, 'that his Lordship intends to reform the navy: but I have not yet been informned what part I may endeavour to play in such a work.'

'Well,' said Oliver, 'you entered to day on your first ship, and you as yet know little of your fellow-officers. You are young, and, I trust, vigorous, and I am entrusting you with a task which may alter the world.'

Cottle glanced at his muscular shoulders, as if expecting to see them crushed by such a imposition.

I find the image of a the shoulders crushed by the weight of the task assigned humorous. While very different from the Narnia chronicles, there were instances where I think I could see that he was indeed the same author.