Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The difference in a T

The letter "t" is very important, did you know that?

Punctuation and the letter "t" is even more crucial.

Especially when baking.

There is a big difference between t and T.

Now I must quadruple the batch if the muffins are to taste like muffins.

Right now they taste like baking soda.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

THE Word

I just enjoyed reading Christa's post about THE Word. How true it is that we can spend so much time reading good books and hardly ever read the Word of God.

So, I thought this would be a good time to show you just how my brain works.

A few months ago I learned that the great servant of God, George Muller, read the entire Bible 263 times (that he counted). Now, Muller became a believer when he was 25, dying when he was 92, which means he was a Christian for 67 years. Now, let's do a little math, shall we?

263 times through the Bible
divided by 67 years as a believer
equals 3.93 times a year

Then I wondered, well, how many chapters a day would that be? How many chapters in the Bible ARE there anyway?

Answer: 1,189 So...

1,189 chapters in the Bible
divided by 365 days a year (not counting leap year that is)
equals 3.26 chapters a day (to read the Bible once a year)
times 3.93 times through the Bible in a year
equals 12.80 chapters a day (to read through the Bible 3.93 times a year)

OR if that is too confusing...

1,189 chapters in the Bible
times 3.93 times a year
equals 4,673 chapters
divided by 365 days
equals 12.80 chapters a day (to read the Bible 3.93 times a year)

Now, if you are not concerned for my mental health yet, my mind continued to wonder...

How long, on average, does it take me to read a chapter in the Bible? There are shrimpy little Psalms (121) and gigantic Psalms (119). I guessed, on average, that it would take me a minute or a minute and a half to read through most chapters in the Bible. If I read more shorter chapters when I can and took my time on the longer ones it would probably average out.


12.80 chapters a day
times 1.5 minutes
equals 19.20 minutes a day (to read through the Bible 4 times a year)

I was shocked. I thought for sure that George had to read the Bible for hours on end to get through it 4 times year. Maybe he was a slow reader and it took him, what, 30 minutes a day?

Honestly, that is nothing.

How much time do I spend wasted on other things like Facebook, MySpace, talking on the phone, hitting the snooze button, eating, watching TV, cleaning, sitting at stop lights, etc. I am not recommending to read while you are driving, but living in Denver I sit at a lot of stop lights. Do you know the average length I sit at stop lights? About 1.5 minutes. Four stop lights a day and I can read through the Bible in a year. Or how about Facebook? I have time for it, but no time to read my Bible? Shame on me. People spend an average of 1 hour on Facebook a day. A DAY! What did we used to do with that time 5 years ago when Facebook or MySpace didn't exist?

My point- We have a lot more time than we think we do AND we spend our time on what is precious to us. If God's Word is precious then we will make huge sacrifices to read it. And is it sacrificing, anyway, when we need to give up things in order to be obedient?

No, I think that is called obeying God.

And I haven't even begun talking about memorizing. We need to be reading, studying and memorizing God's Word. It is our life. It is our strength. It is our health.

10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.
Psalm 119
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3
I sometimes wonder why I am discouraged, upset, easily angered, mad, unhappy, worried, etc, until I remember that I have spent little time in the Word, studying it, memorizing and praying. When I disobey in area, other areas of disobedience begin to shine through.

So... memorizing!

1,189 chapters in the Bible
divided by 52 weeks in a year
equals 22.87 years (to memorize the Bible at the rate of 1 chapter a week)

That is a lot, no doubt, but it is not impossible!

So, how about the New Testament and 100 "Golden Chapters" in the Old Testament?

260 chapters in the NT
plus 100 selected chapters in the OT
equals 360 chapters
divided by 52 weeks a year
equals 6.92 years (to memorize all the NT and 100 OT chapters)

Only 7 years.

Sure, it may look intimidating, but we become what we love. Imagine filling your mind so much with God's Word that it overflows. Imagine being able to recall Scripture in a time of need? Imagine knowing God so well as you pour over his Word?

I have found there are great times to memorize the Bible...
-taping index cards over the sink while I do dishes
- waiting in line at the store
- taking a brief walk
- taping laminated verses inside the shower (10-15 minutes of otherwise "wasted" time!)
- dry erase markers on mirrors
- listening to the Bible on CD while driving helps reinforce what is already known

And in the future I forsee...
- hours upon hours of nursing! (Lord willing) I watched my mom read the Bible through many times and memorize 4 or 5 books while she sat nursing children.
- I want my children to memorize Scripture from the moment they can talk. IT can be so simple- "God created" or "Obey your parents." It is a delight to hear Samuel quoting Scripture. The first time he ran to me and said, "Jaci, listen to my verse- 'God loved us and sent His Son. I John 4:10' " I started crying. He assured me that I didn't need to cry because it was happy! I told him that I was excited that he was learning the Bible. Then he asked, "Do you know a verse?" And, with my 3 year old brother I sat and we exchanged Bible verses we were CURRENTLY memorizing. What a joy! I could care less if my children EVER play an instrument, have nice clothes, have seen the latest movies or are popular. I want them to know God and His Word. I want them to love God and His Word more than the things that are feeting and useless!

As always, there is much more I would like to say, but I am off for now!

May you be delighted to emerse yourself in the Word of God. May you love its commands. May You fall more deeply in love with its Author. May you use it to fight the enemy.

10You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3

Monday, November 05, 2007

What We Don't See

If you would like to read a fascinating story of a man who gave much, went to China and died happy, then this is not the book for you.

If you would like, however, to be convicted of your mediocre, materialistic, self-centered life by reading about a God-loving, sacrificial, servant and missionary to China, THEN this book is for YOU!

Oh, we do not know the small lives we live until we read about great men and women of faith who have gone before us. I read Scripture differently when I am immersed in learning about the faithfulness of people like Hudson Taylor.

I, personally, get so content in my day to day living that I, only by God's divine remembrance, recall the heights that I am called to achieve. As I read the history of world changers I realize that there are significant areas in their lives that are incredibly similar. Although each one lived in very different time periods, countries and had vastly unique circumstances, they all reached the same conclusions about life.

One topic where the same conclusion is reached regards money. Yes, yes, money. The substance we all love and in the next breath loathe. It is the resource we need to survive and sometimes we survive to attain. A close kin to money is possessions because, for the most part, you need money to acquire belognings.

Hudson Taylor is my hero, along with George Muller, when it comes to a view of money. He lived on little. He ate only bread and water so that he had more to minister to the needy. He was never in debt to anyone. He trusted God for all he needed and realized that if he went without something HE thought he needed that maybe, after all, God thought he did not need it- even food. Ever thought about a God-ordained fast simply because there was no food to eat and no money to buy it? It was common for Hudson and it strengthened his faith.

Some countries have a worldview that enslave them to fear spirits while others serve their family heritage. American Christians are good at seeing the speck in the eye of other cultures. We pray for the Buddists, Muslims, etc. to be free from spiritual bondage and all the while we have a monsterous plank sticking out of our eye because we worship money. The love of money is definately prevalent in many societies, but we seem to live for it more than most.

It is somewhat subtle, our love of money, and we have become good at justifying our expenses. We need to furnish our home and you know we cannot possibly shop at Goodwill (we would have mismatched furniture if we did that!). AND we have to have 8 dining rooms chairs (that match, mind you) because 4 just wouldn't do. Sit children on the floor, are you crazy? The carpet might get dirty... There must be every day dishes and special occassion dishes, as well, that is just how it is done. Ten different pairs of shoes is adequate and quite modest for most girls, yes, see I am sacrificing now. (TEN pairs of shoes.) We could not possibly do with less, could we? Then there are clothes. We must have a closet full of clothes for every occassion, time of year, fashion and occupation. When this year's styles go out we load up BAGS of clothes and hand them off to, well, someone less fortunate.

We eat out, at $30 a pop (which isn't as much as those who really waste money!) without blinking and justify it because, you know, a couple needs a nice date once in a while. Oh, then there is a good movie once a month, Starbuck's several times a week and the "little treats" along the way. It just cost a dollar, you know.

And, I still give 10% to the church, so I am okay. Isn't that all God asks of me? I cannot afford to do more at this point! I have school debt to pay off. Oh, now I cannot give more because we have little kids. Then there is a house, sports, college, retirement, etc. and before another word life is gone.

Shame on us.

For one example- we, Christians, should be ashamed of the gross amount of money we sacrifice to the god of coffee. Millions of dollars that pass through the hands of Christians are being spent on a hot drink while that same money could rescue 25 million 8 year old girls from the sex trade in Thailand. Billions of dollars breeze in and out of bank accounts belonging to self-proclaimed followers of Christ as we praise the gods of clothes, cars, movies and music.

God does not need our money, let me clarify that, but He does command us to give, live soberly and have no earthly ties. It all burns. The nice furniture, as cheap as you think it was, will burn. The clothes... gone. The nice dishes, big screen TV's and fashionable cars will pass away.

God does not want us to worship money, but He does tell us to be good stewards of it. And this does not mean "good stewards" of it from an American "I-got-the-best-deal-so-I-am-being-a-good-steward" mindset. Being a good steward of what God has given us means that we think of others before we think of ourselves. It means that we use our money as a weapon to fight the evil one by not allowing him to enslave us with love of it, because instead we use it to spread the gospel.

God have mercy on me! Praise You, God, that you are Sovereign over my sinfulness and that Your purposes will be fulfilled without my help. Yet, convict and conform me to your image so that I am ever more sacrificial as I see the end approaching. Teach me how to live on less so that You alone capture my love, affection and attention. Keep me from justifying my thoughtless expenses. Teach me how to use money as a weapon against Satan and a tool to further the gospel. May I never boast in what I own, for it will all perish...