Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Walking Thru Scrpiture: The Nature of Sin

Our reading this week walks thru Exodus with Moses. I admit I kept reading and went on a few extra chapters to the building of the Tabernacle already. There’s just so much in there, I couldn’t stop at just the days reading…or even just this weeks assigned chapters.
One of the first things that stuck to me in my reading was that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened…and not just by himself, but also by God as well. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this portion is this:

What men dislike, because it opposes their pride and lusts, they will not be convinced of; but it is easy to cause them to believe things they wish to be true.  God always sends with his word full proofs of its Divine authority; but when men are bent to disobey, and willing to object, he often permits a snare to be laid wherein they are entangled. None assist more in the destruction of sinners, than such as resist the truth by amusing men with a counterfeit resemblance of it.

Pharaoh saw the might of The Lord of Moses, but he still refused to open his heart to it. He saw the destruction to the people around him as the plagues came one after another, and still he remained steadfast in his stubbornness. Isn’t that just like we do today? Praise Him in the sunshine on the mountain top, yet falter and cry out against His chosen method of tending to us as the storm clouds move in and we are low in the valley. Pharaoh relented during each plague against his household and people, but once The Lord released the burden, he saw no need to maintain his repentance. We all have different levels of “rock bottom” before we will stop and truly see the Lord of Moses working in our lives, changing our hearts over to His Will. Before our Salvation, how long did we persist in our contented manner of sin, remaining unchanged by what we heard, what we saw, what we were told of The Lord? When we repented at first, was it merely in word or did we truly see a conversion in our heart and our spirit? I don’t believe in lost Salvation, but I do believe we can walk away from it, have it clouded from our view time to time until we get back on the right path. It isn’t God choosing to remove it from us, but our free will making us walk away and leave it behind us by a few steps or more.

The Lord is my strength and song and he is become my salvation: he is my God and I will prepare him an inhabitation; my father’s God and I will exhalt him.
The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.

I read just as much thru Scripture as I did thru various commentaries, soaking in all their understandings and testing them against my own.

The love of Christ to his disciples changes all their common mercies into spiritual blessings; the anger of God towards his enemies, renders their most valued advantages a curse and a misery to them.
Sooner or later, God will force even his enemies to acknowledge his own power.

The Lord knows them that are His, and will make it appear, perhaps in this world but certainly in the other, that he has set them apart for Himself.
Some sinners, in a pang of conviction, part with their sins, yet are loath they should go very far away; for when the freight is over, they will return to them again. Moses promised the removal of plague, but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: if we think to cheat God by a sham of repentance and false surrender of ourselves to Him, we shall put a fatal cheat upon our own souls. Reigning lusts break through the strongest bonds, and make men presume and go from their word. Many seem in earnest, but there is some reserve, some beloved secret sin. They are unwilling to look upon themselves as in danger of everlasting misery. They will refrain from other sins; they do much, give much, and even punish themselves much. They leave it off sometimes as it were, let their sin depart a little way; but will not make up their minds to part with all and follow Christ, bearing the cross. Rather than that, they venture all. They are sorrowful, but depart from Christ, determined to keep the world at present, and they hope for some future season, when salvation may be had without such costly sacrifices; but at length, they poor sinner is driven away in his wickedness, and left without hope to lament his folly.

What we make an idol of, it is just with God to remove from us. This proud tyrant and cruel oppressor (Pharaoh) deserved to be made an example by the just judge of the universe. None who are punished according to what they deserve, can have any just cause to complain. Hardness of heart denotes that state of mind upon which neither threatenings nor promise, neither judgements nor mercies, make any abiding impression. The conscience being stupefied, and the heart filled with pride and presumption, they persist in unbelief and disobedience. This state of mind is also called the stony heart. Very different is the heart of flesh, the broken and contrite heart. Sinners have none to blame but themselves, for that pride and ungodliness which abuse the bounty and patience of God. For, however the Lord hardens the hearts of men, it is always as a punishment of former sins.

When Pharaoh and his people were struck with the plague of boils, he continued to be steadfast in his resolve against God. He had hardened his own heart, and God finally gave him over to his sins. 

If men shut their eyes against the light, it is just with God to close their eyes. This is the sorest judgement a man can be under out of Hell itself.
Those that are not bettered by judgements and mercies commonly become worse.

Darkness falls.

Spiritual darkness is spiritual bondage. Satan blinds men’s eyes that they see not, he binds their hands and feet, that they work not for God, nor move toward heaven. They sit in darkness.

Let us dread the consequences of sin; if three days of darkness for Pharaoh’s people was so dreadful, what will an eternity of darkness be? 

It is common for sinners to bargain with God Almighty; thus they try to mock him, but they deceive themselves. The terms of reconciliation with God are so fixed, that though men dispute them ever so long, they cannot possibly alter them, or bring them lower. We must come to the demand of God’s Will; we cannot expect he should condescend to the terms our lusts would make. With ourselves and our children, we must devote all our worldly possessions to the service of God; we know not what use he will make of any part of what we have.

Pharaoh had often called Moses to come to him, to release his afflictions, to barter with him for that release. Now he threatens him with death. He is so hardened against the God of Moses, so wrapped up in his own perceived power, that he lost all reason.

When men drive God’s Word from them, He justly gives them up to their own delusions.

 Scripture has foretold of the unbelief of many who hear the Gospel yet believe it not. That has been a part of Scripture thru every chapter. Those who have heard, those who do know and were taught, turning away with excuses or “science” behind their decision not to believe. Churches teach this every week, every day. It’s the common message of come as you are. Not a bad message in itself, but so many churches tend to stick on that part…as you currently are…and then teach nothing of Believing crafting a change in you. So many are brought to the church building, taught to tithe, and that’s it, no deep repentance is taught, no one is discipled in the ways of Christ, and the main purpose behind so many outreach ministries is merely to grow the rolls and pad the coffers. It doesn’t matter if you are truly Saved, if you truly believe, only that you agree to attend on a regular basis and tithe your due to the Caesar of the modern church movement.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked:
if we think to cheat God by a sham of repentance and false surrender of ourselves to Him, we shall put a fatal cheat upon our own souls.

See what I mean? I was carried away between Scriptural account of Moses and Pharaoh, the Plagues, the parting of the Red Sea to save His People, the commentaries that screamed to my spirit while I read. I could stay in this section forever. There is so much yet to soak in. I kept reading, thru to the Tabernacle, but these portions really spoke to me and stuck in my mind to ponder. I haven’t even touched on all of the giving of the 10 Commandments in commentary! That’s definitely a whole post of its own.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Walk Thru Scripture: The Days of Moses, and some new reading here

Here are the next readings for our Walk Thru Scripture, chronological study

Jan 31...Exodus 4-6
Feb 1...Exodus 7-9
Feb 2...Exodus 10-12
Feb 3...Exodus 13-15
Feb 4...Exodus 16-18
Feb 5...Exodus 19-21
Feb 6...Exodus 22-24

Here is the link I shared in group for Matthew Henry's Commentary for our journey thru Exodus. 

I had been offline but for the cell phone peeks all week due to having Dewey and the boys home after their month-long job up north. I didn't really chat it up with the last reading at all, but I am nonetheless enjoying the time in Scripture. It's definitely a much-needed part of my day. 

I admit though I am not setting aside a specific time to delve into The Word, but am grabbing my moments as they present themselves in my day...between chores, schooling, the now crawling, never lacking motion grandson, LOL. 

I need specific time. We all do. 

Sure, God is speaking to me in those stolen moments, but he and I both deserve far more attention to His Word than stolen moments. I need to work on that and get my priorities set back into proper order.

I'm excited to see the Amazon delivery this week (no, I don't get Amazon deliveries often!). I have a few books coming in that piqued my interest and I can't wait to dig into them.  

I have Own Your Life, by Sally Clarkson coming in, with the study guide.
Do you ever long for days full of joy and energy―days that bring out the best version of you rather than leave you exhausted? Do you sometimes catch yourself wishing life was more impactful and fulfilling? In a world that’s moving so fast, it’s easy to lose your sense of purpose. So now is the time to make each moment of your ordinary, everyday, beautiful existence count. It’s time to own your life.
Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life is a breath of fresh air into the life and soul of a busy woman. Like a faithful friend, Sally journeys with you to explore what it means to live meaningfully, follow God truly, and bring much-needed order to your chaos. Each page offers deeply personal, authentic, and practical guidance to help you build an intentional life. Discover what it means to own your life, and dare to trust God’s hands as He richly shapes your character, family, work, and soul.
 I also have Spiritual Mothering, by Susan Hunt...
Presents a fully biblical and extremely practical vision for intergenerational ministry so that women of all ages can know the blessing of spiritual mother-daughter relationships.
For many churches, women's ministries, and women's Bible study groups, the missing element of discipleship is the interpersonal aspect. Titus 2:3-5 clarifies what mature spiritual relationships between generations of women should look like. Susan Hunt unveils how to put that model into action with stories of biblical and contemporary women who have responded to God's call, as well as page after page of personal encouragement, practical insight, and ministry-tested how-to's.
Through this wisdom-packed book, churches, groups, and individuals will be equipped to reach across generational lines-and inspired to experience the blessing of nurturing, godly relationships so that every Christian woman may flourish in her faith.
 And Taking Motherhood to Hearts, another by Sally Clarkson
 In a rapidly secularizing culture that is losing its heart for biblical motherhood, Sally calls mothers back to God’s design to restore moms’ hearts to God’s heart for motherhood. Taking Motherhood to Hearts is a handbook and heartbook for starting, leading, and tending a Mom Heart small group. It’s filled with inspirational “why to” vision, practical “how to” advice, and motivational “can do” encouragement.
 And for just plain reading enjoyment...which I like to do once in a while, LOL...
Rural Free: A Farmwife's Almanac, by Rachel Peden
 Rural Free, first published in 1961, beautifully conveys the joys of family life on an Indiana farm. Marked by the slow pace and rich variety of seasonal change, Rachel Peden’s narrative offers an authentic month-by-month chronicle of her family’s daily adventures. Today, as the slow-food movement gathers support and more urban dwellers return to the land to plant roots again in honest soil, Peden’s stories of country life and her lessons on sustainability, frugality, and wastefulness gain a special resonance. Rural Free will be a source of inspiration for all who rejoice in rural virtues and the spiritual freedom of country life.
 And finally, another one 'just for reading,' My Life as an Amish Wife, Lena Yoder
"After three hours of chores, breakfast, phone calls, and getting mail ready, it was 9:30 by the time I got to sewing. I sewed three blouses before noontime."
As an Amish wife and mother of six, Lena Yoder has plenty of ways to fill her time.
"I helped with the afternoon milking, baked two different kinds of cakes, made two pizzas, and got everybody ready to take supper to school for the teachers."
But amid the endless tasks to complete and challenges to overcome, Lena's simple joy and deep faith are ever present in these brief, first-person accounts.
"I am thoroughly enjoying these days at home...Our family is filled with love...I could never list everything I am thankful for."
These unassuming glimpses of Amish life will touch your heart and inspire you to seek the simple things--a loving family, a good day's work, and a grateful heart.
I have some ideas, a vision, for how I'd like my year to go, and these books are all part of my personal encouragement and (hopefully) inspiration to keep that path going toward the vision I have. As a mom of 9, 3 of those grown and on their own lives, and the others not too terribly far behind, I should be tapping into that Titus 2 mode in myself. I don't mainly because I see the failures and fault lines of my motherhood calling and experience, and I still seek out others to be the Titus 2 model. Do I really have anything worthwhile to share with other mothers? I don't see much, but perhaps it's there and just needs some encouraging and coaxing out of the shadows. I don't know. Maybe I'm just being hopeful. Still, the vision includes a part of that and I thought some reading and encouraging might help me along this year. We shall see :-)

I hope you're joining us for our chronological reading of Scripture, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on any particular verses or sections that stick out as you read! Share a comment or 2 please!

A Humble Family...

"Never be ashamed of your home or family because it is humble. People who look down on those whose home is humble and who lack social prominence are not worthy of the friendship of decent families. The most important things in life are character, honest work, humility, loyalty, friendliness, and love." -Fr. Lovasik, Catholic Family Handbook


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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