Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Reformation Day!

What Is Reformation Day All About?

from Oct 30, 2013 Category: Articles
Tomorrow, much of the culture will be focused on candy and things that go bump in the night. Protestants, however, have something far more significant to celebrate on October 31. Tomorrow is Reformation day, which commemorates what was perhaps the greatest move of God’s Spirit since the days of the Apostles. But what is the significance of Reformation Day, and how should we consider the events it commemorates?
At the time, few would have suspected that the sound of a hammer striking the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany, would soon be heard around the world and lead ultimately to the greatest transformation of Western society since the apostles first preached the Gospel throughout the Roman empire. Martin Luther’s nailing of his ninety-five theses to the church door on October 31, 1517, provoked a debate that culminated finally in what we now call the Protestant Reformation.
An heir of Bishop Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther is one of the most significant figures God has raised up since that time. This law student turned Augustinian monk became the center of a great controversy after his theses were copied and distributed throughout Europe. Initially protesting the pope’s attempt to sell salvation, Luther’s study of Scripture soon led him to oppose the church of Rome on issues including the primacy of the Bible over church tradition and the means by which we are found righteous in the sight of God.
This last issue is probably Luther’s most significant contribution to Christian theology. Though preached clearly in the New Testament and found in the writings of many of the church fathers, the medieval bishops and priests had largely forgotten the truth that our own good works can by no means merit God’s favor. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and good works result from our faith, they are not added to it as the grounds for our right standing in the Lord’s eyes (Eph. 2:8-10). Justification, God’s declaration that we are not guilty, forgiven of sin, and righteous in His sight comes because through our faith alone the Father imputes, or reckons to our account, the perfect righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
Martin Luther’s rediscovery of this truth led to a whole host of other church and societal reforms and much of what we take for granted in the West would have likely been impossible had he never graced the scene. Luther’s translation of the Bible into German put the Word of God in the hands of the people, and today Scripture is available in the vernacular language of many countries, enabling lay people to study it with profit. He reformed the Latin mass by putting the liturgy in the common tongue so that non-scholars could hear and understand the preached word of God and worship the Lord with clarity. Luther lifted the unbiblical ban on marriage for the clergy and by his own teaching and example radically transformed the institution itself. He recaptured the biblical view of the priesthood of all believers, showing all people that their work had purpose and dignity because in it they can serve their Creator.
Today, Luther’s legacy lives on in the creeds and confessions of Protestant bodies worldwide. As we consider his importance this Reformation Day, let us equip ourselves to be knowledgeable proclaimers and defenders of biblical truth. May we be eager to preach the Gospel of God to the world and thereby spark a new reformation of church and culture.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Is Technology Sucking Real Life Away? OMG, IDK!

Life in Utopia.

Imagine: you wake up to sunshine, your home is nice and warm, your pantry is stocked, your servants are busy making sure everything is exactly the way you want it.  You have no need to work because you are abundantly blessed with EVERYTHING you could ever want or need.  Your days go by smoothly because there are no problems in your world, your world is perfect!

Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?  The only problem in it is that it is all focused on self.  Living in a bubble is the only way to avoid problems but that also means avoiding people.  Our lives branch out in so many ways, family, coworkers, neighbors, church members, other shoppers at the grocery, our lives resonate in ways we cannot imagine.  I just made a new friend online from New Zealand, yep, communicating to New Zealand from Kentucky instantaneously, incredible!  My grandparents couldn't of imagined such a thing as the internet and yet it's deeply imbedded into our everyday lives.  The internet has become our 'gathering room' for visiting, communicating, sharing and for some it is truly their whole life.

There is one problem though, as we embed ourselves so deeply in our 'online' world we can forget to focus on the 'real' world, and that's a very bad thing indeed.  

I have to confess here that I am a technology nut, I even studied computers back in the late 70's in Technical School and have been obsessed ever since.  I don't have all the latest technology but I love to learn about it.  Second confession is that being the very, very shy person that I am, communicating through keyboard is wonderful!!  I can say so many things that I would not be able to word correctly through face to face or even over the telephone.  My mother has always said I have a gift with word, in fact I think it is just so much easier for me to say what I need to say through the written word.  So, for me technology is both a help and a hindrance.

I used to keep in contact with my family through visits or telephone, now I find that an email or facebook are quicker and it can be done in my time.  This is great because we don't have to play phone tag and can get an instant answer, but I think instant may not always be the best.  What I'm missing in the email is the tone of their voice, or by not seeing them in person I can't see the look on their face.  Are they having problems, hurting in some way?  I don't know because I'm on to the next email and my thoughts of them are out the door.  

I also suffer from self diagnosed ADD so my thoughts are generally fleeting anyway unless I'm forced to focus and face to face visits make me focus on that moment, without so many distractions.  Even visiting folks these days generally means watching a movie or at least keep the television on while visiting, TV is now our 'white' noise.

My sweet little parents have a computer, email, etc. and they enjoy watching TV in their bedroom for the news, etc.  But they do not have a TV in the living room, when we visit there the only 'white noise' is the traffic outside, it's truly a haven.  I even find that as we're visiting we all talk quieter and slower because we're not competing with the television.  As much as I love technology I do not watch television, we have a TV in the living room and hubby is addicted to it (he'll tell you himself), but the rest of us really don't watch it, except for the Duggars and Ghost Adventures that Katie and I watch on the DVR, and Chris and Katie watch their Manchester United Matches.  At first it was kind of hard but now I love it, we fast forward through commercials so we don't have those temptations, it's just a calmer life.

I think that there must be a balance or we can overuse technology and make it a necessity instead of the tool or occasional entertainment that it should be.  
I don't want to think that I will only communicate with my grandchildren through technology, that would be horrible, so I'm challenging myself to make more phone calls and ease back on the computer and ipod usage, I want to control them, not have them control me.  I want to break out of the bubble that I find way too comforting and reach out to others in their time, not mine.  I'll keep you updated on my progress.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lovely Marriage

My sweet hubby and I have been married 30 years....he would say 30 loooooooong years!  Of course he fancies himself a comedian most of the time so I let that slide!
Marriage is a wonderful gift given by the Father, and one that so many times is not fed and nurtured as it should be so it wilts and ends before the real goodness can be found.  I think that premarital counseling is probably a good thing, it opens your eyes to things that maybe you hadn't considered, but I think most are too googly-eyed and in your bliss of contentment to realize that these things will ever happen to your marriage!  Therefore marriage, like everything else in life is better understood as it is experienced.  
There are tools that are essential if you intend to stay married longer than a few months, those are typical common sense items, like: patience, forgiveness, appreciation, admiration and most importantly putting Christ first.
Even with all of those things I think it's really important that you know for a fact that you 'like' this person, you will be with them all the time for all time so you better make sure you like them a lot!  
Laughter in the home is a wonderful thing also and should be a constant with you and your children, there will be many, many times will laughter will be a wonderful stress and tension reducer, specifically in the area of disagreements!
Marriage, life, constant togetherness can all get a bit stale sometimes, so having lots and lots of joy and laughter can really help the entire family!  
I'll be posting more on marriage later!  May God bless you and your family with much joy and happiness!  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Prosperity 'Preachers', So Wrong.

It is so frustrating to see anyone following Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, etc.  They are exceedingly good at preaching the wonderful, happy happy, joy joy, all will be wonderful and you're life will be incredible if you.............oh yeah, first you plant the seed then you will prosper and everything will be peaches and cream in lala land!  Dig deep and give to ______ ministry and then you will be showered with money and riches and all will be well!
NO, NO, NO!!!
It's about the 'meat' of the Word, not fluff that makes us feel good. 

Life is very, very hard and bad things happen.  Bad things always happen and always have, we must be listening to pastors preaching straight from scriptures so we can be prepared for the bad things and the difficult times. They will come and all that ideology won't be a comfort at all!  We have to dig into the Word, Joyce or Joel cannot tell us how to live our lives and all will be well.  The scriptures tell us of feast and famine, we know we live in a fallen world and as long as sin is here, life will be a battle.  
We have one promise and one promise only, He will carry us through when we simply cannot walk through the valley and walk with us when we tread on.
We are told to give but not to give so we will be showered with riches and life will be rosy.  We are to give, period.  Just because it says so in the Word.  Never is it to be all about us.
The truths in the Word challenge us and many times punches us in the gut just from the sheer honesty of those words.  It's hard to read the Bible without sometimes feeling the pain deep inside that was suffered over and over again.  Of course there are many reasons to rejoice from the blessings being given over and over.  But it should be a challenge for us, not an easy out, which is what they are telling us.  It's just wrong.

It's not about 'Me' or 'You', sorry if that doesn't make you all happy and ready for the riches to flow.  
It's about Jesus Christ!  Always was, always will be.

Pretty simple really.
By the way, I enjoyed listening to Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen until I realized that they were promoting prosperity, I quickly put them aside. I think they both are good 'teachers' or maybe life coaches, but they absolutely should not be in the pulpit, or 'preaching'.

If you don't understand or believe me, watch this video:
WORLD | Rapper calls out Osteen, prosperity preachers | Angela Lu | April 9, 2013 
after you watch it do some real digging into who is prospering from these 'preachers', I promise you their 'ministries' are not suffering one little bit and neither is their lifestyle.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Just Read the Horrible News......the Cicadas are coming!!!!!! Run for your lives!

Oh it is wonderful here in our part of Kentucky.  We have the windows so we can hear all the birds chirping, a hoot owl hooting, critters moving around in the woods, it's just lovely!
I love nature and all that goes with it.  The trees are incredibly beautiful, the sky constantly changing, the grass starting to come into it's pretty shades of green!!!  I know that many are in love with the city and find the man made architecture so comforting, but I love the countryside, the further out the better!  
Love visiting the cities, but always happy to get back to our tiny piece of Kentucky!

The above image reminds me so much of the road we took every weekend going up to my grandparents house and also the road going to my aunts house which was just over a hill from my grandparents.  Going up those roads meant that our weekend fun had begun!  Such fun running and playing and not stopping until time to go home on Sunday, I had such an incredible childhood, constantly surrounded by family.  My mother had 9 siblings so there were always aunts, uncles, cousins, etcSeems like even today that county in Kentucky is largely made up of my family!

Now, having gushed about being a nature lover....I'm terribly afraid....because.....THE CICADAS ARE COMING!!!!!  These things scare me to death!  And we always have them really bad in our area so I'm sure we'll be inundated with them again this year!  I'm afraid of them but our Katie is terrified of them!  We might have 6 weeks of not going outside, until they are gone!  Thankfully they don't last all summer!   

I remember the last time we had them really bad, folks walked around with badminton or tennis rackets to ward them off!!LOL  Funny now, but I won't be laughing if one gets on me.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Horrible Mistake of 'People Pleasing'!

Years ago when we first decided to start homeschooling our three, we had opposition from almost everyone in our lives.  I believe my brother was the only person that did not say 'you're making a big mistake'.  Even my sweet hubby was completely opposed to it, he had not done the research I had and didn't understand at all.  I asked him for one year to prove that it was okay and that was that.  He loved that they were home when he was, he worked 2nd shift for years and years.

This post is not about homeschooling, it's about others watching for you to fail.  I know that we were being viewed by sooooo many folks, parents of kids from the school ours were at, family, friends even church friends gave us that weird....'homeschooling huh?'....look.  By this time in my life (I was 39), I had gotten way beyond caring what other people thought, didn't even occur to me to wonder how others were viewing us.  
Some of our other choices had already been questioned and I was just beyond listening to opinions, I prayed and waiting for God's leading.

You see, whether it was Dan asking me to quit working after our first was born, our choice of a teeny tiny house (we loved that house!!!), our church affiliation (Dan converted to being a Baptist after being a Catholic his entire life), our living on a very tight budget (keeping us from taking vacations as others did; drove people crazy that we didn't want to go to Disneyworld, etc.!) or homeschooling....everything was being critiqued and discussed by others, these same friends, family, church folks, etc.

Now, the common denominator in all of these decisions is that they were OUR decisions to make, we asked for no opinions therefore they should not have been given....but given they were!  Everyone had to inform us of what we were doing wrong, pulling us aside and quietly telling us that others had noticed these things also and were we aware that our choices were a bit 'out there', yep they really tried to straighten us out!!!

I'm not saying that these choices would work for everyone and maybe some of them were truly not the best for us, but we made those choices and any achievements or failures we alone would be responsible for.

So, what this 52 year old wife of 30 years and mother of 28 years is saying is this: LET IT GO!!!...let what others say slide off your back and move on with your life.  This is the only way to find joy in the moment.  All that should matter to you or I is that we honor God in ALL we do, then please our spouse, children and family.  Not as in bowing down to anyone else just living alongside and caring and nurturing.  My husband is over me and our home, as the scriptures say.  Having him as an umbrella over our home reminds me that we are covered and have no need to be concerned about the opinions of others.

It's all a very simple equation, even though sometimes it means purging people from your life because they are a deterrant to your walk with Jesus...Christ comes first, if you get this right....everything will be just as it should be.  Such joy!!!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Train Up Your Children.......

We homeschooled all of our children, they are now 28, 26 and 23.  Our oldest son lives on his own but the two youngest are still home with us.
Our homeschooling style was anything but 'school' like, our kids had attended a local independence school so they knew how it worked and we wanted to completely de-school, so we did!  Our style was to learn together and read, read, read..yep, we read everything we could get our hands on and still do.  I believe that a love of reading makes life so much richer, I love getting lost in a book!
All three of them can do the basics of everyday living, they know how to clean, do laundry, and many other household musts.  They also can cook, bake and all of them can make bread from scratch and follow a recipe very well.  Having said that, our boys do not love to cook or bake but what's important is that if they need to they can.

This week has been a headache week for me, this is Thursday evening and I have had this headache since Monday morning.  I've had a few hours of being almost pain free but it just seems to come back.  Since I have been incapacitated Christopher and Katie have taken over everything, so things are getting done actually quicker and better than if I was doing them!  They don't believe in leaving things undone and I'm a bit of a procrastinator, much to my frustration.

So, because our children we trained at home and in the Word of God, they have a servants' heart, oh how I've appreciated that this week! 
Don't just teach your children, make sure you train their hearts, being ready and able to serve is such an important things for Christians, not just us children but us too!  

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Joy in the Journey

Do you ever notice other folks while driving along?  Sometimes you are at a stoplight and you just naturally notice the other folks driving by or sitting next to you in their cars.  Do you notice 'joy' in their facial expressions or motions?  Honestly, sometimes people look downright angry just sitting there in their cars!  Because I'm curious I always try to figure out what's going on with them, have they;
lost a loved one recently
lost a job
Or do they have;
spousal problems
children problems
their parents problems
work issues
Could it be that they are totally unaware of what their face is showing the world?  Chances are they have no idea what they look like to other people, I would venture to guess that they are so caught up in their own world that they have no clue how their being viewed at that moment.
We live in a world of such chaos that we have little time or inclination to notice whether our neighbor is having problems, much less a stranger on the road.  
So, in this world of limitless communication choices, we generally keep those true communications to our very elite few.  The lines must be drawn at how many we can have on our 'contacts' on our cell phones and very few of us still have a Rolodex or address book with contact info.  In this world of constant change people are moving or changing their phone numbers constantly so it's easier to erase electronically than pencil and paper. 
Therefore, in the age of instant global communication we can never ever have any contact with someone next door.  If their not on our text list, email or phone we basically have no time left to just take leisurely walks and chat with neighbors.  Even walks are limited to runs, jogs or even brisk walking for the exercise....with ear buds in our ears to keep us entertained so there's no chance for simply stopping to chat then either.

I thinks times have come so far, so fast and yet we've lost so many important things along the way.  We seldom have extra time for reaching out, actually most folks don't even have moments of silence in their lives, there is no time for it.
I think sensory overload has kept us from even having time for deep thinking,
I miss watching my grandpa who was a preacher, in their quiet farmhouse, sitting in his chair with his Bible on his lap snoozing in the afternoons, I miss the slower pace of that time.

I'm going to challenge us all to slow down, turn off the noise, sit out on the porch and wave and chat with neighbors and if we can find the time, go searching for those that have very few 'contacts' in their lives, what a difference we could make.

And while we're at it, we should probably take a look in our own rear view mirror at what our own face is projecting.  If we have Jesus, we have every reason to smile and share that joy!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Diving In!

Wow, it's been months since I've blogged, how could that be?  Our lives here at the homestead have been crazy the past couple of years, life just got more and more complicated.  As much as I wanted to do more and more from scratch and delve deeper in homesteading, the more the world got in the way.
We've been through our daughter Katie's Cancer, my father's Cancer and just a few other issues along the way, the good news is that everyone has come out okay, the Cancers are gone and the patients are doing great.
As much as we want to pull away and not face the problems of the world sometimes, it just slaps us right in the face!

That being said; I am a creature that would probably live my life in a tiny corner sticking my head out only when necessary if I could.  That's just my nature and I am way too happy to be home and never leave.  I know this is not right, if we as Christians stick our head in the sand, how can we expect to be a light for Him?
This blog is titled Living Simply for Him, that Him is Christ and the living simply is pulling away from the things of the world, but sometimes my mistake is pulling away from the people of the world also.
As a Christian we are sometimes put in the position of extracting folks from our lives because the poison that they choose to possess and live is just too much of an influence and can tamp down our spirit too easily.
The trick is knowing when to extract and when to move toward them because we're being led by the Spirit to share the Gospel.

How selfish of me to want to stay in my little corner and keep God as my light; when there is a world just begging for the Light of the World.

This is my first step in busting out of my self imposed bubble and putting myself out there, kinda scary but Jesus walks every step with me!  How wonderful is that!!!!!