Matt came home to pick up his phone. He walked through the kitchen to let the dog in through the back door. The dog was so excited he ran into the house, through the kitchen, slipped, slid into the dining room table and hit it so hard he moved the table a foot and knocked one of my new plates off it, which of course smashed into pieces.
Fortunately Gabe was upstairs in his room so he wasn't in danger of the millions of pieces of glass suddenly on the floor. After locking the dog in the kitchen I swept up all the glass (I hope) and walked it to the kitchen. I opened up the cupboard in which our garbage can is and started pushing the dust pan into the cupboard - but the door bounced back and instead I hit the dustpan right against the cupboard door... and knocked all the glass all over the kitchen floor.
And that is an account of today's excitement so far.
It's actually been a pretty nice day so far. I spent a good chunk of time chatting on the phone with my sister this morning and plan to do a fair bit of cleaning this afternoon. Mostly though I'm going to study my bible. Study it, not read it. What's the difference? Well, when I read my bible I find I'm sometimes guilty of just trying to get to the end of the chapter. I take some of it in, but I rarely get the whole of it. There are lines that seem to just melt into other lines and never stand out to me unless they are pointed out to me, even if I've read it a ton of times. Now, what I mean by studying my bible is actually moreso scripture memorization. A chapter at a time. I did this a few months ago with James 1 and then James 2. I spent a couple weeks memorizing James 1 and then found myself going over it in my head while I was doing other things. I was able to think on the words without focusing on reading them and that made a world of difference for me. I think it took me a couple weeks after I had memorized it to finally be struck by the line, "For man's anger does not bring about the kind of righteous living that God desires." (James 1:20) By having this scripture embedded in my memory I was able to think on it and ponder it at different times, in different circumstances - not just when I sat down with my bible open. It actually opened my eyes to the whole meaning of some of these verses. Just last week I was struck again by the truth of that verse and convicted regarding it, but my conviction was rooted in my knowledge of the scripture. If I had never memorized that I wouldn't have realized that while I might have had a right to be angry in that circumstance, how I was feeding my anger wasn't right, so I was just as guilty as if I had been wrong in the first place. This deeper understanding isn't from my studying directly, but from God's grace, but I need to do my part and read and memorize the words God has given to us, and not just think that God will bestow wisdom on me if I'm not really trying for it. Again, in James 1 it talks about, "If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault." I've been asking God for wisdom and He's been leading me to His word. It would be arrogant for me to expect God to reveal things to me through some divine means like a dream or a sudden realization when He's already given these truths to me and I'm, unfortunately, neglecting to study them. It'd be laziness on my part.
Besides a deeper understanding, God calls us to arm ourselves with, "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Eph. 6:17) First comes understanding, then comes application. I'm foreseeing a hard time in my immediate future (not without good reason) and so I thought it would be wise of me to memorize a chapter in scripture that speaks the most on the subjects that are going to be brought up in my life over the next few weeks. Now, this chunk of scripture I'm memorizing I feel like I understand - in part through my own study, in part through submitting to my husband's authority as a spiritual leader and acknowledging his wisdom on the subject, in part through conviction by God and entirely through God's grace. So, now that I understand, is my job done? No! Like I said, I've got a potentially rough few weeks, maybe even months, ahead of me. But I'm arming myself. We're applying what we've learned and I'm ensuring that I know what the scriptures say on it so that when people ask me about it and question our decisions I can present the scriptures to them and justify my actions through God's word. But it's not really about me being right and others being wrong. It's about upholding the truths of the Word for the glory of God.
It's funny how people say that all religions are the same. That's a lie. A really big lie. Christianity is very different from all other religions. The majority of religions are about what you can attain and what you can achieve. It's all about earning your way to paradise by what you do (Judaism), ensuring that your spot in paradise is the biggest and best and you can maybe have your own planet that you're god of if you're good enough (Mormonism), or killing yourself and a bunch of unbelievers for the sake of 72 virgins (Extreme Islam). Christianity, true Christianity, is all about God's glory. You see parts in the bible that talk about storing up treasures in heaven. You know what you use those treasures for when you get to heaven? You lay them at the feet of Jesus as an offering to Him! You don't wear them and parade them around or buy a ferarri with them! It is all about giving glory to God! Our whole existence on earth is intended to give glory to God. The catechism goes, "What is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever." Our whole existence after we die will be to glorify God - all of us, non-believers and believers. Every act and every pain and every tear and every victory will be used for God's glory because God is sovereign. Another difference - God loves us and has created us to glorify Him through our relationship with Him. That's the second part of the catechism. How do we glorify God? By enjoying Him forever. We aren't slaves. We aren't brainless zombies who follow in obedience... or else. We are joint heirs with Christ. Crazy eh? And when the new Jerusalem is established, we will live in fellowship with God and our relationship with Him will give Him glory. Oh, and we aren't in any way greater than God so that whole getting your own planet thing is just wrong to the enth degree.
Okay, so I had intended to write that first part about scripture memorization, but that last bit was an unintentional rant. I mean, it's still valid, but I hadn't planned on going that far with it.
I'm just feeling very convicted lately. I'm feeling attacked. I'm feeling challenged. I'm on the brink of feeling persecuted. It's amazing how these feelings can stir such passion in one. Those money matters I was worried about last week seem so trivial now. Sure money is a tough issue, but I've got bigger issues to deal with in my life and I trust that God will provide what I need. There, problem over!
I wish that it were good enough for the world, and good enough for the church even, to just say, "Because the bible says so," and that would be the end of the discussion. Why are we supposed to give 10% of our income to the church? Because the bible says so (Deut. 14:22, Mal. 3:10). How can you say that I don't need to worry about money and that I should just trust God? Because the bible says so (Prov. 3:10, Psalm 121). Why do you think that women should stay at home to raise their children and their household? Because the bible says so (Prov 31:10-27).
How can you say that you are right and the world is wrong? Because God has given us His very word; He has revealed truths to us beyond anything we can even imagine and He has given these truths to us in the form of His holy word, the Scriptures. Because the bible says so.
That's good enough for me.
Mrs. Vander Leek ;)