Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Take a Close Look

Trying again. Now both posts have been deleted and I'll have to repost ...

We’ve talked before about folks who have tried to disprove the claims of the Christian faith and come to believe.

I can remember years ago, being charged with preparing an expository lecture on the Resurrection. The text was John 20. As a lay person, I studied commentaries and examined the writings of many great theologians in order to prepare the talk – and was astounded by the list I was able to compile of proofs and evidences of the resurrection of Jesus.

This year’s Easter devotional from Our Daily Bread also touched on this idea of trying to prove the resurrection: “... A century ago, a group of lawyers met in England to discuss the biblical accounts of Jesus’ resurrection. They wanted to see if enough information was available to make a case that would hold up in a court of law. They concluded that Christ’s resurrection was one of the most well-established facts of history.”

In the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), you can read for yourself the testimonies of witnesses to the life and death of Jesus. For a further look, I’d recommend a resource from the Radio Bible Class: 10 Reasons to Believe Christ Rose from the Dead. It’s simplified, but a great starting point. If you know of other internet resources, let us know. I’ll look for some, too.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8

Ooops!

Don't know if you've noticed a duplicate post on here. I'm having some trouble with posting today. Maybe it's Blogger that's having tech issues. Anyway, I'll try to get this straightened out later when, I hope, Blogger stops misbehaving.

Grace

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Chasing Wind

I hope all of you enjoyed some time off to celebrate Easter. I know I had a good break and some great family time.

It seemed every time we flipped on the news, coverage was dominated by the Terri Schiavo case. She is now in her 11th day of being starved and dehydrated to death. I won’t pretend to have answers. So much conflicting information is in the news; nothing seems certain. Is she in pain? Is she not? Was this her wish? Was it not? Can she speak and move purposefully? Or not?

Some say this event is causing cracks, in a political sense, among conservatives whose opinions are varied. I think the cracking transcends the populus, however. A long time ago, but within my lifetime, we trusted certain institutions to be objective and reasonable. We trusted journalists to be unbiased. We believed judges would rule by law and by fairness. We hoped doctors, rooted in science, could make definitive diagnoses and prognoses.

Over time our trust in these institutions has been chipped away. Sometimes by our personal experiences, often by what we read. The Schiavo case cracks them wide open. It’s a sad day when our discussion of a medical doctor’s report is colored by knowing he is a member of the Hemlock (pro-euthanasia) society or, conversely, a pro-life Christian. We read the news with a jaundiced eye – is it a liberal pub or a conservative?

We yearn to know the Truth, the bottom line that all can agree on no matter their background. It’s like trying to capture the wind in this circumstance. Most of us don’t have the time or opportunity and probably not the will to figure it all out. But I hope when it comes to the challenge of Easter, you’ll consider it carefully. To believe or not in the resurrection of Jesus is central to Christian faith. We’ll talk more about it tomorrow.

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” I Corinthians 5:17

Friday, March 18, 2005

Easter ponderings

The big news today in the faith community is the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. What many people don't understand and which makes this case so scary is that Terri is communicative. Hardly what anyone would call a vegetable, or, to put it nicely, a vegetative state. As a mother, the thought of someone forcing your child, albeit a grown one, to die a slow death by dehydration/starvation makes me feel ill.

How can anyone keep her parents from intervening? Seems they'd have to be locked away to allow her adulterous husband to go ahead. And I have to wonder where the media's outrage has gone. The 60 Minutes II types, who railed against scaring terrorist prisoners with dogs and walking them on leashes, don't seem too sympathetic toward this innocent, young American woman.

The Bible places these things in context. It all begins back in the very first book, Genesis, in Chapter 1. We like to think people are basically good. God's Word tells us differently. We are born in sin. We inherit sinful natures. We make evil, sinful choices. And Biblical history shows cycles of moral and immoral societies, even among God's chosen people, societies in which evil runs amuck. And we witness the sad consequences of evil choices throughout our culture today.

So what are God's people to do? Here is one blogger's (Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost) thought-provoking viewpoint. As for me ... I suggest you read all of Romans this coming week. See what insight God gives you. No complaining. You have more than a week to do it. One of our children is out of school for Easter, er, Spring, Break, so I won't be doing daily postings.

We'll cyber-chat some more after the Holy Day. Share the peace of Christ wherever you go. He is Risen indeed.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Ms. Noonan's Latest

Don't want you to miss Peggy Noonan's column today about the capture of Brian Nichols. Nichols is the man who terrified metro Atlanta last week when he broke out of a courthouse and escaped, killing and hurting many people in his path. Then he encountered a Christian, Ashley Smith, a young widow, and .... well ... read the article. Peggy, really Ashley, says it much better than I can.

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Passion Recut

In view of the upcoming Easter holiday, I wanted to bring your attention to Mel Gibson's re-release of his Passion of the Christ movie. This time around, the movie has been edited to tone down some of the violence. When the original was released a year ago, my husband and I decided we would see it first, then decide if our children should go.

Every family has to make their own decisions about these kind of matters. It would be legalistic and out of place for us to expect every family to share our viewpoint. For one thing, I think whether to see it or not depends on many factors, not the least of which is the "bent" of each individual child. As an adult, I was upset by the graphic violence, and we felt our children should wait. I doubt they will see Passion: Recut either.

Here is a link to World magazine blog's description and comments on this recut version. The blogger seems disappointed in the new version, saying it loses power and effectiveness, though certainly it's less painful to watch. With or without a movie, I hope this Easter will provide you fresh perspective on the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus on our behalf.

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19-20

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Dr. Annie

Our hometown newspaper did a profile Sunday of Dr. Annie Louise Wilkerson. She's the aunt of a friend of mine and a beloved figure around here. Dr. Annie, as her patients called her, was one of the first female obstetrician/gynecologists in the Southeast and delivered thousands of babies before she retired.

Now, at 90 years old, she is battling cancer, yet continues to be an inspiration to her family and friends. In the newspaper article, she recalls the following:

My first delivery in practice was when I was a student. That was in a home. I stayed nearly 48 hours, but I was able to call back and forth to the hospital and report on the situation. Oh yes, I was anxious. That's only perfectly natural. But I had the Man right there on my shoulder. Always. I was never alone.

I was never alone. We would all do well to take Dr. Annie's words to heart. What are you facing that makes you anxious? SATs? Physics tests? Relationship issues? Interviews? College or job applications? Let's remember "the Man" - God - is always with you. Be encouraged.

"Be strong and of good courage, be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:8-9

Monday, March 14, 2005

Blogging

Many thanks to a cyber-acquaintance at View from the Pew for his help getting trackback on Grace Notes 4 Teens. For someone relatively new to blogging and not the most computer saavy person, I’m grateful for the help other bloggers have offered.

My Mom thinks people spend way too much time on computers, that it isolates us from one another, and society eventually will regret all this online communication. I have found, though, a certain sense of community among bloggers, particularly evangelical ones. The ones I’ve read seem quick to help and challenge one another. There’s no question I’d rather sit down in Starbucks and enjoy a latte or two (decaf) with these people, but given geographic and time limitations, meeting in cyberspace isn’t so bad.

And in the spirit of community, my next technological feat will have to be figuring out how to post a “blogroll” in the sidebar so my readers can find links to other blogs. For an inquisitive mind with regard to Christian faith, all sorts of material is available. There are pastor blogs, apologetic blogs (no, they’re not sorry - they’re giving an intelligent defense of faith), Christian poli-blogs, etc. They may not agree on every point of theology, but God is honored when His people work together to seek out Truth with a capital T.

“You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God; for the rendering of this service not only supplies the wants of the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God.” II Corinthians 9:11-12

Friday, March 11, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Time Off

It's a vacation day from school ... hence, a vacation for Mom, too.
See ya next week!
Grace

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Redemption

Corrie Ten Boom’s experience that we talked about yesterday illustrates a freeing aspect of the Christian salvation message. Too often, we get the faith process backwards. We strive to become perfect or think we have to be perfect before we can turn to Christ. But, as with Corrie, it’s in our weakness and human imperfection that we see how amazing God is. First we must see we are sinners, hopeless sinners, apart from Christ.

He then meets us where we are. And then we seek to walk with Him, align our steps with His, day by day. He’ll help us become the woman or man He intends us to be. He cleans up our act, so to speak.

For a Biblical perspective, read the story of Rahab in Joshua 2 and Joshua 6:22-25. Actually all of Joshua 1-6 is great stuff! Focus on Rahab, though, and consider how God redeemed the life of a prostitute, one who was actively pursuing an immoral lifestyle. When she proclaimed her belief in the God of Israel and acted on her faith, God changed her life radically. In fact, this loose woman becomes an honored woman, a mother in the line of Jesus Himself and forever remembered in the pages of scripture as a “righteous” woman. (James 2:25)

It doesn’t matter how dirty or hopeless or lost you may feel today. God is in the business of changing lives, of giving His children daily hope and eternal purpose. Turn to Him today. Hand over your burden and receive His blessing.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Forgiveness

Yesterday, while subbing for an English teacher, I noticed one of my favorite books on her desk: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. In the book, Corrie relates some of her real life experiences including her family's activities protecting Jews from the Nazis and consequent imprisonment in a concentration camp.

The author is able to describe the horrors of her circumstances while communicating her trust in Christ that carried her through it. At the end of the book, she writes about the first time - as a free person - she encounters one of her former prison guards from the camp. She tells of her inward struggle with raw emotions that drew her toward bitterness and unforgiveness. Face to face with the guard, she felt she could hardly lift her hand to shake his. And in her heart, she called to Jesus for His help, saying "Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness."

And God gave her release from the bitterness and instead of hate He gave her a sense of love. "And so I discovered," she writes, "that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself."

We try to do so much for ourselves. We try to love in our own power. To serve at our own bidding. To muster up forgiveness from within ourselves when, in reality, it comes from God. I once had a Bible study teacher who described our riches in Christ as deposits in a spiritual bank account. To access the love, joy, peace, forgiveness and other gifts of the Spirit, we must go and draw them out. Over and over again as we have need.

Have you suffered an injustice? Is there anyone you need to forgive, but just can't do it? Pray to God and, like Corrie Ten Boom, ask Him to provide what you need. One step at a time.

"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord." Isaiah 31:1

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Subbing

I received an urgent call this morning. The scheduled substitute for a middle school English teacher couldn't start her car. Could I fill in at the last minute? So being a brave (or crazy?) person, I ventured forth to teach Shakespeare to 8th graders - with no preparation whatsoever!

The teacher had left a thinking exercise for them to ponder, related to their study of Romeo and Juliet. If you have ever read the play, you know Romeo and Juliet were completely enthralled with each other and married on the sly. But then before they'd ever even embarked on their life together, Romeo slays a man. His punishment is banishment from the town and death if he ever returned. He would have to leave his beloved Juliet behind.

Students were asked to write down if there were anyone or anything they felt they couldn't live without. Secondly, what would be hardest to live without other than your family? Many students avoided thinking too deeply about this. We had a couple of good laughs. But it's an interesting question to ask yourself and consider.

We never know when our most precious relationships or possessions may be stripped away. What or who really moves your heart? What are you so invested in that you cannot bear to lose? How would Jesus see your answers to these questions?

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12:34

Monday, March 07, 2005

Skiing

When I was a teen, I had the opportunity to tumble down some of the most beautiful slopes in the Western USA. We had many wonderful family vacations in the shadows of snow-capped Rockies. I'll never forget one year in particular when we arose early, due to my early-bird father's insistent prodding, and were the first people on the slopes on Christmas Day. It had snowed during the night, and we carved fresh tracks through the powder on a run, fittingly named what else but "Christmas."

As a new Christian, I always found the mountain vistas breathtaking. And once again, this past week, we were able to witness the incredible glory of God in the mountains, this time in the East. We arrived in the middle of a blizzard, one that dropped 33 inches of powder just in time for our family's enjoyment. Not only was the skiing as good as any I've experienced, but the views of snow-laden green boughs and rocky peaks were outstanding. There is no way I can take in the panorama of mountains and endless sky and believe it was all a freak coincidence of cosmic goo taking shape.

No. Certainly there is a Designer, an Artist, a Maestro Who has created all things. And He created you, too. You are one of His masterpieces.

"For lo, he who forms the mountains, and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought; who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth - the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!" Amos 4:13