Saturday, May 31, 2014

1000 gifts: twenty two years of memories

I'm really late with this gifts list from May, just as I was with March and April, because these months were filled with loss (though also filled with many blessings). These gifts  are part of my 1000 gifts list.

833. Birthday broom races
Twins birthday party (6 months late!) but at least we could have it outside, beautiful weather, the horses behaved for pony rides. We also did broom races which was just adorable!

834. Reading by flashlight
Blaze stayed up late reading Bambi, until we made her turn off the light, but the next morning she confessed she finished it by flashlight. I love that she fell in love with this book that was a childhood favorite of mine. It's not the easiest book  to read, either, as it's very pensive, contains quite a bit of death, and much is not fully explained... but that is also what makes it a powerful story.

835. Fur trader rendezvous
I took Blaze and Dreamer to our school district's re-enactment of the famous fur trader rendezvous which occurred annually from 1825-1840, many times in Wyoming. I loved for this chance for them to learn about this part of our Western history and I learned a lot to! It was very hands on, with the kids getting to see how hides are tanned, touch all the different kinds of furs, play actual Indian games and see what the inside of a teepee looked like, how the Plains Indians decorated their clothes (porcupine quills and elk ivories) and horses, throwing tomahawks, the meaning of different patterns for face painting.

836. Unicorn pinata
Dreamer's birthday was the same weekend as her cousin Taryn's graduation, so we were in Kansas, and B.'s sister Monica planned a birthday party for her, with cake and a unicorn pinata. Her other two aunts also got her special presents: Aunt Melissa gave her a backpack and Aunt Crystal gave her a girl's Bible devotional (which Dreamer loves). I love B.'s family like my own family, these women are truly my sisters.

837. Cat hanging out on top of the kitchen cabinets watching us.
Monica's black cat, Bear. He is full of personality.

838. Starlet charms everyone on her school evaluation
Met with the district child psychologist who evaluated Grace to see if she needed any special education/assistant. He said there is nothing wrong with her cognitively, in fact she's one of the most charming children he's ever met! He says she processes instructions a little slower than some kids, but they may be because the right and left sides of her brains might be "cross wired" - but he assured me she's very smart

839. Buried socks in the potted plants
Tried to get the kids to confess one of them buried their sock in the pot on the back porch. Only later when I found more buried socks in our garden did I realize it might have been our dog, or a neighbor's dog. Still, the girls can be blamed for leaving their socks outside!

840. Memorial  day mountain drive
We went for a drive along the Cache La Poudre, which was so full of snow runoff that the picnic ground we stopped at for lunch had become an island! Then we hiked a half mile up the Big South Trail of the river, which was spectacular.

We continued up highway14 to Chambers Lake (still partially frozen), which is the source of the Laramie River, and then followed the river along 103, Laramie River Rd, which cuts north to Wyoming, passing through Glendevy, which used to be a small town (part of the story of the Green Grass of Wyoming is set there in the 1940s). B. used to stay at the old lodge there with a snowmobiling friend until it burned down. Then we passed all the big ranches along the Laramie River - B. has done work on most of them, esp. the Diamond Tail Ranch and Hohnholz Ranch. I've never been in this valley when the river was so high, flooding all the meadows.

841. Last day of school! we have officially done a whole year of homeschool!

842. Free gift of God
Thinking on my walk this evening about how every religion is about what people need to do, or need to give God, but ours is the only one about what God freely gives.

843. Twenty two years of memories
My beloved old horse Rebel died on May 24, at the good old age of 32 years. I am trying to focus on all the wonderful 22 years of memories I have of him, and how he was the horse all 5 of my girls (even my stepdaughter Stars) learned to ride on. A couple of my favorite memories: how Rebel used to come right up to our back door and stick his head in the house, asking for his grain! (oh his beautiful whinny!) And a much older memory, from when we lived on Windwood Farm in New York: riding him through the woods along a familiar path when he suddenly stopped and I couldn't get him to take another step forward. Then I realized a tiny speckled fawn was laying motionless in a patch of tall grass, right at his feet!

844. Multiplied, by NeedToBreath
This song has brought me much joy this month, that and the Word (I've found many Wonderful Things in the Word this month). 

Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wildfires singing your name
God of mercy, sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to your design
May this offering stretch across the sky
These hallelujahs be multiplied

Saturday, May 24, 2014

False teachings, or not?

On my blog I have often made references and quotes to several authors and their books and Bible studies that I have read and gained insight from.

At least three of them, I have recently learned, have been seriously questioned by some who are concerned about false teachings, contrary to the Word of God, being presented.

1) Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts: concern as to some of her wording implying panentheism or the oneness of God and nature, that is contrary to the Biblical truth that God created nature and is separate from it.

2) Sarah Young, in her book Jesus Calling: her statement "I knew that God communicated with me in the Bible, but I yearned for more" and sharing what God has supposedly communicated with her in direct revelation. She later  wrote in her book Dear Jesus: "I've continued to write with the help of Christ's Spirit, who guides my thinking while I listen in His Presence. I believe the Bible is the only infallible Word of God. My writings are based on that absolute standard, and I try to ensure they are consistent with Scripture." 

 3) Beth Moore, concern that some of her Bible studies exhibit legalism; that some of her statements indicate that she believes she receives direct revelation from God ("I received a word from God"); that she teaches men (in my experience, she always makes the disclaimer that her teaching is to the women, however men may be present); and that she condones mystic practices such as contemplative prayer (a dvd called "Be Still")

Anything that contradicts or is in addition to the Word of God, or taken out of context, is false teaching. So I do not ignore any claims of false teaching, but take the time to research them. We should ALWAYS test the teachings of men and women to see if they are in agreement with the Bible.

For the past month, I have done some research into these claims, and will continue to do so. I think some of the claims are taken out of context, and some maybe unfortunate choices of words; however some of the concerns may be valid.

I haven't come to a conclusion about these claims of false teachings yet. I'm praying about them and consulting other Godly men and women about them.  I am still using Sarah Young's "Jesus Lives" as a daily devotional and I am certainly continuing my 1000 gifts list (which I started long before I ever read Ann Voskamp's book). But I am also really digging into the Word more on my own, rather than relying a guided Bible study, such as I've done with a lot of Beth Moore's studies in the past.

Right now my method for studying 1 Thessalonians on my own is to go verse by verse asking the who, what, why, when, where, how questions, looking at key words that are repeated, looking up reference verses, using different translations, and using the Blue Letter Bible website to study the original Greek and Hebrew for some verses or parts of verses.

Bible study takes time (I don't get it done everyday; some days I just read a Psalm or a few verses) but it is so rewarding.

Though I was very upset initially hearing about these claims about false teachings, whether they end up being proven true or not, I am so thankful for how it has drawn me back into deeper study of the Word.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sharing testimonies

Our church had another Saturday ladies conference and luncheon, and the topic was on our expectations... versus reality (our pastor's wife found some funny photos to share on that one: what we wished our house looked like - neat and clean - versus the mess it usually is!

But my favorite part of the morning was where we were asked to share when was the first time you heard God call your name? I love sharing my testimony and hearing others! Someday we will begin the Great Story which goes on forever and every chapter is better than the one before (C.S. Lewis), but until then, the greatest stories we can tell our own stories of how God has worked in our lives.

I sat at a table with Heather and Susan and Susan's mother (my mom did come with me to the first conference, but hasn't wanted to since). 

Susan got saved when she was five years old, after her mother made her apologize to a store owner for stealing a peanut (yes, just one peanut!) from an open barrel of peanuts at a store! ... and she wanted Jesus to save her so she wouldn't make such a mistake again! She shared another big milestone moment in her life: right after she moved out of her parents' home, and realized her newfound freedom: there were so many different paths to take... she could become anyone she wished. But then she felt the Holy Spirit strongly reminding her that God's way was the best path to take.

Susan's mother said she got saved while she was living in a boardinghouse and sharing a room; she had no private place. One day she felt under so much conviction to surrender to God and ask for his forgiveness that she locked herself the ladies' bathroom and got on her knees to pray right next to the toilet!

Heather got saved a few weeks after her daughter, Natalie, was stillborn. You'd think this would be hard for her to share, but it isn't - she loves to tell this story.

I shared the "short" version of my testimony (a longer version is here).

We also had some great discussion questions during the conference:

1) What is a godly woman?
We shared various answers: such as the Proverbs 31 woman, "a woman who loves God", "a woman who makes His priorities her priorities"

2) Have you ever experienced Biblical discipleship?
I shared how after I got saved, I pretty much thought I was "good to go" - I had figured out the point of all. Didn't even think I needed to keep reading the Bible, since I had got the main point of it! But I was disatisfied with the churches I tried - always hungering for something "more" though I didn't quite know what I wanted... until I found the church I currently go to, which really digs into the Word. Within my second or third month at that church, another young woman, Sarah (actually two years younger than me, but very wise), asked if I wanted to do a Bible study with her. We went through John MacArthur's Fundamentals of the Faith over several months, and I loved every minute of it. I have been blessed with so many strong spiritual leaders and teachers in my church, but none that helped me on such a personal as Sarah did with her discipleship. (someday hope to do likewise for other young women... and my daughters of course)

3) What is your most challenging issue in pleasing the Lord?
My moodiness! I hate those days where I'm too listless to get into the Word or in prayer, and even worse those days when I'm snappy and short tempered.

4) How has God blessed you this week?
I shared how we had just come back from my mother-in-law's funeral, how hard it was seeing her die and her family grieving, many of them without the hope of heaven and eternity with God in their hearts; what a blessing it was to be back home and surrounded by believers during this wonderful conference.