Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reflections on Sin

We've been talking a lot around here lately about sin.
Sin is Sin is Sin.
Aside from the societal need for a justice system, why do we categorize sin?

Surely there is need for us to differentiate murder and lying in court, but in spirit they both lead to Hell!

I believe that this hierarchy of sins is part of what Jesus referred to in the plank/speck parable.  When I list certain things higher than others, I am usually comparing my "specks" to the "planks" I don't think I possess.  The "well, I'm not a murderer, "sinner" or tax collector" mentality leads to death.  My sins may not be deserving of jail time here, but apart from Jesus, I am surely worthy of Hell.

I believe the Bible is pretty clear on some issues being wrong.  One of the more recent topics of conversation has been "alternative lifestyles." I believe these are wrong and that the Bible has been fairly clear on that.  BUT I also believe that people in this sin are no different than people in any relationship outside of God's design.

Some factions of the church are accepting this life style in a way that is harmful because it undermines God's clear call to repent of sin to turn to Him.  Yet others are making the dangerous mistake of elevating this sin above the others of similar nature.  Is it more sinful to be in a relationship outside of God's plan for marriage if you are the same sex?  I don't believe there is a condition on the sin of fornication.

I don't believe we should not speak out on sin issues because we sin too, but that we should examine ourselves, our motives (must be in Love,) and avoid the pitfalls of using unjust measures. It says as we measure it will be measured to us!  It also says that if we see someone in sin and we are to warn them.
Others with a strong sense of justice have a hard time with mercy, but they really balance eachother on the scales.
"Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook 10/20

 

FOR TODAY
Outside my window... the early dawn is brightening the sky with rosy pink and orangy-yellow hues; it is still, calm and crisp.  A lovely autumn morning.  (time for tea)

I am thinking... is little Karissa getting sick, teething, or suffering from allergies?  It made for a rough night for us to have her congested and restless no matter the cause, but it would be nice to give her some help.

I am thankful... oh, for so much!  But right at this moment for the sweet sleep my nursling is getting now, and the restful quiet I can enjoy with her.

From the learning rooms... we had soooooo much fun with report giving for our Israel: Moses through Divided Kingdom study. 
Neno (2nd grade) gave a report on the important ancient trade routes, items and transport methods which included a map the others had to recreate. 
Moriah (4th grade) spoke about ancient Phoenicia and some neat facts she found out about them... like farming elephants! 
Ysa (7th grade) studied archaeology and a few excavation sites in Israel and Egypt.  She spoke to the kids about the interesting things she learned and created (with help) her own excavation site that they all got to dig. :)  They had so much fun that they are planning to do it for their new "game."  We took a box, dirt and a few items we didn't mind burying (like some clay  trinkets, coins, some (cardboard) clay tablets with heiroglyphics (sharpie markered on) and a couple of sharpened sticks as spears or arrows.  The kids took turns digging with a couple garden trowels and a small paint brush.  They each found 2 things, then allowed someone else a turn.  :)

In the kitchen... I made stew yesterday.  Well, Ysa and Mo really helped out and did quite a bit of the work I had left.  I was a hot... fairly warm day, but it was still a nice, comforting dinner *and* I don't really have to make dinner tonight. :)

I am wearing... My pjs still :) Some of the only pink I wear as they are comfy and were a gift from a sweet friend.  Also a grey nursing top and cozy knit socks.

I am creating... lots of fun school papers on our paint program.  We have made a few connect the dots (numbers and letters) pictures, and math designs pages.  You can easily make the math pages with a set of problems in your particular level for lower level math.  Just make dots on a page, 2 for each problem that are spaced around the page.  No order is necessary, just put dots around.  Then place a problem (2 + 2) by one dot, pick any other dot on the page and place the answer (4.)  The student then connects the dots from problem to answer with a straight line.  Some times I will have several with the same answer, the effect is cool, but you need fewer dots as they all connect to the same one answer.  Once all the problems are matched, they color their design any way they like. :)
I made this one, to show you, on google docs. You should be able to print that too :)

I am going... to be staying home while we figure out if this is allergy or germy congestion going on around here.

I am wondering... if I may be getting it too,  or if I'm just tired this week.

I am reading... Bible, Streams in the Desert, Jo's Boys (read aloud for story-nap) and our school stuff.

I am hoping... to get to have some play-dates soon.

I am looking forward to... visiting a couple dear friends.

I am hearing... Neno and Punkin talking over the Vision Forum Catalog in my bed as they just woke up.

Around the house... it's all upside down!  We were trying the 31 days to clean, but if you haven't organized or cleaned certain places... you'll take more than 31 days!  We are stuck in the kitchen cupboard reorganizing and cleaning!  And really, other things have been more pressing of late.  Today's plan will be to accomplish the dishes and schooling, then try for some extra work in bedroom disaster zones.

I am pondering... if my expectations are too high, or if we really don't work well... or efficiently.

One of my favorite things...  baby snuggles (have I said that several times?)  what about the little curl that is starting to show on the side of Karissa's head? :)

A few plans for the rest of the week:  will be contingent on illnesses... or lack there of.  I hope for church and a play day that has been postponed a few times; and the usuals of life.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
Brianna with her happy faraway look. :)
Makes me think I should have the kids do a creative writing page about the picture.
What does it make you think?

Join us at the Simple Woman's Daybook and enjoy simplicity.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fruit + Focus = Failure


Galatians 5:22-23

"But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."


I have been wondering lately about striving for having fruit... it seems sometimes I am looking for fruit in myself and in my children and striving to make it be there.

Perhaps though, it is the natural occurrence of living in the Spirit, and won't show up just because I am trying for it?
Perhaps, it comes only when we seek the Spirit and not the results of His work...
"But Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, 
and all these things shall be added unto you."

It is so easy to emphasize certain behaviors and overlook the real issue... the condition of the heart.

I guess that's why "not everyone who says to me {Jesus} "Lord, Lord." will enter the Kingdom of Heaven." and that some on the Day of Judgement will be telling God how much *they* have done for Him! (Imagine that!)  They have their "fruit" and "good works" to display, but the condition of the heart is "Look how much I did for you God!" ~~ and to think they will be standing face to face with Him Who Gave All for them, claiming their right to enter His Kingdom.
Jesus commended the prayer of the tax collector, "Lord, forgive me, a sinner." and not the lofty prayer and righteous acts (remember how great I am God?) of the Pharisee.

We should certainly have fruit to show; not from our striving and seeking fruit, but from our striving and seeking the Spirit above all else.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Heavy

Do you ever have one of those days where your heart is so heavy you really feel you weigh more?

I started off today with somethings weighing me down...
A little girl, just 2 days younger than my littlest, is missing in Kansas. 
A friend is going through a rough time as they run a "Cold Case" this Sunday on her mother's murder from 1978. 
Another family friend is struggling with the anniversary of their son's suicide, I wrote about it 5 years ago.   While some family in Christ wait through the darkest hour of a husband/father considering suicide himself.
Pastor Youcef in Iran awaits the verdict in his case, while charges are trumped up to make him look deserving of death.

There are other things too... but these are the biggest.

I just *feel* heavy.

I think I need to remember to be praying for these things, so the emotion of it is put to good use for that... but I can't let it continue to weigh on me so heavily.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Attempts at frugality

In the current economy, frugality seems to be a buzz word.
Everyone is looking for ways to stretch the devalued dollar to fill all their gaps; and to be better stewards of our environment many are looking to reusables and creativity with what we already have.

It has been difficult to find areas to skimp when we already make most food from scratch, buy in bulk, reuse our foil, and ziplock bags, and containers... we even save (almost) every jar and use them to drink out of!
So where to cut costs???
One thing I have been interested in for quite some time is making our household cleaners.

Hubby was not interested in my experimenting with chemicals (understandably) when prego last year and since then we bought an HE so we've wondered if laundry soap that is homemade is safe for the new washer anyway...
In my quest for knowledge and recipes I ran across this info.
"HE front-load washers require “special soap” for one reason alone – low suds. Because they use less water, they require soap that is less sudsy. The good news is, this homemade detergent is VERY low suds."

This was good news and as soon as I can find the ingredients (washing soda has been difficult to find here so far) I plan on trying this out!  As well as their recipe for Dishwasher Detergent!

Also we have used baking soda in many applications before, but just 2 TBSP in 1 qt hot water was an amazing, safe, cleaner for all of our cupboard and appliance fronts!  It easily got rid of some greasy stuff that normally take me a bit more elbow grease to fight!  And I didn't worry about the kids using it with me. :)
I used baking soda to make our own carpet deodorizer.  I plan on purchasing some essential oils for cleaning, but since I have none now, I used a tea bag with a "homey" scent and let them set together.  Being impatient, it didn't get as scented as I would have liked, but I put some in the cupboard to try it again in a couple of weeks.

We also use vinegar fairly regularly, which is inexpensive, but I did not realize it could be used in place of JetDry in my dishwasher.  Normally I just go without, so that doesn't save me any money, but it did do a great job of aiding the dry cycle and may help in loads with more glasses (which suffer most from the hard water spots at our house.)

Another few items to replace: Disposable Diapers, feminine pads, nursing pads.

You *can* spend a lot on any of these items, premade, and it will take some time to have them pay for themselves!  You can also make them yourself with items you may already have or can get cheap, or even free!
I made new nursing pads this week from an old receiving blanket that I wasn't even using!
When I decide on fabrics, I plan to try making menstrual pads too.

I have old fashioned prefold cloth diapers I am fine with using. 
I may be attempting to sew some of my own... but this also requires I make a decision on fabrics!!! For now it is only cutting back on our disposable usage, but every bit helps.  As for washing the costing...  I don't do anything special (soaps, or settings) to these that I wouldn't be doing to other laundry of ours, so a few of these in a load a day doesn't really cost me.  :)


Something else I am considering is efficiency.
Where am I wasting money without thinking of it?
A good example from last night, is using the oven.  If I need to heat up the whole thing I should be using more of it!  So I planned on adding a couple of things I could bake, then store... like the sweet potato I wanted to give the baby... alas, I did not remember to put it in.  Which equals energy wasted.  There are other little things that can help your use or hurt it that probably go over looked too.
We have several people drinking water around here, but glasses sometimes sit and get "compromised" by a smaller child... (hands in it or the like) so then no one wants their cup because it may have been tampered with.  So we use this water for our animals, and if it isn't ok for them, it goes to the plants! 

What ways are you trying to be a bit more frugal?