12/30/2009

Feel the heat


It seems like something is always broken or in the process of breaking, doesn't it? If a tire isn't needing to be replaced then the stove goes out, or the toilet won't stop running, or an old pipe behind the kitchen wall cracks and leaks under the floor slowly, until your sub floor is all wet and your tile starts to pop up and your lower cabinets are warping and your insurance company doesn't cover slow leaks that are hidden in walls. I guess it is all part of life- learning to take the good with the bad.

Our latest life lesson was when the weather began to get cooler and we went to turn on the new-ish furnace in our crawl space. Nothing happened. So my very handy and do-it-yourself husband figured it just needed a new ignitor since the old one crumbled in his hand. He bought one and installed it and...still nothing. An hvac man came out and gave us the bad news. We needed a new furnace.

So, after weighing all our options (and being rather chilly in the process), we decided to install a wall-mounted, blue flame gas heater. If it warms the whole house- great! If not, we will make it through this winter and then try something else.

In the first picture is the infrared heater Scotty bought at Lowe's for almost 300.00 which required a plug and a gas line. It went back to Lowe's after he found a new and better heater on Craig's list for much cheaper.

This is our new "fire place" as the kids call it. It warms the whole house and I even had to turn it down on low today cause it got a little too toasty in here. It is SO great to have heat again!

12/29/2009

A Better Covenant

Growing up in a non-denominational church, raised by parents who both attended Bible colleges, and going to a Christian school for many years, I was in deep. Sunday school, church, youth group, Bible class at school everyday... So with ALL that religion how come there was SO much I didn't understand? I have believed in Jesus for as long as I can remember and have never wavered or questioned that He is God in the flesh. That He died for my sins and that He arose from the grave. That He is coming again. I know that is true. But I wonder why, in all my years of religion, I was never taught the new covenant. Where is the new covenant even found in the Bible? Is it actually laid out for us? Or do we just piece it together and rely on ourselves to figure it out? Or trust some people with seminary degrees to explain it to us? Following after what is right in our own eyes? No! Our God is a loving Father. He is a God of order and truth. Of course He has laid out His plan of redemption for us. Of course He has made His covenant known- the terms of the new covenant- and what it actually is. Really? YES! In all the many years of Bible class and Sunday school no one ever turned in the Bible to Jeremiah 31:31 and began reading the actual new covenant. I would say that is a pretty important thing to understand. Especially since we are taught that we are under the new covenant. Well then, what is it???

I was taught that the law was the old covenant and that people used to try to be saved by obeying the law. But when Jesus came and died that He did away with the law and now we live under grace. I was taught that since His blood covers my sin the law is no longer needed. There are even scriptures that SEEM to back up this way of thinking. After all, didn't Paul say that the new covenant made the first old? That the old covenant was decaying and vanishing? Hmmm. Is that the law of God he is talking about? Ready to vanish? If so, then WHY would our Messiah tell us that not even one jot or tittle of the law would be done away with until heaven and earth pass? Maybe Paul wasn't talking about the whole law of God which he himself calls perfect. Maybe he was talking about the covenant of the Levitical priesthood being replaced my our High Priest in the order of MelecTzadik (King of Righteousness) This order was indeed vanishing and is now no longer able to practice because the temple is gone. Our new High Priest is better because He is the perfect Lamb of God, spotless and sinless. He can go before the actual throne on our behalf. The Levitical priesthood was limited by their own flesh and sin.

People used to obey the law because they loved the One true God. Their sins were covered by the blood of sacrifices brought to the altar by the Levitical priests. Laws for the Levitical priesthood are contained in the law of God. Now that the perfect Lamb of God has come and shed His blood for our sins we are no longer under the old system of that priesthood, but are now under our new High Priest- The King of Righteousness- who shed His blood for our sins.

Sins? What are sins? Who defines right and wrong? God does. It is called the perfect law of God in the book of James. What is the law of God? Where is it found? None of these things were taught in all my years of religious training. Each church or denomination decides what is right and wrong? All we have to do is look in the Bible for the truth. Just open to the first page...

The books of Moses, the Torah (meaning law in Hebrew), are the first five books of the Bible. This is the perfect law of God. It is also called the Word of God since it is from His mouth to Moses. It is called LIFE to those who take hold of it. Our Messiah is called the living Word. He was God's Word made flesh. He walked in the righteousness of the Torah, never sinning. In 1 John 3:4 we learn that sin is transgression of the law. Our Messiah came to fulfill- or show us how- to walk in righteousness, perfectly. He is our example. 1John 2:6 "He that saith He abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked."

Then we can just learn the Torah, study the first five books of the Bible, obey all the laws found there, and save ourselves! Right? May it never be!

By looking at the new covenant in Jeremiah 31:31 we can begin to see God's plan. Is it to obey the law to save ourselves? NO WAY! Is it to believe in Jesus and throw out His Torah (teaching and instruction for walking in righteousness) and live, each man following after what is right in his own eyes? NO WAY! God's promise and His new covenant with us is that HE will put His law within us and write it on our hearts and that our sins He will remember no more. He said He will do it. He keeps His promises and His covenants are everlasting.

Our Messiah is our salvation. By the shedding of His blood He has saved us. He has brought us into the new covenant by His blood. He will write His laws on our hearts. He will give us His Spirit to lead us in His righteousness. It is His work and none of ours.

The precepts of men are like sinking sand.

Luke 6:46-49 "And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to Me, and heareth My sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a Rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a Rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great."

12/15/2009

Stitches

If your brother ever tells you to kick a piece of scrap wood down off the tree house with your bare foot- don't do it!

Hamsters


One day, during our 5th grade Science lesson on Rodents:The Gnawing Mammals, Micah's text book suggested that the student acquire a pet rodent of some kind to observe. (Thanks, A Beka!!) Micah thought this was an excellent idea and started a campaign to get a hamster. He appointed Sunny as his campaign manager and the two of them commenced to beg and reason with us for a week or two. We wavered and considered the cost of a cage and all the accessories which was really the main reason we were objecting.
One day we stopped at a small thrift store to browse around when lo and behold- there sat a cage stuffed full of all the things you need to make a hamster comfortable and keep it alive. The price sticker of $5.00 was just too good to pass up. After calling dad and texting him a picture of his find, Micah walked out of there one happy boy. Scotty took Micah and Sunny to Petsmart that evening and came home with not one, but TWO hamsters.

They are cute little balls of fur, but they bite which is a big bummer. Sunny wants to hold them so much. As is normal with kids, Micah lost interest in them after the novelty wore off and Sunny has become their main care giver, advocate, and mother. She watches over them and keeps their food and water full. She loves to get them out and let them walk around in a box or in their hamster ball (which was included in the $5.00 cage!). After suffering five or six hamster bites on her fingers Scotty brought her home a pair of thick work gloves that she now wears because she just can't resist...she has to hold "Fat-man Piggy-cheeks" and "Fluffy".

Our gnawing rodents have provided hours of enjoyment. Even Scotty has grown a little fond of them despite the fact that he ends up being the one to clean out their cage lately. And just think- it all started with a science lesson. (Thanks, again, A Beka!!)

12/08/2009

Woe, Woe, Woe! Merry Mithras?

My heart has overflown onto my blog page, so anyone who cares to know a little more about why our family is not so merry during christmas anymore read on...

This time of year is kinda tough for me. Not for the typical reasons that most people who struggle with the "holidays" have, but for a much different reason. This will be the fourth year that our family has not participated in this crazy mess that people call christmas. We have not observed it in four years! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would NOT be celebrating christmas! I loved it! I thought it was a religious celebration bringing honor to God. I had many nativity sets and displayed them proudly, talked to my children about the "true meaning" of the season, generously gave gifts while teaching my children it is better to give than to receive, and made sure to include lots of religious christmas carols in with the rest of the delightful mood lifting music of the yuletide season. I loved the shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking, special family time and good cheer feeling that christmas brought. I thought that the only thing that could be wrong with christmas was the commercialization of it all. The greed and the lies about Santa were wrong, right? Following the example of my parents, we never told our children that Santa existed as anything more than a make believe character. Also, it was SO wrong to call it x-mas! How horrible to "take the Christ out of Christmas"!! After all, HE was the reason for the season, wasn't He??! As long as I put an emphasis on the religious aspect of all this then everything was okay. Not only okay, but a good thing- a wonderful thing- in fact, the most wonderful time of the year!

So why do I no longer observe this magical time of year? Because, for some reason, God has given me a heart that longs to know the truth. My prayer has always been for His truth to break through at any cost. As much as I loved this season and all the fun and feelings, I love Him more. I wanted to know the truth. So, as a start, I went to the library and sat at a table with a stack of reference books, encyclopedias, and historical studies of holidays and customs. Upon learning the origin of this celebration, I found out that it has NOTHING to do with our precious Savior. He is not the reason for the season. It was being celebrated long before He was born in a manger, in Bethlehem, in the fall, during the Biblical fall feasts of God. He spoke through the prophet Jeremiah saying not to learn the way of the heathen. Upon studying the origins of what we call christmas I was appalled and ashamed at what I had been participating in. Today, the depth of the deception surrounding this "holiday" is unbelievable.

This time of year is hard now. It is hard to know what to say to a kind cashier wishing you a merry christmas when she doesn't really know what she is saying. It is hard when people pity your children because they miss out on all the gifty greed and other "at least do it for the kids" aspects of the season. It is hard when people actually get angry because we do not observe it, or instantly assume we are atheists or no longer believe in the Messiah. The irony of it all!

So here is the sticky part- here's the part I can't wrap my heart or my mind around- here's the kicker- the big question mark: How do I cope with loving the people- friends, family, and even strangers- who are happily celebrating a season that I DETEST, LOATHE, and ABHOR? It hurts. I get an ache in my heart seeing a tree in the window of my loved one's homes. How can I be angry with them? I was doing the same thing just a few short years ago without remorse or shame. They are not ashamed. They do not understand. I keep loving, keep praying, and keep clinging to the truth of His Word. What else can I do? In Him is the only true peace.

12/04/2009

Quite the character


Micah's spelling words are of a common theme and this week's theme is personality. As we went over his new list he began to claim certain traits saying, "that's me" or "I'm that". I was happy to notice that all of the character/personality traits that he thought described him were positive. He was right on with many of them, such as compassionate, generous, considerate, individuality, and especially creative. Others are more like personal goals, such as responsible, diligent, and organized, even though he thought they, too, described him to a tee. I am glad he has a healthy self-esteem and am proud of all the wonderful personality traits and character qualies that make up my darling son!

12/01/2009

Beard blog

Watching the game.

Right now is my lunch break between teaching 1st grade handwriting and 5th grade spelling. So I thought I would post a short blog about my husband's beard :-) Never thought I'd be blogging about his beard, but...

He grew it over 4 years ago just to see what it would look like. All my life I have thought that beards were so prickly and crunchy looking and have wondered why anyone would want a mass of dry, course hair growing all around their mouth. Sorta like super-gluing a bird's nest to your chin. Needless to say I've never been a fan of facial hair. It took a little while to get used to Scotty's new addition, but eventually I did and even had to admit he looked better with a beard. It had "grown on me" so to speak. ;-)

In the time he has had that beard he has become quite fond of it. He enjoys not having to shave and somewhere along the line he decided it would be a permanent fixture on his face. A few times I have asked him to shave it off, just for a little while, so I could see his cheeks again. He has always declined. So I was happy to hear of a bet he made with a friend from work just a few weeks ago. It was suggested that Scotty, being a GT fan, would shave off his beard if UGA won, but if Tech won his Bulldog fan buddy would have to shave his mustache (which he has had for OVER 30 YEARS!) So the bet was on and the waiting began.

Three nights ago the big game came on. There were moments of hope where he thought he might get to keep his beard, but in the end all was lost- the game, the beard, and his bragging rights for another 12 months.

Off came the beard exposing his baby smooth face. I better enjoy seeing those cheeks while I can because that beard is already starting to come back.