Ab·i·gail (b-gl): Joy Of The Father

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Love My Father

Fathers' day is only 3 days away. So of course, this is the time that most of us think of our fathers. I just want to say- I love my father! He is an amazing Christian man, and has taught me so much about God and living a godly life. I am so thankful for his guidance, involvement, and love in my life. I am thankful that he is committed to families, homeschooling, and serving the Lord. He truly does inspire me; his love is a wonderful reflection of the love my heavenly Father has for me. I hope that I can be his Abigail- his joy. I thank God for my father- I love you Daddy!
~ Brooke Reninger

Monday, June 14, 2010

Coming Soon... Titus 2 Class Notes

Recently at our church, we have started a Titus 2 Women's Bible class. It is taught by the older women/elders' wives in an effort to pass knowledge from the older women to the younger (see Titus chapter 2). We had our first class on Sunday, and it went really well. I am excited to see God work through this class. I am going to post my notes from each class here on the blog, so you can see some of what we are talking about. I hope to start that soon, so keep a lookout!
~Brooke Reninger

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What Our Country Needs

This is a wonderful poem that a friend of mine had on her blog a few days ago. I have been reading So Much More, and this poem really brought out some of the things that book talks about.
             What Our Country Needs 

What does our country need? Not armies standing 
With sabres gleaming ready for a fight; 
Not Increased navies, skillful and commanding,
                                         To bound the waters with an iron might;
                                            Not haughty men with glutted purses trying
                                             To purchase souls, and keep the power of place;
                                             Not jeweled dolls with one another vying
                                           For psalms of beauty, elegance, and grace.
                                             But we want women, strong of soul, yet lowly
                                           With that rare meekness, born of gentleness;
                                                   Women whose lives are pure and clean and holy,
                                        The women whom all little children bless;
                                                          Brave, earnest women, helpful to each other,
                                                           With finest scorn for all things low and mean;
                                                  Women who hold the names of wife and mother
                                       Far nobler than the title of queen.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Grandmother's Legacy

Many of you know how I love to write poetry. A few years ago, I found out that my grandmother had also written poetry. I decided to share some of her poetry with you today, in a tribute to her. You see, she passed away last night after battling cancer.

My grandmother was a very talented woman. She was a wonderful cook and baker, and a talented seamstress. She passed these talents on to her daughters. She believed in the family. She came from a family of 13 children, and with the help of her husband, raised 7 children of her own.

My grandmother made a very special gift for each of her granddaughters. A bride doll, with a handmade dress and veil. (See attached picture.) I am her youngest granddaughter, and will be the last one to get married. I believe that my grandmother had a vision- a vision of a family for each of us, that we would each continue the family that she helped to start. I believe in her vision as well, and when God sends me my husband, I will remember her vision. I am thankful for the legacy that my grandmother passed down to her children and grandchildren- that of faith and family.
Brooke Reninger

Here is a poem that she wrote to her own mother:
Dear Mother

From your deep and peaceful sleep,
You climbed the stairs; Or Lord to meet.
And as they dressed you in a long white gown,
Just a soft sigh, but not a sound;
A tiny tear touches your face,
As they pin your wings in place.
And above your beautiful soft white hair,
A halo shines in all its glory there.
A glorious walk down that golden street,
Your husband and all your friends to meet.
To express your many joys and gladness.
No more sorrows, worries or sadness,
Where love, faith and hope is the key.
what a beautiful, wonderful place to be.
You take your chair on the righthand of the Lord.
"So children, look at me,
An angel, I am to be."
So cry no more and dry your tears,
For to me you shall come through the years;
So continue to have patience and strong love,
Someday we shall meet in our heaven above.

Your Loving Daughter,
Doris Ruth

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Law of Love

Our good friend and sister in Christ wrote this essay and gave us permission to repost it. She is aptly named because she displays Charity in the most difficult of situations. 

I Corinthians 10:23 

An Essay 
By Charity Pearce 

"All things are lawful for me." First Corinthians 10:23 is a verse which has intrigued and puzzled me for many years. On the one hand, it is liberating to believe that ALL things are lawful for me. On the other hand, it seems directly contrary to so much that is in Scripture. How to Scripturally justify the God of the Ten Commandments with a God for whom all things, it would seem, are lawful? This is the question. It is my contention that all things are lawful for one who is washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ and for whom love is the primary motivator. Not that there is no law, but that those living by the Spirit are being held to a higher standard; the perfect law that gives liberty. Nobody who truly loves and trusts God would want to live in a state of lawlessness. 

Consider those of us who live in a "free" country. We live in a society in which most reasonable decisions, we are free to make without interference from government. At least that is the idea. To a more or lesser degree, I believe based in large part on how much we buy into the ideals of the society we live in; we don't necessarily need to legislate much. As a citizen of a place we love, we care for the land and the people in our society without legislation. We just need education on how best to carry out that task. There are always a few lawbreakers who need laws and penalties to do what those of us who truly care about our environment do of our own accord. But love, as opposed to fear, will always be the best incentive. 

First Corinthians 10:23, as quoted from the New American Standard Bible says: "All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify." It has been said that this verse is a misguided belief or quote of the Corinthians of the day. This is a possibility, but it would necessitate assumption as there is no direct evidence that this is the case. It is not Scripturally stated as such. Furthermore, it isn't necessary to interpret the verse in this way in order to justify it with the rest of Scripture. 

The Greek word translated "all things" in this passage is the word "Panta" - which does mean "all, everything, the whole". This quickly eliminates the probability that it is referencing only the fact that all foods are lawful, although the direct reference is whether food sacrificed to idols was lawful for Corinthians to eat. If Paul had wanted to state that all foods were lawful, he could easily have said "all foods are lawful for me" and not confused us with the word "panta". So, if all things are lawful, how does this fit with commands from other areas of Scripture, including the verses directly preceding and following?

In what way are all things lawful? 

The argument had apparently been made that it was unlawful to eat meat sacrificed to idols. This command had been given by the Apostles in Acts 15 and in Acts 21 in regard to what the Gentiles who believed were required to do. Traditionally, we would then consider it a relevant command even to us today, and the validity of this Scripture in I Corinthians would then be in question. If we dig deeper into the meaning of this verse, though, we will see that a profound truth, relevant throughout Scripture, is being taught again here. 

The profundity is found in reading on to the end of this verse and to verse 24: "but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor." Paul is not advocating a state of lawlessness, but rather a higher standard for us. An ideology of systematic law keeping wasn't the goal that God set for us. He had greater things in mind. Consider Romans 13:8: "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law." And verse 10: "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." The Law had been fulfilled by love. 

This is not a new truth. Throughout Scripture, God makes clear to His people that His greatest commands for them involve loving one another and loving Him. From Deuteronomy 6:5 on, it is clear that God desires love more than anything else. Our obedience proves our love, trust and faith in Him. It isn't, nor has it ever been the agent of our salvation. 

Over and over, the New Testament teaches that Christ was the end (or fulfillment) of the Law. (Romans 10:4, Matthew 5:17). For a clear picture of this, reference Romans 5:20-13:10. To abbreviate: Law came so that transgression would increase, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. When we are buried with Christ in baptism, we are raised to walk in newness of life. Our old self is done away with, and so we consider ourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ. The law only has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives, and as Christians, our death came when we were baptized. Therefore, when we die to ourselves and are buried with Christ, we are joined to another, that is to Christ. Our joining Christ, at baptism, also fills us with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) and Galatians 5 tells us that if we walk by the Spirit, we will not carry out the desires of the flesh. We no longer need the Law except as a tutor (Galatians 5). 

We are now under the perfect law - the law that gives liberty (James 1:22-27). Our citizenship in God's Kingdom (Philippians 3:20) and our love for the King of this heavenly Kingdom will inspire us to want to please the King, and the citizens of the Kingdom. Legislation is no longer necessary. James teaches in chapter two that we are to fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, to love our neighbor as ourselves. We will be judged by this law, which will be merciless to one who shows no mercy as mercy triumphs over judgement (James 2:13). 

"Not all things edify." Obviously, God who designed and created us, knows what edifies (or builds up) so if a choice we are making isn't Scriptural it wouldn't edify ourselves or others. But even if by the letter of the law, I am acting Scripturally, if I insist on my rights and I damage a weaker brother, then I would, in the spirit of the law, not be building that brother or sister up (I Corinthians 8:7-13). Thus I would be wrong, no matter how much I might argue my Scriptural soundness. The higher law - the law of love and grace takes effect. 

So, to those of us who walk by the Spirit, all things are lawful. No other law but love is needed. And if we don't walk by the Spirit, it doesn't matter how closely we follow the law, we won't be citizens of the heavenly Kingdom. I Corinthians 8:1 states it simply. "Knowledge puffs up (or makes arrogant), but love builds up (edifies)." I Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage one another and build one another up. And Peter addresses this issue in I Peter 2:16 when he says: "Act as free men, but don't use your freedom as a covering for evil but as bond-slaves of God." And how is a bond-slave of God to serve and please his Master? I Corinthians 13 - "if I give all my possessions to feed the poor and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing." We are to love. Love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds and all our strength. And love our neighbors as ourselves. "Upon these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:40. 

"He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God." ~Micah 6:8 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Total Purity

Purity. It's a word that most of us are familiar with. But did you know there is more than one type of purity? There are at least 3: purity of body, purity of mind, and purity of heart.

Purity of body: For example, dressing modestly, saving yourself for your spouse, etc. Purity of body is a wonderful thing, but unless it is accompanied by purity of mind and heart, it is hard to stay committed to bodily purity.

Purity of mind: Are your thoughts pure? The things that you spend time thinking about- are they pure? If they are not, stop, pray, and strive to set your mind on pure things. See Philippians 4:8.

Purity of heart: What are your intentions? Are your motives pure? Why do you want to do that certain thing? Is it because it is the right choice for someone living a life of purity, or are you wanting others to notice you? We must work towards having pure motives and intentions.

All of these types of purity work together in a person to transform them into a beautiful creature. If one is missing, the others will fail. If we are searching for total purity, we must have pure minds, hearts, and bodies.
Written by Brooke Reninger

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Out of Thin Air

God’s timing is perfect. Sometimes we might not think so, but it always is. It can be hard to wait- whether it is for a husband, a child, or anything else. We don’t like to be patient. We think we need it now, or at least in our own time frame. But the truth is, the world operates on God’s time frame. Which, by the way, is much better than anything we could come up with. Again and again he has demonstrated his perfect timing.
I was about 14 or 15 years old. I had very few friends, was rejected by kids at church because of my beliefs, and felt very alone. Then one day, almost out of thin air, God sent me a friend. She lived in a totally different state, but we became close friends through email. He actually provided me with 2 close friends- at the very time I needed it most. His perfect timing.
Sometimes I wonder where God is going to find a husband for me. Will he just pull one out of thin air? He could. He provided friends for me seemingly out of thin air. Why not a husband? This is the God who made the world in 6 days- out of thin air. He saved me through his grace and mercy. He planned out the salvation of the world. Do I really think he can’t plan out my very small life? I must trust him. Trust that his will, his plan, and his timing are perfect. Because they are.
And once I truly trust him, he will make things happen in his time. Even if he has to pull someone out of thin air.
Written by Brooke Reninger.