Nashville Family Conference and Noteworthy Reunion

Here are a couple pictures from a brief Noteworthy reunion before the conference, and some of the preparation for the Children’s Institute. More pictures of the conference can be seen at https://plus.google.com/photos/+FamilyconferencesOrg/albums/6153565116215270881. Matthew, Andrew, Christi, and I taught in the Children’s Institute, as did a couple of the other previous Noteworthy students. Mom and Dad enjoyed the main sessions. The rest of us are looking forward to when the messages become available on embassyinstitute.org.IMG_0408 IMG_0418 IMG_0431 IMG_0432 IMG_0433 IMG_0435 IMG_0436 IMG_0438

052715-JAS_7676The Children’s Institute Teachers

Notes from a breakfast conversation

It is interesting to see where simple conversations can lead… Below is a short article based off of a conversation this morning at breakfast about a verse we read and the upcoming “holiday” of halloween.

 

The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.
Proverbs 21:16

When someone knows what is right and chooses not to do it, they show they are part of the congregation of the dead. When Adam sinned, mankind became a sort of living dead. We have all been born “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Now, in mid October, we are nearing a holiday of “the congregation of the dead.” Can you imagine if all the decorations out at this time of year where real? Gigantic spiders, death machines, and the list goes on. What a gross reality life would be if all this were real. This would not be a good world. Yet in a way, this is reality. This celebration of death is really a celebration of sin, since by sin came death (Rom 5:12).  How could God create a world so gross and call it good? God did not create sin, rather, as the last verse mentions, through one man, sin came on all men, and death by sin. Through Adam’s sin, we were all born dead in sin, as gross and dead as the decorations at this, the enemy’s holiday.

God allowed this sin when He created mankind with the ability to choose sin. Recently I was asked, why would a good God create people with the ability to sin? According to Revelation 4:11, we were created for His pleasure. He made us such that we could choose either to choose Him, or to choose our own ways. In Adam, mankind choose our own ways, sin, and therefore death. I believe, though I can’t think of verses to substantiate this at the moment that God gave us the ability to sin so that we would have the ability to love Him. A baby “loves” its parents with a love that takes. However, when that baby grows up, you can see how real that love is. A true love will seek the best for others without though of personal gain. Without the ability to choose, there can be no real love, so without ability to not choose God, it is impossible to truly love Him.

As by one man sin entered the world, so by one Man life returned. Praise the Lord, our Great Savior Jesus came to rescue us from this horrible “masquerade” as living people when in reality we were dead inside, perhaps dressed in good works as princes and princesses (and we may soon see such a parade coming down the street…), but yet nonetheless dead inside. Dead Adam could not have living children, but Christ was of different parentage. While He was entirely human, His Father was God (Mat 1:20), therefore He was truly alive. Through Christ’s death, we may die to our old dead self and through His resurrection, we may rise to new life. Such a person has been twice born, once of water, and once of the Spirit, just as Jesus told Nicodemus.

We cannot of ourselves create new life in ourselves. The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead. He was already there. My mom has been making a pro-biotic drink called water kefir recently. This drink uses clusters of bacteria (i.e. kefir grains). She originally bought dry grains and heard that they are supposed to grow and multiply. No matter how she researched and tried to make them grow, they did not. Later she learned that dry grains will not grow. Just in the same way, we will not grow if we are dead.  If you have not trusted it Christ for salvation, Christ only, not yourself through doing good things in any way, you are still dead. You can try to do good things, but in the end, they are but useless like dirty rags (Is. 64:6). To apply what is written here, you must be born again of the Spirit of God. Trying to do good works to please God while you are still dead in sin is like dressing like a prince or princess while in reality you are not. It will do no good, though it might fool some people into believing you are what you are not. Good works are sign of life in the living, but merely an mirage in the dead. Come to the “way of understanding,” through the way God has provided to come to eternal life.

Notes on Continuance in Prayer

Well-Trodden“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” James 5:13

Another book I’ve started reading for school is “George Muller of Bristol” by Pierson. Here’s a short segment that is very insightful.

“One is constantly reminded in reading Mr. Muller’s journal that he was a man of like frailties as others. On Christmas morning of this year, after a season of peculiar joy, he  awoke to find himself in the Slough of Despond, without any sense of enjoyment, prayer seeming as fruitless as the vain struggles of a man in the mire. At the usual morning meeting he was urged by a brother to continue in prayer, notwithstanding, until he was again melted before the Lord — a wise counsel for all disciples when the Lord’s presence seems strangely withdrawn. Steadfast continuance in prayer must never be  hindered by the want of sensible enjoyment; in fact, it is a safe maxim that the less joy, the more need. Cessation of communion with God, for whatever cause, only makes the more difficult its resumption and the recovery of the prayer habit and prayer spirit; whereas the persistent outpouring of supplication, together with continued activity in the service of God, soon brings back the lost joy. Whenever, therefore, one yield to spiritual depression so as to abandon, or even to suspend, closet communion or Christian work, the devil triumphs.

A Letter to the Mourning

FlowerHaving almost finished “The Life of Adoniram Judson” by Edward Judson, I have been greatly impressed with this missionary’s constant placement of God as number one in his life, which enabled him to go through suffering with great perseverance. He lost his first wife and many of his children to tropical sicknesses. This letter was written to Mrs. Boardman, the wife of a deceased missionary to whom he would be married several years later. It is an outstanding example of humbly taking comfort in the Saviour, while acknowledging the sorrow of missing a saved loved one until meeting them again in the celestial world. I would highly recommend others read the book, as the life of Adoniram is a tremendous example of longsuffernig and resting in Jesus’ will.

To Mrs. Boardman.

“Ragoon, March 4, 1831.

My Dear Sister: You are now drinking the bitter cup whose dregs I am somewhat acquainted with. And though, for some time, you have been aware of its approach, I venture to say that it is far bitterer than you expected. It is common for persons in your situation to refuse all consolation, to cling to the dead, and to fear that they shall too soon forget the dear object of their affections. But don’t be concerned. I can assure you that months and months of heart-rending anguish are before you, whether you will or not. I can only advise you to take the cup with both hands, and sit down quietly to the bitter repast which God has appointed for your sanctification. As to your beloved, you know that all his tears are wiped away, and that the diadem which encircles his brow outshines the sun. Little Sarah and the other have again found their father, not the frail, sinful mortal that they left on earth, but an immortal saint, a magnificent, majestic king. What more can you desire for them? while, therefore, your tears flow, let a due proportion be tears of joy. Yet take the bitter cup with both hands, and sit down to your repast. You will soon learn a secret, that there is sweetness at the bottom. You will find it the sweetest cup that you ever tasted in all your life. You will find heaven coming near to you, and familiarity with your husband’s voice will be a connecting link, drawing you almost within the sphere of celestial music.

I think, from what I know of your mind, that you will not desert the post, but remain to carry on the work which he gloriously began. The Karens of Tavoy regard you as their spiritual mother; and the dying prayers of your beloved are waiting to be answered in blessings on your instructions.

As to little Georgie, who has now to earthly father to care for him, you can not, of course, part with him  at present. But if you should wish to send him home, I pledge myself to use what little influence I have in procuring for him all those advantages of education which your fondest wishes can desire. Or if you should be prematurely taken away, and should condescend, on your dying bed. to commit him to me, by the briefest line or verbal message, I hereby pledge my fidelity to receive and treat him as my own son, to send him home in the best time and way, to provide for his education, and to watch over him as long as I live. More than this I can not do, and less would be unworthy of the merits of his parents.

 

 

 

ATI Regional Conference

One of the things that first encouraged my parents to start home-schooling was seeing some of the excellent curriculum available, much of it through ATI. Each year, we go to a regional conference that ATI hosts. It is a great time for encouragement in the Lord with great teaching and fellowship. Matthew, Andrew, Christi, and I taught in the children’s institute again, while Mom and Dad went to the general sessions.

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