This Week in Scripture; is honor worth preserving?

O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. - Psalm 4:2-3

In many cultures, honor is the most precious thing a person can own; to lose face is a grave insult on a person's honor (So much so that the Japanese, for example, will say "hai" (yes) when they mean that they understand you. They're not agreeing with you, but they want you to save face and they don't want to say "iie" (no).).

Americans don't have this concept of honor; we'd rather be positive, even when lying to one another ("That ___ looks great on you!" "No offense, but..." and other lovely American sayings come to mind.). We don't want to offend the other person (Notice that it's a concept of "saving face".), but we're also willing to spread lies and gossip about people ("Did you hear about...? He/she is a ....!") and, in some ways, ruins our honor. When we speak ill of people, we are not trusted in the future with things that are important to our friends (If we gossip, then it's likely that we'll gossip about our friends and their personal business.).

That's why we're told to avoid slanderous words and things that are not beneficial; in a sense, that preserves our honor (As if we have any to begin with!). It's also worth noting that our honor is oftentimes defiled because we belong to Christ and the world hates Messiah.

Here's the best part of these verses: God Himself set His people apart from the rest and He hears us when we call to Him. Even in times of despair and dishonor, we can run to our Father and He will draw us to Him.

How's that for a personal God?

Today also happens to be Reformation Day; Martin Luther, on this day, nailed his 95 Theses on the doors of the Wittenburg church in Germany. His desire was to reform the Church from within; instead, the eventual birth of the Protestant movement (From Protest-ant; those that have protested some of the activities that the Catholic church was doing, such as selling indulgences.). Happy Reformation Day, everyone!


This Week in Scripture; patience IS a virtue!

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! - Psalm 4:1

This week starts something different; I'll be memorizing Psalm 4, starting from verse 1. It's a short psalm (8 verses), but it's rich with praise for a gracious God.

I've also noticed that there's an urgency with prayers and petitions before Him; if it's something that we really, really, REALLY want, we usually fall to our knees and beg God for That. One. Thing.

However, God doesn't run on our timetable; we should realize that we need to run on His (A thousand years is as a day...a paraphrase of 2 Peter 3:8.) and we don't always get what we want (God is not a magical Pez dispenser, as my best friend Becca would say.). Instead, we (Especially yours truly!) need to accept that His answer to our prayers are "No." and "Wait." We don't always get a "Yes!" I've found that the majority of my prayers are given a "Wait." or a "No." for an answer.

Case in point: Christ, just before He was arrested and then crucified, had prayed the following:

And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." - Mark 14:35-36

He didn't say to His Father, "Look, God. I came down here and all that stuff; I did what You wanted Me to do. How about we spare this death thing from Me, okay?" Instead, He said, "Not My will but Your will be done."

He ended up doing His Father's will; we should be aiming for that as well. Patience is a virtue after all.


This Week in Scripture; the sinfulness of sin

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." - Romans 1:16-17

For the past couple of weeks, my pastor has been preaching from Romans, a book that is known to be difficult in understanding. This week, he started on the big chunk of the book that talked exclusively of sin (Yup; that word. The one that makes hardened atheists roll their eyes and the legalistic theist think "That's not me; it's that other guy who's beating his chest and not looking up at God."). The chunk of sin-talk extends to chapter 3.

I'm not going to waste your time with a full exegesis of those chapters; it all boils down to this: It's not Good News unless you know what the bad news is first (What's the point of knowing what the Good News is unless you know that you have rejected God from the beginning and instead would rather follow temporary and fleeting things? Only then would you realize how much you need that righteousness that only God is more than willing to provide.). Until that is realized, then the Good News is moot.

Here's where the sinfulness of sin pops in; we know how debased we really are and we understand that God is holy and can't stand the sight of sin. With that thought in mind, we still do the things that we do and push God either to the back of our minds or out of the picture entirely; it's as if we don't care what He thinks about the whole thing (In a way, that's exactly what we think.).

It's about time to face the prospect that, although we say that we bow our knees to Him, we are hypocrites in that fashion. Repent and serve the God that has called us to Him!


This Week in Scripture; secrets and regrets

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. - Psalm 139:15

This verse is the third in a series of verses related to one another that I wanted to memorize (I had memorized verses 13 and 14.); all three speak on how personal and how creative God is (Who else would have thought of knitting a person together, for example? Who else would be wonderfully and fearfully made?).

That said, the things that we tried to keep secret are known to God; don't even bother hiding anything from the Creator of the universe because He already knows! It's better to repent and to strive toward being more Christ-like.

Something that came to mind as of late is a song (Are you surprised? I hope not.) called "Secrets and Regrets" from Pillar; the chorus goes like this:

Your secrets and regrets are keeping you from going very far
And you can't let all this get you down and keep you living in the dark
Cause all you're looking for is love
You're living in the dark; you just can't get enough

Why should we be surprised that, when our darkest and deepest secrets are finally let out of the bag and sprung into the open? Shouldn't we be more aware that our sinful natures, while earnestly trying to keep things hidden, often fail us? Even when the motives are considered altruistic or "good", there is still something underneath that seeks to puff the self up instead of God.

No matter how good it looks on the outside, the ulterior motive always has a way in revealing itself. Make sure that the real reason you're doing something glorifies God instead of yourself.


Consistent with the Gospel

I'll admit that one of my favorite TV shows is on the History Channel; it's called Top Shot. My husband and I watch it consistently (Mainly because we're both gun nuts.) and the series is in its 3rd season.

This season has been quite interesting, since one of the competitors is a devout Christian (Turns out, he is a camp director and minister!); his attitude has been Christ-like and constantly upbeat. This is what History Channel viewers are seeing and hopefully are being pointed to Christ.

I'm not saying that we're to fawn over the dude (Not by any means!), but we should be imitating Christ (See 1 Corinthians 11:1; Paul encourages believers to be like him.), especially when all eyes are on us because we claim to be Christians. I believe that the Top Shot competitor is imitating Christ.

Folks, be consistent with the Gospel; walk the walk while talking the talk (Convey the message clearly and live up to its standards with God's strength.). When you stumble, admit to stumbling (sinning), stand back up (repent) and start running again (press on).


This week in Scripture; creation and knitting

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. - Psalm 139:14

I was looking back at the various verses I've memorized so far and I came across the verse that this blog was named for (Psalm 139:13); this week's verse (and next week's) are usually memorized together.

One thing came to mind as this verse popped out for me: I don't praise God enough that He made me and that my soul knows His works (I don't praise Him enough period.). I'm still having a hard time grasping that altogether and I thought that I understood our Father; He's never failed to surprise me with His mercy and endless grace. That alone should be a good reason to praise Him!

The fact that my soul already knows His works is mind-boggling; it's an awestruck feeling when the Creator of the universe made sure that my soul (As puny and insignificant it is.) knows HIS works.

Speaking of creation and whathaveyou, I'm knitting a slouchy hat that can be found on Ravelry and on the Madelinetosh site, called Stella; so far, it's a quick knit (Even though I had double-pointed needles in a 6 instead of a circular needle; either one can be used, really, but a circular needle tends to be easier for me to use.) and I'm enjoying it.

I also managed to find another hat to make, thanks to that website...I'm even willing to pay $6 for it (That's unusual for me; I usually gravitate free patterns since I'm lazy cheap usually broke.).

Here's to a blessed week for everyone!


Day 3 - Interesting...

Today marks day 3 of wearing a skirt.

Apparently, I had bought a couple of sweater skirts (They're kinda warm for California weather.), but the other skirt (an ankle-length tiered skirt) has been incredibly comfortable. That has been a good find! If I find more skirts like that, they'll be snagged. I'm also keeping an eye out on sales, just in case.

Now, onto tops: A lot of the tops I have don't really work well with skirts, so I'm keeping my eyes peeled. A lot of the camisoles I own have the built-in shelf bra and they're uncomfortable as layering pieces; the four camis from the now-closed Romy store are more comfortable for layering. Here's to the Internet for buying some clothes!