Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hibernation

Winter seems to be the season for Hibernating and that is just what we have been doing.  We have been moving at a slower pace and enjoying each other and new discoveries.  

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire. And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” ~Isaiah 55:10-12


















1 & 2.  Jack creating with K'nex
3. Maddie and Sam playing on Starfall.  This keeps them busy while the rest of us make new discoveries in science and history.  They don't even realize they are learning too.  :)
4.  Sam takes a break from playing and pulls out a workbook from time to time to practice his letters.
5.  Bailie made goo with the little ones.
6.  Bailie making her stuffed crust pizza for our Friday pizza nights.
7.  Lillie chopping vegetables for our salad bar.  I find that the kids eat more salad when we present it this way.  They each can choose their own toppings.  :)
8.  Lillie working on her All About Spelling.  This is a very inexpensive multisensory reading/spelling program.
9.  Jack working on his explode the code.
10.  Bailie working on a research paper about the Atomic Bomb.
11.  Children keeping themselves busy.  :)
12.  Rylie and Lillie observing the birds.
13.  The four older children are creating their own bird books this year using a note-booking journal I found on CurrClick.  They read about birds, observe them and then write down their discoveries and there is also room for drawings.
14.  Rylie and Lillie rescuing 1 of 5 birds that found themselves stuck on our back porch.
15 & 16.  Some of Bailie's most resent drawings.
17.  Our newest visitor... meet Mrs. Flicker.  She has a male friend that joins her at our back window.  So fun!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Gatherings




Wrestling match with Grandpa Warner
 




 




Saturday, December 14, 2013

Adorning Our Tree – The Vine



I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John15:5)
This verse is a very well known phrase in the Christian world.  If you have been in the Church for even a short period of time, certainly the idea has been covered.  It is a simple concept that we can easily relate to.  We can identify with the importance of a branch being connect to the vine.  The life giving sap from the vine flows to the branches, without that connection the branch dries up and withers.  Or take it a little further, if we are connected to the wrong vine, we would bear fruit in accordance to that vine.  Unwanted fruit, for after all we will be known by our fruit. (Matthew 7:16-20)  The illustrations could go on and on, but I would like to draw your attention to why Jesus gave us the illustration.  Jesus did not exhaust the illustration because it is only used to explain in simple terms a bigger idea.  Reread the verse above again.  Did you notice Jesus also said “and I in Him?”  You mean Jesus wants to abide in us like we abide in Him? Yes, and in order to understand it fully we have to back up into the chapters of John to see what Jesus has been building from.

In John 13 Jesus spends His last meal with His closest friends, His disciples.  They are more like family, that was how the Passover was celebrated, with your family.  At the end of their time Jesus tells them He is going away and you will be there also (John 14:1-3).  This troubles the disciples, because it does not make sense that he would leave and that they would be there to. Follow the dialog between Jesus and Phillip.

“Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Jesus continues…

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also, from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

“Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know me, Philip?

                                                                                                            (John 14:6-8)
This is a heart piercing question.  Do you know Me?
If you are perceptive to the writing of John in his gospel you will see an underlying theme.  Jesus only does what He sees the Father doing. (John 5:19)  Over and over Jesus is motivated by the Father and the Father’s work.  Jesus is not self sourced, He is sourced by God.  Even when asked to satisfy His hunger needs by turning stones into bread (self sourcing), Jesus declines the offer.  (Math. 4:3-4, This will be a later study, Adorning Our Tree- The Bread)  If inclined to read all the verses that Jesus comments on being sourced by God, then read some in John:
John 3:27; 4:34; 5:17-21,30; 6:29,38; 7:16; 8:28,42; 12:49; 14:10,31; 15:24; 17:4,7.  

If you were to camp out in John chapter 14, you would find Jesus describing this abiding relationship with God.  Abiding: meno in Greek, means to remain, to sojourn, continue to be present, to last, to remain as one.  Not to become another or different.  “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me…” (John 14:11)  Sounds familiar to the first verse we covered in this post.  he who abides in Me and I in him…” (John15:5) The reason Jesus told Philip “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), is because of that abiding relationship.  Jesus did only what the Father does. Jesus communicates the Word, which we know from the last post is God’s mind.  Jesus’ actions, speech, prayers, teaching, life, and death all communicate the Father.   The same abiding relationship that Jesus shares with the Father, He wants for us. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14:20) Can you imagine the life like that? 


When you walk,

He walks. 
 
When He walks,

you walk

When He fills a need, you fill the need.  When you fill a need, He fills the need. 

When He is patient. When He is Gracious. When He looks on someone with compassion.

He gives

He blesses

He encourages

Speaks

Forgives

 Loves

Dies,

  to gain life..

..You?


When you think about the natural progress of sap moving from the vine to branch and the fact that the branch has no life at all apart from the vine, Jesus says so it is with us as well. 

Our representation of The Vine
 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. (John 15:4)

~Jeff Warner

To start this series at the beginning please click here.

A Quiet Heart

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."  Isaiah 30:15
It is always weakness to be fretting and worrying, questioning and mistrusting.  What can we do if we wear ourselves to skin and bone?  Can we gain anything by fearing and fuming?  Do we not unfit ourselves for action and unhinge our minds for wise decision?  We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith.


Oh, for grace to be quiet!  Why run from house to house to repeat the weary story which makes us more and more heart-sick as we tell it?  Why even stay at home to cry out in agony because of wretched forebodings which may never be fulfilled?  It would be well to keep a quiet tongue, but it would be far better if we had a quiet heart.  Oh, to be still and know that Jehovah is God!


Oh, for grace to be confident in God!  The Holy One of Israel must defend and deliver His own.  He cannot run back from His solemn declarations.  We may make sure that every word of His will stand though the mountains should depart.  He deserves to be confided in; and if we would display confidence and consequent quietness, we might be as happy as the spirits before the throne.


Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus.

~C.H. Spurgeon {Faith's Checkbook}

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Adorning the Tree- The Word

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.....
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.    
                                                                                                    (John 1:1-5,14)

As you read the above scripture and what I am writing thoughts are entering your head.  In fact I am putting them there.  That is the power of the written word and the spoken word.  If I say "Oreo Ice cream Pie;" suddenly you have "Oreo Ice cream Pie" in your mind. 
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Perhaps you were not hungry before, but now you maybe; even your mouth starts watering. The picture does seem to help things.  If I were to speak to you in conversation I would literally be giving you a piece of my mind.  What I have in my mind I transfer to you.  Unfortunately it may not always be pleasant or uplifting.  

Now imagine for a moment God's mind.  It says in Ephesians 1:4 that God chose us before the foundations of the world.  Did you catch that?  Before He created the world God had you and me in His mind.  You are standing here today because God thought of you.  So then when we read the accounts in Genesis, God spoke the world into existence.  What was in God's mind became reality in what we see today.  Powerful!  With that in your mind (I put that there) reread the first verses of John that you read at the beginning. 

God had Jesus there in the beginning, and Jesus was God.  Then Jesus became flesh.  As you read through the Bible from the beginning we see that God has been revealing Himself to us.  God lays out for us many things about who He is.  When we read His word we get a piece of His mind.   Then when we come to Jesus' birth we get the full revelation of who God is in the man Jesus.  


God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.  (Hebrews 1:1-3a)

Jesus was the "radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature" and He is refereed to us as the Word.  God speaks to us and He communicates His mind; and what we hear is the Word, Jesus!

It gets really exciting when we camp out in the gospel of John and hear what God's teaches us about the Word.  The Greek word for "word" is LOGOS and the biblical definition is: An expression of thought, not the mere name of an object.    

As John expresses the thoughts of God we see in John 5:18-24 that Jesus is declaring that He can do nothing unless it is something He (Jesus) sees the Father (God) doing.  God shows Jesus all that He is doing.  Then is verse 24 Jesus states that "who hears my word (Logos), and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life."  Further down in the text Jesus declares to the Jews: "You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent." (John 5:38)   Disclaimer: Please do not just take my word for it, I have summarized  a lot of the scripture addressed in this section, so please read the verse quoted to understand the full context.  

So to reiterate the passage just discussed.  Jesus communicates only what God does, and requires belief in that to have eternal life.  Jesus communicates the word.   If a person does not believe in Jesus, God's word does not abide in him.

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John has much more to say in these matters concerning the word, but for the sake of not loosing you, I  encouraged to to continue to look at what John says.  Read and meditate on the verses listed below to discover more.

John 8:28-59
John 12:27-50
John 13:10 (Understand where Jesus said this, 15:3 clarifies this)
John 14:23-25
John 15:3
John 17:1-21
John 18:37
1 John 1-2:14

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To close I am going to summarize what Jesus prayed to the father in John 17 about the word.  Jesus declares that He has glorified the Lord by accomplishing the work God has given Him.  Jesus has manifested God to His disciples.   Jesus has given them the word and they have kept the word.  Jesus, states "Sanctify them in the truth: Your word is truth." (John 17:17).  Jesus also states, "Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which you have given Me." (John 17:11).

The next time you open God's word understand you are reaching into the mind of God.  If you are believing you should clearly see Jesus, the Word.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. (Revelation 19:11-13)

Our representation of The Word becoming flesh

~Jeff Warner

To start reading this series from the beginning, please click here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Adorning Our Tree: The Light of the World

As we approach the shortest day of day light, December 21st, we cannot help but feel a little colder or a little gloomier as a result.  With cloudier days and a sun who has migrated south for the winter, we become malnourished in Vitamin D and our spirits become clouded as well.  If you're like me, you begin to long for a sunny hot day.  If imprisoned from light people will take drastic measures just to reach the light.  Consider those in Norway...

Most of Norway is without the Sun's light for several months.   Rjukan, a town in Norway nestled in between 2 mountains, has found a way to reflect the sun into their little valley square using 3 giant size mirrors.


To read more about this, click here.

Now consider this concept spiritually.  Zacharia prophecies in Luke that we are "those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death." Luke 1:79 This is a description of man in his inherited sin nature.  That sin cast a shadow likened to death that the person lives in.  But, as we expound the verses surrounding this quote we see in fact that Zacharia declares hope.

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways;
To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,
Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:76-79
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 Zacharia's son, John the Baptist, becomes the prophet that prepares the way for Jesus.  Jesus is said to be the "sunrise from on high".  In another part of scripture Matthew quotes Isaiah's prophecy about Jesus {Matthew 4:12-17}.

"But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them."  Isaiah 9:1-2
Jesus confirms this by saying...
" I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness."  John 12:46

As we draw near to our Savior's birth, John's gospel states...
 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man."  John 1:1-9


As we consider the effects of natural light in our own lives.  Light illuminates us from darkness, grows the vegetation, warms the earth.  The same physical effect light has on our world, God says, "I am that to you."

~Jeff Warner

To start reading this series from the beginning, please click here.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Adorning Our Tree : The Tree


With the last post still fresh in our minds, we remember that Jesus compares our life as trees bearing good fruit or bad.  Most of us would agree that we would want to be bearers of good fruit and not tossed into the fire.  Other parts of scripture give us accounts how we are compared to trees and how they are planted in ideal places for nourishment.  Understand in our display that the tree represents us as people and the base of the tree is firmly seated in the ROCK.  Jesus is our ROCK!  

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As we continue to decorate we will adorn ourselves with only the finest descriptions of what God declares himself to be for us.  As children and heirs of God we can rightfully lay claims to the promises of God.  Like David before us, when caught in the storms of life, declares the truths of God in his psalms to move him into the realm of victory.  Each ornament we place on our tree will represent a truth of God in a tangible way.  That being said, in Psalm 1:1-3 we read,

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers."
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 Here we read of a contrast and a comparison.  The contrast is being counseled by the wicked or being counseled by God, and if we are counseled by God then we can be compared to a tree planted by streams of water.

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Living here at the camp ground, my thoughts quickly go to the stream that flows through the property.  Among the rocky landscape of the camp you can see many trees growing out of the banks of stone.  The imagery of the tree roots wrapping themselves around and through the rocks is powerful.  Though constantly nourished from waters of the steam {God's law as the word} they are firmly secure in their foundation as flood waters rise.  They are literally imbedded into the ROCK.
"The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Planted in the house of the Lord,
They will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."

Psalm 92:12-15
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 Do you want to flourish?  Imbed yourself in the ROCK and drink from His abundant word.

Our Tree, securely imbedded into the ROCK.
~Jeff Warner

To start reading this series from the beginning, please click here.