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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beautiful Music

       Music is a very popular and controversial topic for Christians. What kind? How much? When? Where? How? Why? We all have our own, often strong, opinions on the answers to those questions. The thing about opinions is that they are very good at building up thick, strong walls between people. And that’s sad, because we shouldn’t have that reaction to diversity. “It takes all sorts to make a world; or a church. This may be even truer of a church. If grace perfects nature it must expand all our natures into the full richness of diversity when God intended when He made them, and Heaven will display far more variety than Hell.” (-C.S. Lewis) 

In Romans 14, it seems like the Christians in Rome were having trouble just like us. “As for the one who is weak in faith,” says Paul. “Welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another. It is before his own master that he stands or falls.” (Romans 14: 1-4)

Well, today the subject of clean and unclean foods is not nearly as controversial, of course, but this passage still applies to us. I don’t think Paul is just talking about food here, but the basic principle that it’s really none of our business to judge others for their opinions about things that don’t even affect their salvation. We will each stand on our own before God, and answer for our own actions and choices. “The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit....So then let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding.” (Romans 14: 17; 19) It’s much more important to be walking in love with your brothers and sisters of the faith, than to nitpick at their personal preferences. 

That said, however, it is fine, and right and good to have our own opinions about things. Just so long as we don’t condemn others for not sharing these opinions. 
In my opinion it is very important to listen to beautiful music. And it is very important to pay careful attention to what truly beautiful music is. The purpose of music goes beyond enjoyment and includes the formation of character. Music can quite change who you are. For better, or for worse. “Music is never neutral; it has an effect on us that reaches into the very depths of our being.” (Rich Lusk, The Psalms.)  The influence of music makes it vitally important that we carefully consider the songs that enter our ears and come out of our mouths. “...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phillipians 4:8.) 
But here we run into yet another dispute. What is beautiful? Is the “beauty in the eye of the beholder”? Or is beauty something more than that. 
Beauty is objective. Its standards remain the same, because God set them in place. It’s not relative, or something that is true for some and not for others. 
We find the standards of beauty all around us: in God’s creation. Since we are made in God’s image, we, like Him, love to create things. We are born with the desire to create ingrafted in us. Sometimes this creative longing goes wrong. Sometimes, we decide to rebel against the beauty in the creation around us, and come up with our own definitions of beauty. But, we are told to “...be imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Ephesians 5:1) We are to mirror his creation in our little creations. Of course our art compared to God’s art is only like a candle compared to the sun, but, still, candles can be pleasant. Especially in a very dark room.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Why Do We Say It?

Hey!
Well, it's been awhile! But I have a very good excuse: EXAMS ;)
 Now that summer has officially begun for me, I won't be neglecting my blog any more :D




Toast. 
How did the word "toast" get into the expression "drink a toast"?

The "toast" was once in the glass. The custom was to place a small piece of toast in the bottom of the glass as a delicacy. And, since in drinking to a person you drained your glass, you "drank" this bit of "toast."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why Do We Say It?

Pop Goes the Weasel. 
Where do we get the expression "Pop goes the Weasel"?

When you sing:
'That's the way the money goes;
Pop goes the weasel. . . "
you're referring to the opening and shutting of a pocketbook. "Weasel" or "weaselskin" was a popular slang name for a "pocketbook" when the verse was written.
(Why Do We Say It? pg 192)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Sophia!



Today is my little sister's 12th birthday!!!

She is growing up into such a sweet little lady :)


Cousins :) That's Sophia on the left and Emma on the right.


She's  *almost* always smiling :D



She loves fishing. . . and big sunglasses :P

And, if you hadn't noticed----she loves this blue shirt :D


She is so caring and unselfish. And I'm so thankful for her. 


I love you Fia! :D Have a great 12th birthday!

~Allie

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dragons

Since the beginning of time, people have told stories of dragons.

The very first story there ever was, in fact,  had a dragon in it: Our Bibles say that Satan disguised himself as a serpent, and so we automatically think "snake" but actually, we have reason to believe that Satan was creeping about the Garden in the form of a dragon. After all, God cursed the Serpent by saying that on its belly it would go, and dust it would eat all the days of its life. What would be the point in telling that to a snake? Snakes already crawl about on their bellies, so that wouldn't have been a curse.

The main theme throughout the entire Gospel is the story of the Prince who crushes the head of the dragon and, therefore, wins His bride.

Generation after generation have passed down stories about evil creatures that are defeated by noble men. Think of 'Saint George and the Dragon' and 'Beowulf' and even 'Jack and the Beanstalk' or 'Sleeping Beauty.' Every one of these stories has the same overarching theme: brave man defeats the dragon, or the monster, or the giant, or the witch; good guy kills bad guy; good triumphs over evil. To be a good story, the evil had to be gotten rid of, wiped away, killed. Without knowing it, even non-Christians were using the Bible's plot in their own stories. Because in the end, the real end of the real story, good will destroy evil, and that's one of the only things that really matters.

This was just the way stories were always written. You always knew who was good and who was bad. There were no fuzzy lines, only clear distinctions.

Until now.

Now, instead of killing the dragon, we become buddies with the dragon, because, suddenly, dragons are just awesome. Everyone was completely mistaken about them, because everyone is so judgmental.


Vampires aren't really evil. . . even though they do suck blood. . . They can't help it. That's just their nature. And, actually, they make really great boyfriends.

Witches are just funny old ladies with pointed caps. Completely harmless. Come on guys, give them a break.

Ogres, poor things, are completely misunderstood and unfairly judged. They just need some love and those rough edges will soon be smoothed out.

How has this happened?

What have we done? 

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness..." (Isaiah 5:20)


Our culture is embracing standards that are the exact opposite of everything God established and upholds. Good is called evil and evil is called good. Darkness is worshipped and light is hid from.

But what can we do? This worldview is packaged so attractively: Happy-faced cartoon children dancing and singing with their dragon friends; the bumbling ogre who falls in love with a princess; the vampire who tries to protect the girl he loves from all of the other evil vampires; good witches who cast good spells. What's wrong with all that? It seems completely harmless. But hidden underneath the appealing package of cheery cartoons, there are dangerous messages that are being forced into our minds, almost without us realizing it.

We are so steeped in these messages that it seems pretty much impossible to do anything except go along with the worldview, grudgingly. The Bible says to be the light in the earth, but. . .what if the earth hates light?
We live in this world, so we're going to be around these darkness-worshippers for our whole lives. Wouldn't it just be better to kind of ignore things? I mean, we know what is good and what is evil. . . right?

Well, just pretending something isn't there, doesn't make it any less real.

When you are silent, you are automatically accepting what is being said.

"The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking" (-Casting Crowns)
A good sign of immaturity is thinking that you are mature. And a good sign of weakness is thinking you are strong. We may think we won't be affected by listening to people, when they're saying things we know are wrong; we may think we are big enough and strong enough to stand up for the right. . . if it really needed to be stood up for; but by thinking that, we are showing how quickly we would fall.

"It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray 
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade" (-Casting Crowns)
It is a slow fade. It doesn't happen all at once.
Little things: they're the things we overlook, because they seem unimportant. But remember that old proverb,
"For want of a nail the shoe was lost
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. 
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail."


Little things, when they build up, can become the biggest things you can imagine.

By keeping silent, and, therefore, accepting, we are giving ourselves away to the enemy.
"Whoever is not for me, is against me, and whoever does not gather with me, scatters." (Matthew 12:30)

By keeping silent about the evil and darkness, we are siding with it.
And by siding with it, we are siding against God.

"Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them." (Ephesians 5:11)
It's our job to speak out against the unfruitful works of darkness.
We are in the middle of a war. We are either fighting for one side, or for the other.

There's no in-between.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8)






Monday, May 7, 2012

Why Do We Say It?

Nick of Time
How did we get the expression "in the nick of time"?

In medieval days a "tally" was used to register attendance in colleges and churches. The "tally" was a stick of wood and attendance was indicated by a nick or notch on it. The student or worshipper who arrived in time had his attendance "nicked"---and so arrived "in the nick of time."

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jesus Paid It All

I hear the Savior say,
"Thy strength indeed is small!
Child of weakness watch and pray,
Find in me thine all in all."
      
CHORUS:
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain-
He washed it white as snow.
      
 For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim-
I will wash my garment white
In the blood of Calvary's Lamb.
      
And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
"Jesus died my soul to save,"
My lips shall still repeat.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why Do We Say It?

Go to Pot: 
What is the reason we say of something that's deteriorated that "it's gone to pot"?
It's because smiths generally keep a pot on hand into which they throw broken pieces of the metal on which they are working. These scraps are ultimately melted down and used again. Anything which has no further use goes into this pot. (Why Do We Say It? pg 106)

My Lord and My God

I'm giving a link to a very insightful post about a very important topic, written by my friend, Cooper. We really need to hear it. The culture around us places so much emphasis on "you". We get the "you deserve it!" and "it's all about you" messages in pretty much every commercial or ad or story or movie. But it's not all about us.
We have to remember that we are His.

Click here to read: My Lord and My God.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Drawings


Thought I'd post a couple drawings I've been working on recently. They're not very good...but then, I'm not an artist :)