Friday, February 5, 2016

Along The Path


I cannot tell you how many times in recent months I have sat down to write a blog post and not a word would come. Times of growth often set me silent.

When my mind is grappling with concepts I don't fully comprehend, I have to keep processing, sorting, and organizing my thoughts until I can get a sense of where the new information fits into my present understanding. Sometimes a larger chunk of my truth-grid is in question, and it's as though I'm sitting there, turning it over and over in my hands as I contemplate what I'm missing. Such times are unsettling, but I've been through them before, and I know they pass and light is at the end of the tunnel.

I'm growing, and I'm thankful.

We continue to study the New Testament in depth at our church, and this study compels me to ever question my desires, my values, my present understanding.

I think sometimes I spend so much time reading what everybody says about Jesus instead of what He says Himself that I get sidetracked and mislead. Then I go back to the scripture and realize what I just read in a particular book... is not what He's like, not the way He looks at things, not His paradigm of thought.

It takes work to read the Bible and understand it. It's easier to let somebody else tell me what it says, to put it in simpler terms.

As a society, we've been so dumbed down. We don't want to do the hard work of grappling with concepts until we understand them. We are hooked on being spoon-fed. I'm praying God will help me overcome this tendency.

Just one issue I'll mention. I'm realizing more and more how we understand the Old Testament is critical. Many writers do not use Jesus as the grid through which they understand it, and that can be dangerous.

So, I've shared a little bit of where I am on the path. A few words have come. :) I pray something in these few words encourages you to keep walking the walk, seeking truth, and finding joy and contentment as you surrender all to the Man-God who stands above all as worthy of our trust. His beauty of soul ever draws me.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Rachelle Wins Concerto Competition


;

Rachelle will be playing two movements (played below by Itzhak Perlman) from the 5th Vieuxtemps violin concerto on March 5th at 8 pm and on March 6th at 3 pm. We are thrilled for her! The Hillsdale College Symphony Orchestra will accompany her.

What a joy it is to see our children and young people applying their energies to self-disciplines that bring something of value and enjoyment to others and bring glory to their Creator! What a wondrous gift, this gift of music!

She will be playing her new Van Zandt violin.



She has worked so hard over the past year to keep improving and refining her skills, and we are deeply grateful for her life and what she is allowing God to make of her. We pray many will be blessed by what He chooses to use her to accomplish.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Master's Monday: Speak the Truth in Love

This weekend I was privileged to attend the Developing a Christian Mind conference here at Oxford, which I understand to be the only one of its kind in the world. Christian students and professors came together from all over the university to discuss how we can better integrate our faith and our scholarship. Im sure many of the themes we covered will come up in future posts, but for today I just wanted to share with you the one that sticks out most immediately in my mind, and that I believe I can begin applying to my own life right away. Although it was rarely stated explicitly, underlying almost every lecture and discussion session was the challenge that we seek everyday to speak the truth in love,” as the Apostle Paul encourages us in Ephesians 4:15. 

 

Truth and love. What a powerful duo of concepts. And how difficult it is to hold the two in balance with each other! I imagine we each have our own weaknesses and strengths in this area. I probably tend to be much more blatantly (and even unlovingly) truthful when speaking of people and issues far removed from my own daily sphere. It can be easy to let truth fall by the wayside and privilege a lop-sided manifestation of love” when looking a friend or colleague in the face. Perhaps others find the opposite true for them. Whichever way your personality leans, I pray this week we both will seek wisdom and humility from God so that we can better share both of these eternally-valuable gifts with a world who needs them so desperately.

 

~ LaRae ~

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Master’s Monday: From the Expected to the Given Good


Sorry for the delay, folks! I guess this week you’re getting Tuesday’s edition of “Master’s Monday.” :-) I just turned in my first major paper of the term, and I’m still working on getting my routine in order generally. I did want to share quickly, however, a passage from C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra that has been on my mind lately.

By way of context, at the beginning of the year I read an article that challenged me to rethink the idea of “New Year’s resolutions” and instead to pick one word that I thought should summarize my attitude to 2016. For reasons I won’t go into just now, I chose the word “gratitude.” Needless to say, first week of Hilary term has offered me many opportunities to choose gratitude, as does every week in different ways. :-)

This passage from Perelandra is spoken by “the green lady,” who is essentially a reimagining of Eve before the Fall. She enjoys a perfect relationship with her Creator. When a professor tries to explain to her the concept of temptation, he asks her if anything ever happens to her that she wishes had not. She thinks about this for a while, and then responds:

“What you have made me see...is as plain as the sky, but I never saw it before. Yet it has happened every day. One goes into the forest to pick food and already the thought of one fruit rather than another has grown up in one’s mind. Then, it may be, one finds a different fruit and not the fruit one thought of. One joy was expected and another is given. But this I had never noticed before—that at the very moment of the finding there is in the mind a kind of thrusting back, or a setting aside. The picture of the fruit you have not found is still, for a moment, before you. And if you wished—if it were possible to wish—you could keep it there. You could send your soul after the good you had expected, instead of turning it to the good you had got. You could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other...

“And this...is the glory and wonder you have made me see; that it is I, I myself, who turn from the good expected to the given good. Out of my own heart I do it. One can conceive a heart which did not: which clung to the good it had first thought of and turned the good which was given into no good...

“I thought...that I was carried in the will of Him I love, but now I see that I walk with it. I thought that the good things He sent me drew me into them as the waves lift the islands; but now I see that it is I who plunge into them with my own legs and arms, as when we go swimming. I feel as if I were living in that roofless world of yours when men walk undefended beneath naked heaven. It is delight with terror in it. One’s own self to be walking from one good to another, walking beside Him as Himself may walk, not even holding hands. How has He made me so separate from Himself? How did it enter His mind to conceive such a thing? The world is so much larger than I thought….”

LaRae