Monday, April 3, 2017

"Sovereign"

In the midst of contemplating the sovereignty of God recently (read about it in this post), this song came into my life.  The lyrics grip me - such an eloquent expression of the faithfulness of my sovereign God.  Enjoy! {"Sovereign" written by Chris Tomlin Jason Ingram Jonas Myrin Martin Chalk Matt Redman}
video

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Wheat, weeds, and sovereignty


Recent months have sent me through a reform, of sorts.  I used to come to the Bible hungering and thirsting for what I could find about myself and apply to myself.  I approached the Bible as if it were a book about me.  But it is not.  The Bible is a book about God, first.  It contains truth and application for me, oh yes.  But the first thing the Bible speaks of is not myself, but God.  There is no true knowledge of self apart from the knowledge of God.

So this time when I read through the kingdom parable of the wheat and the weeds, I went looking for God.  Where is He in this story?  What speaks to me of His character and nature? Instead of focusing in on the wheat vs. weeds and their significance, I looked at the characters in this parable. (Matthew 13:24-30)

The owner of the field strikes me as the god-figure.  God sowing good seed in His kingdom field would not be out of character for Him at all.  In fact, the book of James tells us that every good and perfect gift - including wisdom! - comes to us from our Father, God.  

Additionally an enemy is spoken of in this story, one who molests by planting weeds among the wheat in the darkness of night.  So typical of our adversary Satan; the resemblance is striking.  And in his typical form, he does his deed and leaves.  Our enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy - and might I add, abandon?  It is only the Lord who promises to “never leave us, nor forsake us.”  

The parable also mentions the owner’s servants which I believe are symbolic of the children of God, believers and followers of the gospel.  You and me, sisters and brothers in Christ.  I love what the text has to say about what they said. “Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field?  Where then did the weeds come from?”  

If I may paraphrase: “God, aren’t you a good and loving god? How can there be evil and suffering in this world? Who is responsible? How can a good God allow bad things to happen? Can’t you do something, God?!”

While this question is a legitimate one, it teeters into the realm of assault - assault on the very character of God. The sovereign God of the universe called himself El Shaddai in order that we might be made aware of the omnipotence and omniscience he possesses.  At the heart of this question, I believe, is partly the human desire to understand. But also it can be seen as partly a desire for justification of all the injustice we see in our world.  God’s reply is swift and accurate, spoken by the owner of the field.

“An enemy did this,” he replied.

What God is doing here is not blame-shifting or passing the buck on the “weeds in his field”, the evils of the world.  God is rightly declaring the origin of the evil of this world to be a direct result of the hands of Satan at work.  The perpetuation of evil and wickedness throughout history is evidence of the continued schemes of the devil and the plan he has set in motion - to include countless human lives and souls, only to be counted and fully known at the day of harvest.

But the parable does not end here.  The owner of the field doesn’t throw up his hands and pack it in for the season, leaving his field and good seed to choke.  He doesn’t drag out the plow and till it all up - wheat, weeds, and what-not.  But the servants had a mind to ask the field owner’s permission to go weed-eating, to pull out the weeds mixed in and amongst the wheat.  We do much the same when our hearts long for a god who would rid this world of all ills and evils TODAY.  (Not tomorrow or in His time, but now.)  We do much the same when we cannot perceive of a world where a sovereign God can handle both the wheat and the weeds, weaving them into a perfect master plan.  We, like the servants, ask for a pulling of the weeds.

The field owner says, “No, not yet.”  God says to our question of injustice, of suffering, of His sovereignty, “No, not yet.”  God has a beautiful and glorious plan for the wheat He planted in His field.  Nothing can thwart that plan.  He is sovereign enough to handle the weeds, to redeem their existence.  For believers, everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.2  In fact, He is all-sovereign enough to handle both the wheat and the weeds existing and growing at the same time.

“No,” he answered, “because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest.  At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”

What this parable reveals to me about God is the depth and height of His beautiful sovereignty.  God isn’t bound or limited by the existence of evil “weeds” in the world.  And while he isn’t responsible for them, He is a God of redemption.  He is omnipotent and by His righteous right hand He will usher in a magnificent victory that preserves the wheat and punishes the weeds.  And what knowledge of self can I glean from this story?  May the vapor of my life produce wheat for the barnhouse of the Lord.

1 “Women of the Word”, by Jen Wilkins
2 “The Reason for God”, by Tim Keller

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Clarity and faithfulness

This man. I love him so.  He is a faithful father.  A minister of the gospel.  An amazing husband.  A world class soldier.  He is willing to go to the ends of the earth (and has!) to advance the Kingdom of God.  He has a call on his life to proclaim good news and eternal hope to all who will listen.


Last Sunday he had the privilege to preach yet again at our chapel.  This is not a calling or opportunity he takes lightly.  He labors and prepares diligently.  I love his heart and rejoice in seeing his spiritual gift of prophecy (declaring right from wrong) in action.  After preaching his sermon twice (for both services) he had one question on his mind.  He asked me, "Was it clear?  Did I make it clear?"  Not sure what he was referencing, I asked him to clarify.  "The gospel. Did I make it clear enough?"  Such passion.  After all was said and done, the greatest desire of his heart was to make Christ known as clearly and practically as possible.  Thank you, Lord, for faithful men who will stand and declare truth, who bear well the burden of "did I make it clear?"

Thursday, February 9, 2017

NEW EARTH

Hi, I'm DJ, Jennifer's son. This is an essay that I wrote for school.  Enjoy! :-)


New Earth


One day, in the year 2999, the Boomer family decided to live on Mars. Earth was crowded with people and they wanted to have more space.  So they built a space ship/station. The SuperShipStation(S.S.S.) traveled ten times the speed of light! So they got in and … LIFT OFF!!!!


They arrived a day later and built a mansion, some helper-bots, a greenhouse, and some teleporters for going to Earth. The helper-bots built factories, air tubes, roads, and a Meteor Ray Shield (M.R.S.).

The town prospered and became known as Technoville. World President Fuji Corners sent Military Astronauts (M.A.) to keep it safe and to build Military Mar Bases (M.M.B.).

The town soon became a state, and, in the year 3016, it became “New Earth”. It will be there until the end of the world. 

Or will it?………………… KABOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

First Colorado Christmas

We wanted to share some of the sights and shenanigans of our Christmas season.  We have many traditions that we look forward to each year - some passed down from our childhoods and some newly minted.  This was our first Christmas without the blessing of extended family visiting or us traveling to them.  I thought the house was a little too quiet!  But the calm and staying local allowed us to more easily focus in on the truly important this holiday season - Christ's wondrous gift to all, the blessing of family, and peaceful rest.  Hubby was VERY ill the week before Christmas, so that put a bit of a damper on our plans for holiday outings.  But Colorado did not disappoint and there was a chill in the air and snow on the ground for the week leading up to Christmas and even beyond.  We enjoyed the warmth and glow of our family room fireplace and made and ate FAR too many sweets.  We are looking forward to our flight to see some of our beloved family for a belated Christmas in January!
We have a tall and stocky fir tree in our backyard.  And with its branches glowing from snow lit by lights, it was the perfect Christmas sight!
Caught this beautiful sight just after sunset.




One of our beloved traditions - working together to build a gingerbread house.  This one was top notch!
Christmas makes us crazy!
This year's ornaments - a mini beanie boo and a Steve from Minecraft
Hard to see, but this is one of the many gifts they were blessed to receive.  Legos!
A gift from brother :-)
His favorite gift - a de-cellularized phone.  A glorified iTouch, as hubby calls it.
It was a Shopkin Christmas!
Another favorite - Calico Critters ballet theater
A gift from sister (he was doing an air fist-pump!)
Merry Christmas to me!  Get in shape, girl!
Captain America for our Chaplain America
Colorado winter preparedness
Look who preached Christmas Day!




















































Merry Christmas, from our clan to you! (Photo by R. Ball)


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Homeschool life

Our kids are enjoying the blessing of being a part of a homeschool enrichment program here in Colorado.  It is funded and run through one of the local public school systems. (= FREE!) They go to "school" one day a week and get a bunch of fun and amazing stuff that we couldn't (wouldn't?) do at home.  They also get skilled instruction from very credible and capable teachers - my favorite part!  (Did I ever mention that I'm a nurse by trade - not an educator?!)  In early December the school hosted a winter showcase and parents were encouraged to attend.  Below are some sweet pictures of the great projects they created over the fall semester.

D and his buddy at winter band concert
Art class creations
Cafeteria buddies
Technology class
Social studies project
Art class...
...and more art.
Art is her favorite!
And, of course, a cat.
Technology class - movie making
Learning to log in

Sunday, December 18, 2016

THANKS-giving!

This year we stayed home for thanksgiving and Chaplain's parents came to our place!  We fixed a traditional turkey dinner and on Black Friday we went up on a mountain top instead of into a store.  A much better way to spend the day!  Below are pictures from our food feast and Pike's Peak.

Mom's famous cornbread dressing recipe












Nanny's sweet potato casserole recipe

My man, the meat carver

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving walk near our home


Tree full of turkeys (not partridges in a pear tree)