Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tender Mothers, Courageous Fighters

This from our friends, Becky and Vince Strawbridge who have 10 children and are the epitome of courageous believers:

Love Bavinck! {Herman Bavinck}  Have you read this from him?
"Children are the luxury of marital life, the treasure of the parents, the wealth of the family life. Their presence develops a great number of virtues in the parents, the father and mother–love,... devotion, and self-sacrifice, the care for the future, interest in the community, the art of education. Children check selfishness in parents, reconcile the contrasts, soften the differences, bring the hearts of the parents ever closer to each other, give them a common interest that lives outside themselves, and opens their eyes and hearts to their surroundings and posterity. They uphold to the parents, as if in mirrors, their own virtues and defects, force them to reconsider their lives, soften their criticisms, and teach them how difficult it is to rule a human being. Out of the family life there proceeds a reforming power toward the parents. Who recognizes in the sensible, industrious father of a family the boisterous youth of former days, and who ever suspected the lighthearted maid of being changed, through her first-born, into a mother who willingly makes supreme sacrifices with cheerful patience? Family life turns the selfish into servants, misers into heroes, coarse men into considerate fathers, and tender mothers into courageous fighters."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hearts of Wisdom Bible Study Week Two Guide

Heart of Wisdom Summer 2010

Week Two Study Guide Ephesians Four

Welcome! For those of us who are just being introduced to Inductive Bible Study, it can be overwhelming to keep up with or even understand the homework each week. Take heart! Inductive Bible Study is a wonderful, rewarding, and life-changing way to study the Bible, and it just takes time and practice. Each of us can master this skill -- it just takes small steps to lead up to walking as wise women in the Word.

Here are the small steps, broken down for you. Start with the first ones and as you become more comfortable, work your way up to completing more and more each week. Our goal is to be able to work through each of these steps as we study a passage of God’s Word, because then we will have a full and broad, yet deep and intimate understanding of it. DO NOT GIVE UP! What a great reward it will be to come to a commentary and read things that we have already discovered through the Holy Spirit’s work in our own study!

STEP 1 “The secret things belong to the Lord but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29

Now that we have an overview of the entire book of Ephesians, we will OBSERVE CHAPTER FOUR. READ THROUGH THE PASSAGE IN ITS ENTIRETY. Remember you are not behind, jump in where you are. Our plan is to be in God’s word every day for the rest of our lives on earth! It’s not a sprint, it’s a long distance race.


Find and mark all the places GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON, and GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT are mentioned in this chapter. You can mark your text however you like. I use a red colored pencil for God the Son, yellow for God the Father, and blue for God the Holy Spirit. As you mark these places, make a list of what you learn about the God-head from this passage. Try to use the actual words in Scripture for your list.


Begin to “OBSERVE THE TEXT” of chapter four by marking the 5 W’s and H

WHO -- make note of people who are mentioned in this passage

WHAT -- write what is happening in this passage in relation to the people

WHEN -- make note of time references

WHERE -- write the places that are mentioned

WHY -- write out the reason for the above W’s as mentioned in this passage

HOW -- make note of how what is happening takes place

This can be one of the most complicated and overwhelming parts of Inductive Bible Study if you don’t tackle this with the big picture in mind. The point of observing the text is to get a good general understanding of what is taking place.

There are two main ways to make notes -- in a graph form, or by making lists. We have included an Observation Worksheet form to fill in the boxes for each of these W’s and H where you can write as much or as little in the boxes as you like for each verse. Many people enjoy seeing their observations laid out in this way. For others, it is confusing and confining to fill in the boxes. You can also make observations in a list form on your own paper where you simply write a “Who” and then list what you learn in relation to that person from the passage, including the what, where, when, why, and how. You can also make separate lists for the “When” and “Where” observations. This might go along nicely with what you have already observed in list form about the God-head from the passage. Find what works for your own personal style of observing the text. Again, try to use phrases straight from Scripture to fill in the box or make a list. Don’t reword what God’s Word says.

PLEASE do not get caught up in trying to find and mark every W and H. Many passages do not make mention of a certain place or time. That’s okay, you won’t have anything to write for those. Don’t get confused as to whether a particular phrase of Scripture is a “Why” or a “How” or a “What”. The point is not to get your Observation Worksheet just perfect. The point is to understand what is being said and taking place in God’s Word. Do as much or as little as you need to gain this big picture understanding.

Next note COMPARISONS, CONTRASTS, and CONCLUSIONS in this chapter.

Also, if you have any questions about the text, write them down at the bottom of your Observation Worksheet.


Find KEY WORDS in the passage. These are words that are often repeated and are central to the understanding and application of the passage. Mark these key words in the text however you like, possibly with different symbols or colors. By finding and marking these key words, you are beginning to see what the author’s main point of the passage.


Try to SUMMARIZE THE PASSAGE by using 5-7 words from Scripture to convey the main point of what you have read. Keep in mind what you have already observed and the key words you have found. There is no right or wrong summary title for the passage, so no pressure here! Just see if you can concisely put in to words the main idea of this passage from what you have already observed.


Now that we have thoroughly observed the text and looked deeper at the key words, we are ready to start learning how to apply this to our lives. When you have a good grasp as to the meaning of the passage, begin to ask yourself “HOW SHOULD MY LIFE CHANGE AS A RESULT OF THIS STUDY?” Take the time to write out a paragraph or prayer putting in to words what the Holy Spirit is showing you. This is intensely personal and will differ for each of us. This last step takes us full-circle to where God can rightly deal with our hearts. We cannot come to His Word in a deep way like this and leave unchanged. How does God want to change you through His Word and His Spirit’s work in your heart?

4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 [There is] one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
8 Therefore it says, "When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men." 9 (Now this [expression,] "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
11 And He gave some [as] apostles, and some [as] prophets, and some [as] evangelists, and some [as] pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.
14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all [aspects] into Him, who is the head, [even] Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
17 This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,
22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in [the likeness of] God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one [of you,] with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
26 Be angry, and [yet] do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
28 Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have [something] to share with him who has need.
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such [a word] as is good for edification according to the need [of the moment,] that it may give grace to those who hear.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Why "Hearts of Wisdom"?

In the Spring, we studied the gospel of Luke as Pastor Erik preached through it. We worked together on s a topical study of Jesus' name for himself, Son of Man, looking at each passage in Luke in which the Lord refers to himself by this title. Most of the references are found in Luke: 6:5 the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. He is fully God. In 7:34 the Son of Man came eating and drinking. He is fully man. Luke 9:26 Jesus tells us,"Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when the Son of Man comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and the glory of the holy angels." He repeats this in his teaching on stewardship in Luke 12:8-10. "Everyone who confesses me before men, the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God." Jesus is teaching us about the stewardship which all men have before him, the stewardship of our lives. Erik spoke of the primary accountibility we have as stewards of our confession. The Greek word oikonimos translated "steward" means the manager of the house. Webster's definition? The conduct of careful and responsible management of that placed under the person's care."

God has placed into each of our lives areas of stewardship. We saw in Luke 12 that we are stewards of life itself, we are stewards of our confession, the words of our mouth. We are stewards of the treasure God has placed in our hands. We are accountible for our maturity as disciples and in that light, we are stewards of our time in light of the coming of the Son of Man.
In Luke 12:35-48, gives us a sterm admonition and then encouragement and blessing. "Who then is the faithful and wise steward whom the master will set over his household to give them their portion of food at the proper time?" Blessed is that servant whom when his master comes will find so doing."

Our desire for this 8 week time in the word of God is to learn how to be those faithful and wise stewards doing the will of the master until He comes. We will look tonight to Psalm 90 thought by many to be written by Moses. We will go back to Ephesians focusing on chapters 4 and 5 and examine our walk as disciples preparing for the Lord's return. We will examine what it means to be filled with the Spirit and the use of our gifts in ministry to the church looking at Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 14 - if we have time!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Facebook | Hearts of Wisdom Summer Bible Study

Facebook Hearts of Wisdom Summer Bible Study

Psalm 90: Song for the Seventy Year Old

This summer I will have my 67th birthday - 67th year to heaven as Dylan Thomas would have it.  The psalmist tells me I can expect maybe three more years to heaven... perhaps thirteen more?  or genetics give me reason to hope for fifteen - my mother died at eighty five. I was with my mother when she died - when her years came to an end with a final sigh, she was gone and she flew away. 
In light of this reality, to what does the psalmist point? The wrath of God!
Why consider then the power of God's anger and His wrath according to the fear of Him?  That we might learn to number our days for one purpose.  That we might obtain a heart of wisdom.  "Lord, let me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is!" (Psalm 39:4)

Psalm 90: Song for a Seventy Year Old

Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.
Thou turnest man back to the dust, and sayest, "Turn back, O children of men!"
For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
Thou dost sweep men away; they are like a dream, like grass which is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.  For we are consumed by thy anger; by thy wrath we are overwhelmed.
Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
For all our days pass away under thy wrath, our years come to an end like a sigh.
The years of our life are threescore and ten or even by reason of strength fourscore; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone and we fly away.
Who considers the power of thy anger and thy wrath according to the fear of Thee?
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on thy servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with thy steadfast love that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.  Make us glad as many days as we have seen evil.
Let thy work be manifest to thy servants and thy glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us and establish thou the work of our hands upon us, yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Be Strong and Quit Yourselves Like Men

This from my husband, Michael Albert Braun, in memory of his father:

Be strong, and quit yourselves like men...
lest ye become slaves ... quit yourselves
like men, and fight! - I Samuel 4:9
I was a war baby. The family joke ran no sooner was I born my than that my dad enlisted in the army and left home. Actually he did just that but you'd have had to known my father to realize it was not an attractive option for him. Born into severe poverty as the only child of a widowed mother in the depression, 'home' to dad for the first 18 years of his life was a one room apartment with a single pull down bed for himself and his mother to sleep on. He really never had a home until he married mom. Still, shortly after that, he gave up his home and family for nearly four years to fight in the jungles of the South Pacific.
His sacrifice was the defining moment of his life and of our relationship. I was three years old when this strange man with big arms and shoulders came into my life. He loved me and I loved him but, frankly, dad always scared me. I don't think he ever recovered from the events of World War 2 that left him with malaria, 3 purple hearts and the bronze star. He wouldn't talk a great deal about it though when he visited Florida for the first time in the 1970's he said the afternoon twilight made him very nervous. It was like the islands. The Japs always attacked at twilight. Nearly 40 years later he still had dreams about it.
It's fashionable today to call Dad's generation "The Greatest Generation". I wonder if our distant cousins, the Campbells of Pennsylvania who lost 10 sons in the Revolutionary war, would agree. Would Uncle Wash (short for George Washington Campbell), a union soldier severely wounded and consequently addicted to morphine to lessen his life long pain, agree with that? Probably not ... definitely not.
My father was a hero. Every American soldier is a hero. We say as much in our national anthem: Thus be it ever when free men shall stand between their loved homes and the war's desolation... Dad did not enjoy the war. He did not enjoy being in fear for his life day after day or seeing his friends die around him. But he did his duty, he fought for his family and country.
I suppose we should remember such sacrifices on this Memorial Day. But the words of President Lincoln counsel us to remember more than just the past. Of the fallen at Gettysburg Mr. Lincoln said though they had paid the last full measure of devotion it remained for us, the living, to consecrate and dedicate the present they bequeathed to us.
So much works against this resolve today. Cable TV regales us with documentaries and historical movies about the horrors of war. Martin Sheen, hardly a patriot, narrated a PBS special on World War II only to claim more than double the actual number of the Americans had died in that war. I heard a US senator announce on MSNBC that 100,000 marines died in Viet Nam. The actual count of the entire conflict was less than 50,000 and most of them were regular army troops. The real count of the casualties is awful enough. I have to ask myself what is going on. We are being bombarded by subtle propaganda from those who believe in peace at any price; that war is the ultimate obscenity. Their objective is a brave new world, a world that rejects war. "What if they gave a war," went the old slogan of the 60's, "and nobody came?" Well, "if" that were to happen ours would become a world that saw the end of freedom and hope. It would become a world run by evil men and populated by slaves.
I have 15 grandchildren, 10 of them fine young men. I have often wondered if any of them will have to follow in their grandfather's footsteps and defend our nation and our family. I have often wondered if any of them would be called upon to offer up that last full measure of devotion. I recoil at the thought and pray to God that it would never be. But we cannot ignore the world that lies before us... a world where Matthew Arnold said ignorant armies clash by night. But we are Christians, we walk in the light. We must always remember that death is not the greatest fear, that there are things worth fighting and even dying for. Many among us today would say that this is not so. I see their constant moaning over the fallen in war to be driven by an ulterior motive, by subtle cowardice and cynical self interest. There are things more noble than these, things for which to fight and perhaps to die. This is the lesson my father taught me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Word from Augustine

A perverse will produces lust
Lust indulged forms habit
Habit not resisted becomes necessity.