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Eowyn's Heart

The name of this blog is based on the character Eowyn from Lord of the Rings because I strongly identify with her on many levels. The purpose of this blog is to proclaim the glory of my Lord and King through His work in conforming me into the image of His Son, Christ Jesus. In all things, I trust you will see His hand at work.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Christmas - This one's for my family

I do have some more "spiritual" posts in process. If you don't know me well, this will seem like a pretty selfish post. Those who know me well will see that I am using this format only for practical purposes. Christmas is approaching and, though there is much to be said against the commercialism of it and the loss of the true meaning - that is not the purpose of this post. Since I am far apart from my family, I am going to use this particular space simply to communicate some needs that I have and some things that have caught my eye so that, come Christmas day, as the Lord provides, perhaps some of these needs/wants will be met. I believe this will help us all to be good stewards of the Lord's money :-)


Clothing - most everything I have is pretty aged and is starting to fall apart.

I could use a couple more pair of jeans (I really like the St. Johns Bay style at JC Penney) and I am pretty desperate for some slacks - I only have two pair and one of those is corduroy with a bleached out part across the tummy that I always have to hide when I wear them :-P.

I could also use some nice blouses - most of what I have is a little too casual for work - speaking of which, some work outfits would be really useful (though I'm not real big on jackets - I have tons but don't tend to wear them).

I don't need sweaters and I don't really need skirts unless they come as part of a suit. And I really don't need coats or jackets of any sort.

I could use a new set of drinking glasses and/or juice glasses. I just broke another one last week :-( so I'm down to 3 glass glasses that match :-P and 2 plastic ones.


Well, we all know the big one on this list ;-) So I won't mention that here as we all know that's up to God and not you or me :-)

Aside from that, here's some things that I would love to have in my home:

A guitar - I've had the urge to pick it up again :-)
Harry Potter and/or LOTR "Scene It" game :-)
Ivory wall stuffs - like candle holders or mirrors or other decoration.
Coffee Table (small but rectangular) - preferrably with drawers - storage is at a premium in my little studio apartment!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Colossians 1:13-20

The sermon in Sunday School was from Col. 1:15-18. What follows is not that sermon, but what struck me as I was reading the passage before class started. I always try to read the passage ahead so I have a general idea of where we'll be going in the lesson - sometimes something new will jump out at me - this is one of those times.

Since we've been going through the book of Colossians, I went back to verse 9 to get the context for the days lesson and because verse 9 starts with "For" - which always references the previous text as the foundation for what follows - I went back to skim the beginning. These are my thoughts from this reading:

After greeting the church, Paul expresses how grateful he is to hear that the Colossian church is growing in the knowledge of God and expressing that outwardly to fellow believers (Ch.1, vs. 3-8). Because of this (note the "For" that begins verse 9), he has not ceased praying for their continued spiritual growth and the outward expression of that growth in their daily lives - that they would walk worthy, be fruitful, increase in the knowledge of God, be strengthened so that they might be more patient & longsuffering with joy (note again the word "for" in verse 11), and that they might give thanks to the Father.

This signals a transition in Paul's focus - from what he prays for to WHO he prays to. He lets the Colossians know what kind of growth he prays they will experience, ending that list with giving thanks. Paul prays that the Colossians will give thanks to God, then goes on to expound on God. The word "Father" comes up and Paul is driven to go deeper.

As a side note - isn't it interesting how our conversations can start out with a phrase or two of praise and quickly turn to requests, needs, earthly things, and so forth. Though I haven't researched it, my bet is that much of the NT writings are like Paul's in this passage (even if not, it's still an interesting correlation) that start out with prayer requests and "friendly commentary" and turn naturally to extolling God and Christ. Paul cannot write without exalting Christ. My bet is he couldn't have a casual conversation without exalting Christ. I am convicted that if my focus were constantly on the pre-eminence of Christ, as it ought to be, that all my conversations would ultimately turn toward exalting Christ.

Beginning with verse 12, Paul takes an in-depth look at who this "Father" is. Following are the verses, followed by the thoughts that struck me:

12. giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
13. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
14. in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
16. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him.
17. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
18. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
19. For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
20. and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Why should the Colossians (and why should WE) give thanks to this Father? First, because He qualified us to join in receiving the inheritance that awaits "the saints in the light." That's a great phrase - saints in the light. It says volumes in so few words.

How did the Father qualify us? The second reason we should give thanks to the Father: He has delivered us. He took us out from under the power of darkness and put us under the power of "the Son of His love." Being a citizen of a kingdom makes you subject to the master of that kingdom. Being conveyed into the kingdom of Christ makes us His subjects. This gets into a whole other topic that I am preparing another post on - discussing the reality of the "death" of our sin "nature" - so I won't go into detail here except to say that this is only further evidence that sin has NO power over us. period. This verse is very clear - we have been delivered from the power of darkness and we are now under the authority and power of Christ.

As a subpoint to the deliverance we should be grateful for, is the redemption that brought about this deliverance, through the blood of Christ (v. 14). It is interesting to see the equality of redemption with the forgiveness of sin. One could say, "we have redemption (i.e. forgiveness of sin) . . ." I almost went back and re-wrote this paragraph because I'm uncomfortable with the use of the word "subpoint" in reference to redemption. But I can't. The grammatical outline of this text makes it a subpoint - even though it is key. Without redemption, there is no deliverance. The focus in this verse, however, is not on redemption - nor is it really even on deliverance - though those are essential elements. The focus in this verse begins on the word "He" then moves to "the Son of His love."

The Father begins as the focus of this passage as Paul takes us from giving thanks to the Father (v. 12), to a reason for that thanks - that He has (1)qualified us to partake in the inheritance, (2) He has delivered us from darkness, (3) He has conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love. He then shifts focus to the Son, the means of that deliverance and and conveyance. Ultimately, the means by which we are qualified to partake in the inheritance.

Verses 15-18 are pure exaltation of the person of Christ. Christ is the means and the purpose of creation. Had you ever seen that? I hadn't - all of creation happened FOR Christ - not just by Him, not just through Him, but FOR Him. That's a good one to meditate on. What does it mean that all of creation occured FOR Christ? As part of that creation, created FOR Christ, how should I then live? What purpose does that lend to my life??? Amazing purpose, amazing preciousness and uniqueness as well.

I don't really need to go into each and every verse, though I would encourage you to go back and read them through slowly. Pause at each comma, at each period and consider what that tells you about God, about Christ, about who you are/should be in response to that knowledge - for it is by the TRUE knowledge of God (Father, Son & Spirit) that we mature and develop the strength we need to live righteously unto him (see my post on the defintion of "I" for more on that idea).

I hope this little study has encouraged your heart and turned on a few lightbulbs for you as well. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it :-)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A definition of "I" - musings

I started this post over a month ago - looking into what makes up "I". This stems from the Paulline quandry of the Spirit vs the Flesh - Righteousness vs Sin. The key section of Scripture for this perusal is in Romans 7:14ff:

14. For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
15. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
16. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.
17. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
18. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
19. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
20. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
21. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
22. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,
23. but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
24. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

25. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
Gotta tell ya, this one's tough. Each time I think I've got it neatly figured out, some verse or idea comes to mind that throws a wrench in the works. The big question has to do with the flesh. I am not, nor will I ever be, Armenian in my theology - lets get that straight first. Now, the question comes as to the Flesh and sin. The verses above seems to indicate that sin dwells in the flesh - flesh in which we are confined.
Through other scriptures, this perception of self is upheld (as when Paul says "I buffet my body and make it my slave"). The flesh does not appear to be who we really are, but we are, nonetheless, responsible for the actions of the flesh.
Here are some quandries I face with this: v. 17 & 20 refer to "sin that dwells in me." This seems to correllate "me" (or "I") with the sinful flesh.
If sin is in the flesh - then what did Christ die to redeem? If it is not in the spirit, then the spirit had no need for redemption as it was not in sin. If it is in the flesh, what do we do with "Od things are passed away, behold all things have become new"?
These are not faith-breaking issues - they are just questions that, if answered, may help us better understand our relationship with God. For now, I view it thusly:
"I" am neither the flesh nor the mind, "I" am Spirit. Once "I" was dead, another "I" was alive and enslaved to sin - a willingk, even eager prisoner of the flesh that encases me. Then, God whispered my name and called the dead me to awaken (sort of like the Lazarus thing, only strictly in the spiritual sense). When I obeyed, the old me was killed. The new me - alive to righteousness - is imprisoned in, but not enslaved to this flesh, which is thoroughly infused with sin - so much so that, without sin, this flesh would not hold together (hence the new bodies in the rapture). The new me has as much, if not more, of a desire to do righteousness as the old, now dead me had to do evil.
Though imprisoned, I have been given the power to dominate my flesh and cause it to do righteousness (II Peter 1:3 "seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.).
**What follows just hit me as I was typing - this is new to me and really enlightening - dunno why I haven't seen it before!**
But note - that power comes "through the true knowledge of Him . . ." This is why prayer and study of the Scriptures is so essential. Without knowledge - TRUE knowledge of Him, we are too weak to master the flesh and its desires. The more true knowledge we have of our Lord, the stronger we are and the more able to "buffet my body and make it my slave" as Paul said. ** This is maturity **. Wow. Lightbulb just went on for me . . .
Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Catching up - again :-)

Well, it's been eons since I've posted - life has been wonderfully busy! Mostly with church stuff, which is a good kind of busy :-) Last month was extremely demanding with several Worship Team obligations (practices & leading worship for Sunday School and an additional event) and Bible Study, Game Nights, and a few other miscellaneous things. Just finding time to do laundry was a challenge :-P

One of the greatest things I got to do last month was hit Disneyland with some friends <>. (pictures will be posted, hopefully next week). One of my buddies, Mark, was a totally amazing guide. He really knew how to take advantage of the "fast pass" option. We got to go on every ride we were interested in - a couple of them twice!

The gang was kind enough to let me keep a family tradition (which was especially important to me as my family wasn't there) and hit StarTours first and last :-) It's still so cool . . . I just wish we'd actually GET to Endor one day! (derned pilot!) I think it would be totally fun to ride one of those speeders through the trees :-) . . . well, till the inevitable crash, that is.

The way-coolest new ride, in my humble opinion, is the Buzz Lightyear! We get to shoot the Evil Emperor Zurg and all his little minions!! Half-way through the game/ride I figured out we could turn our seats (a.k.a. "star cruisers") all the way around! It was SO Cool!!! First time out I racked up enough points to be a Pilot! (that's 3rd level out of 6 . . . or 7??). Second time out I had a chair to myself (they're made to seat two), so I grabbed the gun for the empty seat and competed against myself :-) I WON! and I lost :-( Either way, I still had a total blast! (pun intended).

We even went on autopia - which I'd never been on - at least not as an adult. We went on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (twice), Indiana Jones <> (twice), Splash Mountain, Matterhorn, Winnie-the-Pooh (major scrunchies in the tiny seats!), and even rode the carousel (woulda been romantic, but without a hunny, it was just fun ). I had a beautiful mare decorated with mauve and blue. Her wild mane and tail whipped up by the wind as we flew around the world (in my ever so healthy imagination anyway ).

Oh, and, yeah, we did go on Space Mountain. Still a cool ride, but not really spiffed up enough to justify 2 years out of service. Much darker - which was really cool. Couldn't see your hand in front of your face unless the stars were being projected on to them. Kinda made me afraid to put my hands up though . . . not knowing where the structures were :-)

Things are slowing down a bit for this month, which is good because I *need* to do my Christmas shopping!! . . . and next month is going to be packed. I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year - I get to be with family AND I get snow!!! :-)

I was hoping to do all my gifts on a cash basis, thanks to a generous bonus from my boss - but I'm not terribly great with saving extra cash so I'm gonna have to do some on credit.

Spiritually, I like to think I'm growing - - I hope so anyway. I've been attending Bible Study (which I didn't do last year), and the monthly women's ministry group out of my Sunday School class (which I also skipped out on most of last year). We're studying Thessalonians in Bible Study, Philemon in the women's ministry meeting (3 months/lessons on "How To Study Your Bible" with Philemon as the sample text), and Colossians - which is a great tie-in to Philemon - in Sunday School. Our Senior Pastor is taking us through a lengthy, meaty, and beautiful exegesis of Luke. Lots of good stuff to absorb.

I know I need to write out some of what I've been learning - that's next on the list of "things to spend time on the computer doing."

I'm also involved in some ministry work this year - Worship Team for my Sunday School class is the biggest one. I've also been asked to help keep up the website for our church AWANA program - I look forward to getting started on that as soon as they send me the administrative info I need to access the site :-) My brother has also asked me to help with the Youth portion of his church's website. Again, as soon as I get the details, I'm really looking forward to digging in :-) It's really great to be able to use the skills I've learned out in the secular world to help accomplish things for the church :-)

Well, that's it for tonight I think. Disney pics & some sermon summaries coming soon :-)