Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grace Gems: When we complain about the weather!

And now returning to our regular broadcast! A Grace Gem! ok so while I abandoned the blog for months I also abandoned my regular Grace Gem posting and reading...but now I'm back! With a great one if I may say so. So often do we complain about the weather and yet we forget that our Lord is sovereign even over the weather, so next time you complain about how hot it is or how cold it is, or how rainy, etc, think of this grace gem.

When we complain about the weather!

(Arthur Pink, "The Sovereignty of God

"He spreads snow like wool;
He scatters frost like ashes;
He throws His hailstones like crumbs.
Who can withstand His cold?
He unleashes His winds, and the waters flow."
Psalm 147:15-18

What a declaration is this! The changes of the elements are beneath God's sovereign control. It is God who withholds the rain--and it is God who gives the rain . . .
when He wills,
where He wills,
as He wills, and
on whom He wills!

"I also withheld the rain from you while there were still three months until harvest. I sent rain on one city--but no rain on another. One field received rain--while a field with no rain withered. I struck you with blight and mildew; the locust devoured your many gardens and vineyards, your fig trees and olive trees! I sent plagues like those of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword . . . says the Lord." Amos 4:7-10

"The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen. He loads the clouds with moisture; He scatters His lightning through them. At His direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever He commands them. He brings the clouds to punish men--or to water His earth and show His love." Job 37:10-13

Truly, then, God governs the elements!

Earth and wind,
fire and rain,
hail and snow,
stormy winds and angry seas
--all obey His omnipotent word--and fulfill His sovereign pleasure! Therefore, when we complain about the weather, we are, in reality, murmuring against God!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Madonna syndrome: I should have ditched feminism for love, children and baking

Someone posted this article on Facebook and I thought it worthwhile sharing. It reminded me of Romans 1, and how God has written certain things in our hearts, and I think Biblical Womanhood is one of them, but we suppress these truths in unrighteousness by following ways that seem right to us but ultimately lead to destruction. Without further adieu:

Madonna syndrome: I should have ditched feminism for love, children and baking
by Zoe Lewis
( http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/article5662099.ece)

I never thought I would be saying this, but being a free woman isn't all it's cracked up to be. Is that the rustle of taffeta I hear as the suffragettes turn in their graves? Possibly. My mother was a hippy who kept a pile of (dusty) books by Germaine Greer and Erica Jong by her bed (like every good feminist, she didn't see why she should do all the cleaning). She imbued me with the great values of choice, equality and sexual liberation. I fought with my older brother and won; at university I beat the rugby lads at drinking games. I was not to be messed with.

Now, nearly 37, those same values leave me feeling cold. I want love and children but they are nowhere to be seen. I feel like a UN inspector sent in to Iraq only to find that there never were any weapons of mass destruction. I was led to believe that women could “have it all” and, more to the point, that we wanted it all. To that end I have spent 20 years ruthlessly pursuing my dreams - to be a successful playwright. I have sacrificed all my womanly duties and laid it all at the altar of a career. And was it worth it? The answer has to be a resounding no.

Ten years ago The Times ran a piece about my play Paradise Syndrome. It was based on my girlfriends in the music business. All we did was party, work and drink. The play sold out and I thought: “This is it! I'm going to have it all: success, power and men are going to adore me for it.” In reality it was the beginning of years of hard slog, rejection letters and living on the breadline. A decade on, I have written the follow-up play Touched for the Very First Time in which Lesley, played by Sadie Frost, is an ordinary 14-year-old from Manchester who falls in love with Madonna in 1984 after hearing the song Like a Virgin. She religiously follows her icon through the years, as Madonna sells her the ultimate dream: “You can do anything - be anything - go girl.” Lesley discovers, along with Madonna, that trying to “have it all” is a huge gamble. I wrote the play because so many of my girlfriends were inspired by this bullish woman who allowed us to be strong and sexy. I still love her and always will, but she has encouraged us to chase a fantasy and it's a huge disappointment.

I may be an extreme case. My views may not represent those of other women of my generation. Perhaps I am just a spoilt middle-class girl who had a career and who has now changed her mind? I don't think so. This month the General Household Survey found that the number of unmarried women under 50 has more than doubled over the past 30 years. And by the age of 30, one in five of these “freemales”, who have chosen independence over husband and family, has gone through a broken cohabitation.

I argue that women's libbers of the Sixties and Seventies put careerism at the forefront, trampling the traditional role of women underneath their Doc Martens. I wish a more balanced view of womanhood had been available to me. I wish that being a housewife or a mother wasn't such a toxic idea to middle-class liberals of yesteryear.

Increasing numbers of my feminist friends are giving up their careers for love and children and baking. I wish I'd had kids ten years ago, when time was on my side, but the problem is not so much time as mentality. I made a conscious decision not to have serious relationships because I thought I had all the time in the world. Many of my friends did the same. It's about understanding what is important in life, and from what I see and feel, loving relationships and children bring more happiness than work ever can.

Natasha Hidvegi, 37, has left her job as a surgeon to look after her son. “I found it impossible to be a good surgeon and a good mother. Though it was a horrendous decision, I don't regret it.”

I thought that men would love independent, strong women, but (in general) they don't appear to. Men are programmed to like their women soft and feminine. It's not their fault - it's in the genes. Holly Kendrick, 34, who holds a high-status job in the theatre, agrees: “Men tend to be freaked out if you work as hard as them.” This is why many of my girlfriends are still alone. The truth, though, is not that men haven't accepted women's modernity - the alpha woman who never questions her entitlement to the same jobs, fun and sexual gratification as them - but that women haven't either. I feel a great pressure from other women of my generation, who have partners and kids, to join their club. In their eyes I am not the trailblazer but the failure. My friend Rita Arnold, 36, works in marketing. “It's not men who judge me for being a careerist. It's other women. The claws come out.”

This leaves me sick to the stomach. We are letting each other down but there is a worse betrayal than that. I am a failure in my own eyes. Somewhere inside lurks a woman I cannot control and she is in the kitchen with a baby on her hip and dough in her hand, staring me down. She is saying: “This is happiness, this is what it's all about.” It's an instinct that makes me a woman, an instinct that I can't ignore even if I wanted to.

Felicity Wren, 36, is an actress who has yet to find Mr Right. “I feel the pressure, but only from myself, about how I do not have a conventional life. Most people don't care.”

Had I this understanding of my psyche ten years ago I would have demoted my writing (and hedonism) and pursued a relationship with vigour. There were plenty of men and even a marriage offer, but I wouldn't give up my dreams.

I talked to the girls who were the subject of my play Paradise Syndrome in 1999. Sas Taylor, 38, single and childless, runs her own PR company: “In my twenties I felt I was invincible,” she says. “Now I wish I had done it all differently. I seem to scare men off because I am so capable. I have business success but it doesn't make you happy.” Nicki P, 35 and single, works in the music industry and adds: “It was all a game back then. Now I am panicking. No one told me that having fun is not as fun as I thought.”

As I write this I feel sad, as if the feminist principles that my mother brought me up on are being trashed. Am I betraying womanhood? No, I am revealing a shameful truth. Women are often the worst enemies of feminism because of our genetic make-up. We have only a finite time to be mothers and when that clock starts ticking we abandon our strength and jump into bed with whoever is left, forgetting talk of deadlines and PowerPoint presentations in favour of Mamas & Papas buggies and ovulation diaries. Not all women want children but I challenge any woman to say she doesn't want loving relationships. I wish I'd had the advice that I am giving to my 21-year-old sister: if you find a great guy, don't be afraid to settle down and have kids because there isn't anything to miss out on that you can't do later (apart from having kids).

In the future I hope that there can be a better understanding of women by women. The past 25 years have been confusing and I feel that I've been caught in the crossfire. As women we should accept each other rather than just appreciating “success”. I have always felt a huge pressure to be successful to show men that I am their equal. What a waste of time. Wife and mother should be given parity with the careerist role in the minds of feminists.

My mother had children early and has brilliantly juggled a career as a filmmaker and parent. She was part of the generation that overlapped, that had feminist values but had children early. She hasn't had the job opportunities of my generation, she had to make sacrifices and take lesser jobs to be at parents' evenings. Choice and careers are vital, of course, but they shouldn't be pursued relentlessly. I love being a writer and still have my dream but now I am facing facts. The thing that has made me feel best in life was being in love with my ex-boyfriend and the thing that makes me feel the most centred is being in the country with kids and dogs, and yes, maybe in the kitchen.

Touched for the Very First Time opened this week at Trafalgar Studios, London; www.touchedtheplay.com

Shai Linne on Biblical Womanhood: Working Out Your Salvation With Fear and Trembling

This is a song from Shai Linne's latest album Storiez, I just love it!



You running hard for the King?

I know that’s right!

Is Jesus your everything?

I know that’s right!

Did He really make all things new?

No doubt!

By His grace, whatcha gonna do?

Work it out!

Verse 1

She’s not your typical girl

Sixteen years old and she’s dead to the world

Faith by her lifestyle demonstrated

because the gospel penetrated and now she’s regenerated

Her Master is greater than fashions and flavors

She patterns her behavior after the Savior

Back in the days you would have seen her standing in the mirror

Yeah, her skin was clear, but her vanity was clearer

Now she’s in the Scriptures and wants to be like

Hannah and Sarah rather than Christina Aguilera

Wordly girls imitate Missy Elliot

But she wants to be like Elisabeth Eliot

Not flexing her body, see she dresses with modesty

She’s not perfect- she confesses sin honestly

Christ crucified! That’s her permanent shout

And by the grace of the Lord, she’s working it out


Verse 2

She’s not your normal wife

She’s twenty-four and Christ is the Lord of her life

Her walk is evidence that she trusts in God

And it feels so good to be justified

And no, she doesn’t have a Master’s in Divinity

But what she does have is a passion for the Trinity

When she recalls her previous prodigal seasons

And how at times she could be the loudest of heathens

She praises God for making this former feminist

submit to her husband for theological reasons

Worldly wives watch Oprah to learn to be a lady

But she’s reading the writings of Carolyn Mahaney

And she would never disrespect her husband in public

And if she does it, she repents- I love it!

Christ crucified! That’s her permanent shout

And by the grace of the Lord, she’s working it out


Verse 3

She’s not your usual mother

{ahem} years old and she’s true to the lover

of her soul, she beholds the cross where He copped it

Once was agnostic, now she’s adopted

Her passion grows greater as she beholds him

Job title: homemaker/ theologian

Early in her walk, she would fight against His will then

The Lord used her marriage and the Bible to reveal sin

Now she fights to kill sin and her greatest joy is

serving her husband as she’s discipling her children

While worldly mothers stress shopping for the new style

She’s pouring into younger women Titus 2 style

Teaching others how to rightly see brothers and be mothers

And most of all better Jesus lovers

Christ crucified! That’s her permanent shout

And by the grace of the Lord, she’s working it out


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Our Physical Health

Poor diet, lack of exercise, and unhealthy lifestyle choices are responsible for 65% of cancer deaths - American Cancer Society, 06

As a Christian and a Doctor, ahem (ok I'll stop :P) I feel I have to respond to things like these. Our days are counted right? we can't add a day to our lifetime nor an inch to our stature right? So why even worry about things like these? diet? exercise? unhealthy lifestyle choices? Wrong. While we shouldn't lose sleep over these things we should take care of the things God has entrusted us and one of those things is our body. Now I'm not saying that we should go to a gym and hire a personal trainer and have fit abs and whatnot. That is not what I'm saying. What I am saying is that we have to 1. obey our doctors when they tells us we need to lower our cholesterol intake (meaning all that greasy food that loves to stick to our arteries) 2. When they tell us to lower the amount of sweets we eat (all that goody and unhealthy sugary junk we love so much, oh the pancakes with extra syrup! sorry...personal favorite) or eat healthier carbs 3. When they tell us to do some sort of excercise at least an hour a day (remember lazyness is no good, from a Biblical perspective it can even be sinful. The exercise could be something as simple as a walk around the block/park, walking the neighbor's dog/cat/sugarglider/younameit)
So granted we can't add a day to those 10/40/60/90 days the Lord had planned for us to live but we can live out those days in a healthy way, it could even serve to help us practice self control, I know it has helped me. But remember two things:
1. Not to make an idol of your body.
2. What truly matters before the Lord is our spiritual health (meaning don't do one thing at the expense of another).

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Shai Linne: on Limited Atonement

Verse 1

Here’s a controversial subject that tends to divide
For years it’s had Christians lining up on both sides
By God’s grace, I’ll address this without pride
The question concerns those for whom Christ died
Was He trying to save everybody worldwide?
Was He trying to make the entire world His Bride?
Does man’s unbelief keep the Savior’s hands tied?
Biblically, each of these must be denied
It’s true, Jesus gave up His life for His Bride
But His Bride is the elect, to whom His death is applied
If on judgment day, you see that you can’t hide
And because of your sin, God’s wrath on you abides
And hell is the place you eternally reside
That means your wrath from God hasn’t been satisfied
But we believe His mission was accomplished when He died
But how the cross relates to those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried (8x)

Verse 2

Father, Son and Spirit: three and yet one
Working as a unit to get things done
Our salvation began in eternity past
God certainly has to bring all His purpose to pass
A triune, eternal bond no one could ever sever
When it comes to the church, peep how they work together
The Father foreknew first, the Son came to earth
To die- the Holy Spirit gives the new birth
The Father elects them, the Son pays their debt and protects them
The Spirit is the One who resurrects them
The Father chooses them, the Son gets bruised for them
The Spirit renews them and produces fruit in them
Everybody’s not elect, the Father decides
And it’s only the elect in whom the Spirit resides
The Father and the Spirit- completely unified
But when it comes to Christ and those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried (8x)

Verse 3

My third and final verse- here’s the situation
Just a couple more things for your consideration
If saving everybody was why Christ came in history
With so many in hell, we’d have to say He failed miserably
So many think He only came to make it possible
Let’s follow this solution to a conclusion that’s logical
What about those who were already in the grave?
The Old Testament wicked- condemned as depraved
Did He die for them? C’mon, behave
But worst of all, you’re saying the cross by itself doesn’t save
That we must do something to give the cross its power
That means, at the end of the day, the glory’s ours
That man-centered thinking is not recommended
The cross will save all for whom it was intended
Because for the elect, God’s wrath was satisfied
But still, when it comes to those in hell
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried (8x)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Eyes Opened

I know I've abandoned this blog, I've just been mentally and spiritually tired struggling over a few things. But reading John 1 today reminded me of two things:
1. Why I love the OT so much, yes even Numbers and Leviticus I just finished reading Leviticus for the third time.
2. How back in the olden days singing at church (RCC) a song that said "Cordero de Dios que quitas el pecado del mundo, ten piedad, ten piedad!" (Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy, hace mercy!) I never really knew what that phrase meant but I did like singing that song.
So as I read that verse "The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’" I remembered the first time I read that verse after having read the first five books of the OT and realizing that Christ was the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, that lamb I had read so much about in leviticus and what its purpose was, that lamb offered by God himself to take away MY sin! Wow! How mindblowing! humbling! convicting!
Isn't our Lord great!? Amazing love indeed.
And today as I re-read that verse I'm still awestruck at God's amazing love and grace that he would die to save sinners and sinners like me.
So take this moment to read John 1 and rejoice at God's grace, at his justice, at his love.