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"But God,..." Just a Reminder To Myself

    "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience---among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ----by grace you have been saved----and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."-Ephesians 2:1-10

By: John Newton

On man, in His own image made,
How much did God bestow!
The whole creation homage paid, 
And owned him lord below.

He dwelt in Eden's garden, stored 
With sweets for every sense;
And there, with is descending Lord,
He walked in confidence.

But, oh, by sin how quickly changed!
His honor forfeited,
His heart from God and truth estranged, 
His conscience filled with dread!

Now from his Maker's voice he flees,
Which was before his joy,
And thinks to hide, amid the trees, 
From an all-seeing eye.

Compelled to answer to his name,
With stubbornness and pride,
He cast on God Himself the blame,
Nor once for mercy cried.

But grace, unasked, his heart subdued,
And all his guilt forgave;
By faith the promised Seed he viewed,
And felt His pow'r to save.

Thus we ourselves would justify, 
Though we the law transgress;
Like him, unable to deny,
Unwilling to confess.

But when, by faith, the sinner sees
A pardon, bought with blood,
Then he forsakes his foolish pleas, 
And gladly turns to God.


We're Not All God's Children

"For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men
I should not be the servant of Christ."-Galatians 1:10.

I am not trying to be political, but this AP article caught my attention as a Christian. The title of the article is "Only Christians Are My Brothers and Sisters, Says Ala. Gov." 
The link to the full article is below this picture.

I have no idea which polical party Gov. Robert Bentley represents, nor do I know what his theology, doctrine or which denomination, if any, he belongs to. What I do know is that from statements that he made to a church crowd on his inaguration day Monday have upset and offended people across the nation. This is the statement in question:
                       "Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not      my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother," Bentley said Monday, his inauguration day, according to The Birmingham News.
The response from the Anti-defamation League was: 
                       "His comments are not only offensive, but also raise serious questions as to whether non-Christians can expect to receive equal treatment during his tenure as governor," said Bill Nigut, the ADL's regional director."
Wow. So we've went from being offended by the claims of Christ's exclusivity to saying because he's a Christian (who actually states his beliefs publicly), than he can't possibly treat others who aren't Christians with equal respect and even with love.
The sad thing, and again I know nothing about the man personally, is that it seems his motives are out of love for those who are lost in his state. He has since stated, thankfully not an apology, but that his intent was not to offend, and that he "wanted them to become his brothers and sisters" in Christ. 
The statement issued from his office was not an apology either. Saying:
                          "The governor clearly stated that he will be the governor of all Alabamians — Democrat, Republican and Independent, young, old, black and white, rich and poor. As stated in his (inaugural) address, Gov. Bentley believes his job is to make everyone's lives better,".
It sounds to me like he's concerned for the unsaved and wanted to let them know that we're not all God's children. That is a position reserved only for those who have been granted redemption through Jesus Christ's atoning death, being reconciled to God and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. (John 3:3 , John 14:6 , John 10:25-28 , Romans 8:14-17 , Romans 9:8 , Galatians 3:26-29 , Ephesians 1:5 , 1 John 3:10 , 1 John 5:2 )
The most vehement remarks came, not surprisingly, from the Ashfaq Taufique, the president of the Birmingham Islamic Society (you know the religion that is so peaceful and tolerant of others beliefs *insert sarcastic voice of your choosing here*). Their statement was: 
                             "Does it mean that those who according to him are not saved are less important than those who are saved?" Taufique said. "Does he want those of us who do not belong to the Christian faith to adopt his faith? That should be toned down. That's not what we need. If he means that, I hope he changes it. We don't want evangelical politicians. They can be whatever in their private life."
Thanks for the freedom, Mr. Taufique. It's okay for him to impose his beliefs. You know the belief that "We don't want evangelical politicians" and that Christians can be whatever they want to be in their private lives. And sadly, he's missed the point completely of Christianity. Christians don't stress the fact that apart from Christ people are eternally lost and bound for hell, because they think less of them, but because we want their eyes to be opened to the truth, and for them to be saved as well. 
                            "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."-Mark 16:15-16
Should a Christian make his beliefs so public when they are in a political office? The opponents are already shouting that Gov. Bentley has violated the First Amendment in proclaiming the exclusivity of his faith. The real question is, How can a Christian truly be a Christian and not live and proclaim their faith publicly? Where does our allegiance lie? With men or with God?
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me."-Matthew 10:32-40.

The Bible is true, so a Christian has no choice but to claim the exclusivity of Jesus Christ being the only way to salvation. We shouldn't be surprised as Jesus said they would hate us ("If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you."-John 15:18), and the preaching of the cross is offensive and a "stumblingblock"("But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."-1 Corinthians 1:23-25) to the world and seen as foolish("For the preaching of the cross is to them that perishfoolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."-1 Corinthians 1:18).
We need not be shocked or discouraged, but it is one more sign of how we may very soon face persecution as Christians in this country. We're already being told we should keep our "religion" to ourselves and that to do otherwise is intolerant and even hateful. Now we are being told that it makes us unfit for public office and it could be soon that we would be seen as unfit for any job. And yet, we know that God has already been victorious over this world, sin, death, and Satan through Jesus Christ, and that we have overcome the world as believers in Him (John 16:33 , 1 John 4:4 ). May we stand strong and uncompromising regardless of comfort or even safety as God's grace allows so we may be to the praise of the glory of that grace given through Jesus Christ alone, the One True Living God.

Orissa 11
Stack of burned Bibles in Orissa State, India.

"Thou shalt have none other gods before me. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments." - Dueteronomy 5:7-10.


Third Trimester and I am So Lazy!

I know, I know, I'm pregnant, so I should have an excuse, right? But do I really have any excuse ever to be so selfish?  After all, I feel pretty good. I get worn out a little faster, and I get short of breath (but I have asthma, so that happens whether I'm pregnant or not), but I have had minimal swelling, a little back pain, slight heartburn at night, and I'm not working full time this time. I just realized that this has actually been a much easier pregnancy than before. So, why am I finding it even harder to focus? Why can't I keep motivated to do anything, including the things that need to be done? Am I just rationalizing and using this pregnancy as an excuse to not do things I don't like doing anyway? 
For example, our homeschooling has totally become lax and without real structure. But, that's been something easy to put off. It wouldn't be physically taxing or extremely stressful, and yet I'm having trouble writing lesson plans and implementing ones I've already planned. (This is shameful, but I haven't even put up our January counting calendar yet, and it's almost February!)
Actually an emptier sink, than at present in my kitchen.
I've never liked doing dishes, especially those that have to be washed by hand, and now our sink seems continually full. I know, it's crazy, because I have a dishwahser. 
Laundry stays piled and unfolded much longer than I care to admit.
I don't go to the grocery store until we are practically out of or even completely out of basics like bread and milk. I mostly dread having to carry the bags up the stairs by myself, as there is no way to get into my house without climbing a bunch of stairs somewhere.
These are my real slippers and nightgown.
I won't tell you what time of day this was taken ;)
Both my daughter and I spend way too much time in pajamas. (I hate to confess it, but many times we go get dressed quickly only when I look at the clock and realize my husband will be home any minute!)
Things that used to get cleaned on a regular basis aren't cleaned quite so regularly any more. Let's just say unless we're having company over, many things go longer than I would like. 
I can look at all of these things and know and even want for them to be done, and yet I don't want it enough most of the time to just do it! 
This reminds me of the sinful nature in us all. We are in bondage to our lusts, our flesh, our own selfishness. We might even regret what we do and wish things were different, but we can't stop. and the Bible makes it clear why we can't stop. We are spiritually dead, unable to do anything, just as a corpse can't get out of a coffin, but is bound to be buried in it. 
Just as when Lazarus had been dead in the tomb for four days, and only Christ could raise him to life again, we cannot be raised to new life or to freedom from death apart from Christ. We are dead and can't do anything to get out of it. We are simply buried in sin and self awaiting the blessed words from Christ saying, "come forth."(John 11:38-44)
And still we have the markings of one raised from the dead. We still have the markings of one who was dead. When Lazarus came out of the tomb he was "bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin"(John 11:44). It's easy to stay there to look down at the death clothes and despair of life as we look like one dead, to look only back at our sins and the past in sorrow. 

The tomb of Lazarus at Bethany
Yet Jesus didn't leave Lazarus there. His very next words were, "Loose him, and let him go." (John 11:44). 
God doesn't leave us there in the death clothes or in the coffin. He calls us out and in spite of the fact that we look and smell like the grave, He bids us to not live as though we are still dead. 
I've been reading through Ephesians daily this month in an effort to become more familiar with this book, and have been struck by the passage in Ch.2:1-9 "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body  and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But  God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
These things were of my past, and yet I can still taste them, still partake of them. The most wonderful truth is to know that I had nothing to do with my own salvation in and of my own power, because I was dead. I couldn't have made the right choice if I wanted to, again, I was dead in sin. And yet God out of love raised us from the dead to show His grace and kindness to me through Christ Jesus. It was a gift, and I could no more control His giving me this gift than I could control anyone giving me a gift. I can't boast in what I have done or am doing or despair of what I have done or am doing. All of my hope, all chance of salvation, and all power to be raised from the dead unto eternal life, rests entirely upon God's love and mercy and the sacrifice and atoning death of Jesus Christ when He took my place by bearing the wrath of God meant for me at the cross of Calvary. 
So, even as I despair or become convicted over my still present flesh-pleasing tendencies, my longing to justify selfishness with anything I can( *sigh* even the excuse of being pregnant), the hope lies in knowing that we are no longer dead, and we have been justified and our sins pardoned through Christ reconciling us to God. 
I cannot change what I have done or not done, but I can go on from this moment, by God's grace, to live as one alive and unbound leaving all of the clothes and signs of death behind.


He Took His Place

If you haven't heard this story, I encourage you to read it, but be ready with the tissues. I was definitely crying by the end. I have three brothers, and couldn't help but think of them when I read it. :,(

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."-John 15:13


"O Wisdom, Where Art Thou?": Seeking Knowledge in a Culture Without It

For some time now I have known that I was different. I have always been the kind of person who enjoys learning period, and since God regenerated me through Christ's atoning death granting me the graces of repentance and saving faith in Him, I have been endeavoring to know more about Him and His Word (not that I have been so faithful in it, but do have the desire to be so). So, I started out reading the Scriptures and wanting to know all I could from them. I wasn't involved in a youth program at a church, nor did I have someone in particular descipling me (not that that would've been wrong, I just didn't have that). So, I did what I could. I often asked my parents about things I had read, and even more so as I went to college, I simply went back to the Bible to see if what I had seen, heard, or read elsewhere was true.

Maybe it's our culture. After all, if you've ever been the kid in class that finished your work first and brought home all A's, then you know it wasn't exactly revered. We're encouraged to go to school, only that we may learn the least amount necessary to get out of school eventually and make lots of money. For most people our learning ends when we receive our diploma. And sadly we are a culture that advocates that and says now go to work so you can come home and enjoy the money you've made, because learning couldn't be enjoyable.

My family was very different in this area especially. I had one grandmother who finished high school, but only because her father was well off. Her husband (my maternal grandfather) never really went to school, only going a few days when he was 5 or 6. My paternal grandmother went to the 5th grade and my paternal grandfather went through the third grade. However, both my parents have college degrees, and my grandparents were very encouraging of both them and us learning as much as we could about everything. Why? I think partly because they had so little education. Both my grandfathers in particular spent their lives learning as many skills as they could to better provide for their families.

The biggest concern I have isn't with our culture of ignorance, that is ignorance in simply worldly matters, but with the body of Christ, His church. Why is it that it is so acceptable to profess to be a Christian and yet have no knowledge of the Bible (even basic) and worse no desire for that knowledge? I remember being in a young adult Bible study once where a young man said, "I don't need to read my Bible. Me and God are good." And yet all sat silent, including myself and the teachers! No disagreement was made with him.

We are told to not to love the things of the world (1 John 2:15), so why are we loving this idleness in the pursuit of knowledge, most especially in the pursuit of knowledge of God in the Bible?

God certainly hasn't been idle in promoting wisdom in Holy Scripture. Over and over we are told here is where real wisdom is. The whole book of Proverbs is dedicated to it and Ecclesiastes was written by the wise Solomon going through all the human wisdom available only to come to this conclusion, "The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil."-Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

This is the truly sad part. In not seeking the wisdom of God by reading and studying His Word, are we not only keeping ourselves from this blessed knowledge of the gospel, but also our children and those around us who are lost?

Knowledge of the Word of God is not simply for clergy, pastors, elders, and Sunday school teachers. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." That means EVERY verse, not just the ones we like to pull out of context and "claim" for ourselves.  And the danger is just what God said, we won't be "competent" for "good work".

Your boss or teachers aren't satisfied with work below "competent", and most of us who like being able to have a home and food know enough to be competent in our work, so that we can continue to work there. God is saying that without knowledge of the Scriptures, all of them, we aren't even competent. We are useless without this knowledge.

So, in this new year, let's pick up our Bibles, turn off the T.V. and *gulp* computers, and simply read God's Word, not to earn His favor or to check off the "to-do"list, but because we want to know this Savior.

After all, Christ is what makes heaven and redemption not only possible, but glorious. The pleasures of going to heaven are not to avoid hell, see Grandma, or even to live forever. The pleasures of eternity in heaven are in being the very presence of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, who gave His own blood and sacrificed Himself for our behalf. The enjoyment of Him is our supreme hope and goal as Christians, but we cannot know Him apart from reading His Word, which is the most definitive description of His character and nature available to us.
I like to ask people that if they wanted to really know who I am, would it be better to read an account written by total strangers or worse by people who don't like me, or would it be better to spend time with me, ask me and read an account I have written? It's the same with God. Let us stop searching for Him and knowledge of Him everywhere else, but instead seek to really get to know Him as He is and as He has so perfectly revealed Himself to be in Scripture, because the Bible is sufficient.

And yes, you may get bored with me here, but this could easily lead to more posting on this topic ;)


No, I'm still here :)

I realize that in the world of blogging to not blog in about a month is an eternity, but please bear with me (please). It's not been the rush of Christmas or pregnancy that has kept me from it, but rather an intentional fast from it as I have been examining my reasons for blogging, and trying to determine whether I am simply doing this for my own pride and vanity or whether it has been for the furtherance of God's glory. It hasn't hurt that in this same time period, my husband has had a mysterious ailment for which we are still testing and will be seeing a specialist for, my father was told he had cancer, but after further testing that there was no sign of the disease (Praise GOD!!!) and he was recently hospitalized for heart problems (he's home now, again Praise God!).
I am now realizing that God knows me better than I pretend to know myself. (Duh.) He knew that if He didn't create reasons for me to not blog for a while that I might be drawn into doing it anyway. So, after a spell, here I am again.
I am hoping that this will give God glory as never before as I seek to be fully satisfied in Him. I'm not trying to offend, but will endeavor from now on to seek only His approval in what I write. (Yes, that means you may be offended and disagree with me, but I feel as though I must do this.)
So, Crumbs Under My Table may look and read a little differently now, but I hope it will be for the edification of myself and others, and that most of all God, my Savior, Jesus Christ being glorified in it will be the ultimate and supreme purpose for my writing.
I am sure there will still be silly mommy stuff, too, and boring me, and I will never be able to be one of those daily blogging people (How do you do it?!?), but will try to be somewhat consistent. (I am 32 wks pregnant though, so I'm making no promises there when I have a newborn).

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."-Ephesians 3:20-21