Training in Righteousness
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Thursday
Mar052015

Thankful Thursday

On March 5, there is one thing which I am immediately thankful for: my husband. It's his birthday today, and I am reminded about all the things for which I am thankful...

... that he is kind and gracious toward others.

... that he is calm and easy-going.

... that he tries hard to help when I'm having struggles.

... that he is a loving father.

... that he is not a complainer.

... that he is a hard worker.

... that my theological nerdiness is something which appeals to him.

... that he is not one to draw attention to himself.

... that he has a dry sense of humour.

Of course, the list could go on. I'm thankful for my beloved. Even though there are many ways in which we approach matters from divergent paths, we end up at the same place, trusting the Lord, and wanting to live for Him.

Tuesday
Mar032015

Status Report - March

Sitting: at my desk, watching the snow come down. Later it will be ice pellets, and later still, freezing rain.

Finished: my time at the young moms' bible study for today, and have an afternoon of staying in where it's warm.

Planning: to listen to some sessions from The Shepherd's Conference.

Thankful: for my family doctor. I will be sad to see him retire.

Waiting: for a variety of things. I'm not good at waiting.

Starting: to look at the course requirements for my seminary class, which begins March 19. There are pre-class assignments that I need to finish.

Reading: The Works of William Perkins, Vol. 1. I'm taking a couple weeks from Charnock to have a look at this book.

Hurrying: to finish knitting a vest for my husband. Listening to the Shepherd's Conference will be a good thing to do while knitting this afternoon.

Anticipating: some warmer days to go out picture taking.

Praying: for God to bolster my faith, which can be so weak at times.

Monday
Mar022015

Spiritual pride in rejecting social media

Last Tuesday, I taught the young moms' bible study. We looked at how to handle stress by examining Psalm 143, and then discussing things that contribute to creating stress in the first place. The topic of Facebook and social media came up.

I brought up I Thessalonians 4:9-11, as a reminder that not being focused on our own vocations, and being too preoccupied with the vocations of others is a poor waste of time, and can, indeed, create stress that is not needed. I reminded them that there is stress which we can't avoid, but stress which we can. Facebook is one of those things that can interrupt living quietly. Note I said "one." It's not the only thing.

Some people may need to de-active their accounts, and if they feel it's a good thing, then I say do it. What I have found curious on occasion are the voices that announce with great fanfare that they're leaving Facebook and social media because it's evil. Suddenly, it becomes a moral issue. There can be a risk of pride in making that decision. A while ago, I wrote a post about the tyranny of the recovered which is related to this notion.

Often, this rejection of social media is accompanied by nostalgic references to the halcyon days when there was none. I lived in those days as a young mother when there was no Facebook or Twitter. But you know what? There was the telephone; the television, books, hobbies, jobs, and coffee gatherings. Those could generate just as much distraction as any social media account. We had our ways of wasting time or getting involved in drama that was not ours.

I had a friend who would call, and when she did, I knew it would be at least 35 minutes before I got off the phone with her. She was also a homeschool mom, so when she called at 10:30, I was always a little surprised. One morning, I made the mistake of answering it. My kids knew when I said who it was, that the fun was to begin. They ended up frittering their time, and leaving the school room because I couldn't seem to get this woman off the phone. My kids reminisce that they knew that when this friend called, school was done for the day.  How's that for a waste of time? How's that for not living a quiet life? Shame on me.

Distractions surround us. And maybe your distraction is social media. And maybe you feel a certain spiritual pride when you forego it, and say, "Oh, I haven't been online in days," as you quietly pat your back. If you are able to find victory, good for you. But let's remember that the problem with social media is not in the technology per se. The problems are with the users. Just because we forsake social media, or spend little time on it doesn't make us better than someone else. If we're going to spend less time on social media, fine, but don't make a public service announcement about it. Just do it, and let others make their own decisions about its use.

I'm always a little amused at some well-known writers who proudly share their lack of Twitter accounts or Facebook accounts, while at the same time speaking frequently in a number of public venues. They're human beings; they are sinners. And I've seen them say stupid things without having a social media account. They just say them in another venue. A lack of Twitter or Facebook doesn't eliminate the possibility of spiritual pride or just using speech badlly.

We're all prone to taking pride in the things we forsake. I don't have a lot of use for popular culture, and I pay little attention to it other than the scan of a headline. I don't care who won a Grammy or an Oscar. I don't look for ways to sanctify the latest country music lyric and put it into a blog post. But that's me.  When others do so, I should not wag my finger at them, challenge them, or criticize them.

And now, I'm off to check my Facebook page.

Sunday
Mar012015

Jehovah our righteousness

From the Olney Hymns
Hymn 67
William Cowper

My God! how perfect are thy ways!
But mine polluted are;
Sin twines itself about my praise,
And slides into my prayer.

When I would speak what thou hast done
To save me from my sin;
I cannot make thy mercies known
But self–applause creeps in.

Divine desire, that holy flame
Thy grace creates in me;
Alas! impatience is its name,
When it returns to thee.

This heart, a fountain of vile thoughts,
How does it overflow?
While self upon the surface floats
Still bubbling from below.

Let others in the gaudy dress
Of fancied merit shine;
The LORD shall be my righteousness
The LORD for ever mine. 

Thursday
Feb262015

Thankful Thursday

You know spring is coming when it's still light at dinner time.

I'm thankful for longer daylight hours, and sunny days when it's cold.

I'm thankful for praying friends.

I'm thankful for the Psalms.

I'm thankful an understanding husband.

I'm thankful for old pictures. I've been sorting through some old ones, scanning them, and sending them to my kids. I think they have enjoyed them, too.

I'm thankful that when we call out to God, he answers us.