Sunday, November 30, 2008

NC pictures

Here are several things we noticed while at the beach house.


Ring-billed gulls

Thanksgiving trip

We spent our Thanksgiving week in Corolla, NC. I'd never been to NC before, let alone the Outbanks. We had a nice time with dh's family. We visited the beach several times, played games, and worked on a puzzle.


Here we are in Hawaii, November 2007...

...with this background. Temperature was around 80 degrees.

Here we are in North Carolina, November 2008...

...with this background. Temperature around 40 degrees.
No matter where we are it's just as sweet.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Today's treat

I'm still sick (missed a wedding yesterday and church today), but getting better. We've got a busy week ahead so I'm glad to be on the mend.

I was at the kitchen window and looked up to see her walking through the yard. The first picture looks like her tongue is sticking out, although it's hard to know if that's her tongue or something in the background.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Anniversary post

So last year we celebrated our anniversary in Hawaii. This year we celebrated in snowy Ohio by way of eating Bob Evans take-out because I was sick.

DH did surprise me with a new lap top. My current one has something wrong with it, we're not sure what, but it seems to have started after a power outage.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Anniversary Tribute

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful dear husband.

I'm so thankful that God put us together. It's through God's grace that we keep going with a great marriage.

Here's to my dh:

He's been gentle and kind, generous and loving. He's been a great provider and protector. He has patiently endured all my sinful attempts to be the leader.

He fixes all sorts of things from computers to toilets. : ) He keeps our house and yard in working order.

He prays for me and provides spiritual guidance.
He's been the best husband for me for the last 21 years!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Latest sewing project

I made a table runner for our Thanksgiving meal. It's just a small contribution, but I enjoyed putting it together. It was the first time I did mitered corners with binding. They're not perfect, but they'll pass.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We've got snow

Sadie likes to lay in the snow when she outside. I think she's supposed to be taking care of business, but she'd rather lounge.

My lovely aqua picnic tables are sitting pretty with a layer of snow frosting.
Just a year ago we were enjoying Hawaii. I think most of us would like to be there, but for now I'll delight in looking out my window at the wintry weather.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tomato Soup

Early in our marriage I used to make a yummy tomato soup. The recipe came from The American Country Inn and Bed & Breakfast Cookbook Vol. 2 by Kitty and Lucian Maynard.

Here are the ingredients for the Tomato Herb Soup:
1/2 c. olive oil, 3 c. celery, chopped, 2 c. onion, chopped, 1/2 c. flour, 1 46 oz. can V-8 juice, 2 qts. water, 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, 1 tbs chicken base, 2 tbs sugar, 1 tsp thyme, 2 bay leaves, 2 tbs parsley, 1 tbs basil, 1/2 tsp pepper and Parmesan cheese.

There are things in the original recipe that I don't eat, but I really wanted some soup like this, so I decided to try altering it. Here's the new recipe:

1/2 c. mix of olive oil, butter, and coconut oil
3 c. celery, chopped
2 c. onion, chopped
1 qt. homemade pasta sauce
1 qt. chicken broth
28 oz. can tomato puree
1/2 qt. water
1 tsp thyme, 2 tsp salt, 2 tbs parsley, 2 bay leaves, 1 tbs basil, 1/2 tsp pepper

Saute celery and onion in oil mixture until soft. Add remaining ingredients, stir well. Simmer 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Homemade Pasta Sauce
3 tbs olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 lbs tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbs fresh basil, chopped OR 2 tsp dried
Salt to taste (about 1 tsp)
2 med. garlic cloves, minced

Saute onion in oil until soft. Add tomatoes. Cook until juice in reduced to desired consistency. Stir in basil, salt and garlic.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another quilt give-away

These quilts are so fun. I hope I win! : ) Old Red Barn is giving away three this time.

Tithe Sermon pt. 15

3) As the tithe was abandoned, state taxes increased to the level of double or triple tithes to pay for the new social order. We pay 30-50% in income tax, property tax, social security tax, unemployment tax, medicare, state income tax, city income tax, sales tax, excise taxes, etc.

4) Charitable foundations, once an instrument of the Christian tithe, became humanistic social agencies with statist ideas. American Christians have been fools, denying God His due and allowing the state to take our tax money to set up non-Christian substitutes.

5) In the modern world, the operative god has become the state.

6) The result is injustice from progressive tax rates and taxing the producers to support the nonproducers. Christians have robbed God and are now, themselves being subject to theft by the state.

We will not turn back the messianic state through political action or elections. It will take the restoration of the tithe and God's social order.

America has the government it has, in large part, because American Christians have abandoned the tithe.

Dear Father,
Help us to examine ourselves. Is our first response to the 10% tribute You ask from us for the blessings You give us one of clutching our money to ourselves or one of open-handed celebration of Your gifts? Please reform our hearts. Create a stewardship ethic in us so that we may be involved in restoring the fabric of our society to Your jurisdiction and bring a blessing on our nation by attacking the foundations of the messianic state through faithful tithing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fall beauty

This tree really looks better in person; I like the few red leaves that are still left.
The next post will be the last in the sermon series.

Tithe Sermon pt. 14

3. The point is, if we all paid God's tax, the tithe, we could create God's government: churches, schools, hospitals, relief agencies for the poor, and more. We can provide for godly arts and we can create Christian arbitration courts, and so on. This was done once, and it can be done again.

a. According to Rushdooney - Example of Plymouth Massechusetts - early 1800's, 2000 to 40,000 met at the boat. There were English classes, work for the men, cooking classes for the women, schools for the children. All were involved in church.

b. Rushdooney, Institute - The modern social order strips virtually every area of life from God's jurisdiction, from God's ordained government and care. This happened through the neglect of the tithe.

1) Within a generation of the abolition of the legally required tithe in the U.S., the state-supported and controlled schools came into existence.

2) As revivalism and antinomianism led to the decline of the tithe (which was denounced as legalism or bondage to the law [aren't we quick to find excuses not to tithe?]), by the beginning of the 20th century welfare or poor relief came to be a state function.

[Antinomian: a person who maintains that Christians are freed from the moral law by virtue of grace as set forth in the gospel.]

Monday, November 10, 2008

AG Fall photo

Amy wanted me to post something other than the Sermon, so here are Josefina, Etta, Anna, and Emily. Amy took their picture this morning in the fall almost winter-like weather.

Tithe Sermon pt.13

H. What kind of blessing is involved in obedience to the tithing command or alternatively, what curse comes from not paying the tithe commanded by God?

1. With the widespread use of the "gospel of prosperity" by television evangelists and the like, many think God promise in Malachi is greater personal wealth. This is only indirectly so.

2. God's prophet Malachi was speaking for God to His people:

"You have robbed Me, even this whole nation."

"Return to Me and I will return to you."

"Try Me now in this if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room to receive it."

"I will rebuke the devourer for you sakes..."

"And all nations will call you blessed for you will be a delighted land."

a. It is a national blessing, not an individual blessing.

b. But isn't our nation doing just fine without the tithe?

Do you think we are blessed by the government that currently rules over us? By a government that views itself as our savior and the answer to all our problems?

Francis Schaeffer told R.C. Sproul our greatest problem is growing statism.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tithe Sermon pt. 12

G. To whom should the tithe be paid?

1. The tithe was brought to the central storehouses from where the Levites distributed to their various orders, and to the poor as prescribed.

2. Some say the local church is like the modern storehouse, and it should distribute to the ministries. The Old Testament storehouses would be more equivalent to denominational storehouses.

a. But the local church does have the primary responsibility for providing for the needs of the local saints.

b. R.C. Sproul - The lion's share of the tithe should go to the local church. A requirement of membership in a local church should be to support it with your tithe.

c. Other ministries doing God's work can also be legitmate recipients of the God's tithe.

1) Tithe recipients should themselves be tithers. Our elders have decided to use 10% of our church's tithe for missions.

2) Rushdooney Institute of Biblical Law: The tithe belongs to the Lord rather than just to His church, and it is legitmate to give it to other minstries especailly when the church or priesthood is apostate.

3) That is why religious orders arose in the middle ages to address education, health and welfare when existing orders failed to minister God's gifts properly.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tithe Sermon pt. 11

3. On gross or net income. It is because of our disobedience that we suffer under large taxes.

4. R.C. Sproul: The most common objection to the tithe he hears is "I can't afford to tithe." (Human nature makes us so quick to find excuses not to tithe. Idolatry of money.)

a. His reply "Let me translate. What you mean is that you can't live according to the lifestyle you're currently living and still tithe."
Importance of teaching tithing early - establishing the habit.

b. Sproul: It is a liberating thing to live within the guidelines God has given us. There is no better investment than the kingdom of God.

c. To withhold the tithe in any degree is to rob God.

1) And yet Christians generally give only 2.5 to 3% of their income to charity (vs. 2% for all Americans) per [Douglas] Wilson.

2) Only 4% of evangelical Christians identify themselves as tithers. Think of the magnitude, if the 70 million American Christians tithed there would be no hungry children in the world.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tithe Sermon pt. 10

F. How is the tithe computed?

1. The tithe is God's 10% tax on our imcrease or income. It is not a tax on wealth or property, but only on the income we receive from our labor and our accumulated capital.

2. The tithe is absolutely equitable - everyone pays exactly the same percent of their increase.

a. It's not a flat fee like a head tax or poll tax but a flat % - the more one receives as God's steward, the more that's entrusted to him, the more that person pays. Deuteronomy 16:17 says,
"Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you."

A progressive tax rate always turns taxation into a politcal football, victimizing one group for the benefit of another.

b. Under this standard, some celebrated philanthropists are actually paying too little.

1) The businessman who makes $10 million and is praised for giving $400,000 to his church and missions. (10% is 1,000,000.)

2) On the other hand there's the widow and her mite. She voluntarily gave more than the tithe; she put in all that she had.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tithe Sermon pt. 9

2. But some Christians use a principle that Old Testament commands apply only if reiterated in the New Testament. Tithing is reaffirmed in the New Testament by both Jesus and Paul.

a. Jesus affirmed the tithing obligation when He chastised the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Phairsees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices, mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law: justice, mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done without leaving the others undone."

b. Paul affirms that New Testament evangelists and preachers like Old Testament priests should be supported by the tithe. I Corinthians 9:13,14:

"Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tithe Sermon pt. 8

D. Any discussion of the tithe raises a number of questions; I'd like to address four of them.

1. Does the tithe command in the Old Testament really carry over to the New Testament?
2. How is the tithe computed?
3. To whom should the tithe be given?
4. What kind of blessing or curse is involved in obedience or disobedience to God's tithe command?

E. Does the tithe command continue under the New Testament?

1. Our general principle is that God does not change, that His Old Testament commands continue to apply unless abroagated in the New Testament. e.g. circumcision and dietary laws were done away with in Christ.

a. The fact is that there is no New Testament abrogation of the tithe.

b. A priori reasoning also suggests that responsibility should increase as benefits increase. We enjoy much greater benefits and promises under the New Testament. Luke 12:4 says, "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."

[I'll comment here that I heard the statistic that the average American gives 2% to any charity. The average Christian gives 4% to any charity including the church. I heard this on the Family Life Today radio broadcast with Jerry Bridges as the guest on Oct. 29.]

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tithe Sermon pt. 7

4. Three observations about this passage:

a. First, God views the tithe as a very serious obligation, indeed. It is the giving obligation by which His church, His earthly work is to be financed.

1. Most of us would be horrified at being involved in robbery, but we can be insensitive to our robbery of God-a far greater sin.

2. Leviticus 27:30 - The Bible says the tithe is holy. "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's. It is holy to the Lord."

b. Second, God does not want us giving out of guilt, but because we are so full of gratitude.

1. Grudging giving is not valued by God. 2Corinthians 9:6,7.

"But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver."

2. God wants cheerful open-handed givers. We need to examine ourselves. Is our first response to the tithe clutching the money to ourselves or open-handed celebration? What a privilege it is to return 1/10 of the increase God has given us to support His church and ministries. How can we not cheerfully celebrate this support privilege?

c. Third, note the blessing promised by God for our grateful obedience. How often in scripture does God ask you to test Him? When Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness: "You shall not test the Lord your God." But Malachi 3:10 says, "And try Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it." More on this blessing later.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tithe Sermon pt. 6

C. It is the last book of the Old Testament, however, which contains our text for today's sermon. Malachi 3:7-12

1. The prophet Malachi wrote to the people of God about 450 B.C. - the times of Ezra and Nehemiah, the time of the return to Jerusalem and rebuilding the Temple and wall after the Babylonian captivity.

2. But he speaks as well to us because we should also be in a period of rebuilding of our nation from its postmodern humanistic captivity.

3. Malachi 3:7-12
"'Yet from the days of your fathers
You have gone away from My ordinances
And have not kept them.
Return to Me, and I will return to you,'
Says the Lord of hosts.
'But you said,
"In what way shall we return?"
'Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,'
"'In what way have we robbed You?"
'In tithes and offerings.
You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now is this,'
Says the Lord of hosts,
'If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.
'And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,'
Says the Lord of hosts;
'And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,'
Says the Lord of hosts."