Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SOAP: Philippians 3

One day late - not bad for the week we had.  Thanking God for a blessed time with family and friends on the occasion of my eldest child's high school graduation - can't resist a photo:

I hadn't planned on posting that photo here, but now that I have I am struck by how it illustrates the passage I'm SOAPing today.  Irony?  Coincidence?  God.

Scripture: "Only let us live up to what we have already attained." Phil 3:16, NIV

Observation: "What we have already attained" refers here to righteousness in Christ Jesus, and this exhortation speaks not of striving to attain salvation, but rather living in a way that expresses gratitude and a faithful witness, serving as an example.

Application:  Having received the diploma and participated in the ceremony pictured above, if my son were now to flop down and become a slothful couch potato, not seeking to further his education, employ his talents, and multiply the gifts he's been given, he'd be wasting that which he's attained, backsliding into mediocrity and setting a lousy example for the value of a high school education.  How much more so, then, must we who understand and have accepted the ultimate gift of righteousness through Christ strive to live in such a way that we are not a stopping point for God's grace and mercy, but rather a conduit for it.  This is not to be confused with striving to achieve salvation, which is a, perhaps the, pervasive lie in the world today.  Just last night I overheard on TV the perpetuation of the misconception that if you're good you'll go to heaven, and if you're bad you won't.  Paul reminds us in this chapter that we are powerless on our own to achieve salvation.  Good works are useless for this purpose.  But deeds are how we live out our faith and allow God to work through us for the advancement of his kingdom.  If I say, "I'm saved so there's nothing more I need to do," I am quenching the very Spirit of God in me.

Prayer:  Father God, fill me with gratitude, willingness, energy and awareness to do the work you have given me to do, giving you the glory and providing a valuable witness for the righteousness you so graciously bestow through your son Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WIP Wednesday

It's 8:00 am, two kids are at school taking exams while #1 son is at graduation rehearsal.  I must say I'm intrigued by the latter, wondering how you get 650 seniors to show up at 7:30 am and accomplish anything inside the space of one hour.  The idea of lining them up in alphabetical order overwhelms me, although my high school class was even bigger, so I guess it can be done.
Tomorrow five out-of-towners will arrive for the long weekend, followed by six more on Friday, followed by graduation at 8:00 am Saturday morning, followed by a party at my house Saturday afternoon.  I have all day today to clean house and get ready....the perfect time to update my blog, don't you think?
And it just happens to be Wednesday, so let's take a look at my WIPs.
Florence 2R's and Amish Coffee are still lurking around somewhere, untouched in months.
Florence Cardi

Irish...oops!...Amish Coffee
I finally got started on the mate to this lonely sock, but it won't get much attention outside of sock club a couple times a month - no hurry, no worry.
Field of Flowers - sample for WKSF club
This unidentifiable blob will someday be a felted footstool cover for the threadbare so-called Dixon family heirloom on which it sits.  I started it a couple weeks ago during the first of several pre-party tizzies, but it's not looking good for this weekend.  So much for impressions.
Aunt Mare
But the WIP that's stealing all my attention is my Stonecutter for Gen:
I hereby pledge to finish this Roxy-esque creation before we board the plane for California three weeks from today.  There, I've said it.  Now I hafta.

Monday, June 3, 2013

SOAP: Philippians Chapter 2

A lot of very familiar sound bites here, which can easily become dogmatic commands sure to cause failure if not read in context and lived out by the power of the Holy Spirit.  This chapter can be overwhelming as Paul admonishes us to imitate Christ in His humility...and put others first....and don't grumble... it's almost a relief when he moves on to talk about Timothy and Epaphroditus - as if just when I can't take any more conviction, he eases the pressure by changing the subject.  Here's my takeaway for the week:

Scripture:  Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky... (Phil 2:14-15)
Observation:  Our attitude is a powerful witness, something that makes us distinct and enables us to bring the light of Christ to the world.
Application:  Often, if not only, it is in the home where I am most guilty of grumbling and arguing.  I can  morph from servant to martyr at the drop of a hat, or at least a wet towel, and things can quickly get ugly.  What kind of message is this sending my family?  Only by tapping into Christ and following his example of humility - not servant-doormat as this world would have you think, but servant-leader - can I hope to move from being ruled by emotions and expectations to being ruled by the Spirit.
Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I confess I am powerless to "do everything without grumbling or arguing" without leaning in to you for grace and patience.  Cause me to cling to you, remembering the true humility of Jesus, to pray before speaking, and to serve in a manner that glorifies you and shines your light to others.  Amen.