Brave Adventure

Brave Adventure

Monday, August 16, 2010

Knowing God

When I began buying my textbooks, I did not expect that any of them would change my life. I knew that my Dad would enjoy that I was reading Knowing God by J.I. Packer for my Systematic Theology class this semester, but expected it to be a lecture in a book. Well school starts this Thursday and that gives me a month until my book review over Knowing God is due, so I have begun to read it. (Being the schedule nerd that I am, I have already scheduled out everything for my Systematic class) Well I needed to read two chapters today which was no big deal in page numbers, but a huge deal in conviction. Read it.

It begins with talking about the purpose for the study of God. While studying the Bible, theology, and doctrine has been something I was interested in since middle school (boy did that make me popular), this is not the case for everyone. Some people do not see the point in studying God. Packer talks about how people often times study different things, conquer them (so to speak) and come away thinking, "Behold I am wise", but this is not the case when we study God.
"But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumbline cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass's colt; and with solemn exclamation, 'I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.' No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God..." 
(C.H. Spurgeon as quoted by J.I. Packer page 17-18, Knowing God) 
Wow, can we even fully take that in. I mean, go back and read that quote a few times. Doesn't that blow your mind? It should. We have to study God in order to live in a place created by Him and run by Him.
Packer goes on to accuse (rightfully so) most of us of knowing about God with out really knowing Him. Do we? Are we so wrapped up in books about theology, about the history, about the context, biographies of biblical people, biographies of Christian celebrities (missionaries, martyrs, etc.) that we have missed Him altogether!? I would say to Packer, RIGHT ON, I think most of us do not know God as He would have us know Him because we know so much about Him without applying Him to our hearts and lives. It's not enough to have truth in your brain if that's where it dies. If we knew God "many of us [would never] naturally say that in the light of the knowledge of God which we have come to enjoy, past disappointments and present heartbreaks, as the world counts heartbreaks, don't matter." (25) This means that not only do we 'count them as loss' but that we don't have them consistently in our mind. Of the comparison Packer makes asking the reader, "what normal person spends his time nostalgically dreaming of manure?" Yet, isn't that what it means to count it as loss or to say that the things of the world no longer matter? Definitely. Knowing God should lead to an uncontainable joy that shatters disappointments and heartbreaks. Packer uses the book of Daniel to show us how God has already taught us this lesson in His Divine Word. News flash to Claire (that's me), Packer is not super novel, God already knew it, said it and meant it. Daniel and his buddies definitely knew God deeply. Packer breaks it down into four characteristics, but they are powerful.
1. "Those who know God have great energy for Him." Think about Daniel and his 3 amigos, think about all they went through. They showed great energy for Him. They stood firm in their beliefs and they took deliberate action to show this dedication to God. Most often times, this shows itself through prayer. That verse about the prayer of a righteous man is legitimate. If we feel unrest when we think of what the world is doing and about the need to act in God's will according to His plan, it'll manifest itself in our prayer life.
2. "Those who know God have great thoughts of God." This doesn't mean we think God is a cool guy, no way. Daniel realized that God's hand was coming for Israel and He knew that in spite of the overwhelming power of Babylon, God had it under control. God was the one orchestrating the plan. He is history. I love when Packer said that God "will have the last word." No worries, guys, because whatever happens.... God will have the last word. This aspect also evidences itself in a solid prayer life (although not only in prayer) that is sold out on the truth of who God is and recognizing ourself in comparison to that.
3. "Those who know God show great boldness for God." Daniel went the lion's den because he was unwilling to pray to any other king, and he represented this love for God boldly. He wasn't praying in his closet, he was doing it for the world to see. Whew, that's a frightening one. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were willing to be burnt to death to show that the believed in God, which flows perfectly into the next point...
4. "Those who know God have great contentment in God." Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not frightened to enter that furnace, but had peace that only God could bring. They knew how big their God was and that He could do something miraculous to save them, yet (Daniel 3:16-17) "even if he [God] does not we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods." They knew that God did not have to intervene, but were at peace that He would do what was in His plan and what would bring glory to His name. Wow, that is some serious trust.
Packer ends with this poem...
"Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.

If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;

If short - then why should I be sad
To soar to endless day?"

We need to recognize how little we actually know God. We need to seek Him with everything we've got. 
Luke 11:9 "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you." 
If we will just seek God with all our heart, fully realizing that we are lacking and small, unable to gain true wisdom without Him, He will teach us wisdom. That is the desire that He will grant. 

This is all a summary of Packer's Knowing God with some of my added commentary. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

So many things to luv

Well Cal and I got a huuuuge treat last week. The in laws decided that they wanted to take us to
So amazing!! I cannot tell you how excited I was to go. I jumped up and down a little, not to mention squealing like a little girl. Whoop! We all loaded up into the car, grabbed some food at God's house... I mean, Whataburger, and then headed to Hattiesburg for the show. It blew me away. That's the kind of stuff that makes music majors, drum line lovers and hard corps band nerds. I have to say that not all drum corps are created equal. There were several schools there and during the first few groups, they were loud and completely annoying, talking throughout the whole show. I did my best to be patient because these weren't the groups I particularly came to see. Patience young one... Well, then the magic happened. Magic, I tell you. The group's pit set up and so did the color guard, but no band. The crowd is all in whispers, "where is the band?", "is this it?", and similar things. We hear a piercing musical debut that brings all the crowd to their feet. What anticipation! And then..... Phantom Regiment takes the field. I was mesmerized the entire time. What an incredible show. Shame on those judges for giving them 4th place! Gracious! The Blue Devils got first - duh, the Carolina Crown got second - worth it and wonderful, The Cadets got third -clean show but so so boring, they should have received a lower placing, and Phantom got fourth. (My ranking: 1st Blue Devils, 2nd Phantom, 3rd Carolina Crown, 4th or 5th Cadets - other bands were good but I don't remember which show went with what name since the announcer was so fuzzy sounding).

Phantom Regiment - Incredible
Blue Devils - very clean
I really didn't think that my week could get any better, but Cal showed me that with his could have some added awesomeness. What would that be you say? To have your husband cook for you. Well, not just cook.... GRILL
Mediterranean Chicken, Grilled Sweet Corn, and Grilled Asparagus 
Yummy in my tummy! I am so so in love with my family at this point. What else could a girl want? 
I'll tell you!..... FRIENDS
I got the wonderful privilege of having some of the NexGen college girls over to Cal and I's apartment to do my first solo Mary Kay skin care class. It was so much fun! K came over early and we made lots of delicious baked goods while wearing my Minnie Mouse apron from Disney World. We sampled all of our creations, and managed to digest plenty of icing in the process, giving us a giggle filled sugar high. After setting up our lovely tables full of goodies and skin care products, the other ladies came over and we had a great time pampering ourselves while sampling Mary Kay products. (I'm a consultant now in case you didn't know yet) K and I took a lot of fun pictures together and of the goods, but I'm just including a picture of us all together and a picture of our goodies table. Enjoy!

Pink lemonade, chips/salsa, goldfish, brownie bites (homemade), and strawberry cupcakes with butter cream icing (homemade) - yummm 

K is clearly the one in my apron, she loved that thing!
The girl I'm standing next to, Em, brought me some flowers too. So sweet! We all had a great time being girly together. Do our faces look clean? I hope so!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Don't you wish you had this much free time?

Well... when you see these pictures you might wish that, but.... don't. It's only temporary! Anyway, here are some pictures of my latest forays into culinary success:

Homemade Fettucini 

Add some yummy twice baked potatoes...

And some Chocolate Crinkles...
Freeze the dough and roll it in powdered sugar, so when these bake they look delicious
All of this put together makes one lovely dinner (before an amazing night of ballroom dancing - best husband ever)!!