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Things Above

Have you ever heard someone say, “You can be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good.”? The only problem with this cute little saying is that it goes completely against scripture. Colossians 3:1-3 says,

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

More important than this silly saying is the mindset that goes with it, the mindset that assumes once you are saved that is it. End of the road. Is the innocent Christ who suffered bled and died that we might have that salvation not worthy of more than this? We owe him so much more than the first step. Can it really be possible to be too heavenly minded? Is it possible to be too spiritual? I hope your answer is no!

We know these verses are not telling us to lie around all day dreaming about what heaven must be like and never doing anything. That would clearly contradict many other passages in the Bible and these verses themselves are about action! It says to “seek those things which are above,”. Seek here means, “to seek a thing in order to find out by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to inquire into, aim at, strive after, require, to crave”; this is active! It also tells us, “Set your affection on things above,”. “Set your affection” is from the Greek word phroneo meaning, “to direct one’s mind to a thing, to seek, to strive for”. Obviously, God doesn’t want us to be useless in this world, he has sent each of us into this world to be lights and witnesses for him. His last words recorded in Matthew began with, “Go ye therefore…”!

God has given me many things to do for his sake in my own little realm as a daughter, an older sister, a member of the body of Christ, and a light in this world. He has also given you many things to do for his sake in your personal realm. As different as our lives may be, our purpose is the same: to live for the God who created and saved us. That begins with obedience to his Word, no matter how bizzare his commands may seem to our selfish, worldly little minds!

While reading in Exodus a few days ago, Mommy was pointing out to us the “if/then” pattern in certain places. Where God would tell the children of Israel, “If you do this, Then I will do this.” Since then I have been seeing more patterns that I hadn’t really thought about before, such as these verses I have been talking about in Colossians. The pattern in this one is “if A then B because C”. (Don’t worry algebra haters, this isn’t really math.) This pattern caused me to look at these verses differently.  Do you see it?

If ye then be risen with Christ,” Then “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Because “…ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

What purpose this passage gives us! If I am a Christian, if I have been raised with Christ from spiritual death: he has given me purpose! He wants me to seek the things above. What is above? Not just my heavenly home, Chirst himself is there. He wants me to seek him, to set my affection on him. Why do I need to do this? Because the old man, my fleshly self, is dead (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22) and my life now belongs to the Lord. Knowing all of this, we ought to be constantly in the Word seeking out God’s will and yearning for his presence in our lives.

For as long as I can remember, Mommy has read the Bible to me (and my siblings as they came) every day. There have been some days here and there that we have missed but for the most part it has been daily. As each of us learned to read, we began splitting it up and reading a few verses each. She has always explained what we read according to what each of us could understand. I love to hear her explain a verse to the little ones, it brings back all those memories of her animated readings out of our children’s Bible she would read to Sara and me before bed, and all the stick figure illustrations she drew on the marker board to help us understand. Mommy has a special knack for finding the simplicity in a difficult passage and applying it to a child causing him or her to think, “Hey, God wrote this for me too!” As we have become Christians ourselves, she encouraged each of us to read the Bible daily on our own. All that to say, Mommy saw the importance of the role God’s Word plays in our lives and wanted to be sure we were always seeking.

Living as we are in a world permeated with wickedness and false doctrine, it is so easy to be distracted and thrown off course. God’s Word is the water to wash us from all those distractions and the light to keep our focus on the right things… the things above. We need to be consistent in our time in the Word so that our minds will be filled with things that honor God, only then will we be of any real earthly good.

– Ashley

 

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom… And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”
Colossians 3:16a-17a

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More Noah Pictures

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:….”

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“…marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”  Psalm 139:14

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“…Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:1

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And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.  Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.  And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.  A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.  And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.  But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.  And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.  Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.  And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.  Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he..”

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Pretty little head!
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Noah is such a good baby…IMG_2414

Stephen loves little brother.

Can you blame him?

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Visiting

Baby Noah has had some visitors!

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Aunt Diane came to hold him for a while…

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so did our friend and neighbor Dr. White.  He and Noah had a lovely conversation. :)

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The Storers are another homeschool family we know that live a few minutes away, it is always nice to have a visit with them.  Mrs. Storer held Noah for a long time…

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then he got fussy and was passed to Mr. Storer. 😉

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A visit from families with children has to include playtime….

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and a good story!

Thank the Lord for friends.

-Ashley

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Completing the Block

Here we are!  This is the covered over window that we are about to… well, cover!

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Daddy started by painting the wood with exterior paint to seal it.

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Da, da, da, dum!  Here comes Mommy with the quilt block!

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A little to the right please.

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More measuring.

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Mommy and I held it in place while Daddy drilled the middle screw.

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A couple more screws.

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Here I am touching up the paint, last step!  Daddy was sure to place the screws so I only had to use one color.

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Yay!

Build Grow

Lessons of the Heart

We have all witnessed it… You are in the store trying to find the best buy on a product when a parent and child come down the aisle. The child sees something it’s little heart just can’t live without…. The candy in the car-shaped container or the doll made in China that will probably fall apart before they get home. It could be any old thing that just captures the eye of the wanting child, so the child picks it up and starts the “Can I have this?” The parent says, “No, not today.” Some children cry, some complain, some will scream, and others will ask again, and again, and again. Then there is the child that will try to slip the item of choice into the cart or his or her pocket. Many adults give in to the child either to keep from making a scene or because they believe giving the child what it wants is the way to show love.

When our oldest daughters were still very young I trained them to not ask for things in the store. We prepared before entering a store so each trip would be easier no matter where we went. Instead of them always asking, “Can I have this? Can we buy that?” They were instructed to simply enjoy looking at all the different things available. If there was something they really liked then they could show it to me and even tell me it was something they liked. The girls started to really enjoy looking around and began investigating how things are designed. We would often take the time to talk about the item they seemed to find so captivating. If it was something worthwhile that they could use or I thought they would enjoy, I would get it for them if I could. For us it built our relationship instead of making us aggravated at each other. With two children that worked quite well. Now that I have four little ones going to the store with me we are training again and my older girls see the great benefits training brings. Peaceful trips to the store and strong relationships are not the ultimate goal; it is a matter of the heart… contentment, trust and faith in your authority, good stewardship, obedience, thankfulness and even love.

Philippians 4:11
“Not that I speak in respect of want:
for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am,
therewith to be content.”

Contentment is not something a person is born with, nor can you force a person to be so. The content heart is satisfied with what it has, when it has it and that is a character trait that can only be developed by learning and choice. Paul said he had learned to be content no matter what state he was in. It was not something that came naturally or even automatically after his conversion… it was learned. To learn is to gain knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something. (as defined by Merriam-Webster.com) That takes, diligence,perseverance and a willing heart.

Proverbs 17:22
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:
but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

This past week Jesse and I read a little story from the McGuffey Readers about a robin and a crow. The crow sat on a branch complaining about the cold weather while the robin sang and went about her work. When the weather turned pretty and warm the crow sat complaining about how hot it was and the robin was still singing. The moral of the story was focused on being content in your circumstances. The robin made a choice to sing during the good or the bad while the crow grumbled.

Have you ever been around someone who is never happy about anything? Have you ever been with a person who decided to make the best of life even in a very difficult trial? How does that affect the people around them? The contented heart is a merry heart.

Hebrews 13:5
“Let your conversation be without covetousness:
and be content with such things as ye have:
for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

When we are content it greatly shows our trust in the Lord. We can show by our actions and attitudes that we have faith He will be with us all of the way and He will provide what He desires us to have. This doesn’t just refer to stuff… it can include all areas in our lives. Are you content with the talents he has given you? When you see someone who can play an instrument or draw better than you, does that make you angry? Is your neighbor healthy while you lay sick? Does this cause discontentment in your heart? The list could go on and on. The contented heart is pure in word and full of faith and trust in the Lord.

I Thessalonians 5:18
“In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I know being content can be a struggle sometimes and nearly every area of our lives can be a target for those feelings and actions to come up. I remember vividly years ago I went walking down this beautiful street near our home where a lot of older, elegant houses are. At the time, we lived in a pretty yellow house with a covered front porch, two bedrooms and one bath room, yet it was small and on a busy street. I was walking along and thinking when I said softly, “Lord, I wonder if these people are even thankful for the nice place you have given them to live.” It was almost an out-loud response… “Angella, are you thankful for what I have given you?” I stopped in my tracks that day and had to ask for forgiveness. Discontentment had certainly filled my heart and it was not merry at that moment, yet the Lord taught me a very great lesson. I began to daily thank him for what he had given me and the result was a faith and trust stronger than ever before. Learning contentment can be painful.

1Timothy 6:6
“ But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

My grandmother was a godly woman who would have been 101 this year. I never remember hearing her complain or saying anything bad about anybody. She was a joy to be with for she seemed to have a deep-down happiness even when she was lonely, sad, or in pain. She trusted God and it showed in the way she lived. She was simple yet faithful, loving and content. She could be depended on to be the same loving person year after year. I’m not saying she was perfect, but her example has so often been in my thoughts as an adult that it cannot be ignored. I think of times with her and have many times even dreamed of being in her home. I wanted to mention her because when I think of a contented, thankful, merry woman, she comes to mind. I mention her because she is a very simple example of how we can affect others by the way we live our lives. She never had a lot of material possessions nor did she have a talent that others would boast about, and she suffered in many different ways throughout her life, yet I would describe her as being one who had great gain.

A few days ago at the store Josiah picked up a really nice toy airplane and said, “Mommy, isn’t this nice? I really like it. It looks fun.” I told him, “ I like it too and it looks like it would be fun to play with, but we can’t buy it today.” He smiled, hugged me and put it back.

Oh, that we would all learn to be content with what our Heavenly Father gives us.

~ Angella