Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesdays With Words: Poor Witnesses

I'm belatedly preparing to lead Bible Study this morning, and reading through the lesson in Francis Breisch's excellent text, The Ministry of Christ, I had a question answered that I kinda always had. We're currently studying the portion in Acts where Paul casts out the demon in the slave girl who is forced to tell fortunes for her master's income.

Why did Jesus and the Apostles silence and exorcise demons who were proclaiming his identity?
During Jesus' ministry, the demons had declared that He was the Son of God, and He had silenced them. Demons made poor witnesses for the gospel. The girl's taunts did not help the apostles, but hindered their work.


It goes right along with Matthew 7:21-23:
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
We know Christ and then we work, yes. It isn't just an intellectual assent or an assent as to what is really true, but an assent with our whole being that yes we know him, yes we serve him. We aren't to be - as the demons - workers of lawlessness.  Are we - am I - a poor witness for the gospel? Or do I, like Paul and Silas, willing to suffer for the gospel and be treated badly that others might know and serve him?

A lot to chew on today.

Wordless Wednesday: Fall Fun Farm

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kindle Unlimited

I think Order of the Phoenix is dealing mostly with the mind and the heart. How do we make choices taking both into account, and are there times to make one inferior and the other inferior. There are also examples of knowing what is right - assenting intellectually - but not acting in right ways and having that cause problems in the long run. There are examples of thoughts put upon us affecting how we think of ourselves and either succeed or fail - Ron's performance as Quidditch keeper comes immediately to mind.

So many examples in this story of thinking clearly, judgement clouded by emotion, thinking overset by emotion, and emotion saving the day when thinking would have ruined it. The story was full of wickedness running amuk in insidious fashion and of good struggling with itself. We see that even the wisest character in the books, Dumbledore, struggles with what is wise and how he should proceed in order to best protect Harry - does he go with his heart or his head and what is the outcome?

I found this book to be decidedly darker than Goblet of Fire (with the exception of the end of GoF, which was similar.) The darkness here, however, was rarely allieviated. Hope was seemingly extinguished over and over and it was impossible to see how good would triumph.

While the darkness was unrelenting, at times it felt as though it dragged on to no purpose and I struggled to make myself continue on. Other times the action was so engaging, I didn't want to stop. The narrative was unevenly paced in this way, and is the reason for the 4 star review.

I can't wait to read this aloud with my children and discuss it. It will bring about much fodder to help them with some of these internal head/heart debates.

As Snape says, "the mind is a many-layered thing." Rowling has done well at exposing some of those layers.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wednesdays with Words: Horses and Chariots

During this election season fraught with lying liars who lie to gain power, I find myself contemplating the goodness of God, his might and power, and his eternal plan.

While I look at the current candidates for office, I remember that God is in control and I can look to him. Not in complaisance, but in trust. Remember 2 Kings 5:15-19 (emphasis mine):
When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.
We may not be fighting armed battles every day, but the LORD is on the side of his people to bring about his Kingdom and Glory. Look to Him.

Wordless Wednesday: Nature Pal Exchange

Photo Credit: M-girl with my phone and Easy Macro lens

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook for October 10, 2016

For Today...

Looking out my window ... it is dark. I hear a dog barking. The blinds are pulled, so I can't even check for the moon.

I am thinking ... about Painting Pictures of Egypt.

I am thankful ... for the life of a dear member of our congregation who passed today - a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was such a faith-filled encouragement to me and especially to my girls. Please pray for our church family.

One of my favorite things ... is hosting my extended family to celebrate my children. We got to see all of my family on Saturday and Jason's parents yesterday. It was a blessing to celebrate M-girl's coming 12th birthday.

I am wearing ... jeans and a long sleeved black shirt.  The seasons are a-changin'

I am creating ... lists and plans for our last few weeks of school before Yuletide Session.

I am watching ... to The Liturgical Classroom. Again.

I am hoping ... Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God..  (Psalm 20:7) No matter what this election season may hold.

I am learning ... about persevering. A powerful sermon yesterday.

In my kitchen ... cleanup from the weekend partying continues. I need to unload/reload the dishwasher.

In the school room ... We added EHAP to our daily assignment sheet. Hoping it makes a difference:

Post Script:  My friends Jennifer Dow (from Expanding Wisdom) and Ashley Woleben (from Between the Linens) started a new podcast last week: The Classical Homeschool.  I haven't gotten to listen yet, but I shall! I'm sure it's excellent from the feedback I've seen.

A moment from my day

Closing Notes:
Did you know I was on a webinar last week with Mystie Winckler of Simply Convivial and some other fab ladies? You can catch the replay here!

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Wednesdays with Words: Many-layered Thing

I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix the other night and enjoyed it pretty well. I still need to write my review, but I thought I'd share this quote that - as an educator - I found intriguing dealing with the mind:

I know the image I found is unsupportive of the quote - almost the opposite of what the quote really says, but  I couldn't resist the image. I suppose my review (if I get it written as I hope to today) is going to talk about 'the mind' as a theme from that book in the series.

Anyway, Charlotte Mason tells us that education is a science of relations.  If all our ideas are boxed up or paginated or even in pockets (that's what R-girl tells us about hers), they don't get the benefit of being so much flotsam and jetsam floating about and bumping into each other and making surprising friends. It's the mix of ideas, memories, thoughts that matters. Oh, you can - and should - do some organizing and maybe (maybe) some dusting from time to time. But pulling ideas, memories, and thoughts from one place to another in the mind is where the beauty of the work does its best. Maturity involves knowing how to pull from this place and that and arrange a meeting of ideas.

So, while Professor Snape was trying to teach Harry how to protect his mind and close it off, he sent me off in another direction entirely - thinking about thinking in general. A good quote can do that :)