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Archive for October, 2007


 490 years ago on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted 95 thesis on the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany.  This door served as a public bulletin board where people could post important announcements.  Luther’s post, however, was no simple announcement!  This monk used these 95 statements to debate the doctrine and practice of indulgences, which is defined as “the (full or partial) remission of temporal punishment due to sins which have already been forgiven.”  His statements were the result of a great deal of personal study in the Scriptures during which he discovered that the teachings he had followed for so long were actually not Biblical. This act by Martin Luther began what came to be known as the Reformation.  Christians returned to personal study of the Bible and stood up against false teachings.  Many of the Protestant denominations owe their very existence to this bold act of Luther. 
Unfortunately, I did not learn about Reformation Day until a few days ago.  I have not had time to research it fully.  I do know, however, that Christians would do well to celebrate this holiday and learn all that they can about the Reformers.  I have seen sites that have ideas to celebrate Reformation Day, and by this time next year, it is my plan to have a full Reformation Day celebration with my family.  For now, though, I want to remember this special day by listing the 5 Solas of the Reformation.  These statements summarize the teachings of the Reformation, and I find them true, inspirational, and applicable today as well.1. Sola Scripture (Scripture alone) The Word of God is the ultimate and final authority.  It is its own interpreter and alone has the power to bind the conscience.2. Sola Gratia (Grace alone) Salvation is by grace alone.  It cannot be earned.  It cannot be found in any human merit or effort.

3. Solus Christus (Christ alone) Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and man.  Anyone can have direct access to the Father through Jesus.

4. Sola Fide (Faith alone) Faith in the Person of Christ, His finished atonement on the cross, and His resurrection is the only means of salvation.  Righteousness is by faith and faith only.

5. Soli Deo Gloria (for God’s glory alone) Because salvation is of God, He alone is worthy to receive praise and thanksgiving.  A Christian lives his life and performs deeds of service for God’s glory, and His alone.

My friend Onthuhlist at http://onthuhlist.wordpress.com/ offered this as a suggestion for celebrating Reformation Day: [Let’s] celebrate Reformation Day by doing something specificaly to contribute to 21st century reform.  We could identify something in our personal lives or community that is in error when measured by the measuring stick of God’s Word, and then do something to personally contribute to correcting that error and to inform others of the truth. 

Wouldn’t it be great if 95 people would post a single reformation statement for which they personally would take action?  Combined together, God could use it to begin a much-needed new reformation!  If you take on this challenge, please give me the link to your site by either posting a comment to this post or by emailing me at colbylobrien@gmail.com .

On this Reformation Day, let us return to the truth of Jesus Christ.  Soli Deo Gloria!

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For those who are regular readers of my blog, this post will kind of be a rehash of some of my previous posts.  This week’s Blogger Friend School assignment is entitled “Pumpkin Party.”  We are supposed to post anything related to pumpkins.  So, I decided to post my pumpkin cookie recipe and some of my favorite pumpkin pictures from 2007.

The pumpkin cookie recipe is printable if you play that Smilebox.  Just click on the print option in the pop-up menu.  This makes soft, yummy cookies.  We put frosting and sprinkles on some of them, and that worked well too!

My verse for today is 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

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Tonight we started our next project in Camp Fire USA, Exploring my World, which is part of the Trail to the Environment.  Our lesson was entitled “Small Safari.”  We talked about how water bends light, and used that fact to make magnifying lenses to investigate nature in our front yard.  We made these “lenses” by stretching plastic wrap over holes cut into a paper plate.  Then we put drops of water on the plastic.  Things placed under the drops were definitely magnified.  We did have one problem though–the kids couldn’t hold the plates still enough to keep the water drops on the plastic!  So, John and I held the plates while the others found objects to place under the plates.  That worked pretty well.

We played Scarecrow Tag for our game.  It is pretty simple.  Basically, the kids just run  around until the leader says, “Scarecrow!”  Then everyone extends their arms and stands on one foot.  As soon as someone loses their balance and touch both feet to the ground, they are out.  The last one standing wins the round.

Probably the biggest hit of the night was when we made S’more Cones.  These are YUMMY and EASY!  All you have to do to make them is place a carmel candy and a few chocolate chips into the bottom of an ice cream cone (the ones with the pointy bottoms) that is set into a cup.  This needs to be cooked in the microwave for 15 seconds before adding the next ingredient.  Fill the rest of the cone with mini marshmallows, and then microwave for 15 more seconds.  The marshmallows expand as they are cooking, and are fun to watch!  These are very, very good–a little sticky too!  I think we’ll be making these again!

Lois

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 Below is a post that was copied with permission from its author’s blog.  

Halloween, or Reformation Day? October 23, 2007

I personally don’t celebrate Halloween. Since Jesus came to give us life and light (guidance) in this world, I can no longer in good conscience participate in a holiday that celebrates death and darkness (and every evil thing conceivable). Here in Detroit folks call it “Devil’s night”, despite the fact that the night belongs to (and exists because of) God. So on October 31, I encourage people to celebrate something better – I call it “Reformation Day.” On Oct 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses – a list of abusive practices in the Catholic church that needed reforming in order to bring the church into alignment with the teachings of Jesus. On that day, a darkness that had hovered over the world since before the middle ages began to lift, as error was exposed by the truth of scripture. So October 31 should not be a celebration of darkness. It should be a celebration of what the light of Jesus’ truth can accomplish to bring mankind out of spiritual darkness. September 11 2001 showed us clearly that it matters what a person believes; on this day, terrorists who believed they were doing the right thing caused thousands of deaths. No longer can we casually argue that it’s ok to embrace wickedness and darkness, pretending there will be no negative consequences for doing so. No longer can we argue that the evil of Halloween is acceptable if we sugar-coat the evil with a little fun and candy. No longer can we ignore the detriment to society caused by the “do what thou wilt” philosophy of satan. Sure, it feels good to do what you want. But look at the resulting state of a world filled with people who are all doing whatever they want. Would we allow a man to rape our mothers if he first gave us free tickets to the local amusement park? Certainly not. Then why do we ignore Halloween’s obvious themes of witchcraft, death, evil spirits, and everything satanic just because someone threw in a few tootsie rolls for the kids? Few in our culture distinguish between good and bad anymore. When I was 5 yrs old, I attended kindergarten at a Presbyterian church. I can still remember the teacher dressing up for Halloween as a witch with tall pointy black hat. I suppose her version of the Bible must have suffered misprints in those scriptures that condemn the practice of witchcraft. Today, over 30 years later, the Presbyterian church has much greater problems than the acceptance of witchcraft, and have moved even beyond the acceptance of homosexual “ministers”. Now they debate same-sex marriage, and the Presbyterian church cannot tell the difference between a man and a woman. What’s next? Will they debate marriage between humans and farm animals?

Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone yielded to the light of God and followed God’s ways, and accepted the historical fact that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die and to be raised back to life? He was not raised to life like a Halloween horror movie full of zombies and half-decomposed bodies walking around. Jesus was resurrected in power and honor. If everyone followed God’s ways, nobody would have ever heard of AIDS. There would be no rape. No violence. No war in Iraq. Twin towers would still be standing. No road rage, or self-centered drivers cutting you off. No lead in children’s toys. No infidelity. No internet porn. People would find fulfillment in heterosexual marriage, negating the temptation to decide to engage in homosexual or lesbian “sex”. Folks would look out for one another, instead of living for 35 years only two houses away from neighbors they never talk to. God’s ways are right. They are life and light, and I will celebrate and embrace them instead of Halloween. And I will continue what Martin Luther started 490 years ago – a fight for the truth. Because what we believe really does matter.

Happy Reformation Day!

This original post can be viewed at http://onthuhlist.wordpress.com/2007/10/23/halloween-or-reformation-day/ Instructions for carving the Jesus pumpkin is on the same author’s site at http://onthuhlist.wordpress.com/2007/10/29/carve-your-own-jesus-defeats-death-pumpkin/

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“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  John 8:12

People who know me personally will tell you that I am not a fan of Halloween–in fact, I hate it.  There are very few things that I say that I hate, but Halloween is one of them. 

When I was a child, we celebrated a much more “innocent” holiday than what is celebrated now.  I remember as a very young girl dressing up in cute costumes and going to my Grandma’s house for special treats.  Those days are long gone.

I attended college at a well-known Christian university.  I think it was there that I really began to consider Halloween the Day of Darkness.  My university would celebrate the Day of Darkness every year by having a “Christian Haunted House.”  What is that?????  Students turned an old house into a place of terror that focused on death.  They dressed up as bloody monsters and would jump out at visitors to the house.  What was the purpose of this???  To share the Gospel!!??  At the end of the house, they had an “evangelism tent” to share the Good News of the Light of the World with those who had just been scared out of their wits.  Is this really appropriate evangelism?  I don’t think so!

Anyway, as each year has gone by, I have seen the Day of Darkness grow darker and darker.  No longer is it a holiday for young children to dress up in cute costumes to get candy from Grandma.  It has become increasingly a celebration of all that is evil in our world.

I have stood alone in Christian schools and churches in my stand against darkness.  Many such groups want a “Christian alternative” to the Day of Darkness, so they celebrate it and change its name.  But isn’t playing darkness games, eating darkness treats, and dressing in darkness costumes still celebrating the Day of Darkness no matter what it is called?  Why should Christians even acknowledge Satan’s holiday?

My approach to the Day of Darkness up until this year has been just ignoring it.  That’s not always easy to do.  When Cosette was younger, she did not understand why we didn’t have candy like everyone else.  When we go to the store, the kids are often asked what they are going to do or be for the Day of Darkness, and they have to be strong and answer that our family does not celebrate that day.  Last year was especially tough.  We had just brought Kara home from China when the stores started putting out the darkness decorations.  Kara was naturally terrified of what she saw, and there was no way to explain to her that she needed to look the other way because of the language barrier.  So, I did not take her to the stores until November.  Now the kids are all old enough to understand, and they avoid the darkness themselves, and that is a blessing to see.

This year is the start of something new for our family, though.  Just within the last few days, I have learned of a way to combat the darkness–not substituting an artificial celebration that still does not deal with it, but actually a real Day of Light that has long been forgotten in the Christian world.  No, I am not speaking of All Saints Day, but a day to remember a significant event that changed the world.  Why try to fight darkness with darkness?  The best way to defeat darkness is with Light, and, as the Scripture quoted at the top of this post says, the Light of the World is Jesus.   I have a new plan to begin reclaiming October 31 from Satan’s control, and at its center is the Light–be looking for more details to come in my next few entries.

Lois

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Mosaic Machine

This weekend I was sorting through my gift stash to see what I had and what I need to get.  We not only have Christmas to prepare for, but Brock, Kara, and Cosette all have birthdays in the next few weeks!  In my boxes, I found a used mosaic machine that I had purchased off of Ebay several years ago.  I had stuck it away, but had never given it to anybody.  The box was pretty messed up, and it was used, so I decided just to get it out for fun instead of using it for a gift. 

This was interesting–there were no instructions!  So, the kids just messed around with it to see if they could figure out how to make it work.  I was surprised that it was BROCK who figured it out!  Usually Brock doesn’t have much interest in art stuff, but he got the thing to work right, and made a really cool picture!  Good job, Brock! 

Now everyone wants a turn to make a picture, but I told the other kids that they have to wait until Dad gets to see Brock’s first creation.

Lois

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Perfect Praise

We had a great church service this morning, and enjoyed listening to some Messianic Jewish music during our drive home.  Kara really got into singing the songs, and continued singing even after we got home.  I heard her singing loudly “Praise ye the Lord, Hallelujah!”  while she was changing out of her church dress, and my heart just smiled! 

In Matthew 21, the chief priests and scribes were critical of children who had followed Jesus into the temple area.  These children were crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”  and the religious leaders thought it totally inappropriate.

And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, and said unto Him, “Hearest thou what these say?” And Jesus saith unto them, “Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?”  Matthew 21:15-16

As I listened to Kara spontaneously singing praise to Jesus,  this biblical scene came to my mind.  What a blessing!

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