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October 3rd, 2011

Evening stroll

This past Saturday I woke up earlier than usual to attend a preaching/teaching class. We'll be meeting about once a month over the next year to learn how to read the Bible and teach the Bible. The first session was mainly informative. We learned the basics of how to read a text - analyzing the grammar, context, contemporary message, and relevance to today. Afterwards, we listened to a sample 15-minute sermon and reviewed it's strengths/weaknesses. In future classes, we'll meet in small groups to share messages from various texts (NT epistle, NT gospel, and OT) and then gather all together to learn more about understanding Scripture and communicating its meaning clearly. I'm very excited about the class! Since I often write about the Bible here, I've felt a responsibility to do so in a careful and God-honoring way. I can't wait to teach and be taught by other sisters in Christ. May we all grow closer to our King and present His news more clearly and joyfully :) May His Spirit be at work in us - and in all those who preach the gospel of Christ.

To prepare for my first teaching exercise, I ordered Strong's concordance and Vine's expository dictionary this evening. Along with them, I got a book by Matthew Henry called The Secret of Communion with God. I often refer to Matthew Henry's commentaries when I want to check the meaning of a passage, and so I'm eager to hear his thoughts on "walking with God", especially with regards to prayer and meditation.

Speaking of which, I've been more intentional about meeting with the Lord in the evenings. I've begun reading through the New Testament with my Tyndale NT. Ahh, the Tyndale NT :) I've been thinking through what sins and salvation would have meant to the first century Jews who worshiped at Jerusalem. What a different picture Joseph and Herod show us of the God-fearing man of Psalm 1 versus the raging nations of Psalm 2. Now, why do the Epistles always talk about John Baptist? Why does Jesus question the religious leaders on John Baptist toward the end of his earthly ministry? Does John's baptism have any connection to the prophecy of Ezekiel 36:25? or any connection with John 3? Why did God give us the ordinances of baptism and communion and how do they picture the Christian faith - past, present, and future? So far I have a lot of questions - more so than answers, I think! But it's driving me to the One who is All-knowing.

Sunday afternoon I took a trip to Arlington Cemetery with my roommates. We located the burial place of my roommate's grandparents and then walked up the hill to observe the changing of the guard. It was a very solemn ceremony and as I watched, I felt very thankful for those who have sacrificed their time and their very lives to secure our freedom. I was filled with quiet awe as I looked out over the cemetery, that field which lay silent under grey skies. I also felt wonder - what will That Day be like, when the dead are raised?

Sunday evening was spent at church where we enjoyed a sweet time of song, prayer, and communion. Afterwards, my roommates and I gathered around the table for chili. While pie was baking in the oven, a sweet sister in Christ gave me two books of Christian confessions and creeds. We want to know more of God's truth and love so that we can love others well.

And here is a verse of Scripture that caught my attention today: "But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared." Psalm 130:4 If I receive forgiveness, my sinful flesh wants to respond in the opposite way - rather than fear the Forgiver, I want to treat Him as Someone who is weak and Someone whom I can get around. But God calls us to stand before Him face to face, trusting in Christ with bold confidence and no confidence in myself. I ought to be filled with reverence for the One who has every right to cast me into the lake of fire because of my rebellion against Him, but who instead garbs me with robes of righteousness and plants me in His own city. This is not a righteousness that I have earned - there is no room for boasting. This is not a righteousness that God was obligated to give me - there is no room for presumption. In the radiant purity of God's presence, hidden in Christ, there is only room for worship - that godly fear which recognizes and loves both the justice and the mercy of God.

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