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Candle in the Night

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Closed Mind and an Open Heart

We're singing a song in choir this year that has a line at the end that goes like this, "And all who search, who will search with open eyes, who will pray with open hearts, they will see the light and find the Lord."  The first time I listened to it, I thought it said, "open minds" instead of "open eyes" and I inwardly cringed.  

I've been accused on more than one occasion of being closed-minded.

I was pondering this because in the past, it has really bothered me to be called closed-minded.  I began to think about what the Scriptures have to say on the matter.  I'm not going to quote scriptures, I assume all who read this blog have access to them in one way or another, I'll just give a summary of what I found.

The long and the short of it is this: we're not called to be open-minded.  It seems that there are two states that the mind can be in.  A bad state (high-minded, double-minded, feeble-minded...) and a good state (like-minded, sober-minded...).  The only reference to having an open mind is one that states to open your mind so the mysteries of God can be unfolded to you.  This goes along quite well with the verse that states that the mysteries of God will be unfolded unto you if you keep God's commandments.

Nowhere does it mention opening your mind to ponder the things of the world.  Not to mention the fact that usually, when I'm being accused of being closed minded, it's regarding something that the Bible specifically states is a sin.  And if I'm sinning or condoning sin, I'm separated from God and how can He show me his mysteries, or even His love for that matter?  

It's all a trap.  The idea that you need to have "an open mind" is trap of the devil to separate us from a loving God.

Okay, I realize that at this point, anyone who disagrees with me will probably stop reading (although I hope not, I'm saving the really good stuff for the end), but I'll continue anyway.  So if we're not to be open-minded, what is supposed to be open?  Our hearts, of course.  Our hearts and our ears.  

God can open our hearts, soften our hearts, and speak to our hearts.

So Lord, give us ears to hear, hearts to understand, and minds that are like-minded with You.

But what about our minds?  Didn't God give us minds so we could think things through?  So we could learn and understand?  Of course!  But he didn't give us minds alone.  He gave us hearts to open to Him.  As I sat in my college science class back in 2006, the puzzle pieces began to fit together.  The topic was evolution and I just couldn't believe that people who were considered scholars could actually believe this stuff.  There is no solid evidence, it can't be repeated, it's not testable.  And yet, the theory that the world was created by a big bang is considered science by the vast majority of scientists.  But if you questioned them deeper (Where did the stuff come from that was there before the big bang?  How is it even remotely possible that what we have now came from nothing?  The chances are one in billions, how can you believe this?), they didn't have answers.  

They are still learning.  
"Ever learning, and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:7) 
because although their minds are open, their hearts are closed up tight and their ears will hear anything but the voice of a loving God.

Well, I'm not going to feel bad about being closed-minded anymore.  
And I'm not going to take it as an insult when I'm told that I'm closed-minded.  
Perhaps I'll smile and say, "you're right, but my heart is wide open".  
And maybe I'll sound foolish.  But you know, I don't have a problem with that either.

God's Own Fool

Seems I've imagined Him all of my life

As the wisest of all of mankind
But if God's Holy wisdom is foolish to man
He must have seemed out of His mind
Even His family said He was mad
And the priest said a demon's to blame
But, God in the form of this angry young man
Could not have seemed perfectly sane

We in our foolishness thought we were wise
He played the fool and He opened our eyes
We in our weakness believed we were strong
He became helpless to show we were wrong

So we follow God's own Fool
For only the foolish can tell
Believe the unbelievable, come be a fool as well

So come lose your life for a carpenter's son
For a madman who died for a dream
And You'll have the faith His first followers had
And you'll feel the weight of the beam
So surrender the hunger to say you must know
Have the courage to say I believe
Let the power of paradox open your eyes
And blind those who say they can see

So we follow God's own Fool
For only the foolish can tell
Believe the unbelievable, come be a fool as well


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Harvest Home Free Printable!

You know all that fun "subway art" on pinterest with lots of words jammed into a fairly small space?  I love that stuff!! So I've been trying to figure out something I could do for my home.  I've also been decorating for fall!  I've wanted to incorporate some of the Thanksgiving hymns into my decorating, so tonight, I cooked this up!

I love it!!  And I can't wait to find the perfect spot for it to hang among my fall decor!  I'll try to take a picture when I get it up and post it for you.  

And NOW, I've made it available for the rest of you!  Below are three links for three different sizes.  Enjoy!

Harvest Home 10x13
Harvest Home 8x10
Harvest Home 5x7

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An Acceptable Sacrifice

I was at a church retreat this weekend and I really enjoyed it.  The girls had a good time (for the most part) and we're all glad to be home.  Our theme scripture was this, Psalms 50:5 "Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice."  Our classes and sermons were about making an acceptable sacrifice to God.  There were a couple things said that really touched me and I'd like to share them.

The first was said during a sermon.  Our minister was talking about sacrifices and what made them acceptable to God.  He said (basically: I'm not directly quoting anything here!) that sacrificing something that is already sinful in nature isn't what God is asking for.  You're already supposed to give those up.  So I can't give up my addiction to facebook or my gambling habit (Yes, I am addicted to facebook.  No, I don't have a gambling habit) and say, "Look what I've sacrificed for God!"  Those things are things we need to give up anyway.  They don't really count.

The second thing that really touched me was an analogy that speaks to what IS an acceptable sacrifice.  The minister was speaking in a sermon (I don't remember if it was the same one or a different one.  The weekend kind of runs together!) and gave what he considered a crude analogy, but one that really spoke to my heart.  I'll do my best to repeat it the way he told it.  Imagine that you decide you're going to sacrifice everything for God.  He's asked us to give everything, so you decide to sell everything you own.  You list it all as a package deal on craigslist.  Your home, your food, your clothes, your husband/wife, your kids, your parents and siblings, everything.  You say to "Make me an offer".  Within 20 minutes, you get a call and the man on the line says he'll pay any price you name.  He comes over and counts out the money.  You tell him whatever price you think seems fair - a million dollars, a trilion... - whatever.  He pays you in cash and you give that cash to the church, or the poor, or whatever.  You give it to God.  Then, that Man tells you that He is going to give all your belongings back to you, but He wants you to use them to glorify Him.

Wow.  This really convicted me.  My home, my children, my computer, the internet that comes to our home.  My television.  My car.  Not to mention my voice, my actions, my clothing...  If I've given my life to Christ, I'm to be using all of that - everything that I have which really, is all stuff He gave to me in the first place - to glorify Christ.  And that is an acceptable sacrifice.

That's a hard commitment to make.  I remember at camps as a child making commitments to follow God or read my scriptures more or be more kind to my parents.  At the end of this retreat, I wanted to say that I'd go home and use everything I have for God's glory.  But it's not a light thing to make a commitment to God.  And He doesn't want me to just say it.  He wants me to do it.  He wants me to live it.  And wow, that's hard.