Thursday, November 6, 2014

Whole Persons-Filled & Overflowing

Remember that if a vessel that ought to be one whole, is cracked in many pieces, it cannot be filled.  You can take a potsherd, one part of a vessel, and dip out a little water into that, but if you want the vessel full, the vessel must be whole.   ~ Andrew Murray, "The Fruit of the Spirit is Love"

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Truth & Character

As the mind is nourished upon ideas which also affect the conduct of life and the character of a man...
"The chief responsibility of persons is the acceptance or rejection of ideas" 
~ Charlotte Mason

How insightful and wise to begin her entire educational philosophy with knowing Truth...

"The consequence of truth is great; therefore the judgement of it must not be negligent." ~ Whichcote

Monday, September 29, 2014


Quote for the Day:

"The size of a man's understanding might always be justly measured by his mirth" - Samuel Johnson

"I begin to suspect that the world is divided not only into the happy and the unhappy, but into those who like happiness and those who, odd as it seems, really don't" - C.S. Lewis

Friday, September 12, 2014

Paths to Follow: Together Intentionally

A Chapter in which we all go on an Expedition

“As soon as he saw the Big Boots, Pooh knew that an Adventure was about to happen…” (Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh, Ch. 8)

I look at new things as an adventure.  Places to go, people to see, things to learn!  Now adventure brings uncertainty and risk at times.  I often wonder why we are so risk adverse.  We forget to look closer and assess the risks and the implications. We assume change is bad and terribly unpleasant-‘unsettling’ says Eeyore).  So many times I find that it is more my uneasiness and less the reality of what might happen that impedes my path.  I set up my own roadblocks when my fears take over. On making friends: What if we have nothing in common?  On taking a stance: What if I step out there and no one joins me?  On new ideas: What if I look stupid?  What if… you fill in your worries…What if I am just plain wrong about this or that? (I know, it happens occasionally)! Sometimes those things do happen, but the results are generally less of a big deal than my fear says it will be.  So what if I am wrong and look stupid on occasion; usually, I am the only one that cares or remembers since it really is an okay thing to be wrong sometimes; it helps me learn. And that is a positive change!

 I wonder why we view change so uneasily.  Things are always changing-even the mundane days are part of moving forward, continuing on… doing the next thing.  The next thing may look just the same as today’s thing or something entirely new.  Adventure, risk, change-sometimes that takes courage. Maybe even strength we don’t think we have.  But we can’t get to step two without step one.  I love this year’s theme for Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), “Be You, Bravely”.  Stepping out might just be stepping on to the next stone & reaching back to hold a hand as someone follows, or it might be looking ahead to grab the hand in front of us.  People are important, friends are important, relationships are important, Christian community is important (Colossians is a good place to read more on this)! Being brave in friendships can also mean being intentional. Maybe right now you are the one reaching back, another time, you may be reaching ahead-in either place, we are reaching deliberately! We need that friend to balance us when we are unsettled. So we walk bravely together. Sometimes we just don’t see the way clearly and that sister ahead is all we can see. We don’t always know what’s further ahead and the next step uncertain.  But what we do know is the faithfulness of our God; what we do know is grace.  As we do the next thing or meet changes, both smooth going mundane days and challenging and uneven hikes, let us come along side each other and remember that we make our plans-we walk our paths, but the Lord directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9).  As we follow the path ahead toward new adventures, Let’s Live Life Together Intentionally.

“It’s an Expedition.  That’s what an Expedition means.  A long line of everybody.” (Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh, Ch. 8)

Looking forward to getting to know more of you and encouraging you along the paths,
Grace for the day,

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thoughts on CM and "The Grand Conversation"

Conversation  noun \ˌkän-vər-ˈsā-shən\
(1) : oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas (2) : an instance of such exchange : talk (Mirriam-Webster)
Within our Charlotte Mason Group an exchange has popped up on the phrase "The Grand Conversation".  It is used in educational circles and I have noticed it buzzing around more recently among general CM groups.  I will share a couple of posts that might help to clarify and bring some consideration to the topic.

It began with some resources shared and the thought that it was hard to find where Charlotte Mason talked about this 'grand conversation' and that even google couldn't seem to bring up and relationship.

We often seek out ways to help us be more effective with our students, especially as they get older.  Many times we find we are woefully lacking.  Fortunately, our own educational experience isn't a reflection of what our child's must be; as a matter of fact, it shouldn't be (or they would be just as woefully lacking!).  Since Charlotte Mason proposes that "Teachers shall teach less and scholars shall learn more" through our educational philosophy, the responsibility of learning is upon the learner not the teacher.  Our job as teachers is to provide them with vital ideas, many vital thoughts with a wide and rich buffet!

Here are the relevant posts (by permission).  Please feel free to contact me if you would like to talk more...

If I remember correctly, the Grand Conversation is not a CM term and that may be why it’s difficult to find information on it coming from a CM stance.  I have some notes somewhere here…I’ll try looking for them touching on what the Grand (or Great) Conversation is.
Remember that we don’t have to know a lot about it (unless we are the student).  The feast is spread, the student takes what he needs and he can share that with us.  The student needs to assimilate that information to make it knowledge – not us.  I don’t think we can have or need to have a grand conversation with everything.  I don’t know where in Charlotte Mason’s writings or in Parent’s Review Articles that it states that every narration must end in a Grand Conversation.  Do we put too much pressure on ourselves at times?   Do we tell ourselves that we HAVE to have this Grand Conversation or the narration was for naught?  Sometimes there just isn’t anything to have that Grand Conversation about. 
From what I’ve learned, I believe that if we want to participate in that then we need to become a student ourselves and read that particular book.  Have you read “How to Read a Book”?  I am working my way through it – very slowly and I have learned a lot so far. 
Here are some Mason quotes that may help remind us what narration truly is and who is responsible for that narration.  I think the term Grand Conversation comes from a Childlight Article and is the name some have put on the final step of narration. 
These quotes may be helpful in reassuring us that we do not have to be well-versed in all the topics that our children are studying.  In fact, we need to make sure that we don’t get in the way.  They need to form their own ideas and opinions.   
"The teacher affords direction, sympathy in studies, a vivifying word here and there, help in the making of experiments, etc., as well as the usual teaching in languages, experimental science and mathematics." Vol. 6, pg. 19

"we do not realise that in the nature of things the teacher has a prophetic power of appeal and inspiration, that his part is not the weariful task of spoon-feeding with pap-meat, but the delightful commerce of equal minds where his is the part of guide, philosopher and friend." Vol. 6, pg. 237

"The children, not the teachers, are the responsible persons; they do the work by self-effort...The teachers give the uplift of their sympathy in the work and where necessary elucidate, sum up or enlarge, but the actual work is done by the scholars." Vol. 6, pg. 241
"but let us be careful that our disciplinary devices, and our mechanical devices to secure and tabulate the substance of knowledge, do not come between the children and that which is the soul of the book, the living thought it contains." Vol. 3, pg. 181
If I’m truly interested in a book or want to discuss more with my kids and not just ask questions then I need to pick up the book and read it.  We are there to guide but the student has to do the hard work of reading and digesting the material.   

Vanessa explained it well.  I really like how we can check our methods by going back to the Charlotte Mason volumes and clarifying, seeing how and educational method or concept fits with our philosophy of education.  That’s where the breakdown comes so often, for me anyway.  I find it is important to study regularly the “whys” of the “hows” that I am using with my students.  

Actually, “The Grand Conversation” comes from a speech that Jim Higgins gave at Arizona State University in 1985. Which then began a new educational tool developed by a couple of teachers in 1989 and presented as a method to use in a classroom to help facilitate discussions.  The tool is not all bad and can be used in a CM education, but often can evolve into crossing over the line of masterly inactivity (another much misunderstood term that applies to the teacher getting out of the way of the scholar’s learning not an activity time - more later on that).  Dr. Jennifer Spencer does a lovely job in describing how “the grand conversation” tool can look in a Charlotte Mason application in her article “Golden Nuggets and the Grand Conversation” which you can find on the CMI blog (

I personally think Jim Higgins may have misquoted the term and actually intended to reference “The Great Conversation” which is an essay by Robert Hutchins, see also Great Books of the Western World, 1952 (who, by the way, has a strong association with Mortimer Adler of How to Read a Book) where he discusses liberal education.  Hutchins discusses the idea of the Great Conversation being between authors across the traditions and ages; how the ideas presented by the great authors create a conversation on those ideas with the implication that, once a person is knowledgeable and has the context for those topics and ideas, he can join the conversation.  Personally I think that’s where the fallacy lies in trying to apply something of a “Grand Conversation” today.  We should not expect our students, even our high school students or ourselves, to join a conversation where we have not had the broad exposure and a personal understanding (“the students must know for themselves”).  They may actually be there in some areas by the end of their upper years in a Charlotte Mason Education paradigm, but that requires maturity that may just not come without living and learning the next year, etc.. I think it is a dangerous and unwise thing to give a student other individual’s opinions as their basis for understanding something.  I read Francis Schaeffer - often, and he clearly lays out propositions and logically supports them; usually I can follow that-but I have context my student does not have at 13 years of age.  If I hand some Schaeffer book to my student, they may not have the ability or maturity yet (think CM and reason-“as they become mature enough to understand”).  A maturity and context that helps them think through and able to accept or reject the ideas; they may just take Schaffer’s opinion as their own with out the real knowledge and understanding of those ideas.  That has grave implications.  That can happen with any philosophical tradition or ideas without context your student isn’t ready to grapple with or… join the Great conversation about.  It is also a problem to attempt to initiate a “Grand Conversation” with a student about a chapter from a book they are reading if there is not enough context and supplant the “Great Conversation” by getting between the student and the idea, becoming the middle man that has no place in the middle.  We are not “the showman of the universe”.  That doesn’t mean not having conversations though!  A student may prompt a great conversation about ideas that have grown from his readings and narrations.  That is just thinking and discussing things and, as long as we don’t venture to “offer our opinions as [the captain idea]”, those conversations are a great way to be “the delightful commerce of equal minds”.  

Hope that helps clarify the background and history of “The Grand Conversation” vs. “The Great Conversation” and how that can and how it cannot fit a Charlotte Mason approach.
Grace for the day,

Friday, August 1, 2014

High School Sciences (A Charlotte Mason Approach)

(Biology with Living Books & Labs update shown below)

Who knew the average person was supposed to really LIKE sciences? Especially in high school. Sure, there are some people who have greater interest and are gifted in understanding science, but why can't we all appreciate those subjects? Because we learned it from dry and boring text books and memorized stuff that we didn't connect with anything we knew or cared about overall... When our approach changes from turning out little scientists (and mathematicians) to a focus on fostering an appreciation for the beauty and joy found in these disciplines, we end up with students who LIKE science (and even math). It's in the approach and methods...

I made a discovery several years ago-I was compartmentalizing our studies and following some traditional/system style approaches in certain subjects. I was somewhat skeptical and unsure of how to change how we approached those high school sciences. I decided to try and apply the same approach and methods we used in most other areas of schooling and try it out. I was pretty sure we were going to have some different results and like the outcome and our journey along the way much better. WE DID!

There is much to learn about Charlotte Mason's Educational Philosophy. I have blogged about many topics and you can find out more by looking at the labels and reading through the past posts. There is also a quick review of principles linked on the left side bar.

I have the Living Sciences page for you to take a look at the high school science guides we used. For those of you who have already used these, the Biology with Living Books & Labs Guide has been updated - cleaned up and reformatted with links and is overall much more user friendly now! Click on the link and download it free. Let me know if you use them and tell me what you think. I would love any feedback or would be happy to answer questions as you go. Remember, I am not a trained scientist and rely on the authors to share their knowledge, mind-to-mind with me and my students! I have been through the guides a few times though :-)

Here's what the biology looks like-it's linked through the High School Science w/ Living Books Page:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Faith in Future Grace...

satisfies us with the joy set before us" (338).  John Piper discusses throughout his book, Future Grace, the idea of what it means to actually LIVE daily life as Christians with the foundational understanding that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him". 
The challenge is not merely to pursue righteousness, but to prefer righteousness.  The challenge is to get up in the morning and prayerfully meditate on the Scriptures as the main place where we see the gospel of the glory of Christ. 
An internal preference manifests in external pursuit which comes from the gospel of the glory of Christ.  My source of power to meet that challenge and my motivation is found in the Living Word and being saturated in the Word of Scripture about him! 

Technology Blips (user error)

Ooops! User Error!

So, knowing I was going to have a busy couple of months, I took a few late nights to write several blog posts for future days as scheduled postings.  Well, I have a ton of drafts that should have been posted automatically while I was away.  I am guessing that when you edit a scheduled post it changes the status back to draft-it's the only thing I can figure out, and I have generally found that any technology blips are usually user error!

Here is a good lesson!  Watchful awareness is better than assumptions based on what should be happening :-) I will attempt to reschedule my drafts to publish over the next month!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The air we breathe

I was thinking about the Atmosphere of our homes and the Discipline of Habits and I began wondering about how the atmosphere around us brings us ideas to consider in the natural way of things - just in living life.  I think Charlotte Mason calls it something like thought life and that we breathe it in just like we breathe air.  I began to pair this with how our ideas affect our behavior, the conduct of life.

I saw this example in Future Grace (Piper) today that reminded me of habits, atmosphere and the conduct of life...
There is the whole area of family conditioning.  If parents reward a child for whining, and give in to the manipulation of a child's moodiness, then that child will be trained that a good pout will get pity.  And thirty years later, the mastery of his moods will be twice as hard.

The habits that are formed 'thoughtfully and deliberately' are not tossed about by the waves of outside influence that come if they are based in the Atmosphere of Ideas, many worthy ideas found in many worthy books.  Ideas lined up against the Truth of Scripture that must surround us like the air we breathe and be more constant than the waves that roll.

Interesting, those of us with an understanding of a Charlotte Mason Education Philosophy recognize some foundational principles in educating our children, yet, I think it just applies to persons.  All of us...  What am I doing today to cultivate an Atmosphere, a Discipline and a Life of Truth and Grace?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Conference After Thoughts

What a lovely Home Education Conference we enjoyed with this past weekend!  I always enjoy speaking and teaching.  It gives me an opportunity to meet new friends and encourage others in their homeschooling adventure! 

For newbies especially, one tip I try to clearly emphasize is that you can't go learn to 'do this' or 'do that', then begin in the fall with the expectation everything will be just as you planned!  Nothing in life ever works that way! We make our plans, but the Lord directs our steps.  What a relief that it doesn't depend on me to make all the right decisions & do it all perfectly!  Remember friend...

Be patient, learn as you go, check your expectations, and depend on God's unfailing GRACE!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The 'Wider Circle' of Living Books

Dear Charlotte Mason Friends,

I recently read through some Parent's Review articles about "suitable" books for children.  It seems the question of what that is has been a hot button topic all along!  Today as well, 'Living Books' can be vague and even ambiguous phrase depending on the source of the definition.  The term is much in use in the home education venue and many different curriculum makers grab the words and apply their own meaning.  Which tends to make things more fuzzy!  After listening to a disillusioned young mom beginning the home school adventure exclaim, "Just tell me what a Living Book is for goodness sake and I'll get them!", it occurred to me that instead of setting out a feast of ideas, we are back down to our system perspective where we input this and out comes this, removing the life and vitality out of individuals AND books!  We were able to talk a little about the aura that seems to surround 'living books', give a few examples and realistic applications that helped clear the tension in the air a bit.

A note to self & other CM advocates:  We may be in need of a gentle rebuke... I think we have to be more careful and thoughtful in the way we use familiar "CM" words. I am sad to remember times of hearing a flippant, "Oh, you know... we only use living books in our home.  None of that twaddle for us!" And off we go having left, at the very least, a snobby impression in our wake and no clearer understanding of what Charlotte Mason meant when she said that children should be fed upon the very best and many worthy books.  I think it is not generally intended that way, and we would be aghast and even ashamed that we tread so rough-shod upon a foundational method instead of sharing discussion on vital thoughts and living ideas!
a display of living books for older students
Vital thoughts and living ideas are contained in living books, but to give hard and fast 'rules' won't encompass the nourishment of truth, nobility and beauty of those works.  We need a bigger picture and an overarching perspective.  There are some principles we can consider to help in our choices; we will discuss some to consider as we continue talking more about living books.  For now, I will leave you with a couple of thoughts to ponder...

Matthew Arnold's definition of 'culture' may apply: "to know the best that has been thought and said."
"One of the great functions of reading [sic] is to widen the sympathies by throwing the reader into a larger circle of life than his own...that annihilates time and space...a world that is opened up..." (Ronald McNeill, Parent's Review, vol. 8)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A long time ago...

All that wander are not lost. ~ Gandalf
in a land far away, there lived a family who took an adventure.  It was fraught with struggles and challenges to overcome.  This is the part of the story where new things were discovered.  It begins in foreign place, in a beautiful spot, right across from the forest - in the east portion of la forêt Soignes, Kapucinnebos.

These are the memories of those times and travels...

I have begun posting on our old blog, Legacy of Learning.  The one we set up as part of a school project, but that's about all.  I figured it was time to go back and remember some of those adventures now that all the kids are older and off to college.  I'll just be sharing stories and pictures of our time overseas and some lessons learned and wisdom gained along the way.  Join me!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Charlotte Mason Help

Helping other Home Educators and Afterschoolers is something I have done for a long time now.  Everyone has challenges and strengths in different areas and when we discuss and share those ideas, we all are encouraged; We need each other don't we! We support each other in our learning and application of Charlotte Mason principles in our local CM study group if we are fortunate to have that, otherwise we reach out to other like-minded educators and ask questions and discuss ideas and thoughts and compare them with Charlotte Mason's writings and instruction.  There is always more to learn!  I have the privilege of sharing about the Charlotte Mason Education approach through conferences, speaking engagements, workshop sessions, our local CM study group, online Charlotte Mason support groups, and here on my blog, Grace for the Day.

I recently set up a new blog page listing with all the mentoring and consulting help I offer.  I continually meet new friends and Charlotte Mason folks who are looking for support and encouragement.  It seems to be a more frequent request lately and I wanted to share some options with you.  My Charlotte Mason Help page has the details and more about about Personal Consultation options.  Here is the General Consulting information.

Let's connect...
General Consulting:
You can email me with any homeschooling or Charlotte Mason questions at I would love to help make your adventure a smooth and joyful one.  I try to respond to email questions weekly. All general homeschooling and Charlotte Mason questions and those specific to Ambleside Online or House of Education Online are always Gratis!

My sincere hope is to come alongside and help you apply a Charlotte Mason Education with beauty and grace and encourage you in your CM schooling!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Quote for the Day - Adventure

Anticipating Adventurous Days...

Thinking of the Adventure a new little sister will be for some precious young friends who are Ready for Anything!
Christopher Robin was sitting outside his door, putting on his Big Boots.  As soon as he saw the Big Boots, Pooh knew that an Adventure was going to happen, and he brushed the honey off his nose with the back of his paw, and spruced himself up as well as he could, so as to look  Ready for Anything.  ~ Winnie-the-Pooh, pg. 111

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

CM & Poetry: murmurings

When I started enjoying poetry with my young son many years ago, I did not think it would be anything important.  I have gradually gained an appreciation for verse over the course of time and it has enriched my own life. {It has been similar with great works of art we have enjoyed over our years of exposure and study.  If you are new to art study and would like to know more about what to do, here is a previous post where I talk about Picture Study.} If I had dismissed poetry studies as an extra, we would have missed many beautiful ideas that now are integrated into our perspective of life. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Living Books & Vital Interests

A few months ago I posted a few of my favorite children’s books in response to some young moms requesting ideas for quality literature for their little guys.  I had just given a talk about moms (and children) being whole persons that need vital ideas to think about.  You can find the list of resources and books here: Living Books for Little Ones.  (Below are a few living books for different age levels that cover geography). The topic of quality literature and living books seems to come up often.

I will be giving a couple of workshop sessions next month at the Central Illinois Home Educators Convention.  One is on Great Literature and Living Books: Breathing New Life and Interest Into Any Curriculum.  Though this will not be specifically Charlotte Mason Philosophy, I will be discussing the qualities that distinguish a living book and why and how we can incorporate this approach ‘across the curriculum’. (You CMers will see a lot of familiar methodologies!)

What are living books anyway?  Let’s consider it… 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pooh and the Polar Vortex

I think Pooh's English countryside is a little milder than our Midwest winter this year.  Still, our toes are cold too...

The more it snows {Tiddely-pom},
The more it goes {Tiddely-pom},
The more it goes  {Tiddely-pom}
On snowing.

And nobody knows {Tiddely-pom}
How cold my toes {Tiddely-pom}
How cold my toes {Tiddely-pom}
Are growing.

A.A. Milne, House at Pooh Corner (p.4)

Monday, February 17, 2014

"A Summit View"

"Once in a while... everyone needs to climb to a height and view the world to gain a perspective of the land and of his or her place in it." ~ Jim Arnosky (Nearer Nature, 15)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

the goodness of God's guidance

"The opposite of impatience is...a deepening, ripening, peaceful willingness to wait for God at...
the unplanned pace of obedience…"
~ John Piper, Future Grace (167)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Jude & Postmodernism

a book review

We home educated through high school with the Charlotte Mason Educational philosophy-a liberal arts approach.  (See for more information).  We deliberately incorporated Christian studies, theology, philosophy, and worldview increasingly as part of our upper level studies.  The following is a brief, but fairly thorough book review on The Truth War by John MacArthur.  This is a must read for our senior high students.  It was intended to give a general understanding of the content, but is geared toward home educators using a similar approach to help determine when and how to include it as part of the curriculum readings.  I would recommend this an insightful study on the church and postmodern thought for adults or older teens with some worldview/philosophy background. 
Rating: 9/10
215 pgs. w/ 8 chs. + intro & appendix reading (should be included) – could be read in a term; we use this in freshman year as a read aloud & take 1 ½ terms ; as senior year reading, 1 or 2 terms, not as read aloud, would work fine.  Mid level reading/well written.  Discusses western culture & specifically American culture, but is applicable to all.  Could be polarizing in sections b/c he names names in the Emergent church & refutes their stances blatantly. Deals directly with postmodern thought as it applies to religion and a Christian worldview.  Fits well into a study of current times and cultures.
John MacArthur uses a direct writing style toward both secular arguments & churched audiences .  Most exhortation is directed toward the church and deals with modern cultural issues within the church.  His basis is directly from the book of Jude.  He is prolific with scriptural supports which he does not take out of context (I looked up the whole passages in many cases + I am familiar with his doctrinal stances).  He would be considered a fundamental evangelical by most – conservative w/o legalism, emphasis on salvation through grace alone & straight forward on scriptural truths and our lack of obedience.  He is logical in reasoning and support in his propositions and arguments. There is very definitely a structure & you will get to the “What of it?” personal response question by the end (see: How to Read a Book by Adler). Strong and opinionated (supported through scripture), so not a book if you want something emotional & touchy feely or don’t want to be convicted . This has been a must read before graduation in our home.  Again, this is a book directed toward the body of Christ in the modern age and is about contending for the truth within the church (against apostasy  - ‘Certain men have crept in unnoticed.’ Jude 4), what makes it needed (postmodern thought – no absolutes/no truth), and why it is important (historically & today).
·       Discusses the Emergent church movement (includes names) & the postmodern stance on truth – that it is unknowable, changes the Christian message to be deliberately ambiguous and tries to fit the culture & nurtures unbelief
“Yet rather than deal with those things [positives of – riches of salvation and joy and blessings; love for the Lord; His glory and grace – earlier pp] in a completely positive and nonpolemical way, I find myself compelled to echo the inspired words of Jude and exhort my readers who truly love Christ: you need to contend earnestly for the truth.  Truth is under heavy attack, and there are too few courageous warriors who are willing to fight.  When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, believers from this generation will not be able to justify their apathy by complaining that the strife of conflict over truth just seemed “too negative” for the kind of culture we lived in – or that the issues were “merely doctrinal” and therefore not worth the effort… As vital as it is for us to enlist in the Truth War and do battle for our faith, it is even more important to remember why we are fighting – not merely for the thrill of vanquishing some foe or winning some argument, but out of a genuine lobe for Christ, who is the living, breathing embodiment of all that we hold true and worth fighting for.” (p. xxvi)
Ch. 1 establishes the definition of truth and states that the biblical definition is supreme, all others are inadequate (philosophy).  Deals with reasoning & logic in this chapter. Beginning is reminiscent of CS Lewis arguments/reasoning.  Gives a basic premise of Christian worldview: “… the Bible is the touchstone to which all truth claims should be brought and by which all other truth must be finally measured.” (p. 4) He also discusses “knowledge” w/o God.
Ch. 2 clearly explains that the “war” is with principalities and is not carnal (2 Cor. 10:5) “the ultimate objective of the Truth War: “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” The battlefield is the mind; the goal is the absolute triumph of truth; the priceless spoils of conquest are souls won out of the bondage of sin; the outcome is our willing submission to Christ; the highest prize is the honor given to Him as Lord; and the ultimate victory is completely His.” (p. 32)  Apostasy is a threat to this.
Ch. 3 moves directly from that idea into Jude & his letter. He gives and extensive history of apostasy in the church continuing through ch. 4, “Creeping Apostasy”, covering  the Judaizers, Gnostics & goes through present times.
Ch. 5, “Heresy’s subtlety”, discusses the verbiage issue – slight word meaning changes or emphasis.  More history – modalism (Sabellius), Arianism’s rise-fall-rise.
Ch. 6 deals with the biblical warnings about “False Teaching”.  MacArthur brings the issue full circle to the hope and certainty we have in the fact that “false teachers cannot thwart God’s sovereignty.” Reminds us that God permits evil but does not instigate or cause it (see James 1:13-14).  The next section softens to focus on GRACE & the GOSPEL; “honest disagreements between true brethren should never escalate into mortal combat [scripture support list].  Jude’s call to battle applies when there is a serious threat to “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” – the kind of false teaching that undermines the foundations of the gospel.  The error Jude has in mind does not stem from some slight misunderstanding about a difficult text.  He is talking about heresy that is ultimately rooted in willful unbelief – a denial of “the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).  He has in mind an error that corrupts the essential character of the gospel.” (p. 133)
Ch. 7 is about “the Assault on Devine Authority” and Christ as head of the church and the implications of that to the modern evangelical mindset.  The age of media and its influence on the church is reflected through “PR driven” churches, fad surfing, embracing today’s fashionable stance of unreliability or uncertainty of scripture vs. scriptural clarity.
Ch. 8 “How to Survive in an Age of Apostasy: Learning from the Lessons of History” – But I want to remind you, though you once knew this… (Jude 5): Living today not forgetting yesterday’s lessons and watching out for deception – spotting “off” ideas in the church.
·       Why discernment is out of fashion
·       The rise of extreme tolerance
·       A refusal to shun the world
·       A failure to interpret scripture carefully
·       The neglect of church discipline
·       A lack of spiritual maturity

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Faithfulness & Righteousness

Not enough time yesterday in Monday Meditations to say all I am pondering about righteousness and future grace:
the righteousness of Christ, man's imperfect righteousness, righteous acts, sanctification, justification, law and grace, dull mirrors, virtue, love, reflecting the beauty of God and how all shall know us by  our love, Sunday's sermon on love in the local church; 
and, of course, pondering this is a continuing reflection I invited you to join me in this week.  Many thoughts to think over...

Interesting,  a quick search on for 'righteous acts' and 'righteousness' brought up mostly references directly to the LORD.  The ones that referred to saints/believers often had the word faithfulness included and many "for His Name's sake".  In Romans, Paul expounds on the gospel in relation to the law and grace and our daily lives.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2).
… but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness (Romans 6:13).
Standing in grace,