Monday, March 31, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 23

Each of us have unique gifts, and together, we make up the body of Jesus. Yet, as important as our gifts are, we are nothing without love.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 22

The freedom offered by Jesus is not a license to sin or live carelessly. There are practical consequences to being one with Christ. Be pure.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 21

"For whether we live, we live unto the Lord: or whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Romans 14:8

God's Word speaks to me today as I pray for my friends who are mourning a daughter. Jesus is Lord both of the dead and the living!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 20

We are to "put on" the Lord Jesus Christ. ...Not fashioning ourselves like this world but wearing the armor of light. Renew your mind!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 19

Regardless of background, we are all equally lost without Jesus. Yet, He died for us, and we have access to God's grace through faith.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 18

Conditions don't have to be optimal to share Jesus with others. Inconvenienced? It might be an opportunity to share boldly!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 17

The hope of Jesus takes a man from suicidal to rejoicing in just a few hours. I know God can help me handle my little disappointments too.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 16

Following Jesus may mean doing something I thought I would never do. Prayerfully seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Don't let pride win.

The Alcott Family of "Marmee and Louisa"

I am enthusiastically finishing up a new quilt. Quilting keeps my hands busy, but I like to listen to an audiobook while I work to keep my mind engaged as well. My current book is Marmee and Louisa by Eve LaPlante.  Having enjoyed many of Louisa May Alcott's books, and knowing that Little Women was at least partly autobiographical, I was intrigued by the idea of knowing more about the Alcott and May families.  I knew the Alcott family was transcendentalist and experimented in utopian communal living, but I didn't know much more.

Knowing more, however, has filled me with a sad, disgusted feeling that makes my stomach churn and face sour. Amos Bronson Alcott was well read, spoke eloquently, and gave the best first impression to those he came in contact with. Yet, his words were poisonous -- full of theory and philosophy but lacking anything close to practicality or truth. He misused scripture and taught his children (or let them believe) that Jesus was a good man but that that their father was the best man now.

His rejection of the divinity of Christ (believing himself to be a kind of Christ and truth unto himself) is all the worse in that he advocated the early education of children and aimed his philosophy squarely at children as young as three years old. Thankfully, none of his schools lasted long, and he eventually turned to giving "conversations" for adults. Equally unprofitable, but at least his listeners chose to be there and hear his egotistical lectures.

The Bible verse Luke 17:2 comes to mind:

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. (Luke 17:1-2 ESV)
Perpetually in debt, Alcott refused to do any actual work (or left it half done) and failed to provide basic necessities for his family -- often deserting them at the time of their greatest need so he could read and philosophize without the distraction of his wife and young children. When he distanced himself for months and failed to write home, his wife Abigail was left wondering if her husband had died.

His lack of personal or family responsibility should classify him with the lowest of good-for-nothings. His shameless borrowing and living off of other people's work and generosity with very little attempt at repayment is embarrassing and put great strain on his more considerate wife. She did what she could to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Still, Abigail idolized her husband and loved him with a devotion he seemed to take for granted and trample upon.

The last straw for me was Bronson Alcott's lengthy glorification of his own ability to reproduce  -- without any mention of his wife Abigail's actual sacrifices in the day to day struggles of being pregnant while caring for three young children. When their only son is stillborn, Alcott blames his wife for "poisoning the fountain at which her child draws sustenance." His language is spiteful, and this small quote is only a drop in the bucket of derogatory comments he makes regarding his industrious, self-sacrificing wife.

Mr. Alcott has thoroughly angered this pregnant woman and I grieve for the spiritual damage he inflicted on his children and students and the emotional and physical trauma he put on his wife.

Despite my criticism of Bronson Alcott, Marmee and Louisa it is an interesting an educational book. I am glad I am listening to it, because it gives great insight into Louisa May Alcott, her family, and times. Mr. Alcott does upset me, but I have a more educated opinion of him now than I did before finding this book. The author did a fine job researching the family, and her use of original journal entries and letters lets the reader hear Bronson, Abigail, Louisa, and others' own words.

It is discouraging to read about people who were so lost and in need of saving grace. I plan on making the next book I read more uplifting!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 15

God raised up Jesus, the Lord of life, and sent Him to bless us. "Amend your lives therefore, and turn, that your sins may be put away." From Acts 3.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 14

The Kingdom of God is not an earthly Kingdom. Jesus, the King, does not come by force. Everyone that is of the truth will hear His voice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 13

Jesus set the example. The world will recognize us by our service and love for others. "Love one another, as I have loved you." John 15:12

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 12

Jesus said He had the power to lay His life down and take it up again. Also, He and the Father were one. Big words, but He backed them up!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 11

Jesus knows where we have been, who we have been with, and every aspect of our histories. Yet, this is only the beginning of His power!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 10

I want to be part of the minority that takes the time and effort to praise God and thank Him for everything Jesus has done in my life.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 9

Two extremes: fretting about tomorrow's provision or stockpiling your goods selfishly. Jesus calls us to seek God, and He will provide.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 8

Being nice to nice people isn't enough. Showing the love of Jesus means being kind to the unkind and praying for those that hurt you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 7

Being God didn't make torture/death less gruesome. Jesus suffered! Never forget Jesus' humanity even as He did for us what only God could.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 6

Jesus was not so "spiritual" that He failed to see the hunger around him. No, He saw and provided food so the people could eat.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 5

Jesus wasn't embarrassed to be seen with sinners, but He did not join them in their sinning. Instead, He called them to repentance. Love!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 4

Jesus calls me to be ready but not to overestimate my own spiritual strength. I pray that I be equipped for whatever Jesus calls me to do.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 3

Jesus had compassion on the lowly and the outcasts. He does not reward according to merit but by humility of heart and faith in Him!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 2

From Matt. 9: Is it easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven" or "be healed"? Jesus has the power to do both!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 1

Focusing on Jesus during Lent. Who was He? ...God's Son [conceived of the Holy Spirit]. Purpose? ...To save his people from their sins!