miles to go…

snippets from the zellner family

Verses that inform our discussion April 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:15 pm

“None is righteous, no not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Ps 14:3 as quoted in Romans 3:12

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“So then it (salvation) depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” Romans 9:16

“Therefore since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1

” though they (jacob and esau) were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad- in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his (the Lord’s) call.” Romans 9:11

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5

“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” 1 Timothy 2:5-6

” But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7

Jesus said to him (thomas),”I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

In the book of John,”But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31

 

Everybody’s asking if there is a real hell… April 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:56 pm

There are LOTS of people talking about hell right now.  Many of you have seen the multiple interviews and new articles about Rob Bell and his controversial book Love Wins– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjAdRJZib3Q   Others of you might have watched Bill O’Reilly tonight as he interviewed a professor who argues that there is no hell. The professor led his interview with a very similar argument that Rob Bell gives in his interviews: God has gotten himself into a predicament if we say there is a hell and that people go there who are “good” people.  O’Reilly asks him if he truly believes that Hitler, Stalin, and other dictators are off scott-free. The professor responds that it is not those people that are the problem when you think of hell, it is the problem of people such as Ghandi.  In a case such as Ghandi, the professor argues that God is in a predicament.  Would a good guy like Ghandi be in hell? Ghandi doesn’t profess to believe in Christ alone.  That isn’t loving of God and he is love, right? Rob Bell’s argument follows similar lines, thus the title Love Wins in the end and God saves all those people because he is Love.

There seems to be a MAJOR confusion about God’s character and about the difference between justification and sanctification.

Justification is “an ACT of God’s FREE grace, wherein he pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in his sight, ONLY for the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us and received BY FAITH ALONE.” Shorter Catechism #33

Sanctification is “the WORK of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin and to live unto righteousness.” Shorter Catechism #35

The problem seems to be that people use these terms interchangeably. They say the word “saved” for both of these terms. The truth is we are saved (justified) when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and we are sanctified as we grow to look more and more like him.

Justification comes first- we are declared righteousness not because of good works, but because of our belief in Jesus Christ. His perfect life of obedience, his death as a sacrifice for our sins that satisfied the holy requirements of God, his resurrection and conquering of death…We just celebrated these things on Easter.  Easter is about JUSTIFICATION.  There is no HUMAN WORK involved in this.  We are saved by faith in Christ alone- in His work.

Sanctification comes after we have received the Holy Spirit as a helper.  The Holy Spirit begins to work on our hearts and allows us to see sin, to love God’s ways, to understand His Scripture, to put off sin and put on the fruits of the Spirit.  We begin to look more and more like Christ in our actions, beliefs, attitudes, etc. This too is by grace. He gave us a helper to do these good works.  But these good things, these attitudes and actions that we now love and want to do for him, will not save us! They are not how we are saved.  We do them AS A RESULT of the saving work that Christ has already done in our hearts.  This is a life long process.  We will grow in our sanctification as we read His word and as the Holy Spirit helps us.  There is no room in our vocabulary for phrases such as,”he was such a good guy- he must be in heaven” or “she did so many good things in her life. She is definitely a Christian” if we are not including the most important fact: He or she believed in Christ alone for their salvation.

God has no predicament to deal with.  He is loving- the fact that we are provided for, that we have air to breathe, that he sustains the earth, that he causes rain to fall and the sun to shine reminds us of how loving He is.  But He is also Holy.  He cannot be any less holy than He is.  His Loving Nature does not win out over His Holy nature. They are BOTH true!  Our sin required the wrath of God.  It required a sacrifice.  In our fallen state we do not have access to Him- But through Christ, the mediator and eternal high priest, we do have access. There is no other way to God the Father, but through Christ. The loving thing that he did was provide a sacrifice that would take our place.  He doesn’t just say,”Never mind! Everyone can come! Forget my holiness! I will just love you!”  He says he has provided for you a substitute who took the wrath for you and who lived perfectly in your place.  He lovingly counts Christ’s perfect life as my perfect record and He put my punishment on Christ. That was LOVE.

I know people have all kinds of opinions about this topic.  But since I just said all of this to the guy on the TV with Bill O’Reilly, I figured I would write down my thoughts. Tomorrow I am going to list all the verses that I looked at as I wrote tonight.

 

Happy Easter 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 12:05 am

We had a very blessed Easter today- church family and our family made today so sweet.  This week I have been completely washed in blessings from our Lord.  We have walked through our Easter preparation together. I really appreciated our church services this year as we marked with our children what we had been studying at home.  Because it was also my birthday week, I saw so many of my favorite people.  Today was extra-special because we were able to go to Birmingham after church and see my family.  It had been waaaaay too long and we had all missed them terribly!.

There were many egg hunts, lots of laughter, great food, and catching-up conversations.  If you know us, we stay late and today was no exception.  You just can’t leave that many good people.  Our kids had a blast and were blessed in so many ways.  I know it is a lot of work for my aunts to pull off dinner for our large group.  I am so thankful for the effort and fun they provide.  Wish everyone had a group of people in their lives like this group.

  

Brent is sharing jellybeans with Cord- you know, giving him the ones that “taste good” 🙂 And Lucy is enjoying her find from the juice box hunt!

    

My aunt had the cutest gift boxes as treats for the kiddos- they had little gifts, as well as bubbles and SILLY STRING. Uh OH.

Matt took a hit and my Uncle Mike! Yikes.  The kids chased everyone.  No one was safe 🙂

    

     

Anna, my niece, arrived and we were so happy to have someone to run around with!  This is the crew getting ready for their easter egg hunt beer hunt. They look more excited than my kids did for the juice box hunt 🙂

  The  winners with all their “baskets” filled 🙂

I am so thankful that Brent and Holley are having a little one soon so that I get to see all of them again at her shower!

 

that face April 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 9:38 pm

  

 

Sweet surprises

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 9:33 pm

     

 

birthday fun

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 9:30 pm

If you asked me what I love doing on my birthday, I would tell you time with my friends, a date with my husband, spending time with my kiddos, seeing my family, and time to myself. Can you do all that in one day? I ended up doing all those things in two days and it was wonderful!

Time with friends: I had a fun surprise party with the girls in my Sunday school class. My co-teacher brought pink cupcakes and gave me the best gift, Diet Coke 🙂 My Tuesday biblestudy had desserts that morning and sang happy birthday (many thanks to Julie and Jason for pulling that off!)  And a dear friend had over a few ladies that same day and had a surprise lunch for me.  We ate delicious girl food on china and talked about matters of the heart while her children played with all of ours and kept them entertained.  It was a JOY to say the least.

A date with my husband: That same night I was able to eat out with Eric. The weather was beautiful and we walked all around an outdoor mall for awhile. We loved every minute and it made me so thankful to love being on a date with him as much this year as I did 13 years ago.

Spending time with my kiddos and seeing my family: Monday night I had a party with my own children and my mom. She took us all to Jason’s Deli and we ate cake bites and had a great time. Emma surprised me with a beautiful ring and Olivia bought me fun pens that are in all sorts of colors. Both girls used their own money that they still had from Christmas. It was the first time the girls have ever bought a gift for me from their own resources. It was such a sweet time.

Time to myself: Mom gave me many hours to do errands on Monday. It was so nice to shop without little ones all around. thanks mom!!

I know everyone has a birthday. There really is nothing special about having one- it is just amazing that so many did so much to make mine special. I was very thankful and very humbled.

 

Life of pi April 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 12:14 am

My book club just finished reading Life of Pi.  It is a fascinating book that looks at religion and science, salvation and survival, animal instinct and human behavior.  There are several layers to this novel and it is only at the end that you realize that you must go back and put all the pieces together.  Thanks to a good book club, we were able to bring all our thoughts to the table and consider what Yann Martel might have been saying.

The main character, Piscine Patel, grows up in India as the son of a zookeeper.  From the beginning he is drawn to religion and actually actively participates in several faiths at the same time.  Piscine is often made fun of for his name, so he shortens it to Pi- that wonderful mathematical, transcendent, irrational number. His name change truly reflects his struggle- a scientific person and a story telling person. Can a person integrate things that seem mutually exclusive? Do all religions really meet in one? Can a rational scientific person believe in a religion that requires faith?

When his family decides to sell the zoo and move to Canada, Pi finds himself on a ship with his family and several zoo animals that are to be sold to foreign countries.  The ship sinks and Pi makes it on to the lifeboat, along with a few wild animals.  From there the story develops with many gruesome details as Pi takes us on his journey with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra and a Bengal tiger.

What makes this book spectacular to me is the ending.  I love the kind of movie in which the last scene stops you in your tracks and causes you to reevaluate everything you just saw.  This book is one of those kinds of experiences.  At the end, a book club was almost necessary to retrace what I had read.

We’ve now read To Kill A Mockingbird, Blue Like Jazz, and Life of Pi.  Our last selection of the school year is A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  We are planning a July book club where we can have dinner together with menu items that highlight all the regions that we have been to over the year.  If you’ve read Life of Pi, you might find that a little funny 🙂