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Posts Tagged ‘Closer to Home’

I’m grateful that I have a job in today’s economy. I am extremely blessed that I can provide for my family while there are many hard working honest men who at this time cannot. I thank God everyday that if my family gets sick or injured things will be cared for. I am privileged just to be able to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. And I know that if GOD had not provided everyday, as He faithfully has, I would have nothing, and I would be unable to provide for this family.

 

I confess, however, selfishness as I grow tired of the day in and day out eye full of corruption that I receive. I am tired of the “do as I say, not as I do” attitudes found in leadership. And I know that anywhere I go I will see this, but sometimes I think, “at least I would be home with my family more, and I could choose my own clothes.

 

Nevertheless, I thank God for the gift of this job, the experience I have gained -and continue to gain-, and the ability to provide for my family. May the Lord use me to proclaim His glory, further His Kingdom, and encourage (and perhaps edify) the saints.

 

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Wake-up Call

Last week Doug and I were able to get away for a few days to Gatlinburg, TN for a belated 10 year anniversary.  We were only gone for three nights, but that is the longest period of time that we’ve ever left the kids, and we have never left Luke before this.  So, needless to say, I was calling every day to check-in on the kids, even though I knew they were in good hands with my parents.  During one of the calls, I spoke with my oldest, Emie, for a few minutes.  She will be seven years old this summer and I often put high expectations on her because she is the oldest and because in many ways she seems very mature.  However, during our phone conversation, I was amazed at how young she sounded.  Her voice sounded like that of a little girl.  Probably because she is!  In many ways it was a wake-up call for me that she still is very young and that I should not only treat her accordingly, but really enjoy her childhood.  I know a day will come too soon when I am talking to a young woman who is no longer living at home!

The following day of our vacation Doug and I happened upon a Christian book store that was selling every book for five dollars.  Of course, neither of us could pass up this amazing sale!  We each bought a few books, including one on motherhood for me called Mom…and Loving It!  Ironically, I came across this paragraph while reading my new book:  “Sharon (one of the authors) suggests calling your children when you are away and listen to how small they sound on the phone.  I am always amazed at how young my seven-year-old still sounds when I talk to her.  It reminds me to treat her like a little girl, not a little adult.”

So, when I returned home, I gave my oldest, but still little girl a great big hug and vowed in my mind to let her stay little for a lot longer!  And when I forget her age and start to put pressure on her to act much older than her years, I’ll just step outside with my cell phone and ask her to please answer the phone when it rings!

http://foralittlewhile.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/wake-up-call/

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1 Corinthians 7: Whose body is trump?

Now for the matters you wrote about: ‘It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.’ But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 1 Cor. 7: 1-4

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 Ephesians 5, spotlighted in “Practical Submission,” shows us how Christian husbands and wives are to relate to one another. But thankfully, the Bible is not silent on the situation where a believing wife is married to an unbeliever. 1 Peter 3:1-2 says,

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

 

Yes, submission is a hard word. Especially when you’re married to a man who doesn’t try to be an Ephesians 5 kind of husband. And it’s made harder by a culture that redefines and twists it, then mocks it to no end. But it’s in a biblical understanding of submission that lies the hope for an unsaved spouse. What joy to serve a God who inspired Peter to address women in that situation directly. And not only with instructions for following a husband’s lead, but also with hope that their obedience to God has the power to lead their mate to eternal life.

 

(I’m in no way suggesting a wife should stay with or submit to a man who is acting criminally toward her. Such a man has already abdicated his role and responsibility as her husband. He has forfeited his claim on her as wife.) View article…

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Key Bible Verse: “I pray also that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:21). Bonus Reading: John 17:21-23

In effect, Jesus said, “The world will be won not through the wisdom of our words, but through the witness of our oneness.” Our best hope for convincing the world that he was no ordinary human being is our unity. For only then do we accurately reflect the inner nature of God—a nature in which the diversity of Father, Son, and Spirit coexist in perfect complementarity.

What would happen if we focused less on the church’s shortcomings and more on its wondrous possibilities? Suppose we kept constantly aware that the way we relate to our fellow believers is the primary proof of God’s presence in Jesus Christ. (If, after all, God’s power can’t change your prejudices and mine, can persons outside the Christian faith really expect him to change their lives?)

Perhaps then the world would see that despite its many failures, the church is a wondrous miracle. It is loving and forgiving, laughing and weeping, worshiping and seeking God in the midst of this motley multitude of sinners and saints.

—Timothy Paul Jones in Prayers Jesus Prayed

My Response: A member of God’s family that I’ve laughed or wept with during the last week is ____.

Thought to Apply: The best place to start building unity in the church is to start working with a team of diverse people who are united by their common faith in Christ and their mission. —G. Walter Hansen (seminary professor)

Adapted from Prayers Jesus Prayed (Regal, 2002).

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Single Truths

In today’s Boundless article, Elisabeth Adams tells the truth about her singleness:

 

I want to be married.

Shouldn’t that have happened by now?

 

At first I ask, How do I change this? Then, as resignation sets in, I wonder, How do I survive singleness? In particularly painful moments, I want to know more: Why should I be contented? Why should I stay the course? Does God see me? Does He even care?

 

I think most singles can relate to Elisabeth’s feelings. I recently wrote an article on a similar topic. In it, I considered this question: “Am I valuable to God in my singleness?” The answer yes. Undeniably. I am chosen by God, eternally loved and redeemed for His purposes.

 

But feelings are another matter. Elisabeth talks about how her mother and grandmother got early starts on motherhood, while Elisabeth’s story will be different. Those are the kinds of realities that can distract and discourage us from living in the moment God has for us today. They can make us wonder if our singleness is a waste. The author reminds us that a useful life — a life that glorifies God — is founded in truth. These truths include:

 

·         I am primarily defined as God’s child (with all the blessings and responsibilities that entails), and not as a single woman.

·         The area of romance is not outside the realm of discipleship: God will use it to test me and refine me and bring me joy, just as He does with every other facet of my life.

·         Painful singleness can be godly singleness. God does not condemn me when I am upset. Those feelings have to go somewhere, and His ear and heart are the safest place.

·         Though I’m experiencing a different kind of pain than married people, we are all in the fellowship of suffering.

·         I can model true love while I’m single. Every day I continue to walk with Jesus, He gives me opportunity to exchange the “I-wants” stored up in my heart for the happiness of others. Because He loves me so outrageously, I can make a sacrifice, say “My pleasure,” and find it is the exact truth.

·         Waiting won’t stop when I enter a relationship. At each stage of friendship, courtship, and marriage, the future is still God’s business. Mine is to habitually counter my imagination with the truth: Who this person really belongs to, what our true relationship is — today — and what true love will do for him as a result.

·          

That is only part of the list Elisabeth provides. Truth is so important at any life stage. And, as the author points out, when we’re walking in truth — whether single or married — none of our days is a waste … not one single day. View article…

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Finding Hope in the Midst of a Job Search

Chris Salzman

 

The anxiety of losing a job can be crippling. One feels as if the life they have cultivated over the years just collapsed, and even in good economic times job searches take time. One’s purpose in life seems fleeting as the days of unemployment start to count up.

 

It is often while waiting for interviews or during the days of trawling the classifieds that even the ardently optimistic succumb to hopelessness. The weight of it all just becomes overwhelming.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way.

 

Here’s a brief excerpt from a helpful article by Christian Career Center titled Finding Hope in Troubled Times:

While there are key tactics that can help people find jobs more quickly, one of the most important strategies is cultivating a sense of hopefulness. Hope is critical to a successful job search. Without hope, we lose momentum and stop taking action to move forward. With hope, however, we are motivated to keep going. Hope enables us to believe that things will get better and that we will be able to overcome the present difficulties.

The source of hope for Christians, of course, is not a new President or new economic strategies, but, rather, God. And yet, while we may profess to believe in a God who knows us by name, cares about our lives, and has the power to see us through whatever difficulties we encounter, we may still find ourselves wrestling with despair and discouragement. How about you? If you could use more hope in your life and job search, try out these suggestions…

 

Head over to Christian Career Center to finish the article.

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 Mark Driscoll gives a realistic approach to doing family devotions at dinnertime: 

Step 1. Eat dinner with your entire family regularly.

Step 2. Mom and Dad sit next to one another to lead the family discussion.

Step 3. Open the meal by asking if there is anyone or anything to pray for.

Step 4. Someone opens in prayer and covers any requests. This task should be rotated among family members so that different people take turns learning to pray aloud.

Step 5. Start eating and discuss how everyone’s day went.

Step 6. Have a Bible in front of the parents in a translation that is age-appropriate for the kids’ reading level. Have someone (parent or child) open the Bible, and assign a portion to read aloud while everyone is eating and listening.

Step 7. Parents should note key words and themes in the passage and explain them to the kids on an age-appropriate level.

Step 8. Ask questions about the passage.  You may want to begin with having your children summarize what was read—retelling the story or passage outline.  Then, ask the following questions:  What does this passage teach us about God?  What does it say about us or about how God sees us?  What does it teach us about our relationships with others?

Step 9. Let the conversation happen naturally, listen carefully to the kids, let them answer the questions, and fill in whatever they miss or lovingly and gently correct whatever they get wrong so as to help them.

Step 10. If the Scriptures convict you of sin, repent as you need to your family, and share appropriately honest parts of your life story so the kids can see Jesus’ work in your life and your need for him too.  This demonstrates gospel humility to them.

Step 11. At the end of dinner, ask the kids if they have any questions for you.

Step 12. If you miss a night, or if conversation gets off track, or if your family occasionally just wants to talk about something else, don’t stress—it’s inevitable.

 

Adapted from “Family Dinner Bible Studies” by Mark Driscoll in Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter, a study guide. (Mars Hill Church, 2009), pages 69-70.

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The Glory of Christian Marriage

Now, what’s the difference between a Christian marriage and any other marriage?  For the most part I think a lot of people get married in the church for ceremony.  They say the right words, but don’t really include God in their decision.  It’s ceremonial or tradition, not from the heart.

 

I think the Christian Marriage works on our desire for our lives to become one together with each other and with God.  We are no longer alone in our walk but have a friend who is willing to accept us for our craziness (especially during PMS lol) and still love us.. but more than that, let us work on improving and seeking our roles out – even if we struggle with them and move forward with us, while everyone else around us may judge us or give up on us.

 

Now the crowning stone of a Christian Marriage is really Jesus.  Our united front to serve him together as a married couple.  Sometimes we aren’t the best at it, but we work on it.   And that is so important.  I can remember a time when we thought we were right and we were so far off track.   Our marriage was at the end of it’s rope and we really fell far off the edge of life… Even through our weakest periods God brought us back to Him and that I believe is the total glory of a Christian marriage… no matter how far you wonder off, if you put your mind back on Christ he can heal the brokenness of ANY marriage.  He can change and use our marriages as examples of his love and healing.  He can pick us up and show us how to be more like him and love our spouse even when we don’t want to.

 

I have watched friends who are married, struggle, live different lives, indifferent, get divorced, and just survive.  I have watched my own marriage go down the deep pit and thinking it would never survive again.. and than know that with God — He alone can heal it and make it come out clean and pure to him.  God wants so much for us.  He wants us to thrive and show His grace and mercy.  I don’t believe it’s possible to have a fulfilling marriage without Christ as the centre of it… because if there is something else in that spot it will be empty and we will try and fill it with other “things” and those “things” just can’t measure up and give us the peace and joy that we receive from having Christ in the centre.  From children, careers, and money can’t fill that spot and make our marriages feel as satisfying as knowing that Christ is in charge and has a plan for us.  He alone can truly can work miracles and change our marriages… and to me, that is the glory of the Christian Marriage.

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Real Trophy Wives

 

“In our society, women are repeatedly told ad nauseam, by those periodic packaged lies called women’s magazines, that it is their responsibility to deck themselves out in such a way that they ‘keep’ their man. A woman may be able to do this successfully in her twenties, and then have to work a little harder in her thirties and forties. Then, if she still buys all this foolishness, she really has to work in her fifties and sixties, because she is always competing with twenty-year-olds. If a wife treats fidelity in marriage as a prize to be obtained through competition, then somewhere, sometime, she is going to lose. This is the way of the world. But if she approaches it as a Christian woman, the older she gets, the more beautiful and serene she gets (1 Pet. 3:5)” (Her Hand in Marriage, pp. 50-51). View article…

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