Monday, October 5, 2009

for me to ponder outloud...

I was reading a post from a xanga blogger that I follow today. She is an amazing woman - a heart after God's; a wonderful mother to her 7 kids; wonderful wife, I'm sure; and the interesting thing is that I have never met her. She pours out her heart for the world to see on her blog, so I feel like I've gotten to know her. Her thoughts are so much more in depth than mine are and it continually amazes me that she can put into words things that I can't. Little does she know, she has more than once put into perspective some of my struggles and answered some of the same questions I have asked myself. God is just amazing. Anyway, here is just a part of a recent post she posted about life revolving around ME:


"...I can't tell you how much I see it, hear it out there - ya know, that everything is to be about me. How I feel. What I want. That I am in control. Life is about me. It should revolve around what I want and feel and think. This is America. This is our culture. This is what it is to be a woman. This is what we are told all over the place and a thousand times over - this is what will make us happy and fulfilled: life revolving around me.

Sadly, lots of churches aren't saying any differently. It's all about what christianity can do for ME - what can God do for ME - wealth, health and prosperity! God's wonderful plan for ME! Me, me, me. He wants ME to have all I could want. He wants ME to be happy and so if I'm not happy, well it must not be from God. . .

If we accept this ME centered "gospel" and false christianity, then I guess we must conclude that Job must not be meant to be in the Bible. Along with lots of other verses.

I remind my children, "Life's not about you. . ." Not in a mean kind of way, but a realistic type of way. But that doesn't mean a hill of beans to them if they see me living for myself - making them revolve around me - treating them as if they do live for me and spend their lives watching me manipulate or control or treat my husband like he is here for me too.

Living like the world revolves around me can look "christian" if done the "right" way. We can do good stuff, talk right, smile, go to church, have children, and all the rest of the list for: ourselves ~ For our own good, not for the good of others. For reputation. For a pat on the back. For praise and adoration from others.

How can I know if I am living out of the world's idea about life instead of God's?

-I don't have inward (or outward) peace when things don't go as I want.
-I can't get over hurt.
-I use people for my own agenda, reputation, or purposes.
-I manipulate (kindly or unkindly) for my own good.
-I get frustrated in relationships when someone doesn't act like I think they should.
-I feel sorry for myself.
-I deal with depression or discouragement on a daily basis.
-I want, and maybe even demand, that others live up to my standards and beliefs.
-I am discontent with what I have and don't have. Always want more.
-I compare myself to others.
-I can't be wrong, others are.
-I want things to happen in my time frame.
-I cut others down to lift myself up.
-I only surround myself with people who think like me.
-I shift blame.
-I do things with expectations of return from others.
-I give to get.
-I am "happiest" when everyone thinks well of me.
-I live by my feelings, not reality.
-I do "good" things with ME as the ultimate motive.
-I think my desires and dreams are what I should live for.
-I want the glory. The affirmation. The praise for what I do and my children do.
-I want my accomplishments to be known."


Ouch. So many of those items I can check off and say "guilty". And the sad thing about it is I don't realize how much it is all about me until after I've taken a step back and say - "wow, that was really selfish." And by then the damage is usually already done. How sad we live in a society today that teaches us that life revolves around ME...

On a lighter note, my dear sis turned 30 today! I called to tell her Happy Birthday this morning and my nephew answers the phone...

Me: did you know it's mommy's birthday today?
Him: *gasp* Holy cow! Why is her birthday today?
Me: because she was born on this day today.
Him: I'm going to tell her Happy Birthday right now...

And in the background I can hear him running up the steps, yelling "Mommy!" and this is what i hear:

"Happy Birthday! Did you know you were born on this day a long long time ago??"

Oh, the innocence of a 4 year old! :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer

Summer has arrived in full swing. And it's passing me by before I have the chance to realize that it's finally here! June is almost over - we've been cramming so much in that I'm losing track of the days! The highlights of June are:

1. We moved dad's shop to our new building - that was a little bit bigger job than i expected, but we are finally now all settled in and operations are back to the new normal!




2. We celebrated 1 year of marriage on June 1st. We took a little overnight trip to Cincy to celebrate. It was a much needed weekend away! Our cake topper was still delicious, btw!


3. We have a new nephew that was born on June 2. Tucker is the cutest little guy ever!


4. We went camping for 4 days with some good friends and it turned out to be an awesome weekend to camp! Did get wet a little the last night we were there - so everything was dirty and wet to pack up and come home. It was great to be home in my own bed and shower!

5. We finally had some time to work around the house outside. It was in much need of some TLC - it's still a work in progress, but it's looking much better these days! The new driveway turned out great and it's so nice to have a circle and more parking room. The weeds have finally turned brown and we stirred up the mulch around the trees. They now look freshly mulched...i love the look of fresh mulch - and i'm loving the fact that we got it and didn't have to pay for it this year! there were a few low spots in the yard that needed filled in with dirt and grass planted. Grass started to come up just 3 days later - we are very excited about that! Thanks to my wonderful hubby for diligently watering the new grass and my flower beds every night!
6. We've had overnight company for a couple of days - it was great catching up with an old friend! Looking forward to her return this fall. Will have some other overnight company in the coming week - one of my nieces and a good friend that is returning home for a visit and possibly some out of town family! Will be a busy house in the next several days!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Love

I thought this was a great example of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
How many times I have failed to remember all the qualities of what love really means? What a great reminder of Christ's love and how we are to demonstrate it to others.

I am patient with you because I love you and want to forgive you.
I am kind to you because I love you and want to help you.
I do not envy your possessions or your gifts because I love youand want you to have the best.
I do not boast about my attainments because I love you and want to hear about yours.
I am not proud because I love you and want to esteem you before myself.
I am not rude because I love you and care about your feelings.
I am not self-seeking because I love you and want to meet your needs.
I am not easily angered by you because I love you and want to overlook your offenses.
I do not keep a record of your wrongs because I love you,and ‘love covers a multitude of sins.’

Jerry Bridges
Action Statements based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
The Discipline of Grace, p. 39

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Change. I don't handle change very well. Wish it would be easier for me to handle. I suppose it's the fear of the unknown maybe that makes me hold my breath when there's some big decision for changes in my life. Or others lives that affect mine. humph. I'm a constant peace praying person. God is so lovely at giving it to me when I ask - just wish I didn't have to ask several times just to make sure! Pray for peace for all decisions being made - no matter how small or big.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Encouraging Word

I get Klove's encouraging word in my email everyday. Today's verse really struck me as nothing less than fascinating (which all of God's word is awesome, just sometimes it takes a little longer to speak to me). Just if we could all take it to heart and put aside one's self and our "right" or "wrong" judgements on what others are doing. One person & their situation came to mind when reading this verse - I do hope they know who they are and would like to encourage them to keep praying - I know I am! Love you!

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.
~ 1 Peter 3:8, NLT

Monday, March 2, 2009

An Attractive Christian Woman

So, I started receiving emails from Nancy Leigh DeMoss' Revive Our Hearts series. This was today's topic and it really struck a cord and made me think about not only myself, but wondered if other christian woman feel the same way? Dress is something I have yet to figure out for myself - what's right and wrong and why. After reading this, it makes sense now that how you dress is often a reflection of what's really in your heart. And I can clearly see that now - those days that I don't really care are the days that I need to really examine my heart and change my attitude. Anyway - take it for what it's worth, but I truly believe there's some truth in the fact that what's on the inside is truly reflected on the outside. I pray that I don't give the wrong impression. Here's today's segment:

I want to start a series today on what I think is one of the most important New Testament passages, perhaps one of the most important passages in all of God's Word for us as women.
It's one of those passages that speaks directly and specifically to us as women. As I've been studying these two verses, I've found just a wealth of not only information but material that is transforming my own heart, my life, and my thinking as I've been studying it.
In fact, even late last night I found the Lord really using this passage to challenge my own heart and to bring conviction and to show me areas that really need to change in my own walk with the Lord.


So I want to share with you some fresh thoughts that have been on my heart in relation to 1 Timothy 2:9-10. You may want to turn there if you have your Bible. We're going to spend several sessions just looking at these two verses and unpacking what it has to say for us as women.

If we want to be counter-cultural women, these are the verses that tells us how to do it. I want to give you a context in this first session for this passage and show you where it fits and give you an overview. Then, in the next few sessions we'll look at it a phrase at a time.
The context here in the book of First Timothy is that the apostle Paul is giving Timothy, who is pastor of the church in Ephesus, he is giving instructions for the church. Particularly in this segment he is talking about instructions for the church family when they come together for worship, the official assembly of the church.

Now, what he is going to say here applies outside the official assembly of the church as well. Specifically, he is talking about how men and women ought to behave at church; what they ought to do. And then when we leave church, we don't want to leave these attitudes and behaviors behind.

He is saying when God's people come together, it's really important that they understand that there are some distinct instructions for men and for women. We are different. We have different roles and different functions in the Body of Christ. If we follow these distinct instructions for men and for women, then God will be glorified, our churches will prosper, and the gospel will go forth.

But if we neglect to be the women we are supposed to be in the church and if men fail to be the men they are supposed to be in the church, the cause of Christ will be damaged, and we will bring reproach on the name of Christ. So it's very important that we understand and live out what it means for us to be women of God in the church.

First, in verse eight (and I am just going to touch on this), he talks to the men about what they ought to do and be like at church. He talks to the men about leading in prayer. He says in verse 8, "I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling."

This is not to say that women should not pray or that it's okay for women to be angry or to quarrel. He is saying that when the church comes together for worship, for its official assembly, men (the word there is men as opposed to women, it is not like mankind in general, this is the males in the group), men are intended to be the ones who provide spiritual leadership. They are intended to be the leaders when the church meets for corporate worship.

He deals here with the actions or the behavior of the men and with their attitudes, as he is going to do in just a moment with the women. He says as far as actions and behavior are concerned, they should "lift up holy hands."

That is talking about their behavior. They should be unpolluted and unstained by evil. Then he talks about their attitudes toward others. They should be "without anger or quarreling."
Now, neither men nor women are to be angry or quarrelsome. But I think, perhaps, one of the reasons Paul mentions this here may be that men are more prone to be angry or quarrelsome. So he traces the area of their potential weakness, just as he is going to do in a moment with us as women.

He moves on in verses 9 and 10 to talk to women about (not their actions first this time). First he talks about their appearance, what they should wear. He talks to men about how they should pray, and he talks to women about how they should dress.

That is the first item he brings up on his agenda for women in church. He talks to women about their appearance or their attire, and then he talks to them about their attitudes, and then he talks to them about their actions.

We're going to look at each of these in the next few days. He says that the way these women dress is a reflection of their heart and their character. If they have right attitudes, that will produce a right appearance. What I think he is saying is that you can't separate the inward from the outward.

We say, "God looks on the heart. That means the way I dress doesn't matter." No, because God looks on the heart. The way we dress does matter because the way we dress is intended to be a reflection of our hearts.

So Paul says, in 1 Timothy 2:9 and 10, "Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel," that's their appearance; now their attitudes, "with modesty and self-control."

Now it goes back to touch on the specifics of the appearance. "Not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works."

Women are to be clothed not only with modest or decent apparel and clothing, but also with good works. So he is making reference to their appearance, their attitudes and their actions. He is calling us as women to take our proper place in the church.

Let's just look at that first sentence. "Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control." Let me read that in a few different translations because the Bibles that you have may translate it differently.

The NIV says that women should "dress modestly with decency and propriety." Or, if you have a New American Standard, it says that women should "adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly."

The New King James that I often use says that women should "adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation." Or if you are using the King James, the Authorized Version, it has an interesting phrase in here. It says that women should "adorn themselves in modest apparel with shamefacedness and sobriety."

Now, before we go into all the details of those words and phrases, I want to look at the bottom line at the end of this verse. The explanation, the motivation for all of this, Paul says, "This is what is proper [or suitable] for women who profess godliness."

The NIV says this is what is "appropriate for women who profess to worship God."

What is he saying by all these phrases? He is saying that being this kind of woman in appearance, in attitudes, and in actions is how you prove that you are a child of God.

This is how you demonstrate your profession of faith. It is tragic to me how many people we have in our churches, men and women, who profess to be Christians but give no evidence. They don't dress like Christians. They don't have Christian attitudes, and they don't act like Christians.

Paul says, "If you want people to believe your profession of faith, if you claim to be a Christian, then you better demonstrate it by having these things in place. This is the evidence of your true heart and your character. You can't separate the two."

Who you are and what you are will come out in the way that you look, the way that you act, and the attitudes that you demonstrate toward other people. Think about it in a sort of reverse way. Can you imagine Madonna dressing in respectable apparel with modesty and self-control?

I mean, can you imagine Madonna looking that way? No. Why not? Because she doesn't profess godliness. She dresses in a way that is suitable, or appropriate, for what she believes. She dresses and conducts herself in a way that is consistent with her value system, with her belief system, with her profession.

In the same way, it should be equally unthinkable for a woman or a girl who claims to worship God not to wear respectable apparel and not to exhibit modesty and self-control.

If you claim to worship God, if you claim to be a Christian, then your appearance, your attitudes—the way you treat other people, the way you treat your husband and your children when they are getting on your nerves, your attitudes at work and at church, your actions—they need to support your claim to be a child of God.

I want to say that women in the church can be either a great blessing or they can do incredibly great damage. They can make the gospel believable, or they can cause people to turn away from Christ.

You see, these two verses matter for us as Christian women so that we will learn how to dress ourselves in respectable apparel and to be clothed in the attitudes of modesty and self-control and that our actions would be those of good works.

So, over these next few days, we are going to examine these two verses phrase by phrase and we are going to ask ourselves, "Do you measure up to this standard? Is this the kind of Christian woman you are? Does your life support your profession of faith? Is it consistent with what you say you believe?"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hi, I'm new

New to this blogging stuff. And twitter. What in the world? I must be getting old for technology is passing me by! I will have to admit, I'm not much into blogging - I kinda forget about it alot of time. Just check my very outdated xanga site. But it's a new year and the turn of a new leave? Maybe. I'll try my best...