Monday, August 30, 2010

Memory Monday: Psalm 119:71

memory monday

Memory Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Joanne of The Simple Wife.

I came across this verse the other day and decided it would be a great one to memorize this week, in light of what the Lord has been teaching me lately.  Actually, there are lots of wonderful treasures to be memorized in Psalm 119.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. ~ Psalm 119:71 (NKJV)


Friday, August 27, 2010

A Season of Learning

Rachel at A Steady Rain has begun hosting a weekly blog link-up called Friday Feedback, and I wanted to give my own feedback to the question she's asking today.

What is a scripture passage that has impacted you recently?

The Lord has been taking me through a season of learning what Hebrews 12:5-11 really means.

     5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (NKJV)

I know that I'm one of those Christians that has to be hit over the head with scriptures about twenty times before I finally get understanding and start working to implement the truth into daily living.  This passage is something I've read over and over and heard taught many times, but I shamefully admit I let it go in one ear and out the other.

Until sometime in the last month or so....

I was getting it from every side... books, ladies Bible studies, a sermon someone sent me, my Bible reading.  It was very evident that God was trying to drive home His point with me.  I need to learn that I need His discipline because I really don't know what sinful thoughts and motives I harbor in my heart.  The pressure and squeezing I feel in circumstances helps to root that out and draw it to the surface.  It's not pleasant, but it's the only way I can see what needs to be changed and the idols that need to be knocked down in my heart.

So I'm learning.  Discipline is good.  Discipline means God loves me.  Discipline demonstrates I belong to Him.

Although painful, it does yield the fruit of righteousness when I've been trained by it.  So I'm working to embrace the process and be thankful, so I can become more like Him.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

True Womanhood: Part 9

True Woman This is the final installment of a series of posts I have written on the book Voices of the True Woman Movement: A Call to the Counter-Revolution by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  I received a complimentary copy from Revive Our Hearts ministry just for sharing my thoughts on each chapter.

Chapter 9: "A Call to the Counter-Revolution" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

We have reached the final chapter of the book, and Nancy sounds the battle cry calling to Christian women to stand together and live counter to the culture.  She addresses each type of woman: teen, single, married, mother, retired.  Each of us has a different responsibility, but we all have a common role.  We have been called out by God to live in a way that brings Him glory. 

Are you ready to work for the Kingdom, even if it means you must lay down your life?  A true woman does so, denying herself and taking up the cause of Christ and His gospel.  What does that look like?  Strong doctrine.  Submission.  Femininity.  A legacy of prayer. Courage.  Growth through suffering.  Walking by faith.  Surrendering to God for such a time as this.

I wish I could say I execute every one of those points with perfection, but I don't.  I live them at various times, but never consistently.  That's okay because that's why it's called progressive sanctification.  It's still a worthy fight to press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14 NKJV).  That's what it's all about, glorifying God and striving to win the prize.

I leave you with a final thought from Nancy....

Yes, God's calling on our lives will be difficult at times.  It may involve hardship and suffering and obstacles.  He has not promised us an easy life--a life of comfort, convenience, and self-fulfillment.  Rather, it is a calling to glorify God by laying down our lives, following in the steps of the Lord Jesus who willingly obeyed the Father and laid down His life so that we could live. (pg. 163)

I am determined to keep working at becoming a true woman of God.  It's a process, and it requires a daily submission to the Lord in every aspect of your life.  Are you ready to become a true woman, too?

If you would like to purchase this book, click here.  I believe it's an excellent resource for Christian women.

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Now, Where Did I Put That Post?

Um... wait a second.  There was supposed to be a blog posted this morning on my True Womanhood series.  Where is it?  I guess I forgot to set the publish date, and it's still sitting in my laptop at home right now.  That's what being almost 40 does to a person.  Ugh!

I guess it will be up this afternoon.  So don't go too far.  I'll be back shortly.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday = Tired

It's Monday.  I'm not sure why I'm tired.  I didn't go to bed too late last night.  It was around 10:00.  I guess Sundays are always just full for me and leave me feeling a bit "winded".  I told the church custodian that I think I'm gonna have to start taking Mondays off.  {Yeah, right!}

I have recently become a book review blogger for two different companies, and I flew through the pages of a new book over the weekend.  I am preparing to write a review on it, but  I'm thinking carefully about what my review will say because some things bothered me about it.  More to come on that later....

This Wednesday we start up our Bible club at church again.  It's always nice to start fresh, isn't it?  We're hoping to gain new kids this year, and from the sounds of it, we will be adding some.  As a leader I'm hoping to be able to come up with some fresh ideas to minister to the girls in my discipleship group.  I am never one who thinks outside the box very quickly.

Well, I better get out there and go for a nice, brisk walk.  Maybe that will infuse me with some needed energy.

Have a nice Monday.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

True Womanhood: Part 8

True Woman This is the eighth installment of a series of posts I will be writing on the book Voices of the True Woman Movement: A Call to the Counter-Revolution by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  I received a complimentary copy from Revive Our Hearts ministry just for sharing my thoughts on each chapter.

Chapter 8: "Leaving a Lasting Legacy Through Prayer" by Fern Nichols

Are you a woman of prayer?  Fern Nichols shares how a true woman will leave a legacy of prayer long after she's gone.  Prayer is something that remains because its power will continue affecting generations to come.

Your greatest spiritual investment is praying for your children and grandchildren, that they will know the will of God and be obedient to Him.  If you don't have children, you may have nieces, nephews, children in Sunday school class or other children within your church that can be lifted in prayer.

Imagine the impact you could have in their lives as you spend a little time each day praying for their futures.  I've thought about this much with my own nieces and nephews, in particular.  They are facing a broken home, and I don't know how much I'll be within their sphere of influence in the coming months.  It's disheartening to me, but only to the extent that I believe that I must physically do something for them.  When I decide to believe God when He says prayer is powerful and He calls me to persistently approach His throne of grace, I no longer need to worry about those kids.

It brings me tremendous hope and encouragement when I consider what God could do in their lives if only I'd pray.  You see, I'm insufficient in myself to take care of them anyway, so why not fully rely on God's sufficiency for their needs?  He can answer my prayers exceedingly abundantly above all I ask or think.

Fern speaks of the Lord's model prayer,

"Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).  Jesus is asking us to call on His name, participating with Him in seeing His will accomplished in our place and time.  He wants us to take Him up on this incredibly powerful opportunity!.... Long after we're gone and our lives are but a memory, God will still be responding to the faithful, fervent prayers we've offered on behalf of our dear ones.

I'm not sure I had ever given much thought to the lasting effect of prayer, even after I've passed away.  What an incredible thought.  I desire to leave a legacy of prayer.

A true woman prays.  How is your prayer life?

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

True Womanhood: Part 7

True Woman This is the seventh installment of a series of posts I will be writing on the book Voices of the True Woman Movement: A Call to the Counter-Revolution by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  I received a complimentary copy from Revive Our Hearts ministry just for sharing my thoughts on each chapter.

Chapter 7: "God's Jewels" by Joni Eareckson Tada

I've reached my favorite chapter of the entire book, the chapter written by Joni.  The few things I've read of hers encourage me in the arena of suffering.  She never fails to bring me to tears.  If you don't know who Joni is, she is a quadriplegic of about 40 years and serves the Lord out of a lovely heart of humility.

As I write this entry, I am enduring a trial with my cat.  I know that might sound trivial to some, but it's been slightly chaotic at my house the last couple days and I have been at my wit's end at times.  Those of you who've been keeping up with me know that my cat has a urinary tract infection and has been struggling off and on for a couple weeks now.  Understand that to watch your animal suffer is a trial. 

Joni speaks of trials as God polishing His precious jewel.  Genuine jewels can take a good scrubbing to bring forth the gleam and beauty of the gem, and so can God's disciples, His jewels. 

Trial and adversity are the "scrubbings" our Lord gives us to bring forth His glory in our lives, to get rid of our impurities.  He's refining us like gold.  He's chiseling away those rough spots and fashioning us into beings that resemble the Lord Jesus.

So I've been pondering my own "scrubbing" while I go through this trouble with my cat, and I've thought about something that Joni said that has really struck me.  In order to be changed, I must learn to hate sin, and that's what the scrubbing is about.

Yes, to be made like Jesus is to become kind and gentle and thoughtful and compassionate, but first--if you really want to be like Christ--you must learn to hate sin.  To be like Jesus is to be made sinless.... God cares most, not about making us comfortable, but about teaching us to hate our transgression and to grow up spiritually--to love Him.  That's the purpose behind the toothbrush--the refining, the chipping, the polishing.

I believe this is what God has been desiring to teach me in the last couple weeks and for this season.  Everywhere I turn I keep hearing things about enduring suffering, learning obedience, and not despising the discipline of the Lord.  Discipline is good for me.  It's not that I've necessarily sinned and brought on a punishment in the discipline, but God knows the sinful thoughts and motives that reside in my heart and needs to draw them to the surface in order for me to recognize them and change.  Discipline will do that.

What is it that God is showing me through the pressures of my sick cat?  Well, it's very evident that I have an idol of wanting to be in control, and I am sooooo not in control in this situation.  It forces me to run to God because He IS in control.  It also creates a longing for Heaven because this disease is a result of our fallen world.  All creation suffers because of sin.  Maybe I'll live less for this world and more for Heaven in observing the brevity of life.  Those are just a few things that come to mind.

So the next time you're getting a good "scrubbing", remember that you're God's precious jewel, and He is preparing you to shine... like His Son.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NKJV)



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Listen" by Rene Gutteridge

ListenListen by Rene Gutteridge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read some of Rene Gutteridge's books, particularly the Boo series about quirky small-town folks, which are hilarious. 

Although this is set in a small town, it's of a different genre.  It's a fast-paced story about the power of the tongue.  What if everyone in your town, your school, your workplace, or your church knew who said what about whom because the conversations were posted on a public website? 

Reading Listen made me evaluate how I talk about other people. The Bible says we are to allow no corrupt communication to come out of our mouths, but only what is necessary for building other people up. Are my words edifying, or do they tear down? Could someone else listen in on my conversations without me feeling ashamed of what I've said?

Our words have the power of life and destruction. Choose wisely what you will speak.

I loved Listen, and I highly recommend it. I've never read anything like it. This book will make you think twice about the quality of your conversations.

View all my reviews on Goodreads >>

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's Just Life

Miss me yet?  I haven't forgotten about my blog.  Just distracted or not feeling well or running my cat back and forth to the vet... TWICE.  You know, just life.

Honestly, I did have to run Teddy (the one with the urinary tract infection) to the vet twice today because he couldn't go potty.  Late this afternoon we were seriously looking at the possibility of putting him to sleep, but the circumstance has not dictated such, as of yet.  He's staying overnight at the vet to be monitored now, and we'll see how he is in the morning.

I'll be writing the 7th installment of my True Womanhood series sometime this week.  I have a post in the works.  It's just all in my head right now, waiting to get out.

Be back soon...

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Along the River

Wordless Wednesday:

The City

Too bad my cell phone didn't do this photo justice.  It was a lovely day on my bike ride.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

True Womanhood: Part 6

True Woman This is the sixth installment of a series of posts I will be writing on the book Voices of the True Woman Movement: A Call to the Counter-Revolution by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  I received a complimentary copy from Revive Our Hearts ministry just for sharing my thoughts on each chapter.

Chapter 6: "Choosing Faith in Season of Change" by Karen Loritts

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Ready?  I am a very fearful person.  I'll bet a lot of people don't know that about me, but just ask my parents, my husband, and my best friend.  They could give you an earful about my fear of going new places, meeting new people, trying new activities, and experiencing new things.

I don't know why I'm like this, and I wish I wasn't.  For one thing, I know it's sin, but even beyond that, fear keeps me from living life to the fullest... arms wide open.

Okay, let's go back to the fact that it's sin.  Do you realize that having fear is not just having fear?  Fear brings friends with it, as Karen Loritts points out in this chapter.  Fear brings with it a variety of nasty things, such as doubt, an inability to think rationally, paralysis, disappointment, despair, and emptiness.

As I went over her list of "fear buddies" I could put a checkmark next to all ten.  I remember a night when my heart was so gripped with fear about a situation. I became angry and yelled at my friend when she was trying to speak truth to me.  My thoughts were so held captive by the object of my fear, that I couldn't even think straight, and all she could do was walk away from me.  Later as I considered how I must have looked to her, I knew I must have had a wild look in my eyes.  At least, that's how it felt in retrospect.

Yeah, that's me.  Quite the picture of Jesus, aren't I?  Um... no.

Alright, so if I truly want to look like Jesus and be a true woman of God, I know I'm going to have to do something about my fear.  I must fight it, and God's Word is the only effective weapon. 

Do you know what the Word tells me?  God is in control.  He loves me.  He is working good for me.  He is being glorified through me.  If I believe God's Word and surrender to Him in light of all of those truths, then I can fight my fears.  I will see the fearful thing from His perspective.

This is something I work at all the time.  I'm not sure if the fight gets any easier, but at least I think I recognize my fear more quickly and work to take wrong thoughts captive. 

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 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.  - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV)

A true woman will bring her thoughts under submission to Christ, and when she does, there will be less fear and more peace.  That's where I want to live.

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Memory Monday: Psalm 62:5-6

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. ~ Psalm 62:5-6 (ESV)

memory monday Lately, my world as I know it has been turned upside down.  My natural response is to get rattled and anxious.  I really do want to practice dwelling in God's presence because I don't enjoy feeling like such a mess.

I'm choosing this memory verse for the week because it's a reminder for me that trusting in God is waiting on Him alone.  Hoping in Him alone.  Making Him alone my rock and my salvation.  When I do, I will not be shaken.