Saturday, May 28, 2011

it's friday

but sunday's coming. . .

i want to be ready.

i don't want to be a picky eater
when i sit down at a banquet of truth,
even though i may,
like the bereans,
check the scriptures to make sure
that i'm really taking in truth.

i don't want to be grading
the performance of the preacher,
as if he were my student
in a public speaking class.
i want to be a hearer of the word
and a doer of the same,
receiving with meekness
the engrafted word.

i want to learn,
asking questions
to the appropriate person
in the appropriate time and place--
not challenging the authority
or veracity
of the God-ordained leader,
not dragging out a personal issue
for public discussion,
but in humility
increasing understanding.

i want to begin
with a heart prepared to obey,
to live at unity God's people,
a desire to encourage others
to love and good works.

Father, please fill my heart
with a song of joy,
with generosity,
with reverence,
with humility.

Lord, have mercy on me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

life quest

when i was young and contemplated having a life verse, i couldn't really settle on one. but then my youth pastor spoke to us about the value of seeking wisdom as if we were searching for gold. he was animated about it's importance, citing a number of exhortations from solomon's writings in the book of proverbs. i was captivated by the passage:

[my father] taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
keep my commandments, and live.
Get wisdom; get insight;
do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
love her, and she will guard you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get insight.
Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
she will honor you if you embrace her.
She will place on your head a graceful garland;
she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.” --Proverbs 4:4-9

as my life seemed extremely difficult, i felt inadequate to do any good in my situation. How i yearned to know how God would want me to think and act! consequently, james 1:5 became precious to me: "if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." many times i have called out to God to grant me wisdom, and he has never failed to grant my request.

in that special passage that encourages women to excellence, one virtue that is extolled is wisdom. "she opens her mouth with wisdom" we are told in proverbs 31:26. i want that too.

and moses, in the one psalm authored by him, wrote, "so teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom" (psalm 90:12). let it be so, dear Lord.

God's Goodness in Suffering

This message by Mark Talbot, All the Good that Is Ours in Christ: Seeing God's Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us, was recently posted on John Knight's blog, The Works of God. I always find John's articles helpful, and was especially encouraged by this message by Mark Talbot this morning.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


"We're asked not to submit to fallible men but to Christ, the lover of our souls. And submission to Christ means liberation from necessity, circumstance, setback, envy, resentment, and eventually death. The wife-and-mother role looks small when married to a couch potato in a houseful of unappreciative kids. But what if Prince William asked us to marry him? And what if, instead of mindlessly popping out babies, we were invaluable links in a royal line? What's demeaning about motherhood, when the Lord of all creation chose to be a mother's son? What's the problem with being a wife, when the King of the Universe wants to marry us?

"True freedom is not obsessed with getting what's mine, but owning what is God's. Happy the woman (and man, for that matter) who can let go of herself and clutch even the hem of that royal garment."

Janie B. Cheney on World Magazine's blog today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Charlotte Mason introduced me to the idea of "innate authority." In her observation of parents, she felt that some were either overbearing or negligent because they didn't understand that they have God-given, innate authority, and that a child may fight that authority but cannot overrule it.

In modern evangelical circles, many seem to have lost the idea of "innate authority" in relation to the husband's leadership in our homes. One may hear conversation assuming that a wife should let her husband lead, or that God has commanded men to lead, or that a husband can choose whether or not to lead. These assumptions find no basis in Scripture.

One scripture that alludes to a husband's leadership in the home is found in Ephesians 5. The passage reads:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (verses 22-24, ESV)

The command is to wives: submit to your own husband as to the Lord. The presupposition: the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church. His leadership is a God-given, innate position. He may do it purposefully or oppressively or negligently, but he is the only one doing it. The first example of man's accountability to God for his leadership is in Genesis, when God came into the garden after man's fall. He called Adam to give an account first. In addition, God holds Adam responsible for bringing sin into the world (Romans 5:12).

In the physical analogy, the head is the head. The neck or the heart or the arm doesn't "let" the head be the head. Each member of the physical body submits to the instructions and leadership of the head. If the body cannot or will not do what the head requires, there is some kind of dysfunction and disability.

Christ is the head of the church. Whether we totally understand the details of how this manifests itself, according to the passage in Ephesians, the true believers in Christ will submit themselves to Jesus Christ, obeying his will.

This is a wife's example. One's husband is her head. When did that happen? When she took vows before God and witnesses to be his wife. Maybe an individual woman excluded that from her marriage vows, but before God that is part of the essence of being a wife. Submission to her husband is part of her submission to God.

If a woman thinks that her husband can turn his leadership on and off, she will fall into some habits of dysfunction. She will assume that she can discern when he is leading, and when he is not. She may feel that there is a vacuum of leadership, a void that someone must fill. However, if she assumes that he is leading, she will be looking for the ways that he is leading. Once she has discerned the direction that he is leading the family, she will either respond critically, even rebelliously, or she will be submissive and supportive. Sometimes she will like the way he's leading. Sometimes she will not.

In responding a husband's leadership, a woman cannot always be "happy" with all the decisions he makes. Examine yourself:
*Am I unhappy just because I'm not getting my own way?
*Am I unhappy because he's following God and I don't like the sometimes difficult consequences of that decision?
*Am I unhappy because my husband is disobeying God, and I fear the repercussions of God's chastening?

If a wife is displeased and angry because she is not getting her own way, she needs to repent of pride and arrogance--of being self-centered--and ask for God's help to be more loving.

If a wife is fearful and upset because of the consequences of her husband's taking a strong position of integrity? Remember Job's wife? She must repent and love God more than she loves her own ease and convenience.

Is a wife discouraged and grieved because her husband is in clear disobedience to the word of God? Consider the following scripture:
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.(I Peter 3:1-6, ESV)

If your husband is disobeying the Lord, reflect on this passage prayerfully, asking God for wisdom to know how to respond and for the gentleness and tranquility of spirit that He Himself values so highly.

Sisters, let us take courage in knowing that we have the power of the resurrected Christ to empower us to be victorious in Him.

Dear Father, help us to see how our husbands are leading, to respect the manly leaders you have made them, to encourage them to be godly leaders, and to trust you even in the painful times.

Monday, May 9, 2011

what i need in five years

a greater love for God

a more unselfish love for others

in whatever condition i find myself

a growing trust in the Lord and His word

a more restful, willing obedience to Him

a willingness
to sell everything i have
and share it all with the poor

such complete dedication to the Lord
that whatever i do, i do for his glory

a bolder witness for Jesus Christ

less quenching God's Spirit,
more filling by him

more experience
knowing God and his word

ceaseless communication with my Savior

peace beyond understanding

unconditional joy

purity of heart

greater ability to make peace

rejoicing in mistreatment
and misrepresentation

knowing the fellowship
of the sufferings
of Christ

in God

this is just a beginning. . .