Wednesday, November 30, 2011

W.o.W. Wednesday!


W.o.W. Wednesday!

     “To employ soft words and honeyed phrases in discussing questions of everlasting importance; to deal with errors that strike at the foundations of all human hope as if they were harmless and venial mistakes; to bless where God disapproves, and to make apologies where He calls us to stand up like men and assert, though it may be the aptest method of securing popular applause in a sophistical age, is cruelty to man and treachery to Heaven.  Those who on such subjects attach more importance to the rules of courtesy than they do to the measures of truth do not defend the citadel, but betray it into the hands of its enemies.  Love for Christ, and for the souls for whom He died, will be the exact measure of our zeal in exposing the dangers by which men’s souls are ensnared.”—Thornwell (From Final Authority:  A Christian’s Guide to the King James Bible)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Studying Out of Desire



            For a while God has put a desire in me to really pay attention to the book of James.  I have always appreciated the plainness of speech in this book.  Everything that is said is straightforward.  There are no questions as to the meaning of the words.
            So, for my morning devotions I decided to pay more attention in this book.  I simply wanted to slow down, write down, and muse.  I am so glad I did!
            Since everything in this book is so clear and straight to the point, it was very easy to write down notes.  I also saw that as I slowly read through a chapter, wrote down the points God showed to me, and mused upon them, that either that very day or soon after that day I was putting to use what He taught me.  He would bring about situations that called for me applying the knowledge and wisdom He had given to me in that chapter.  Was I ever grateful for listening to Him!
            These notes are just that:  notes.  Of course, I did not seek to go outside God’s clearly expressed will.  I did not seek to make His words fit into my ideology.  I simply wrote down as I read what He had already said.  These are the things I learned, as I read each chapter of this wonderful book:

JAMES

Chapter 1

1.)        Don’t grow weary as I am being tried for my faith.  Know that the trying of my faith brings patience.

2.)        Don’t waver in my belief.  Go to God in prayer boldly.  If I ask in unbelief, I’ll receive naught.  If I ask in belief, I’ll receive according to His will.

3.)        Stay humble.  Never allow riches to breed pride.

4.)        Never am I tempted of God.  I am tempted when I am drawn away by my own lusts.  When lust conceives, it brings forth sin.

5.)        Every good and perfect gift is of God.

6.)        Due to belonging to God, I need to be:  slow to speak, quick to hear, and slow to wrath.

7.)        Be a doer of the word, not only a hearer.

8.)        Bridle the tongue, visit the orphans and widows, and stay unspotted from the world.

Chapter 2

1.)        Do not be a respecter of persons in the faith; the wealthy are not better than the poor; there is no one better than another.

2.)        If I offend in one point of the law, I am guilty of all.

3.)        God gives judgment without mercy upon those who have judged without mercy.

4.)        Faith is seen as alive by the works that come out of it.  If I don’t do anything with my faith, it is considered dead.

5.)        Faith is dead without works, just as the body without the spirit is dead.

Chapter 3

1.)        Be not many masters, because we in many things offend all.

2.)        Only a perfect man is able to bridle the whole body and not offend in speech.

3.)        The tongue no one can tame, and it can cause great trouble!  All other creatures are able to be tamed by man.  The tongue is full of deadly poison.  Out of it I bless God and curse man.  It is not to be so with the children of God.

4.)        If I am wise, I need to live according to meekness of wisdom.  I am not to live according to bitterness, envy, and strife.  Wherever those things are is every evil work.

5.)        God’s wisdom is peaceable, gentle, easily-intreated, merciful, and without hypocrisy.

6.)        If I make peace, I will sow in peace the fruit of righteousness.

Chapter 4

1.)        Fightings and wars come amongst church members due to our lusts.

2.)        If I ask upon my lusts, I will receive naught.

3.)        Friendship with the world makes me at enmity with God.

4.)        God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.  Therefore, I need to go humbly before God, submit myself to Him, and the devil will flee from me.  God will cleanse me when I have a contrite heart.  God will lift up the lowly.

5.)        I am not to speak evil or condemn my brethren in Christ.  Only God is the one to condemn.
6.)        I am not to boast or trust in tomorrow.  I am to trust in the Lord.

7.)        If I know to do good, and don’t do it, it is sin.

Chapter 5

1.)        Men that gain and maintain their riches by fraud are warned of the coming judgment of God.  They are warned that the wealth they love so much will soon be gone.

2.)        Christians are given words of comfort in the midst of persecution and tribulation.  I am told that Christ is soon coming, therefore be patient!

3.)        I am to be patient; not hold grudges; stablish my heart; learn from the examples of the prophets of old; not to swear by anything, just give a clear “yes,” or “no” answer; pray when afflicted; sing when happy; receive prayer when I am sick; and to confess my faults to my brethren.

4.)        Christians are to be encouraged to know that when they have converted a sinner, that they have saved that sinner from hell.

            Quite a bit did I learn from reading that little book!  God sure is good at packing a lot of information in condensed formats!  It was such a blessing for me.  I pray it will be so for you, too!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Keeper At Home Temptations, Part 5


copyright www.abovethelaw.com

KAH TEMPATIONS, PART 5:  A DISCONTENT HEART

     Oh, the bliss of being a wife.  We get to be a keeper at home.  We get to manage a home.  We get to train children.  We get to love our special, ‘til-death-do-us-part, man.  Oh, what bliss!
     Oh, what stress!  No matter how much counsel a girl receives prior to the wedding day, we tend to politely ignore the warnings or preparatory counsel regarding the difficult times.  We are living with rose-colored glasses, due to being head-long into puppy love and/or lust.
     Reality hits, and hits at different times for all of us.  The rose-colored glasses are shattered.  We realize that puppy love turns quickly into tough-love. 
     Managing a home becomes a chore.  Loving our special man becomes drudgery.  Training children becomes an unanswered prayer, or a desire fulfilled that we regret.  The whimsical fancies of being a keeper at home become a reality that is not revealed in the romance novels, but one that is heavily scorned and shunned in the world—even amongst Christian circles. 
     Our hearts bring us low.  We start wistfully wishing for a nine-to-five job.  We daydream of the past, or of a “what-if” past/future/now.  We feel cramped in our home; whether it be an apartment, townhouse, hut, or house.  Our children seem to us as nothing more than a duty, a chore, a burden.  Our husbands…Yuck.
     Yes, our hearts speak to us the reality.  We think, and live, according to what is in our hearts.  It is just the way things go.
     It is easy to bemoan our lot in life as a keeper at home.  It is a station belittled in the word, in many churches, and by our discontent hearts.  It is easy to covet what is not ours, and despair of what we do have, or don’t have. 
     Yet, God hates murmuring.  He hates covetousness.  He hates sin.  And sisters, we are sinning if we’re off in la-la-land, wishing for other things/people.  We are sinning when we are no longer satisfied for what provisions and lot He has bestowed upon us, but rather ungrateful brats whining for something/someone else.
     Yes, our husbands are sinners.  Yes, so are children.  Yes, so are we.  Yes, the sinks are leaking.  Yes, the cars’ “check engine” light is on, again, and are husbands have yet to fix it.  Yes, the carpet if full of a science lab that if evolution were true, would very well possibly link us to our primordial-soup beginnings.  Yes, as soon as we dust, it collects on the surface again.  Yes, the home is way too small for our growing family.  Yes, yes, yes, these all are true and more.
    
     HOWEVER, we have:

  1. A husband
  2. Children (or one day!)
  3. Life
  4. A home in Heaven (if born-again), and a home on earth
  5. Warmth
  6. Food
  7. Love
  8. Things in which to fill our home
  9. Friends
  10. Family
  11. Salvation
  12. ________________ (Fill-in-the-blank)

     What if God took away everything we complained about?  What if we only received daily what we thanked God for the prior evening?  What if we had it all taken away in the blink of an eye, just as Job?  Would we covet then?  Would we bemoan our husbands, our children, our homes?  Or, would we weep in sorrow over the losses of such precious, irredeemable gifts?  Would we remember to be thankful, and to be content with such things as we have?
     I am speaking to the choir.  I all too often neglect gratitude.  Or, I am only grateful when I get my way.  Sometimes, I don’t even give God the thanks He is due.
     I read a good quote on Twitter today.  It said:  “Do you thank God only when you get your way, or simply because He is?”  I thanked Him today for simply Him, as well as remembering all the good things He has done in my life.
     This post is not intended to revive us to have the “Thanksgiving spirit.”  Rather, I hope to edify all my sisters in Christ, and myself, unto a spirit of giving of thanks—ALWAYS.  I am always being reminded of the fact that I never have a time in my life wherein He cannot receive praise from me.  I only choose to do so, or not do so.

SOME WAYS TO AVOID HAVING A DISCONTENT HEART

  1. Pray to the Lord to help!  “Truly my soul waiteth upon God:  from him cometh my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.”—Psalm 62:1, 2
  2. Read the Bible, for it is within the pages of that precious book wherein we will find our strength!  “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.  Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.  They also do no iniquity:  they walk in his ways.”—Psalm 119:1-3  “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”—Matthew 4:4
  3. Talk to your husband.  Let him pray with you, and for you.  Remember, God tells us that we are “…Heirs together of the grace of life…”—1 Peter 3:7
  4. Take a sheet of paper, and write down all the people in your life.  Write down how God has used them in your life.  Write down all the things in your home, or in your possession.  Write down the ways you use them.  Write down all the experiences in your life that you can remember.  Write down how God has used them in your life.  Before too long, you’ll start seeing how abundantly blessed you are in your life, and be able to thank Him for all His goodness in it.  Every day, remember to thank God for those things you’ve been given by Him, and for His praise!  “Stand in awe, and sin not:  commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.  Selah.  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.  There be many that say, Who will shew us any good?  LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.  Thou hast put gladness in my heart…”—Psalm 4:4-7a

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Seeing My Covetous Heart

            Recently, the Lord showed me a sin in my heart.  This sin had quickly and quietly manifested itself into my life.  Unfortunately, it did not just effect me, but everyone (especially Dear) else in my life.
            The sin God revealed to me was:  discontentment.  I was no longer satisfied with what I had.  I had to have something else.  I saw houses I liked, and came home to tell Dear.  I saw jewelry I liked, I came home and told Dear.  I saw this, that, and another thing, all to come home and tell Dear.  Poor Dear.
            Whenever I would talk to folks, there would be dissatisfaction in my speech.  I always was looking for something better.  Never content.  Never thankful.
            I tricked myself into thinking I was thankful.  I always remembered how angry God became due to the murmuring of the nation of Israel.  I did not want to do that to Him, too.  So, every day I would thank Him for things in my life, so as to not upset Him.
            However, I was only fooling myself.  I was not whole-heartedly thankful.  He knew it, and would remind me of it.  Yet, I would ignore it rather than confess it and forsake it.
            Then I went with some friends to see a house for rent.  My friend was in the market to rent, and so when we entered this house we saw, I squealed in delight!  This house was so beautifully constructed.  It had everything:  granite kitchen island, walk-in pantry and master closet, tile countertops, Pergo flooring, four bedrooms, two and a half baths, and more.
            After coming home, I told…Dear.  He smiled at me.  Later, one of my friends talked to me about what God had done in her life to show to her how ungrateful, discontent, and covetous she had become in her life.  By the end of our conversation, I saw clearly the Lord’s speaking to me through His testimony in her life.  My heart was greatly saddened.
            Though saddened, I was also THANKFUL.  God gave me a gentle, if not pleasant, lesson to learn.  I was covetous, discontent, and unthankful.  That night my heart changed.
            The next day, I spoke with Dear.  I wanted to find out how my sin had affected him.  Sadly, it had greatly affected him.  He felt so obligated to meet my desires, so as to make me happy.  He was so burdened, that all he could think about was meeting those desires.
            I quickly sought his forgiveness.  How foolish was I!  One of the last people I ever wanted to hurt was him, and yet hurt him I had.  Not only had my sin affected him so, but it was encouraging him to sin in other ways.  Such a vicious cycle.
            Nowadays, God has changed my attitude and heart.  When I feel the pull of covetous, I lay it at my Master’s feet.  I seek Him to protect me, and put in me a right spirit.  Every time, He takes care of me so as not to sin against Him.
            I am better able to be a blessing to others now.  I can now be free to know that my home is enough, my car is enough, my things are enough.  I don’t have to try to keep up with America to be content.  I simply need to realize that I have all my needs met by my Saviour and God, and that He has gone well beyond giving me my needs.  Having that knowledge, and living in constant contentment because of it, changes my perspective.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm Set Free, So I'm Gonna Live Like It!

 

     I am finding myself less and less concerned about the opinions of others.  Too often I lived upon the basis of whether or not someone liked me.  These days, however, God has been putting me through situations to teach me that it is not the opinion of man that matters most, but rather His.
     Now, please don't get me wrong.  I do listen to people, most of the time.  I always try to observe their viewpoint(s), and take stock of myself rather frequently.  I never want to be unreasonable.  I do not want to be malleable to the whims of people, though.
     Growing up the way I did, it became vitally important for me to please people.  I have observed that many firstborn children have the same desire, but I know I nurtured that desire more so due to my environment.  I carried that lifestyle into all of my relationships.
     One of the things I have seen God bring to my focus is that warped desire.  I know it is not wrong to please God, or my husband.  I know it is not wrong to want to bless others; thus, in a way, pleasing them.  However, I went so far as to withhold my feelings, my thoughts, my convictions, etc., just to keep the peace.  I would end up being bitter due to feeling violated, unappreciated, etc.  The one at fault was me, not them.  Regardless of the fact that someone may very well have been taking advantage of me, if I was letting them, shame on me.
     God has been teaching me to not be a people-pleaser, but a God-pleaser.  It still is a battle for me.  My flesh naturally wants to have every one like me, so as to keep the peace.  Yet, the spirit within me knows that not everyone will like me, especially when I hold true to God's Word.  When I speak and live as such as would please God, it does not always bring man pleasure.
     I thank my Heavenly Father for teaching me a lesson that has been at times difficult to endure.  I don't like bringing displeasure to the lives of others.  I don't like not being liked.  I don't like distance in relationships.  However, I don't like displeasing my Heavenly Father even more than all those dislikes.
     I'm finding much freedom in not always feeling sorry for what I think, say, or do, that are not wrong, only different.  I am finding much peace in not being bound in what others think of me.  I would rather walk peaceably and in the pleasure of my God, than with man at the cost of my sanity and fellowship with Christ.

Proverbs 29:25

"The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe." 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Re-focused

     So often it is easy for me to get caught up in my good works.  I cook, clean, attend church meetings, worship God, pray to Him, contend for the faith, share godly wisdom, etc.  Aren't I a good Christian?
     Uh, no.  You see, what I forgot to mention is the fact that Jesus Christ made me a Christian.  It is He who cleansed me with His righteous blood.  It is He who interceded and intercedes for me.  He gave me His righteousness.  I simply should respond rightly for all His grace.
     I have noticed that I will get my vision skewed when I look to myself or others.  Whether it be my understanding of Scripture or someone else's understanding; whether I am focused on living right; whatever it is that takes my vision off of Christ and His grace to see me through each day, I become self-righteous, discouraged, envious, depressed, angry, and more.
     I am thankful that today my God reminded me of my humble estate.  I am glad that Christ reminded me of His shed blood for me.  I am glad that God pricked my heart to not get caught up in man's understanding, but to lean upon His knowledge.  I am so thankful that my relationship never changes upon performance.
     How often I allow myself to be blinded.  I get so involved in myself or others, that I do not get close to Christ.  I am more apt to study anything or anyone else, rather than my Saviour who died for me.  Rather than study to understand more of the salvation He gave me, and responding in true thanksgiving and true worship, I study cleaning tips to look holier.
     Cleaning tips, cooking recipes, holy living books--all are good things.  However, when I misplace my focus and allow those things to be my focus, rather than God, then I get into trouble.  I become Martha, when I should be Mary.  I become a Pharisee rather than Christ-like.
     I cannot thank God enough for always working on my mind, my heart, my soul, my very being.  He works on me in such ways so that I will properly respond to His perfect will.  He is never content to allow me to stay wallowing in sin.  He wants my focus, my desire, to be Him, an by His grace it will be.  I know that when my heart and mind strays again, He, again, will bring me back into focus.

Ephesians 1

   1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
   2Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
   3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
   4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
   5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
   6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
   7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
   8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
   9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
   10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
   11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
   12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
   13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
   14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
   15Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
   16Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
   17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
   18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
   19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
   20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
   21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
   22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
   23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

The Imperfect Housewife

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

W.o.W. Wednesday!

     The poem I am about to share with you I copied from an edition of "Keepers At Home," a godly magazine for women.  Though I have yet to be a mother, I pray one day that God would so use me that He would be honored, glorified, and those He so bequeaths to me would speak in like manner:

A Mother's Mission
To My Special and Precious Mother

Oh, what can I say that would really describe,
My heart yearns to tell this great truth.
But not the critique of the most learned scribe,
Could couch all the thoughts of this youth.

The son of a "stay at home mom" I have been,
And that is the reason I'm well.
I cling to the Lord and forsake all my sin,
My soul is delivered from hell.

I see that in me is an unrighteous bent.
I feel I would soon go astray.
But since to the Lord you most lavishly lent,
By grace I will walk in God's way.

I know I've been given a most precious gift--
Devoted, committed attention.
With nothing in mind but to love, teach, and lift
And make me a man that's worth mention.

My mother has faithfully stayed with her boys,
And one daughter too, I should say.
Divine is this duty she truly enjoys,
For righteousness is the sure pay.

An outdated fashion it is, to be sure:
Rejects all this culture admires.
Religion it is, undefiled and pure,
And souls for our King it acquires.

I live for the King, indeed there is no other,
I seek to obey our Lord's Word.
I'll ever arise and give praise for my mother
And make this great truth widely heard.

That it is God's will, it is God's way
That mothers stay home all the time,
To teach and train children to love and obey,
This calling is truly sublime.

If only more mothers and mothers-to-be,
Even mothers whose children are grown,
Could follow the Bible and then truly see
Fulfillment in staying at home!

So, Mother, this tribute to you I do bring,
My soul is eternally grateful.
Together we'll serve and worship the King,
Because to God's Word you've been faithful.

I love you, Mother! --Benjamin Renaud, (one of your seven boys)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dear Chose Me

     My friend (whom I'll call V) and I were discussing life insurance policies and our husbands on Sunday afternoon.  No, we were not discussing how much we'd get if they died.  We were not discussing their demise.  We were simply talking...
     We were discussing it due to the fact that we are keepers at home.  If God ever so decided to bring our husbands Home prior to us, we were wanting to know our options.  (The more I write this conversation out, the worse it sounds...)  We started to see how truly dependent we are upon our husbands.
     At one point I got choked up in the conversation.  I started remembering how much my husband is my best friend.  I find it extremely difficult to imagine a life wherein he does not exist.  V felt the same about her husband.
     Every now and then I do sit and try to imagine what I would do or be like if Dear passed away unexpectedly.  I am not being morbid, only acknowledging that it could happen.  Many people have approached me regarding the matter, especially since I am not working outside the home.
     I do not wish to see us part, ever.  I love Dear so much that at times my heart feels as though it literally aches when we're separated, for any reason.  When I find myself thinking, or discussing, his possible passing, sadness overcomes me more than words could ever convey.
     Dear is my all, outside of Christ.  Christ is my ALL; Dear is my all.  Just like Sarah called Abraham lord, Dear is my lord.  Though I do not go around our home calling him such--in my heart, he is.
     He is my best friend.  He is my provider.  He is my protector.  He is my safe place to fall.  He is my advocate.  He is my counselor.  He is my lover.  He is all these things, and more.
     I admire him so much.  In spite of all his sin, he is so admirable in my eyes.  He is funny, witty, charming...Oh, so much that makes my heart go "pitty-pat," and butterflies soar in my stomach.  He is mine.  (Reminds me of Song of Solomon!)
     I do not put him on a pedestal.  I realize I am to depend upon Christ.  I know that my Heavenly Father is my PROVIDER, LORD, ADVOCATE, COUNSELOR, FRIEND, PROTECTOR, and MORE.  However, God did tell husbands to love their wives as Christ did the church, and I am on the receiving end of a husband seeking to obey that command.  (Ephesians 5)
     So, from our conversation, I started observing how blessed I am to have a husband on whom to rely.  I saw how blessed I am to have a husband who allows me to minister in so many wonderful ways, because he wants me to be a keeper at home.  I saw how blessed I am to have a husband seeking to obey Scripture, thus helping me to obey Scripture toward him.  Just as I am on the receiving end of Dear being like Christ, Dear is on the receiving end of me being like the Church. (Ephesians 5)
     I know I am a competent woman.  V and I discussed the thoughts that if our spouses passed on, that we would have to work if no one took care of us.  We know we could get work, especially if we don't have a home business.  We know, most of all, that God would take care of us and guide us through that type of situation.  However, I know that despite my competency, I am most potent being in the role God has called me to be in, based on how He created me.  He created me a woman, to be a help meet for my man.
     The more and more I live my life, the more I feel as though Dear is more my help than I his.  I feel as though the weights are imbalanced--that I got the better end of the deal than he.  I feel as though he suffers more from my sins than I his.  I get to enjoy such a blessed life in this beautiful role of help meet, keeper at home, lover, friend, playmate, etc.  I am so glad Dear chose me.



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