Cloud of Witnesses: Amy Carmichael


Truly, before I began blogging, I had never heard of Amy Carmichael. After reading posts from women bloggers who referred to her writings and life, my interest was sparked. I began looking for a book by her and asked around online. And then sweet Gina at Chats With An "Old Lady" sent me one! Edges of His Ways- Daily Devotional Notes by Amy Charmichael, is the book she sent me...and it has touched my heart every day as I read it. (Here's a link to a bio on Amy Charmichael)

I wanted to share this excerpt from the July 23rd entry:

Matt.20:23: Ye shall indeed drink of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.

These words have been the food on which I have fed during the last three days. Some of the Lord's followers have the greatest of all surprises of joy. They are like James, who with one stroke of the sword was with the Lord. Others, like John, have set before them the long road of life. To these two for whom such contrasting experiences were appointed, this word was spoken. Both drank of the cup; both were baptized with the baptism; but there is, I think, no comparison between the two tests of faith appointed. The beloved disciple was, I suppose, the most sensitive of all to pain as well as to joy, and yet the test to which he was called was incomparably the harder. But think of the wonder of it- if by a quick, sharp release one drank of the cup, the other equally drank of it as he lived to serve. As we look back upon this "little while" it will indeed seem only a little while, and all that will matter then will be that we drank of the cup, were baptized with the baptism.

What a great point!!! "But think of the wonder of it- if by a quick, sharp release one drank of the cup, the other equally drank of it as he lived to serve."

This is the thinking of a mind set on things above not on earthly things. For to the earthly mind, one would think, "What a terrible way to die, to be beheaded. How horrific!" And that mind would avoid such a death at all costs. That earthly mind would also think, "How nice to live a long life on the earth." Our natural selves think the better of the two is to live a long time, to avoid dying. But the mind which is set on eternity says, "Oh what wonder! How wonderful that neither living long or dying horrifically is any different, but just to drink of the same cup as God Himself drank."

This heavenly mind actually sees the long-living life of service (if comparing in an earthly way) as the more arduous version of the cup of suffering we share with the Holy One. Where the quick drink of death, all-be-it horrific, is much less difficult.

This amazes me and causes me to examine my self. And I praise God as I realize I too have this joy that my earthly mind finds bizarre and wrong. I get all giddy and say, 'But think of the wonder of it...' when I know God has called me to drink of His cup of the cross in enduring service though I think the cup of a quick death would be "easier." Then I realize it's not one is easier or harder than the other, but that both are "drinking the cup," partaking in what Christ did because we are in Him.

And even more bizarre to my earthly mind is that it is actually a joy to do so because then I find that the divine nature of God really does reside in me. For only He, not me in my natural self, finds joy in partaking of suffering, whether it be in a long life of service or a quick death by the sword. It's not that His nature is masochistic- getting some twisted pleasure out of suffering and pain- NO! It's that He is all powerful. He knows that the endurance of suffering, whether it be in long living service or in bodily death, is no match for His eternal life. Therefore He endures it with joy, knowing it is not the end. And He endures it and knows this IN ME, cause He lives in me!

What a joy to know His mind, which is altogether different than mine, is now residing in me!

We're builders- Part 5: Pausing on Psalm 127

In this 5th installment I wanted to continue with that pause we took last week. The pause was stopping to realize- this building of the kingdom work God calls us to do as women in building our homes (whatever those homes may look like) is not JUST for our pleasure (though there is much to be enjoyed in building as God designed), but it is ultimately a work of worship to be consumed and tested even through trials and pain that God's glory might be seen in us and those around us might worship Him too.

This week's "pause" has me camping on is Psalm 127:

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watches over the city,the watchman stays awake in vain.

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.

Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!

He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

What stops me in my tracks here is the reminder that this work of building and watching I've been called to do as the keeper of my home (which really means to be aware, watchful, on guard), and as a woman, is not powered by me. God lets me participate and enables me to partake of His building work, but it is really He, not me, who builds.

The other thing that stands out to me and causes me to take a Selah (Hebrew for accentuate or pause) is that this building is directly linked, not to walls and buildings, furniture and dishes, decor and traditions, but to PEOPLE! Children, specifically.

This Psalm is saying, "Hey, you builders and watchers. Don't start getting anxious and worried about how the building is going or not going or how the enemies are abounding or not abounding. Don't pace the floors trying to conjure up a good plan or figure out a sure defense, look to ME!

I'm the One who makes what you build stand or fall. If I'm not for you- YOUR TOAST! But if I am for you then it doesn't matter how bad things seem or how little progress the building seems to be making. I'm in control. So stop worrying. Pray and rest. Look for what and how I'M building and then do it trusting me for the outcome.

And remember I'm not talking about physical buildings here, I'm talking about children, or those souls I've entrusted to you to grow and nurture and train. Your best offense against the enemy is not coming up with a good building scheme. Your best offense is to trust ME and train up the souls that only I can give to you.

You can't build your house apart from Me! Can you create a child? No! Children come from Me. Just as children come from Me, the building of them, the training of souls I put in your care, can only happen because I'm doing the building."

So many questions and realizations come out of this Psalm for me.

I realize I worry way too much (if I worry at all it's too much). Does the Lord live in me? Then it's His ways, His strength and His will that will "build" and "guard" my house, not me staying up late or getting up early fretting or toiling anxiously. "...for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." (Phil.2:13)

I also realize in God's economy, building as a wise woman is directly connected to the children God's given me.

I see that God may give me souls to build and train as though they were my children even if I don't have children of my own. I think of Paul, who often referred to the souls he trained and taught, loved and nurtured in the ways of the Lord as his children (see 1 Corinthians 4:14-15, and 1 Thess. 2:7-9, and Galatians 4:19).

I realize training my children is a weapon against the enemies of God's kingdom. And that means I must take much care to see that the weapon God's given me is prepared to be launched "out there" to effectively combat the enemy's strongholds.

It makes me ask for wisdom, and again I go back to Solomon who when given rule over God's people entreated God saying, "Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people of yours, which is so great?" (2 Chronicles 1:10)

And that's what I ask for- wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before these people of His, these souls that belong to Him, these sons, this husband, these neighbors, etc.

Lord, I can't do this building work apart from You. But with You I can do all things, even the divine calling of building up my house for Your kingdom. You've entrusted me with at least two souls under my care, and maybe even more I'm not aware of. Teach me how to pray for them and also teach me to rest and trust You. Teach me how to go in and do life in front of them that they might learn Your ways. Please give me wisdom Lord, that I can build for Your name's sake!

I listened to an AWESOME teaching on this subject through a link from the Rebelution blog. You can go here to listen for yourself. I HIGHLY recommend it!!

Here's one of the things he said that really got my attention:

"In many ways we don't need to spend more time with our children, they need to spend more time with us." ( Greg Harris from Covenant Life Church, father of the Rebelution kids Alex and Brett)

What are your thoughts? Do you find yourself "eating the bread of anxious toil" when it comes to how the building of your home is going? Boy do I!!! Do you see your own children as they vessels which God enables you to build His kingdom through? Are you engaging with them and discipling them? Do you have people in your life who are not children of your own but seem to just be following you and looking up to you when you didn't ask for it or even want it? Maybe God's called you to be their spiritual mom?

Thanks and 7 Brillante Weblogs

Mari at Out of Deep Waters, a new instant friend in the blog world for me, gave me a sweet award the other day, the Brillante Weblog award.

Thanks Mari!

Also, Natalie at Married to the Preacher, another new friend in blogland, also blessed me with an Arte Y Pico.

Thanks Natalie!

You know, as much as I love writing, and really enjoy the fellowship I get to have with other women in blogging, it really doesn't compare to a nice get together. I'd sooooo love to have all you ladies over to my house for some tea or coffee, cookies, and a time of worship and sharing.

Maybe in heaven there'll be a special meeting place for blogging buddies :)

Anyway... I'll be passing on the Brillante Weblog award but not the Arte Y Pico, just because I just finished passing on the Arte Y Pico at the same time Natalie bestowed it upon me. I'll pass along Natalie's soon though, just not on this post. So stay tuned :)

For the Brillante Weblog award I'd have to pick:
  1. Buffy's Salon. A classy UK blogger, who always has posts that spark my interest and make me want to take better care- period, concerning many areas of my life.

  2. Chrysalis. E-mom is brilliant! I feel like I'm reading one of my favorite magazines or newspapers in the Biblical theme when I read her posts! I always learn something and am inspired!
  3. Exemplify. Kristen is a brilliant writer! I always enjoy her posts. She always draws the importance of God's word out and the gospel is forefront!
  4. Joyfully Living For His Glory. Chelsea is not a new blogger, but is new to me. And when I found her blog, I found a Titus 2 woman blog! I was thrilled.
  5. Praiseworthy Things. Jill has a brilliant blog for sure! Her posts are, true to the title, always praiseworthy things. I can always find an idea, resource, suggestion, book, tip, etc. there that is good for child training, teaching, mothering, wife-hood, etc.
  6. Diary of 1. Jennifer's blog is another brilliant one! I'm convinced she's a journalist! And a good, truthful and inspiring one at that! I always find new information and often a good laugh there.
  7. Kids Love Jesus. Shari has a brilliant blog too. I often visit her blog to find a good story of a Christian hero or a devotional to read to my kids.

We're builders- Part 4: Offered to be consumed

I'm in 2 Chronicles in my journey thru the Bible this year (or as long as it takes- I love to stop and camp out so it'll probably take me 10 years). Yesterday I was really struck by 2 Chronicles 7:1, which says:

As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

In 1 Chronicles 29:14-16, David prayed, looking at all he and the people were offering the Lord, and cried, "But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own."

In all that I give, whether by money or time; whether in making things by hand or laboring at something; whether in training my children or loving my husband...whatever I give saying, "Lord I want to build a place for Your name here. This is for You and unto You," I must realize first that I could never offer the Lord a thing really, because all things I have- money, time, ability, children, a husband, etc.- belong to Him.

I should not approach the Lord with reserve saying, "Here Lord, I give you this," as though I were really making such a sacrifice. But rather I should say to the Lord who gives me breath each day, "Who am I Lord that I should offer You this freely. You gave it to me, it's Yours!"

That's the attitude from which God will enable me to build a place for His name- in my home or wherever I go. The place of humility realizes I can't give God anything, He gives everything to me, and I say, "Thank You Lord for accepting my offering."

I should be thankful and glad that He would even accept what I offer, for apart from His sacrifice- not mine- apart from His grace I would not be accepted by Him at all.

So when I get that foundation laid in my soul and am humbled and filled with joy and awe that God will actually accept what I offer Him and allow me to build a place for His holy name, then I face what Solomon faced...the realization that God consumes what I offer Him so that His glory might be seen.

As soon as Solomon finished praying... boom, fire consumed the offering and sacrifices he made to the Lord. And when that happened, God's glory filled what He had built for the Lord's name (the temple) and the people around saw and worshipped the Lord.

This is the way it is with us. We offer God our lives realizing they are not our own anyway. We're thankful for His mercy and grace; for His sacrifice which allows us to build, sacrifice and offer and be accepted by Him. And then He burns it up.

Something in me (my own mind) thinks, "I'll offer God my marriage, my parenting, my life as a woman, and He'll build me up so I can have a nice marriage, kids and life,"...but that's not true!

Oh yes, it's true that offering God my life is the only way I could have the nicest marriage possible- God enables me to build by His grace in my marriage, my life. But He doesn't do it so that I can stand there and look at my offering and what He's allowed me to build and smile at what I've offered Him (as though I could have offered it anyway apart from His mercy). No, He enables me to build for His name's sake, and to make my offerings and sacrifices to Him, so that He can send fiery trials and tests my way to consume what I've given Him with His presence and power- so that others might believe.

It's the genuineness of our faith God is concerned with, not simply the holy offerings (our testimony of a life lived in holiness), or sacrifices (our testimony of a life laid down to do His will). He desires ultimately that His glory, not our offerings only, be seen in us. And the way His glory is seen is when He consumes what we've offered with His presence amidst the trials of life.
When others no longer see our holiness or our submitted lives...they see Jesus as our faith endures fiery trials.

"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him." 1 Peter 1:6-8

  • So first we realized as wives and as women, no matter our circumstances, we're called to build.

  • Then we realize He's given us the calling of home-building...wherever that home may be and whatever souls might be included (husband, children, parents, siblings, neighbors, fellow students, co-workers, etc.)

  • And then we must stop and realize that we aren't able to build or offer anything to the Lord that isn't given us by Him and already belongs to Him.

  • And after that we must be ready for the fire trials that come to consume our offering with God's presence in our lives, realizing that He desires His glory to be displayed in us so others might believe.

(see Part 1, part 2, and part 3 of this series)

Next we'll continue this pause to realize that unless the Lord builds the don't make no difference how much we do (my country hick version of Psalm 127) :) And because He does build we can rest!

Would you join me in stopping where you are today and lifting up your hands to the Lord as though you could hold your house... your life, up in your hands? Would you declare with me, "Who am I Lord? And who are these my people that we can offer to You so freely? Everything we offer You is given us by You and belongs to You! Thank You for sacrificing Your life so that I could offer You mine and be accepted by You! Take my life Lord, my marriage, my kids, my time, my life, and send Your holy fire on this offering! I want Your glory to be seen in me that others might believe!"

We're builders- Part 3

I just realized that the "In Other Words" quote today was on being builders as it pertains to women! Wow! What a "coincidence"- NOT! This is a God thing! He's totally been speaking to me as I study this ministry God has charged me with as a woman, and now to find it being discussed at In Other Words. So I'm turning this post into an In Other Words contribution.

You can also read Part 1, or Part 2 of my series called "We're Builders."
For more blog posts on this topic head over to Chelsea at Joyfully Living, the hostess for In Other Words.
Today's quote is:“We as women, think of ourselves as mothers, teachers, nurses and son on, but God says that we are builders. We usually relegate this role to the men, but we are building with something far great than brick and timber.” Nancy Campbell, The Power of Motherhood: What the Bible Says about Mothers.
In this series I want to focus on what it means to be a builder as a wife, but I do want to use a post to address the woman who is not a wife.

When I was praying about this subject the other day, thinking particularly of single women and women who are divorced, the whisper in my ears was, "Let her be a homemaker." What was revealed to me in that moment was not quiting a "job" to stay home particularly, nor was it speaking of being a wife and mom, but rather a ministry that ANY woman can take up just as our Lord took up footwashing.

I pictured a young woman in a dorm. She loves the Lord, she desires to walk in His ways, yet she is surrounded by the ways of the world and the sinful desires of her own fleshly nature. "Let her be the one washing the dishes, picking up, making a nice dinner, bringing a meal to another person in her dorm, hosting or starting a Bible study, visiting a sick friend, etc. Let her be known amongst those she lives as a person who always makes people feel at home and who speaks truth and grace."

I also pictured a woman worn. She works full-time. She's divorced. She's a single-mom. She loves the Lord and desires to walk in His ways, yet she is also engulfed in worldliness and accusations from the enemy along with the weakness of her own flesh. "Let her be concerned with homemaking wherever she is. Let her be the one picking up the break room and bringing in goodies to her co-workers. Let her be known for her kindness towards her ex-husband and not speak evil of him. Let her be known for her care of her children and not her annoyance with them. Let her be prayerful and hospitable. Let her lay a foundation for her own children in Christ through what she speaks to them- teaching them about the God she serves, and letting them see her attitude of trust and worship."

I just wanted to address these two areas because they seem to be the areas that the enemy often accuses me in as I seek to fulfill the ministry of building in my own home as unto the Lord. I'm not a single-woman in a dorm, or a single-mom (though I was at one time), but the enemy wants to accuse the Lord of excluding these in His way for a woman. In my mind I often hear his accusations but he's a liar. As women in the body of Christ our "wifehood" is to Jesus. So that whether we serve Him as single women, divorced women, or married ones, we serve HIM! We are all "a wife" in a sense. Our lives should speak a legacy of building our homes to the magnification of Christ, whoever that home includes. Whether it is a husband, children, co-workers, girls in our dorm room, etc.

Isaiah 54 speaks to the building or enlarging work God does through ANY woman who serves Him. A barren woman, a woman who's never been in labor (I think of a single woman when I read that) a widow, a shamed woman (maybe a woman with a promiscuous past) a divorced woman, and a married one- all are mentioned in this chapter which has often given me much courage as a woman. ( Just for the record, I know that this passage speaks to us now because the end of verse 17 says, "This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord..." Are you a servant of the Lord? Then this is for you!) It says:
  • Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married, says the LORD (ESV)

  • Enlarge (that's building) the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations (that's your "home") be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. (ESV)

  • Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. (ESV)

  • For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. (ESV)

  • For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. (ESV)

  • No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me," Says the Lord. (NKJV)

Where do you fall in these differing versions of the woman of God? Are a single? Are you married? Are you divorced? Do you have a shameful past? Are you a young woman still living in your father's house? Whatever your circumstances are or have been they cannot and do not negate the building work you are called and enable to do through the Lord.

The scripture is full of examples of women with less than ideal situations who were used by the Lord as they submitted their lives to Him to do a building work for His kingdom.

Here's just a few:

  • Rachel. Rachel was a barren woman. (See Genesis 29-30)
  • Leah. Leah was an unloved wife. (See Genesis 29-30)
  • Rahab. Rahab was a prostitute. (See Joshua 2)
  • Ruth. Ruth was totally foreign to the ways of God and a widow. (See the Book of Ruth)
  • The Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). She had 5 previous husbands and was living with a man who was not her husband when God gave her a taste of the Living Water and she stopped thirsting for men to satisfy her. Immediately she was used to build God's kingdom.
  • Mary, the woman who mothered Jesus. Mary was single, a virgin, yet was called to be a homemaker for a man chosen for her and the Son of God in flesh.

If a woman has tasted the mercy and grace of God through Christ for herself, her circumstances will not matter. She will seek to build a home for the glory of God...whether the souls who make up her home are her own husband and kids, or strangers (as in Rahab's case), or neighbor's (as in the Samaritan woman's case), or an in-law (as in Ruth's case).

What souls are you making a home for? Jesus gave us a taste of our eternal home in His years of serving and loving here on earth...all the way to the cross. We women who have His life in us can also let the majesty of God be touchable by humbling ourselves as our Lord did, and washing some feet, or dishes. We can be the vessels through which souls around us are encouraged to trust in the living God by whipping up some breakfast, whether it be fish by the sea as Jesus did in John 21:12 or pancakes and eggs in your house or brought to the souls you seek to build up for the kingdom.

Lord, help me to be a kingdom builder, a home maker for Your glory wherever I am. Right now I have a husband and two children, I pour my life out into them for You my sweet Jesus! When I have opportunity to be stretched to include in my building other souls let me be a home maker for them too!

Don't forget this Sheila

I don't want to forget what the Spirit of God is so obviously confirming to me today through the message at church. Has this ever happened to you? Everywhere you go whatever you read the same message is coming through? I'm sure it has happened. For me this week it's this message:

  1. Give yourself to serving Jesus right where you are. From The Normal Christian Life, "...the Lord Jesus was laying down one thing as a basis of all service: that you pour out all you have, your very self, unto him; and if that should be all he allows you to do, that is enough...So there is your problem. You feel that were you to follow in that other brother's steps- were you, shall we say, to consecrate yourself enough for the blessing but not enough for the trouble, enough for the Lord to use you but not enough for him to shut you up- all would be perfectly all right. But would it? You know quite well that it would not. Take your eyes off that other man! Look at your Lord, and ask yourself again what it is that he values most highly. The principle of waste is the principle that he would have govern us. 'She is doing this for Me.' Real satisfaction is brought to the heart of God only when we are really, as people would think, "wasting" ourselves upon him. It seems as though we are giving too much and getting nothing- and that is the secret of pleasing God." (from pgs.181,182,183,184)

  2. Do "small" things as unto the Lord. From Regenerated Mag by Tim Sweetman, "No one wants to be known as the guy who is doing what the dictionary defines as "microscopic, minuscule, tiny, pocket-sized, little-bitty, poky, minor" and "insignificant." But what we don't realize is that is where we go wrong. We're so worried about being "known" by men. The problem is that we were not created to be known by mere men. Our aspiration should not be doing "big hard things" so that we can be noticed by those around us. When that is our focus and desire, we have run straight into the sin of pride- and those "big things" mean nothing. In contrast, our goal and our aim should be to magnify Christ as a telescope magnifies a celestial body. We want to be the one who shows those around us that that star may look small to us...yet, through the lens of our lives you get a whole new picture."

  3. Fulfill your ministry. From my pastor at church this morning, these points were raised. Bullet points confirming the message stirring in my heart and instructing me in specifics:

  • Whatever you do, do it in the character of Christ (the name of the Lord) Colossians 3:17

  • Acts 13:4, Lucius was raised in wicked Herod's house yet was saved and served Christ, so why do you worry about "that kid" who's being raised in a house with an ungodly influence (the Spirit spoke directly to my worries about my own children). Trust God Sheila! He's at work!

  • Acts 13:2, These men ministered TO not for, but TO the LORD by praying and fasting. God continues to bring this up to me. He has me where He has me, at home, and part of the ministry of "wasting" my life in worship of Jesus is to pray and fast to minister to Jesus, to let it somehow sound to Him like this, "I love you Lord!!!" Like sweet, expensive perfume poured out on my Lord.

  • 2 Timothy 4:5- Fulfill your ministry. The way you live your life Sheila is your ministry your worship of Jesus. It's not an "office" or "position", it's your day to day transformed life in the things everyone else does.

  • Acts 13- these guys were concentrating on the the ministry already given them (Barnabas and Saul), not waiting for their big break in ministry, the were ministering to the Lord in whatever they did. "An important key in discerning God's will for the future is to be doing His will now."

  • From Acts 13- Don't be surprised by ungodly opposition. You've been "taken back" several times Sheila when the spiritual battle arises and your mind is assaulted with distractions, doubts and lies. Don't be surprised, don't be taken back. Just stop and realize, your doing the work of the gospel- spreading the fragrance of worship to those around you and speaking the word of God- YOU ARE SHOOTING OUT FLARES FOR THE ENEMY! EXPECT IT! EXPECT OPPOSITION! AND DEAL WITH IT! Don't be taken back by it. Just put it in it's place quickly and move on with the ministry given you.

The Lord is very clear: You went to Arizona the first time for him, this time I sent you for Me. Set up your housekeeping (the ministry I've called you to). I didn't call you to glamour, I called you to endure. Do small, hard things for a long time as though you were a telescope bringing Jesus real close for your husband and children to see. Do small, hard things for a long time as though you were pouring out an priceless bottle of perfume on Jesus' head as just an act of worship. Do small, hard things for a long time believing that I give the increase Sheila...I will reward, don't loose heart.

"I know it's hard, it's not fun, and it's far from easy. But small things matter because in reality, they're not all that small. They make up great things. And the people who do these small things are not small people. If we are following God's call, we are a part of something great- each of us is taking part in "making much of" or glorifying God in everything we do. Big or "small."

Cleaning a bathroom to the glory of God is more important than giving money to help the poor for your own glory. That's how it works. The first shall be last. The servant, the greatest. The small things- they will be the biggest things.

I know it's hard, but when we realize that what we are doing, big or small, is not for our glory, it makes a whole lot more sense why we are in a certain period of our lives. It's for the glory of God." (from Small Things by Tim Sweetman at Regenerated Mag)

Moms, single-woman, wives...homemakers, I pray that God would give us vision to see our selves not as ourselves but merely as telescopes to bring up close and personal the person of Jesus Christ to those we pray for and serve as unto the Lord.

Worship the Lord with your life ladies (I'm speaking to myself primarily)! Fulfill the ministry He's called you to in "wasting" your life on Him by loving whoever makes up your house as though they were the Lord Himself. Do it as unto Him! May Jesus' head overflow with perfume as our surrendered lives say, "I'm doing this for You Lord! You deserve it!"

Can ya'll help


I got an email the other day from Stacy at the Persecution Blog. She was updating us bloggers who blog for the persecuted Church on the goal of VOM to give away 1000 FREE pray for China Olympic arm bands. Last email I got from her only 107 had been given away. I know I don't have 893 readers here but I wonder if any of you who have a blog who read this one would consider ordering a free bracelet and praying for China and also posting a blog post on your own blogs asking others to order a free bracelet (or buy one from China Aid) and pray for our brothers and sisters in bonds over in China.

Here's the link to order a free bracelet from the Voice of the Martyrs.

Here's the link to buy a bracelet from China Aid.

We're builders- Part 2

So much for next week, I'm just going to keep posting on this topic till I stop scribbling notes in my journal at home.

What does it mean to be a builder as a wife?

First I must remember that it's not just wives who are called to be builders in the kingdom of God. All of us who are in the Body of Christ are being built up by Christ and are used by Him to do His building work. I think that passage in Isaiah 58:12 says it so well, "Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In." Those from among the Lord are builders.

So why the distinction at all for the wife? Why doesn't scripture just lay out the character of faith in a believer's life without distinction to roles? Why is there a Proverbs 14:1 or a Titus 2:4-5, or any other passage directed particularly to a wife? I believe the answer lies in the examples of the positions of service, and tools used in service, in the Old Testament temple of God and also in the description of the body of Christ being made up of many parts with varying gifts and roles in the New Testament. We're all one in this (that is, those who trust in Christ), but we're not all the same. We each have different parts to play in the building up of the kingdom of God.

And I really believe it's that and that alone which is the cause for any distinction being made as to the wife's role or any other role. For as the Spirit wrote by Paul, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28) That oneness is in Christ not in everyone doing the same thing, otherwise, with the examples of the temple and the body, Christ would be, say... an incense burner only, or a foot only, and not a complete temple with many functions, or a complete body with many parts. Our oneness is the life of Christ being lived out in our varying roles.

For the wife, God's word is clear, there is a distinct arena for her "building." Just as in Nehemiah there were many different people who worked on the wall of Jerusalem to build it and each had a different spot on the wall (see Nehemiah 3), wives have a spot assigned to them- their homes. Does that mean their use in service will never leave the home, not necessarily, but it is to be the focus. God's given us an assignment, a place on the wall, a service in His temple, a function in the body and to leave it to go chase other "good" things would be to disregard God's word to us as trivial.

That's why the Spirit wrote through Paul that the word of God is not reviled when a wife gives herself to loving her husband and children, to being self-controlled, pure, a homemaker, kind and submissive to her own husband (Titus 2:4-5). And again in 1 Timothy 5:14, "So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander." (ESV)

So, being a builder as a wife begins with turning our eyes toward home and embracing it not as our own, but rather as a piece of the wall on which we've been given the honorable assignment of building God's kingdom for God's glory.

I do believe the enemy is about the same business now as a "Sanballat" and "Tobiah" in our minds and lives as he was when Nehemiah set out to build as God had put it in His heart to do (see Nehemiah 2:10, 19-20). He still seeks to fire his words of accusation and doubt, threat and mockery to bring fear into our hearts and to cause us to become discouraged with this holy work. But like Nehemiah we must fix our eyes on doing the will of God. May our "it is written" response to the enemy's lies be, "The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem." (Just as a side note, the Bride of Christ is the New Jerusalem, see Revelation 21:1-27. As a part of the body of Christ, Satan has no portion or right or claim in our lives, for we are a piece of the eternal Jerusalem).

Are your eyes turned towards your home? Are you setting about today to do the work of building in the lives of those who make up your home? What lies and thoughts distract you from being about this work?

Next: Looking at the examples of Nehemiah, David and Solomon, and Ruth (along with Leah and Rachel).

We're builders

"The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands."- Proverbs 14:1

I can't help but think of Bob the Builder when I see, hear or say the word build. It's my little guys. Whenever we drive past a construction crew or a guy on a bulldozer they shout out, "Look mom! That guy's a Bob the Builder!" I usually respond with, "Yeah, they're building like Bob the Builder aren't they. Jesus is a builder you know! He was a builder like that when He walked on the earth and He's still building. He's building a new heaven and a new earth for us."

That usually spawns all kinds of conversation, "When's Jesus gonna be done building it mom?... I want to be a builder mom!... When I grow up I'm gonna drive a big machine like that mom!..."

And I always think of me when we have this little conversation about being a builder. Why? Because of Proverbs 14:1, "A wise woman builds..."

As I was thinking about what it means for me to be a builder the other day several stories from scripture came to mind: Nehemiah who set out to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem. David and Solomon who set out to build a house for the name of the LORD. Ruth who the elders of the land prayed would build Boaz's house like Rachel and Leah built up Israel. Each of these were builders and they bring to mind this passage in Isaiah 58:12, "Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In."
Truly those from among the Lord will be builders and in some way He will move in them to do a repairing and restoring work here on the earth. He moves still even in wives to raise up the foundations of generations.

But how do we do this work of faith as builders in our everyday lives? This has been my question to the Lord as I have sought His face and opened up His word. And next week I'll explore what it means to be a builder as a wife.

What are your thoughts? How can you live out your calling to be a builder?

A Hebrews Thirteen Three post: Pray for China

August 8th is the beginning of the Olympic games in China, but a much more arduous race has already begun in China... a race of endurance and of faith.

The Voice of the Martyrs along with China Aid is using the spotlight opportunity that is shining on China in these Olympics to call us Christians around the world to attention and to prayer.

I don't want to be a spectator in these Olympics, for I have brothers and sisters in China who, "Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops." (2 Timothy 2:3-6)

Won't you join me to do more than sit and watch in these upcoming Olympic games. Join me in praying for our brothers and sisters in China who suffer simply for the name of Christ and for loving others to Him. And let us pray also for the Chinese leaders and government, police and prison workers, that their hearts might be one over by the love of Christ which proceeds out of the lives of the people they persecute.

"I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." - 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Thoughts on being wasted for Christ

The Cloud of Witnesses post in reference to Watchman Nee contained a section of the book (The Normal Christian Life) which really spoke to me (the whole book did but even more this section).

The reference in what Mr. Nee was talking about in this last chapter of his book was from Mark 14:1-9:

It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people. And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor. And they scolded her. But Jesus said, 'Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.'

I identify with the "some" who protested that what this woman did was a waste of valuable resources that could have been used to care for the poor. Yet I also know what it is to be compelled by Christ's love in being a woman "wasting" her life on Christ in submission to her husband and training up her children.

See there's a part of me, the "good" religious, practical, part of me that says, "You could be using your gifts elsewhere and get a lot more 'bang for your buck'..."if you will. There's part of me that is always being pulled and tempted to believe that giving myself to feeding the poor or leading women in a Bible study would be so much more productive and effective, yet there's the example of my Savior who poured out His whole life to save me and set me apart for Himself and seeing that compels me to "waste" my life on Him in a way that may not be so logical.

More and more I hear me protesting, "But Lord, there's much more I could be doing!" And the quiet voice of His Spirit says, "You could be doing a lot, but nothing short of pouring out your whole life is enough. When you submit yourself to your own husband, "as unto the Lord," loving and respecting him as though you were doing it to Jesus Himself, you are "wasting" your life in worshipping Jesus and that is a demonstration of the message of the Gospel- wasting your life in worship...doing unto the least of these as unto the Lord."

Some would say a woman is wasting her life by homemaking or training her kids or willingly submitting to her husband...there's so much more she could be doing! They'd say she's muzzling herself, holding herself back from her full logical, productive and effective use out in the community. And I used fight that (because I was fighting those voices inside my own self), but now I say, "So be it!" Now I say, "I'll gladly be wasted."

Jesus knows. He knows, He sees, He hears that my heart is saying, ' I love you my Lord' as I pour out my life into these. I submit to my husband as unto the Lord- the perfume of my life poured out on Jesus' head.

I say, "I pour my life out Lord, here, where voices from within and without scold me and accuse me of wasting the treasure I have on my husband and kids when I could be doing so much more in "ministry".

Receive my worship Lord. I love you! I want my life to smell like the perfume of extravagant love "wasted" on You my King! You're worth the "wasting." It is no waste, it's my worship!

Meditations and Confessions of a Homemaker's Mission

Well first I went to look up the word mission. What does it really mean? I was thinking of it in terms of defining my purpose or goal in writing on this blog. But I was surprised and actually more clarified in my reasoning when I went and looked it up in good ole Webster's.

Here's what I found at Merrian-Webster Online:

It's obsolete apparently, but the original meaning of the word is the definition I'm going with here...the act or an instance of sending.

So...Meditations and Confessions of a Homemaker is sent out:

  1. To be acceptable to God. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."(Psalm 19:14) That means what I write here I write by faith, for without faith it is impossible to please or be acceptable to God (Hebrews 11:6). So what I write here is substance and evidence of eternal unseen truths that I have sure confidence in- that's faith (Hebrews 11:1).

  2. To be a source of oil for your lamp, that is, courage. I see the picture of oil in scripture as a dose of heavenly courage which when dripped on our minds and hearts causes us to face the giants and fears of this life courageously. That oil of course is the Holy Spirit Himself. When the Holy Spirit impresses heavenly truths upon my heart through the study of the Word He fills me with courage to face life in this fallen world with confidence and peace. Sharing that word, that oil, that confidence, with others is what the writings here are sent out to do. I think of Joshua and Caleb who chose to encourage the people of Israel who were afraid of the giants that faced them in the land of promise. The other men who were with Joshua and Caleb who also saw the challenges that lay ahead of them had too small a vision, they could only see the size of the giants in comparison to their size, but Joshua and Caleb saw the size of the giants in comparison to the size of their God and encouraged the people to move forward trusting in God's power to save. That's what I pray the posts here do: encourage others to press forward walking by faith, trusting in God's power to save.

  3. To be an example- which holds me accountable- in walking by faith in Christ and in living out the gospel as a "younger woman." (Titus 2:4-5) My example is in wrong and right choices. I think of how 1 Corinthians 10:6 says that the record of Old Testament accounts were written for us as examples. They aren't all examples of what we should do, some are examples of what we should avoid doing...nevertheless they are there for us to learn from. What I write here is sent out as an example both in repentance and confession; in meditations and obedience. These posts are sent out as windows into what God is doing in one weak vessel's life. I pray that as Timothy was charged by Paul to be an example to all believers," speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity..." what's seen of my life here would be an example in those areas too. My speech, conduct, love, faith and purity will be marred by my wrong choices at times, and I pray I will be open and honest about it. I seek to be transparent in what I share here, not doctoring up what I write just to sound like a better example, but to be a genuine example by being honest.

So there you have it, this blog's mission.

For more on why I blog in general go here. For some of my testimony go here and here.

This post is part of a blog mission tour at Becoming Me. You'll find more blogs and their missions over at The Blog Mission Tour hosted by Becoming Me.

I'm heading to the mountain

I'll be away for awhile just seeking the Lord's face...

See ya soon...

"Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, Seek my face. My heart says to you,Your face, Lord, do I seek." Psalm 27:7-8

So that there be no division

I just wanted to be sure to leave no room for divisiveness with me reference to *** in my post about choosing the crossroads.

I gleen much wisdom and great tools and encouragement from *** Ministries, yet as with any ministry or pastor, teacher or site I may refer to on this blog, I take what I hear or learn from various teachings and check it against God's word and then seek the Spirit's application of His word to my own life.

So I just wanted to put that out there.

May we be like the Bereans, "Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." (Acts 17:11)

And may we edify each other despite our differences, "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another." (Romans 14:19)

I choose the cross road

I just wrote a lengthy email to a dear sister in the Lord (you know who you are S), and after reading it I thought, "There, finally! I got it out!" And I prayed over it and knew the Lord heard my heart and that He is and will answer my cries. I truly think I even pray better writing than I do with my mouth.

But after I sent it I felt a nudge to share some of it. I didn't want to. I still feel very exposed doing so. I know there are family and friends who know me who read this blog once in awhile and I truthfully didn't want to take a chance on them not understanding. But then the Lord brought this to mind, "For not even his brothers believed in him." (John 7:5)

There came a time when obeying the will of the Father for Jesus meant loosing the affection and understanding of even His own family. And I'm not saying my family will reject me because of this post, probably not, they probably won't even know what I'm saying this for. But this is the struggle I have in my own mind, not sharing things because I'm afraid of someone not understanding. As with my Lord, there is a time for everything. There was a time for Him to do certain things and say certain things, and there was a time for Him not to do or say certain things, but always there were outside forces seeking to distract Him from simply obeying the will of His Father.

I know the Lord has a reason for what I'm about to share, and so I prayerfully do.

My email was in response to an encouraging word from this sister in the Lord who wrote me about not conforming my choices in homeschooling to the pattern of this world. She's right! And that goes not just for homeschooling but in everything we do as Christians, we are not to try to match the world just cause it's what we're used to or comfortable with, rather, we're to conform to God's word and His ways as revealed in Jesus. We do this by being in His word and being obedient trusting His power that works in us to do the changing of us.

What she wrote really touched on something I constantly wrestle with that I haven't really found a way to get out in prayer or in words before now. Here's some of what I wrote (I'll leave out names.)

I really struggle with how to love my h yet not let him take the place of God in my life.

I so appreciate the *** ministries, but one thing I don't agree with is their stance on a woman not teaching their kids God's word if the woman's husband doesn't just because the kids will think religion is all a woman thing, not a man thing. I know what they write about concerning a woman just being kind and loving and respectful towards her husband, whether they believe or not, is true and is God's word, but I also know God's word is very clear that a woman or man must not put pleasing the one in authority over obeying God.

I must teach my boys the truth! The love of Christ compels me, how can I not...and if my h rejects me, there's the enemy, even other Christians like those at *** who might think that I've driven him off by being a snobby super "spiritual" Jezebel! I'm not though! The Lord knows! He knows! I love my h dearly, I love him not with a selfish love but a love that wants to win him. I want him to know the love of Christ and I seek to show him bundles of unearned favor daily, just as Christ has shown me (and I'm not perfect at it, only by His grace), but that desire to win him with a submissive, willing, honoring, loving, life, is at a crossroads with the desire to obey God in teaching my kids His ways.

At a crossroads! That's it!

I've been struggling and trying to express this struggle I have as a wife who desires to obey God in loving her husband AND obey Him in teaching her kids God's word, and it all comes down to the cross.

This, for me, is taking up my cross daily and following Jesus.

There comes a time where daily I must follow my Lord into obediently spreading the truth of His word to those the Father has entrusted to me (in my case my two sons, in the Lord's case, his 12 disciples), bearing the cross of being misunderstood and possibly even rejected by other believers, by my own family, by my own husband and kids even. There comes a time when I must set my face like Jesus did to obediently speaking the truth of the kingdom to those He's entrusted to me even as it leads me closer to loosing the ability to win the ones I love with a submissive, willing, honoring, loving life.

I must do all those things all the way to Calvary, to the place of total rejection. I can't just do one and not the other. If I continue to be submissive, willing, honoring and loving with my life yet leave out the speaking of God's gospel to the souls God has put under my care then I'm just pleasing man and leaving no place for God to be the God.

"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;...But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear..." ( KJV 1 Peter 3:1,15)

But if I refuse to be submissive, willing, honoring and loving with my life yet speak God's word I'm a...well, as 1Corinthians 13: says, " I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."

I have to do both, though doing the later while doing the former takes me down the cross road daily...the path of taking up my cross and following Jesus.

I'm sure this is why I have such a heart for the persecuted church.

They speak the gospel and teach God's word to those entrusted to them though they face suffering at the hands of those in authority around them...and even those who persecute them, they reach out to in love with God's truth, knowing it could mean punishment and even a painful death. They do all this and yet they find rejection from many other Christians who think they are just being rebellious or stirring up trouble rather than being submissive. I'm sure this is why Paul always wrote to remember His chains and to not be ashamed of his chains. He wanted other Christians to not reject him too. But that's the road of the cross. That's the road our Lord walked, and if we want to be His disciples, that's the road we'll walk too.

The enemy wants to destroy us. And I think he thinks he's got a pretty good case for why we shouldn't follow Jesus...he lets us see the cross- how we'll be rejected and how we'll have given so much submission and kindness and love to others only to be spurned by them and then not even our own will accept us, but rather treat us like we're troublemakers. But he leaves out the resurrection!

My God calls me to walk a path that is sure to bring pain and empty me into others though they may ultimately reject me for speaking and trusting in God's word. But that's not all He calls me to! Down that cross road is life more alive than any taste of it I may have here by not choosing the cross road.

I choose the cross road!


con·sol·i·date, verb- 1. to bring together (separate parts) into a single or unified whole; unite; combine: They consolidated their three companies.

Well, I'm consolidating. I have several blogs, all of which I'd like to post on but don't seem to find the time or have anything to say. I thought rather than having a seperate blog I just need to simplify or consolidate and bring together under the one ministry of homemaker these other blog subjects. They are, after all, part of what God calls me to do in service to Jesus as a homemaker. So here's the plan:

I'll be posting (with no specific time schedule) on the following topics to replace the following blogs:
  • Hebrews Thirteen Three. I'll just keep the title of the blog as the title for my posts. If you'd like to go here you can read about my heart for the persecuted church and my previous postings there.

  • Learning as We Go Homeschool. I started a homeschooling blog, but I don't really have much to write out the title reflects, I'm learning as I go. So rather than dedicate an entire blog, I'll periodically post what I'm learning or thoughts on homeschooling. I'll still keep the homeschool blog up which has the vision the Lord impresses on my heart for what and how to teach my kiddos...I'm sure I'll be re-reading that often just to remind myself why in the world I'm doing this.

  • Timothy Moms. I'm not going to stop posting altogether at Timothy Moms. I'll still continue to post there, but I am taking a hiatus from that blog, which I see more as a group blog...a place for moms to share their resources, struggles, "ah-ha" moments, etc., as they lead their kids in love to Jesus. If you'd like to share something there I'd love to hear from you and be glad to post whatever you'd like to contribute (in keeping with the theme of the blog).

So if you have an interest or heart for Christians who suffer imprisonment and physical suffering for Christ and/or you are a homeschooler or a public/private schooler looking to glean some encouragement from a mom who's just learning as she goes in teaching her kids (cause we ALL teach our kids, homeschooled or not), you'll find those subjects here at this blog periodically.

A cloud of witnesses


"Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God's promises because of their faith and patience."- Hebrews 6:11-12

This is my first installment of A cloud of witnesses- quotes from finishers in the faith. I have read some compelling books from giants of faith in Christ who are at home with the Lord now and some from men and women of God who are still among us and I wanted to share some of what I read- hopefully motivating you, as it is me, to endure to the end too!

This week from The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee. First, here's a little bio on our brother Nee:

Watchman Nee became a Christian in mainland China in 1920 at the age of seventeen and began writing in the same year. Throughout the nearly thirty years of his ministry, Watchman Nee was clearly manifested as a unique gift from the Lord to His Body for His move in this age. In 1952 he was imprisoned for his faith; he remained in prison until his death in 1972. His words remain an abundant source of spiritual revelation and supply to Christians throughout the world. (Taken from You can read more about his life and ministry and testimonies here and here.

Now from the book (which I HIGHLY recommend):

And while he was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster cruse (flask) of ointment of spikenard very costly; and she brake the cruse, and poured it over his head...Jesus said..."Verily I say unto you, wheresoever the gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." (Mark 14:3,6,9)...

But there were some that had indignation among themselves, saying, "To what purpose hath this wast of ointment been made? For this ointment might have been sold for above three hundred pence and given to the poor." And they murmured against her (Mark 14:4-5).

These words bring us to what I believe the Lord would have us consider finally together, namely, that which is signified by the little word "waste."

What is waste? Waste means, among other things, giving more than is necessary. If a shilling will do and you give a pound, it is a waste. If two grams will do and you give a kilogram, it is a waste. If three days will suffice to finish a task well enough and you lavish five days or a week on it, it is a waste. Waste means that you give something too much for somthing too little. If someone is receiving more than he is considered to be worth, then that is a waste...

But if the Lord is worthy, then how can it be a waste? He is worthy to be served. He is worthy for me to be his prisoner. He is worthy for me to just live for Him. He is worthy!...

Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered- someone who has gone through experiences with the Lord that have brought limitation, and who, instead of trying to break free in order to be "used," has been willing to be imprisoned by him and has thus learned to find satisfaction in the Lord and nowhere else- then immediately you become aware of something. Immediately your spiritual senses detect a sweet savor of Christ. Something has been crushed, something has been broken in that life, and so you smell the odor. The odor that filled the house that day in Bethany still fills the Church today; Mary's fragrance never passes. It needed but one stroke to break the flask for the Lord, but her action- that unreserved giving and the fragrance of that anointing- abides.

We are speaking here of what we are; not of what we do or what we preach. Perhaps you may have been asking the Lord for a long time that he will be pleased to use you in such a way as to impart impressions of himself to others. That prayer is not exactly for the gift of preaching or teaching. It is rather that you might be able, in your touch with others, to impart God, the presence of God, the sense of God. Let me tell you, dear freinds, you cannot produce such impressions of God upon others without the breaking of everything, even your most precious possessions, at the feet of the Lord Jesus.

But if once that point is reached, you may or may not seem to be much used in an outward way, but God will begin to use you to create a hunger in others. People will scent Christ in you. The most unlikely people will detect it. They will sense that here is one who has gone with the Lord, one who has suffered, one who has not moved freely, independently, but who has known what it is to subject everything to Him. That kind of life creates impressions, and impreassions create hunger, and hunger provokes men to go on seeking until they are brought by divine revelation into fullness of life in Christ.

God does not set us here first of all to preach or to do work for him. The first thing for which he sets us here is to create in others a hunger for himself. That is, after all, what prepares the soil for the preaching.

If you set a delicious cake in front of two men who have just had a heavy meal, what will be their reaction? They will talk about it, admire its appearance, discuss the recipe, argue about the cost- do everything, in fact, but eat it! But if they are truly hungry it will not be very long before the cake is gone. And so it is with the things of the Spirit. No true work will ever begin in a life without first of all a sense of need being created. But how can this be done? We cannot inject spiritual appetite by force into others; we cannot compel people to be hungry. Hunger has to be created, and it can be created in others only by those who carry with them the impressions of God.

I always like to think of the words of that "great woman" of Shunem. Speaking of the prophet, whom she had observed but whom she did not know well, she said, "Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually" (2 Kings 4:9). It was not what Elisha said or did that conveyed that impression, but what he was. By his merely passing by she could detect something; she could see. What are people sensing about us? We may leave many kinds of impressions: we may leave the impression that we are clever, that we are gifted, that we are this or that or the other. But no: the impression left by Elisha was an impression of God himself...

There must be something- a willingness to yield, a breaking and a pouring out of everything to him- which gives release to that fragrance of Christ and produces in other lives an awareness of need, drawing them out and on to know the Lord. The is what I feel to be the heart of everything. The Gospel has as its one object the producing in us sinners of a condition that will satisfy the heart of our God. In order that he may have that, we come to him with all we have, all we are- yes, even the most cherished things in our spiritual experience- and we make known to him:

Lord, I am willing to let go all of this for you: not just for your work, not for your children, not for anything else at all, but altogether and only for yourself!

Oh, to be wasted! It is a blessed thing to be wasted for the Lord. So many who have been prominent in the Christian world know nothing of this. Many of us have been used to the full- have been used, I would say, too much- but we do not know what it means to be wasted on God. We like to be always "on the go": the Lord would sometimes prefer to have us in prison. We think in terms of apostolic journeys: God dares to put his greatest ambassadors in chains.

But thanks be unto God, which always leadeth us in triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest through us the savor of his knowledge in every place (2 Cor.2:14).

And the house was filled with the odor of the ointment (John 12:3).

The Lord grant us grace that we may learn how to please him. When, like Paul, we make this our supreme aim (2 Cor.5:9), the Gospel will have achieved its end.

- From pgs. 177, 178, 180, 186-189

What I believe

If you stumbled upon a homemaker's blog you may or may not be expecting to come upon a woman who talks a lot about Jesus and the Bible. Maybe you were hoping more for frugal tips, canning recipes, and gardening suggestions. I'd love to learn ALL of those things, so if you know someone...let me know. But that's not primarily what I talk about here. My life as a homemaker is just the place I currently walk out my faith, my belief, in Christ. And since that is the service I commit my life too- living by faith in Christ as a homemaker and in everything I do- I think it is fitting that I should tell you what it is I believe very clearly.
I believe this life is eternally effected by a fact that is more real than gravity- that God so loved the world that He sent His ONLY Son that whoever would believe (put all their confidence in the fact of Him being the only Savior) in Him should not perish but have everlasting life! (The beautiful 3:16 passage)

Now you may say it's'd be right. The One in whom I believe said that too, "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it...Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as 'Lord,' but they still won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven." (Matthew 7:13-14, 21)

You may say it's ridiculous, that's ok, but PLEASE don't say, "That's a nice opinion...whatever makes your clock tick!" Please!!! And if you must say, "Nice opinion Sheila!" Then at least consider that my "opinion" is that the following is not an opinion, but a fact! And if you would give me at least that consideration then you most likely will have to come to the conclusion that I'm a fool, and that's ok too, because I'd rather cling to the foolishness of God (1 Cor.1:25, 1 Cor.1:18) and I'll gladly be a fool for His Son who laid down His life for me to be His own.

Here it goes, What I believe:

  • *I believe there is only ONE God (Isaiah 45:5, John 17:3) and MANY other passages speak this- I'd be glad to send them to you if you'd like). This God is not made by human hands or found only in church buildings (2 Samuel 7:5, 2 Chron.6:18. This God is spirit and He is life (John 4:24, 1 John 5:12). He is beyond explaining in words but He defined Himself in the life of one Man (Colossians 1:15), Jesus- a man who lived in Israel 2000 plus years ago. Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. I believe in the triunity of the One Living God. God is One Father, One Son and One Holy Spirit (Matt.28:19)- none are of them selves, each are of the other and together make up the One Living God.

    *I believe the Man Jesus is the Christ, the "Annointed One", the Holy One, the Son of the Living God, the Messiah of Israel and for the whole world, the Only Savior (Matt.16:13-20, John 4:25-26, Proverbs 9:10 , Luke 1:35). I believe He is not one of many ways to enter the gate of "salvation" but rather He is THE gate, THE way, and HE IS salvation!

Jesus said of Himself, "I assure you, I am the gate for the sheep," he said. "All others who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. Wherever they go, they will find green pastures. The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:7-11)
  • I believe man is by nature depraved and sinful (Romans 3:23) . We aren't just sinful because we sin (that is we do things that are against God's word) but we sin because we are naturally sinners (Romans 5:12). I believe all flesh, all mankind, will perish apart from being born a second time, not of flesh but of spirit (John 3:3) . The flesh is born after humankind (after the line of Adam, the first man) but the spirit is born after God through faith (total confidence and trust) in the saving work of Jesus the Christ (1 Peter 1:23).

  • I believe that there is a very real (more real than what we see with our eyes) spiritual realm in which a war takes place against the souls of men (Ephesians 6:12). I believe the victory of the souls of every one who has and will believe in Christ by faith was secured at the cross of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:37). I believe there is a devil who seeks to steal, kill and destroy people and the name of God (John 10:10). He is already defeated by the work of the Savior but he is going down fighting and destroying. I believe he is only allowed to do what Almighty God permits Him too until the day when the fullness of all who will believe are complete (Job 1:6-12).

  • I believe there is a time of judgement that begins with the house or the family of God- those who are His (1 Peter 4:17-19). For those that are His this judgement is a time of chastising and trial through which the new creature that person is through faith in Christ is proven true and purified. I also believe that judgement continues for those who refuse the salvation of the Lord. For them their standing before God is not as children, but as condemned flesh- flesh that died in Christ at the cross. Because they have refused to believe that God saves them through His own death and resurrection but try to stand on their own goodness and good intentions, they stand before a perfect God trying to justify their lives by their own works and they cannot stand (Psalm 140:3-4, Romans 4:4-6, Isaiah 64:6)!

  • I believe the Bible (in it's original language) is the perfect Word of the Living God. I believe it was written by men inspired by God and that it is completely fulfilled in Christ (Psalm 19:7-10, 1 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:19-21) .

  • I believe that God created the entire universe be simply speaking His words and He did so in 6 days and then spent an entire 7th day resting- no longer creating (Genesis 1). I believe that He created man and woman in His own image and that mankind is a treasured creation bearing a spirit and the Godhead's own likeness (Genesis 1:26-28).

  • I also believe all that life or death is long, not short. I believe all souls will eternally live either with God as His sons and daughters and enjoy the glory they were created to enjoy (Ephesians 1:3-14) OR die eternally apart from God in a very real places that Jesus called hell, "...where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'" (Mark 9:44)
As I said before I do not believe the God I serve desires any soul to perish. He's made a way for all to come! No one has to justify themselves or hope God accepts them. No one has to find a new religion or conform to an already existing one. No one has to or can do ANYTHING to gain favor in the sight of the God who created them...JESUS ALREADY DID IT! He is the only ONE who can make us acceptable in God's eyes.

I think of it this's a love story. God doesn't want us to come to Him on a basis of meeting a certain mark or staying within a certain limit. He wants us to come to Him in response to His great love. That's why there's not any way-that-makes-your-clock-tick ways to God...they're all just attempts to meet a certain mark or be a certain way to be "good" and acceptable to God. He wants you to love Him...and you can't even do that unless He loves you first. He wants you to, without seeing it, just believe (put all your eggs in His basket) that He loves you enough to die for you and live a life in response to that mighty, selfless, redemptive love.

Saying that, "Oh, surely a merciful God would understand that anyone who does good, no matter who they believe is their savior, is deserving of His acceptance," is like refusing to give a man who saved a people group from destruction by standing in the way of the death that was coming their way and dying in the process, recognition. Would you refuse Abraham Lincoln a name and title of honor for his work to free the slaves in America? Could "Private Ryan" refuse to give the respect of acknowledging that it was his superior who died to be sure to rescue him and give him a long life? Can you refuse to give Jesus the name and honor only He deserves since He experienced all a human experiences and the weight and pain of this fallen place along with all the terror of sin, rejection, judgement and death just to save you from the damnation that was sure to come to all fallen creation?

"There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them." - Acts 4:12

"Though he was God, he did
not demand and cling
to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross. Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."- Philippians 2:6-11

If you read this and you haven't bowed your knee...your life, to Jesus and agreed with God that He is Lord, won't you do it now?! If you have, or desire to, I'd love to hear from you and I'm praying for you even now!
Also, a note to all you fellow Christian bloggers, have you posted a post on what you believe- I mean just layin' it out there real clear in your own words? If not, I'd encourage you to. Doing this has been great for me, just to think it through and try to put into my own words the truths that keep me for eternity. It's something God's word instructs us to do, to be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks. If someone comes to your blog, they're sort of asking. So what do you believe? Also, I feel like this has prepared me a bit for when someone may ask me face to face. I've thought it through and written it down and that always makes putting things in speech a lot easier for me.


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