What is it to walk worthy?

I was just reading this verse to my boys, it's our memory verse for this week:


Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for
each other's faults because of your love
. - Ephesians 4:2 NLT



After singing it with them and trying to remember it I opened up my NKJV Bible to check and see if I'd remembered it correctly. The version reads differently (I didn't find out if I had remembered it correctly) so I started with verse 1 and read through verse 3 just to get the full gist of what was being said.


This stood out like neon, "...walk worthy of the calling with which you were called..." (verse 1).


Worthy
of the calling?


Now, I read worthy and I automatically think, "I'm out! Not me. I'm definantly not worthy, so how in the world am I to fulfill this verse?"


Then as I read on I was struck again, "...with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love..."

THAT is walking worthy.


In my tendency to be a modern Pharisee, I think of walking worthy as not sinning. You know, not cussing, or being involved in something immoral, or hanging out with "worldly" people, or an ongoing list of various, "do's" and "don'ts". But that's not what the Spirit says at all!


Walking worthy of the calling with which we were called is
being humble and gentle and patient, making allowances for
faults done against us by others because of love.


I can't walk worthy in the sense of doing all the things I think are godly and not doing any of the things I think aren't godly...because in me is a heart prone to wander, a heart already defiled! I'd just be fixing up the outside if I were to live that way and the inside would be rotten!

But I can humble myself. I can say, "I'm a sinner in desperate need of the mercy of God!" I can be like that man Jesus said went home justified that day when He told us this story:


Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they
were righteous, and despised others: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." - Luke 18:9-14


If I have a proper perspective of myself, as a sinner dependent upon God's mercy, not upon my own ability to do "right" in the sight of men, then, from that place of humility, I will tend to be more gentle with others...even those who require looooooongsuffering and much allowance for the faults they tend to walk in which offend me.

Walking worthy means knowing my worth is not in my performance but in God's mercy as shown me in Jesus at the cross. It means knowing that I am not deserving of God's love, but embracing it with thanksgiving!

Walking worthy is not an absence of doing wrong, nor the presence of doing what people think is right. It is the embracing of Christ! And in laying hold of the lavish gift of mercy and grace which defines my worth in Him I will be kept walking in humility, patience, gentleness and in extending that same mercy to others. I will not need to define my worth by what I do and don't do, rather, I will be consumed by He Who loves me, and who He's made me by His sacrifice!


Oh Father, I tend to be a Pharisee, but when I see the, "...with which" I was called- Jesus' blood shed for me- I realize how wretched I am and much You've made me worth! Help me to walk in the humility that demonstrates the worth of my life!

A prayer for Ryland

Today was my baby's first soccer game! He's such a baby to me. His voice is so small...I grab every smooch from his cute face I can get in a day!!!

Today as I watched him a little reservedly join his team I got to see a glimpse of the way (you know, train up a child in the way they should go...) Ryland was designed by God to go. My little guy's a leader. He put his reservations behind him, marched out there to join his team of under sixers (who are all 5-6...he's the only 3 year old!) and said real loud, "NOBODY TOUCH THE BALL WITH YOUR HANDS!!!" Then he realized everybody was looking at him and he shrugged his shoulders and stuck his hands up in the air as though he were saying, "I don't know!"

I pray Ryland would know God has not given him a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. I pray he would not shrink back from speaking the truth in love and being an example in faith and in life as he follows Jesus even if he is the youngest person in the bunch!






Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the
believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
-1Timothy 4:12

Danette's ordinary day

Ordinary. That's the sum of the events occurring so far in Danette's day.

Up a 5:30 am. Sweats on. Hubby up. Shower running in the background while she whips up breakfast. Kids tumbling into the lighting-up living room with their blankies and bears already whining, "Mom, I'm hungry!"

Fast-forward an hour...breakfast is finished, husband is gone to work, kids are getting dressed, Danette is cleaning up from breakfast. Her mind was dashing from thought to thought as she scrubbed last night's smelly fish-fry off the cast iron skillet. She was thinking about her friend and the concerns she had for her, which led to a thought about her tendency to say what people want to hear rather than speak the fire of truth that burns, shut-up in her. That led to a thought about how much she wants to go on a retreat, which led to a thought about how much she knows she needs and longs for some quiet time in the mornings with her Bible and journal and the ever-present Spirit of God yet she always falls for the temptation of another hour of sleep when the mornings come. This led to a thought which sounded different...she didn't think she thought it, rather it seemed to come sweeping over her like an unexpected burst of wind. It was an interruption...that's what it was! An interruption of her thoughts.

"Put your hands in the air and pull back the drapes." The thought commanded in a quiet yet powerful tone- like a sudden wind which tussles your hair.

Danette argued with the thought but didn't open her mouth. "I don't own drapes."

"Lift up your hands and pull back the drapes." the thought encouraged...more gusts of disturbing wind.

Danette had been looking down into the sink of dirty dishes. She stopped washing and looked up. You know how you can take a screen shot of your computer screen, well, when Danette looked up, she saw the screen shot of her day. It was as though her three dimensional world had just become a flat screen, a thin drape.

She heard her kids in the other room, but she didn't feel there. She felt, well, like she had told a friend once, as though the "carousel" music was playing. You know, like a scene from some erie movie when you know something's just not right but the character in the movie has no idea and there's always some strange version of carousel music playing in the background?

Danette experiences these "carousel" moments very infrequently, and when she does, she usually turns up the radio, turns on the t.v. or brushes them aside in some other distracting way. But this time she was refreshed not spooked by the thoughts blowing afresh in her mind. So she reached up with both arms to the top of her "screen shot", which was what she could see at the very top of her vision, above which was the shadow of her own eyebrows, as though she were grabbing the top inside corners of a high-hung set of drapes. She slowly pulled "the drapes" back.

Russhhh! Winds, a microburst of cool winds blew against her face so that she had to close her eyes. While her eyes were closed she thought, "The kids must have run in and opened the back door." She was still disbelieving though she was obeying this strange thought. But then the burst of wind slowed down to barely a breeze and she opened her eyes. The view was the same except she noticed a mark on everything she saw- her walls, windows, furniture, carpet, the dishes...even the soap bubbles- everything!

Danette curiously lowered her head to more closely examine the soap bubbles covering her hands. The mark she was observing was not really a mark, it was moving. She looked closer. Her world view was now reduced to the one square inch vision of a mass of soap bubbles on her hands. Sparkling on the bubbles and flashing on her hand underneath was what looked like flames of fire. As she looked intently, her world faded away. She was consumed with these small flames which seem to spell out words she could not read. Suddenly the fire jumped out and licked her ears in a flash of hot light. She didn't even have time to jump, but in the instant that the fire receded she heard a Voice of rushing waters.

"The earth is the LORD's and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein." The Voice sounding like a waterfall spoke through the flames which danced a written language she'd never seen.

Danette's mouth was wide open. Her eyes were wide open. Her ears were wide open. Something miraculous was obviously happening. She was standing in awe, taking in the sights and sounds of flames and streams of water which were on, and coming out of, every object in her house. Her sons came chasing each other into her "screen shot" and didn't notice her. But she noticed them. Unlike all the non-living objects, her sons were not merely marked by the flames that spoke in rushes of waters...they were engulfed in them! The flames were transparent and blue, unlike the red and orange flames she saw on her hands and soap bubbles. But they were like the other flames in that they danced out the same unknown language and sang with the Voice of rushing streams.

"Behold children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth." the Voice poured.

Danette was overwhelmed and overcome with the sight and sound of life- vivid, alive, unordinary, life surrounding her. Tears began to flow and she closed her eyes. She knew that the God she worshipped was interacting with her in an amazing and intimate way and she didn't know what to say or do. She whispered in a cracking, tearful voice, "You're amazing God. What does all this mean?"

With her eyes still closed and the Voice of waters still streaming around her she heard, "I am with you always daughter. Anytime you want to be alone with Me you need only to seek Me and you will find Me. I am here in the morning while you sleep but I am also here in the day while you do what's seems to be just ordinary. Listen for Me. Look for Me. You will find Me. And when You do, be sure to point My mark, My flame, My voice out to others who, like you, have grown customarily content with the veil of things seen. Encourage them to pull back the curtain and see Me."

Tears were now pouring down her face. The Voice of waters was gone. She slowly opened her eyes to a world blurred by her crying. The screen shot was back and she was suddenly aware of the voice of her sons who were both tugging on her sweatpants at her knees saying, "Mom! Mommy! Mommy! What's wrong! Mommy!!!!!!?"

Danette wiped her face, looked up, smiled, whispered, "Thank you Lord," and stooped down to look her kids in the eyes.

"What's wong mommy?" asked her three year old.

"Nothing's wrong honey. Mommy was just thinking."

"Thinking about what mom?" her 5 year old inquired.

"About Jesus. About how He made everything and how He made YOU! And YOU too you cutie patootie!" Danette poked her boys each in their favorite tickle spot and they crumbled to the floor giggling. Amidst the giggling in that moment Danette caught a glimpse of blue flames and heard a rush of refreshment, "I am with you always."

"I love you," is all she could say, but from her heart it was much, much more. It was the deep waters of her heart calling back to the deep waters of the Voice she heard. It was deep calling to deep. Danette's kids thought she was talking to them and said, "I love you too mom!" giggling and climbing all over her. From the deep in her she thought, "I love You LORD through them!"
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
-Psalm 42:7

Cloud of Witnesses: Amy Charmichael

Photobucket

I haven't done a Cloud of Witnesses post for a looooooong time! But I just had to share this quote from one of those dear witnesses, Amy Charmichael.

This is from The Edges of His Ways, the September 20th entry:


The thoughts of God
Think through me, thoughts of God, when I
have to deal with difficult souls. Let me see in each soul an opportunity to claim the powers of Calvary. Love through me, Love of God, love that hard soul through me. Flow through me, Patience of God, flow over the roughness of that soul even as the sea flows over the rough rocks. Hope through me, Hope of God. O God of Hope, hope afresh in me as I touch that soul again. Let me not remember past disappointments. Let me begin each morning with hope, as Thou dost begin each morning with hope for me, even me.

Props for my peeps

I just wanted to turn my blogging friends on to my face-to-face friends who also blog (Is that what giving props to my peeps means? I hope so!!).

I think this is how God says give props to your peeps:



Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from
his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose. Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. -Philippians 2:1-4 (NLT)


  • My dear friend, and also sister-in-law, just started a blog that I believe will be a proclamation of her, and her family's lives, as they are lived out by faith and not by sight. Go visit my precious sister at The Simmie Flock.

  • Also another dear sister in the Lord who I used to worship Jesus with at RCF in Oregon! To me, this sister is the embodiment of hospitality- an honest lover of Jesus who shares her life and her beautiful family on her blog Trenkle Toes (and in her real life home too!). Go visit Captivated...you'll be allured to Jesus, I know!!


  • Transformed is a sister in the Lord I only had the pleasure of meeting in person once, but since then have truly found a like-minded sister in Christ through emails and blogging. Transformed has two blogs: Transformed from Glory to Glory- where she shares her how God is transforming her and her family through looking into His perfect Word and walking by the Spirit, and a new blog that will give you cause to pray: Unto the Least of These, where she shares the story of one of the orphaned children (Elyssa "Mercy") she and her husband have taken into their home to love and parent in Christ. Transformed's heart for orphans is an earthly manifestation of Christ's heart! It's beautiful and it spurs me on to love and good works.

More thoughts on being like a lily among thorns






To the pure [in heart and conscience] all things are pure, but
to the defiled and corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and
consciences are defiled and polluted. -Titus 1:15 Amplified Bible

This is the innocence God is. This is also the innocence God created us to be. This is also the innocence God has redeemed us to. This is the innocence He's restoring in us. Making us as pure and vulnerable as a lily from the inside out. And we are vulnerable because we are among thorns. Our thorny flesh. Our thorny world. Our thorny relationships. Our thorny enemy.


But this is the innocence the blood of Jesus purchased for us. This is the way God always intended it to be for us. Innocence for God is not something to grow past. Innocence is not going from puppy love to mature love. Innocence is not missing out on fun. Innocence is ruined by knowing anything that is not good. Innocence is murdered by eating the knowledge of good AND evil.


We so often think of purity as something you only have as a child. And a dirtying of purity we accept as the way life goes. We grow up. We get dirty. We mature. We figure out there's more to life than virginity and innocence. But to God purity is not a doormat to be stepped on, and used to wipe off our filthy feet. It's not just a place we touch once to move up to a more "sophisticated" way of living. Purity is the ecstasy of "all things new" that God would have us continually live in. In purity, in innocence, nothing gets old or tired or boring. In purity all of life is a garden to be explored and tasted of, cultivated and multiplied. Living in purity means knowing only good.

But since we live in a world and in a body of knowledge of good and evil, this purity God has redeemed for us is like a lily among thorns. It's vulnerable to pain. But what's so awesome is that pain cannot destroy purity. Even death cannot destroy it. For Jesus is the Lily of the Valley who rose from the dead and lives in us as a lily among thorns.


I am the rose of Sharon, And the lily of the
valleys.
Song of Solomon 2:1

Let us not shrink back from pain, or rejection, or even death, thinking it is to the destruction of our newly-made pure hearts. For it is not in knowing good and experiencing pain that our purity is marred. It is only in choosing to know good and evil that we are destroyed.

Let me not think with the mind of "street-smarts." Let me not be wise to the things and thinking of this world. Let me seem as a fool, as naive, as totally innocent to what the world says is natural though it is not natural, it is perverted and twisted and contagiously spreading death.

Let me think only with that pure mind I've been given as Christ lives in me and I live in Him. With that mind, amidst everything the world says is natural, I can see past the twisted thorns to the innocent lily God created it to be.


Like a lily among thorns, So is my love among the
daughters.
Song of Solomon 2:2
To the world all that is twisted and perverted and contagiously spreading death is natural.

To my new mind (which only knows good and not evil) the only natural thing is the lily among all those mangled thorns.

***Related: A Lily Among Thorns

In all your listening, listen to this

The Voice of the Martyrs now has a website where you can listen to news podcasts about current persecution against Christians around the world. This is news you WON'T hear on your local news or even cable news shows.

As I was listening to this podcast updating news of violence against Christians in India and Ethiopia I thought, "This is so easy to overlook! This is news which is so easy to not hear! Lord, help me to take the time to listen and pray and remember my brothers and sisters! May Your grace and mercy flood these areas through these children of Yours."

Remember those who are in chains and mistreated with me today!

Hebrews 13:3
Sheila

Resting in this promise

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all
sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. - 2
Corinthians 9:8

Lily among thorns


Oh to be so pure
Such innocence
Oh to be so tender
Such vulnerability
Oh to be so bold
Such fearlessness
Oh to be so honest
Such unashamedness
Oh to be so childlike
Such trust
Oh to be so wise
Such truth
Oh to be so willing
Such surrender
Oh to be so pained
Such sacrifice
Oh to be so selfless
Such love
Oh to be like God
Such holiness
Oh to be like The Son
Such confidence in Dad
Oh to be totally changed
Such redemption

I sense You in me. I know You're there.

I sense You because You're totally different than me.

Your presence makes me aware of how I'm none of the "Oh to be's" above.

Such as is listed I sense in me, but it's You!

I want to weep, because You're so tender, so innocent, so willing to love me though it hurt You so terribly.
I want to cry out to my flesh and the world around me, "Don't you see!!!? Don't you see how pure He is?! Don't you see that everything you think that He has said do is so trivial, only a matter of perspective or religion, is a slap in His innocent face! If He said it don't you see that there is no malice in Him and that He is good? Why do you pollute what He has called pure?! Why do you step on His virgin heart (which is perpetually virgin, perpetually innocent, perpetually pure, perpetually perfect, perpetually wise, perpetually vulnerable, perpetually willing, perpetually right) with your assumption that because it doesn't pain you it's not paining Him! ?"

I know it's not me because I'm the one who stepped on Your virgin heart with my calculated decision that I was harming no one.

Yet You've come to live in me and now I find that I'm beginning to think like You.

I'm beginning to feel vulnerable and tender.

I'm beginning to feel childlike trust and innocence.

I'm beginning to be bold and fearless.

I'm beginning to find that only in You is there a place to bear the pain of loving people the way You do.

I'm beginning to find that only You keep my heart tender and pure.

Everywhere else, even where my own thoughts are, I only find
mocking

and marring,

rejection
and accusation,

violence
and molestation

disguised in "modern" thinking and being "socially acceptable."

"Come on Sheila! Don't you see how silly it is to think like that?"

Slap!

"Look at this! This will make you prettier!"

Slashes mar me

"You believe that!?"

Rejection

"Who do you think you are? You think you're better than everyone else?!"

Accusations punch

"This will give you a thrill!"

Violence

"This will spice up your sex life!"

Molestation steps on my secret garden

Me: Oh my Love! Come take me away! Rescue me! My heart is bludgeoned!

Him: "I'm here Sheila. I've never left you. It's my heart that is bludgeoned. I'm showing them I love them through you. Be willing. Be tender. Be bold. Be wise. Be childlike in your trust. Be surrendered. Be pained. Be innocent. Be vulnerable. Be selfless. Be like God. Be Holy. I have spoken these things to you so you are them."

Me: The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes Leaping upon the mountains, Skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he stands behind our wall; He is looking through the windows, Gazing through the lattice. My beloved spoke, and said to me: "Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away. For lo, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth her green figs, And the vines with the tender grapes Give a good smell. Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away! O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret places of the cliff, Let me see your face, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your face is lovely." (Song of Solomon 2:8-14)

Him: "I'm here Sheila. I am the rose of Sharon, And the lily of the valleys. Like a lily among thorns, So are you my love among the daughters. (Song of Solomon 2:1-2)"

The Homemaker's getting a job?


I've been filling out applications lately and updating my resume. During this process I've been thinking a lot about how God has brought me to the place that I am today in regards to how He sees homemaking and how He desires me to enjoy the fullness of His design as a woman, wife and mom.

A few years back, when my husband and I were just begining the rebuilding process after our painful seperation and years of unforgiving marriage, God began to stir my heart towards directions I had not expected or even thought of as something that needed to be thought of.

First He began to stir my heart to pray that He would stir my husband's heart to want me to be home, not working.

I was easily distracted during that time with my lust for a noted "position" in ministry and an income of my own and therefore went down a tangent where God exposed my ugly, selfish heart. It was REALLY UGLY!

After being totally humbled during a trip to Oregon, the Lord began to hold my wounded soul and whisper to me again His plan for me. He began to show me that His desire for me WAS to be His minister and it WAS to be in an important position using the gifts and talents He'd given me, but it wasn't what I thought.

He began to show me how important the ministry of homemaking is in His kingdom- for the evangelizing of souls, for the winning of leaders, for the training of children, and for the transformation of societies.

Finally, I had HIS vision, and not my carnal version of it. And when I caught it I took off running! I was so convicted of my own sin of pride, and had seen the ugliness of how I veiwed our wonderful Savior's perfect plans, that in my zeal, I ran straight to legalism. I really did.

I tend to be this type of person anyway. I want rules and I want to follow them and I want other people to follow them. But God wants relationship and He wants me to respond with the only law in Christ there is- love!


But God wants relationship and He wants me to respond with the only law in Christ there is- love!



He wants me to obey Him, yes, but He wants me to be fully convinced in my own mind before Him and do whatever I do in love, without condemning or placing a heavy burden on others. He wants me to inspire others not oppress them. But I fell into legalistic thinking for awhile and if you happened to be reading my blog (or website) at that time you may have been bludgeoned by my zealousness about a woman not working outside her own home. If so, I sincerely declare to you I WAS WRONG! AND I PLEAD FOR YOUR FORGIVENESS!




He wants me to inspire others not oppress them.




It took awhile for God to bring to the surface all that ugly, legalistic dross so He could burn it away with the perfect zeal of His love. He is an all consuming fire. And I began to burn with His heart, His zeal for wives and moms without anymore judgment and condemnation in regards to homemaking.

I remember one day He spoke to me, "Sheila. I said, 'Be a homemaker.' Not, 'Don't ever work outside your home!' Be a homemaker Sheila."

It was then that I knew His heart towards me and all wives was that of a perfect Father who knows what's best for His children. I knew He was saying that homemaking is a way a Christian wife is to go about her life not simply the only "job" a wife was permitted to do. I also knew that His heart was that of desiring a wife and mom to not be overburdened and oppressed by the demands of career, not demanding that a wife and mom never work in any capacity outside her home.

I knew that if my God had His perfect will in my life He would free me to never work outside my home again, but to grow and blossom in homemaking and in being the manager of a home that would be a lighthouse in our community for His glory. But I also knew that for the sake of not causing others to stumble He would grant me the strength and grace to work outside my home, being about the ministry of homemaking wherever I was for His glory. I knew ultimately it came down to God's willingness to subject me to further work for the sake of winning my husband and being an example to others.


I knew He was saying that homemaking is a way a Christian wife is to go about her life not simply the only "job" a wife was permitted to do.

Since that time, without any legalism or condemnation, my fervent cry has been for the turning of our hearts as wives towards the ministry of serving Jesus in our homes. It has also been my daily prayer that the Lord would continue to give me favor in my husband's eyes that I might be used by Him to train my sons and serve my husband for Christ's glory as a homemaker. But it has also been my prayer, "Nevertheless, not my will Father, but yours be done."

That brings me to where I am today. My husband has asked me to begin working again and so with a peace that's beyond understanding or my will, I'm pursuing finding a job that will allow me to take my kids with me.

So far I'm looking at a local child-care center at our gym, but as of right now there are no openings there. Maybe in a month, they said. So that brings me again to praying and talking with my husband. Though I don't want to put my kids in daycare, that is something that as I pray about and ask the Lord not to require of me through my husband, I again have an unexplainable peace about.
The Spirit has reminded me that although He desires and has planned for me to be that teacher and trainer and nurturer of the two boys He's given me, He is ultimately in control of their lives. He's reminded me of Hannah and Moses' mom, who both had to let go of their children as they committed themselves, and their children, to trusting in God's soveriegnty.

I'd appreciate your prayers about this. I'm just thankful for today...for the oppurtunity to lay up more treasure in heaven today as I pour out my life in my kids, in serving in my home, and in being my husband's helper, all for my sweet Jesus who laid down His life for me!

Father, You are perfect. Your ways are perfect. Your design is perfect. It is a joy to serve You no matter where You have me because You will not forget my labor of love and You deserve every bit of my life! You're my provider. You are my supply! I look forward to what job, what provision, what peace, what deliverance, what open door You have for me and for Your glory!

Exposing Quotes

"If monotony tries me, and I cannot stand drudgery; if stupid people fret me and
the little ruffles set me on edge; if I make much of the trifles of life, then I
know nothing of Calvary love." -Amy Carmichael

“If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, than I know
nothing of Calvary love, for a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one
drop of bitter water however suddenly jolted.”-Amy Carmichael


Thanks to to Elizabeth at A Merry Rose: Blooming As Keeper of My Home for sharing these quotes from Amy Charmichael.

I've been exposed, challenged and inspired by Amy's writings as I continue to read through The Edges of His Ways.
Oh Lord Love change me! Touch the bitter waters that still remain with Your cross and make them sweet! Give me eyes to see You about the business of "drudgery" and "monotony" and loving "stupid" people so that I might hate my haughtiness and joyfull do what never seems to be done, and with delight put on a towel to wash feet, and with grace and tenderness love those I see as "stupid"- Oh God help me! I'm the stupid one You love! I'm the dirty one You wash! I'm the one You keep tending to day after day in the same place, in the same needs, in the same monotonous and drudgerous issues of my life.

Even if some do not: Study #3

(Image from Lori at All You Have to Give)

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting
the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be
the
hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the
ornament of
a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great
price.For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in
God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands... 1 Peter
3:3-5 (KJV)


In part ONE of this study I really saw how the plan for a woman to live out her faith in Christ as a wife, is really no different than it is for any other born-again one. We're all to be living our lives here as sojourners and pilgrims, characterized by:

  • fixing our eyes on our living hope of eternal life not on this world and it's troubles

  • living as obedient children not conforming to our old fleshly habits but being holy in our conduct

  • abstaining from fleshly lusts which war against our souls

  • being submissive to earthly authorities, doing good without fear

  • having pure conduct around unbelievers (Gentiles)

In part TWO what really stuck out to me was that God uses wives (and other people too, but He DOES USE WIVES) to win husbands the same way He uses the rest of His sojourners and pilgrims to win unbelievers and earthly authorities- BY CONDUCTING OUR LIVES IN SUCH A WAY AS TO EXCITE REVERENCE! And that "winning" is not just for unbelieving husbands but for believing ones too since, as Jesus said, if a brother listens to us when we talk with them about their sin we gain them.

I realized that no matter if a husband is a believer or not, God may very well use that man's believing wife to bring him to Christ AND to grow him up in Christ, not through nagging or teaching him, but through living that "exciting reverence" life around him.

So that brings me to today's part THREE of this study:


A Sojourning Wife's Adornment


A sojourning wife is a very important description. See, the instructions to wives in the Bible are not just arbitrary or demeaning assignments from God because we're women. Rather being a woman or wife, is just one area of life where we live out our Christianity. God's word emphasizes that being a wife does not make us exempt from living out our lives here as strangers and pilgrim's by faith, not by sight, in holiness, not in fulfilling our every desire, etc. Just because our husbands are our loves, our closest buds, our knights-in-shining-armor (or even if they're modern-day Nabal's) doesn't leave room for us to slack off on living this sojourning life as one who has been born again around them.

Just as a sojourning wife is to live a life which excites reverence while she willing submits to her own husband, doing good in her day to day, a sojourning wife is also to adorn herself differently than a carnal wife.

I found the original meaning of the word adorning in these verses very interesting.

Adorning means: an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
ornament, decoration, adornment.

So adorning means cosmetics and clothes and such (ornament, decoration...), but it also means a harmonious arrangement or order. PERFECT! Why am I so surprised!? Of course God's word is perfect! This is why I get so jazzed about looking up the original language, cause it just is perfect!

Okay, let me explain my excitement there. See, the description from Peter in this passage about how a wife is not to be merely concerned with her outward appearance but with being meek and quiet and submissive to her husband in regards to how she "adorns" herself basically spells out the definition of adorning in the Greek. There is to be regard to our ornament or decoration, but not MERELY with that. For that's only part of the definition of adorning. Overshadowing our ornament and decoration is to be what's hidden: the harmonious arrangement of meekness and quietness in the God-designed order of submission to one's own husband.

Yes, we are to "paint the barn" so to speak (maintain our outward appearance) and cover the windows (put on modest clothes) but what truly decorates us from God's perspective is what isn't seen with eyes.

As I read through these two verses in 1 Peter 3:3-4 three characteristics of our adornment as sojourning wives stand out to me:

  1. meekness
  2. quietness
  3. submission

Meekness




Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3


As I've studied out what meekness means and as I've listened to wise teachers teach on this subject I really hear the Spirit saying, "It's confidence Sheila. Not self-confidence, or haughtiness but just the opposite- true confidence. It's knowing God is on the throne and not having to bring about your own justice. It's being calm, gentle and mild while God deals swiftly and perfectly with any injustice."


In fact Crosswalk.com has this definition:



Praus- mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness. Meekness
toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us
as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.
In the OT, the
meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend
them against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is
permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect,
and that He will deliver His elect in His time.


Now ladies our husband's DO look at our outward appearance, they DO see how we care for our "barns" and windows :) So we must not neglect to care for our appearance as though that's what God is saying here. But even if our outward appearance isn't to our own or our husband's or the latest-trend's satisfaction, we are not to be consumed or burdened by that care. We are to be concerned with what others "see" without their eyes and what God always see whether others notice or not. And that is the hidden person of our hearts.

There is a wonderful feeling of peace and acceptance that comes with being around a truly meek woman. She's no doormat. She's not sheepish or prudish, rather she's about the business of doing good and she's so concerned with you that you barely even notice how she's done her hair or what she's wearing. She doesn't draw your attention to her, she draws your attention to Christ as she displays a quiet confidence in His sovereignty over her life.

When I've been around these kinds of women I feel I'm in the safest place in the world! They just emit confidence in God. They aren't worried about every little thing, nor are they looking to be sure their lipstick or hair hasn't been disturbed. They are rather those who you'll hear giving thanks for things that are easy to miss in the stresses of life and the consumption with self that we can all easily slip into. And when you get to know them, they don't live lives free from turmoil either, on the contrary, many are dealing with terrible trials and some with daily drudgery, but either way they are confident in God's love and sovereignty.

Well, this is turning out to be a longer post than I anticipated so I'll just stop there. Next time I'll take up quietness and submission.

As you go your way today though, seek the Lord on these things. I know I am going to. Studying these things out makes me long for more of Him to be lived out and seen in me!

Oh King Jesus, hear me now! I want to walk in that confidence, that meekness that is only found in You daily. I know You live in me and I know I've fed the flesh and not walked in the Spirit many, many, many times when it comes to this. I've been concerned with my outward appearance but not consciously concerned with displaying confidence in Your sovereignty. Rule me Lord! Search me and know me. Try me! See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way that is everlasting!

Help! Resume template or trick needed!

I'm trying to print- JUST PRINT- out a resume I put together on a free program online and of course the catch is...YOU CAN'T PRINT IT UNLESS YOU BUY A MEMBERSHIP WITH THEM!!!

Anyway, any of you dear-ones who are more savvy than I when it comes to stuff like this have any ideas!?

I'm trying to update my R.N. resume so as to reflect my absence from the job-market for the past couple years and make it more of a general resume so that I can apply for some child-care positions at my local gym and elsewhere, just to bring a little income in without having to leave my kiddos.

I tried to find a template for resumes on my Microsoft Works and Microsoft Word programs on my computer but...NADA! Nothing there! So now I have a cute little resume saved and ready to go at PONGO but no way to print it up.

If any of you know of a free template or link or trick or whatever that I could use to print this baby out that would be awesome!!!

Thanks!!!

The mystery of worshipping God

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in
the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles,
believed on in the world, received up into glory. -1 Timothy 3:16

There's A LOT of controversy about how to worship God, but without controversy is the FACT that the right worship of God (that's what the original Greek word translated godliness means here) is a great mystery!

Paul gives us a little glimpse into that great mystery:

  • God was manifest in the flesh
  • Justified in the Spirit
  • Seen of angels
  • Preached unto the Gentiles (non-Jews)
  • Believed on in the world
  • And received up into glory

Recently I read the book The Shack. I was stirred. The book troubled me in some ways and comforted me in others. More than anything it brought to my awareness again how thirsty I am to know my Creator and Savior and to rightly worship Him although doing so is a great mystery!

I read this morning an article about some of the controversy that has come out of The Shack. Reading "Is The Shack heresy?" reminded me of something else I read recently.

John D. Garr wrote, "The Jewish Messiah- Christianity's Only Foundation" in the May/June 2008 issue of Jewish Voice Today. In it he reviews the history of Christianity and reminds us Christians of something very important: Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God, and without this Jewish Messiah there is no church. And without God's Son there is no forgiveness and eternal life. But one part of the article particularly shook me. He says:

"The sages knew that there are many things about the infinite God that
can never be fully understood by finite man, regardless as to man's
self-inflated estimation of his intellect and perception. That is why
they were (and are) able to hold various seemingly contradictory concepts in
dynamic tension, underscoring the truths in each but leaving their final
outworking to the providence of an omniscient God. While men in their
rational analyses may think that they have all the details of the nature of God
and Christ completely figured out, it is highly likely that there is much more
to be learned than is already understood and that in the final analysis
Christian leaders of the past and present may find themselves as woefully
misinformed as their Jewish counterparts over who Jesus lamented, "...you knew
not the time of your visitation" (Luke 19:44).
***Taken from Jewish Voice Today May/June 2008 pg.14; www.JewishVoiceToday.org***

I've tended to be a person who tries to analyze and figure out the nature of God and Christ. But the more I read God's word and cry out to the One I DON'T understand, the more God turns my world upside-down and throws off all my understanding and in exchange gives me peace in knowing (without explanation) that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God and He loves me!

"Is--is he a man?" asked Lucy.
"Aslan a man!" said Mr.
Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the
son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is the King of
Beasts? Aslan is a lion--the Lion, the great Lion."
"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd
thought he was a man. Is he--quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about
meeting a lion."
"That you will, dearie, and no mistake,' said Mrs. Beaver,
'if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking,
they're either braver than most or else just silly."
"Then he isn't safe?"
said Lucy.
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells
you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's
the King I tell you." (From the movie The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe)

Standing for Life

I saw this video on the Rebelution Blog. Wow! God has raised up a young Deborah to boldly speak the truth and take a stand for God and His ways in Colorado.
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I
have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life,
that both you and your descendants may live... Deuteronomy 30:19



Colorado for Equal Rights Personhood Amendment from Personhood USA on Vimeo.

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, "You are
my Lord; I have no good apart from you." -Psalm 16:1-2

This blog pretty stuff is so fun!

My mom used to re-decorate our house on a nearly daily basis...I mean like a TOTAL MAKEOVER! I think she even tore down a wall once that separated the kitchen from the dining room. She's always been a very creative person and loves to spruce things up, as she says, "Makin' the best with what I have!"

I'm not much for decorating, I'm more for... appreciating. If I take the time to look through a design magazine or visit a person's house who is a talented decorated I ALWAYS enjoy and admire the differing styles and talents exhibited. But when it comes to my own decorating abilities I'm pretty much just a plain-jane/I'll try to imitate something I see that I like with something I find at a second hand store/I prefer to decorate with things that hold sentimental value. But when it comes to blogging the decorator-wanna-be in me lives vicariously through all you talented blog designers!

I was getting tired of the polka-dot look and went looking for something free that I could use to spruce up my blog with a different look. And I landed on Aqua Poppy Designs. I hit the jackpot! Cute designs in different styles and they're FREE! I can change my look around daily if I want to and it doesn't cost me a penny!

So if you're looking to change your blog look and you don't have an extra 30 bucks to do it, head on over to Aqua Poppy...real cute stuff!

Nurture and Admonition in a Journal

After reading a post by Lindafay over at Higher Up and Further In about how she started having her children start their own prayer journal, and after listening to the advice of a sister from my church about having my kids color or draw pictures of the stories or books (Bible or otherwise) they listened to as I read, I started doing the following with my boys.
I purchased a couple composition books from Walmart and during our daily morning routine of listening to God's word, either being read by me or a teaching I heard online, I have the boys draw pictures of something they hear.
At first they just made stick figures of images that had nothing to do with what was being read or talked about from scripture. But within a month they've really developed a skill of listening and narrating through drawings what they hear. They've also come to really treasure their "prayer books" and grab them up quickly along with a pencil when I say, "Okay guys, meet me in the office, let's worship Jesus together!"

The picture above is from my 5 year old. After the teaching was over, which was about Abraham and Sarah that day, I asked him what he drew. He told me, "This is Sarah and the three men and one was God's Angel, and this is her in the tent and she was laughing." I wrote "Sarah laughed" at the top of the page and put the date on it. But since then I've started writing their exact quote along with the date at the top of the page. This is a drawing from my 3 year old after a reading about Moses. He told me afterwards, "I want to pray for a Moses doll."

These books are worth more than gold! I'm praying that they'll be a treasured record of the nurturing and admonition God is doing in their little hearts.

What about you? Do you do anything special with your kids during "Bible time"?

***For more ideas or thoughts on teaching our kids God's word you can visit my Timothy Moms blog.***

What boys do while moms on phone errands




My boys don't generally play with "real" toys! You know all the stuff that lines the toy section at Wal-Mart. Not that they aren't intrigued with those things...they do have "real" toys (not a lot per my preference) to play with, but 99% of the time they can be caught playing with broken gadgets my husband gives them- parts from his bike, an old, broken keyboard, empty medicine containers, etc.
So if you're family, and you read this, think "What do I have that's broken? Maybe an old blender or microwave?" when you're thinking about Christmas and birthdays for the boys! :)

Remembering where I was


It's nearly 2 AM where I am and I can't sleep. I just woke up suddenly and then remembered what today is.


I've been reading through different blogs while trying to feed myself back to sleep with milk and cookies. Kristen reminded me that this world's foundations are shaky, but our Rock is not! And Jennifer reminded me where I was this day 7 years ago.


I was working my very 1st night as a labor and delivery nurse. I, as was always done with rookies, was given whoever walked in laboring that night. The momma-to-be I had was laboring fast! So fast that I caught that baby as he was coming into the world before the doctor got there.


I remember shaking in my boots, having to call the not-so-friendly-to-new-nurses-doctor to inform him that his patient had already given birth. I remember listening to him yell at me and me looking to my supervisor for defense. I remember being excited despite the unprofessional chastisement I was receiving from the physician. I just delivered a baby!!!! Actual, the mom did, but you know what I mean. I was stoked to have been so hands on with God's most amazing miracle!


I remember returning to the mom's room to check on her. I remember she turned on the t.v. and all of us in the room watched in horror as we became aware that the first plane had hit the world trade center. I remember hearing the mom cry and looking at her baby say, "What kind of world have we brought you to!"


I remember at the nurses station, when I came out of the room, the other nurses were in shock! We all watched the news in between caring for patients and informed each other of the latest.


I remember hearing someone say, "Oh my God they've hit the Pentagon!"


I remember not sleeping for hours when I finally got home, but just sitting in front of the T.V. watching the world be violently changed.


I remember praying and asking God for wisdom in the days that I live.


This morning as I reflect on all these memories I'm reminded of Psalms 46:



God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore
we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be
carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah There is a river whose
streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the
Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help
her, just at the break of dawn.

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the
earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our
refuge. Selah Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has made desolations in
the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and
cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that
I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Where was God on September 11th



Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe
all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the
end of the age." Amen. - Matthew 28:19-20

Out of the mouths of babes!

My dear sister Captivated over at Trenkle Toes shared some quotes from her kids that made me smile the other day.

Today, while I was making lunch, my kiddos whipped out a few keepers themselves.

Here's a little conversation that took place:

"God, please don't let your Son die on da cwoss!" -Ryland (praying over his
tuna sandwich)

"Yes son, we're glad Jesus died on the cross. Cause if he didn't we'd be
in hell forever, but because he died we get to be in heaven forever with Him." -
Mom, responding to Ryland's prayer.


"But I don't want Him to die!" -Ryland in tears


"But he's not dead son! He died but he came alive again. Jesus is
alive!" -Mom


"Yep! God's Fawder healed Him!" -Connor to Ryland


"Mom, can I have some horsepolish on my sandwich?" -Connor, asking for
horseradish


"When God takes us to heaven will we see Moses and God's Fawder?" -Connor


"Yes son, we will!" -Mom


I LOVE it how Connor refers to Jesus as God (which He is) and His Father as "God's Fawder."
I LOVE it how Ryland prays with such tenderness.
I pray my kids always have this same childlike faith.

Even if some do not: Study #2

"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that
even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the
conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by
fear." 1 Peter3:1-2

In part 1 I found that:
  • Wives are to, "likewise" be submissive to their own husbands.

  • Like the rest of God's beloved (1 Peter 2:11).

  • Like a sojourner and a pilgrim (1 Peter 2:11)

  • Like when one is among the Gentiles (unbelievers) having honorable conduct (1 Peter 2:11-12)

  • Like all these as they submit (willfully as a free man and willing slave of God 1 Peter 2:16) to "every ordinance of man" (man's laws/government 1 Peter 2:13-17)

  • And like all these as they submit to bosses (masters 1 Peter 2:18-20)).

  • Most of all, like Christ submitted to earthly government, though He didn't sin and suffered willingly to bear our sins that we might know God's forgiveness.


  • Being a wife doesn't negate the "normal" Christian life (not so normal it seems these days but it is to be the norm of the Christian life) and character of being a sojourner and pilgrim on this earth, as one who is free, but a willing slave of God, submitting to earthly authority.

  • Wifehood doesn't cancel out sojourning and pilgriming as a citizen of a kingdom of God living on this earth.

  • Our husbands aren't less than government and bosses. (Because of love they really should be honored even more.)

It's not about being a wife (as though she
is less than her husband),
it's about being a Christian who
is not greater than Christ who submitted willfully to human
authority
.


It's not about being a woman (as though
she is less than a man),
it's about being a sojourner and
pilgrim who is not greater than the KING of the kingdom she is now a citizen
of.


For Part 2 I want to look at why. Why does God's word say a wife is to submit to her own husband just as any other member of His kingdom submits to governmental rulers and bosses, and as the KING of His kingdom submitted to earthly authorities? Why? I believe because God wants to win husbands and the person He may use to do that is a wife!

The examples in 1 Peter 2:11-12 (sojourners/pilgrims before unbelievers), and 1 Peter 2:13-17 (towards government), and 1 Peter 2:21-25 (as Christ before government and earthly authorities) all show a pattern, not just of doing whatever the government or boss says (though there is that pattern saving only what violates one's conscience before God or stops the spreading/speaking/teaching of the Gospel), but also living a life of doing good to, and among, those entities that God might be glorified.


It is no different for a wife- it is what she does, not just what she doesn't do or what she says...it's the way she lives, the "conversation" (KJV) of her life which glorifies God before her husband and may win him, whether he obeys God or not.

I want to say something about "winning" a husband too. A wife may "win" her believing husband just as much as she "wins" an unbelieving one by her conduct.

The "even if some do not" statement in 1 Peter 3:1 implies this is something a wife is to do whether her husband obeys or disobeys God's word. A wife of an unbelieving husband may win him to placing his faith in Christ (salvation) by her conduct as a sojourner and pilgrim on this earth as she obstains from fleshly lusts and submits to her husband willingly as a free woman yet God's willing slave. And a wife of a believing husband may win him to give all diligence to add to his saving faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverence, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7).

It's just as the Spirit says in James 5:19-20 (I like the way the KJV puts it here):

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from
death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

I always think of "convert" as meaning "get saved." But James here is talking to the brethren... Christians. He's saying, if any Christian becomes one who does not obey God's Word, another Christian may convert him...win him back to obedience to God and save that Christian from suffering death in their soul (this is not damnation to hell but rather experiencing death in their mind and emotions), and that kind of converting (or winning) covers a multitude of sins.

The word won in this passage in 1 Peter 3 is the Greek word kerdaino and it means to gain.

Jesus said:

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault
between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your
brother
." (Matthew 18:15)

A wife may win or gain not only her unbelieving husband over to faith in Christ but she may also win or gain her believing husband to walking more and more by faith in Christ.

In both cases she does it not just by what she says but by what her LIFE says! Does her life say, "Sojourner. Pilgrim. Not here to fulfill my own desires. Not here to make myself happy. Not here to make you like me. Here to glorify God on the earth. Here to do you good. Here to show you the same grace and unearned respect Christ showed me."?

For those of you who enjoy digging a little deeper, here are the Greek meanings of some of the key words from this study:

  • won; Greek (2770) kerdaino- to gain
  • sojourner; Greek (3941) paroikos- a stranger, a foreigner, one who lives in a place without the right of citizenship

(THINK ABOUT THAT IN LIGHT OF BEING A WIFE IN THIS PASSAGE- a wife who lives in her home without right of citizenship, like a stranger.)

  • pilgrim; Greek (3927) parepidemos- one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside there by the side of the natives, a stranger.
  • submissive; Greek (5293) hupotasso- to arrange under, to subject one's self, to yield to one's admonition or advice... non-military use: a voluntary attitude of giving in or cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.
  • conduct; Greek, anastrophe- manner of life, conduct, behavior, deportment. (interesting word origin: anastrepho- to turn upside down, overturn, to turn back, to turn hither and tither, to turn one's self about, sojourn dwell in a place.

(It's as though the LORD is saying, "have a 'turned around' sojourner conduct." Scriptures that use this root word for conduct are 2 Cor. 1:12, Eph. 2:3, 1 Tim. 3:15, Heb 13:18)

  • chaste; Greek (53) hagnos- exciting reverence, venerable, sacred, pure from carnality, modest, pure from every fault, immaculate, clean. Same word as (40) hagios which means: most holy thing, a saint.

(Thanks to the Bible study tools at Crosswalk.com for the above Greek references)

Just for further understanding I also looked up venerable and exciting in the dictionary online (Dictionary.com):

  • venerable- commanding respect because of great age or impressive dignity...noble character
  • exciting- producing excitement, stirring.
  • reverence- attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.

Our conduct as wives is to be no less than a sojourner and pilgrim- a bondservant of God. It is to be as though we were before an unbeliever, an earthly ruler or a boss. It, as with other bondservants of God, is to be a conduct which excites reverence, fearing God not man.

Christ is our example of what it means to excite reverence. It doesn't mean be a snob or "holier than thou." It means know you're a child of God. Know He's given you all things in Christ and willingly lay all that aside to show grace and mercy to others even if they treat you harshly for it. It also means doing what's right and showing mercy to those who don't while not doing what they do. It means speaking the truth in love. It means not acting in the sinful ways you see others act but reaching out to them with the Gospel while doing good towards them.

Do I live out my wifehood like a sojourner and a
pilgrim?

Do I give my husband as much (or more) honor and willing
submission as I would a governmental leader or boss?

Does my life around my husband excite
reverence?

I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts!


Prayerfully

Sheila

Does hearing the Word make you weep?


Our pastor on this last Sunday gave us "homework," as he always does- scripture readings to read through during the week, to meditate on concerning the subject matter from the teaching on Sunday.


The other day as I was reading some of that "homework" I got off on a tangent. I read the verse in Hebrews 8:13 that he had given and then went on to read all of chapter 8, 9 and 10. I was just in awe as I read, as though I'd never read it before. I thought, "Here Lord is the beautiful story of how you would rescue mankind. It's always been here, in the animal sacrifices and the ceremonies of the priests...it's always been here, a shadow and then the real thing when Christ came."


I was just struck, and in my childlike way, I was thinking, "This is God's 'religion'." What I meant was, this plan of rescue by dying and intercession for men by a holy priest is the "tradition" God has. My church has a tradition of singing 4-5 songs, then announcements, then greeting each other, then the teaching of the Word, followed by prayer and more singing, and then visiting with each other outside. Other church families I've been apart of have other traditions. But as I read through Hebrews I saw God's tradition...the saving of mankind whom He has every right to reject through sacrificial death of a Lamb and intercession of a Priest.


Then as I was just smiling to myself about that I read this, "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgement, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries." (Hebrews 10:26). AH! SHOCK TO THE HEART!!! I was stopped in my tracks!


I immediately remembered the "willful" sin of my past, how after receiving the knowledge of the truth I rebelled and chose the lust of my flesh. I was broken like a child who just realized that she'd terribly offended the daddy she so loved! I began to weep! (Tears even as I write this.) I started crying out to God. All I could say was, "Lord, you deserve my life. Even if all I had was a fearful expectation of judgement and fiery indignation in the end, You have been so kind, so merciful, so brave in loving me to the cross, that even if You reject me for what I have done, You deserve the remainder of my days to be lived out for YOU! I won't give up Lord! I will keep seeking to bring you honor in my life till the end! But please, have mercy on me again today and everyday!"


As I wept, I thought of two things:



  • Much Afraid from Hinds Feet in High Places. As she journeyed to the high places with the Shepherd she faced all kinds of seeming detours and disappointments. At times it seemed all the promises of the Shepherd to take her to the high places and give her a new name and new feet were a lie. At one point in the journey the Shepherd said to Much Afraid, "Much Afraid, supposing I really did deceive you? What then?" Much Afraid's response in thought and word was as follows:

What then? Would it be that she could never trust, never love him again? Would she have to be alive in the world where there was no Shepherd, only a mirage and a broken lovely dream? To know that she had been deceived by one she was certain could not deceive? To lose him? Suddenly she burst into a passion of weeping, then after a little while she looked straight up into his face and said, "My Lord- if you can deceive me, you may. It can make no difference. I must love you as long as I continue to exist. I cannot live without loving you."



  • And secondly, the people of Israel that were with Nehemiah and Ezra after being released from captivity to go rebuild Jerusalem. The work was completed and they were gathered together to hear the priest (Ezra) read the Law of God. In Nehemiah 8 beginning in verse 9 the people respond to what they hear:

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God: do not mourn nor weep." For all the people wept when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."


I cry when my feelings are hurt- too easily actually. I tend to cry when I'm overwhelmed and tired, but often I read through the scriptures unphased.


I think this can be the case with many of us...a lack of tenderness towards the God who created us and to His will for us.


But when I read the word and remember how I have, like the people of Israel, sinned willfully, even after knowing Jesus, and as a result I faced His judgement (I'm not talking condemnation, but judgement just as 1 Peter 4:17 says, "For the time has come for judgement to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?..."), and yet see, like they, how good God has been to me- to restore my home and show me, "...a measure of revival in (my) bondage." (Ezra 9:7-9), it makes me tremble and weep and truly fear the God of my salvation!


I know what a sinner I am! I know that before God I am deserving of "fiery indignation" yet He has been gracious and kind to me! "For ( I was a) slave. Yet (my) God did not forsake (me) in (my) bondage; but He extended mercy to (me) in the sight of (my husband), to revive (me), to repair the house of (my) God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give (me) a wall in (God's kingdom)." (Ezra 9:9 adapted my life)


Though it hurts to realize how much I deserve God's rejection, its in running TO, not away from that deserved rejection to plead for mercy and forgiveness, that finds me at the throne of grace!


Oh Shepherd of my soul, though you slay me yet I will worship you! Even if You could deceive me and it not be true that, "He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it..." I will still love You! I will still follow You all my days! Even if all I could expect in the end was judgement...YOU DESERVE MY LIFE!!! Please comfort my heart and lead me in Your ways, for I DO fear YOU! Hear this modern day "Much Afraid" cry out to You! Hear me when I weep! Rescue me from unbelief and a dulled heart! Send me out today in the joy of the LORD. Let me give to those who have nothing prepared for them- the man and children in this home and others too Lord!

Happy 15th Anniversary to us


September 4, 1993 my man and I became one flesh!

15 years later we are evidence of God's grace and saving power.


"So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6

Out of the mouth of babes

I had to share this (I posted it over at Timothy Moms too). I'm sure a "Timothy Mom" or Dad has been training this little one!

Lots of thoughts

I haven't been giving "regular" or scheduled time to writing out well-thought and sincere posts lately, though I have a million of those posts floating around in my head.

I would like to share what our first month of homeschool has been like and what resources and ideas are working for me with busy 5 and 3 1/2 year old boys.

I want to write about exciting reverence! Just think about those words...exciting reverence. Something or someone which excites, or spurs someone on to be...reverent. Those two meaning packed words have been whispering encouragement and purpose in my ears A LOT lately! The come of out the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation of 1 Peter 3:2.

I want to post some pictures of reality around this house and my personal struggle to maintain an organized and clean home while keeping the more important priority of healthy relationships and child training most important.

But that last post thought leads to, "Don't write about it Sheila, just do it!"

Therefore I'm dashing in here to post a few things when I have a chance, but not the hours of writing and personal study, digging through pages of Greek/Hebrew lexicons and concordances, with pencil and journaled notes that I so love doing!

I have had a lot of thoughts on my mind lately that has me truly, "praying without ceasing," as I go about my Father's business as a homemaker.

Maybe you have a lot of thoughts going through your head too. Maybe you're overwhelmed with all you'd like to do and all that seems to never get done. Maybe you, like me, would be encouraged by this teaching I heard on Searchlight. Head over to this link and then listen to THE FULL TEACHING (not just the radio show) from 9-1-08.

May the Lord help me/us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

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