LORD, you establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished you have done for us.
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
Perfect peace? Steadfast mind? Trust in Him, the LORD, the LORD, the LORD.
in the morning my spirit longs for you.
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
and the mountains quake with their surging.
This Psalm ends with:
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
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I am in prison because I belong to the Lord.
Ephesians 4 is a powerful set of verses, so we might be here for a few Tuesdays! I am loving this section of verses because it shows a beautiful combination between faith and understanding of God and walking it out in the reality of our everyday lives.
I love how Paul starts this out: because I am in prison for the Lord do this... Don't you think we should listen to someone who is in prison for no other reason than obeying the Lord. And what does he have to say? Be sorry for me, this world is unjust, it's not worth the fight? No, he says live up to the life God has called you to!
Always be humble, gentle, and patient accepting one another in love!
I am planning on writing the above sentence out for myself this week. It is a high bar, and one I needed to be reminded of. Did you see the word at the end, LOVE. As I walk through everyday, I am becoming more and more convinced that the center is LOVE. Knowing first of all that God is love and that He loves us. Loving Him back and from that place we can launch into loving each other well.
Ephesians talks a lot about the great mystery and how we are all connected. Whether you like it or not, all of us Christians are joined together through the Holy Spirit. This verse lets us know we can stay the way God designed us to be together or not. God desires us to stay this way and this verse also lets us know it takes effort. Somehow America's version of Christianity has made it seem like everything in regard to faith will be fast & easy. But I don't think that is the case. The Bible would not have to continually remind us of how we were supposed to live, especially with one another and use words like "I urge you" and "effort" if it wasn't hard and didn't require work.
We all have our nice little boxes that explain how life works and should function. Then life throws us scenarios that don't fit into one of our boxes. Now what? Do we throw away our old boxes or do we create a new box to put that scenario in?
I Peter 2:6
See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.
Currently, I am trying to get rid of all boxes and make sure that I am firmly landed upon the cornerstone, Jesus. This is the only place on which to build, the only unshakeable foundation and God's Word says, if I trust in Him I will never be put to shame.
Does every Scripture I read make sense to me? No. Do I think I understand Scripture and how it applies to life? Yes, and then circumstances come and shakes up that whole understanding. And then I'm left again saying, what am I trusting; am I trusting myself and my interpretations or am I trusting in God?
If you are looking for me in the philosophy of the mind (which translates into the philosophy of the living out life) I will be the one standing, sometimes waving my hands jumping and sometimes flat on my face on the cornerstone shaped like a cross. It's big enough for all of us, so leave your boxes and come on over.
- Leave comments!! Every comment you leave on any post at any time during the contest will enter your name into the drawing (and, yes, your name can be entered multiple times).
- Sign up to follow For His Glory. There are two ways to follow: through the google reader and/or through e-mail subscription. If you sign up through either route your name will be entered into the drawing (I have 2 people who signed up since the last contest so you are automatically entered: kuhls & weaver:).
- If you blog or tweet about this contest. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know:)
Contest starts today August 13, 2009 and ends August 31, 2009.
As a younger woman (I think :) transitioning into the older women role, I just want to say to all you "older women" that you are needed! Many women get caught up in feelings of failure and thinking that they have nothing to offer. I want you to know we need you, and we already know you are not perfect and that you probably have failed but you can still teach us something, even if it is from your failures.
I am blessed with a good relationship with my mother-in-law. She was a stay-at-home Mom and she loves to cook and serve her family. I have watched her through the years, and I have learned a lot from her about how not be selfish and self-serving and instead to put others first. I know having her in my life has helped me to love the role that I am currently in as a mother and a wife.
The Scripture says that older women can train younger women to "love" their husbands and children. The word love here is the Greek word "Philo" which refers to love through the daily grind. This verses shows us that this type of love is not something that is innate. Our society believes in falling in and out of love. This ends up being the crux of many divorces. The "Philo" love discussed here is the kind of love God wants us to have in our families, because there will be times when we do not "feel" in love with our spouse or children. But there is a love that goes beyond emotions and can bring us through those "other" days. It is something that we need to learn. Contrary to the new educational philosophies, the best way to learn actually occurs through teaching! Older women do need to teach the younger women how to do this. Again, this doesn't have to be through a "class" but it can occur through relationship with one another and by being real together.
Our society is very individualistic and as a result we have lost some very valuable things. One of those valuables we've lost is the idea of learning from one another. The younger generation, has a very "I know it all, if I put my mind to it I can do anything." The key word in here, I. As a result of thinking I can do it on my own, we haven't looked at the value and the need we have for one another. In regards to our children, we feel that we are the child's mother and therefore we come fully equipped for the task of raising them. Unfortunately, this is not the case and soon we will fail. Instead of getting caught up in feelings of failure we should ask for advice. Young women, let us set down our pride and be willing to be humble and ask for help. I know as a stay-at-home Mom some days can be long, hard and overwhelming. I love the advice I have gotten from former stay-at-home Moms that this time does go FAST and that we need to enjoy every moment. The little monotonous things we do everyday are valuable and we are laying a strong foundation for our kids, even on the hard days.
Older women: I know your generation is sometimes at a quandary. Many of you were born when going back to work was the thing to do and that is what you did. You were not supported in your mothering years by others because you were either working, or if you did stay at home, you were at home on your own. You didn't have the support of play groups, etc. Therefore, you might not have had an example of an older women/younger women relationship. Just know, we do care what you have to say and you can be an encouragement to another young women. God will show you how!
Hopefully, when we truly get that life has its trials its ups and downs but there is a better way to get through them we will begin to offer that life, help and support to one another.
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- Galatians 6:2: Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
- Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
- James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
- Titus 2:4-5 Then they (older women) can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
These are just a handful of Scriptures to support what I am saying that Christianity isn't meant to be lived out ALONE. Now many of you are saying, "I don't walk my faith out alone, I attend church service every Sunday." Sunday church is a great way to worship in a corporate setting and to hear the word of God preached but I don't believe the 2-hour event on Sunday morning is enough. When there are 500 people in a service, I don't believe you will be bearing each other's individual burdens, taking time to confess your sins to one another and taking time to train one another.
Now I know we all have busy lives and to add one more "thing" to our plate might break us. I am not saying that one more "thing" be added to our plate, but rather take into consideration being in real relationship with other Christians in whatever it is you are already doing. I am sure you already have events that you are involved in and that there are Christians at those events. Find someone who is trustworthy and begin to cultivate a relationship where you can be real with them.
I believe it is vitally important for you to be looking into another Christian's eyes and being real with each other. Life is HARD and even harder if you try to live it on your own. How many times have you looked at other Christians and said, "Their life must be perfect, I can't be real with them, they have everything together." Then months later you find out that individual is getting divorced, they didn't have everything together. Believing the lie that everyone else has it together causes us to hide in our individual pain and sorrow afraid to share it with others and the result is that we end up crushed, dazed and confused. I've heard enough people's individual stories and I can tell you I have yet to meet someone who "has it all together." We all have areas of weakness, they may not look the same, but everyday everyone ends up having to lean fully on the cross of Christ for guidance, healing and help. One of the ways God ordained for this to take place is in relationship with each other.
I have personally experienced the blessing of being in relationship with others. I am finally at the point where I will swallow my pride and call one of my friends if I am feeling overwhelmed and say, "Pray for me." Every time, I have stepped out in this way I have found relief. Why? Because sometimes we get so stuck in ourselves, we can't see the truth, often times those outside of us can see, hear and minister God's truth to those wounded areas faster then if we did it on our own. The teaching I've heard on the shield of faith states that the Roman soilders' shields were full body but they also could lock together with others. They could literally lock together in a circular shape and then they would be protected on all sides. So when you are putting your armour on, the shield of faith is not only for your individual benefit but it is also to be used for the benefit of those around you!
The Bible describes satan as a roaring lion, wandering around looking for someone to devour. Do you know who lions like to attack? They like to attack the sick ones, the ones that are away from the crowd, the ones out on their own. When animals are in their herd the lions don't want to attack, the lion could get trampled and injured by the herd; their powerful in one on one situations. Please take to heart the analogies the Bible offers us and understand that satan operates in the same way. If you have yourself in the group, in relationship with others, he isn't going to be able to devour you.
The final argument you may have against relationship is that you've tried relationship before and you ended up getting hurt. Brian White always says, "If you are involved in ministry just assume that you are going to get hurt; it will happen." When you are close to someone you will get hurt and you will hurt others. It is inevitable because we are still sinful, selfish people. That is when we have to apply the truth of God's word, through forgiveness and love (love keeps no record of wrong). I have hurt people and I can't think of a person who hasn't hurt me. That doesn't make me shut the door though. What it has helped is to keep my eyes on the right person, Jesus. If you choose to venture out into relationship it is key that you keep Jesus as Jesus in the center and keep others right next to you. The picture I have is this, Jesus is on the cross and we are kneeling with our brothers and sisters in Christ around the cross. We are equals with one another at the foot of the cross. If we spend time staring and critiquing one another, we will take our eyes off of Jesus. Our job in relationship, is to encourage and help one another because this race is hard and we can't do it alone. When you are in relationship with others they are not Jesus, but they are a vessel Jesus will move through. There will be times, however, when it isn't Jesus ministering through them, and to be able to recognize that and let those times fall to the ground is needed. It is better to be wounded by a friend then an enemy (Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.)!
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For those of you who don't know me well let me take a moment to tell you one piece of my story. I have had the opportunity to lead Women's Groups over the last 5 years. This happened because my sister Wendy and I were blessed with having our sons 3 1/2 weeks apart. As stay-at-home Moms, we decided to begin reading books together to learn how to love our husbands better. Through the process, we grew in love for our husbands and in relationship and accountability with one another. It was a beautiful summer together. In the fall of that year, our church was offering a study of Waking the Dead by John Eldredge at night. Since my sister and I had young children it wasn't going to work out for us to go. She volunteered me to lead the study at her home during the day. So for the last 5 years, I have been leading/co-leading Women's studies. My sister pushed me off the ledge and I have been falling more in love with God and with freedom for women ever since!
This fall, I am taking a step of faith and leading/co-leading two studies instead of one! To say, I don't have fears (or haven't said to myself, "What in the world were you thinking!") would be an understatement, but I am very excited too. I just got done glancing through the two books I will be doing and all I can say is WOW! Both studies are amazing and I just feel blessed to have an excuse to be a part of both of them.
So here are the studies and the dates and times the studies will be taking place. If you are in the area mark your calendars and please come, not for me, but for an opportunity to grow more and more in love with God!
1. He Loves Me by Wayne Jacobsen. The back of the book states: "Do you find yourself picking through circumstances like a child plucking daisy petals, attempting to figure out whether or not God loves you? If you find yourself least certain of His love in those critical moments when you most need to trust Him, there is hope for you.
I'm only 3 chapters in to the book but it is amazing!
This study will be meeting on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays beginning Wednesday September 9th from 9:00 am-11:00 am. This study will meet in my home, and children will be present. It is always and adventure but it is a worthwhile one! I co-lead this group with my friend Correna; we make a great team!
2. Study 2 is: Breaking Free:Making Liberty in Christ a Reality in Life by Beth Moore. This 11-week study requires you to spend personal time on your own throughout the week in God's word! Then we will meet once a week for group discussion and a 50-minute video presentation.
This study will be meeting once a week beginning Thursday, September 10th from 6:30-8:30pm. We will meet at Mad City Church Offices and there will be no child care present. I am still working out the details of how this will look and function...
You do not have to go to Mad City Church to participate in any of these studies, but you do have to be a lady (sorry to my guy readers). If you want the opportunity to be in fellowship with others and fall deeper in love with God then these are a couple of opportunities!!
If you aren't able to come because of time or location, I am sure you will hear a lot more from both resources in my blog! Still consider picking up one of them and finding ladies in your area to go through it with you.