Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pride


I recently reread Mere Christianity.  It's an old favorite-the kind of book that the first time you read it you are stunned by its simplicity, but when you have read it once a year for 20 years you'll still find something new.  I suppose that the book that best embodies this phenomenon is the Bible, but all the great books reflect a little bit of that quality.  Lewis isn't getting deeper, and the Bible certainly isn't changing, but I am.  And a year's growth in me brings a clearer vision of the author's words. This year I was struck by the chapter on pride.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Naomi

Since Melissa and Helene have been writing about the fruit of the spirit, I decided to read a story about women who exemplify these qualities.  I read the book of Ruth.  Most of you are probably familiar with this book: how a young widow leaves her homeland to follow her widowed mother-in-law back to her home in a foreign country.  Usually when we talk about this book, we talk about the book's namesake, Ruth.  We discuss her faithfulness and kindness and how her loyalty led her into the lineage of Christ.  Today, though, I don't want to talk about Ruth.  I would like to share some thoughts about her mother-in-law, Naomi.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Self-Control


The first time I rammed up against the issue of self-control in my life had everything to do with my husband.  Until then, I thought I had things together.  I was a great student.  I was a reasonably good daughter.  I had a growing relationship with God, and a lot of the typical issues with self-control that teenagers face had not been a problem.  The child of teetotalers, I not only didn't do drugs; I didn't drink either.  Not even a little.  And I was too socially awkward to be dating.  So, no problem. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Gentleness

Do you have a model verse?  Do you have a verse, or verses in the Bible that encapsulate what you strive for or what you struggle with?  I do.  It is 1 Peter 3:3-4: 


Your adornment must not be merely external -braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;  but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Brain Food

Good Food Display - NCI Visuals Online
I've been told by people who go on various eating plans that after cutting a particular food from your diet (processed foods, simple carbs, etc), you eventually lose the craving for it.  Although I've never been able to avoid simple carbs for long enough to test the theory to its limits, I guess I can see how it works. I don't really like fast food any more since my cooking is so much better (I'm not bragging; fast food is just that bad).
 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

From our Readers

Last week, Jane shared about her struggles with the discipline of daily Bible reading.  Some of our wonderful readers provided an outpouring of encouragement that she wanted  to share.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Goodness

Who would you die for?  Not risk your life for, like heroic police officers, soldiers, and others do.  I mean for whom would you deliberately step forward and offer to die in his/her place?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Peace

Peace.  As I think about Galatians 5:22, this particular fruit sometimes seems the furthest from me, the most difficult to apply.  It was only weeks ago that a troubled young man killed 20 children in an elementary school.  Every day, there is more news about war in the Middle East, terrorists killing innocents, murder on the rise.  How can we have peace in a world like this?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

In Memory

What is more precious to you than your own soul?  Simple.  The soul of someone you love.  Paul said that. "For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh" (Romans 9:3).  I know what he means.  My husband's soul is to me more precious than my own.  Why do I bring it up?  Because at one time it was in danger.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

God's Mighty Acts of Salvation

Sitting on the linoleum floor at my parent's house with a hot cup of coffee, I surveyed my sleepy girls.  One was in her tiny rocking chair, the other semi-squatting on a stool.  Cheerfully I announced, "So we're going to be doing morning devos.  See, Mom got a new book."  (I am still guilty of referring to myself in the third person, despite the fact that my girls are four and eleven!) Two pairs of sleepy eyes looked at me incredulously.  The oldest one barely suppressed an eye roll.  I'm sorry to say that  regular family devos have been tried before at our house and are generally given up after a week or two.  It is probably related to Mom's inability to finish what she starts!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Short and Not So Sweet

In James 5:16 we are told, "therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another," and John adds that "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).  I know that God wants me to draw near to Him (James 4:8) and that the best way to do this is through reading and prayer.  James also tells me that when I know the good that I ought to do and don't do it, this is sin (James 4:17).

I continue to struggle in my reading.  I did listen to I and II Peter a day or two after the last post but nothing grabbed me with which to write, and here I need to confess that I haven't read since then.  Tuesdays are about my journey and right now I need some encouragement on my path.  We are told in I Thessalonians to "encourage one another, and build up one another" (I Thessalonians 5:11).  This is your opportunity to do that.    Please post below what helps you stay on track with your reading, or get back on track when you are struggling.  Thanks for your assistance this week.    
Jane
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Kindness

When I was a little girl, my parents would pile us in the car and drive from Tennessee to Michigan over the course of a night to visit my grandparents. I suppose it was to save hotel bills, vacation days and their nerves, since generally we snoozed in the backseat.  I remember lying with my feet propped up on the window, watching the trees and the street lights whiz by. 

Sometimes I read my Bible like that.  Eyes heavy with exhaustion, a sleepy complacency stealing over me, I let the words skim past with as little impact as the whizzing trees.  Take kindness; obviously I know that Christians are supposed to be kind.  But I have as little idea of what kindness should really look like as I did the darkened landscape of Indiana. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Joy

Back in the fall, our congregation had a Gospel Meeting.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a Gospel meeting is similar to a revival.  We have a service every night from Sunday to Wednesday, complete with singing, prayer, and a sermon.  The sermons are usually delivered by a guest preacher about some particular theme.  As tough as it can be to get three children to church four nights in a row, I am so glad we made the effort.  The preacher we had was truly a delight.  He was an older man who had years of preaching behind him.  Long after Brother Pate's lessons fade from my mind, I will remember the joy he exuded with every word he said, every smile he smiled and every song he sang.  He loved children and took delight in giving them their own lesson every night.  On the last night, he led the children, along with the adults, in a song I had never heard, "Isn't it Grand to Be a Christian?" I smiled the rest of the evening.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Animals Stories and Prayers and Deuteronomy 6

There are things more precious than gold at our house.  Mustard, butter and cheese are at the top of the list.  None of them are available locally, and when a friend stops by from the States with such goodies in their bag they receive a warm welcome indeed.  Recently our friend Pam Mosby was by our house.  She came bearing mustard and something even harder to find, a Bible story book. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Is My Tongue a Fire?

Firetora
During our Sunday worship time, we discussed the beginning of James.  Yesterday, I decided to listen to James on my new iPad.  Over and over again as James came back to different ideas related to the tongue, I just kept saying ouch, ouch, ouch.  James does a lot of contrasting between the way we should be using our mouths for good, and how many of us abuse the use of this part of our body.  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Fruit of the Spirit

We've been focusing for 7 months on the women of the Bible. But we always knew that at some point we would stretch out to cover other things related to the idea of being a woman of God.  But what?

We thought a list would be easy.  Why not cover the fruits of the Spirit. We had NO idea what we were getting into! This has been a series that has frequently driven us to repent, reminded us about who God is and brought us back to the gospels to see how Jesus was demonstrating the Spirit's blessing in His own life.  We hope you gain as much from this series as we did!




Friday, January 4, 2013

Top Ten

The New Year is a perfect time for top ten lists!  It's also a good time for looking back and smiling over the good times, sighing over the hard times, and thinking about what is to come.   

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lessons From a Cucumber

As a mom, I have the responsibility to ensure that my children start out in life following the principles of Philippians 4:8-9 by thinking on pure and lovely things.  I'll admit that we are not as strict as we could be.  Does my daughter know all the songs on Dora the Explorer?  Yep.  Does my four year old son know Darth Vader by sight?  Absolutely.  But I do strive to keep them exposed daily to good, healthy, Biblical influences as well.  Sometimes this takes the form of Bible coloring pages with accompanying story. Sometimes it takes the form of hymns at bedtime.  And sometimes it takes the form of a singing cucumber.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Accountability in Resolutions

Happy New Year.  Today I want to continue on the New Year's theme and build some on Helene's post from yesterday.  Whether talking about sin that needs repented of or a goal that we are resolving to accomplish, I believe that one reason that we fail in bringing about the desired change is our lack of accountability to each other.