Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Housekeeping

I have had a housekeeper for years. We could talk about how many more woman-hours it takes to keep my home abroad clean without dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, and a dryer. However, my American house wasn't any cleaner; it was demonstrably worse. My friends like to make excuses for me. They look around and say, "Oh come on, you work," or "You have kids in the house." I do.  But I know the truth.  I need help.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do Not Love the Vile

"He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight" (Ephesians 1:4).   

Often when we think about living holy and blameless lives, we think about what we should abstain from, sexual immorality and being drunk just to name a few.  When the Psalmist interpreted this idea for himself, and us, in the 101st chapter, he set the bar even higher.   In verse two he starts out by saying that he would "be careful to lead a blameless life."  In verse three he continues with one way in which he would fulfill this ideal for himself when he states, "I will not look with approval on anything that is vile."

Monday, February 25, 2013

11,000 Miles Away

Eckert4
When I was a child my paternal grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My dad and his siblings committed to the challenge of caring for her at home.  This was out of deference to her deep desire to stay where her husband had lived and died, where her children were raised, and where she had spent her entire adult life.  It was sacrificial love.  It wasn't easy on any of them at the last, including my parents who lived 12 hours away by car and drove up every other weekend to take their turn at the 24/7 care that she needed.  

Friday, February 22, 2013

God's Call 1

Ark of the Covenant
Sometimes when I've been wrangling with a particular spiritual topic, I can find help in the unlikeliest of places.  Facebook may be a tool we use here at Maidservants of Christ, but I never expected to find food for my own thoughts there.  Then I ran across this quote:

The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

I had never heard of Frederick Buechner, the author and theologian who made this statement, but it struck a chord with me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Whatsoever Singing

Our primary place of worship for the better part of a decade has been a house church.  It's not a choice; it's a geographical necessity. Everything works differently in a house church. Everything we do is by a factor of 10 or 15 people not by a factor of 100 or 500 people which changes things! I've been thinking a lot about one of those things - singing.  I think its a metaphor.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Closer to Him

I assume that since you are reading this blog, you have a desire to be close to God. Sometimes we all struggle to know exactly how to do this. There are many places in the Bible that we can go in order to gain some insight into this question. I believe that the 90th Psalm is one such place.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Community of Widows

Elderly Woman , B&W image by Chalmers Butterfield
During my recent visit home to America, my mom's mother fell and broke a hip.  I sat up with her a couple of nights at the hospital.  It was a small enough thing, especially considering that I don't live there and do not often have opportunity to serve her.  

She told me a dozen stories those two nights, but mostly I was struck by her words about my Papaw.  She talked about the thousand tiny things that he did for her that made life easier. She talked about his immense faithfulness to her, to his own parents and to the Lord.  She told me again that she had chosen to have him cremated because she couldn't bear the thought of having to ask someone to take her to his grave.  She told me that she missed him every moment - an unfading ache made even more difficult by the limitations of her age.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Tale of Two Ladies

 
White Wall Clock
 Can I tell you a story?  Once upon a time, there was a woman who thought she had it all together.  She was responsible, organized and punctual.  She knew that if everyone would just do things her way, her whole family would be better off.  Somehow, though, it never ended up that way.  Every Sunday morning she directed her husband; she told him when to get dressed, how to pack the diaper bag, and what to do with the children while she put her own clothes on, took care of breakfast, and washed little faces.  Instead of the household running like a well-oiled machine, her family was bitter and resentful.  More often than not, they rode to church in uncomfortable silence.  The young mother couldn't figure out what was wrong.  Didn't she know best?  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When I Rise Up

 
One morning while we were in America, halfway into my first cup of coffee, my pre-teen daughter sprung a doozy on me.  The 6:00 am news mentioned homosexuality, and she had half a dozen questions.  Shaking the last cobwebs of sleep out of my head, I perched on the edge of the couch and tried to explain. 

Cup of coffee with beansThe easy part was pointing out the facts. I've explained the word circumcision to a curious group of college-aged ESL students.  This was nothing! I can clear up the confusion about the difference in homosexual, transvestite, and transexual in 5 minutes.  No big deal. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Plan and an Insight

Those of you who have been following my Tuesday reading journey know that ever since early fall, I have really been struggling with my daily Bible reading.  I started out in July on a schedule and at first did pretty well following it.  As I got further and further behind on that path, I began to get discouraged to the point of nearly giving up. At one point, I decided that I had to just quit trying to keep on a preset schedule and just read.  However, that hasn't been working well for me either.  I really need the discipline and accountability of a plan.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fruit Finale

When we started this series on the fruits of the Spirit, I felt relaxed and excited.  Relaxed because there was no need to decide what to write about next.  Excited because I think we need to talk more about the Holy Spirit.  Notice what I was not feeling-apprehensive, convicted, devastated, or encouraged.  

Silly me! I had no idea how much I was going to learn!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Love

 
I saved Love for last.  Perhaps you are thinking I saved the best for last.  Maybe so, but the reason I waited until the end to write about this fruit of the Spirit is because it is so hard.  I can quote all the things I learned as a child about love.  "Agape love is about putting others' needs ahead of your own."  However true it is, for me the phrase is so hackneyed as to be useless.  So I looked up every reference in the New Testament for the noun or verb that we translate as love.  After reading about half of them and trying to sort them, my head was spinning and I had no more idea about love than I had to begin with.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Betrayed

I recently read an article on homeschooling that I thought was a must-read for all Christian parents. Although the article dealt with some of the weaknesses of the homeschooling model, it took a breathtakingly honest look at what it means to be a Christian parent. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Favorite Biblical Female

Today I would like to talk about one of my favorite Bible females. We can learn many lessons from her.  As a faithful friend who walked close to another for many years, she practiced quiet companionship without any of the techniques that most women have perfected (like nagging, I told you so, etc). She never caused any harm to her friend but did her very best to help bear burdens whenever needed.  
    

Monday, February 4, 2013

Faithfulness

As I faced off with the fruits of the Spirit, it was obvious where I needed to begin.  Things like kindness and self-control jumped out as obvious places where the Spirit had been working or where perhaps I was thwarting His work.  When I took a hard look at faithfulness though, I was boggled.
 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Patience

  
Have you ever justified your sin by saying, "At least I don't do _____?"  Have you ever felt a secret pride in your sin because you didn't recognize it for what it truly was, a thorn trying to grow on a grape vine (Matthew 7:16)?  I'd like to say I've never done that.  It seems like such an obvious thing to avoid.  But when I was studying the Fruits of the Spirit, I had to face my own sin, and worse, I had to face the way I have treated sin in my life.