Friday, September 28, 2012

Drama Queens

We have outlawed two words at our house.  Those words are "always" and "never."  Does that sound silly?  Perhaps it is, but conversations with my oldest daughter had started to sound like this:

 "Mommy, can I have a cookie?"
 "No, supper is almost ready."
 "I'll never have a cookie again!"

Baby Kisses

Today I am thinking about  kisses.  Okay, I know kisses are not books or blogs, but what can be more pure and lovely than the kiss of a baby?  You see, my baby has learned to give kisses recently.  You know the kind: mouth open, tongue out, slobbery.  I love them.  She is showing me her love in the best way she knows how.  It isn't perfect, but it is sincere.  I know that as she gets older, her kisses will be less messy.  I mean, if my son kissed me with his tongue, I would correct him. He knows better.  He and I both know what he is capable of.  And he gives the best kisses!  They are so enthusiastic without being sloppy. I dread the day my sweet boy will be embarrassed to kiss his Mommy.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sharing Daily Discipline

I have done a terrible job the last two weeks regarding my daily discipline of reading.  I need some help getting back on track, so I talked about this problem with Helene and Melissa.  They agreed that perhaps writing a bit each day this week about something that I read might help me get back on the right path.  Instead of my normal Tuesday post, I will be posting a short thought each day this week in the comments section.  I hope that many of you will also add thoughts from your own daily reading.  Seeing your comments each day will help me to continue strong.  I thank you for the opportunity every Tuesday to share this reading journey together and I look forward to our daily sharing this week. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

She's Just Sleeping

She's Just Sleeping: Mourning those who are asleep in Jesus.  MaidservantsofchristWhat a strange idea, sleep.  I wonder what God was thinking when He arranged for almost all of His creatures to require regular periods of unconsciousness.  He could have made us to never sleep, never dream, never wake.

What a strange idea, death. I have heard people say that it is a natural part of life, but to me it never fails to seem wrong.  The fact that a living being, a thinking, speaking creature, only a little lower than the angels can be reduced to clay strikes me even stranger than sleep (Psalms 8:5). Occasionally I think, "It's almost as if the world shouldn't have been made that way," then I remember it wasn't (Genesis 2-3). Death feels like an anomaly because it is!

We aren't the first people to struggle with the idea of death.  People who worship their ancestors imagine them passing from life into a pale version of this world again.  Those long dead are dependent on the offerings of the living for the things they need in the next life.  For the ancient Egyptians, the dead were buried with their supplies for the afterlife. Servants, food, even money were represented in the funerary equipment.  From the perspective of the Old Testament writers, Sheol awaited. This place of death was much less appealing than the life we have now (Job 10:21-22, Psalms 6:5, Isaiah 38:18 etc).

We hide our confusion in euphemisms.  We say, "gone" or "passed away."  We say we "lost someone" or that they were "taken from us."  When Jesus wanted to talk about death though, he said somebody was "asleep" (Matthew 9:24, Mark 5:39, Luke 8:52, John 11:11). I don't imagine him peering down at the dead like mourners staring down at the corpse and commenting that he or she looks like they're asleep.  Rather, He seems to be redefining death. 

Each of the gospels offers a picture of this new definition.  For the three synoptic gospels, it's the story of Jairus' daughter.   The terrified father was a leader in the local synagogue whose only child, twelve, lay dying.  He sought out the Rabbi believing that if Jesus would lay hands on his girl she would live.  While Jesus was delayed briefly, a messenger came to let the father know that the child had already died.  The messenger didn't seem to think that there was anything for Jesus to do and asked Jairus to quit bothering the teacher (Matthew 9, Mark 5, Luke 8).

Undeterred, Jesus followed Jairus home.   Shooing away the noisy flute players and crowd of onlookers, he told them that the child is not dead; she was only sleeping.  They laughed at him.  "What kind of fool can't see that she's quit breathing?" they seemed to wonder.  (See Matthew's account) But as far as Jesus was concerned, death was just like sleeping.  Jesus walked right over to her, took her hand and "He said to her, "Talitha kum!" (which translated means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!")"  (Mark 5:39). That's what I say to wake my sleeping girl, "Hey, honey, it's time.  Get up!" To the astonishment of Peter, James, John and the girl's parents, she did!  

I've been thinking more about death more personally in recent months because my Papaw died quite unexpectedly this spring.  He had been in relatively good health when a stroke caused him to have a car accident and die a few hours later at the hospital.  I couldn't be home for the memorial, but there are things I would have loved to have said.  For example, "He's not dead!  Don't you know he's just gone to sleep?"

I know it's true because Jesus Christ was the first fruits of all who fall asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20). The first fruit is the promise of a harvest to come.  He is the firstborn from the dead, the first of many brothers (Colossians 1:18). 1 Thessalonians 4:14 says that because we believe Jesus has been resurrected we need not mourn hopelessly.  We instead have the promise that when Jesus returns, God will send with him those who "sleep in Jesus."  Jesus was raised, Paul says, so we need not fear; when we sleep, we too shall wake!

So as these days of mourning pass, I am comforted by Jesus' words.   We didn't bury him with stone servants and we won't be burning money.  We don't mourn like the pagans.  We just said, "Good night, we'll see you in the morning."


PS.  Need more? Questions Over Coffee has a great video talking about "How Christian's Mourn!"

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Bad Job

Have you ever felt trapped in your job?  Maybe you have been treated badly by your boss or coworkers.  Perhaps you really want to be a stay at home mom, but your family can't afford it.  Maybe you are a stay at home mom, and you feel like you'll go insane if you can't get out of the house.  With the recent job market, maybe you are staying in a job you hate because it pays the bills and you are afraid to do anything else.  I'm sure people have told you that you should be grateful for what you have, and they are right.  However, I think that using our jobs, even our unpleasant ones, as an opportunity to serve God will go a lot farther in helping us be content.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


We need to talk.  Did you realize that Maidservants of Christ has been up for two and half months?  We have forty six posts up, and we hope they  have been as much of a blessing for you to read as it has been for us to write.  I know I speak for all three of us when I say this experience has been life changing.  We certainly have you, our readers, to thank for making this possible.  Without you, we would not have the motivation to write.  So first of all, we want to say that we love you guys!  Most of you are ladies, some of you are not, but either way, we are grateful for you all! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Whatsoever Wednesday Revisited

Sunlight on water
It was an undercooked oatmeal day.  We eat oatmeal at our house when we are all out of eggs.  Oatmeal is the back up breakfast.  Things aren't running on all 4 wheels if it's an oatmeal morning.  This Sunday morning the complaints were a bitter murmur: the oatmeal wasn't salty enough, sweet enough or cooked thoroughly.  That's the kind of thing that gets a day off to a bad start around here.

Eat This Book

It is Wednesday again, and this week I am still thinking about Amos.  If you caught the post on Monday, you might guess that I am still stinging. Amos is a challenge at every level.  The biggest challenge for me in writing it though was bringing it down to the practical level.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thankful for Christ

Beautiful sky at LUMC
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us to all of you.  No Thanksgiving week blog would be complete without an article about being thankful.  I needed a break from Ezekiel and my husband's work recently led him to an interest in the book of Hebrews, so I decided to read the first ten verses of this book over the weekend.   As I read, I was reminded of Christ's superior power, His humanity, and of the salvation found in Him.  All these are things for which we can be eternally grateful.

The Rest of the Story

When I was a young girl, my mom used to listen to Paul Harvey.  He would always begin a segment then take a break and return by saying, "and now, for the rest of the story."  When we left Job last week at the end of chapter 1, many tragedies had befallen him.  He had lost his livelihood.  He had even undergone the worst pain imaginable for a person: the loss of not just one but all of his children.  Satan wasn't done with Job yet; he receives permission to further test Job by affecting his health as long as he spares his life (Job 2:6).

Monday, September 17, 2012

He Said What!?

Has anybody ever called you a cow? You would be insulted, right? Cows are fat, lazy, and stupid! All they do is stand in the mud, poo on the ground, and chew!  What if your minister got up on Sunday morning and started his lesson like this:  

"You bunch of cows!  You women crush the needy, stomp on the poor and then exhausted from the morning's efforts, call your husbands to bring the iced tea!  You are going to be punished!  You'll be strung like fish on a line.  You are going to be marched right out of town!"

Friday, September 14, 2012

How Will You Be Known?

I have been known as many things in my life.  When I was a child, I was my father's daughter.  As a teenager, I was that bushy haired girl. As a newlywed in my husband's hometown, I was his wife.  Now I am most often known as my kids' mom.  Since I want to be the best wife and mother I can, I don't let it bother me that I lose my identity somewhat in my family.  After all, there are worse things to be known as.  For instance, how would you like to be known as the troublemaker in the church?  The woman whose fight with another woman was known by the whole congregation?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rabbi Jesus

When I am looking for a new book to read, the good meaty kind of book that gets me to thinking, I often will read blogs by authors. It gives me a chance to see if I might like their books.  In this digital age, I hate to buy a book that I don't like and can't return or sell!  One blog I've started reading recently is  It is written by Lois Tverberg, who started out as a student of Ray Vander Laan, who has made a career in part out of examining and teaching the Jewish context of the Scriptures. Since then, she has become an accomplished researcher and writer on the same topic herself, particularly the life and teachings of Jesus. I encourage you to take a look at the blog.  She doesn't post with great regularity, but her words are always insightful. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Consider Job

Why do bad things happen to good people?  If there is a God, why is there so much suffering in the World?  These are a few of the questions that I have heard asked by people that are learning about God.  Even for us Christians, similar questions sometimes plague us.  If God really loves me, then why did I just lose my job, my child, my house, or have some other terrible fate befall me?  I love God; why am I going through these difficult times?   How do I stay faithful to God in the midst of my trials?  Questions like these are asked frequently when we or our loved ones go through trials.   

Monday, September 10, 2012

Her Part of the Bargain

Have you ever made a bargain with God?  Standing by a bed in a hospital, have you ever promised you would read your Bible every day or give money to a missionary if God would just make this come out right?  Have you got down on your knees and begged God for a job, a child, a marriage and laid out on the table just what you would do if He came through for you?  In the extremity of our lives we are willing to promise anything, offer anything, sacrifice anything for our heart's desire.  

Friday, September 7, 2012


And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" And while they were all denying it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You." But Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me." When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace." (Luke 8:43-48).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How Being a Christian is Like Running from Zombies

Helene and I know that we very similar.  Somewhat nerdly, clean cut girls who have clean backgrounds (by the world's standards, anyway).  We also know that not all Christians are like us.  There are Christians who love much because they have been forgiven much.  There are Christians who don't read Nazi era theologians.  There are Christians who use the word "boomsauce."  Toni is one such Christian.  We wanted to have guest bloggers on occasion to give a different voice to what is means to be a Christian woman.  Toni's voice is different than ours, but her love for Christ is the same.  She has a blog, Fighting Insanity, that you can read at  I encourage you to read it. She'll make you laugh and think at the same time.  Meanwhile, she has been gracious enough to write this guest post for us. ~Melissa

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chasing Away the Cobwebs

During the first year my family was abroad, we received some visitors from the States.  Getting to know them was a pleasure, and they went out of their way to bless us. One of those blessings was a book.  Back then, before the advent of E-readers, it was difficult for me to find books in English, especially Christian reading material, so I was excited to dive in.  I've read it a number of times these last six years, and it has followed me through two different moves.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Single Minded Focus

Having just ended a week about confession, I must admit that the last several weeks I have been having tremendous difficulty in my Bible reading, blogging, and in doing my housework.  I seem to be drifting from one nonessential activity to another and somehow manage to avoid the things that really need to be accomplished. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Rehab the Terrified

Rahab the harlot is the perfect example of why the Bible would receive a PG-13 rating.   She is one of the few women in the Old Testament commended by the New Testament writers, and what do we call her? (Hebrews 11, James 2, Matthew 1) Rahab the harlot. It's hard for women to escape their past. It's hard to make a new name for ourselves. For today though I'd love to focus on a different aspect of her character.  So for the sake of this post, let's give her a new name, Rahab the terrified.  Fear is something I can sympathize with!