Friday, November 30, 2012

Shame No More

She was humiliated.  The scarlet blush of mortification stained her cheeks as she looked at the ground.  Surrounded by her accusers and others in the temple court, she felt more exposed than she had when they had caught her in the act of adultery.  She felt every eye on her as the scribes and Pharisees thrust her in front of the teacher and announced her sin for all to hear.  No one stood with her.  Her lover had been allowed to escape, and he left her alone to face the punishment and shame for their sin.  It was the lowest point of her life, and the humiliation threatened to engulf her.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Promoting the Praiseworthy

For Christmas last year I got gift cards.  Wait, don't feel sorry for me.  I don't have lame loved ones with no idea what to buy!  They were Barnes and Noble gift cards.  I have a Nook and I can stick my entire library in my carry-on.  It's a dream come true. (Now I am just waiting for someone to invent a teleporter.)   The real question was what books to buy. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Clutter Cleaning and Spurring

Feather duster
Recently we hired a new housekeeper.  As she flitted around the house digging in to one task after another, it reminded me of a question that I am sometimes asked.   Do we have to go to church?  Having the housekeeper come not only got my house clean for that day, but it had a number of other benefits that reminded me of the importance of going to church each week.   I realize that these two thoughts don't seem connected, but what I recently read in Hebrews 10:19-25 ties the two together.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Greasy Stain of Sin

Two Paths - - 1397781
I remember the greasy feeling of shame. It's like a nausea that refuses to be swallowed down-a literal acidic ache.  Someone looked at me, saw my fault, and pointed it out. I'm not talking about a kindly Christian sister gently pointing out my sin and prayerfully leading me to repentance.  No.  I am talking about an irritated boss who gruffly called me down in front of coworkers or the catty friend whose "joke" left me stinging. Their attitude may have been wrong but their point wasn't.  My sin left a stain for the whole world to see. You been there? It's a cross road.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bread of Life

Freshly baked bread loaves
Did you have a good Thanksgiving?  I hope it was filled with family, friends, gratefulness, and prayers.  One thing I'm sure you had a lot of is food.  One of my favorite things to do on Thanksgiving is to swipe little bits of food before the meal is served.  My Grandma still gives me a mock glare when I do it, but I can't help but snitch a little ham when I can.  One of the easiest things to "sneak" is the bread.  With apologies to my paleo friends, I could never be on a low carb diet.  I love bread of almost any variety.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Dishes

Have you thought of yourself as a vessel of honor or dishonor before?  We can be holy prepared for use in God's kingdom!What dishes are you pulling out for Thanksgiving?  When I lived in America we had a couple of fancy serving platters, a ceramic dish or two just the right size for sweet potato  casserole, and a giant roaster that were only pulled out for holidays. Back then I had ordinary dishes too.  Chipped and cracked, they were familiar and useful. There was one more kind: a big ceramic bowl in the bathroom that I should have cleaned more often than I did. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Place for Everything

I tend to be an organizer.  Don't misunderstand me.  I'm not always organized; my house is not always clean.  But when I do get to cleaning, I tend to have a specific place for each item.  For instance, I can't stand having one big toy box for my kids.  Instead, I have a drawer system.  Barbies go in a drawer, Barbie accessories go in another drawer, etc.  I like to compartmentalize my time too.  If I don't have a plan for the day, with a task in each half-hour segment, I will likely not get much done.  Life seems so much neater with "a place for everything and everything in its place."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Movie Night

We've been encompassed by the story of Jesus lately.  My husband, our eleven year old and I have all read The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey. I just finished a rereading of Mark (not a study-I read the whole thing in 3 days) and our girl is working through it one chapter at a time.  That takes care of us big people, but what about the little one?  Well, this week our family watched an old movie.  "The story of Jesus according to the gospel of Luke."  We ate some red beans and rice (yum), snuggled up on the couch, and even the 4 year old was enthralled.  She asked a million questions.  She gasped when the nails were driven into his hands.  She touched my face when a tear slipped down it.  She was fully engaged in the movie and I was engaged in her, wishing I could see the story the way she did for the first time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

One Really Bad Girl

Do you consider yourself a "good girl?"  You know the type: spent most of high school studying or working in order to spend summers going to church camps and youth group activities.  Helene, Melissa, and I were all that sort of girl.  Although we try to make the blog applicable to all types of women, perhaps we hit this target group more often.  We hope today's post is broader in scope.  Good girls or bad we all have something to learn from Ezekiel's description of Israel as one REALLY bad girl!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The God of All Comfort

Oak tree in CorsicaI have written before about my Papaw's death this spring.  That morning, I talked to my Dad on Skype, then I crawled up on my husband's lap.  He held me just like he does our girls.  I cried until both our shirts were soaked in tears.  Before long though, a thought occurred to me.  I haven't cried like this in years. Many years.  Why?  Because my life is free of real tragedy - losing a grandparent, even a beloved one, at 34, is no tragedy.  And even in that day's sorrow, I cried selfish tears.  Papaw lost nothing.  He was a faithful and godly man and his hope is mine (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Heart of a Teacher

Do you remember how to choose good lettuce?" 
"Yes, you look for one that is firm and heavy."
"Good!  Can you get me a head of lettuce?"
"Yes, Mom"
"Thank you."

I was near this mother and daughter for much of my Aldi shopping trip today.  Their venture was peppered with lessons on how to choose good produce, how to price check, and how they would be using various ingredients.  The mother  was patient in teaching, and the daughter was cheerful in obeying.  She was a real help to her mother.  I'd guess her age to be about ten, and I was impressed.  I wish I had told them how much I admired both of them before they checked out.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blogging and Faith: An Interview with Casandra Martin

Yesterday, we had a book review for a Bible study book by Casandra Martin called Living Stones.  Ms. Martin was kind enough to do an interview for Helene via email which we are sharing with you today.  We hope you will check our her blog as well.  She has a lot of good information and devotionals to share with us.  ~Melissa

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Living Stones: A Book Review

We've mentioned before that Christian blogs are a great place to learn about authors that will help us keep our minds on pure and noble things.  One author that Helene and I have followed since before starting this blog is Casandra Martin.  Ms. Martin was a school teacher before becoming a stay at home mom.  Since then, she's continued to teach through writing.  One of the things she has done is write several Bible study books in a series she calls WOW, Women Opening the Word.  Her newest is called Living Stones, and she was kind enough to send me a copy of it to review for her here on Maidservants of Christ.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Wall

How often have you devoted your mind on a goal only to get to a point in that quest where you hit a brick wall?  The wall is so thick that you can't get through it no matter how hard you try.  When we get to this point there seems to be only two choices: we can either give up, or we can reevaluate and adjust in order to keep going.  I will admit, usually my strategy has been to give up.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Sword Through The Heart

The day my oldest daughter was born I couldn't help thinking of Mary.  Here I was in July, in an air-conditioned hospital room, hopped up on pain killers, following a C-section, and I am thinking about nativity scenes.  Weird, I know.  But I bet I am not the only Christian mom who looked at her own baby and thought of the mother of that holy baby. Mary was haunting my thoughts.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Grim Queen

Once upon a time, there was an evil queen who craved power.  She was content to be the power behind the throne for a while, directing her husband the king to do evil.  As a result of her wicked deeds, most of her children were carried off to a distant land, and her husband died of a wasting sickness.  She never grieved them but continued to manage affairs when her last remaining son had the throne.  As soon as she found out her son was dead, she killed as many of her grandchildren she could find and took the throne for herself.  This story sounds like one of the Brothers Grimm more twisted tales, the kind we skip in our bedtime story routine.  Unfortunately, this horrible narrative instead chronicles one of the darker times in the history of the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 8:16-29, 11:1-21; 2 Chronicles 21-23).