Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Titus 2 Wrap Up

That's right, we just finished our ladies' study on Martha Peace's book Becoming a Titus 2 Woman. Our study group has taken most of the last 6 months working our way through this book and have found it very inspiring. Not only has it encouraged each of us to examine our roles as women, but it has brought us closer as a group. Several of the women in our study were only acquaintances to me when we started and now we are very familiar with each other. Two very good reasons for studying scripture as a group!
So these are the final self-study questions that accompany our sessions - you will see that I had to stop focusing the questions on just 'husband and wife' situations - some of our ladies are single or widowed, therefore their authority falls under their father or the pastor, respectively. Hopefully each of you that has followed the study has enjoyed the contemplative nature of these questions - and I do encourage you to find a copy of the book.

1. Our reason for studying God's word should be to seek His heart. Do I work toward being a woman after God's own heart?

2. When I disagree or dislike my authority/husband's decisions, do I graciously follow in the same way as I would when I agree?

3. When my house is lacking harmony, do I accept that I may be responsible? Am I guilty of causing the chaos?

4. Do I project a 'doormat' submission to those around me or do people see a working relationship between myself and my authority/husband?

5. Do I live what I preach? (i.e. do younger women see me as a positive Titus 2 role model)

6. Have I ever entered into gossiping with a girlfriend when talking about our authority/husbands? Do I seek to build up my authority/husband?

7. When I believe my authority/husband is sinning, do I trust that God will deal with him or do I 'help' God by trying to change him my way?

8. Do I believe God's authority structure is the best way in all situations?

9. If I made a list of things in my life that honour God and a list of things that dishonour Him, which list would be longer?

10. How often do I allow my emotions to lead my behaviour rather than the word of God?

11. After completing this study, do I believe God would have me initiate relationships with other women in order to live out Titus 2:3-5? Am I going to do it?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Predicting the Future

Most of the time I am an optimist. After all, optimism is something that springs from our trust in the Lord. However, there continues to be one area where I get wrapped up in pessimism.

People. I have little-to-no optimism when it comes to people (outside of my husband and Duck, of course).

This pessimism has originated from my non-christian years. Too many times in my early life I was disappointed by those who should have been my security net. Back then in my immaturity I simply said 'people stink' as a summary to my opinion. Actually, now that I see the world in two categories - saved and not saved. I can understand those that can be dissappointing when they are not saved - like they have an excuse for living selfishly.

However, living among christians, my distrust of people who claim to be saved hasn't really changed. In alot of ways it has sprouted. Although I don't often summarize my feelings the same crass way, all my 'spidey senses' go off as soon as someone new tells me they are christian. I simply sit back and think 'we'll see, won't we. Actions speak louder than words'.

Too many times I have watched the same scenario play out just in our little corner of the church. People join in and jump on board with enthusiasm;

homeschooling? great idea!
courtship? great idea!
trusting God's plan for finances? great idea! - the list of lifestyle issues goes on.

It never fails to make my pessimistic smile sneak across my face when these long-time christian people say, "oh, I wish I had found these scriptures before!" Hmmm...were these scriptures hiding? (As you can see, pessimism and sarcasm go hand in hand for me)

These people certainly can be part of our church family for extended amounts of time - years, even decades. We have had people who regularly participated in church, gushing with pride over their 'convictions', and then the time comes when they get insulted, upset or too tired to keep up the facade (oddly, it seems to occur when children reach the teen years). These same 'christians' point to the very reasons they wanted to be part of our church as their reasons for disagreement;

homeschooling? it's too demanding
courtship? unreasonable for today's youth
trusting God's financial plan? too difficult to keep tithing; etc.

However, don't dare remind them of the very scripture that originally enlightened them! That will ensure animosity and that will make you their 'reason' for leaving. Those who live successfully (by the grace of God) with biblical conviction will be accused of being elitist or self-righteous - and the bitterness builds where friendship once was found. Even King David was familiar with these type of people:

Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.
Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.
For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:
But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.
We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. Psalm 55:10-14

The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:21&22

To be clear, I'm not so self-righteous to claim that I will never fail in my walk with Christ - claiming that would ensure a sudden lightening bolt! And I am learning to lean on patience rather than judgement with new christians.
Will my pessimism ever change when it comes to people? Only God could change that for me. I am learning to appreciate people at the time they are growing and avoiding judging their sincerity - or predicting their exit. Their heart can only be read by the Lord, and that is probably a good thing! If our hearts could be read by each other our churches would likely be empty! In the end, it is my growth, service and commitment to the Lord that should be my only concern.
It has, however, been made clear to me that those who attend church because of the people or programs (social), will end up leaving because of the people or programs.

Every time another person or family falls away from the faith they proclaimed so loudly is not a time to say 'I told you so' or to analyze what 'their problem is'. No, each time someone falls away I need to ask, 'do I have my heart in church for Christ?' Thank you, Lord, I can say I do. Predicting the future can stay in His hands!

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and create a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

Over on Generation Cedar there was a hot topic discussed, feminism (excuse my language ;o]). If you have the time and inclination, reading the comment section is very enlightening of where some christian women can still be drawn away from truth by the world views taught out there.

Some comments made me smile, others made wince. Take a look for yourself.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Father Day Thoughts

This past weekend my dad and his wife were visiting our home. He is the only member of my extended family that still associates with us. The remainder of my vast family has left us in the cold since we were labelled as 'religious nuts' and 'cult members' by one of the matriarchs of the group - my mother. You see, my mother has a way of encouraging others to avoid disagreeing with her and any opposing opinions are to be kept silent. At the time we were accused of such labels, my dad was the only one who came to investigate the accusations and in doing so, came to the conclusion that we're are a normal healthy family even if we are 'doing the church thing'. He, of course, had been burned by the same manipulator before, having been through a divorce.

But this is supposed to be about my dad.

He is not a christian, and his life revolves around worldly pleasures and work (the work is just to pay for the pleasure). He eats too much, drinks too much and only gets exercise when the remote control isn't working. As his granddaughter gets older, he is having a harder time relating to her christian upbringing, but they have running jokes and teasing between them.

While they were here for the visit, Duck asked them to come to church. She always does and she doesn't simply accept their excuses - 'it's a long drive home', 'no church clothes', etc. Duck smiles and answers them simply, 'church is done by noon', 'any clothes are fine', etc.

My husband and I don't tell Duck that she can't ask these questions, and Grampa and Gramma never tell her the flat out truth. Church is meaningless to them, maybe even a little scary, too.

So Sunday morning came and they know we are going to church. They know they are welcome. We know it is unlikely they will come. And, sure enough, they are up early and packed to go home. We say our goodbyes in the driveway and they go one direction as we go the other.

Now, God always gives us examples and role models to look at and learn from. Good and bad examples and role models. My husband and I take the time this weekend to show Duck someone who loves her as best as he can - without Christ. We talk about the time we have to live for Christ in from of those who live without him. Most of all, we always remind her (and ourselves) how important this verse is to remember:

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. Psalm 62:5

I have never doubted that my dad loves me as best as he can, as a dad who lives without Christ. And now I show Duck the same thing to see in her grampa. So, in return, we love him as he is and without expectations, but not without hope, that he will ever see the truth in Christ. That falls under God's soveriegnty, only He can change my dad.

So for now, we plan our next visit - without expectation.

Monday, June 22, 2009

If Only...

(another one from the archives...)

If only I had paid more attention to my health when I was younger, I wouldn't be carrying 40lbs more than I should be;

If only I had learned about money management 20 years ago, I wouldn't be digging my way out of debt at middle age;

If only I had been raised in a Christian home, I wouldn't spend so much time re-training my feminist, selfish upbringing;

If only I had married at a younger age, the mystery of why my body will not produce more children would never have been an issue;

If only my husband and I had taken advantage of the years of good, double incomes, we would have our own home by now;

If only my mother had been a Christian woman, I could have sought out the means to a home business long ago;

If only I didn't have to work part time outside the home, I could spend more viable time raising my daughter in the view of Proverbs 31;

If only I spent more time concentrating on verses like this -

And we know that all things works together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

- I wouldn't waste so much time on the selfish thoughts mentioned and spend more time in gratitude.

Thank you Lord for taking hold of my heart when you did because you didn't have to do it. Thank you for giving me a husband who has grown to eagerly seek your will for his leadership in our family; for my beautiful daughter who daily shows me how to love and trust you wholeheartedly without reservation - as a child. Thank you Lord for the tremendous blessings of learning to live the simple life; for feelings of joy with each step I take climbing to a debt free life; for the love of a man who encourages me to seek to be the woman you would have me to be - and that my daughter can witness it. Thank you that your timing in my life is always perfect. Amen.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Happy Dance

(an old post I was reminded of recently - it still applies to today!)

The happy dance is something that happens in our home throughout the school year. It originated quite spontaneously when my little girl, Duck, was in grade one. The happy dance is executed on occasions wherein we, the Duck and I, complete a large unit or project.

It is a silly little tradition that the Duck never fails to remind me to complete. Just today we finished the 4th unit of her reading comprehension, leaving only one more unit to complete for grade 3, and we promptly stood in the middle of the living room and did our thing. A crazy, but happy dance. A celebration of accomplishment! A moment to appreciate the privileges in homeschooling and a moment to build a silly little tradition that the Duck loves.

There may come a time in her life when the happy dance is just a memory and she's 'too mature' to do it anymore. I hope that time is a long way off because I also love to jump up and celebrate with a little jig.

The dog, however, thinks we're nuts.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Little Blessings

There are some things in my life where I must guard against idolizing. One thing in particular is a point in every week that my daughter is in bed and my husband is at work...where I have total free time to myself. It only happens once a week and I have 2-3 hours to do whatever I want. Let me repeat that: 2-3 hours to do WHATEVER I WANT!

I revel in this time. That may seem to be an exaggeration, but it's not. My only difficulty is deciding which 'me' thing to do; knitting; or sewing; or reading; or blogging; or a little of each. Sometimes I even choose to clean the kitchen, as crazy as that is.

Please don't misunderstand, I love my husband and daughter. I love when I hear my husband coming in the door after being at work. I love working with my daughter all day with school or fun projects. I even enjoy the housekeeping aspect of my life (I can't honestly say I love that part, but 'enjoy' is truthful). But when this weekly time alone happens, I accomplish so much in just a short time. It is a time that I use to refresh myself for my family.

The most important part about it is to remember to use my time wisely and for good purpose. I have on occasion frittered the time away with TV (also affectionately known as the idiot box) and I do not feel refreshed with that, I feel slothful. As always, I return to my favourite verse listed with the title of my blog,

1 Corinthians 10:31 - do ALL to the glory of God, including the use of my free time.

So, now that I have blogged...what will I do next?

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Wherefore be ye not unwise,
but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
Ephesians 5:15-17

Friday, June 12, 2009

How Much is Enough?

Working as a nurse for 15 years gives me alot of stories that can be told. Funny ones and sad ones; enlightening ones and discouraging ones; heartwarming ones and frustrating ones. Today's story has a bit of each of these.

There are two women, seniors, at work who are similar in age and are both dealing with similar disease processes - that of respiratory deterioration. One of these women is still mobile in a wheelchair, the other is bedridden due to other maladies. They struggle for air and therefore, they both have a certain amount of confusion with the decrease in oxygen.

The bedridden lady works hard to accomplish everyday tasks, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not. She has a doting son and daughter-in-law who visit daily to read to her, decorate her room, do her nails or sometimes just to kiss her goodnight. This lady experiences alot of discomfort when moving around, but never fails to thank her caregivers after each time her care is completed.

The woman in the wheelchair spends most of her days and nights yelling (yelling!) and complaining. She complains that she doesn't get enough help, but complains about the help she does get. During the night, she screams because she doesn't want to be alone, but when staff do attend to her room she screams at them. She never had children, so her neices and nephews are assigned as her next of kin - I have never seen any of them come to visit.

There is one more similarity to mention. They both claim the title 'christian'.

Now, it isn't my place to say I know the heart of these women. Obviously the fruit of the Spirit can be seen much greater in the first lady, but it would be too bold to state that the second isn't actually saved. So, taking it as a given that they are both indeed saved...what is the difference?

Can a born-again Christian, saved by grace, fall away from faith to the point that their salvation is unrecognizable? Can a heart with Christ indwelling be overwhelmed by a tormented mind? I believe the answer is yes.

Neither give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:27
Once Satan finds a 'crack' in our faith, he grabs hold and doesn't let go. He actively seeks out these 'cracks' - do we have a tendency to worry, he'll encourage your worry; do we have any type of idol in our lives, he'll encourage us to turn toward that idol more and more often. Most often it can come down to our level of trust in God. How many of us know this Psalm:
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not on thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5&6
However, how many of us really embrace the promise in these words? Trust with ALL thine heart - in ALL thy ways acknowledge him. What are ALL our ways?
- the way we live out our daily life,
- the way we behave as women, wives, daughters,
- the way we serve in our local church,
- the way we choose our spouses,
- the way we raise our children,
- the way we manage our money.
And on and on. There isn't a single moment of our lives that does not fit into this Psalm. So I ask the question...do I trust Him to:
- lead my husband without my help?
- give me the strength I need to teach my child at home?
- protect my family when trials come without having to give up on convictions?
- provide for all my needs when I give my tithe (even when money is tight)?
- raise up a Godly man for my daughter as I teach her that purity is His will for her life?
Look at when Job had lost everything, when his friends were discouraging, when his wife told him to put an end to his life of misery, when he was blistered and broke and alone in this world...he trusted.
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him... Job 13:18
That is where I see the bedridden woman from the my beginning story. She is accepting her trials and trusting God. She is living her faith before everyone to see. Am I there yet? No. But I'm not in that situation yet, either. For each trial I face, my faith strengthens as I see God working to bring me through. There will always be more trials, and He will undoubtedly provide the faith I need for them - that's the promise part of the Psalm, ...and he shall direct [my] paths.
How much faith is enough? The exact amount that He has built into me to this point in my life.
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:7-9

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Parenting Advice

I know that Duck's behaviour, good or bad, is my responsibility. When negative behaviour does rear its ugly head, I (and my husband) try to meet it head on. The best place to turn, of course, is to our Father in Heaven. Let's face it, He has dealt with the worst of the worst among His children! (it's a good thing that Paul signed himself up as the 'chief among sinners' or else I think I would have to take the title)

But sticking with dealing with our children's' behaviour, there is great parenting advice throughout scripture. There is one section that Duck and I have been reading and talking about that has meant alot to both of us, 1 Thessolonians 5:14-24:

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
Take each verse individually and mull over what it means in your life. This is advice for any age, but how much better that our children take hold of it now. Learning to 'rejoice evermore' and
'pray without ceasing' will carry them through any trial that is allowed into their lives.
Quench not the Spirit - don't hide your light under a bushel!
Prove all things - let others watch you stand on your faith and succeed!
Abstain from all appearance of evil - oh, how subtle Satan can be sneaking into our lives when secular thinking becomes acceptable to a Christian.
Never forgetting the last two verses and the promise that is in there for the faithful. Let me hear an AMEN!

Monday, June 8, 2009


The other day my husband brought home a flyer that had been displayed at his workplace. He works for an organization that deems itself christian, therefore they had been targeted for a particular marketing plan from a local restaurant. Here is how the marketing scheme goes:

All church goers were encouraged to organize group lunches at this local restaurant. When the lunch was completed, the restaurant would calculate the bill for all church goers meals and then write and deliver a cheque for 10% of the amount of the lunch and donate that back to the individual churches.

So, the more people that attended from a single church, the more money that would be donated back to the church. Sounds great - accept that the deal was only for Sunday lunches. I know that in today's culture, the whole idea of keeping the Lord's Day holy has fallen into the 'antiquated' realm. The restaurants in our town are packed after morning services. Shopping on Sunday is 'normal' - but then again so are STDs and I'm not interested in taking part of them either!

For our family, keeping the Lord's Day holy includes not working on that day AND not causing someone else to work that day either. We attend church both in the morning and evening. It means we do not shop for anything - a standard which requires only a small bit of planning and organizing on Saturday to ensure that we can maintain it. Outside of unforseen emergencies, we feel convicted by the commandment.

This however, is not the cultural thing to do, even among christian groups. Which is why I have no doubt that the local restaurant will make out quite well with its plan. Church groups will flock to lunch all for the purposes of 'supporting our church financially'.

Hmmm...maybe a post on tithing would be good to do. Another day, though...Good Monday morning to you all!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Something to Ponder

I was following a car the other day with this question posed on a bumper sticker:

Got Purpose?
There are so many directions that this could take people in to thinking. For me, my instant answer was 'yes!'.
As a wife, I have purpose.
As a mom, I have purpose.
As a daughter to the King, I have purpose.
It was great to have a moment to give thanks to God for my purpose!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


We are so jaded in these days of instant gratification when it comes to recognizing the blessings God bestows on us. We live with microwaves, cell phones and internet - no work required. Even our daily bread is at our fingertips, or at least at the grocery downtown - again, no work required. Do we really appreciate it? When we give thanks for our daily bread, is it just habit? Empty words?

This is on my mind alot lately as I am attempting to retrain my thinking about food. I like food. I'm a good eater - too good. Because of my eating habits for the last 20 years I am fighting my weight. Gluttony is an ugly word and even uglier in the mirror.

So what's a girl (an almost 40 year old girl) to do? There are innumerable diet plans to sign up to follow. In fact, I have been watching a good friend go through with one particular plan - she has to pay to weigh in weekly, she can't eat a 'normal' diet therefore has to have vitamin shots three times per week, and take several multi-vitamins, calcium, iron, and so on. She is losing weight significantly - 80 lbs. in 7 months. The successful loss of weight makes these diet plans look so enticing. However, I have never been someone to jump on any bandwagon. Let me share my process for examining this issue:

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
Because this verse is my daily goal, I am actively seeking to glorify Him with my health! It isn't about being skinny. It's about recognizing that being thankful for my daily bread means not eating more than I need. Like the Isrealites and the manna God provided to them, but they were only to collect enough for each day - no more (Exodus 16:4 &5). That has been my first step - only eat when I'm hungry and only eat enough to satisfy the hunger.
My next step, if I'm seeking to glorify God, I have to question does a diet plan do that? My conclusion was 'no'. By combining foods, or omitting foods or taking supplements as replacements for food - any success falls to glorifying Dr. Atkins or Dr. Bernstein, etc., or me!
These diet plans may drop the weight, but they don't go toward building my self control, or to build my trust in the Lord, therefore they don't improve my health. So where do I find the answer?
Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. Proverbs 30:8&9
Since November I have lost 16 lbs. Not terribly dramatic, but success none the less for me and with another 24lbs to meet my personal goal. I am already pleased, and I'm thankful, and I'm encouraged because of the Lord's guidance. And when someone asks me how I'm doing it, I can give the glory to God - all of it!
...for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11b