Monday, June 30, 2014

Be Long-suffering




Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

We are all different and that's a good thing.  It really is.  

And yet, how often have I wondered why my husband did this that way or why my daughter took this method instead of that one?  Unfortunately, too many.

The above verse commands us to be totally and utterly humble and gentle.  Yet sometimes we are not.  We lift our ways and our thoughts above those of others and are proud and rude.  We do the exact opposite of bearing with one another in love.  We offer unsolicited advice and defend it as constructive criticism.  

Throughout the weeks of the Be Series, I have been challenged to love more and harder especially those within my own household.  It may sound selfish but it's not.  Let me explain.

When the verse tells us to be completely humble and gentle, it is easy to do with the family member we are witnessing to or the sister in Christ we are ministering to.  But what about to my husband?  Or to my children?

My husband knows me, all of me.  So it can be easy to slip up and make that rude remark because he understands I am having a 'rough' day.  Or it is easy to be impatient with my child who keeps on talking and talking when I just want to go to sleep.  But sisters, it should not be this way.  

We should want to be totally and utterly humble and gentle, patiently bearing with our husbands and children in love.  Let us call on the Lord for help in this area.  Will they make mistakes?  Yes and so will you.  But this is where long-suffering comes in.  When difficulties arise you want to be the example of a child to God to your husband and children.  You do not want to add to the difficulty but be an instrument of God to glorify Himself through.  

26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Let us not run our households aimlessly.  Let us be intentional, purposeful, and determined.  Let us not be so concerned about ministering and witnessing to others that our homes are neglected.  Our most effective witnessing and ministering should be taking place in the home.  So let us be completely humble and gentle, patiently bearing with one another in love.  Let us be long-suffering.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review: Captured on the High Seas

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In the Imagination Station's Book #14:  Captured on the High Seas written by Marianne Hering and Nancy I. Sanders, we 'join Patrick and Beth in a seafaring adventure set in 1781.  

Once again, the authors have brought us into the adventures of Patrick and Beth.  What I most appreciate about these books are their historical context because my child is not only reading but reading a book that brings history to life for her.  It is about 126 pages long with enough illustrations throughout to keep her engaged and not distract her.  The vocabulary is not difficult but the child will be introduced to new words pertaining to the historical event (ration, scurvy) which is good.  

My daughter especially enjoyed hearing both sides of the story.  Each chapter held different surprises for both Patrick and Beth.  The scenes were exciting and fun for her to read and not at all predictable.  Not only were historical events portrayed but also lessons in character such as loyalty.  She found book 13's ending more suspenseful than this book but is looking forward to continuing the series.  

These books have been a wonderful addition to our library and I look forward to the upcoming titles.   

 I received a complimentary copy of above mentioned title from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Be A Partaker



Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
2 Timothy 1:8

Paul is writing to his true son in the faith, Timothy, and exhorting him not to be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord nor of Paul himself.  On the contrary, Paul encourages Timothy to be a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.  And we are exhorted and encouraged to do the same.

This is not an easy command.  How hard it is to stand firm when things around you seem to crumble.  And that's what should be happening in our lives-the old should be going away and the new should be coming (2 Corinthians 5:17).  It can be hard to see everything you know, have come to rely on, and are comfortable with slip away.  But it doesn't have to be difficult if our eyes are fixed on Him who promises us so much more than we can ever imagine.  

Will there be naysayers?  Definitely!  But our eyes should not be fixed on them nor our ears attuned to them.  Let us stand firmly and boldly not being ashamed of the testimony of our Lord nor of those who are standing alongside us.  

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
Philippians 1:29,30

We have believed on Jesus and we must also suffer for him.  Without a doubt there will be the sting of rejection from those that do not believe but the Bible calls us blessed when we are insulted and persecuted as well as falsely spoken against because great is our reward in heaven (Matthew 5:11,12).  Let's not shy away from persecution but embrace it as part of our walk with Jesus.   Let us be those who are partakers of the afflictions of the gospel.  

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10,11

Monday, June 16, 2014

Be an Overcomer


Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21 (KJV)

overcome-succeed in dealing with (a problem or difficulty)
overcome-defeat (an opponent); prevail

We are commanded in Scripture not to be defeated by evil.  How can we be defeated by evil?  Easily, when we demand repayment from someone who has sinned against us.  When we choose to be bitter instead of forgiving.  

Above this verse is another one stating the same command:

Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 
 Romans 12:17

The word repay denotes there is a debt.  When someone sins against us, they have incurred a debt.  When we forgive (as Christ has forgiven us), we cancel that debt.  When we choose not to forgive, we declare that debt remains.  We have been overcome of evil.  Evil has defeated us.

Instead of choosing to forgive, we prefer to hold on to bitterness, rage, and our feelings of entitlement. We are proud and stubborn.  We forget the great mercy the Lord has had in our lives and want to make someone else pay for their sins when not even Jesus demanded that of us.  

So what should we do?

Overcome evil with good.  We should successfully deal with the problem or difficulty by defeating and prevailing over our opponent, the devil and our flesh.  Let's forgive.  Let's love.  Let's humble ourselves.  Let's seek reconciliation.  

We are called to live in peace with everyone if it is possible, as far as it depends on us (Romans 12:18).  Let us do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  Let us leave the problem or difficulty in God's capable hands and do what he commands us.  Let us be overcomers.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Be Diligent


Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
For riches are not for ever:  and doth the crown endure to every generation?
Proverbs 27:23, 24

Have you ever looked for something only to later realize that you no longer possessed that item?  Or have you ever bought something only to come home and find that its duplicate?

Why does this happen?  

Carelessness.

Certain items are insignificant and thus we really don't pay them much mind.  But this can equally apply to people in our lives.

Thus, we must be diligent to know the state of our flocks.  My daughter commented that when she turns on her tablet the first thing she checks is for any updates on her apps.  When was the last time we took time to know any updates in the lives our husbands and children?  We can't assume that things are the way they have always been and will continue to be the same without maintenance on our part.  We have to keep our knowledge of them updated.

We are also to look well or give careful attention to our herds.  This is not a casual glance but a careful study of what is going on in our homes.  Have their been sudden shifts in behavior?  Have resolutions been made only to be easily broken?  Has spiritual growth grown stagnant?  There must be a reason and we are to be diligent into finding it out to remedy the situation with God's help.

Let us not grow careless.  Days become weeks, weeks become years, and years become a lifetime.  Let's not wait to get to the end of ours and recognize senseless waste.  Let's know now the state of our flocks and let's look well today to our herds. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Book Review: Growing Up God's Way

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Authors Dr. Chris Richards and Dr. Liz Jones collaborate in Growing Up god's Way for Boys and Growing Up god's Way for Girls to help the child "understand the changes of puberty, how and why they come about, some practical ways to look after yourself and how to honour God by making good choices.

In these two books, the authors want to accomplish a lot.  Do they succeed?  I think yes.

The books themselves are eye-catching in the traditional blue for boys and pink for girls.  There are a lot of illustrations and more importantly Bible verses throughout to make the books enjoyable and informative.  The two books are basically the same information except for about two chapters and some information in the last chapter.  It is short enough to be read before speaking with your children about the material so you can prepare what sections you agree/disagree and/or want to expound upon.

The book wisely not only explains physical changes but emotional ones as well.  It shows the bigger picture behind these changes as God's design for His purposes in our lives.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading the admonitions throughout emphasizing following God's design and not the world's. Two topics I would like to have seen developed differently were the marriage vows and going out portions.  

Overall, the books present the information clearly, thoroughly, and most importantly Biblically.  I would advise parents reading the book beforehand and speaking to their children afterwards instead of just giving the child to read this book individually due to the content.  I think they are a wonderful resource to jump start dialogue.

I received complimentary copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Be Slow


Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:9

Did you know that the Bible tells us that it is man's glory to pass over a transgression (Proverbs 19:11)? Or that a prudent man overlooks an insult (Proverbs 12:16)?  Furthermore that when we cover a transgression, we are seeking love (Proverbs 17:9)?

Too often, we take things the wrong way, jumping to the wrong conclusions, and therefore passing judgement over people and situations.  

Why?

We are are hasty in our spirit to be angry.
What does that mean?

We are being quick-tempered.  We want to give in to our fleshly desires and are actually looking for the opportunity to do so.  But the screaming and slamming are only the manifestations of the already brooding heart.  

So we have to target it at the root--the heart.

There is something there that has not been resolved.  Although it camouflages itself at times behind fake smiles and good times, it is still there festering.  Maybe it is an unresolved conflict with someone where there has not been forgiveness or a situation that we can not wrap our understanding around?  The anger is there swelling in our hearts until we explode or implode.

Let's not.

Let's stop making excuses for harboring this volatile emotion and deal with the issue.  Let's not just curb   behavior (although that may be a good starting point) but let's get at the root of the cause.  

Let's be slow.  
Let's be slow to react and quick to reflect.
Let's forgive.
Let's love.  Let's extend grace and receive grace as well.  

Let's make our hearts infertile ground for anger.