Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Horrible Life Redeemed

This week our book club read about the amazing story of Rahab. She is the epitome of a lost soul that can do nothing to save herself. I was reminded of how gracious God is and how He can transform any life. No one, not the gravest sinner, is beyond the reach of God’s love. Paul says he was the chief of all sinners in 1 Timothy, and yet God saved him to show how incredibly patient He is and to ensure us that our salvation has nothing to do with our own worth. I loved the quote by Spurgeon at the end of this chapter, “This woman was no mere hostess, but a real harlot…I am persuaded that nothing but a spirit of distaste for free grace would ever have led any commentator to deny her sin.” I think the title of this chapter is perfect, “A Horrible Life Redeemed,” and it was a great reminder to me that no one is beyond God’s grasp; thus we should share the gospel with everyone!

Human beings are so proud that we want to have some sort of responsibility in our salvation. I’ve always wondered why Rahab is mentioned in the “Hall of Faith,” when she lied to keep the men safe. It seemed almost like a contradiction to me. So this chapter made it so much clearer that God actually used her imperfect faith to demonstrate that it is only God’s grace that saves. We don’t have to justify Rahab’s lie. She was an imperfect person like the rest of us. She was drastically changed, enough to protect these men by risking her own life. But she was not perfect. It is not her lie that is ever commended, but rather her faith to hide the men. I understood this all much better after this chapter.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hoping Against Hope

I really enjoyed this chapter about Sarah! I feel like I learned so much about her. For instance, I have always thought that Sarah’s laughter was extreme doubt in God’s ability to allow her to become pregnant at such an old age. And I wouldn’t blame her! But as John points out, we know that Abraham’s laughter could not have been out of doubt, because Romans 4 so clearly tells us that he was not weak at all in his faith even with their old age—yet he also laughed when he heard the news! So why would Sarah’s laughter be any different? I’ll be honest though, it took me some serious thinking about this to be convinced that she wasn’t doubting, just because that is what I have always believed. But the truth is she was just so excited and overjoyed that God was finally giving her a child! I would laugh too!

As much as I enjoyed hearing about Sarah’s faith and submission, and I was really challenged and encouraged by that, I think I was most challenged from the beginning of the chapter where John talks about Sarah’s struggle with wanting children. John says, “From the time she became Abraham’s wife, Sarah desired one thing above all others, and that was to have children.” She actually perverted this pure, God given desire to have children, when she succumbed to that immoral, unrighteous, and foolish scheme to give Abraham a child through her maidservant. I sometimes fear that I will not be able to have children of my own. It is so common these days for women and men to have various problems that prevent them from being able to conceive. John said of Sarah, “She desperately wanted to be a mother, but she finally concluded that God Himself was restraining her from having children.” I too desperately want to be a mother, but what if God Himself restrains me from having children? Will I respond like Sarah by making this desire my idol and falling into self-pity and foolish schemes? Or will I cling to God and trust Him and know that there is nothing better in this world than knowing my Savior on a personal level and having an intimate relationship with Him? I have Christ; there is nothing better than this! So my prayer is that whether the Lord allows me to give birth to a child or not, whether He keeps me surrounded by loved ones or takes them away, whatever He has for my life, I would delight in Him more than anything else and find my joy truly in Him!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mother of All Living

So we recently started a book club! One of my best friends, Karyn, along with her mom, Candie, and my sister, Denise, and mom, Cathy, have begun to read through John MacArthur's book Twelve Extraordinary Women together. We have begun to email one another with what we are learning from the book so that we are challenged to actually apply what we are reading. So I figured I could post what I'm learning here on our blog as well. Last week, we read about Eve, the mother of all living. Here is what I wrote to the girls. If nothing else, it may encourage you to start your own book club!

I think it is a wonderful thing to meditate on the creation of the marriage institution. As John MacArthur was describing the first wedding ceremony ever, he reminds us of four things (pages 5-6): the husband and wife are fundamentally equal; unity is ideal in every marriage relationship; marriage is designed to be deep and meaningful; the woman has been given a divinely-designed role (mother, comforter, nurturer, and helper). How beautiful this all sounds! But we know that practically speaking, our selfishness and sinful tendencies mar this beauty so that we not only do not fulfill God’s design for marriage in a way that is most pleasing to Him but we often gripe and complain about the plan that he has for us as women!

Not only do we go against the Lord’s plan for us as wives—just like our mother Eve—but we seek to justify our sin in countless ways! On page 17 John goes into how Adam tried to blame Eve for his sin and Eve tried to blame the serpent for her sin. Do our marriages look like this? Do I blame Kyle, my circumstances, hormones, fatigue, or any other outside factor for my complaining spirit, my lack of love for those around me, my preoccupation with my own wants and needs? I confess that I some times do! So my challenge to myself from this week’s reading is to always examine what sin is in my heart when I am frustrated, impatient, whiney, or any other unpleasant attitude that I am inflicting on myself and others! Then I need to accept responsibility for my sins by confessing them to God and to anyone else I have affected. Also, I want to meditate on how God has designed the marriage relationship to be pure and unified. I hope these two things will help me to be a better helper to my husband and servant to our Lord.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Picture Perfect

My sister sent me this picture the other day and I just had to post it!