Monday, July 16, 2007

Working and Worshiping

I was very challenged by this chapter on Martha and Mary. The undeniable fact is—I am a Martha. I have heard people say this so many times as an excuse for why they are not good at ministering to people’s hearts and why they are lacking in passion for the Lord and I do not say this to offer such an excuse. I mean it only in that I find it very easy to serve people and be hospitable to them…so much so that I forget the good part…worshiping at the feet of my Savior and really having a passion in my service and caring deeply for others souls. I was both encouraged and convicted by this chapter. I was encouraged because John took the opportunity to highly esteem Martha’s heart for service. It is a good thing to be hospitable…it is a gift that the Lord has given to some. Her desire to serve the Lord and her guests was completely pure and wonderful…at first. But she allowed her service to become self-focused rather than others focused. Her desire should have been to serve others so that they could fully enjoy and take in the presence of their Lord. She should have delighted in being able to serve others in this way. But another thing that she should have done is left everything that could be left till later so that she could also enjoy the fellowship with Christ! The dishes can wait, but what a unique opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus! That is where I struggle most. I confess I do sometimes struggle with having bitterness when I serve…like Martha did with Mary. (She even accused the Lord of not caring that Mary wasn’t helping her! Martha Peace pointed out in our conference on Saturday that she was actually trying to manipulate the Lord!) But even more than that I struggle in delighting to do dishes rather than delighting in having sweet fellowship with the body of Christ. My gracious husband reminded me of this just the other day when we had our Bible Study over for dinner and I started to clean up while they were still there. I was joyful in my cleaning and my heart to do it was pure, but I was missing out on something so much better. He said to me, “The dishes can wait till later. Come join everyone out here!” Oh how my heart misses out on so much because of my tendency to be task focused rather than others focused. This is something that the Lord has been teaching me for several months now and I have been sharing with the girls from my Bible Study. It is something Kyle is very good at and I want to learn from him! I want to continue to be hospitable, but for the purpose of being focused on others and knowing when being focused on them actually means letting things get messy and instead ministering to their hearts!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

For Kim Duran Duran

I decided to post all my previous comments about the book Twelve Extraordinary Women because Kim Dandurand acutally said they encouraged her! Praise God! And thank you for your encouragement my faithful reader:) I can't wait till you get your blog up and running!

Thought I could also take a moment to post some pictures of my two favorite children in the world too:)

Shelby is such a big girl!

She even drives now!

And Jason...well, he loves to swim naked:)

Here is his very funny face.

Finding the Water of Life

I did like this chapter on the Samaritan woman, but felt it was a little more intellectual rather than applicational than some of the other chapters. I was surprised to learn how the woman was already drawn to the Lord before she even met Him. John talks about how she didn’t lie when she said she had no husband, but rather seemed ashamed of her sin. Jesus actually commended her for speaking truthfully! I was struck by his compassion over her even though she was living such a sinful lifestyle. And her response was exactly what we would hope to see in anyone we witness to! Of course Jesus knew her heart—something we cannot do when we interact with people. But we should have the hope that God can save anyone just like that if it is His desire to do so. I thought it was really encouraging to see her response and to remember how compassionate God is to sinners…to us!

The Faithful Witness

I am very curious why John chose to write about Anna rather than one of the many other women in the Bible who seem to have more relevance. What about Esther or Elizabeth? Yet John calls Anna the most faithful of all these women because she prayed and fasted for over 60 years faithfully. I guess that does make her quite extraordinary doesn’t it?? Like Karyn and Denise, I was very convicted about my prayer life. I have gone through good times of prayer and dry times of prayer throughout my life…and I am currently in a very dry time! My prayer life can barely even be characterized as weak right now as I find it difficult to devote even five minutes in the morning in reverent prayer. I justify it by saying that I will pray throughout the day…which I sometimes do, but not usually. The truth is, I must do both! I must begin my day with a time devoted to the Lord in prayer…giving only Him my attention at that time. Then I must pray without ceasing all day long. Please pray for me in this and hold me accountable. I desire to be intimate with the Lord and I cannot do this if I am not committed to prayer.

A Portrait of Feminine Grace

I finished reading the chapter on Hannah this afternoon and I was thoroughly blessed by it! I had no idea what an amazing woman Hannah was. I loved how John went into the love she had for her husband, for heaven, and for her children. I loved that her desire to have kids was purely to glorify God and that was proven in her request to God and her fulfillment of her vow to Him. I loved so many things about her and pray to God that I can be a wife and mother like her! One thing I was especially encouraged by was the fact that John says she was so pure when everything around her was so wicked (or something like that). He was saying that her faith in God and devotion to Him was especially refreshing because there were very few people like that during her time. How amazing! I find myself so dependent on my circumstances and my church and fellowship and what I'm learning...but she was faithful despite her unfavorable circumstances! Not to mention she desperately wanted to have children but was unable to and was taunted by her husband's other wife! What an amazing example of faithfulness she was. I pray to God that I would have such faith.

Loyalty and Love

One thing I really appreciated about this chapter on Ruth is that it gave me a new look at Ruth's love and loyalty to God and not just to Naomi. I have always read this story and thought that when she says, "Your people shall be my people; and your God, my God," that it was showing her loyalty to Naomi and not necessarily to God. That if Naomi had served a false God, she still would have followed her and made this false God her God. But John explains it so well that this was an act of faith for Ruth and she was a believer...and that it must have been Naomi's powerful testimony that the Lord used to save her! How amazing is that? Your testimony can be used by God to save your daughter-in-law...or any family member. I found this so encouraging as we have many unsaved family members and challenged me to really have faith that God can save them and that I need to be aware of my testimony at all times.