Sunday, 28 September 2008

A Different Kind of Woman

We are creatures of a great master Designer, and His ordering of our lives is sure and certain, yet many people live without any visible order or peace or serenity. The way we live ought to manifest the truth of what we believe. A messy life speaks of a messy--an incoherent--faith...
The way you keep your house, the way you organize your time, the care you take in your personal appearance, things you spend your money on all speak loudly about what you believe. "The beauty of Thy peace" shines forth in an ordered life. A disordered life speaks loudly of disorder in the soul.
-Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman

Let's face it. People watch us. They watch us, they look at our lives, and they make note of the various things we do or don't do. When I read these notes on orderliness and self-discipline, I really have to think, What does my life look like? Often, it probably looks like a complete mess. But as Christians, we are called to adorn the Gospel, and make it look attractive. If we go aimlessly through life with no real purpose, we do the exact opposite. But if you look simply how people go about their day, how they handle various situations, it speaks volumes about their character. If I'm having a crazy hectic day, it's usually because there's unrest inside of me, because what's inside comes out.

Later on in Let Me Be a Woman, Elisabeth Elliot says something else that I feel goes hand in hand with this matter:

We are called to be woman. The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I'm a Christian does make me a different kind of woman. For I have accepted God's idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to Him of all that He wants me to be.

I think I won't go any further into this, but I would encourage you young ladies, if you can get a hold of this book, don't miss the opportunity to read it.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Not Feeling

Very often (nearly always, I'm afraid) when I come to church my feelings are uppermost in my mind. This is natural. We are human, we are "selves," and it takes no effort at all to feel. But worship is not feeling. Worship is not an experience. Worship is an act, and it takes discipline. We are to worship in spirit and in truth." Never mind about the feelings. We are to worship in spite of them.
Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman

I can definitely identify with this. Worship really takes discipline because it is so easy to go on feelings. Some mornings I wake up and I don't feel like getting up for my devotions and sleep on. Then right before it's time to go down for breakfast, I rush through a couple of chapters of my Bible and hurry on with my day. Then things start going wrong and I usually know exactly why. I didn't spend the time with God I should have that morning or I did something right off that I don't want to admit was wrong and it goes down from there.

If you're at the top of a hill, a muddy one, perhaps, if you slip, if you catch yourself right away and regain your step, you'll likely be okay. Yes, the way may still be difficult, but you're still on you're two feet. But if you don't catch yourself right away, you might not be able to until you're at the very bottom and a serious mess at that.

I find I do that all the time. I slip and fail to catch myself right away, and my day goes downhill from there. Once I've made a few mistakes I don't want to admit, my conscience is guilty, worship is hard. It's hard to turn to Him, to worship, pray, and meditate on His Word. You see, the decisions we make first thing in the morning affect our whole day. We reap the fruit throughout the day of the first choices we make when we start our day.

Life for me is changing. I'm excited, but I know it won't always be easy. I marvel at God's faithfulness. He has been good to me.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

But It's So Tiny!

Yesterday when I was babysitting my nephew, he did something that showed me how we, as Christians, often treat sin. I was busy doing something when I noticed he was squatted down on the floor, as he usually does when he's looking at something he's fascinated by. So I went over to see what he was looking at and was almost a little alarmed when I saw he was trying to pick up an earwig. The little critter was violently wiggling around in his fingers, trying desperately to sting the curious little boy. Of course, I told him immediately to leave the bug alone, that it was going to hurt him, but he didn't seem to react much. I got him out of the way and swept up the bug, much to his disappointment.

Coming back, I had to wonder why my nephew would attempt to play with an ucky bug. I told him to leave it alone because it was going to hurt him but that didn't cause him to draw back. In his two year old mind, he's probably thinking, "That thing is so small, what's it gonna do to me?" He doesn't know nor does he understand how that's even possible, so he just ignores my caution.

As I was thinking about this throughout my day, I discovered that this is often how I treat sin. I see it, and thinking it's small and harmless, my curiosity gets the better of me and I try to play with it. God warns me and tells me to leave it alone, but I can't see any reason why. Like my nephew, I ignore the caution from Someone who knows how it will work to my hurt, then, I get hurt, of course.

The thing is, we don't always need to understand, we just need to trust God that He knows and always wants what's best for us. He sees the bid picture while we're only aware of what's directly in front of us. We only need to believe Him and be obedient when He says, "No!"

Monday, 15 September 2008

Where's Our Place?

I'm currently reading Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot and I'm looking forward to share some excerpts that really stick out to me. This is one of the first parts that really caught my attention:

Women during the past decade have contrived to place themselves very much in the center of attention. They are talked about, puzzled about, argued about, and legislated about, and it is women who have done most of the talking, arguing, and perhaps the legislating, while it is men, I suppose, who have done more of the puzzling. A torrent of books about women has been pouring from the presses urging women to cast off traditional roles, to refuse the socialization that has for many centuries, they say, controlled and confined them, and to move into what some of them called "human" (as distinct from biological or reproductive) pursuits, which, whether they are interesting and uninteresting are said to be male territory.

My question is why is it that women cannot seem to accept, no, rather appreciate and love, who God has created them to be? We live in an age of feminism, where unless you, women, go to college or university and pursue a respectable career, are considered unsuccessful. It seems that being a housewife and raising children is of little value anymore. Many women get negative reactions when they speak of staying at home and homeschooling their children. They get remarks like "You're never going to make ends meet on a single income," or "How will your children ever learn to socialize?"

In this, I'm not discouraging obtaining a post-secondary education and pursuing a career, if that's what God calls you to do. But I feel we have lost sight of who God has created women to be. He has created us for a very special purpose that many seem to look down on. Women don't like the idea of being a weaker vessel, created under men, but God made us because it was not good for man to be alone. He saw that man needed someone and that someone was a woman. He indeed has a special place and purpose for us.

We don't need to step and try to prove ourselves. God has created me a woman, so that's exactly what I want to be. I don't want to try and make myself somebody I'm not, wearing a mask, living a life that's not my own. Let us not strive after this world's idea of success but rather who God has created us to be.

Please feel free to share any thoughts on this or throw in your two cents. God bless you!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

The Day Our Lives Changed...

September 11, 2001 Bombing of the World Trade Center

The day began as many days,
With skies so clear and blue…
People carried out their tasks
Without a thought of you.

But suddenly, the earth stood still,
As terror filled the skies…
Life, as we had come to know
was changed before our eyes.

Oh God, you heard the many cries
That rang across our land…
Even those who seldom pray
Came forth with praying hands.

Others who have followed you
Were lost for ample words…
And no one was prepared for it;
This horror we observed.

And as the days and weeks go by
We search to find our way…
To help our children understand
What happened on that day.

Their future lies uncertain now,
As reality sets in…
Their innocence and carefree ways
Now drifting far from them.

The young adults, who, yesterday,
Had lofty plans ahead…
now suddenly may find themselves
involved in war instead.

Lord, help us rise above our grief
And lead us close to You…
As parents, we all need to know
What You would have us do.

Help prepare our "children" now,
As soldiers, brave and tall...
Rise them up, beneath Your wings,
That none may slip and fall.

Written by Jill Lemming

I found this poem awhile ago and I found it fitting to post today, now seven years after the incident. To me, it's a very sobering reminder how uncertain this life is. But even though the world around us is crumbling, Jesus is a sure rock and we can cling to His promises. This is also a reminder that Jesus is coming back soon.

Please take some time today to pray that God would comfort the families and friends who lost loved ones that day. Pray also for the rescue workers who sacrificed so much that day and the weeks to follow, that God would be with them and draw nearer to them in their grief.

Monday, 8 September 2008

It's Time to Pray

I must start by saying that I had a really good weekend and that God really blessed me. I had lots of time alone to spend time in His Word, in prayer, and I had time to start on the stack of books I all want to read.

Saturday morning, in my dosing state, I had a really strange dream. I won't share many of the details just because it involves other people, but I would like to share what God showed me, or rather, is showing me through it. In my dream, I received some news about a few individuals that really shocked me. I didn't think about it as I woke up but I remembered it when I sat down for breakfast all alone. First of all, I found it really strange to have a dream like this now. There was a time where I spent a lot of time in prayer for these individuals but I haven't seen either of them in a long time. Then I thought, well, maybe I should pray for them. But I hadn't seen these people in so long, I hardly felt like I had any responsibility to pray for them. How could I effectively pray for someone I haven't seen in so long? But I did have a rough idea where they are in their lives right now, and that alone told me that they could probably use a lot of prayer. And then it was like God was saying, "Margaret, it's time to pray again."

I was later reminded of the story Francois Carr shared at our church twice now, how one night the Spirit laid it on his heart to pray for a lady. He didn't know why he was supposed to pray for her but he was obedient to the Spirit's prompting. I may never know why God wants me to pray and that's okay, I just have to be obedient. I mean, have you ever had a perfect week? What if these people are going through some fires right now?

Our prayers do go farther than the ceiling. We were reminded about this just this weekend. Last Saturday at our prayer meeting, we prayed for Cuba as hurricane Gustav was sweeping through there at that very time. It had just come through Haiti where a large number of people lost their lives, but when it came through Cuba, not a single person lost their life as a result. Prayer really does something.

It's time to pray!

Monday, 1 September 2008

My Week...

I do sincerely apologize for my lack of posting lately. I had most of my week off last week, in which I spent most of reading. Yesterday, my friend Justine and I were baptized at our church. We were blessed to have several friends visiting! It was an amazing day!

Last week, God showed me His love in a very humbling way. I won't go into detail with my story, but God showed me how much He wants us to come to Him when we're hurting...that when He asks "What's wrong?" that we just come into His arms and pour out our heart to Him and allow Him to take our hurt and pain. We don't need to carry these burdens around all the time. God does not want us to carry these burdens around but cast it all on Him and find release from our bondage.

Right now, I'm being really blessed reading through Ecclesiastes and I hope to study it in more depth and share what I learn with you all. Until then, God be with you!