Mission Statement

The primary purpose of this blog is to help Christian women apply the counsel of God's Word to their daily lives as it relates to their relationships, circumstances, suffering and sin; and to equip them to help others do the same. "For the Word of God is living and active." Hebrews 4:12

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

He Loves Me!

Last week I had the privilege of babysitting for a friend's one year old son. Talk about adorable: pudgy cheeks, squishy thighs, and the cutest little dimpled bottom.  I was captivated by this little guy the entire night. As I watched him closely, I was struck by several thoughts:
  •  We are image bearers of the Living God; we are made to resemble Him. God gives us a tangible picture of  "image bearing"  through our own children.They resemble us! I was enthralled as I watched this little guy who was a little bit mother and father in his looks and mannerisms. And, no doubt, the family resemblance will continue to grow as he grows. It is mind boggling to contemplate that God allows you and me to take an active part in creation. He didn't have to include us, but He knew first hand the joy that would be ours.
  • Family resemblance is another theme that jumped out at me. Children look like their parents. God's children should look like Him. I should have a growing resemblance to our Heavenly Father. In fact, this resemblance is one of they main ways I know His love is upon me.
  •  I studied my little friend as he ate, played, and bathed. I was fascinated by his private conversations and his personal discoveries.  I am reminded of the way God watches and delights over His children.
  • I was constantly watchful of my little friend not wanting him to fall or even stumble. I was aware of the security measures taken by his diligent parents to ensure his safety. I am reminded that God's security measures, the commands of Scripture, speak of his love for me and His desire to protect me.
If I pondered longer, I am sure I would "see" more of God as result of my babysitting time. God's classroom is everywhere...even at the feet of a babe.

  “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." Jeremiah 31:3

Monday, November 7, 2011

What's Your Prison?

Sometimes, life's circumstances can feel like a prison! Perhaps, your "prison" is a bad marriage, a rebellious child, a houseful of little ones, a looming financial concern, a besetting sin, an illness or some other difficulty. The Apostle Paul was no stranger to imprisonment. He wrote to the Ephesians while in prison and it's worth noting his outlook as he faithfully wore his prisoner chains. Paul says, "For this reason, I, Paul the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of the Gentiles" Ephesians 3:1) and "And as a prisoner for the Lord' (Ephesians 4:1). Paul was willing to suffer for Christ and for the advancement of the gospel in the lives of others. Are you? Whatever your "prison" circumstances, do you see yourself as a prisoner of the Lord  for the sake of others? No doubt, Paul's readers would have thought his situation bleak, but Paul saw it differently. He knew God was in the trouble. He trusted in the Soveriengty of God to superintend every detail of his life, even his suffering. We know, by the power and grace of God, Paul learned to be content wherever he was and whatever the condition (Philippians 4:10-13). Sinclair Ferguson writes, "Here Paul, 'the caged bird', sings from a full heart about the grace of God in the gospel. He is a prisoner, yet the gospel has set him inwardly free."  The gospel can set us free too from our personal chains and prison cell; so take heart wherever you are or whatever your condition! You are not a prisoner of your marriage, but of Christ. You are not a prisoner of a  rebellious teen or a house full of toddlers, but of Christ. You are not a prisoner of finances, sickness, or any other calamity, but of Christ. You are not a prison of your sin, but of Christ. Your prison is a platform to preach! Never forget that ultimately you are a prisoner of Jesus Christ and your imprisonment serves to mature you, promote the gospel in others, and ultimately give the Lord Jesus Christ the honor due Him!

Points to Ponder:
1.What struggle, circumstance, or relationship serves as your "personal prison"?
2. How might viewing yourself as a "prisoner of Christ Jesus" change your outlook?
3. With a biblical outlook, how might your "chains" be used to advance the gospel in your situation?
4. A biblical outlook can only be achieved through a right understanding of God, suffering, and the powerful work of the gospel to set you inwardly free. What practical steps can you take to change your outlook from prison to praise to platform?

Monday, October 31, 2011

What" Impossible" are You Trusting God For?

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all the generations, forever and ever. Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21). Consider this commentary from Sinclair Ferguson:

"Our prayers cannot stretch the limits of what God is able to do."

"God can do
  • All we ask
  • All we ask or think of asking
  • More than we can ask or think of asking
  • More abundantly than all we can ask or think
  • Far more abundantly than all we can ask or think"

What "impossible" do you find yourself in today? Do you have a spouse threatening divorce? Is your teenager rebelling? Do you have mounting financial woes?  Are you lonely, depressed, angry or anxious? Whatever your situation, if you are God's child, don't underestimate His love for you and his willingness to act on your behalf.  Paul prayed for the Ephesians, "...that you being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge..." It is often in times of struggle that we best experience the knowledge of God's love. God does not always remove His children from life's difficulties, but He is able and willing to help us through trials and pain to attain maturity in Christ. Keep praying about the "impossible" and watch God work-around, in and through you!

Points to Ponder:
1. Do you acknowledge and rest in God's love for you?
2. What in your life seems "impossible"? Have you given up or given it up to God?
3. Do you believe that God can change your circumstances or change you?
4. If you are struggling with unbelief, confess it to the Lord. Ask God to help you know and experience His love and to place your trust in Him and what He can accomplish in times of trial.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ephesus-The Cultural Climate and the Church

Reading the background of Ephesus, I am struck by the environment in which the Ephesian Church was birthed. I am reminded that the church of Jesus Christ has faced fierce opposition from the very start. God has been saving people to Himself and building His church smack dab in the middle of cultural chaos, today is no different. I am reminded of our Lord's prayer in John 17:

I pray not that you would take them from the world, but that you would keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world (John 17:15-18).

Ephesus was the New York City of it's day. It was a major trade city of the Roman empire: heavily populated, cultured, wealthy and accepting of new ideas; except the Truth.   "The Ephesians were marginalized in a pluralistic culture tolerant of many things but not of the Christian gospel or the church which proclaimed it" (Sinclair Ferguson, Ephesians). Sound familiar?

Ephesus was influenced largely by the magical arts and religious superstitions of the Orient. What we see today in the New Age movement and other "new" religions oftentimes can be traced back to these same roots. There is nothing new under the sun! I am reminded that man is made to worship. Everyone worships something or someone.

While Ephesus boasted of numerous temples to various gods and goddess, it was famed for it's temple and worship of the goddess Diana. She was known as the goddess of "virginity and motherhood".  Her temple was so large and magnificent it ranked among one of the Seven Wonders of the World. An image of the goddess was believed to have fallen from the heavens (Acts 19:35). This idol worship was rooted in the occult and magic.There were shameless and vile practices like prostitution and mutilation in the rituals. It was into this darkness that God brought Paul to shine the light of His Word and work!

Paul uses this letter to encourage the little band of followers in Ephesus (and surrounding areas) called the church. These early believers needed to know who they were and how they were to be set apart for God's glory, we need that message too. The church is central to Paul's message to the Ephesians because it is central to God's plan.  While often weak, small and culturally irrelevant, the church is God's means to grow His children and His family. God is still penetrating dark places with the light of Jesus Christ. And, He is pleased to use the local church to break through the darkness in order to be the light.

Questions to Ponder:
1. What opposition is the church facing today?
2. What "worship" dominates our local culture?
3. Is the local church impacting the culture? Why or why not?
4. What is the place of the local church in reaching the lost and expanding God's glory?
5. Are you committed to the local church and do you see it as the most viable means by which Christians can impact the world for Christ? Why or why not?