Join me in prayer

Tomorrow begins the International Day of Pray for the Persecuted Church. If you click on the image above you’ll find yourself at the IDOP website for 2008. There are great resources there for you and your kids (younger and older kids) to focus yourselves on praying tomorrow.
Here’s an excerpt from the IDOP’s theme devotional by Elizabeth Kendal:

If we are to be a holy nation (1 Peter 1:13 – 2:12), separated from all that is worldly and devoted wholly to God, then we must do as the bride is instructed to do: ‘Forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him’ (Psalm 45:10,11 ESV). Yet we cling to the world, and our beauty is marred by the dross of worldliness, idolatry and unfaithfulness. Those who think this is not the case are deceiving themselves (1 John 1:8). We find it so hard to forsake the world, but God does not leave us to struggle in weakness. No, the gracious and faithful master craftsman is working on us all the time, as individuals and as a Church (local and global). Nowhere is this more evident than in the midst of persecution and suffering.

And so we pray: not only for religious liberty and for justice, deliverance and peace for the persecuted Church, but also for insight into what God is doing in the life of his people so that we can ‘get on board’ and actively participate in, rather than proudly resist, this wonderful sanctification.

God is purging idolatry, forging unity and removing those sources of worldly strength upon which we so adulterously depend. He is increasing our love and our faith. We must never despair over the loss of political power or influence, for the hope of the Church was never to be found there (Zechariah 4:6). An abundance of earthly lights (light pollution) causes the stars in the heavens to appear dim. It usually takes a power blackout or a trip into the wilderness for the glory of the heavens to be revealed. The same is true concerning advocacy for religious liberty and the persecuted church. An abundance of earthly powers may cause us to forget or neglect the greater power and love that is in heaven. A political-power blackout or a trip to the political wilderness may be God’s gracious way of drawing our attention to him and reminding us of where the true power lies. Prayer is not a lesser form of advocacy, it is the greatest. So let us pray!

Redeeming the time,

Even if some do not: Study #4

Well it’s been way too long between study #3 and this study, #4, to call this a blog post series. Much has been on my heart, but I continue to want to come back to this study. The living out of it is my primary challenge and calling, yet I do enjoy when I get to write down some of what the Lord is teaching me through my failings and victories.

I was just wanting to come in here and do a sit down study on quietness and submission as a continuation of the #3 study about a sojourning wife’s adorning, but the need to finish painting my bathroom took priority. So instead, I turned to one of my favorite Bible teachers, Jon Courson, at the Searchlight website and just outta curiosity looked to see if he had a teaching there on 1 Peter 3:1-6. And he did! So I loaded it up (it’s an old one from 1995 but very applicable now as God’s word always is) and listened while I painted. Boy was I blessed, challenged, convicted and encouraged!

Quickly, a couple things he mentions in the teaching concerning quietness and submission and adorning (this will be study #4 from me, just sharing what really spoke to me from this teaching), and then I’d encourage you to go listen to the full teaching yourself, and if you have the right programs and such on your computer and the time I’d encourage you to watch the video version of it. Here are the link to the teaching and a couple a quick points he made:

  1. The Link: 1 Peter 3:1-6 by Jon Courson from 5-15-96
  2. Submission:

    Jon Courson shares that the example from which we can more fully understand what this submission looks like in a wife’s life as it relates to her husband is
    Sarah, according what the Spirit wrote through Peter. He shares the
    example from the Old Testament where Sarah called Abraham “lord” as Peter
    refers to in 1 Peter 3. It’s in Genesis 18 where Sarah laughs at the
    prophecy from the three “men” who are visiting with Abraham while she’s eaves dropping in the tent about her conceiving and bearing a son. In verse 12, after getting busted about laughing she says, “After I have grown old, shall I
    have pleasure, my lord being old also?” Pastor Jon shares how in this example a woman can learn that just because she may think that what her husband wants to do, or the direction he’s taking is ridiculous, even laughable, she can honor her husband, and bring blessing to her family through reverencing
    him as the “lord” of her home.

  3. Adorning:

The word in this text is cosmos and it means to be ordered. Like the
universe, the cosmos, are in order. The order of a “sojourning wife’s”
(that’s my term not pastor Jon’s) life is to primarily be her inner person not
her outer appearance. Pastor Jon shares that Peter isn’t saying in this
passage that a woman shouldn’t fix her hair or do her makeup or wear clothes,
he’s saying that a woman shouldn’t make those things her “cosmos”, her
world. Her world should not revolve around what she’s wearing or how she’s
looking. He goes on to say, “The priority of a woman, according to
the Bible…very simple, the priority of her life, is to be standing by her man, and to be focusing on her inner person
.”

  1. Quietness:

    Wives, here’s what your to work on. Not your…spring wardrobe…it should be not high on the list… God says… here is what you are to work on. The fashionable woman in the eyes of the Lord, is cultivating a meek and a quiet spirit. That’s what’s in style for eternity. The older I get the more I don’t listen to people who talk a lot. I value the counsel, I listen carefully to people who are not always talking endlessly and have opinions about everyone and everything. Women. Your husbands won’t tell you this. But I will. Here’s how to weary your man. Chatter. Talk incessantly. Share your opinions and your thoughts and your ideas and the latest gossip and the tidbits and why your mad at this and why you don’t agree with that and what this person’s doing and what that neighbor said and just keep on chattering. You’ll drive him crazy! Now God says gals that you are to be cultivating diligently a meek and a quiet spirit. You may say, ‘That’s not the way I am!’ And I will say, ‘God didn’t save you to keep you the way that you are. He saved you to remake you into the image of His Son. To make you a godly woman!” (from Jon
    Courson’s teaching)

Even if some do not: Study #3

(Image from Lori at All You Have to Give)

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting
the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be
the
hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the
ornament of
a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great
price.For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in
God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands… 1 Peter
3:3-5 (KJV)

In part ONE of this study I really saw how the plan for a woman to live out her faith in Christ as a wife, is really no different than it is for any other born-again one. We’re all to be living our lives here as sojourners and pilgrims, characterized by:

  • fixing our eyes on our living hope of eternal life not on this world and it’s troubles
  • living as obedient children not conforming to our old fleshly habits but being holy in our conduct
  • abstaining from fleshly lusts which war against our souls
  • being submissive to earthly authorities, doing good without fear
  • having pure conduct around unbelievers (Gentiles)

In part TWO what really stuck out to me was that God uses wives (and other people too, but He DOES USE WIVES) to win husbands the same way He uses the rest of His sojourners and pilgrims to win unbelievers and earthly authorities- BY CONDUCTING OUR LIVES IN SUCH A WAY AS TO EXCITE REVERENCE! And that “winning” is not just for unbelieving husbands but for believing ones too since, as Jesus said, if a brother listens to us when we talk with them about their sin we gain them.

I realized that no matter if a husband is a believer or not, God may very well use that man’s believing wife to bring him to Christ AND to grow him up in Christ, not through nagging or teaching him, but through living that “exciting reverence” life around him.

So that brings me to today’s part THREE of this study:

A Sojourning Wife’s Adornment

A sojourning wife is a very important description. See, the instructions to wives in the Bible are not just arbitrary or demeaning assignments from God because we’re women. Rather being a woman or wife, is just one area of life where we live out our Christianity. God’s word emphasizes that being a wife does not make us exempt from living out our lives here as strangers and pilgrim’s by faith, not by sight, in holiness, not in fulfilling our every desire, etc. Just because our husbands are our loves, our closest buds, our knights-in-shining-armor (or even if they’re modern-day Nabal’s) doesn’t leave room for us to slack off on living this sojourning life as one who has been born again around them.

Just as a sojourning wife is to live a life which excites reverence while she willing submits to her own husband, doing good in her day to day, a sojourning wife is also to adorn herself differently than a carnal wife.

I found the original meaning of the word adorning in these verses very interesting.

Adorning means: an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
ornament, decoration, adornment.

So adorning means cosmetics and clothes and such (ornament, decoration…), but it also means a harmonious arrangement or order. PERFECT! Why am I so surprised!? Of course God’s word is perfect! This is why I get so jazzed about looking up the original language, cause it just is perfect!

Okay, let me explain my excitement there. See, the description from Peter in this passage about how a wife is not to be merely concerned with her outward appearance but with being meek and quiet and submissive to her husband in regards to how she “adorns” herself basically spells out the definition of adorning in the Greek. There is to be regard to our ornament or decoration, but not MERELY with that. For that’s only part of the definition of adorning. Overshadowing our ornament and decoration is to be what’s hidden: the harmonious arrangement of meekness and quietness in the God-designed order of submission to one’s own husband.

Yes, we are to “paint the barn” so to speak (maintain our outward appearance) and cover the windows (put on modest clothes) but what truly decorates us from God’s perspective is what isn’t seen with eyes.

As I read through these two verses in 1 Peter 3:3-4 three characteristics of our adornment as sojourning wives stand out to me:

  1. meekness
  2. quietness
  3. submission

Meekness

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3

As I’ve studied out what meekness means and as I’ve listened to wise teachers teach on this subject I really hear the Spirit saying, “It’s confidence Sheila. Not self-confidence, or haughtiness but just the opposite- true confidence. It’s knowing God is on the throne and not having to bring about your own justice. It’s being calm, gentle and mild while God deals swiftly and perfectly with any injustice.”

In fact Crosswalk.com has this definition:

Praus- mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness. Meekness
toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us
as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.
In the OT, the
meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend
them against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is
permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect,
and that He will deliver His elect in His time.

Now ladies our husband’s DO look at our outward appearance, they DO see how we care for our “barns” and windows 🙂 So we must not neglect to care for our appearance as though that’s what God is saying here. But even if our outward appearance isn’t to our own or our husband’s or the latest-trend’s satisfaction, we are not to be consumed or burdened by that care. We are to be concerned with what others “see” without their eyes and what God always see whether others notice or not. And that is the hidden person of our hearts.

There is a wonderful feeling of peace and acceptance that comes with being around a truly meek woman. She’s no doormat. She’s not sheepish or prudish, rather she’s about the business of doing good and she’s so concerned with you that you barely even notice how she’s done her hair or what she’s wearing. She doesn’t draw your attention to her, she draws your attention to Christ as she displays a quiet confidence in His sovereignty over her life.

When I’ve been around these kinds of women I feel I’m in the safest place in the world! They just emit confidence in God. They aren’t worried about every little thing, nor are they looking to be sure their lipstick or hair hasn’t been disturbed. They are rather those who you’ll hear giving thanks for things that are easy to miss in the stresses of life and the consumption with self that we can all easily slip into. And when you get to know them, they don’t live lives free from turmoil either, on the contrary, many are dealing with terrible trials and some with daily drudgery, but either way they are confident in God’s love and sovereignty.

Well, this is turning out to be a longer post than I anticipated so I’ll just stop there. Next time I’ll take up quietness and submission.

As you go your way today though, seek the Lord on these things. I know I am going to. Studying these things out makes me long for more of Him to be lived out and seen in me!

Oh King Jesus, hear me now! I want to walk in that confidence, that meekness that is only found in You daily. I know You live in me and I know I’ve fed the flesh and not walked in the Spirit many, many, many times when it comes to this. I’ve been concerned with my outward appearance but not consciously concerned with displaying confidence in Your sovereignty. Rule me Lord! Search me and know me. Try me! See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way that is everlasting!

What boys do while moms on phone errands



My boys don’t generally play with “real” toys! You know all the stuff that lines the toy section at Wal-Mart. Not that they aren’t intrigued with those things…they do have “real” toys (not a lot per my preference) to play with, but 99% of the time they can be caught playing with broken gadgets my husband gives them- parts from his bike, an old, broken keyboard, empty medicine containers, etc.
So if you’re family, and you read this, think “What do I have that’s broken? Maybe an old blender or microwave?” when you’re thinking about Christmas and birthdays for the boys! 🙂

Even if some do not: Study #2

“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that
even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the
conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by
fear.” 1 Peter3:1-2

In part 1 I found that:
  • Wives are to, “likewise” be submissive to their own husbands.
  • Like the rest of God’s beloved (1 Peter 2:11).
  • Like a sojourner and a pilgrim (1 Peter 2:11)
  • Like when one is among the Gentiles (unbelievers) having honorable conduct (1 Peter 2:11-12)
  • Like all these as they submit (willfully as a free man and willing slave of God 1 Peter 2:16) to “every ordinance of man” (man’s laws/government 1 Peter 2:13-17)
  • And like all these as they submit to bosses (masters 1 Peter 2:18-20)).
  • Most of all, like Christ submitted to earthly government, though He didn’t sin and suffered willingly to bear our sins that we might know God’s forgiveness.
  • Being a wife doesn’t negate the “normal” Christian life (not so normal it seems these days but it is to be the norm of the Christian life) and character of being a sojourner and pilgrim on this earth, as one who is free, but a willing slave of God, submitting to earthly authority.
  • Wifehood doesn’t cancel out sojourning and pilgriming as a citizen of a kingdom of God living on this earth.
  • Our husbands aren’t less than government and bosses. (Because of love they really should be honored even more.)

It’s not about being a wife (as though she
is less than her husband),
it’s about being a Christian who
is not greater than Christ who submitted willfully to human
authority
.

    It’s not about being a woman (as though
    she is less than a man),
    it’s about being a sojourner and
    pilgrim who is not greater than the KING of the kingdom she is now a citizen
    of.

    For Part 2 I want to look at why. Why does God’s word say a wife is to submit to her own husband just as any other member of His kingdom submits to governmental rulers and bosses, and as the KING of His kingdom submitted to earthly authorities? Why? I believe because God wants to win husbands and the person He may use to do that is a wife!

    The examples in 1 Peter 2:11-12 (sojourners/pilgrims before unbelievers), and 1 Peter 2:13-17 (towards government), and 1 Peter 2:21-25 (as Christ before government and earthly authorities) all show a pattern, not just of doing whatever the government or boss says (though there is that pattern saving only what violates one’s conscience before God or stops the spreading/speaking/teaching of the Gospel), but also living a life of doing good to, and among, those entities that God might be glorified.

    It is no different for a wife- it is what she does, not just what she doesn’t do or what she says…it’s the way she lives, the “conversation” (KJV) of her life which glorifies God before her husband and may win him, whether he obeys God or not.

    I want to say something about “winning” a husband too. A wife may “win” her believing husband just as much as she “wins” an unbelieving one by her conduct.

    The “even if some do not” statement in 1 Peter 3:1 implies this is something a wife is to do whether her husband obeys or disobeys God’s word. A wife of an unbelieving husband may win him to placing his faith in Christ (salvation) by her conduct as a sojourner and pilgrim on this earth as she obstains from fleshly lusts and submits to her husband willingly as a free woman yet God’s willing slave. And a wife of a believing husband may win him to give all diligence to add to his saving faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverence, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7).

    It’s just as the Spirit says in James 5:19-20 (I like the way the KJV puts it here):

    Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from
    death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

    I always think of “convert” as meaning “get saved.” But James here is talking to the brethren… Christians. He’s saying, if any Christian becomes one who does not obey God’s Word, another Christian may convert him…win him back to obedience to God and save that Christian from suffering death in their soul (this is not damnation to hell but rather experiencing death in their mind and emotions), and that kind of converting (or winning) covers a multitude of sins.

    The word won in this passage in 1 Peter 3 is the Greek word kerdaino and it means to gain.

    Jesus said:

    Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault
    between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your
    brother
    .” (Matthew 18:15)

    A wife may win or gain not only her unbelieving husband over to faith in Christ but she may also win or gain her believing husband to walking more and more by faith in Christ.

    In both cases she does it not just by what she says but by what her LIFE says! Does her life say, “Sojourner. Pilgrim. Not here to fulfill my own desires. Not here to make myself happy. Not here to make you like me. Here to glorify God on the earth. Here to do you good. Here to show you the same grace and unearned respect Christ showed me.”?

    For those of you who enjoy digging a little deeper, here are the Greek meanings of some of the key words from this study:

    • won; Greek (2770) kerdaino– to gain
    • sojourner; Greek (3941) paroikos– a stranger, a foreigner, one who lives in a place without the right of citizenship

    (THINK ABOUT THAT IN LIGHT OF BEING A WIFE IN THIS PASSAGE- a wife who lives in her home without right of citizenship, like a stranger.)

    • pilgrim; Greek (3927) parepidemos– one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside there by the side of the natives, a stranger.
    • submissive; Greek (5293) hupotasso– to arrange under, to subject one’s self, to yield to one’s admonition or advice… non-military use: a voluntary attitude of giving in or cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.
    • conduct; Greek, anastrophe– manner of life, conduct, behavior, deportment. (interesting word origin: anastrepho- to turn upside down, overturn, to turn back, to turn hither and tither, to turn one’s self about, sojourn dwell in a place.

    (It’s as though the LORD is saying, “have a ‘turned around’ sojourner conduct.” Scriptures that use this root word for conduct are 2 Cor. 1:12, Eph. 2:3, 1 Tim. 3:15, Heb 13:18)

    • chaste; Greek (53) hagnos– exciting reverence, venerable, sacred, pure from carnality, modest, pure from every fault, immaculate, clean. Same word as (40) hagios which means: most holy thing, a saint.

    (Thanks to the Bible study tools at Crosswalk.com for the above Greek references)

    Just for further understanding I also looked up venerable and exciting in the dictionary online (Dictionary.com):

    • venerable- commanding respect because of great age or impressive dignity…noble character
    • exciting- producing excitement, stirring.
    • reverence- attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.

    Our conduct as wives is to be no less than a sojourner and pilgrim- a bondservant of God. It is to be as though we were before an unbeliever, an earthly ruler or a boss. It, as with other bondservants of God, is to be a conduct which excites reverence, fearing God not man.

    Christ is our example of what it means to excite reverence. It doesn’t mean be a snob or “holier than thou.” It means know you’re a child of God. Know He’s given you all things in Christ and willingly lay all that aside to show grace and mercy to others even if they treat you harshly for it. It also means doing what’s right and showing mercy to those who don’t while not doing what they do. It means speaking the truth in love. It means not acting in the sinful ways you see others act but reaching out to them with the Gospel while doing good towards them.

    Do I live out my wifehood like a sojourner and a
    pilgrim?

    Do I give my husband as much (or more) honor and willing
    submission as I would a governmental leader or boss?

    Does my life around my husband excite
    reverence?

    I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts!

    Prayerfully

    Sheila

    Even if some do not: Study #1

    I have been reading and re-reading 1 Peter 3 and actually the entire book of 1 Peter over and over again just to get a feel for the message the Spirit was relaying to us through Peter. A couple of key themes stand out to me: Holiness. Submission. Suffering.

    It strikes me mostly that this entire letter seems to be saying (in a nut shell), “Do what’s right. Don’t act like the rest of the world. Let those in authority have the honor their positions were created for. Willingly come under them. And yet be willing to suffer at their hands even if you’re only doing what’s right before God and they still are against you.”

    In this study I want to focus on what I’M to be doing, what I get to do by the grace of God as His child whether those in authority over me- government, bosses, husbands or otherwise- are godly and kind or not.

    In the past when I’ve read 1 Peter 3 I’ve focused on what I must do to win my husband. There’s nothing wrong with desiring to win my husband, but this time, the Lord is really teaching me to desire to obey Him, “…as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance…” (1 Peter 1:14) whether my husband is won or not.

    Some of you kind commenters said you felt this study could apply to more than just your relationship with your husband, and I think you’re right on! Though we should care and pray for those in our lives, our obedience to God should not depend on those in our lives, yet it’s so easy to become consumed with that “mountain“, seeing it as an obstacle, that we waste time circling it rather than continuing to do as 2 Peter 1:5-11 tells us to and “give all diligence” to add to our faith the character of Christ (knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love…).

    So although in this study I’ll be applying what the Lord is teaching me to what I get to do in obedience to God even if my husband does not, feel free to comment and apply the studies to the various people in your lives, maybe those “even if some do not” people that you might tend to “circle” like a mountainous obstacle.

    As I read through 1 Peter and was struck by those key themes this week, and then re-read chapter 3 as it applies to the wife, this is what I came up with:

    • Wives, likewise. Likewise. The Holman Christian Standard Bible puts it this way, “Wives, in the same way…” In the same way as whom? Chapter 2 answers that question beginning in verse 11. I like how the Amplified Bible puts it:

    “Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges (the evil desires, the passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul.

    Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers, [yet] they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God in the day of inspection when God shall look upon you wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock].

    Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, Or to governors as sent by him to bring vengeance (punishment, justice) to those who do wrong and to encourage those who do good service.

    For it is God’s will and intention that by doing right [your good and honest lives] should silence (muzzle, gag) the ignorant charges and ill-informed criticisms of foolish persons. [Live] as free people, [yet] without employing your freedom as a pretext for wickedness; but [live at all times] as servants of God.

    Show respect for all men [treat them honorably]. Love the brotherhood (the Christian fraternity of which Christ is the Head). Reverence God. Honor the emperor.

    [You who are] household servants, be submissive to your masters with all [proper] respect, not only to those who are kind and considerate and reasonable, but also to those who are surly (overbearing, unjust, and crooked). For one is regarded favorably (is approved, acceptable, and thankworthy) if, as in the sight of God, he endures the pain of unjust suffering.

    [After all] what kind of glory [is there in it] if, when you do wrong and are punished for it, you take it patiently? But if you bear patiently with suffering [which results] when you do right and that is undeserved, it is acceptable and pleasing to God.

    For even to this were you called [it is inseparable from your vocation]. For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you [His personal] example, so that you should follow in His footsteps. He was guilty of no sin, neither was deceit (guile) ever found on His lips. When He was reviled and insulted, He did not revile or offer insult in return; [when] He was abused and suffered, He made no threats [of vengeance]; but he trusted [Himself and everything] to Him Who judges fairly. He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian the Bishop) of your souls.”

    • The “in the same way” wives are to submit to their own husbands is in reference to the way ALL CHRISTIANS, as sojourners, those who abstain from the passions of our “lower nature”, submit to government, masters (or in today’s lingo, bosses), and in the same way CHRIST submitted to human rulers though He committed no sin (and we have) and suffered for us. This is the way we as wives are to willingly submit ourselves to our husbands according to God’s word. We’re not to treat our husbands as though their say matters not at all or as though they were in no more position of authority than we are. According to this we are to WILLINGLY submit to our husbands just as any Christian who is abstaining from fleshly lusts, and living in this world as though it is not her home, submits to human government or a boss as Christ did. So what did Christ do?
    • He was guilty of no sin, neither was deceit (guile) ever found on His lips. When He was reviled and insulted, He did not revile or offer insult in return; [when] He was abused and suffered, He made no threats [of vengeance]; but he trusted [Himself and everything] to Him Who judges fairly. He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” (vs.22-24 from the Amplified)
    • This blows me away!!! That is the example Christ gave us, not just to look at in awe and say, “Wow! Amazing grace, thank you Jesus for saving a wretch like me...” BUT, “…that we should follow in His footsteps.” WHAT?!! We are to follow in those footsteps!? YES!! The impossible is made possible by God. We can actually walk in the footsteps of Christ so that some person (our husbands, or others) might be able to look at us and say, “Wow! Amazing grace! Thank you Jesus for saving a wretch like me…” God is doing the impossible through us who have sinned, He is letting us be gracious and merciful, even suffer, because of the sins of others so that they might see Jesus in us and see that life changing forgiveness that is only found in Christ.
    • I want to think of my husband as my knight in shining armor, the love who sweeps me off my feet and the friend in whom I can trust and let my guard down with, and though I believe it is possible to have that kind of romantic relationship and intimate friendship with a husband, we as wives cannot forget that our husbands are also responsible to God as leaders– men in positions of authority. God created it that way…they are the head of the home. Sometimes that romance and intimate friendship has to take a back seat to submitting to headship. After all, we don’t always agree with our husbands on everything, and if you agree, then you don’t have to willingly submit yourself…you just agree. Submission to a husband’s headship comes in when you don’t agree. Usually those times don’t bring to mind much romance or intimate best-friendship, rather they require a decision of the mind to trust God as Christ did, “committing Himself to Him who judges justly,” and let the decision of the head of the house be respected and submitted to.
    • This has nothing to do with me being a woman. It has to do with me being a Christian. The entire letter from Peter is an appeal to those who have been, “…born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…” to, “abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul.” In fact, as the NKJV puts it, the Spirit says through Peter, “Beloved, I bet you as sojourners and pilgrims…” He BEGS US! There is an earnest pleading of love in this letter for Christians, whether as wives or slaves or just citizens of a location, to be different from the world, and to have our eyes fixed on heaven, not intent on being gratified by our relationships with the government or bosses or even husbands here.
    • Just as Christ has done, we can and get to do. He set our example to walk in and He lives in us to do the walking. We are in Him and He in us therefore we get to fix our eyes on heaven and on the confidence that God will judge our situations justly and let our husbands and governmental leaders and those “Gentiles” (unbelievers) who watch us be honored by us while we do what is right…even if we suffer under them.

    What are your thoughts on this first study?

    Even if _______ do/does not (you fill in the blank), will you, “…abstain from fleshly lust which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among (your husband) the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”? (Your husband added by me)

    Prayerfully

    Sheila

    Up all night with abdominal pain…hmmm

    Okay, so here i sit at my computer at 3:37 am Arizona time. I take the time to post thought out posts of what comes to my heart, that’d be my meditations. But right now it’s confession time.

    I’m laying in bed, sleeping nicely when my black lab Bailey comes to let me know she needs out to potty. I irritatingly push her off the bed and roll over on my back only to feel a sharp pain shoot up my abdomen on the left side. I think, gas, who knows…lay there for a minute expecting it to pass and fall back to sleep. No doin! After a half hour of trying to get a comfortable position and ignore the increasing pain in my side I decide to get up. I let the dog out and then what? I plop on the couch and say, “Ok Father, you’ve got me up at 2:30 am… with gas?!!!! What’s going on!? I’m listening.” I sit there for a bit and hear nothing. So I mosey on in to the computer room and log on to my homepage. There I read a great devotional from Jon Courson about how when we pray and things don’t happen like we think they should or would to trust that God is not withholding any good thing from us who love Him. If it seems to be witholdin’ it’s because it aint no good! I thought, “True Lord. If you don’t tell me why I’m up right now and what’s going on, I’ll trust You.”

    Then I proceeded to read through all the blogs with new posts on my bloglines which i rarely have the time to do in daylight hours. I truly was encouraged and blessed by the souls out there who seek the Lord and write about it. I left some comments, finished the long list of blogs and now here I am…writing about what I’m doing at 3:45 am.

    I think about how one of my favorite Bible teachers said in a sermon I listened to once that when we wake up in the night not to assume that it’s the pizza or the dog or whatever, but to listen for God’s voice. I need to do that right now! So I’m off to say like Samuel, “Here I am Lord.”

    Confession- I’ve been listening to my stomach, my dog, my homepage devo, my fellow bloggers…everything but the Lord!

    Cloud of Witnesses: Amy Carmichael

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    Truly, before I began blogging, I had never heard of Amy Carmichael. After reading posts from women bloggers who referred to her writings and life, my interest was sparked. I began looking for a book by her and asked around online. And then sweet Gina at Chats With An “Old Lady” sent me one! Edges of His Ways- Daily Devotional Notes by Amy Charmichael, is the book she sent me…and it has touched my heart every day as I read it. (Here’s a link to a bio on Amy Charmichael)

    I wanted to share this excerpt from the July 23rd entry:

    Matt.20:23: Ye shall indeed drink of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.
    These words have been the food on which I have fed during the last three days. Some of the Lord’s followers have the greatest of all surprises of joy. They are like James, who with one stroke of the sword was with the Lord. Others, like John, have set before them the long road of life. To these two for whom such contrasting experiences were appointed, this word was spoken. Both drank of the cup; both were baptized with the baptism; but there is, I think, no comparison between the two tests of faith appointed. The beloved disciple was, I suppose, the most sensitive of all to pain as well as to joy, and yet the test to which he was called was incomparably the harder. But think of the wonder of it- if by a quick, sharp release one drank of the cup, the other equally drank of it as he lived to serve. As we look back upon this “little while” it will indeed seem only a little while, and all that will matter then will be that we drank of the cup, were baptized with the baptism.

    What a great point!!! “But think of the wonder of it- if by a quick, sharp release one drank of the cup, the other equally drank of it as he lived to serve.”

    This is the thinking of a mind set on things above not on earthly things. For to the earthly mind, one would think, “What a terrible way to die, to be beheaded. How horrific!” And that mind would avoid such a death at all costs. That earthly mind would also think, “How nice to live a long life on the earth.” Our natural selves think the better of the two is to live a long time, to avoid dying. But the mind which is set on eternity says, “Oh what wonder! How wonderful that neither living long or dying horrifically is any different, but just to drink of the same cup as God Himself drank.”

    This heavenly mind actually sees the long-living life of service (if comparing in an earthly way) as the more arduous version of the cup of suffering we share with the Holy One. Where the quick drink of death, all-be-it horrific, is much less difficult.

    This amazes me and causes me to examine my self. And I praise God as I realize I too have this joy that my earthly mind finds bizarre and wrong. I get all giddy and say, ‘But think of the wonder of it…‘ when I know God has called me to drink of His cup of the cross in enduring service though I think the cup of a quick death would be “easier.” Then I realize it’s not one is easier or harder than the other, but that both are “drinking the cup,” partaking in what Christ did because we are in Him.

    And even more bizarre to my earthly mind is that it is actually a joy to do so because then I find that the divine nature of God really does reside in me. For only He, not me in my natural self, finds joy in partaking of suffering, whether it be in a long life of service or a quick death by the sword. It’s not that His nature is masochistic- getting some twisted pleasure out of suffering and pain- NO! It’s that He is all powerful. He knows that the endurance of suffering, whether it be in long living service or in bodily death, is no match for His eternal life. Therefore He endures it with joy, knowing it is not the end. And He endures it and knows this IN ME, cause He lives in me!

    What a joy to know His mind, which is altogether different than mine, is now residing in me!

    So that there be no division

    I just wanted to be sure to leave no room for divisiveness with me reference to *** in my post about choosing the crossroads.

    I gleen much wisdom and great tools and encouragement from *** Ministries, yet as with any ministry or pastor, teacher or site I may refer to on this blog, I take what I hear or learn from various teachings and check it against God’s word and then seek the Spirit’s application of His word to my own life.

    So I just wanted to put that out there.

    May we be like the Bereans, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

    And may we edify each other despite our differences, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” (Romans 14:19)