Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Parenting 101

Here's the final installment of bible verses from Lou Priolo's Teach Them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training (Woodruff: Timeless Texts, 2000), 131-143].

Phil.2:3-4 "(Let) nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."
Additional references: Prov.11:24-25; Rom.12:20-21; Rom.15:1; Gal.5:13-15; Gal.6:9; 1 Pet.4:9-11

Stinginess (not sharing)
Heb.13:16 "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."
Additional references: Prov.11:24-25; Prov.22:9; Luke 10:25-37; Eph.4:28; 1 Tim.6:18;

Stubbornness (Insubordination)
Eph.6:1 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right."
Additional references: 1 Sam.15:23; James 4:6

Teasing/ Jesting
Prov.26:18-19 "Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows and death, So is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, "was I not joking?""
Additional references: Prov.12:18; Eph.4:29; Eph.5:4

1 Thess.5:18 "In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Additional references: 2 Tim.3:2; Col.3:15-17; Col.4:2; Heb.13:5

Unfaithfulness (not being dependable, reliable, or trustworthy)
Matt.5:37 "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No', 'No': anything beyond this comes from the evil one."
Additional references: Ps.15:4-5; Prov.6:1-5; Matt.21:28-32; Col.3:9

Col.4:6 "Let your speech always be with grace, as thought seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person."
Additional references: Prov.19:22; Luke 6:35; 1 Cor.13:4; Eph.4:23,29; Col.3:12

1 Thess.5:15 "See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men."
Additional references: Prov.20:22; Rom.12:14-21; Eph.4:26; Heb.12:15

Withdrawing (clamming up)
Eccl.3:7 "There is a time to be silent, and a time to speak."
Additional references: 1 Sam.19:4-5; 1 Sam.25;24-42; Est.4:13,14; Est.7:4; Job.32:4-22; Prov.24;11,12; prov.31:8,9; Acts 4:19,20

Phil.4:6-8 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let our requests be made know to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are right whatever things are pure, whatever things are admirable, whatever things are lovely, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things."
Additional references: Ps.37:5; Matt.6:25,34; 1 Peter 5:6-7

The Scarlet Cord

Joshua 2:21 ends with, "and she tied the scarlet cord in the window."

I was reading the account of Rahab and the spies this morning. Two things engaged my mind as I was journeying through Joshua 2. First, how the people of Canaan were afraid of the Israelites. This is like USA being afraid of Greenland. The Canaanites were numerous, mighty, large, and fortified in their walled cities, such as Jericho. And yet... their hearts were "melting with fear." Look at Joshua 2:9, "a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you." The same in Joshua 2:11, "our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you."

This was God's power at work. This was a miracle in progress. Back in Deuteronomy 2:25 the following prophecy is made, "This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you". God made these mighty Canaanites shake in their boots by shaking up their minds - filling their minds with fears, via rumours.

Rahab acknowledges this fright, but comes beyond the fear to grasp who this God is. Joshua 2:11, "for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below." Her countrymen, though they were afraid, did not turn their hearts to Jehovah. But Rahab does.

And then comes the unfolding of an echo of the Passover story, in the middle of heathen Jericho. In verses 17 thru 20, Rahab is told to tie a SCARLET cord (scarlet, like blood) in her window. She is told to gather her mother and father, her brothers and all her family into her house just as the Israelites were to gather in their houses the night the angel of the Lord passed through Egypt and killed the firstborns before the exodus.

Finally, it comes to the moment of faith. Jericho is being circled by the parade of Israelites and all of Jericho (including the king who has already once sent a message to Rahab) is "melting with fear". In the middle of this heightened security alert, Rahab has put out the scarlet cord. This would have taken faith. Would the guards not be asking her about the cord.. a possible weak link in their fortress of security. I considered the risks today as I read. Any number of spies, militia, or armed men could access the city via this dangling cord. She was putting herself out there keeping this cord in the window. They could have come to her and questioned her, or worse yet, put her into captivity or under trial for possible treason. People were often killed for less questionable behavior. And yet, here is Rahab. Faithful to the command. Obedient, despite the risks.

Here's my second point. Clearly, she was clinging in faith to the promise of salvation given to her. And what a picture this is as Easter is approaching. My faith is also based on a promise of salvation. This salvation comes via the scarlet cord of Christ's blood. And I am so grateful for that scarlet cord.

p.s. I found the "melting fear" idea to be missing from the Veggie Tales recounting of Josh and the Big Wall. This gave me yet another opportunity to discuss the true biblical account with my children, in contrast to "creative license".

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Women - What's Our Place?

For an interesting discussion on the issue of women and our place in the home, check out Many Evangelicals Unwittingly Live as Feminists, a review of Russell D. Moore's statements. It's a bit heavier reading than I sometimes offer, but definitely worth a little chewing to get your brain going mid-week.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Home Tips

I've renamed my Time-saver Tips to Home Tips so I can keep it more generic.
Just thought I'd mention another tip I discovered after years of having a freezer. For many of you, this is probably common sense, but I happened upon the idea when I was re-arranging things after going grocery shopping, while I still had my gloves on.

Home Tip #2
Wear mittens, gloves, or oven mitts while you re-organize your freezer. It makes the chore a lot easier, and as a result, quicker too.

Coffee Cup Verse

Deuteronomy 6:4-7
Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your shildren, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down,
and when you rise up.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

When You Least Expect It

Every monday Daddy takes the boys for the morning, while mommy does all the "yukky shopping" stuff that the wee ones enjoy so much! Their tradition has come to include a trip to Tim Horton's for donuts - double chocolate for the youngest and Canadian maple for the more mature 5 year-old. (Daddy is relegated to a black coffee since he's now working out and looking more like Hercules everyday).

Over the past month, Tim Horton's has been running a contest called "Roll Up the Rim to Win". For the Americans reading this post, this is a contest that is arguably the most popular amongst the fast food chains. Every purchaser of a medium or large drink is urged to roll up the rim of the cup and check to see if their cup has won. Prizes range from a free cup of coffee to a car.

Last monday, Daddy enjoyed his coffee while the boys munched away. Afterwards, he carefully peeled up the cardboard lip of the cup to discover the three special words - please play again! My eldest son was particularly disappointed since he was sure we'd win something great. The tv commercials during the Saturday night hockey games pretty much assured we'd win a car, or a stereo at least.

Dad didn't give the episode much thought after tossing away the remnants of his java fix. At least not until dinner, when my son revisited the topic.

"Dad, did you want to win a car, when you rolled up the rim?" he asked.

"Sure," was my husbands quick reply. (Little did he know that this had actually been a theologically loaded question).

"Did you know that we're not supposed to store up for ourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal?" our little guy pressed.

"Maybe a car wouldn't be such a good idea, eh?" my husband grinned.

And so we are reminded. Reminded to follow God, via the teachings of His word - and all this, when we least expected it.

By the way, this lesson was partly due to some bible memory work we've been attempting with the kids. It was a good shot in the arm to keep it up. Sometimes I feel it is hard work, but this encouraged me to proceed. We've found a great place to start is the Fighter Verse Set put out by Bethlehem Baptist Church. They come with some cool little knights, which are a hit with boys, in particular.

Can Christians Smoke?

At Pioneer Girls this week, one of our classes worked on a Broadcasting Badge. They are putting together a podcast, and the following is one of the scripts they're voicing. I thought you might find it interesting.

Harry Diculous: "Does the Bible say that you can't smoke?"

Christian: "No."

Harry Diculous: "So I can smoke then?"

Christian: "If you want to."

Harry Diculous: "Good. I need my cigarettes."

Christian: "You can eat sand if you want, too."

Harry Diculous: "Huh?"

Christian: "God created sand. Eat it if you want. But don't complain if you get a bellyache...."

That's just an excerpt from the School of Biblical Evangelism's Preacher's Progress, lesson 63.
Thought it was a unique way to look at the things that enslave us. Somehow we can be so blind to the harm that our fleshly desires pose. Doing things "God's Way" is truly for our best. So why do we insist on doing things our way? Let's evaluate our lives carefully for the "sand" we may be chewing on because of our own foolishness.

Parenting 101

Moms, here's the next installment of bible verses to aid you in raising your little blessings [from Lou Priolo's Teach Them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training (Woodruff: Timeless Texts, 2000), 131-143].

Intemperance (lack of self-control)
Prov.25:28 "(Like) a city that is broken into (and) without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit."
Additional references: Prov.29:11; Prov.16:32; 1 Cor.9:25-27; 2 Pet.1:5-6

Prov.18:2,13 "A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind. He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him."
Additional references: Eccl.3:7; 1 Cor.13:5; Titus 2:6; 1 Pet.1:13

Judging Wrongfully (motives, disputable issues, the Law)
John 7:24 "Do not judge according to apearance, but judge with a righteous judgement."
Additional references: Is.11:3,4; Matt.7:1,2; Rom.14:3,4,10-13; 1 Cor.4:3-5; James 4:11,12

1 Cor.13:4 "Love... is not jealous."
Additional references: Prov.14:30; Prov.23:17; Prov.27:4; Rom.13:13; Gal.5:26; 1 Pet.2:1,2

Lam.3:27,28 "(It is) good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and be silent since He has laid (it) on him."
Additional references: Ps.37:4; Ps.38:11; Lam.3:24-40; John 16:32

Love of Approval (pleasing people)
John 12:42-43 "Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing (him), lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God."
Additional references: Prov.29:25; Matt.23:5-7; Gal.1:10; Col.3:22

Love of Money
1 Tim.6:10 "For the love of money is a root of all (kinds of) evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
Additional references: Matt.6:24; 2 Tim.3:1-5

Love of Pleasure
James 4:1 "What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?"
Additional references: Prov.21:17; 2 Tim.3:4

Love of Self
Luke 9:23-24 "And He was saying to (them) all, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.'"
Additional references: Matt.20:26-28; 1 Cor.10:24; 1 Cor.13:5

Prov.12:22 "Lying lips 9are) an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully (are) His delight."
Additional references: Job 27:4; Prov.6:16-19; Eph.4:25; 1 Pet.3:10

Misuse of the Body (over/undereating, uncleanness, etc.)
Gal.5:16-18 "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law."
Additional references: Rom.8:5-8; Rom.13:14; 2 Cor.7:1; 1 Pet.2:11

1 Pet.5:5-6 "Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace tothe humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."
Additional refences: Prov.8:13; Gal.6:3-4; James 4:6; 2 Tim.2:24-26

James 4:1 "What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?"
Additional references: Prov.13:10; 1 Cor.1:11-13; Phil.2:1-11; 1 Tim.3:3

Rom12:21 "Do not be overcome by eveil, but overcome evil with good."
Additional refereces: Ps.35; Is.53; Rom.12:17-21; Eph.4:31,32

1 Cor.10:31 "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
Additional references: Prov.6:6-11; Prov.14:23; Prov.19:15; Prov.20:13; Prov.26:13-16; 2 Thess.3:10

Eph.4:28 "Let him who sole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with (his) hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need."
Additional references: Ex.20:15; Matt.15:17-20; 1 Pet.4:15

Of course, remember that these lists are not exhaustive. There are many other scripture passages that can be used to encourage your children to walk in the Ways of God. My prayer is that we will be faithful to use God's Word as a "rod and staff", both to correct and to guide... and that ultimately He will be praised through our lives and our children's lives.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Time-saver Tip #1

We, as homemakers, are often known as multi-taskers. As such, I'd like to open a forum for time-saving tips. For example, here's something I learned from a magazine - I think at the doctor's office.

Time-saver Tip #1
While the kids are taking a bath, use the time to clean up the bathroom. I've found the steamy room makes the dirt easier to collect. Plus the time it takes me to clean the sink, mirror, toilet and floor is just about the time my boys are finished playing in the water. Then, all I have left to do is the tub once they're tucked in bed and I'm ready to check off one of my chores for the week.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Hot Buns For Just 15 Minutes Effort

My friend gave me this recipe for the bread maker. It's delicious. If you prefer to add whole grains, you can adapt it. With very little effort, you'll have buns that rival Aunt Bessie's.

Bonnie's Buns

1 c. warm milk
1/2 c. warm water
(I just warm these together in the microwave)
1 egg
3/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2/3 Tbsp. white sugar
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
3-3/4 cups flour
2-1/4 tsp. yeast

Put in bread maker in order given. Set bread maker to Dough cycle. After 2 hours mix time, form into buns, put on pans and let rise (30-40 min.) Bake about 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Voila. Hot, delicious buns... especially delicious with soup!

Coffee Cup Verse

Psalm 121:1,2
I lift up my eyes to the hills--
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I'm Sorry

Our classroom was the bathroom today. My youngest son was still snoozing, so I decided to give the eldest a bath in our en-suite. It's a fairly large room with a huge picture window over the tub (which is wonderful, as long as you're not taking a bath at night, when it becomes a movie screen). When the sun shines through the sparkling windows, it is actually a delightful place to get washed up and ready to face the day.

Last week I had done a "spring cleaning" of this room, washing the walls, cleaning the blinds, the windows, etc. Everything has remained sparkling, since the children haven't really had occasion to use our bathroom. However, this morning I was wanting to keep the house quiet and decided to use our bathtub for the big boy. I reminded him that I had done a thorough cleaning and would appreciate no splashing with the toys.

He obliged for the first 5 minutes or so, but as time went on, his memory grew dim. Before I knew it, he was taking his spraying frog and spraying his "pirate" Noah on his Tupperware ark.

"Mac, please don't make sprays or splashes," I reminded him.

"I'm sorry, Mom," was his immediate response.

"Wow," I thought. "He must be understanding how to correct wrongs committed to others."

Before the thought was complete, he was committing the same crime.

"Mac! I thought you said you were sorry." The words poured out of me. And as I uttered them, I realized that his "sorry" meant he was sorry for being caught. He did not realize that his behavior was "offending" his mother.

I proceded to try to explain to him what "I'm sorry" means. Trying to explain that when we say those words, if we truly mean them, we will not commit the offense again.

This has caused me to consider my "sorries" to God. Do I say, "I"m sorry. Please forgive me." Only to go on and commit the offense again? May it not be so. May my confession lead to repentance. Repentance, based on the definition of "to repent": to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life. The amendment of one's life. That means not walking in that particular sinful behavior anymore.

May we understand true repentance. Look at what Paul says to the Corinthians in his second letter, verses 9 and 10, "I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death."

The sorrow of the world says "I'm sorry," but turns to re-offend. It is not genuine. Ultimately it is not sorry. Let us not speak these apologies to our heavenly Father casually, but carefully examine our hearts and turn 180 degrees from those unholy behaviors that occasion our way.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Parenting 101

Psalm 6:3 "When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee."
Additional references: Ps.18:6-7; Matt.10:29-30; 2 Tim.1:7; 1 Pet.3:6, 13-14; 1 John 4:18

Prov. 22:15 "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him."
Additional references: Ps.107:17; Prov.1:7; Prov.10:1; Prov.12:15,16; Prov.14:3,16; Prov.15:5,20; Prov.17:10,12; Prov.18:2,6,7; Prov.19:29; Prov.20:3; Prov.22:15; Prov.26:3; Prov.26:11,12; Prov.19:11

Heb.2:1 "We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drit away."
Additional references:Deut.4:9; Prov.4:20-23; 2 Pet.1:12-15; 2 Pet.3:1

Prov.18:24 "A man of (many) friends (comes) to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
Additional references: Prov.12:26; Prov.17:17; John 15:13-15; 1 Cor. 15:33; James 2:23; James 4:4

1 Peter 3:9,10 "Not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For, 'Let him who means to love life and see good days Refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile'."
Additional references: Prov.11;13; Prov.20:19; Prov.26:20-22; Titis 3:1,2; James 3:8-10; James 4:11

John 16:6 "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart."
Additional references: Lam.3:31-33; John 11:25; Rom.12:15; 2 Cor.7:10-11; Eph.4:30

Prov.28:13 "He who conceals his trangressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes (them) will find compassion."
Additional references: Acts 24:16; 1 Cor.4:14; Heb.10:22; 1Pet.3:16; 1 John 1:9

1 John 1:6 "If we say that we have fellowship with Him and (yet) walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth."
Additional references: Matt.6:1-18; Matt.7;3-5; 1 Tim.4:2; 1 Pet.2:1; James 3:17; James 4:8

1 John 5:21 "Little childeren, keep yourselves from idols."
Additional references: Ex.20:3; 1 Cor.10:7,14

1 Cor.13:4,7 "Love is patient, love... bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
Additional references: Heb.6:15; Heb.10:36; James 1:2-4; 1 Pet.1:13; 1 Pet.2:19-23

Impulsivesness (hastiness)
Gal.5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
Additional references: Prov.25:28; Prov.29:11; Titus 2:10-11; 1 Pet.1:13; 2 Pet. 1:5-6

Inappropriate Speech
Eph.4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Additional references: Prov.13:31-32; Matt.12:34-37; Col.3:17; Col.4:6; 1 Thess.5:11; James 3:2-8

Prov.4:1 "Hear, (O) sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding."
Additional references: Prov.18:2,13; Heb.2:1; James 1:19

Insensitivity (to the needs and desires of others: lack of compassion)
1 John 3:17 "But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?"
Additional references: Is.58:7-10; Matt.9:36; Matt.14;14; Matt.15;32; Matt.20:34; 1 Pet.3:8

The book that I have taken these scriptures from, Teach Them Diligently, has chapters devoted to
1. teaching the scriptures
2. convicting with the scriptures
4. correcting with the scriptures
and 5. training with the scriptures.

That might give you some guidance in using the above scripture passages in training up your children. Of course, it should go without saying that we, as parents, need to be modelling these Godly traits before our children. Therefore the above lists might first be helpful to our own behavior adjustments. However, ladies, let me not forget to encourage us to bathe this in prayer and reliance on the Holy Spirit to accomplish a victorious Christian life in us. All the best as you endeavor to follow God's Parenting 101 manual.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Fruit of Her Hands - Part 2

Chapter #5 - Contentment

Summary: I had to laugh at Nancy’s description of "morbid thoughts" after 11 pm. I thought she was privy to my thoughts. Her point was how we can often get out-of-control in our thought-life late at night... overly introspective, overly guilt-ridden, overly hopeless. Then she went on to address our western idolization of health and our bodies. Although I appreciated her ideas, I actually think Debi Pearl does a better job of addressing the great problem we, as women, have with discontentment. Personally, I’ve found this is a struggle that is fed sub-consciously with every advertisement I encounter, every trip I take to Wal-Mart, every self-‘help’ trick I face, etc. I feel I need to be mounting a mental fortress against the "more, better, stronger, higher, etc." philosophies of our present day.

Best lines: Hold it! This is not the time for self-evaluation! After a long, draining day, you are not qualified to do any evaluating! This type of thinking, any time, especially after 10:30 pm, is unfruitful. It only breeds self-pity, condemnation, hopelessness, and ungodly sorrow.

Chapter #6 – Duties of Homemaking

Summary: Nancy talks about working hard as a home-maker. She addresses being busy with the wrong things, such as gossip, as well as being busy with the right things. She encourages us to work hard. In contrast to the busybody of 1 Timothy 5:13, she gives guidelines about female friendships, pointing out the proverbs that tell us to choose our friends carefully. The last point she addresses is decorating our homes. Nancy points out that our homes are for our husbands too, and therefore should not be overly feminine. She suggests we might even ask our husbands to contribute to the choices of paint colors, etc. I know my husband likes dark wood and dark colors, so this encouraged me to keep his preferences in mind as I work on our home.

Best lines: One time when my children were still very young, a woman stopped by for a visit. "How do you keep your house so clean?" she asked. I thought for a moment, and I remember answering, "I work really hard – all the time."

My comment: I was glad to be reminded to work hard at keeping our homes. It’s good to get encouragement to that end, because we often don’t get a ‘report card’ on our work and can become ‘sloppy around the edges’ without a periodical check.

Chapter #7 – Lovemaking

Summary: Mrs.Wilson addresses this topic with a great deal of respect and appropriate modesty. Her manner of sticking to principle as opposed to method is very helpful in this topic, and I found it refreshing amidst today’s overly graphic treatment of sexual relations.

Best lines: The picture I get is of a husband who is so completely sexually satisfied by his wife that he is… not strung up tight because of a feeble sexual relationship, but is married to a woman who makes it her objective to delight and enrapture him all the time. This may seem like an overwhelming command…. Now I am not telling you HOW to do this. I am simply telling you that you must. It is your duty before God… to satisfy him, to delight him intensely and to rejoice with him. There is an important reason why I am not telling you HOW. That’s because you need to ask your husband. He is the only one who can tell you what will delight and enrapture him.

Chapter #8 – Leftovers

Summary: Nancy Wilson ends her book with some odds ‘n ends. Topics such as handling criticism, widowhood, engagement are mentioned.

Generally, this book was helpful because it pointed me back to my role as Dan’s wife. In seeking to "help" him, there are many things that I need to work on. But I’m glad for the advice in how to respect him, serve him, and be content along the way.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Fruit of Her Hands

Nancy Wilson wrote a succinct book about being a Christian wife, entitled The Fruit of Her Hands. I appreciate her respect for God's word as well as her personal stories which illustrate her points, in real life. At times, I felt this book to be a response to issues or problems Nancy has seen in marriages (some within her own, and some from watching other marriages). The only thing I can say I would have preferred, is a little more text in places and a little more discussion on what the Bible is actually teaching in some of her cited passages.

Overall, I think this is a great book and I would recommend it as an addition to any woman's library. In fact, although I borrowed the book, I am looking to buy a copy myself that I can highlight and scribble on... plus, I'd like to walk through it again with a journal and bible. This way I can personally do a little more study in places where I may need it.

Chapter #1- A Woman's Orientation to Marriage

Summary: Nancy begins the chapter looking at 2 Tim.3:1-6 and goes on to illustrate how women are gullible. She describes how God intended a husband to be the protective head of a woman. I appreciated the fact that she delineated the difference between a husband's headship over his wife, as opposed to men being heads over women. Although we may see this structure also evidenced in church leadership, the idea of submission to men is primarily directed to the marriage relationship in Scripture.

Best lines: We need to cultivate a high view of our husbands and a high view of their God-given jobs. Begin to view your husband as an apple tree in the forest. He is one of a kind, and God has prepared special work for him to do. You have the privilege of being God's appointed helper for him (p.18).

Chapter #2- Walking With God

Summary: This chapter focuses on the need for wives to be personally growing closer to God. She especially exhorts us to be students of the Word of God, because by spending time in the Bible, we will become better wives. I agreed with her observation that, "Christian wives tend to leave the 'fat books' and theology to their husbands. While this may look 'submissive' to some, it is actually disobedience. It is not enough that we know Proverbs 31, Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, and 1 Corinthians 1 and 14. We have to know more than how to be a good wife. After all, our first calling is to be good Christians"(p.25). I have to admit that I can be prone to doing this, especially when my husband has spent entire semesters studying parts of the Bible. It was good to be challenged to study for my personal growth towards God, not just to know the "answers" to various issues.

Best lines: Although the above citation affected me most, another quote I found helpful was from p.29, Stay away from books that get you to look inward instead of away from yourself to Christ. He is all-sufficient for all the problems a married (or single or widowed or divorced) woman might have (Heb.8:1). ... And finally, pray that your mind will not be led into deception and corruption, but will remain and dwell in the simplicity that is found in Christ.

Chapter #3- Respect

Summary: This chapter deals with showing respect to our husbands - and not only by our words, but by our actions, and (of greatest consequence to me) by our re-actions to our husbands. In her last section of the chapter, she clarified for me the ultimate reason why I am often dis-respecting my husband - not trusting in the sovereignty of God. If we truly believe God is in control, then the "outcomes" of our husband's decisions (good and bad) are subject to Him! This has made it much easier for me to grant hubby the respect God has asked me to give him, deserving or not, whether he's in the right or not. God has promised to work all things "together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Rom.8:28) Consequently, my respect for my husband becomes an issue of obedience to God, rather than an issue of whether or not he is worthy of my respect.

Best lines: God has designed your husband to need respect, and He commanded you to be the principal source of it. As you obey God in this, you will see that an obedient respect for your husband will always have positive consequences (p.37).

My question? Why are so many ladies leaving the words, "I will promise to love, honor (respect) and obey you" out of their marriage vows? Seems they may be selling themselves short on a lot of joy and satisfaction.

Chapter #4- Principles and Methods

Summary: This was an eye-opening chapter for me. Nancy differentiates between principles, "a basic truth, general law, or doctrine used as a basis of reasoning or a guide to actions or behavior," and methods, "a way of doing something." I often get distracted by the latest methods and can totally miss the principle that I should be living by. Case in point - diets. I go on these binges of becoming a "sugar nazi", rather than living by the principle of healthy eating. Nancy talks about extending a Hedge of Courtesy towards others in regards to their methods and granting them courtesy and compassion when our methods are different but the principles are the same.

Best lines: The 'system' can become a source of security. "I am doing fine with God because today I cut sugar out of the kids' diet, I'm breastfeeding on a schedule, and I'm having my next baby with a midwife at home." Approached this way, this is false comfort and it is dangerous. not only is it self-righteousness and works-righteousness, but if this really is God's way, then everyone else who isn't doing it this way is not pleasing God. In fact, they are in sin. This then leads to a feeling of superiority over those saints who do not adopt the 'method'. Works-righteousness, a sense of spiritual security based upon my lifestyle, undercuts justification by faith (in Jesus Christ).(p.63)

My admission: This was a much-needed chapter for a Baby-wise, whole-grain, natural cleansers, homeschooling, sugar nazi! I definitely needed to be challenged on my growing campaigns that are methods rather than principles (quite possibly the reason God placed this book in my lap).

There are 4 more chapters, which I'll summarize tomorrow.

Book Reviewing

I haven’t done a book review in probably 12 years since I graduated University, and maybe even longer than that, since my degree is in Accounting. Business classes meant a lot of number-crunching textbook reading, as opposed to evaluating literary content, so pardon my methods. However, I’ve been spurred to share what God is teaching me from a few books I’ve been reading.

As I stated in my post about parenting last week, I believe the Word of God ought to be our authority on matters of living, including parenting, wifery, evangelism, money management, church life, etc. And in His Word I read, "Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored." (Titus 2:4-7)

The books I’ve been reading lately have fallen into this category of teaching. I’ve learned a great deal about how to live out these God-honoring traits and, although the teaching is not infallible, I believe it falls under God’s umbrella of teaching me in a hands-on way, which is very helpful. As I review, let me make some preliminary statements: I appreciate books that include a great deal of scripture as they discourse on life, but I am still careful to keep my radars up for "proof-texting", incorrect interpretation due to a neglect of context, and any sort of humanistic pop-culture via psychology, sociology or personal experiences.

We live in an age where books are so prolific that we, as Christians, need to be very aware of the attack on our minds, via ideas. Sadly, in amongst this arena of the printed word, there is so much being said that is counter-biblical, and even within a Christian bookstore, there can be a great deal of "biblical" drivel.

As with everything in life, let us read carefully, and filter through the lens of scripture. Then, (and only then) whatever true grains of help we may glean from a pilgrim also walking the narrow road, let us keep them, and follow their example. This is what I believe Titus was trying to have us women do.

Coffee Cup Verse

Ephesians 1:7,8a
In Him we have redemption
through His blood,
the forgiveness of our trespasses,
according to the riches of His grace,
which He lavished upon us.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Modesty Defined

After discussing my post about modesty with a friend recently, I thought I'd give a helpful link. This gives a quick test to examine our modesty and it was of benefit for me to check my own attire.

It's called the Heart Check, put out by the women of Girltalk at Sovereign Grace Ministries.

I'd be interested how you fare with it. I'm also interested in places to purchase modest clothing. Last year I taught the Jr.High Girls class for Sunday School and tried to give them a list of some "good" stores to find modest clothes. I'd welcome any suggestions you may have.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Parenting 101

Out of a conversation I shared with a friend at skating lessons today, I've been led to post some Scripture Texts for Child Training.

There is so much advice in the world today on parenting, from the Baby Whisperer to Baby-Wise, the Nanny to Dr.Phil, and yet none of them, even the ones that are Christian like Tedd Tripp or Dr. Dobson, can give us the purest and truest parental advice. That's why I'd like to offer 4 weeks of helpful Bible references that can be used to admonish and encourage our children in God's ways. This information is an appendix out of Lou Priolo's book, Teach Them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training (Woodruff, Timeless Texts, 2000), 131-143.

James 1:19,20 "Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak (and) slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God."
Additional references: Prov. 14:29; Prov. 29:11; Eph. 4:26, 31-32; 1 Cor.13:4-5

Argumentation (back talking to parents)
Prov. 13:1,18 "A wise son (accepts his) father's discipline, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. Poverty and shame (will come) to him who neglects discipline, But he who regards reproof will be honored."
Additional references: Prov.10:8; Prov.15:1; James 1:19-20; Judg. 3

Bad Company (wrong friendships)
1 Cor.15:33 "Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals."
Additional references: Prov.1:10-19; Prov.2:10-19; Prov.9:6; Prov.12:26; Prov.13:20; Prov.28:7; Heb.12:15

Bitterness (resentment)
Heb.12:14-15 "Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. see to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled."
Additional references: Prov.26:24-26; Gal.5:15; Eph.4:31; 1 John 2:9-11

Prov.28:13 "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes (them) will find compassion."
Additional references: Gen.3:12-13; Ex.32:21-24; Prov.19:3; Matt.7:1-5; James 1:13-15

Phil 2:14 "Do all things without complaining and disputing."
Additional references: Ps.19:14; 1 Cor.10:10; Eph.4:29; Phil. 4:11-13

Covetousness (greed)
Luke 12:15 "And He said to them, 'Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.'"
Additional references: Prov.15:16-17; Prov.17:1; Col.3:5; 1 Tim.6:6

Defiance (a.k.a. being a 3 year-old:)
Prov. 30:17 "The eye that mocks a father, and scorns a mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it."
Additional references: Deut.21:18-21; 1 Sam.15:23; Prov.19:26; Prov.29:1

Col.3:20 "Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord."
Additional references: Ex.20:12; Prov.13:13; Prov.30:17; Eph.6:1,2

1 Cor. 14:40 "Let all things be done decently and in order."
Additional references: 1 Cor.11:34; 1 Cor.15:23

Eph.6:2-3 "Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth."
Additional references: Ex.20:12; Ex.21:15: Deut.27:16; Prov.3:35; Prov.20:20; Prov.30:17

Still to come in the next weeks - foolishness, friendlessness, gossip, inappropriate speech, inattentiveness, insensitivity, interrupting, lying, selfishness, stubborness, slothfulness, etc. As I have been typing these out, I think I might print a copy and tape it inside my kitchen cupboards for easy access in those moments when I'm faced with correcting the behavior of my kids. It may also be a big help for recognizing my own sinful habits that need to be overcome by the work of the Holy Spirit and God's living words.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Music For All Ages

A while back, I posted a review of a children's cd called, Awesome God, from Sovereign Grace Ministries. It's a great CD that has spoken to my heart many (if not every) time I listen to it.

Well on the way home from church, it was mommy's turn to pick the tunes, and so I grabbed my latest CD, Casting Crowns. I was excited to listen to this disc again, since I've only heard it a time or two. As the 3rd song on the CD finished, my 5 year-old piped up from the back seat, "mom, play that one again."

I was surprised, since his latest choice of listening pleasure has been Jungle Jam, Jungle Jam, and more Jungle Jam.

As I asked him about why he wanted that song again, (which I was more than happy to oblige, since it is one of my favorites) he said, "cause it's got the giant in it."

"The giant in it?" was my thought. And then, wouldn't you know the song came to the verse about David and Goliath. It amazes me what my kids pick up that I miss totally. But it amazes me even more that God definitely is actively at work in their hearts and minds, while I am often oblivious. That's a good thing. That's His grace.

That's also a benefit of listening to music that is not exclusively geared to OUR age-group. Maybe it's time to crack the old hymnals, gospel songs, and worship chants with our kids, while at the same time dragging out "Music Machine", "Hide Them In Your Heart", etc. for us. I'm glad my kids aren't into listening to their own ipods in the back seat yet. That sure would squelch a whole lot of "inter-generational" worship and learning which happens in our car.

p.s. for your interest,
VOICE OF TRUTH Lyrics by Mark Hall and Steven Curtis Chapman

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand
But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again.
"Boy, you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

Chorus: But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand
But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From on top of them lookin' down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over meI will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Can't you just see how this song would relate to the "giants and fears" world of a 5 year-old boy, and yet I sadly never would have considered it as touching his soul. I'm glad God works while mommy's busy driving!

Coffee Cup Verse

Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Gertie !!

Gertie's come to visit and I'm not wanting to complain, but I wish she'd leave soon. She's been troubling me with her annoying ways. For much of the day, we have been co-existing but every now and then she just stings me with a cruel jab out of nowhere. My kids have been pretty much oblivious to her presence, but I'm not sure if that's because she's mostly been staying cooped up in her 'hiding place'. Her milky-white skin covers the heart of a tiny monster, I hate to say. My sleep has been disturbed for the past 3 days. Just when I seem to return to my sweet dreams, she wakes me with another reminder of her presence. It's hard sometimes to put on a smily face with her around, but like any other trooper, I'm doing the best I can.

It seems Gertie hasn't been visiting other people quite as often as she's been frequenting my place lately. My sister says she hardly ever comes by, although she too, has to admit that Gertie really is a cantankerous one!

I'm sorry to be sharing my lament with you, but I thought maybe expressing my frustration would at least ease my mental agony over this latest surprise appearance... I just hope and pray that she'll be gone by the time hubby returns from California on Monday. That's the thing with Gertie - you never really know how long she'll stay this time!

My prayer is that our relationship could heal and that there won't be any permanent scars because of our antagonism towards one another. Thanks for allowing me to vent... and maybe you could say a prayer for my situation.
p.s. Gertie is a canker sore. I thought maybe naming my ailment would give me a bit of humor to help "ease the load" of this latest malady.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Modesty Revisited

Tonight I was continuing my voyage through Debi Pearl's Created To Be His Help Meet. One of the chapters dealt with women being chaste, based on Titus 2:4-5, "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste..." Debi made some interesting statements that left me at my knees before God.

Modesty has been something that I have been learning. When I was a teenager, my father, in particular, was less than thrilled with my exceptionally baggy sweat-shirts and other wide tops. I was still getting "comfortable" with my newly developing body, and combined with the "flashdance" fashions, this made these baggy clothes very appealing to hide in. As the years went on, I changed in my tastes and began to risk shorter hemlines, more figure-flattering tops, etc.

Debi Pearl discussed modesty in the context of Matthew 5:28: "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." She re-iterated how men are visually stimulated and how we, as women, need to be careful of that. In fact, she pointed out that, "Jesus said that a lusting man commits adultery WITH a woman, not against her, meaning that the woman is included in the lusting adultery."

As I read on in the chapter, I was reminded of some of my outfits in previous days that may have caused a man to stumble - skirts too short, tops too tight, etc. I was especially convicted about my clothing selections for church and I confess this because I hope others don't make similar mistakes. Although I may have been naiive, I should have known better.

Debi writes, "If you want to get provocative, do so in private with your husband. In fact, I recomment it, but when you come out of the bedroom and go to church or to the local store, dress as you would dress for the Judgment Seat of Christ." Wow! That sure takes modesty to a new level. But she's right. We need to be professing our godliness in all our behavior, including our dress.

May we all pledge anew to carefully consider the men in our lives... and I am not speaking of our husbands here. There are other men that sit behind us in church, work beside us, that are exposed to our immodesty. Let us not be contributing to the sin of lust which is rampant in our society, but let us raise the standard of feminine attire to a place of purity and beauty, as it was intended.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

God Save The Queen

As part of our schooling today, we sang, "God Save The Queen". It's interesting how words can mean many different things. I was explaining the definition of the word "save" to my son. Looking at the dictionary, it means, " to rescue or deliver from danger or harm and to preserve or guard from injury, destruction, or loss". My 5 year-old smiled and responded, "Oh, I thought it meant save... like you and daddy talk about people being 'saved'... like a Christian."

That stopped me. Yes, that would fit into this song too. It could be a prayer for their spiritual destiny. That's what I should be praying for my queen and my prime minister and other God-ordained authorities over me, and yet I so often fail to include them on my prayer list.

This was a good reminder to pray for the salvation and sanctification of my rulers. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the lyrics of the anthem, this is the first verse:

God save our gracious Queen
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen.