Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gender Matters

We often hear in the church that we are to be good stewards of what God has given us.  We’re to manage our money in a way that is responsible and for things that would not contradict God’s character.  We are encouraged to plan our time so that we have time for God, family, good work, and ourselves.  We are to be good stewards of the talents we have, using them to help a friend or advance a cause or to sustain our family. 
Have you ever thought about being a good steward of your womanhood?  Do you know why you were created to be a woman?  In the grand scheme of thing, does it really matter?


I have recently worked through a Bible study (twice! because it was so captivating to me) called “True Woman 101 – Divine Design”  by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian that challenges women to think beyond cultural views of womanhood and instead look to the Word for guidance in this area. 
Today I’m going to review the first chapter “Gender Matters”. 
John Piper has said, “True womanhood is a distinctive calling of God to display the glory of His Son in ways that would not be displayed if there were no womanhood.”  Throughout this chapter we find that male and female were not created by mistake.  Our gender matters.  Our differences matter. And it has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with God.
Do you believe the lie of the culture that tries to blur the lines of women and men that tell us one can be the other?  As believers in Christ and the belief that God’s Word is the ultimate truth, let’s look at Isaiah 43: 6b-7 “Bring my sons from afar and my daughter from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”  Our purpose is not to put ourselves on a pedestal and work in vain for our own interests, but to be a woman so all can see God’s greatness.  It is through our gender we display God’s beauty best! 

Men display the nature of God in a way no woman can and women display the nature of God in a way no man can.  Isn't our God, Creator so wonderfully mysterious and profoundly creative?
One of my favorite aspects of this chapter was when the authors described the meaning of the word ‘adam’ (man) in Hebrew.  It is an overarching term that describes humankind – both man and woman.  Genesis 5:2 “Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.”  So what does that mean for us as women?  It means we are valued by God, equally with men. It means we are blessed by God and we were given equal (though not in the same ways!) authority to rule over the earth.  And it means that “God indicated that male and female would share a common condition for which He would provide a common solution.” (pg 30) This solution is Christ! 
How reassuring it is that my way to salvation, like all humankind, comes through Christ alone!  How exciting that through my womanhood, I can witness to those around me about God’s greatness.  By embracing my womanhood for God’s true purpose, I can finally live to the potential God intended. I don’t have to prove my worth as a woman in this world, because my worth as a woman is found in God alone.   “The Bible’s view on worth is much different than that of popular culture.  It teaches that we don’t need a greater sense of ‘self-worth’…what we desperately need is a greater sense of ‘His-worth’.” (pg. 34)
Now that we see the purpose of male and female, what does that mean for us as women?  Chapter 2, titled “Snips and Snails”, gives us a deeper look into men (what woman doesn’t love talking about that??) and  what God’s intended role and purpose for them is.  This will later help us better understand our role and purpose as women.

Until next time, be a good steward of  your womanhood by embracing God’s divine design for you as a woman and relish in the fact that he utterly loves you and your womanhood!  God wants to use YOU to adorn the world with HIS beauty!

~To get this study for yourself or your small group, you can order the book here or check out your local Christian bookstore.  It's a great study I highly recommend! The page numbers given for quotes are simply for your reference if you choose to get the book yourself.~

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I've been reading through the Psalms over the past few weeks, and in so doing I have really struggled with what to do with those that speak of fear of enemies and physical harm.  David was fearful for his life many times, with real danger in heavy pursuit of his life.  His heartache is tangible.

Thankfully (thank you God!) I do not have to worry about enemies pursuing; people hunting me down or threatening me because I believe in Jesus Christ.  I, blessedly, have a tough time relating.

I have mentioned Saeed Abedini before, asking for prayer.  I know in the midst of all the turmoil in the Middle East, especially as of late, there are so many prayers to be said and petitioning to God on behalf of the innocent.

I've never been one to be good about praying.  I'll admit that my fear and selfishness cause me to turn a blind eye to the news.  But as I was reading this article this morning, I became overwhelmed but WHAT to pray.

I thought of the Psalms and decided to pray several of them, before God on behalf of our Christian brother. Here is one in particular.  Will you join me in prayer?

Psalm 3

O Lord, how many are my foes!  How many rise up against me!  Many are saying of me, "God will not deliver him."  But you are a shield around me, O Lord;  you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.  I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.  I will not fear the tens of thousds drawn up against me on every side.

Arise, O Lord!  Deliver me, O my God!  Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.  From the Lord comes deliverance.  May your blessing be on your people.

Friday, August 8, 2014

I struggle with quieting my heart.  There are so many distractions in life, and even in the times of "rest", it can so easily be filled with the tv on in the background or music to fill the empty spaces. Even during times of the evening where I'm settling in for bed or wake up in the middle of the night, noise, even if soft, fills the quiet.  In times when I'm stressed or sad, in order for me not to have to think about my anxiety, or in the middle of the night when fear tends to seek me out, I turn to the tv or even my computer to distract me.

Very seldom do I quiet my heart before the Lord, demanding that my chattering thoughts hush.  To turn my heart and fear and worry over to him.  I so appreciate this Psalm, as it reminds me to call to the Lord and allow him to bring me peace, rather than the distractions around me.  Do you struggle with this too?  Here's Psalm 4:

Answer me when I call to you,
    my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;  
    have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
    How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.
Tremble and do not sin;
    when you are on your beds,
    search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
    and trust in the Lord.
Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
    Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
    when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I hope it is filled with peace for you as you seek out the Lord for rest!

~Sarah

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

In celebration of Mother Teresa's August birthday : )
 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Every woman whether rich or poor, married or single, has a circle of influence. Within which according to her character she’s exerting a certain amount of power for good or harm.  Every woman by her virtue or her vice, by her folly or her wisdom, by her levity or her dignity is adding something to our national elevation or degradation….  A community is not likely to be overthrown where woman fulfills her mission.  For by the power of her noble heart over the hearts of others, she will raise it from its ruins and restore it again to prosperity and joy.

John Angle James (British author 18th-19 century)

I am deeply inspired by this man's words.  Doesn't it sound like something that could be written even today? Women - our influence is mighty.  Let us be intentional from this day forward to be prayerful & mindful of the influence we hold.

Today I choose to be a woman in the battlefield not of this world, to fight for the hearts of women, children, and our men.  To allow God to transform me into a woman who is relying on him, seeking out His truth (not the world's ever-changing half truths or flat our lies contrary to God's Word), and starting with my own family by honoring, encouraging, and submitting to my husband, even if culture tells me I'm crazy.

It starts in our own home.  Let's stand up and be the women God has called us to be!

~Sarah

Friday, August 1, 2014

First fruits from my first garden!  And, yes, I ate the first tomato like an apple.  Yum!  Tell us about your self-grown produce!