Do Not Covet

>> Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This past summer, I was asked to come speak to this vivacious group of young ladies! It was definitely worth the effort and I loved getting to meet each and every one. The juxtaposition of their outward diversity and yet united heart's desire was inspirational!

During our time, we talked about what contentment (a positive view on this command: Do Not Covet!) really is, why it is so important, how we can adopt a mindset of contentment, and how to apply it - not just to the really difficult trials through which we go, but to our daily lives as well.

We came to understand that contentment is both (1.) realizing God has provided everything I need for my present happiness, and (2.) knowing what is most important can never be taken away from me. 

What can never be taken away?

  • God
  • The Word of God (including all of His promises to believers, such as eternal life, eternal joy and eternal fellowship with Jesus Christ)
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; 
and be content with such things as ye have: 
for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Hebrews 13:5

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it pur ely, legitimately and forever.
- A. W. Tozer

One of the biggest lies you will ever here is, 

If I only had _________ I would be happy!

Not only is this false, it can easily retard (meaning to delay, or hold back in terms of progress, development or accomplishment) the work God has ordained YOU to do!

Our contentment can determine who we are and how far we excel.

Do what you can with what you have! There is a man named Nick Vuijic who is an incredible example of  both realizing God has provided everything he needs for his present happiness AND doing all he can with what he has. Nick was born without arms or legs, and yet leads a vibrant and contented life. He didn't have control over his circumstances, but he did have control over how to respond to them.

It is important to realize, however, that contentment should not be the fruit of comparison. This means that we should not look at a handicap like Nick's and determine that since "we have arms and we have legs, we should be happy"!  

II Corinthians 10:12 says,

"...but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. "

If our contentment has a foundation of comparison, all it will take is someone who has MORE than we do to make us discontent. 

Also, remember the significance of seasons in life. 

One of the best ways to apply contentment is to keep our hearts  in the present and not in the future. 

We talked about the power of gratitude, and the need to let go of expectations. To illustrate letting go of our expectations, each girl wrote a desire of hers on a balloon ("a horse", "a camera", "a sister", "answers"), blew it up, and then together we let go of our "expectations" and symbolically gave God our desires to deal with as He pleases.

Last evening while reading more on the command, "Do Not Covet" I was struck with how often we covet things we see. All the more reason to guard our eyes with all diligence and to not expose ourselves to things that would distract the vision that God has given for our lives (Proverbs 4:25). Think of David and Bathsheba, for example. David was just out meandering on his roof top (idleness, perhaps?) when temptation was thrust into his sight uninvited and unprovoked. We don't know when the devil will throw a fast one at us! We may be out walking along a storefront when, upon seeing an attractive picture of something, all that has already been provided for us dims in the potential of what we could have. 

The example of David and Bathsheba highlights another good point besides the influence of sight and unexpected timing (he was tempted in the middle of a common, unexciting event: walking): that we are not capable of only coveting things, but people as well. One greek word for covet is epithumeo; it refers to having strong affections directed towards someone or something and longing after it.

Will we be as the simple - tossed to and fro with the leadership of another, be they a fool or wise? The "leader" is often an advertisement, designed to make you believe you do not have all that you need to be successful in life. Don't forget - the greatest commandment is to love the Lord the God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and we don't need anything but life to fulfill that!

 A lovely tea party was prepared for after our meeting, and I smiled at the illustration it provided of I Timothy 6:8,

"And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."

Helpful verses to memorize:

Hebrews 13:5: By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

I Timothy 6:6-8: But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Philippians 4:11-12: Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 

Exodus 20:17: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Psalm 119:36-37: Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

Proverbs 28:16: The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.


Go the Second Mile!

>> Friday, January 14, 2011

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain." (Matt 5:41)

I remember the first time I learned about this verse in school. I was probably seven or eight, and I thought to myself, "Who would go a second mile if they only had to go one? That's crazy!" That's exactly what those who Jesus was speaking to probably thought. The Jews were under Roman oppression. In those days, a Roman soldier who had to travel could compel a Jewish boy to walk a mile with him and carry his heavy pack. When Jesus told the Jewish people gathered around him to go a second mile, they probably thought He was nuts! When we look at the surrounding verses, we can see that this command was given in the context of teaching on retaliation:

People have always told you to take what is taken from you, but I tell you, don't retaliate! If someone hits you, let him hit you again! If someone tries to take your coat, give him your cloak too! If one of those Romans wants you to carry his pack for a mile, take it a second mile! Give to everyone who asks of you, and as for the person who wants to borrow, don't turn him and away. (Paraphrase of Matt 5:38-42)

I think the point that Jesus was trying to make is summed up with honoring one's authority! Honor does not mean doing what you absolutely have to, but rather, what you think would delight, and please the person who is in charge! Something interesting that I discovered recently in Mr. Gothard's book (49 Secrets of Power for Living) really caught my attention as I was studying this command:

He writes "...there are two types of power when it comes to authority: first...the positional power of those who hold offices of leadership...second...the influential power of those who have close ties with leaders and can influence their decisions. The more powerful of these two is the position of influence - and this is the secret of going the second mile!"
I thought this was profound. Think about how a baby influences his parents with his adorable faces, and the things he does to make people laugh! As believers, our testimony when we go the second mile can influence our authorities...even those over us who may not be believers, or are even opposed to Christianity! Can you imagine the shock of a Roman soldier if a young Jewish boy offered to carry his heavy pack for another whole mile? A mile is a long time with a heavy backpack!!! However, the times I have applied this principal in my life, I have found that there is a new genuine love for my authority...even if I originally began with resentment and irritation! The conscience decision to go a second mile brings joy to the one who chooses to deny himself!

Recently, one of my homework assignments involved studying the Commands of Christ in chronological order! As I did so, I decided to find out which character qualities are linked to which commands. Mr. Gothard laid out the character qualities and the commands some time ago when he published his seven study guides which covered all 49 commands and it turns out that Deference is the character quality that closely relates to "Going the Second Mile."

"Deference is putting the welfare of others ahead of our own personal pleasures"
(taken from "The Power for True Success" published by IBLP)

As we think about the welfare of our authorities, and put them before ourselves, the concept of "Go the Second Mile" begins to come alive! For example, lets say you have an uncle that's unsaved. You're visiting him for the weekend, and you want to be a good testimony. He's working on some odd jobs around the house, and he asks if you want to help him for an hour or so. Your cousin is also there, but he is off doing his own thing, and unwilling to help his father. You help your uncle for an hour, and then someone comes along and says "Hey, we're going you want to come?" You love to fish, but because your uncle is working alone, and you want to be a good testimony, you put his potential welfare (the fact that you might be able to witness to him) ahead of your desires, and decide to stay. Your uncle is surprised, and you now have the opportunity to share with him why you stayed to help.

Something I struggle with a lot is complaining about having to do jobs that seem menial, or pointless to me! I wish I had the outlook more often that a menial task, that may seem unimportant, could very possibly lead to a conversation, or even a decision for Christ on the part of those around me. If I refuse to show deference, I am saying, "The things that I am interested in are more important than your eternal welfare." That is certainly not the message I desire to communicate to others. When I think about the person I want to be, it is often very different than the person I usually am. This seems to be a problem for more than one person (me)! When I think I can do it...I really can't! So, what are some practical ways to apply the command to "Go the Second Mile"? After's a command, not a choice!

  • If you offend someone, don't just apologize, but if possible, make restitution!
  • If you're asked to fold one basket of laundry, get all the laundry through (a personal favorite of mine :-D)!
  • If you see a mother juggling way too much for one person, don't just pick up what she dropped, see if you can help her to her destination!
  • Don't just hand out a tract...ask the person if they want to hear about it!
  • When you find out about a prayer need, don't just write it down...pray about it!
  • You listen to a sermon every Sunday...don't just listen...make life application!
  • If you're asked to do something, try doing it for double the time that was requested!
  • Defer your right to do something exciting so someone else can go who might have had to stay back.
A few months ago, our family was going to go rafting. I have a two-year-old brother, and he wasn't old enough to go yet. My mom had never been, and she really wanted to try it, but she was worried about the baby. There was only one solution. I would have to be the one to stay back, because none of the other older kids could be alone that long, and my dad was the only one who knew how to steer the raft! My mom didn't ask me to stay back, but I knew she really wanted to go. I also knew I really, really wanted to go! The morning after we discussed the dilemma as a family, I was reading in my quiet time, and I felt God prompting me to deny defer to my authority, and put her welfare, and enjoyment before my own. I went to my mom, and I told her I'd take Timmy so she could go rafting. She was grateful...but...the trip ended up falling through, and we never even went. I have to say though, that for days after that decision (before we decided not to go), I had an extreme joy, and anticipationation as I looked forward to the opportunity to "Go the Second Mile." Sometimes it doesn't mean doing something for twice as long. Sometimes it means doing something you weren't going to have to do at all, and deciding to take the leap, just because you know it's the right thing to do!
It's hard to trust God to make it worthwhile to "Go the Second Mile", but He does. The influence God can give us as we demonstrate the power of the "Second Mile" is illustrated by the rudder of a large ship. Though tiny and not even visible, it has the power to control the direction of the entire vessel. May God give us the ability, though we are often unseen, to influence those who rule over us for the Lord, giving HIM the glory, as we exercise the power of the command, "Go the Second Mile."

Phil 2:13


Ask, Seek, Knock

>> Monday, January 10, 2011

Our family was circled around our dining room table for some good ol' fashioned game time when I inquired after the possibility of getting our own water purifier. We have fairly good rural water, but some of us are pretty particular when it comes to drinking only the best and cleanest out there, and buying bottled water starts to really add up after a while! I had been on the look out for some time and was under the impression the Berkey Light was well made and would be efficient for our needs. The Berkey Light is powerful enough to filter totally raw and untreated pond water, removing pathogenic bacteria, cysts, parasites, foul tastes and odors and all sorts of unhealthy minerals without removing the healthful and nutritional minerals we need. I was excited! As I started describing the features of the Berkey Light and pulled it up on the web for all to see, Dad looked up and said, "I think we have a water filter!" I stopped talking. We have one? All this time I've been searching for a good water filter, and there's been one right under my nose?? Dad quickly went to the basement whilst I mulled over the possibilities. A few minutes later, a large box was the first we saw of Dad as he returned and set it on the counter. On the front of the box were big, blue letters, "BERKLEY LIGHT WATER PURIFIER". We all looked at each other in unbelief! As I investigated the contents of the box, this was indeed the very same filter I was trying to convince Dad we should get! "I can hardly believe it!" I exclaimed. "Talk about fast shipping!" This $200+ filter has been just sitting in our basement - never used - for the past 12 years.

As we continued our game, one person mentioned, "Hey, Emily, you should write a blog post on how we have not because we ask not!" It was then I remembered this command: Ask, Seek, Knock. I had already been scheduled to share on this particular command, and now the Lord had provided a fun and exciting testimony of how He LOVES to provide for us, if we will but ask! I am amused to think I have time and time again ignorantly walked passed the very thing I desired. It was not until I asked, that it was given. "What else do we just need to . . . ask for?" I inquired after my parents. "Yeah," piped in my brother, "you got a Ferrari somewhere?!"

Before you settle on simply asking for all that you desire, though, let's study the rest of this command a little further. After all, Jesus didn't just say, "Ask." We have the responsibility to seek and knock. We are being called to action! God has given us eyes to see, hands to work, feet to run. Remember it is the slothful man who puts his hand in the dish and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again (Proverbs 19:24).

Arnold Pent reminded his family many times, "If you need anything, just ask for it and God will supply it, and if you want something that you don't necessarily need, obey the verse that states, 'Delight thyself in the Lord and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.'" God desires our fellowship, not just our quick prayers informing him of our wants. Is this perhaps why He has promised the desires of our heart if we will but spend our time focusing and delighting in Him? When you desire something, seek after the Lord! He will show you what to do and where to go. He will present the door on which you should knock, and He will open it. A door is symbolic of opportunity and hope. What lies over the threshold of your obedience?

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8

Helpful Verses to Memorize:

Matthew 7:9-11: Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

James 4:3-4: Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

John 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Psalm 81:10 I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Psalm 34:10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.


Seek God's Kingdom First

>> Saturday, December 18, 2010

We've all seen the Hollywood kingdoms portrayed in Bible-time movies, read chapters of Revelation about what Heaven looks like, and colored pictures in junior Bible coloring books that portray the throne room in a palace. Disney has put marble floors, gem-filled crowns, and castle spires into little children's minds with the Cinderella story, and picture books have helped us imagine what it would be like. We tour Biltmore houses, and other splendid structures across America, and overseas, trying to get a glimpse of the awesomeness of a kingdom. So, what did Jesus mean when half way through the greatest sermon ever preached, he says "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God."? Lets put it into perspective:

(Paraphrase) Don't worry about what you'll eat, or what you'll drink. Don't worry about where you'll get clothes, or what they look like. Your life, and your body consist of more than food and clothing. Look! My Father takes care of the fowls of the air. He clothes the lilies of the field! Even Solomon was not arrayed as beautifully as one of them! Can you add stature to yourself? Stop worrying about your needs. My Father in heaven knows them all! Therefore, do this:

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself! Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

Actually, there are two kinds of kingdoms. The one that you and I think of when we think "Kingdom" is the future kingdom:

"The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." (Rev 11:15)

Then we have the kingdom Jesus refers to in Matthew 6:33. God's present kingdom is within us! Jesus said:

"Behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)

Mr. Gothard in his book "49 Secrets of Power for Living" notes that the disciples often talked about who would be greatest in the kingdom of God. However, they failed to recognize that "The Kingdom" was within their hearts where the Holy Spirit dwells. This is why the first two things required to enter the kingdom are (1) repentance, and (2) new birth. We repent, and then we are saved. This results in the kingdom of God within us which is where the Holy Spirit takes up residency in our lives. Once this happens, we now have a new struggle:

Jesus was speaking to the multitudes when he gave this command. The word "seek" is a present, active verb. Jesus wasn't telling them to seek later, or that they already had sought, or to seek for a time, and then stop. Jesus was commanding them to seek continually, never to stop seeking, and to make seeking a way of life! Once we are born again, this seeking doesn't come to a sudden halt. Instead, we must take the initiative to keep seeking the kingdom of God, and thus, experience spiritual growth.

Initiative is acting on the rhemas that God gives to us in his Word. Initiative is also carrying out the will of God by being in tune with the heart of God

Idleness is the ground in which every form of evil takes root. The hour of idleness is the hour of temptation. This is why we are commanded by Jesus in Matthew 6:33 to be continually seeking God with a kingdom focus! Amy Carmichael thoughtfully said "Satan is much more in earnest than we are. He buys up the opportunity while we are wondering how much it will cost." How true! While we worry about what we will lose when we seek only God, Satan snatches the opportunity and leads us into temptation.

In tying all of this together, we have a kingdom within us that we are commanded to continually seek. We have initiative which is acting on the rhemas God gives us (those rhemas direct us and are both the motivation to seek, and the reward of seeking), and we have the warning that idleness breeds only temptation. So, what exactly are we seeking when we say "the kingdom within us"? There are eight things that a kingdom consists of:

  1. A King - Jesus Christ
  2. A Jurisdiction - Our Hearts
  3. A Law - Christ's Commands
  4. An Enemy - Satan
  5. A Treasury - Sowing
  6. A Citizenry - Disciples
  7. A Flag - Banner of Love
  8. An Army - Disciple Makers
Mr. Gothard lists these eight points in his book (49 Secrets of Power for Living) and here I have summarized it: we seek the kingdom by studying our King, Jesus Christ, in the Bible (God's instruction manual/love-letter to his children). As we learn about his Lordship, we surrender our hearts willingly to his jurisdiction. Now that we have surrendered to him, we seek to obey His commands, and in keeping with obeying them, seek to conquer the enemy that is ever present, wanting to devour. As others see our witness for Christ, we sow seeds in their lives. We then seek to build the number of citizens in God's Kingdom by making disciples. As we show our banner of love to them, they eventually mature, and thus, go out and make more disciples. Although there are many aspects to seeking the kingdom of God, this is one way we can "Seek God's Kingdom."

Now, why does it say "Seek ye FIRST"? Why not do other things first? I have to stick in an element from my Journey to the Heart binder, as usual, so this time, I am taking out "The Pure Heart." What is a pure heart? One with a pure heart is one who matches the standards of Christ (definition taken from "A Pure Heart" in the journey to the heart binder). Will any of us ever be perfectly pure during our life here on earth? No, but Jesus still calls us to live lives of purity...lives that don't see how close to the line they can get, or lives that sit on the fence, but lives that go the extra mile, make extra sacrifices, and show their love for their King liberally. We are promised by a God who does not break his promises, if you seek the kingdom first, ALL these things WILL be added unto you (i.e. you will never lack anything that Jesus Christ thinks you need.) A pure heart will enable us to throw away our worldly values and desire Jesus more!

I love this verse which directly follows Luke's documentation of this same passage in Matthew where Jesus says:

"Fear not little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

i.e. It's not a drudge for God to fulfill our needs, or to dwell within our imperfect selves. He delights in it. He loves it! It is His joy! Why should we worry about our physical needs when God not only fills them, but it is his GOOD PLEASURE to fill them??? This passage serves only to reiterate the beautiful words pf the prophet Zephaniah in Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Summarization II: the kingdom of God is within you! You know the eight things that you are seeking in that kingdom. You understand that initiative, and a pure heart are required as you seek the Lord, and you know that you don't need to worry about your needs, because God delights to fulfill them as a demonstration of His love and compassion. I want to tie this off with a story:

A young man is walking down the streets of Judea. Everyone can tell by his appearance that he has many worldly goods. As he walks, he meets a man named Jesus with his disciples. He asks Jesus, "What must I do to have eternal life?" As Jesus tells him to obey the commands of Christ, and lists a few of them, the young man looks hopeful. He has done these well. Then Jesus stops. "But, I have done all of that! I am still empty inside!" I can almost see his face, so empty, yet so hopeful that Jesus will have an answer for him he has not already heard. "Go, sell what you have and give to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven, and you can follow me." There is silence. The young man's head falls, and he turns slowly and walks away. What is wrong with him? He is worried about his earthly possessions. He is too attached to temporal things to lay up eternal treasure. If only he had sought first the kingdom of God, He would have found eternal life, free, and abundant. But so often, I think we are like this young man. We may be saved, but we hold onto our rights, our expectations, and when someone comes along and says, "Throw them away, and seek God," we turn away, sorrowful. We want the answers in life to go our way, and fulfill our desires! Notice Jesus' response: (paraphrase) It is hard for a rich man to enter heaven. Actually, it is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle. His disciples were shocked! They responded by saying "Who then can enter the kingdom of God???" I can picture their amazement! Jesus replies, "With God, all things are possible." Why? Because when we stop worrying about ourselves, and let God handle the details, He carries the load for us.

Are you seeking Jesus Christ? Or have you hung your head, and walked away, too scared to let go of the very things that make you feel so empty?

Be Blessed in Jesus! Live only for HIM!~


The Good Home-school Girl: A Follow-up on Honoring Parents

>> Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We all know her. She is the person we often see ourselves to be. When her parents tell her not to do something, she doesn’t do it. She helps with the clean-up after every meal. She goes to church every Sunday, sometimes even twice a week! She keeps her room cleaned up. She checks with her mom before she goes out with friends. She turns in her homework assignments on time. She is involved in ministry opportunities. If someone asked her if she was rebellious, she could honestly say no…most of the time.

But what about the little things? What about when her parents tell her “You can make the choice, but we’d rather you choose this option.” What about when her friend calls and she knows if her mom were there, she’d want her to finish her school first. What about when she’s shopping with friends, and isn’t sure if her mom would like a certain purchase? What does the Good Home-school girl do then?

Most of us fit into the Good Home-school girl category. We are generally obedient to our parent’s stated commands, we don’t gossip, or even excessively complain, and generally, we try to be respectful, even though we fail much of the time. So I began to think about this concept. Is “The Good Home-school Girl” someone I want to be?

Two weeks ago I went shopping with my younger sister. It was just the two of us and naturally, we were having fun. We like thrift-store shopping (who wouldn’t?) and we were finding good deals everywhere we looked! I decided it was time for a new pair of pants. The church camping trip was just two weeks away, and I didn’t have anything to wear, so I looked around, found a practically new pair for three dollars, and bought it. The whole way home, my conscience condemned me. Why? Because I knew without a doubt that my mom would have preferred I not buy them without her there. I knew she had a certain way she wanted things to fit. Did she tell me before I left the house “Don’t buy any pants!” ? No! Of course not…but I knew her preference.

So, it blew over. They fit fine, she was disappointed at my ignorance to her preference, but hey, it was my choice, it turned out okay, and that was that. But then there was another thing: “You know I really want you to wear a skirt camping this time.” My mom told me. “But, I am going to let you make the choice.” Okay…I’m 18 years old, I’m not in rebellion, I dress modestly every day of my life, and my mom has told me that I can make the choice. Is there a choice to make? So, I looked it up:

Submission: an attitude of reverence in which a person voluntarily places himself under God-given authority as an act of faith in the sovereignty of God.

You know that verse that says “Submit yourselves to them that have rule over you.” I wondered if making a deliberate choice that was just not my authorities’ preference would be a violation of submission. Do we always have to do what our authorities prefer? So I chose to ask three questions. Ask yourself these three questions!
  • If I dress the way I do because I am afraid that those at the camp-out will think I’m weird for camping in a skirt, I need to re-evaluate what is more important: is my relationship to my authorities, or my relationship to my friends more important?
  • If people think I’m weird for camping in a skirt and make fun of me, are they really making fun of me? Or are they making fun of God…because I am under the authority that He has placed over me! (I had to come to the conclusion, that they are not rejecting me, but God and the authorities HE put over me).
  • Lastly, if I am given a choice by my authorities, and I know their wishes, is it right to do my own thing anyways?

So this may seem like a really silly, not very important example, and it is! Isn’t that what always gets us? The music we listen to, the people we hang out with, the clothes we wear, the things we buy when we go shopping, the words we say when our parents aren’t there…all of that is what stops the “Good Home-school Girl” from being a “Submissive Home-school Girl.”

This leads me to ask one final question: God says that iniquity is “doing our own will” What we do that is defined as “iniquity” may not be inherently wrong at another time, or in another circumstance, but because it is done outside of God’s timing, it is wrong! Therefore, are we committing iniquity every time we make a choice that we know is against the preferences of our parents? I think we are, and here are the results of that iniquity:

  • The Lord will not hear us (Ps 66:18)
  • God will set our iniquities before His face (Ps 90:8)
  • We will reap vanity which is translated sorrow (Prov 22:8)
  • We will be separated from God (Is 59:2)
  • We will not get good things from God (Jer 5:25)
  • Our iniquity will be bondage to us (Acts 8:23)
  • When we name the name of Christ, we will destroy God’s reputation (II Tim 2:19b)

All of us have different ways that we commit iniquity, but iniquity in this way is dishonoring our parents, and Ex 20:13 says to “Honor thy Father and thy Mother that thy days may be long…” Am I stretching this too far? I don’t think so. I would encourage each of you to search your life and heart for ways that you are regarding iniquity in your heart, dishonoring your parents, and thus, grieving the Holy Spirit. Then, check out the rewards of having a submissive spirit!

Eph 6:1-3, Col 3:20, Rom 13:3&5, Heb 13:17, Col 3:23-24, I Tim 6:1, Prov 6:20-24, Prov 15:5, I Pet 2:13-14, I Thess 5:12-13, and I Tim 6:2-4. The rewards outweigh the pleasure of a season of iniquity!...and…yes, I am wearing a skirt camping ;-)

Be Blessed!

PS: This does NOT only apply to Home-school girls :-)


Despise Not Little Ones

>> Monday, September 13, 2010

I'll be honest. One of my first thoughts on this command was, "Despise not little ones? . . . Who despises kids?" I mean, clearly, some people are more gifted in dealing with children than others are - take my sister, for example. She doesn't just tell her class about Goliath. She makes Goliath. Plant a flower? Heh. She'll grow a garden. In fact, she'll travel 1,000+ miles and learn their language if it means reaching a little person's life for Christ. Even though some are less or more involved with children's lives, I don't believe I know one person who despises little ones . . . right? Well, then I remembered Hebrews 12:2, which says,

 "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

What word would you use to replace "despise" in this verse? Did Jesus really have repugnance or contempt for the shame? Let me give you another perspective as we look at the original Greek. In both Hebrews 12:2 and in Matthew 18:10, the word for "despise" is kataphroneo, which means to look down upon, to regard as insignificant, or not worthy of consuming our time and energy. Jesus was not regarding the shame as hard to bear, but rather the opposite - it meant nothing to him for the sake of His objective! The word despise means to shrink in value, literally: to look down at (de-  "down" + specere  "look at").  Is this, perhaps, our attitude towards children? Do we mentally shrink their value?

Children represent the most usable people in God's eyes. They are weak. Dependent. Innocent. Teachable. Spotless from the polluted world around them. Think of the times that Christians cried out to God for a leader; Who did He send? Mighty warriors? Actually, he sent babies... such as Moses, Samuel and Jesus. God loves to take the unlikeliest hero and give him the most daunting challenge of all. Why? Because God gets the credit.

Children should be our role models in more ways than one. Granted, babies get away with a lot more than adults do... there's simply nothing to be desired about a 50-year-old crawling on his hands and feet drooling. But, there are attributes characteristic of children that Jesus treasured to the extreme. So much so that he said,

Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:2-4

Have you ever had the opportunity to minister to bereft children? A friend of mine, Lesley Hoover, recently traveled to China for this very cause! She writes,

Last month, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to China and minister to hundreds of orphans, many of which had special needs or critical health problems. As I spent time with these precious little ones and grew to love them so much, I developed a deeper understanding of God's heart towards children. I have grown up around children and love them dearly, but this was a totally life changing perspective. I was hit in a powerful way with how deeply children matter to God and how deeply He loves each one. 

As I was talking with the head nurse, she told me that every child they receive is considered a 'dying child' in society. No good. Not worth caring for or about. No hope. And the last ones to ever be loved. Many of these children wouldn't even be alive today if not for those laboring in China to be the hands and feet of Christ to these precious little ones. Some of these orphans don't even get a chance to have a family. Children with Downs Syndrome, for example, aren't even put on the list for adoption. They are looked down upon their entire lives. The more I heard, the more my heart broke. I thought, How can this be? How can anyone consider innocent children as not worthy of life, love, or even a family? My mind could hardly comprehend how these children could not be loved or wanted just because they were 'different'. Each child is a precious testimony to the gift of life and dearly loved by our Lord and Savior. 

I thought of so many times in Scripture where children are said to be a gift - a blessing - and here they were, the very 'least of these' in society, despised and rejected. It broke my heart, and I can only imagine how terribly it must grieve the heart of God to see children looked down upon and rejected. They have done nothing to deserve such treatment! And then I thought of my Savior. He too, was looked down upon and rejected, though He didn't deserve it. This same Savior, Who felt what these children feel, Who went through what they are going through, tells us not to look down upon them. For their angels stand in the very presence of God Almighty. I thought of this as I held babies so tiny I could almost hold them with one hand. I thought of this as I walked along the roof and the Wall of Remembrance, praying as I read all the names - tiny little names. Each one the name of a little one who breathed their last without a family this side of Heaven. They are unknown to a world who said, "We don't want aren't important to us." And I wept as I thought, As my God loves these precious little ones, I, who claim to bear His name, can do no less but love them as He does.


Living For Jesus

>> Monday, August 23, 2010

Lord prepare me,
to be a sanctuary,
pure and holy,
tried and true!

be a living,

for you!


  © Blogger template Webnolia by 2009

Back to TOP