Monday, November 19, 2007

Recent Ponderings

I have soooo many thoughts going through my head...sometimes it hurts. So many things the Lord continues to put on my heart and mind. So many things I wish I had the courage and guts to say, and so many times I fail. I know God has given me a voice to be used for Him, and sometimes I feel guilt singing "Take my Life and Let it Be" because I pray "Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee" and yet, when I know God is speaking to my heart...I neglect to follow. So I am going to ponder aloud on various topics that are on my heart...and I would love to hear any of you speak up as well (I pray to have a teachable spirit and an open heart for God's Word!).
Thursday night, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the film "Amazing Grace" the story of William Wilberforce. (As a funny siden note, I am trying to convince him that Ioan would be a great name for a son if that is what we are having...that is the name of the actor who played William Wilberforce and I was intriqued by his I researched it. It means "Gift of God" and is pronounced yo-an. I love it...anyone agree with me! :) ) This movie was amazing in its account of his life. I have read only a little on his life, but want to read more as I was encouraged by the way God used him to make a difference in the lives of so many people and even the world. William struggled with how to use his life for God. Should he devote his life to the church, should he stay in politice? He wrestled with the fact that "God found Him" and what that meant in His life.
I too sometimes struggle with how I can best bring God glory. I often feel like I am overwhelmed with a million things. There are so many people God has brought into my life (some needing more time and attention than others), but how can I make the greatest impact in my life. I want to encourage other women (especially the teens with whom I spend time with) to focus on living for God, but what does that entail? What does God want for us?
I want to say that while William's life is amazing, I was impressed with his wife in the film. She served her husband and supported and cheered him. She was a balm to the sickness of his life. He was frail and she provided a great deal of health to him. Amazing what that woman could do, not because she was out rallying with him, but her service,love, and devotion to him at home impacted him in a great way. Wow! I was humbled by this.
These days there are lots of opinions and dicussions on our roles as women. Are we really called only to serve our husbands and children and those who enter our home, or can we be in leadership positions in the church or even preach if we are gifted by God in the areas of teaching and preaching? This is a huge battle among women today. Many feel like some Christians put shackles on women simply because they are women and certain things are taboo. Others are now finding so much freedom in Christ because we are equal in Him and therefore can be free to do what we feel God has called us to do (be it even preach or teach) because of the equality and love we have in Christ. What does God want for us, for me as a wife and mother, for my daughters? I believe strongly in the inerrancy of Scripture and that all things written in it are for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (II Timothy 3:16) How does His word work out in my life?
I very strongly believe that God calls us as wives to focus first on being pleasing to Him- to love and adore Him above all else. Paul gave us an example to follow in seeking to be well pleasing to God. We are called also to be to the praise and glory of God. How can I as a wife bring honor and glory to God? Firstly, I believe by keeping His commandments. Scripture says that if we love Jesus we will obey His commands. (I John speaks alot about it as well as Jn. 15. Please note that I am not being exhaustive on this). Secondly, I believe that as a wife I bring glory to God by honoring and submitting to my husband. I love that Prov. 31 says that the virtuous woman does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life. He doesn't have anything to worry about, because he knows that his wife has his best in mind. I love the example and admonishment in Ephesians to be submissive to our husbands just as the church submits in everything. Christ is our chief just as our husbands are. (The word head in this passage means chief or master lord according to Strongs Concordance.) We are called as wives to look out for our husband's good and to submit to him in everything. (I do not believe in disobeying our Lord to follow our husband's leadership and in cases of abuse God has set up authorities such as the church and even our local, state, and federal government for protection in such cases.) I also love the example of submission in I Peter 2 and 3. Christ submitted Himself to God when treated unjustly by those who abused Him it says at the end of chapter 2, and then it says for wives to likewise submit themselves to their own husbands in everything. Wow! What a powerful picture of what we as wives need to do. What about our place of service outside of our husbands? There is also our children. As parents, we are called to train our children to be like Christ and to follow and obey Him! We are called to be teachers of our children!
I also love the Titus encouragement for what we are do do if we are godly. Older women are called to teach the younger women to "love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." God's Word is clear about what older woman are to encourage younger women in. But I ask ~Where are the older women who can train the younger ones? These character qualities are not found often in the lives of older women in the church. I find it interesting that there are inward characteristics mentioned (self-controlled, pure, kind), but there are even more inrelation to others and they have to deal with one's own home (love husband and children, work at home, submit to own husbands). What about outside the home? It is not there. It is not in I Timothy 2, I Peter 3, Proverbs 31 has her purchasing outside of the home, but everything else is home centered! If that is what is stressed to women in Scripture (loveing and serving one's husband, loveing and caring for one's children, watching over the ways of one's household, showing hospitality in ones home) why do we argue and demand that something that is not mentioned (working/serving outside of one's home) is okay and can be focused on? I mean, if we have all that we are called by God to do in a glorifying way and excellently, then doing above and beyond would be no problem in my book, because they are not mentioned in Scripture as beoing sin. But I see the family and church struggleing often to bring glory and honor to the Lord in these specific callings because if they were done well, churches and home lives would be drastically different. Families are failing (not just in the secular homes, but in the Christian homes)and churches are falling apart. I do believe part of it is our fallen sinful world, but I also believe it is because we do things God doesn't call us to do and we neglect the things He specifically calls us to focus on.
If you can't tell, I am passionate about this one! I love reading about women who made a difference in their homes, like William Wilberforce's wife and Sarah Edwards. I don't think that all those who have chosen to serve/work outside the home are sining. But I do think that there is a problem in our culture and in our churches when the home is neglected and things that are specifically spelled out in Scripture for us to do and ways for us to live are sorely neglected. We are called to reach a dying world for Christ. They will not see Christ in us if we tear down one another and we dont' start looking at God's word and live how He has called us to live. Whether it be in 70AD or 2007 AD, God's instructions do not change with the Times. Pray for me. Pray that I will seek to fulfill what God has specifically called me to first-and do it excellently-before seeking to follow something that is beyond what God has said.

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