“It is with a heavy, heavy heart that I write to ask your fervent and continual prayers for my dear brother and friend, Lorimer Arendse, who was diagnosed 2 days ago with Stage 4 Lung Cancer that has apparently spread “all over his body”.”
~from an email
We, as finite creatures- tend to drift. To float away weakly after the pleasures of the world. We exchange the wonderful blessings of Christ Jesus, for the fleeting pleasures of sin. It’s a rip-off, but we don’t mind. It doesn’t matter to us. But it should.
Many of you have probably heard the C.S Lewis quote about the children being more content with mud pies than with the vacation at the beach. That’s us. We’ll take the mud pies, disguised to look like candy- and devour them.
But there’s good news.
We’re not given over to our sin as unbelievers are. The Lord will never forsake His own. He pursues us, He loves us freely. And above all- He convicts us. Have you ever felt that terrible poke right before doing what you know is wrong? Most of the time, people refer to that as your conscience. But did you know that the Holy Spirit, while being a comforter- is also a convicter? God doesn’t wink at sin, and He has indwelt us in the person of the Spirit. He is merciful and gracious.
I feel that the things that I have been doing are drowning out the love that I ought to have for God. I cry out, asking why God isn’t answering. Why isn’t He there? Well, He is. Sometimes God doesn’t answer the way we want Him to. Sometimes we alienate ourselves from Him. We neglect reading His Word and praying. And then we wonder why we don’t ‘feel’ Him there.
The Psalm most applicable that I can think of to repentance (turning away to return) is Psalm 32. It tells us what happens when we do not confess, and I gives us encouragement to return.
Blessed Are the Forgiven
A Maskil of David.
” Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
Sadly, sometimes it’s so easily said, and not easily done at all. I know when I’m in a ‘spiritual rut’ or find myself backsliding back into sin- sometimes the last thing I want is to return. Even though He loves me freely. Even though my current path will only lead to destruction. I still am content to wallow in the mud.
Sometimes we must wallow in the mud for a while to be brought to utter humility. We see our need of Him more clearly when He ‘hides His face’ from us for a while. But then, like the prodigal son—we return. He brings us back like lost sheep into His fold. We feast once again on green pastures. He restores our cast-down souls. He gives us drink from the clear, still waters.
He makes us to lie down in peace.
“Growing up is never straight forward. There are moments when everything is fine, and other moments where you realize that there are certain memories that you’ll never get back, and certain people that are going to change, and the hardest part is knowing that there’s nothing you can do except watch them.”
“One of the oddest things about being grown-up was looking back at something you thought you knew and finding out the truth of it was completely different from what you had always believed.”
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
~1 Corinthians 13:11
Have you had any similar thoughts?
Do you have any favorite childhood memories?
What is ONE memory that you never want to forget?
p.s The cake for the post is the one I made for Hannah’s birthday. It was a two layer cake, one layer raspberry- the other vanilla. With chocolate cream cheese frosting, and strawberries on top.
This post is one that’s been set rather immediately on my mind because of some things that have been going on in my life.
This isn’t a post of self-pity.
This isn’t a post telling you it’s all someone else’s fault.
This isn’t a post to tell you if you forgive someone they’ll be automatically changed.
Sometimes life seems like those broken pieces of glass. Getting broken is painful. Being sinned against (and sinning against someone else) hurts. There isn’t an easy fix all the time. Not every relationship can be fixed by simply setting up a day, meeting,
T A L K I N G IT OUT.
People will probably be bitter, have scars, and just be hurt in general. Forgiving someone isn’t just saying you’re sorry something happened. It’s much more difficult than that. If it was that easy, probably no one would have any problem with saying it. True forgiveness is HARD and takes a big dose of grace and humility. Asking forgiveness takes a pride-smashin’ session. And forgiving someone? It takes exactly the same.
For a while, I was feeling pretty comfortable with life (probably a bad sign). There were maybe a few small arguments once in a while…nothing major though. Then, out of the blue to me (also probably a bad sign) things starting coming up. I ended up hurt. There was a lot of emotional taxation. There still is. I was also angry. I didn’t understand why it was happening to me, or what I has done wrong in the particular situation. But I can already see it being used for good. It hurts, it’s maybe very inconvenient, and it makes me sad–but God has been drawing me nearer to Him through it.
Motivation for forgiving others…
“Why should I forgive someone (especially if they don’t even ASK forgiveness) ?” that question was going around in my head. At one point, someone asked me if I hated them and if I didn’t, why didn’t I? I was so tempted to just run off feeling even more hurt. But in that moment someone else told me to ‘start with the obvious’. Now, that probably doesn’t make much sense, but thankfully- I knew just what was meant. The person I was dealing with was a ______ in Christ. Christ had forgiven them with His blood- just the same as He’d saved me. I had no right, absolutely none- to hate the person. Yes, I was hurt. But I have been commanded to love, not to hate.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
~Ephesians 4:32, ESV.
You have every reason to love, and NO REASON to hate. Especially someone who is your brother or sister in Christ. If I could remember that every time I wronged someone or was wronged- there would be a huge forgiveness party! We would all be asking forgiveness.
WE HAVE EVERY MOTIVATION IN CHRIST.
This post is a little different than my normal posts, but I feel it’s an important thing to talk about especially in light of our current culture. One thing that is sad to me–is the fact that many people who try to speak to women don’t speak from the Bible. I’ll just preface this by saying that if you read the Bible–none of this will be new to you. But I hope that it will be an encouragement just the same. This post will strive to ask and answer specific questions about women straight from the Bible–and will mainly focus on what a women is to be. (NOTE: this is by no means an exhaustive post.)
What Should a Woman’s Main Concern Be?
A Christian woman’s main concern should be delighting in the Lord. Her love for Him will be the basis for all the other things that flow from this. If she loves the Lord- she will obey Him. This is really true for any believer, man or woman. But it is so very crucial.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
“‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'”
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
How Should a Woman Look or Dress?
And now we get into common and nitty gritty questions. They’re important though. I am honestly not going to give any extensive detail or place myself as an authority on the matter. I will simply state what the Bible says about this. That way if anyone is offended it’s not me you can be mad at 😉 . I will add that I firmly agree with what the Bible says and believe ALL Christians should as well (you may take offence at that if you wish 😦 🙂 ) And no, that is NOT a legalistic comment. It is simply saying that if you are a Christian and believe the Bible (I don’t see how you could be Christian and disbelieve the Bible)–then you ought to also obey God by obeying the Bible.
How should I dress?
“A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”
The first principle clearly laid out in Scripture is that we are not to wear a man’s garment and vice versa for the men. I won’t tell you that this verse means you can’t wear pants or you have to wear skirts. We’re not going there and I don’t think there’s much evidence that can be pulled out of the hat (yes there is ‘evidence’ that can be found when one is searching for it really hard. But we need to be very careful that we don’t pervert Scripture or become legalists). This is the basic principle that is there.
1 Peter 3:3-4
“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
1 Timothy 2:9
“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire…”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
I am going to ask you not to get hung up on the parts which talk about braided hair and gold jewelry. To do so would be to lose the meaning and actual force of the passage. I would say that the second principle is dress modestly. And as I say that–I would ask you to keep in mind that our love for God is the reason we do this. It’s not ultimately just so that we help our brothers in Christ not to stumble (it is that as well). It’s because it needs to be our delight to honor the Lord. But if you feel like you want something in the form of actual advice on the topic I’ll mention something my dear mother mentioned to me. When you’re considering how to dress ask yourself: “Can I wear this outfit to the glory of God?” and also: “Am I seeking someone’s approval wearing these clothes?”. Yes, it’s generic. But it’s also a great litmus test. Note: also apply this test to the way you choose to look.
How Should a Woman Act?
“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young 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.”
1 Timothy 2:11-12
“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”
One thing that you will find continuously in the Bible ever since woman was created- is submission. Now I know many of you are probably not married. I’m not either for that matter 😉 . But daughters are to submit to their fathers as they would submit to Christ. Keep in mind the first thing I said. It’s our love for Christ that provokes our obedience to Him.
Obviously being submissive and showing honor to you husband or father or ruling authorities isn’t the ONLY way we’re supposed to act. Proverbs 31:26 (above) gives us some helpful advice. Another part of Proverbs 31 (everyone knows Proverbs 31) says–
“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar…”
“She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.”
The Proverbs 31 woman isn’t a sissy- she’s STRONG. We do need to be careful that we don’t go out of what the passage intends when it says she’s strong. This woman is strong of character- she works hard. She is diligent. She opens her mouth in wisdom. She is generous to the poor. We’re not saying a worldly kind of strong here. The world wants to make you think that a woman is more like a man than a woman. It wants you to confuse your God-given role as wife, daughter, and mother. It doesn’t want you to think that being under a man’s authority is a high calling. It wants you to think children are a hindrance. An inconvenience. In short, it wants you to be selfish. It wants you to be consumed with a career. It doesn’t want you to have any time for family.
This is why it’s so very important that we understand who we are made to be. We are to be followers. But not of this world. We are to follow Christ wherever he leads us. We are not to be sniveling little weaklings either however. The Proverbs 31 woman shows us that.
How Should a Woman View the World?
What Should a Woman’s Involvement in the World Be?
I’m going to lump these two together because they’re so very related.
“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
1 John 2:15-17
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
These verses while somewhat scary-sounding, make themselves abundantly clear. We are to be in this world–but not OF this world. Our citizenship isn’t in America (or anywhere else for that matter)–but rather in Heaven. If we are children of God, then we are children whose home is in Heaven.
As I said, this ISN’T an exhaustive post. This is all that I will cover for the time being. I hope this was encouraging and helpful to you. It has been very good for me to just be writing it. Mostly because I get to search the Word for specific verses on being a woman.
What are your thoughts on this topic?
Do you struggle with the role and function of Biblical submission?
Did you disagree with any of this as a fellow believer?