Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Submission to Giving

What do you think is the greatest stumbling block to an American believer living hard for Christ? I would say materialism and all of the categories it includes. This is our Goliath - complacency, and every day we choose to draw stones from the stream of worldly pacifiers or from the stream that holds all of the promises of God. We know which stones will knock out our giants but the key is to choose the right ones day by day.

Escaping the power of materialism can be done by the discipline and grace of giving. A lot of times we need to ask God to give us a spirit of giving because it doesn't exactly come naturally to all of us. Giving in a way that costs us something is a must whether it's time, energy, or money. I keep coming up against my failure to follow through on the inner voice calling me to give in a situation. I'll have every intention of doing it but it slips away quietly and the problem is, I don't give it another thought. It makes it easier for the next "giving moment" to slip away. We all know the popular quote" the road to Hell is paved with good intentions" and although not complete in its theological accuracy, it does have some resounding truth.

For Christian women, doing good to others (or "good deeds") is an important way to give. We do this because we love God and want to please Him. Giving attention to your family is of utmost importance, but don't neglect good deeds to others outside your comfort zone! In Galatians 6:9,10 we are called to "not grow weary of doing good... let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." This means to our brothers and sisters in Christ and to those who are lost.

So how do we put this into practice? First, let's stop letting "giving moments" go by and keep our eyes open for ways to serve others. If you find yourself in a situation where you don't spend a lot of time outside the home (mothers with young children!), ask the Lord to give you opportunities. There is a reason the Bible speaks unrelentingly about widows and orphans - they are some of the most lonely persons in need of care and friendship. Don't just think of orphans as children in orphanages. There are so many children whose parents aren't home very much, who are in foster care, or who don't know the Lord that we can minister to and love. There are also older men and women whose spouses are in a nursing home or have Alzheimer's. You can also take the role of "need filler" at your church by letting the leadership know that you're available when there's a need. For instance, if the person in charge of planning meals for the sick doesn't get enough volunteers, you've let them know they can call you.

Although "we are not saved by works, we were created for good works" (Barbara Hughes)... Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Here are some other verses to contemplate on the subject:

1 Pet. 2:20; 3:13-14; John 9:4; Eph. 4:11-12;
2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:58; Acts 9:36; Heb 10:24-25
Col. 3:12-14; Matt. 25:34-36; James 1:27; 2:1-7

The House by the Side of the Road

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the peace of their self-content;
There are souls, like stars, that swell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;

There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran;
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by --
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban;
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope
The men who are faint with strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears --
Both parts of an infinite plan;
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by --
They are good, they are bad, they are weak.
they are strong.
Wise, foolish -- so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat
Or hurl the cynic's ban?--
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
--Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

Friday, February 16, 2007


I don't mean to be contrary to any sentiment of my soul
But no matter the day or if prosperity fades away, there will be no famine of love
'Cause no matter the sunlight that gets lost in the sky, no cloud will cover my soul
Or when peace fades away in the darkness of the day, your presence I will still want more

Happy is my heart, when my day gets its start, getting a portion of your time
Though the calendar has its days, where they quickly fly away, you slow down my heart
You pour coffee in my cup and I drink it up and watch our children play
And I'm thankful for the wife I adore and the life I don't deserve

I, I will be laboring, to be sweetly savoring you all my life
I know that I can't be left alone too long or I will go out of my mind

So happy valentine, my darling!
I will labor to survive our love all my life.

This was the song my husband wrote me for Valentine's Day. We were heading out to my favorite Mediterranean restaurant for dinner but John took me up to one of the school piano rooms first to sing it to me. I've been so thankful this year for where we are as a family physically and spiritually, my husband, my daughter and all of the precious things in between. This was one of those things in between.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


A quote from "Communion with God" by John Owen:

"In the hard censures and tongue-persecutions which the saints meet withal in the streets of the world, they may run with their moanings unto their Father, and be comforted. 'As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you,' saith the Lord, Isa. lxvi. 13. So that the soul may say, 'If I have hatred in the world, I will go where I am sure of love. Though all others are hard to me, yet my Father is tender and full of compassion: I will go to him, and satisfy myself in him. Here I am accounted vile, frowned on, and rejected; but I have honour and love with him, whose kindness is better than life itself. There I shall have all things in the fountain, which others have but in the drops. There is in my Father's love every thing desirable: there is the sweetness of all mercies in the abstract itself, and that fully and durably.'"

Why is it that we run to things that are so pale in comparison to the love of our Father God? It is true that those who haven't been touched yet by the Holy Spirit desire only evil and can't even comprehend desiring God(Rom. 3:10-18) But what about those of us who have tasted the sweetness of salvation? Why do young women seek after the love of men or young men try to find "acceptance" and pleasure through pornography? Or the workaholic through working or a business man through money? Even the middle-aged American who finds their delight in food. The list could go on. Have you ever turned completely to God and asked him to satisfy all of your deep desires? It seems easy to go by in life, thinking about loving God when I crisis comes and then calling out to him. But did you know that when you ask him daily to satisfy you in even the most meager way that those things which will never quench your thirst will begin to fade away? You will stop depending on money, food, sex, acceptance, and excitement: things that will never give you the peace you're really looking for. It's almost like being on a roller coaster. You lie in wait for the next thing that will thrill you so you can be distracted from the emptiness caused by not being completely satisfied in God. So why not get off the roller coaster? And there [you] shall have all things in the fountain, which others have but in the drops.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Today could have been categorized as monotonous. Corinne woke up with a runny nose and we stayed inside because it was cold. Anna slept at her regular nap times and I did the dishes, read books to the girls, and tried to come up with healthy things for Corinne to eat. Nobody really called with any news and I didn't have any news to call anyone about. To joe-shmoe on the street it would probably seem so dull. The truth is, I woke up with John at 5:30 as usual, drank coffee and we had our devotions. It was absolutely wonderful! I got to read a great portion of Scripture, an incredible quote by Tozer enveloped in a chapter of my book about worship, and then got to pray for a bazillion people and things that have been on my mind. My monotone day was somehow glorifying to God because it was lived for Him and (only by His grace) done with a joyful spirit. I'm ever so thankful that I can absorb these days that for some would be colorless because it is what God has set before me to do. For all of us mothers out there who change diapers and wipe snot (there was surely a lot in this household today), let's be zealous in our tasks and purposefully praise the God of the universe for giving us one of the most important ministries in the entire world. Every day our attitudes and choices are seen by our families, and our children are learning how to respond to life by what they see. I think that if we take one day at a time and give each one to God then they will begin to string together into a legacy of faithfulness and perseverance.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Super Bowl Sunday... what a day in America! It's almost as patriotic as July 4th. We are celebrating, I mean watching, the Colts and the Bears hash it out with our small group. I'll be thinking of my dad, of course, glued to the tube, enjoying one of his favorite pastimes and part of me will wish we could watch the game with him. I am going to rebel against the women in our group this year and actually watch the game! The past few years I haven't cared much about the teams but poor Peyton should really win a Super Bowl and what isn't to like about Tony Dungee? That man loves the Lord. For all of us who will consume thousands of calories tonight and have our opinions tomorrow about what should or shouldn't have happened during the game, let's not forget about how comfortable we are and how uncomfortable most of the world is. I've been thinking of a woman in Turkey we heard about at church today who is a refugee from a country we aren't supposed to talk about. She has two children, no money, and in the final stages of breast cancer that will cost $6,000 to treat! The fact is, as little money as John and I have right now, I know we could easily come up enough money to save my life. This woman can't even hope for it, realistically, and there are billions of people worse off than she. So this is something I've dwelt on this week and it's been sobering. Our church has decided to send this woman the tithes and offerings from 3 services and I can't wait to see if it's enough. I wonder what the look on her face will be when she gets the money to pay for her massive mastectomy... what will her kids think? May all glory go to God for his mercy to her - and to us!