Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Excellent Wife: The Discipline of Prayer and Keeping of the Faith

(by: me)

“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6. ESV.)

I have been focusing quite a bit on this scripture lately. I desire to be more disciplined in prayer and it has been a challenge. But, since 2006 to now I have been making progress…though very slow. I often catch myself in foolish thought over this, that, or the other. Instead of racing to my mobile phone to dial a sister in Christ’s number I now stop and pray, bringing all my grievances to the foot of the throne.

James 5:8: You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Proverbs 16:3: Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

Romans 1:8: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.

1 Thessalonians 3:13: so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

1 Peter 4:7: The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

Romans 13:12: The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Philippians 4:5: Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;

Hebrews 10:25: …not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Psalm 37:5: Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

Last night I was reminded of Joseph and how though his brothers sold him into slavery and then he was put into prison for a crime he did not commit, Joseph NEVER took his eyes off of God. He had faith and trusted God had it all figured out and knew better then he did.

After Joseph was sold by his brothers and taken to Egypt, Joseph did not curse God. Rather he persevered and
“[t]he Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. 4So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. 5From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. 6So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate.” (Genesis 39:2-6. ESV.)

The home of Joseph’s master was blessed, though (as I believe) Joseph was the only one in the household who had faith in and obeyed God.

Even when Joseph was placed into prison after being falsely accused
“the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.” (Genesis 39:21-23. ESV.)

Once again, God’s favor and protection were over Joseph though he was in tribulation and (I believe) alone in his faith. However, Joseph did not take his eyes off of God nor did he dwell on his suffering and how unfair the events of his life were. Hence, God blessed everything he did and touched since Joseph was steadfast.

After two whole years (Genesis 41:1) the Pharaoh had a dream and the chief cupbearer remembered Joseph. All this in God’s perfect timing…yep, He had Joseph wait two years! In prison, no less! But did Joseph lose his focus? Nope. He stayed unwavering in His faith and God placed him in power.
“And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?’ 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.’ 41And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’ 42Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. 43And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, ‘Bow the knee!’ Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.’ 45And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:38-45. ESV.)

From the time Joseph was 17 (Genesis 37:2) until the time he was 30 (Genesis 41:46) he was tried in his faith…taken from his homeland, made a slave, convicted of a offense he did not commit, imprisoned, forgotten by the cupbearer, and left in waiting in jail for two years. His tribulation lasted 13 years but God had it all planned out just as He has my life all planned out. I look at Joseph’s life and am greatly encouraged! I want to be like Joseph and not take my eyes off of Christ who strengthens me.

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20. ESV.)

The Marks of Saving Faith (Part 1)

(By John MacArthur)

Churches today are filled with people who hold to a faith that does not save. James referred to this as a "dead faith"-meaning a mere empty profession (James 2:17, 20, 26). Paul wrote to the people in the church at Corinth to test or examine themselves to see if they were truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). As important as it was in Paul's day, how much more important it is for people in our churches today to put their faith to the test and to make sure they have not been deceived.

Continue reading this post.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Importance of a Good Example

(By John MacArthur)

Being a good example is a responsibility all of us share-- not just parents, coaches, and other authority figures. There is great insight in the words of the apostle Paul to a young minister: "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe" (1 Timothy 4:12).

Read this post.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Excellent Wife: Setting the Example at Home

(by: me)

“She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life….Her lamp does not go out at night….She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy….Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed;” (Proverbs 31:12, 18, 20, 25-28. ESV.)

Being half of the members of my household are not followers of Christ, I know they watch me very intently. They want to know how I am going to respond to sin issues. Am I going to sin myself or am I going to speak and behave in a manner that brings God glory? (Not at all to say I am without sin!) Am I going to do them good or am I going to wallow in my own wretchedness? If I am taken off guard it makes having self control and a godly reaction all the more difficult. I have to keep on the full armor of God and be ready for just about anything. Seriously, ANYTHING at any moment. (I have noticed sin goes out of its way to cause trouble for others.) And, I have to maintain focus on God who gives me grace and Christ who strengthens me.

My day to day in this season is Deuteronomy 6:6-9 which says,
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Boy do I drive some people crazy living out this scripture. Perhaps they feel as though they are fastened to Christ’s disciple Paul…(in which case I would be deeply honored).

Deuteronomy 11:18: "You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

Deuteronomy 32:46: he said to them, "Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law.

Psalm 37:31: The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.

Isaiah 51:7: "Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings.

Jeremiah 31:33: But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Deuteronomy 4:9: "Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—

Proverbs 3:3: Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 6:21: Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck.

Proverbs 7:3: bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

Exodus 13:9: And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt.

My family looks to me to answer in a way that is out of the ordinary. They seem almost as though they have come to depend on it, crave it, and appear disappointed beyond measure when I stubble. Hence, (for this and other reasons) I feel my responsibility is to set the example in the home and to continue to point them to Christ…especially the children. I must do as God calls me to do as a godly wife:

Genesis 2:24: For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Proverbs 12:4: An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 18:22: He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 19:14: House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Malachi 2:15a: Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?

Ephesians 5:33: However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

1 Peter 3:4-6: 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. 5For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Eph 5:22-24: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Jesus in all His glory submitted to His Father just as a wife is called to yield to her husband. It is my opinion this in no way makes a woman any less of a person though sin might try to convince a wife otherwise.

1 Timothy 3:11: Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.

Titus 2:10: not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Watch Out for Myths About Fatherhood

(by Albert Mohler)

The role of the father is increasingly problematic in the context of modern American culture. Fatherhood has been marginalized and the rule and authority of fathers have been depreciated, ridiculed, and continuously redefined.

Continue reading this post.

Friday, June 19, 2009

America's Debt to John Calvin

(by John Piper)

In this year of John Calvin’s 500th birthday, I don’t know of a better place to read about his impact on America than Abraham Kuyper’s Lectures on Calvinism given at Princeton Seminary in October 1898. Kuyper was a pastor, a journalist, the founder of the Free University of Amsterdam, and Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

John Calvin and Martin Luther were the twin pillars of the Protestant Reformation. Why do fewer people speak of Luther’s culture-shaping impact on America, but for centuries Calvin has been seen in this light? Kuyper argues,

Luther’s starting-point was the . . . principle of justifying faith; while Calvin’s . . . lay in the general cosmological principle of the sovereignty of God. . . . [Hence] Lutheranism restricted itself to an exclusively ecclesiastical and theological character, while Calvinism put its impress in and outside the Church upon every department of human life.

It is the personal pervasiveness of God’s sovereignty that makes all the difference. This means that “the whole of a man’s life is to be lived as in the Divine Presence.” This “fundamental thought of Calvinism” shaped all of life. “It is from this mother-thought that the all-embracing life system of Calvinism sprang.”

For example, Calvin’s doctrine of “vocation” follows from the fact that every person, great and small, lives “in the Divine Presence.” God’s sovereign purposes govern the simplest occupation. He attends to everyone’s work. This yielded the Protestant work ethic. Huge benefits flow from a cultural shift in which all work is done earnestly and honestly with an eye to God.

Or consider how Calvinism breathed an impulse of freedom into modern history. The decisive principle was

the sovereignty of the Triune God over the whole Cosmos, in all its spheres and kingdoms, visible and invisible. A primordial Sovereignty which eradicates in mankind . . . a threefold . . . supremacy, viz., (1) the sovereignty of the State; (2) the sovereignty in Society; and (3) the sovereignty in the Church.

God’s sovereign claim on every person and every sphere of society relativized all other claims. It began with the churches.

The sovereignty of Christ remains absolutely monarchical, but the government of the Church on earth becomes democratic to its bones and marrow. . . No church may exercise any dominion over another, but . . . all local churches are of equal rank.

This impulse of freedom spread to the political sphere. Calvin and his heirs had a strong predilection for republican government—and an aversion to monarchy. A benevolent dictatorship would be ideal in a sinless world. But in a sinful world, it brings the horrors of tyranny. “Call to mind . . . that Calvinism has captured and guaranteed to us our constitutional civil rights.”

We ask: Why then did Calvin endorse the death of Servetus for heresy? How was this part of his liberating impulse? Kuyper’s answer is helpful.

I not only deplore that . . . I unconditionally disapprove of it; yet not as if it were the expression of a special characteristic of Calvinism, but on the contrary as the fatal after-effect of a system, grey with age, which Calvinism found in existence, under which it had grown up, and from which it had not yet been able entirely to liberate itself.

A thousand years of abuses are not thrown off overnight. But the impulses of liberty, flowing from the decisive principle of the all-embracing sovereignty of God, proved to be unstoppable. “Calvinism has liberated Switzerland, the Netherlands, and England, and in the Pilgrim Fathers has provided the impulse to the prosperity of the United States.”

Kuyper closed his lectures with a claim that for many today sounds preposterous. Do not write him off. Get the book Lectures on Calvinism, and test these words, spoken to Americans in 1898.

In the rise of your university education . . .; in the decentralized . . . character of your local governments; . . . in your championship of free speech, and in your unlimited regard for freedom of conscience; in all this . . . it is demonstrable that you owe this to Calvinism and to Calvinism alone.

(Originally published in World Magazine)

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Expect the Unexpected

One HUGE lesson I have learned as a daughter of the King is to indeed anticipate the unlikely! Tuesday morning I woke up thinking it was just going to be the average day. At 10:30 that morning I received a call from my husband asking me to come and get him. He was stranded right outside of L.A. ROAD TRIP!!! I gathered my crew and headed out the door. From start to finish the trip lasted about 12 hours. I struggled with my sin of anxiety and frustration some but God is so faithful even though I am not!

Now, why was my husband stuck at the bottom of the Grapevine exactly? Well, that's the other bit of a surprise. My husband's mother and stepfather have given us their motorhome/ recreational vehicle! And what a blessing it will truly be to our family!!! We are so excited and thankful for all God gives to us. My husband tells me the R.V. is 28', it is a 1981 model, and it only has 32,000 miles on it.

"For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor?" "Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid?" "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:34-36. ESV.)

The Excellent Wife: Part Two

(by: me)

“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7. NKJV.)

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13. NKJV.)

These two pieces of scripture stand out to me. I love that though we only see what is on the outside, God sees what is on the inside. Only at times do we get a glimpse of what lies in someone’s heart because “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

As I continue reading THE EXCELLENT WIFE by Martha Peace I assess my own marriage and look at all the biblical truths God has taught me through it. Over the course of 11 years I have learned:

1) to humble myself: I used to believe I deserved to be treated a certain way and became frustrated and even at times angry if I was “disrespected”. I struggled with my pride. But, who am I to think I am worthy of anything other than the wrath Jesus consumed for me? I have learned humility;

2) to submit to my husband (unless he is asking me to sin): My brother can tell you when I was younger I used to hold to the belief that what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine also. Further, my childhood friend and neighbor could tell you I was quite the spoiled brat who took my toys and went home if I did not get my way. But, I have learned to yield to my husband and defer to him very well;

3) that I am capable of maintaining a home: I need only to put forth the effort and not obsess. A little bit each day makes a huge difference and I must not stress over it. Slow and steady wins the race and consistency is key;

4) how to trust and have complete faith in God and Christ Jesus: I cannot see the entire canvas nor will I understand things this side of heaven. I know God does all things for the good of those who love Him;

5) I might plan my way but God directs my steps: I might think I know what is best and plan accordingly but God intercedes and guides my path in the way that is truly supreme;

6) to look to God’s word for everything because “it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8). Boy am I thankful for THAT lesson!!! It was a tough refining but I survived and am all the better for it.

7) that love covers a multitude of sins: though I have loved ones who sin against me I have to remind myself I love because God first loved me even when I was wretched and unlovable! And what’s more, Jesus died for me while I was very ugly! Finally,

8) that God is faithful even though I am not:

Deuteronomy 7:9: Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

1 Thessalonians 5:24: He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

2 Thessalonians 3:3: But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

But it was not until just recently I realized God had educated me on all this through my marriage. The pruning is hideous and the lessons seemingly unbearable. But my hope is that when people look at me and my life they may see a reflection of Christ Jesus!

Now, THE EXCELLENT WIFE by Martha Peace is taking my instruction even further. Thank you, Ms. Cindy, for buying me this book. The body of Christ is truly breathtaking!

In chapter three, “A Wife’s Understanding of Sin”, Martha Peace reminds me of Ephesians 4:32 which says, “…forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” How well do I forgive? Am I quick to forgive or slow? And do I truly forgive or do I continue to keep a record of wrongs?

This reminds me of an exercise one of my bible study leaders had assigned. I would like to take a moment to do it now, here. She said to go to 1 Corinthians 13 and replace the word “love” with our name. So, here goes:

“[Brook] suffers long and is kind; [Brook] does not envy; [Brook] does not parade [herself], is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek [her] own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. [Brook] never fails….” (1 Corinthians 13:4-10. NKJV.)

What a beautiful description of what I SHOULD look like! But I am FAR from it! I see here where my work lies and there is LOTS for me to do! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13. NKJV.)

“This God – His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?” (Psalm 18:30-31. ESV.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Excellent Wife: Part One

(by: me)

“I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.” (Psalm 116:1-2. NKJV.)

God hears my prayers and He has not forsaken me. He has granted me His grace and has given me the Holy Spirit. He answers my prayers and permits me wisdom so I may be discerning.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds….Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked down to the ground.” (Psalm 147:3, 5-6. NKJV.)

When I am sinned against He mends my heart and cares for me. He repairs my soul. He guides me in upright ways. My heart overflows with joy. His word resides in my heart and I live according to it. I have received His grace and therefore do good works. I structure this vapor of a life in accordance with Proverbs 31, as I aim to be a godly wife.

Psalm 51:17: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10. NKJV.)

“But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3. NKJV.)

What a blessing to know that though I am called to submit to my husband, he is to yield to Christ just as Christ is obedient to God. So, if I follow this through to conclusion, I see that ultimately God reigns. He sits on high as King, Christ Jesus as Prince, and my husband as, let’s say, duke. So, does that make me a page, a serf a.k.a lowly peasant slave? No, of course not! Nor does it say I am less intelligent, lesser of an equal, or anything like that! It certainly is not about smarts because remember who God has called to train up and to teach the children. So what’s the deal here? I look to Eve for this answer. She was the one deceived by the serpent. And I know I, myself, am very easily swindled! As I have posted before, 1 Timothy 2:12-14 is an excellent reminder for me. It says, “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” (NKJV) This might not sit well for some. But none the less it is what God has ordained.

“For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23. NKJV.)

By the way, have I mentioned how thankful I am for the body? I am, in fact, indescribably grateful for you my beloved sisters in Christ! I love you dearly!

“But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things – that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” (Titus 2:1-5. NKJV.)

Here again, God shows an order He would like followed. The older women are to set a good example and teach the younger women. At least here I am moving up in the ranks. (Just joking.)

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29. NKJV.)

“…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22. NKJV.)

Hebrews 7:19: …for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

Hebrews 10:1: For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

Ephesians 3:12: …in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7. NKJV.)

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13. NKJV.)

Strong in Another’s Strength

(by David Mathis for Desiring God)

Laziness is not the alternative to living in your own strength. Paul talks about being strong in the strength of another.

* Ephesians 6:10: “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

* Colossians 1:29: “I toil [to present everyone mature in Christ], struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

* 2 Timothy 2:1: “Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

* 1 Corinthians 15:10: “By the grace of God I am what I am.... I worked harder than any of [the other apostles], though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

* Romans 15:18: “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me.”

And it’s not only Paul who has this category for being strong in another’s strength. Peter and Hebrews join in as well.

* 1 Peter 4:11: “Whoever serves [do so] as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

* Hebrews 13:20-21: “Now may the God of peace...equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight., through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Both Peter and Hebrews move directly from being strong in another’s strength to praising Jesus. When we forsake the sinful alternatives of passivity and mustering up our own strength, and instead pursue power in another’s power, that Other is mightily honored.

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Spectacular Sins, Part 1

John Piper addresses the topic of God's Sovereignty.

Click here to listen to this audio message.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Excellent Wife

(by: me)

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4)

Currently, I am reading the outstanding book THE EXCELLENT WIFE by Martha Peace. At first I thought I would blog about this book in general but now I think I will actually post as I read, taking it chapter by chapter, day by day. (This is not to say I will necessarily be sticking to one chapter a day.) I just finished a book about the very ugly sins of ungodliness, unthankfulness, pride, selfishness, lack of self control, anger, judgmentalism, jealousy, unwholesome talk, and worldliness (all on extreme levels) and I completed it in five days averaging 77 pages a day. I do not believe I will be able to devour this book as quickly but we shall see how it goes.

The first few chapters are “The Excellent Wife – Who Can Find?”, “A Wife’s Understanding of God – God’s Protective Authority”, “A Wife’s Understanding of Sin – God’s Provision”, “A Wife’s Understanding of Relationships – God’s Pattern”, “A Wife’s Understanding of Marriage – God’s Purpose”, and “A Wife’s Understanding of Her Role – God’s Perfect Plan”. I would love to receive comments from those ladies who have already read this book or are presently reading it also.

“…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue…” (2 Peter 1:3. NKJV.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

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 rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She(F) dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing,and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:10-31. ESV.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:3. ESV.)

So Thankful for Wisdom

(by: me)

Not only am I thankful for the wisdom God gives me in His perfect timing, I am also grateful beyond measure for the wonderful sisters in Christ He has placed in my life! As I sat reading the blog of my dear sister in Christ, Karen, the following scripture she had posted jumped out at me and was a beautiful reminder to me:

2 Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 7:10: For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

Romans 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Karen, I am so appreciative God placed it on your heart to post those! God’s word is so utterly important in my life! He is the rock to which I cling and his word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105). His truths are such blessings to my heart as I struggle with sin, the flesh, and worldliness while fighting the good fight.

1 Peter 4:14: If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.

Psalm 32:10: Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.

Proverbs 17:22: A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.

Ephesians 6:10-12: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

I give thanks to my King for the wisdom He has given me…for each answer to every question asked. And replies will keep on coming as I continue to dig deep into His word on a daily basis. He hears my prayers and gives me what I need. His works are truly AWESOME!

My dear sister in Christ, Kristin, posted this piece of scripture which is dear to her heart during this season and which goes straight to my heart too as I watch God in action all around me as well as in my own life! Ephesians 3:20-21 says,
"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

Defining Discernment

(By John MacArthur)

In its simplest definition, discernment is nothing more than the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. In other words, the ability to think with discernment is synonymous with an ability to think biblically.

Continue reading this post.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Dusty

(by: me)

Losing a pet in our home is always very sad. We get extremely attached to our precious animals and they become part of the family. We do not mourn them as we would a human being but we do have a special place in our heart for them and when they are no longer with us we miss them dearly and our heart hurts.

Dusty (the dust bunny…as I called her) has been with us for a pretty long time. If memory serves I want to say it has been about six or seven years. She was a wonderful pet…very loving, tender, and cuddly. I recall the day the older children in our household picked her out at the pet store. She died rather unexpectedly last night somewhere between 9:00 and 9:30. I went to get her and other rabbit (Snowball) situated for the night. When I saw her sprawled out in her cage I knew something was not right. She had been pretty mellow the entire week and had not eaten very much at all. I picked her up and held her in my arms as she faded away. Her precious little life will truly be missed.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Do you not fear me? declares the LORD.
Do you not tremble before me?
I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea,
a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;
though the waves toss, they cannot prevail;
though they roar, they cannot pass over it. (Jer 5:22. ESV.)

Beautiful Reminders of God’s Sovereignty

(by: me)

Darn the flesh which seeks to be praised! As if battling my sin was not hard enough I also have to contend with the flesh which tries to keep me self centered instead of Christ centered. It’s not all about me dog gone it!

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15. ESV.)

I love that piece of scripture! Oh, how dangerous the desires of the flesh truly are…and that includes self-centeredness. When I am doing laundry and/or cleaning house my thoughts are consumed by foolishness until I am jabbed by the Holy Spirit and realize I am not taking each thought captive. Minutes, maybe even hours are wasted in empty, flesh satisfying thought. But thank God for His grace and reminders of His sovereignty!!!

Job 15:35: They conceive trouble and bring forth futility; their womb prepares deceit.

Psalm 7:14: Behold the wicked brings forth iniquity; Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood.

Isaiah 59:4: No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.

Romans 5:12: Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned –

Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This week I have seen two breathless reminders of God’s power, control, and His amazing grace and mercy. Wednesday night we returned from a dinner outing to a clear sky with no sign of a disturbance on the horizon. One of the older children in my home was on the phone with a friend of hers who lives about an hour away. Her friend was commenting on the intense thunder storm that was rumbling outside her home. We thought nothing of it and continued our usual evening routine with bedtime at its regular hour. Two 30 in the morning the household (except for the younger children) was awakened by severe lightning and house shuddering thunder. The flashes of lightning were blinding and when I first woke up I thought we were experiencing an earthquake, the thunder was so forceful. I felt so small and prayed for God’s mercy on our family and home. The fear of a lightning strike and fire played through my mind until I was comforted by the Holy Spirit and was able to relax. I counted the seconds between lightning flashes and thunder claps as I slowly fell back to sleep.

Friday held yet another unbelievable display of our King’s supremacy, authority, forgiveness and compassion. My dear sister in Christ and her family has been in a nine to ten month journey toward adopting two precious boys from Ethiopia. The experience has been a roller coaster of immeasurable joy, heights of delight, nearly unbearable waiting, and depths of sadness. After eight months of anticipation the adoption came to a surprising end when a biological parent returned and did not want the boys to be adopted. It seemed the story was over. We rejoiced as the children were going to be reunited with their parent however there was a great sadness they were not going to be joining my sister in Christ’s family. The adoption process had to start all over again with two, new beautiful children. About a month and half later (just a few days ago) the family was notified the original children (the two boys) were theirs and they can go and pick them up next month. God had done what seemed impossible. The story had not ended, rather it was just beginning. I was reminded of Abraham and Sarah who learned NOTHING is unworkable for God. EVERYTHING is attainable by Him whether it is regarding an adoption, a hardened heart toward Him, a sick child, physical or mental illness, etc.

Job 12:7-9: “But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this,”…

Psalm 19:1-6: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

Jeremiah 5:22: “Do you not fear Me?” says the Lord. “Will you not tremble at My presence, who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it.”

My faith and trust must stay in the Lord. My sin of self centeredness, doubt, fear, frustration, anxiety, discontentment, unthankfulness, pride, impatience, and worldliness must not take my focus from my King. I must remain Christ centered and not self centered!

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:31-34. NKJV.)

Friday, June 05, 2009

His Invisible Attributes

"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." (Romans 1:20.)


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