Monday, April 13, 2015

Thoughts pack my brain as I sit here to write, this morning. I had an eventful weekend which has me visiting and revisiting it in my mind. Conversations unfold as I look over each thing I recall speaking as I assess and evaluate myself. What did I do well? Where were my challenges? What could I have done differently? Did I glorify God or dishonor Him?

Sunday was especially discouraging for me. I thought I was doing a pretty good job, this past week, in the ministry in which I serve. I felt more confident than ever before…but after getting some feedback, it seems, perhaps I was not doing as well as I had perceived. Which leaves me pondering, if I feel I was performing up to par and really I was not and I could not tell the difference then perhaps I am really not cut out for that particular ministry. Or, maybe we just need more time together to get things fully ironed out. I do not know.

Yet God in His infinite wisdom and being able to see my thoughts and my heart, has redirected me to what is TRULY important, and on what my thinking and prayers should be, constantly.

As I was doing my university work and researching someone about which I had read, I found myself seeking John Piper’s input, as I generally do when I am confused about something faith based. On his site I came across a gem for me, today. It is “When Women Face Their Curse-Ravaged Homes”.
15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:15)
Then suddenly, nothing else --- none of the swirling contemplation of the weekend, etc. --- seemed to matter.

Kim Ransleben wrote,
Our children are our first students, and the constancy of their need is our pervasive teacher. Their cries and wants bring to life the battle of dying to ourselves that another might live. As our children grow up, so do their mothers….

Not only does it sometimes feel like we are being pushed to the “lesser” work, with no voice in the church (much less the world), but being faithful mothers means that we must turn toward the area of our lives that is often the hardest for us to face. Come to find out, we’re right about how painful it is. The curse of Genesis 3 is felt not only in the breadth of the pain in childbearing, but in the depth of the risk known as mothering. From prolonged singleness to struggling marriages, infertility to unplanned pregnancy, the death of a child to the waywardness of our young adult children, women face one grief after the other….

When I read of the women who came before me, I learn that if I serve like Martha, kneel like Mary, acquiesce like our Lord’s mother, serve like Phoebe, and teach like Priscilla, then I can know that forever men will be taught by my life. I don’t need to take on their roles to be effective in Christ’s church.
(By Kim Ransleben. ©2015 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/when-women-face-their-curse-ravaged-homes

The events of this weekend are fading away. The days are gone and I have children to teach about Jesus in the day to day.

16 To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
(Genesis 3:16-19. ESV.)

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Limited in Service: Female Pastor?

When I was a child, I wanted to be a pastor/ minister. I felt God’s pull upon my heart so strong I wanted nothing more than to serve Him in such a capacity. I just knew that was what God had in store for me.

It was not until I was about 30 years old (give or take a couple years) I realized God was never calling me to be a preacher/ teacher. He never goes against His own word (which clearly states women cannot be leaders over men).
12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:12-15. ESV.)
I am not offended…most likely because the Holy Spirit within me is not. If I was walking in the flesh (instead of the spirit) I, personally, would probably be highly insulted.

So, where does that leave me…a person, born female, who desires with all her heart to serve Her God (and Christ Jesus) in a profound way?

Well, as always, I have to look to the word of God. All of us, male or female, adult or child, regardless of nationality or race, etc. are called to proclaim His word.
18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples ofall nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20. ESV.)

Further, I could possibly be a deacon because unlike elders, deacons do not have to be “able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:6-9)…but that might be a stretch. I can teach children and other women (Titus 2:3-5). According to 1 Corinthians 11:5 it looks as though I can pray publicly and prophesy. And, there does not appear to be a limit on spiritual gifts.

In answering the above question, “So where does that leave me?” Pastor John Piper offers the following:
My answer is: 75 percent of the seven billion people in the world—I just checked this to make sure this is a true statement—75 percent of the seven billion people in the world are women or [children] under the age of 15. They have limitless needs of every kind, right? Physical needs and education needs and spiritual needs and relational needs and parenting needs and needs for rescue and endless needs that they have. And my response is: Do anything you want. Care about them. Care about them physically and especially eternally and minister in whatever way you can. ( By John Piper. ©2015 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/the-world-needs-women-ministers.)

Also, he wrote a book called What is the Difference? which has a section in the back with a list of 80 kinds of ministries that are open to women. I guess I will be checking that out to see if anything strikes a chord with me. For now, I will stick with wife & mother (of course), full time student working toward a law degree, part time substitute teacher, and blogger. Thank you, Lord.

(Photo Information.)

Monday, April 06, 2015

There are no guarantees. No promises of, “Build it and they will come.” There is not even a “happily ever after” on this earth. What is assured is a life of struggle.
33I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33. ESV.)

22strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22. ESV.)

4For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5. ESV.)
And an eternity of no more death, suffering, or sadness.
4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4. ESV.)

23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.26They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

So, how must I continue day by day in the world but not of it?
2Do 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. (Romans 12:2. ESV.)
We were created to glorify God.
1 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. 5 Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. 6 I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:1-7. ESV.)

Pastor John Piper states,
If there is a God, as I believe there is, and if he rules the world in his sovereignty, as the Bible says he does, and if he will bring human history to a close according to his plan and appoint to every person his eternal destiny, as Jesus taught that he will, then two of the most important questions for any human being to answer are these:
1) What is God's goal in creating and governing the world?
2) How can I bring my life into alignment with that goal?
For if we don't know his goal and our lives are not in alignment with it, then we will find ourselves at cross purposes with God and excluded from his kingdom in the age to come. It is a fearful thing to be at cross purposes with your maker! But on the other hand, nothing inspires courage and endurance and pluck for daily living like knowing the purpose of God and feeling yourself wholeheartedly in harmony with it. Nothing has nourished the strength of my Christian faith like knowing God's ultimate goal for creation and discovering how to bring my heart and my behavior into alignment with that goal.
(By John Piper. ©2015 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/god-created-us-for-his-glory
27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27. ESV.)

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