Thursday, March 29, 2007
I received the CDs of the Listener's Bible, which are great for listening to around the house and in the car. I noticed already that, although I may not hear every verse, certain verses do stand out and I'll go and look them up later. I've been listening to Proverbs for the last few days and it is also a really helpful way to pick up on the broad or recurring themes of a book. I've got the ESV version but it is also available in the NIV or KJV.
I was also given the journalling version of the ESV. I don't know about you but I am not very good at journalling, although I'd like to be better. This bible has columns either side of the text to give you space to write sermon notes, or your own thoughts and meditations. As I'm (slowly!) making my way through Isaiah, I'm writing things down in a notebook but I was keen to make some notes actually in the bible and this will allow me to do that. Be warned though, the text is quite small and your writing needs to be small as well!
My Mum gave me John Piper's recent book What Jesus Demands from the World which comes highly recommended and I was also given A Steadfast Heart by Elise Fitzpatrick. Look out for reviews of these over the next few months.
Finally, my good friend Nicki gave me a new copy of one of favourite books, Stepping Heavenward as well as Stephen J Nichols' book, Heaven on Earth: Capturing Jonathan Edwards's Vision of Living In Between.
Anyway, I'd better sign off now as I have some reading to do!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Several songs stand out for me including the new arrangements of "Draw me Nearer" by Fanny Crosby and "I Surrender All" by Judson W. Van De Venter. Another favourite is a song based on an ancient Chinese hymn text, "Sing His Love":
"Though the world may change its fashionIt's a good CD for listening to in the kitchen or the car, or you could certainly use it to prompt private worship. Musically, there are no surprises, but that is partly why I like Caedmon's Call - you know what you will get, and it's usually pretty good!
Yet our God is ever the same
His compassion and His covenant
Through all ages will remain"
Monday, March 26, 2007
"Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven"Susannah Spurgeon writes:
"When my soul is tossed on the rough waves of the troubled sea of this life, if I can but cast out the anchor of hope into the depths of God's blessed will, it holds fast at once and the winds and the waves are rebuked...
God's plans and purposes for me, and for you, dear reader, were all made and determined on from the beginning; and as they are worked out day by day in our lives, how wise should we be if, with joyful certainty, we accepted each unfolding of his will as a proof of his faithfulness and love! When once I, as a believer, can say from my heart, 'This is the will of God concerning me', it matters not what the 'this' is - whether it be a small domestic worry, or the severance of the dearest earthly ties - the fact that it is his most blessed will, takes all the fierce sting out of the trouble, and leaves it powerless to hurt or hinder the peace of my soul. There is all the difference between the murderous blows of an enemy, and the needful chastisement of a loving father's hand! The Lord may make us sore, but he will bind us up. He may wound but his hands make whole. "
I'm not sure what lies before you week, but we can be sure that whatever comes, it is God's will. What a difference it would make to my life if everyday I "accepted each unfolding of his will as a proof of his faithfulness and love". This week, let's allow that truth to transform the way we think about our difficult job, the discipline and routine of home-making or the particular struggles we are facing.
Friday, March 23, 2007
- Mums - If you are looking for a reason to have another baby, here are ten.
- The Family Room link us to a few reminders on not what to do as parents. For further explanation and elaboration on "How To Raise a Pharisee" read here.
- Girltalk have a new feature called Girl-to-Girl-Talk. Carolyn explains: "On occasion we will introduce you to godly women who are making a significant difference in the lives of others both in the church and in our culture". I am trying not to be jealous (!) but their first interview is with Noel Piper! For starters, read here, and then part 1, part 2 & part 3.
- Lydia has written two must read articles for all you control freaks out there! Read Control Freaks and Getting Control of the Need to Control....Ouch!!
- Check out the audio of the Different By Design Conference from February 2007. Speakers included C.J. Mahaney, Ligon Duncan, Wayne Grudem and Russell Moore. (HT: JT)
- Finally, Love's Difficulty is the subject of Carolyn McCulley's recent post and book recommendation - Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Paul Tripp and Tim Lane.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Credenda looks to offer a wealth of valuable insights for women on marriage and motherhood. I have not read every article, but what I have sampled has been more than worthwhile. So click on over to those Femina and Childer articles. There is also an abundance of other issues they cover, no less than the ones on Husbandry!
We are always looking to refresh and update our resources at the foot of the blog. So if you have any material that you would recommend in the area of being a godly wife and mother, please let us know. Until then, the books and links we have listed already come highly recommended.
Our next part in the Titus 2 Truth series will look at self-control. This might not seem as one of the more important virtues to be learned, however, Catriona and I can testify that it is! At our last meeting with the young wives and mums in our church, we fedback on what trait our husbands thought we should grow in from the list in Titus 2:4-5. More than half said self-control! So, if you want to see what we are looking to learn, we hope to bring you our first installment in the next week or so.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Birth Order of Children:
1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.
Preparing for the Birth:
1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don't bother because you remember that last time - breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.
The Layette/Baby Clothing:
1st baby: You pre-wash newborn's clothes, colour-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?
1st baby: At the first sign of distress--a whimper, a frown--you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how to wind the mechanical swing.
1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.
1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every two to three hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.
1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.
1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.
1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of every day watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.
1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd child: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
3rd child: When third child swallows a coin, you deduct it from his allowance.
Monday, March 19, 2007
There are not many times when any of us get too personal on this blog. However, on the back of a particularly difficult weekend in terms of how I am called to help my husband in ministry, these words are a fresh reminder of my need to keep the glory of God as my focus when tempted to react to situations that He has called me otherwise to be obedient and faithful. Therefore, I want to share, some of Susannah and Charles' story, and in particular, Susannah's response to her call to be a helper to her husband in ministry. Charles Ray writes in his biography:
The constant absence from home of Charles Haddon Spurgeon in fulfilment of his preaching engagements were sources of sore trial to the young wife. Often tired of waiting in the sitting-room late at night for his return, she would pace up and down the passage, praying that he might be brought back in safety to his home, and with what a thrill of joy and thankfulness did she open the door and welcome him, when his step was heard outside.Like Susannah, I have shed my bucket load of tears, not least this weekend! There are so many times that I doubt whether I can really cope being married to a pastor and his ministry! Yet, I know that God has called each person to live sacrificially in order that he can fulfil his purposes through us. Perhaps God is asking you to sacrifice some kind of comfort, finance, relationship or even your spouse, so that his Kingdom can be advanced.
Once and only once she broke down, when her dear one was about to leave in the early morning for a distant mission, and the tears could not be kept back. 'Wifey,' said her husband, 'do yout think that when any of the children of Israel brought a lamb to the Lord's altar as an offering to him they stood and wept over it when they had seen it laid there?' and when she replied in the negative, he added, tenderly, 'Well don't you see, you are giving me to God in letting me go to preach the gospel to poor sinners, and do you think he likes to see you cry over your sacrifice?'
'Could ever a rebuke have been more sweetly and graciously given?' says Mrs Spurgeon. 'It sank deep into my heart, carrying comfort with it and thenceforward when I parted with him, the tears were scarcely ever allowed to show themselves, or if a stray one or two dared to run over the boundaries he would say, "What! crying over your lamb, wifey?" and this reminder would quickly dry them up, and bring a smile in their place.'
For me, this weekend did not demand much from my life, except a willing and obedient spirit to support my husband and free him to to do his job. The irony of the whole weekend is that it was a quiet one in terms of preaching, or leading the church service, and yet, the small things he needed to do did not have my full support. My prayer once again is that God would forgive me and guard me from resentment and selfishness, and instead, grant me a willing spirit to lay daily on the altar the sacrifices he demands.
Friday, March 16, 2007
As I 'hit the books' to gain some godly wisdom and advice I was struck by something that Carolyn Mahaney shares in her book, Feminine Appeal. In looking for inspiration on how to discipline, I was challenged more about the attitudes and thoughts I have about my son (and daughter too, as she has her moments!). So many times after it seems World War III has erupted and ended, I'm left thinking negative things about Glen and I ponder on the frustration, hard work, tiredness and burden of it all. Carolyn writes:
"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!" Psalm 127:3-5
What words or images come to mind when you think about your children? Are you inclined like I was to think: work, responsibility, sacrifice, burden, more work? Look at the words the psalmist used to describe children: heritage, fruit, reward, arrows. Then he followed with this exclamation: "Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!"In the next couple of months our quiver will be the recipient of yet another arrow. So many times when things get difficult with the little rewards I already have, I panic at how I'll manage with another. My challenge to you and more importantly, myself, is to think tender thoughts of my children despite their wayward behaviour. Although I'm not to blame for my children's sinful behaviour, as a parent, I am held responsible for my thoughts, words, attitudes and actions when it comes to loving my children. Sadly, I fear, I spend too much time planting and watering on infertile soil so that my love for my children is stunted and does not grow as it should. Carolyn's words were a timely reminder of my responsibility to tenderly think about and appreciate my children for the blessing they are to my husband and myself.
Our speech and actions are shaped by our thoughts. Therefore, we must make every effort to think Psalm 127 kinds of thoughts about our children. Thinking of them as a heritage, a reward, and a blessing will alter our attitude and provide the fertile soil for our tender love to grow.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
This got me thinking about how we can pray specifically for women we know who are serving overseas. I came up with a few ideas, but you may be able to think of more:
- Relationships are so important to women - pray that they will make good and lasting friendships in their cross-cultural situation.
- Pray for them as they carry out day to day tasks in a different culture, perhaps without the amenities we take for granted.
- Pray that they will be free from anxiety about health issues, particularly if they are in a situation where healthcare is poor and health screening is non-existent.
- For single women, pray for any who are wrestling with the possibility that their mission service may mean they never marry.
- Pray for women working in a situation where there is a lack of male leadership.
- Pray for women with families who may be educating their children at home or facing the painful prospect of sending their children away for schooling.
- For women who have ageing parents left in their home country, pray they might have wisdom and peace about their situation.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I simply therefore want to highlight a few resources that we have found helpful in our reading. For those of you who are contemplating dating, or are already involved in such a relationship, take time to read the short articles on this subject from Boundless, and for a more in depth read, both books by Joshua Harris are recommended.
- Biblical Dating: An Introduction
- Biblical Dating: Are You Ready to Date?
- What Does a Biblical Relationship Look Like?
- Biblical Dating: To Kiss or not to Kiss?
- Does God Bring People Together?
- Stop Test-Driving Your Girlfriend
- Brother, You're Like a Six!
Monday, March 12, 2007
Psalm 139 is for many of us an awe inspiring piece of Scripture. In it we find David inviting the Lord to search his life. Knowing that God is ultimately sovereign over all aspects of life, from it's inception to the nitty gritty of everyday circumstances, David asks God to inspect his life so that he can reveal any grievous way in his life so that he can lead him anew in the everlasting way.
Today I'd like to commend to you some of Susannah's thoughts on this psalm for your meditation.
'Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.' (Psalm 139:2).
Thou Knowest. Come my soul, here is a test as to your spiritual condition! Will you apply it? Will you be weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, and see whether or not you are found wanting? Does your Lord's intimate knowledge of your every thought, and desire, and action, oppress and disconcert you, or are you willing and glad to live under such close inspection, and even to covet the glances of that eye which searches you through and through?
'My Downsitting and mine uprising.' Lord, do you love me so much as to watch tenderly over me in such small matters? How the thought comforts me! We do not care about the everyday life of strangers: but when we love anyone dearly, we take great interest in all that concerns them; and even so, my God, this searching, knowing, understanding, compassing, besetting, laying of your hand upon me, are all most precious tokens to me of your indescribable love.
How watchful and careful should this knowledge make me! 'My downsitting and mine uprising.' My home life! My daily duties, both of work and of leisure! My going out and my coming in, my conduct and bearing under all circumstances! How these are all gathered into the compass of those five words! Lord, help me to walk worthy of you, unto all pleasing!
'Thou understandest my thought afar off.' What infinite knowledge! Well may the psalmist say, 'It is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it'!
Before I think, God knows my thought! O my soul, are not your thoughts the source of most of your grievous perplexities and sorrows? They are often so unruly and rebellious, sometimes unholy and profane, that all your efforts to bring them into captivity to the law of Christ are unavailing! Then, see where your help lies.
The God who can understand your thoughts 'afar off' has the power to restrain them; no, more than that; before they reach you , while they are yet distant and unexpressed, he will purify and cleanse them, so that they shall enter your heart as angel whispers, and pass your lips only as words of love and blessing.
Dear Master, I make your servant David's prayer my very own and say, 'Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.'
Thursday, March 08, 2007
While we see this as a valuable work, at times it seems to creep in and control areas of our lives. There are many times that we find ourselves: reading for bloggings sake; browsing the net for bloggings sake; endlessly wondering what on earth to write about, all for bloggings sake. This is not to mention that it is all too easy to neglect the attention of our husbands and children because we 'need to post'. These are just a few critical areas of our lives that we must have in order, and prioritise before we blog. Our decision therefore is not to stop posting, but not to allow it to dominate those things we are meant to be "busy at home" with. What we hope you'll find is that one week may be more lean than another, but when we post, our thoughts and exhortations to you would be more God glorifying, Christ exalting and Spirit filled as we put our houses in order. It would be to our neglect and both our detriments if we continued to blog with Titus 2:3-5 in view and fail to live it out in our daily lives.
So, we have come to the end of this week's posts. There will not be any Womanhood Watch tomorrow, but please take advantage of following up on some of the links we have mentioned in posting this week and visit those we value reading on our own blogroll. Have a blessed weekend and we'll return, God willing, on Monday with Susannah Spurgeon.
Thanks for your faithful readership and, as they say, we'll keep you posted!
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
You must guard your imagination if you want to guard your heart. Don’t feed a lonely heart with cheesy romance novels or chick flicks and fantasize about the men or the relationships described. This can quickly become lust—lusting to be lusted after. Don’t allow yourself to imagine someone is interested in you when he is just being friendly. Don’t imagine that he had a tender look when he said hello to you, when he was really just giving you a polite greeting. In other words, do not develop wild crushes. If the man in question shows an interest elsewhere, you will be hurt, and depending on how much you indulged your imagination, you may be devastated. Be realistic about the men who show you attention....
Cultivating male group friendships is a healthy alternative to the world’s dating system, but we must not use these friendships to fill a void. Friendships can be sexually charged, and women are usually very ignorant about this. Friendships should not be intimate, but good-naturedly distant. Would you be able to maintain the friendship on an equal footing if you were married? If not, it is probably an inappropriate friendship. Women should have the kind of friendships with the brothers that are characterized by purity and propriety. If you have to alter your behavior after you are married, you have probably been behaving in an unwise or ungodly manner....
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
As Catriona mentioned last week, it might seem strange that young women are to be taught to love their children. In fact, some might even raise an objection to this, arguing that love comes naturally to mothers. This is the case for many, and yet, there are times when we falsely interpret maternal love for other things. Sharon James in her book, God's Design for Women mentions a few examples:
- Fear of losing control: seen in being domineering
- Fear of sickness or accident: seen in being over-protective
- Fear of failure as a mother: seen in anger at the child's failure to reach mother's expectations
- Fear of losing a child's affection: seen in overindulgence and weak discipline
By contrast, genuine Godlike love is putting the interests of the other first. All the pressure on us now is to put 'number one' first. We are told that we should not do as our mothers did, and sacrifice ourselves for our children. Self-fulfilment is all important, and nothing, not even our children, should get in its way. But self-sacrifice is what bringing up the next generation is all about...Mothering (natural or spiritual) actually brings out the best in a woman, because it requires laying self aside.So let's consider ways in which we can truly live sacrificially for our children and weed out false notions of love that are really only rooted in fear of failure, rejection and control .
Monday, March 05, 2007
Not long married, we read in Charles Ray's biography that: "housekeeping was commenced on a very modest scale, for C.H. Spurgeon was keenly anxious to provide a training for young preachers who needed a course of education to fit them for the ministry." This was something that Susannah herself became committed to and she "threw herself into the work with a zeal not less than his own."
Charles Ray goes on to describe her as a "splendid manageress, and by means of rigid economies quite a substantial amount was saved towards the support and education of the first student, the success of this effort leading to the foundation of the Pastor's college....There were times when the devoted couple abstained from almost necessary things in order to have money to help on the work, and to the young wife it must have been truly a period of anxiety when 'means were sorely strained and the coffers of both College and household were well-nigh empty'. But there were joys which more than compensated for any cares of this kind."
Upon reading this I found myself asking the question: do I take time to sit down and plan how I can use my money to glorify God and bless others? Perhaps this is something you might want to do over the next few weeks. If you are married and have a family, this might be a good opportunity to sit together and consider how you might sacrifice some household comfort in order that you can give more to God's work. It might not lead to the founding of a Pastor's College, but it may well bless a brother or sister in need. May we be able to can echo these words of Susannah Spurgeon:
"I rejoice to remember how I shared my beloved's joy when he founded the Institution, and that together we planned and pinched in order to carry out the purpose of his loving heart."
Friday, March 02, 2007
- If you have never visited Monergism.com, this is a must, particularly since its recent redesign by Tim Challies.
- Lydia at the Purple Cellar has written a short series on what Peter and Paul have to say about female beauty. Read "Peter and Paul on being Pretty" part 1, 2 & 3 and A Woman's Touch. She has also commented on some of our fave verses, Titus 2:3-5 in Beauty & the Business Women and rounded up Peter and Paul's picture of a godly woman with The Beauty of Backing Down. Take a look, there are some really helpful thoughts and insights here.
- I was tickled by Girltalk's funnies for last week..."If Women Controlled the World".
- Dan at Pyromaniacs writes for the yoots on making dads glad and mums glum.
- Another Look at 1 Corinthians 7 at Solo Femininity is a must read for singles this week. Go the extra mile and download the sermon she recommends.
- What does it mean for a husband to lead his wife? "A husband leads by dying" is the main point of John Piper's sermon this coming weekend. Until then, check out this short video clip it'll make you want to listen to more!
- "Does God bring People Together?" A question often asked, Boundless responds.
- Tim Challies has started a superb two parter on the Extraordinary Value of Women. It's a must read as is the book he recommends. Watch out for part 2!
- For His Renown offers a few thoughts on the book, 5 Paths to the Love of Your Life: Defining Your Dating Style. For more information on the book visit the web page of Alex Chediak the editor of the book.
- Justin Taylor considers a sermon on What Biblical Submission Does and Does Not Mean.
- And finally, the ladies at Girltalk are on schedule to bring out a new book this summer. Shopping for Time looks at five ways in which women can make the best use, or "shop" for time. Or as they remind us, in the words of the great Scot (yeah!) Horatius Bonar, "redeem the time".
Thursday, March 01, 2007
- Both have emotional needs
- Both have goals and desires
- Both think and feel
- All seeking meaning and significance
- Both may be discontented with self image
- Both want a place and need to belong
- All are sinners
- Both need to be loved
- Both have similar intellectual abilities
- Both have a role in family life
- Equal in sight of God
- Men stand to talk on telephone
- Men don’t stick to swimming lanes
- Men tend to be more providers, women more nurturers
- Physical differences
- Women are more willing to show emotion
- Women are better at multi-tasking
- Men are more spatially aware in general
- Women may be more intuitive
- Men listen to more what is being said, women to why
- Women can be manipulative and are prone to gossip more
- Women live longer, more likely to look after themselves
- Women need friends more, more relational
- Men often need an activity to socialise around
- Women love to shop!
- Women can have babies, have a monthly cycle
- Men tend to be more rational and logical
- Men get flu, women get colds!
To be in the image of God is an incredible privilege. It means to be like God and to represent God. No other creatures in all of creation, not even the powerful angels, are said to be in the image of God. It is a privilege given only to us as men and women. Any discussion of biblical manhood and womanhood in the Bible must start here. Every time we talk to each other as men and women, we should remember that the person we are talking to is a creature of God who is more like God than anything else in the universe, and men and women share that status equally.However, men and women are different and have different roles as part of the created order, complementing one another to the glory of God. To quote the 1987 Danvers Statement,
Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart.If this is something that you struggle with, can I encourage you not to merely accept the androgenysed view of men and women presented by society today, but read more about this to come to a biblically informed opinion. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has made a lot of helpful resources freely available including the full text of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which is an excellent place to start, as well as the text of Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth.