Friday, April 28, 2006

Feminine Role Models

A guest post by Karen Kovaka.
Karen is the author of the blog Rhetorical Response where she discusses worldview, literature, apologetics, and effective communication. She currently lives with her family in Indiana.

Christianity is beautiful because it can provide adequate answers to man’s most troubling questions. When people ask, “What is my purpose in life?” Christianity answers, “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Living the Christian life is as difficult and as simple as glorifying God and enjoying him forever. Fulfilling this purpose takes three distinct forms: bringing glory to God on the level of humanity, on the level of masculinity and femininity, and on the level of individual gifts and talents. Here, my concern is with glorifying God by developing biblical femininity.

A large part of the way in which Christian women fulfill their purpose in life is by exhibiting biblical femininity. Femininity (and masculinity, too) means becoming a person who truly does live to glorify God and enjoy him forever. The issue at stake is nothing less than that of fulfilling the purpose for which God created us. Its importance is vital, tremendous, and comprehensive.

As with anything of great importance, the enemy tries to distort the meaning of femininity by encouraging extremes, by convincing women and girls that appearances are more important than character, and by distracting our focus. The result is that it’s hard for us to know what femininity really is, much less to develop the characteristics of a woman of God. We yearn to be women, in the truest sense of the word, but the essence of womanhood, or femininity, is elusive.

So what do we do? How do we capture a clear vision of womanhood that we can follow with our whole selves? We do a lot of things. We pray; we search the Bible; we learn from others. I suspect we all have role models as well. These role models, be they historical women, famous women, or women in our own homes, teach us, by example, what it means to be truly feminine. I know that God has placed in our hearts a desire to be feminine, and I believe that because of this desire, our souls give a cry of delight when they encounter an example of true femininity. When we meet or hear of someone whose life shows what it is to be a woman of God, something inside of us recognizes it and responds to it. We identify with women who are feminine, and we long to be like them.

If we can understand this truth, we can be more intentional in our quest to become godly women. We can discover what it is about our role models that draws us to them, and with this knowledge, we can seek to develop those same qualities in our own lives. I admire many, many women, but there are three in particular who have showed me the true essence of womanhood: Phyllis Wheatley, Sacagawea, and Edith Schaeffer.

The first is the African-American poet, Phyllis Wheatley. At the age of eight, Phyllis was brought from Africa to America and enslaved. She was a slave for almost her whole life, and never enjoyed formal education, yet she became a poet. In fact, she became America’s first great black writer. Her talent was so great that George Washington himself recognized her work.

I admire Phyllis Wheatley because she chose beauty over bitterness. She endured unjust slavery and deprivation and had every right to be angry with her captors, but instead, she chose to trust in God’s sovereign control and to demonstrate forgiveness. In one of her poems, called On being brought from American to Africa, Phyllis wrote,

“Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Savior too:
Once I redemption neither fought or knew,
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic dye.”
Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain
May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train.”
Phyllis refused to surrender to the oppression of bitterness. Rather, she chose to cling to beauty, and so made her life meaningful and praiseworthy.

As a result of this choice, Phyllis became a true cultural influence in her world. Her poems inspired the men and women of her time to honor God and to value truth and freedom. Even over two hundred years after her death, her poems have not become obscure. She chose to accept the position in which God placed her, and he glorified her because of her faith. Phyllis probably accomplished more in her lifetime than any other colonial American slave, all because she chose forgiveness and beauty over bitterness.

The Shoshone Indian woman Sacagawea is another of my role models. Like Phyllis Wheatley, Sacagawea was taken from her home at a young age. Due to a conflict, a neighboring tribe kidnapped Sacagawea from her village. Separated from her family for years, she later married a Frenchman, Toussaint Charbonneau, and eventually joined the Lewis and Clark expedition with her husband. While traveling with the expedition, she gave birth to a child, guided the explorers, salvaged many of their medical supplies when one of their boats capsized, and helped Lewis and Clark negotiate with various Indian tribes.

Throughout her life, Sacagawea demonstrated incredible womanly courage and calmness. She faced dangerous and tragic circumstances and met each one with fearlessness. She impressed all the men on the Lewis and Clark expedition with her bravery. Her courage was never mannish or vulgar; she united fortitude and ability with perfect womanly grace. As this courage made her calm during tense situations, she became an invaluable resource to Lewis and Clark as they explored the Louisiana Purchase.

A third woman whom I admire is Edith Schaeffer, the wife of the great apologist Francis Schaeffer. Edith was unfailingly devoted both to her husband and to intellectual excellence. Her commitment to these two things made her life a shining example of biblical femininity.

From the early days of their marriage, Edith supported Francis’ ministry however she could. When Francis was sick, she took notes of his college classes. She lived in a tiny, stifling apartment, and helped earn money as Francis finished his seminary training. She assisted her husband in creating evangelistic children’s programs, and when he decided to move from America to Switzerland and become a missionary, she went gladly. Edith raised four children while supporting Francis’ missionary efforts. As the Schaeffer’s ministry grew, Edith found herself keeping house, not only for her own family, but for the numerous unexpected guests who visited their “shelter,” L’Abri, for spiritual guidance. Edith was a hard worker and a devoted wife, but she was also committed to intellectual excellence. She often found herself discussing complex philosophical issues with young college women while shelling peas for supper. Edith enabled her husband to have one of the greatest Christian ministries of the twentieth century because of her devotion to him and her commitment to education. While her mind was invariable intellectual, her heart was unwaveringly womanly.

These are the women – Phyllis Wheatley, Sacagawea, and Edith Schaeffer – who have shown me what it is to be feminine. These are the qualities – love of beauty, cultural influence, courage, calmness, devotion, and intelligence – which have shaped my understanding of the essence of womanhood. This is the foundation on which I have built my conception of the godly woman. Because it helps me fulfill my God-given purpose, this foundation is vital to who I am and to what I do

As a human being created in God’s image, I glorify my Lord by behaving like an image bearer. As an individual who possesses God-given talents and abilities, I demonstrate the Lord’s grace and glory by doing my utmost to develop his gifts. As a female, I desire to reflect God’s character by living as a true woman ought. To realize this desire, I look to the example of women who have already modeled femininity in their own lives.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Blogger Blunders

I'm glad beauty comes from the heart, because today this blog has not been looking so good.

I will not name the person who messed up the template (they deserve some mercy from the teasing, since Blogger was partly to blame), but I will happily declare that for once it is not my fault!

The other contributors can no longer make jokes about my skills with the template.

I am vindicated.

Oh, happy day!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

IRL: Mary Slessor, Part 2

I was willing to be a missionary anywhere, and would gratefully accept any station that they offered me, though I would have loved to go to Calabar. When I entered the room for the interview, they told me that my application had been accepted. I was so excited I could scarcely breathe! But that was not all- they continued to tell me that the Foreign Missions Board had an opportunity for me in Calabar, on the west coast of Africa! I immediately expressed my enthusiasm, but the board was still cautious. They reminded me of all the dangers in Calabar- but that would not persuade me. I considered the post in Calabar an honor, since so few missionaries volunteered to go there.
With my heart brimming with joy, I returned home to tell the others the wonderful news. My friends reminded me that Calabar was called the "White Man's Grave" for good reason, and warned me about the deadly tribal diseases and various hardships I would doubtless encounter. But I trusted my Lord- I knew that it was His will for me to go, and so I had no reason to fear.
There was much preparation to do before I could leave, but at last July 30, 1876 came- the day that would mark the beginning of my missionary journey into Africa.

When I arrived in Duke Town, I was warmly welcomed into a large, airy mission house. The lawn was manicured, and the interior polished and spotless. Though it was comfortable and convenient, something was missing. I was confined to the mission house, and was constantly attending formal dinners and afternoon teas. I longed to be outside talking with the people, not sitting inside talking about the weather and gossiping. When I did get a chance to go outside and talk to the natives, I found that they had all heard the Gospel so many times that they could recite dozens of Bible verses from memory! The natives made a large show of attending church on Sundays, but their lives remained completely unchanged by the Gospel. When I tried to explain to them what the Bible said about their human sacrifices and other practices, they turned a deaf ear. I discovered that the natives of Duke Town were sly- they would tell the missionaries what they wanted to hear, but did nothing to change their ways. I realized that in order for me to be as effective as I wanted to be, I should live the same way that they did- simply.
I also wanted to be able to take the Gospel to people who had not heard it ever before... I felt that the Lord wanted me to go further inland, without the comforts- or confines- of a mission house. And so, after appealing to the Foreign Missions Board for several months, I was given a new post a few miles inland in a place called Old Town.

The people were shy of me at first, but in time, they began to trust me. I started to develop friendships among them, and not long after arriving I was even being called upon to help resolve small arguments! One morning soon after I arrived, I opened my door and found a small baby lying on the ground. The child's mother had probably died, and a relative or friend had decided that I could take care of him. Life was not valued highly in Calabar. Twins were considered a curse from an evil spirit, and so they were always killed after birth, and the mother either banished or murdered. If she was banished, she would die within a week or two anyway, because anyone who tried to assist her was considered "cursed" also. I kept the child, and many others followed. Soon, my one-room hut was filled with children. The people called me the "White Ma". I dressed their wounds and helped their sick, and every morning and evening I held a Bible service. The people began to respect me... but my life was not without its trials.

One day, a woman arrived at the door of my hut, her eyes frantic with fear. She quickly told me that her friend had just given birth to twins, and the twins were about to be killed. I ran out of the house immediately, and arrived just in time. The natives stared at me in shock as I scooped up the children and began to run. I arrived safely at my hut, and when I examined the twins- a boy and a girl- I saw that they looked completely healthy. Praising the Lord for letting me save two lives that day, I tended to them as my own. But the natives did not forget about my twins. Shortly afterwards, I left my two children with a native woman while I went on an errand. When I returned, my little boy was dead- strangled by one of his family members. I wept for a long time over him, and I vowed that little Janie, his sister, would never leave my sight.

I remember so well the day that marked the beginning of the slow process of putting aside tribal customs. There was a frenzy of excitement in the village of Ekenge, and from my hut I could hear the throbbing of ceremonial drums. As I drew nearer to the throng, a piercing cry broke the air. A young woman was lying naked on the ground, her feet and arms tied together. A huge cauldron of boiling oil was beside her, and suddenly I knew with terrifying certainty what they were going to do. A warrior was dancing around the cauldron in a costume, and in his hand he held a large ladle. The burning oil would be poured over the young woman slowly, until she died in excruciating pain. I whispered a prayer for courage, and ran in between the young woman and the warrior. The ceremonial drums stopped immediately, and everything was silent. But the silence did not last long. A glint appeared in the man's eyes, and he began dancing again, slowly circling around me. He came closer and closer, until the ladle of burning oil was less than an inch before my face. I looked at the man right in his eyes. Several painful seconds passed, and then he threw down the ladle at my feet and marched away. I bent down and helped the young woman to her feet. She was unharmed. I was amazed afterwards at what had taken place, for I know that it was only God that gave me the courage to do what I did.

After the incident with the burning oil, people began to question their god, Abassi, and consider what I was telling them about Jesus Christ. Change came slowly, and with many setbacks and disappointments, but God was at work in the people's hearts. Throughout everything, I knew that the Lord was with me. It was so amazing to witness the power of the Gospel in people's lives! I saw natives put the old ways behind them, as they came to rest their faith in Jesus- even though this meant that they would sometimes be rejected by their entire family. Putting aside the old practices was a slow process, and sometimes it seemed as though I was making no progress at all. But by God's grace, many natives continued to come to Christ, despite all the opposition. God is so good!

Read Part One Here!

(Written by Lindsey. Information found in the book Mary Slessor: Forward into Calabar, by Janet & Geoff Benge.)

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Spurgeon: Into Our Heart

I found this wonderful excerpt by Spurgeon (via Back to the Bible):

"If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him."
--Revelation 3:20

What is your desire this evening? Is it set upon heavenly things? Do you long to enjoy the high doctrine of eternal love? Do you desire liberty in very close communion with God? Do you aspire to know the heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths? Then you must draw near to Jesus; you must get a clear sight of Him in His preciousness and completeness: you must view Him in His work, in His offices, in His person. He who understands Christ, receives an anointing from the Holy One, by which He knows all things. Christ is the great master-key of all the chambers of God: there is no treasure-house of God which will not open and yield up all its wealth to the soul that lives near to Jesus. Are you saying, "O that He would dwell in my bosom "Would that He would make my heart His dwelling-place for ever"? Open the door, beloved, and He will come into your souls. He has long been knocking, and all with this object, that He may sup with you, and you with Him. He sups with you because you find the house or the heart, and you with Him because He brings the provision. He could not sup with you if it were not in your heart, you finding the house; nor could you sup with Him, for you have a bare cupboard, if He did not bring provision with Him. Fling wide, then, the portals of your soul. He will come with that love which you long to feel; He will come with that joy into which you cannot work your poor depressed spirit; He will bring the peace which now you have not; He will come with His flagons of wine and sweet apples of love, and cheer you till you have no other sickness but that of "love o'erpowering, love divine." Only open the door to Him, drive out His enemies, give Him the keys of your heart, and He will dwell there for ever. Oh, wondrous love, that brings such a guest to dwell in such a heart!

Monday, April 24, 2006

IRL: Mary Slessor- Part 1

I looked out the window, and sighed. How different this landscape was from our old home in Aberdeen! Dundee's buildings were dark, and close together- a far cry from Aberdeen indeed. Smoke produced by the factories polluted the air in Dundee so thickly that when we hung our laundry outside, the clothes became dirtier than they had been before they were washed! I glanced back inside our two-room apartment. A large rat darted across the floor, and I shuddered. The rats where everywhere, and catching them was useless. I had never grown accustomed to the rats, though I had lived here sixteen years...

My thoughts began to wander. I wondered if my life in Dundee would ever change... it did not seem likely. I was already twenty-seven! Ever since we had moved to Dundee when I was eleven years old, I had worked in Baxter cotton mill to help support our family. When I got older, I worked in the mill twelve hours a day for six days a week. I glanced down at my hands- they were swollen, red, and calloused from working the machines all day. No, there was not much chance of my life here changing. But in my heart, I was restless. I knew that I was not fulfilling God's purpose for my life by staying in Dundee as a cotton mill worker, but what other option did I really have? Oh, I knew very well what I should love to do, but it was unreasonable- yes, even unthinkable. For though reason itself defied it, I longed to be a missionary. Such an idea was hardly possible, considering my position. And yet, with all my heart, I yearned to serve my God in Africa.

I would probably be called unfit for the mission field; I was a woman- and a poor woman, at that. I had no particular skills, either- unless, of course, you counted darting between machines at the mill, I thought dryly. Before my dear brother Robert died, he told me that he was going to be a missionary in Calabar. He said that I could go with him, to be his assistant. Oh! how my heart had soared at that thought! But when he had died, all hope of that was lost...
Later that night as I lay in bed, I thought about the famous missionary David Livingstone, and pondered his words. "I don't care where we go as long as we go forward," he had said. I rolled over, and began to pray. "God, I want to go forward, like David Livingstone. Send me somewhere, anywhere. Just send me out to be a missionary."

The next morning, my mind was at peace. Somehow, I knew with certainty that God was calling me to be a missionary. What could I do, but obey? My mother joyfully gave her approval, and I sent an application to the Foreign Missions Board.

After waiting for one year, they called me for an interview.


Read Part Two of Mary Slessor!

(Written by Lindsey. Information found in the book Mary Slessor: Forward into Calabar, by Janet & Geoff Benge.)


Sunday, April 23, 2006

A note...

Note from Hannah: No, there have not been very many posts on here as of late. I have been out-of-my-mind busy. This afternoon I am driving…er…riding (I have not gotten my permit yet) down to San Antonio to visit grandparents. I'm also planning for a trip that I will be taking this Sunday to a yet-undisclosed-location. (I'll write a post on it soon. :-) )

We've got several posts planned up our sleeves, so keep checkin' in!

Just a reminder: Leslie Ludy and Dannah Gresh will be talking on Focus on the Family Radio on April 26-28...that would be this Wednesday thru Friday. Don't forget to tune in!

May you all have a blessed Sunday afternoon!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Guest Post: Spunkyhomeschool

The following is a guest post by Karen Braun. Mrs. Braun is a mother of six children, including Kristin (aka Spunky Junior). You can read more of Mrs. Braun's posts at her blog, Spunky Homeschool. Reposted with permission.

The Pressure to Perform
Yesterday my children's gave their final homeschool band concert of the season. This performance represented the culmination of months of private practice and rehearsals. Many of them had only been playing their instruments less than a year. As you would expect, the children were eager to look and play their best. My children were excited but nervous. Days before my daughters were trying to decide how to wear their hair and which blouse looked best. They practiced earnestly in the hours before the concert. They knew all eyes were on them and they didn't want to be the one to mess up. The pressure to perform was intense but honestly, mostly self inflicted.

As a parent, I was just proud of my children for participating. It didn't matter how well they played. I would grin, hug them tight, and tell them they did great. Because that's just what a momma does. I didn't hear the mess ups. There weren't any. All I heard were the pleasant tones of children who loved their instruments and the music they played.

As we applauded, my children realized that the nervousness was for naught. The pressure to perform was over and they could loosen up and enjoy the desserts basking in the after glow of parental praise for a job well done.

While I listened to the children, my mind drifted back to my own struggle and the "pressure to perform". It wasn't for a concert but a different stage I was seeking perfection. Every time I left my front door I felt the eyes of the world were upon me. Would I measure up? What will other homeschoolers think of me? Of my children? How about strangers? Would they look at this often bedraggled momma with six children in tow and shake there heads? Of course, most didn't notice anything. They were too busy worried about how they looked and acted to care about me. But my own self inflicted pressure to look and play the part was intense.

This pressure climaxed a few years ago on a trip to Ohio. We were traveling deep into Amish territory to order a kitchen table and chairs. The store was owned by a Mennonite family. We had spoken by phone a few times. They encouraged us to bring the children and make a day of it. Immediately, I grew anxious. What would this family think of me? Of my children? Would they behave themselves after a long car ride? Or would we be the subject of next Sunday's sermon about what not to do?

The family greeted us warmly and we eagerly began looking at the wide selection of furniture. My children drifted outside to play for a little while. Their son followed. All seemed to be going quite well. We could see them from the window and slowly I relaxed a little. As we were settling on stain colors, we began to hear strange noises from the back room. They sounded like the muffled groans of an animal trapped in a closed room. The other mother and I began walking toward the sound. As we began to get closer we heard giggles mixed in with the groans. We instintively knew it was the boys and the sound we heard was burping. Loud. Obnoxious. Burping. I knew that it was too good to last. As we opened the door, my son sprang up. "Momma, did you know you could make yourself burp? It's really cool all you have to do is..." The other mother became red faced and very apologetic. Yes, it was her son teaching these city slickers all the latest belching techniques and even how to talk while doing it. He taught them a few other tricks too! And to think I was worried about my children?

With a burp God set me free from the "pressure to perform" and the fear of not measuring up.

Recently, I gave a talk to a small group of mothers. Afterward, one mother confessed that she didn't think she had what it took to homeschool. With despair in her voice she sighed,

"Don't I have to be some perfect mother with perfectly behaved children?"

I knew her struggle and her apprehension. "No," I said with a smile, "You don't have to be perfect just forgiven. There are no perfect mothers. Only imperfect ones who are God's perfect choice to raise HIS children. "

And just as my children realized after the concert was over, we will bask in the afterglow. Our Heavenly Father will welcome us with open arms saying,

"Well done my good and faithful servant enter now into the joy of my rest."

Friday, April 14, 2006

Spurgeon: God's Faithfulness and the Cross

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Psalm 22:1

We here behold the Saviour in the depth of his sorrows. No other place so well shows the griefs of Christ as Calvary, and no other moment at Calvary is so full of agony as that in which his cry rends the air—“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” At this moment physical weakness was united with acute mental torture from the shame and ignominy through which he had to pass; and to make his grief culminate with emphasis, he suffered spiritual agony surpassing all expression, resulting from the departure of his Father’s presence. This was the black midnight of his horror; then it was that he descended the abyss of suffering. No man can enter into the full meaning of these words. Some of us think at times that we could cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” There are seasons when the brightness of our Father’s smile is eclipsed by clouds and darkness; but let us remember that God never does really forsake us. It is only a seeming forsaking with us, but in Christ’s case it was a real forsaking. We grieve at a little withdrawal of our Father’s love; but the real turning away of God’s face from his Son, who shall calculate how deep the agony which it caused him?

In our case, our cry is often dictated by unbelief: in his case, it was the utterance of a dreadful fact, for God had really turned away from him for a season. O thou poor, distressed soul, who once lived in the sunshine of God’s face, but art now in darkness, remember that he has not really forsaken thee. God in the clouds is as much our God as when he shines forth in all the lustre of his grace; but since even the thought that he has forsaken us gives us agony, what must the woe of the Saviour have been when he exclaimed, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

--An excerpt from the devotional book, Morning And Evening, by C. H. Spurgeon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Look, Ma! Some Great Posts!

Kimi Harris wrote a wonderful post on encouraging words that really challenged me personally.
"...what do you think the primary purpose of communication is? Why did God give us this gift? It is a rather interesting gift since the tongue can break hearts or bring healing. What do your words usually accomplish? Words will always be doing something, either destroying or building up."
The Girl Talk ladies hit the nail on the head....again, with their current series on modesty.
Janelle writes,
"Our clothes, whether we realize it or not, say something. They give us away. They reveal the heart behind the clothes we wear. A modest heart comes before modest dress. So what do your clothes say about your heart? What would we discover if we met your closet before we met you? "

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Been having trouble viewing our film? We have too! But after having some technically difficulties, our film is officially up and operating again!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Redeeming the Time

Ten seconds are left in the fourth quarter of the game. You are tied with the other team. There is going to only be one opportunity to score and break the tie. You are your team's last and only hope. The coach shouts at you, "Don't waste the shot!"

We are all each that player, but we play on a more challenging playing field. We are on the playing field of life. We have only one shot at life--and we should not waste it. Yet so often we become caught up in our own responsibilities, ambitions, and the general busy-ness of life that we waste our precious time. It is easy to forget that life has an end, and might finish sooner than we expect.

David reflects on this in Psalms 144:4, "Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow."
He continues on the same theme in Psalm 62:9, "Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath."

Life is short, and time is precious. How are you going to spend it? What goals are you going to pursue? Perhaps the better question would be, what goals are worth pursuing?

Priorities: Take a lesson from the dead.
Elizabeth the Great, one of England's most famous rulers, spent her life amassing wealth and power. On her deathbed she stated sadly, "All of my possessions for one moment of time." She realized only too late the truth of Matthew 6:19-21,
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Likewise, Henry, Prince of Wales' last words were, "Tie a rope around my body, pull me out of bed, and lay me in ashes, that I may die with repentant prayers to an offended God. O! I in vain wish for that time I lost with you and others in vain recreations." As is evident from his sorrowful exclamation, Prince Henry discovered that his life spent for pleasure brought him no gain in this life or would in the next.

Napoleon stated soon before his death, "I marvel that where the ambitious dreams of myself and of Alexander and Caesar should have vanished into thin air, a Judean peasant, Jesus, should be able to stretch out His hands across the centuries, and control the destinies of men and nations." Napoleon was arguably one of the greatest military minds in history, though his lust for power caused his downfall. At the end of his life, he was baffled that, for all of his battle plans and military achievements, a "Judean peasant, Jesus," had more power than he had. With regret, it seems that he realized that his life was misspent.

All these people were successful by the World's standards. Elizabeth was wealthy, Henry had fun, and Napoleon chased his dreams. Yet it is apparent that on their deathbeds, each of these people were dissatisfied with how they had spent their lives.
All of these people have since met their Maker, and I wonder if He was as impressed by their "successes" as the World was. In truth, God will ultimately be the One to Judge us (Hebrews 10:30.) He will judge our actions and declare whether or not the time that He gave us was well spent. What does God consider a well spent life? For what purpose does He want us to live?

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 it says, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
Honoring God involves everything we do. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

It is of no matter how many bestselling books you write, how many hits your blog recieves, how many people know your name, or if you graduate from college with honors. Those things, as important as they may seem today, are all going to eventually fade. The only things we do that will ever matter in eternity are the things we do with the motivation of pleasing God.

Only One Life,
Twill Soon Be Past
Only What's Done
For Christ Will Last

Quotes taken from The Evidence Bible, by Ray Comfort

Related Reading:
Matthew 25
One Heartbeat Away, by Mark Cahill
Don't Waste Your Life, by John Piper

(Feel like you have read this before? No, you're not going crazy. ;-) This is a re-post from my former blog, Sold Out, which is no longer being updated.)

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Spurgeon: Living to Christ

"For me to live is Christ."
Philippians 1:21

The believer did not always live to Christ. He began to do so when God the Holy Spirit convinced him of sin, and when by grace he was brought to see the dying Saviour making a propitiation for his guilt. From the moment of the new and celestial birth the man begins to live to Christ. Jesus is to believers the one pearl of great price, for whom we are willing to part with all that we have. He has so completely won our love, that it beats alone for him; to his glory we would live, and in defence of his gospel we would die; he is the pattern of our life, and the model after which we would sculpture our character. Paul's words mean more than most men think; they imply that the aim and end of his life was Christ-nay, his life itself was Jesus. In the words of an ancient saint, he did eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life. Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his life. Can you say, as a professing Christian, that you live up to this idea? Can you honestly say that for you to live is Christ? Your business-are you doing it for Christ? Is it not done for self- aggrandizement and for family advantage? Do you ask, "Is that a mean reason?" For the Christian it is. He professes to live for Christ; how can he live for another object without committing a spiritual adultery? Many there are who carry out this principle in some measure; but who is there that dare say that he hath lived wholly for Christ as the apostle did? Yet, this alone is the true life of a Christian-its source, its sustenance, its fashion, its end, all gathered up in one word-Christ Jesus. Lord, accept me; I here present myself, praying to live only in thee and to thee. Let me be as the bullock which stands between the plough and the altar, to work or to be sacrificed; and let my motto be, "Ready for either."

--An excerpt from the devotional book, Morning And Evening, by C. H. Spurgeon.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Spurgeon: On God's Love

Within the next few days I will be posting a couple excerpts from Spurgeon's devotional book, Morning and Evening, that were particularly encouraging to me. I hope that they encourage you in your walk with the Lord as well!

"God is jealous."
Nahum 1:2

Your Lord is very jealous of your love, O believer. Did he choose you? He cannot bear that you should choose another. Did he buy you with his own blood? He cannot endure that you should think that you are your own, or that you belong to this world. He loved you with such a love that he would not stop in heaven without you; he would sooner die than you should perish, and he cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart’s love and himself. He is very jealous of your trust. He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that you should hew out broken cisterns, when the overflowing fountain is always free to you. When we lean upon him, he is glad, but when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely upon our own wisdom, or the wisdom of a friend—worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own, he is displeased, and will chasten us that he may bring us to himself. He is also very jealous of our company. There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus. To abide in him only, this is true love; but to commune with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, to prefer even the society of our fellow Christians to secret intercourse with him, this is grievous to our jealous Lord. He would fain have us abide in him, and enjoy constant fellowship with himself; and many of the trials which he sends us are for the purpose of weaning our hearts from the creature, and fixing them more closely upon himself. Let this jealousy which would keep us near to Christ be also a comfort to us, for if he loves us so much as to care thus about our love we may be sure that he will suffer nothing to harm us, and will protect us from all our enemies. Oh that we may have grace this day to keep our hearts in sacred chastity for our Beloved alone, with sacred jealousy shutting our eyes to all the fascinations of the world!

--An excerpt from the devotional book, Morning And Evening, by C. H. Spurgeon.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Waiting for the Wedding

One day, when I was a little girl, I was playing pretend "school" with two girls who lived down the street from me. The girl who played "teacher" handed each of her "students" a slip of paper which she called our "attention span." At one point during the game, much to the dismay of the little teacher, I lost my paper. I ran home, greatly distressed, and announced to my mother that I had "lost my attention span" and did not know where to find it.

While I look back and laugh at my childish ignorance, times have not changed much. I still struggle with losing my real attention span in a much more serious matter; I struggle with keeping my attention on God. Anything and everything can distract my focus from God if I give too much attention to it.
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. - Matthew 25:13
I have been reading Leslie Ludy's book, Authentic Beauty. First and foremost, I recommend this book to every young lady. I would, however, advise mothers to look over before letting their younger daughters read this because there are some topics that Leslie covers that are a bit descriptive.

As I read this book, the way Leslie describes what our relationship with Jesus struck me as odd. Leslie uses the term "Prince" for God. When I think of a prince, I think of Prince Charming of the fairytales. He rides in on a white horses and gallantly rescues the damsel in distress from an evil foe. I wondered How can this possibly be a picture of our relationship with God? The whole idea sounded rather irreverent, but now I see Leslie's point.

When a person is in love, they think constantly of their beloved (or so other people tell me.) They count the minutes until they can see their beloved again. Is our love for Christ to be very different from this? Is He not supposed to be on our minds, in our thoughts, and His law written upon our very hearts? 1 Corinthians 7:34 says that "An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit." The Lord has declared His intentions toward us in return in Hosea 2:16-20,
"In that day, declares the LORD, you will call me my husband; you will no longer call me my master. I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked...I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD."
Imagine that you are engaged to be married. You have met and fallen in love with the one who God has planned you for all along. You can hardly wait for the wedding day, but you have one problem. Your groom promised to bring the entire wedding party to your doorstep, but following old Jewish tradition, has refused to tell you the wedding date. It is a secret possessed only by him and his father. Every morning you wake up and question yourself, 'Is this the day of my marriage?' Each day you must prepare as though the wedding were just about to take place.

This may seem like a surreal situation, but it was reality for Jewish women during the time of Christ. After the initial betrothal, about twelve months would pass. Toward the end of the twelve months or soon after, the groom would arrive at the bride's home with the wedding party and the marriage ceremony could begin. The bride was never sure of the exact time that her husband-to-be was coming; she only knew that it was soon.

Yet this is also reality for us as followers of Christ. We are that bride. Our hearts should be completely turned toward our Savior that He is who we wake up thinking about and that our days are dedicated to the hope of His return.

How are you doing on this?

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