Friday, January 29, 2010

John Angell James - On Usefulness

Hand it to the guys who lived and preached in the 1800s. John Angell James was a preacher and prolific writer in England.
A friend passed this along to me today, thought I would share it with you:

“I set out in my ministry, even when a student, with the idea of usefulness so deeply imprinted on my heart, and so constantly present to my thoughts, that I could never lose sight of it long together: and I mean a usefulness of one kind – that is the direct conversion of souls …
The press is one of the two main pillars of the temple of truth. So in the conversion of souls, though the pulpit is the main instrument of effecting this, yet the tract distributor, the Sunday-school teacher, the Bible reader, are all useful, and every person should study his talents, his means, and his opportunities for usefulness.”

Questions for thought:
1. How has God gifted you to be useful?
2. How are you currently using this usefulness, or honing those skills to be useful in the future?
3. How is the rest of your life arranged to keep this usefulness useful (life management)?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Women in Combat and Gender Roles

I love the Patriot - the Mel Gibson movie about the early days of our country and fighting for freedom. It is one of my favorite films: always in a mood to watch it, and I always cry during several parts. Courage, bravery, family, loss: these are things of which make a good movie. In this movie, Mel Gibson, aka Benjamin Martin, is spurred on to fight for his country when the fighting hits close to home. What Benjamin doesn’t do is urge his sister-in-law, Aunt Charlotte, to fight in his stead. He sends the younger children to stay with her. Was it because Aunt Charlotte wasn’t capable of shooting a musket? No. It was because she was to be at home taking care of the children.
Why do I bring this up? Andrew Sicree wrote an article in the latest edition of Touchstone Magazine entitled “Mothers in the Line of Fire”. His basic premise is that women fighting in combat as immoral based on a pro-life argument. Especially in light of the coming anniversary of Roe V. Wade, I am all for pro-life. Our worth is based on the truth that we were created male and female in the image of God (Genesis 1.27-28). However, even though his logic is sound, I think this is a secondary argument, one that totally leaves behind the first argument about women in the military.
First, some thoughts from Sicree:
“The moral question of placing women in combat applies to all women who serve in positions that make them legitimate military targets, even if they are not engaged in actual combat.” (p. 23)
“The fact remains that it is not men but women who carry pre-born children within their wombs.” (p 24). While true, I do not see much validity in this argument. Men are needed in the “be fruitful and multiply” command as well. And, while yes, women are the only ones who can actually give birth; men are very important as leaders in the home and as fathers. Sicree uses this as the base for his argument, “it is rather, the uniqueness of women as bearers of pre-born children that creates a unique moral problem for women in combat.” (p 24) That is not up for debate, men were not created to be child-bearers.
Sicree alludes to the Just War theory as it says “that waging war on a non-combatant is immoral. If it is immoral to bring war to non-combatants, surely it is likewise immoral to take an innocent non-combatant into a combat zone.” If his argument is the endangerment of the child (or the mother carrying the child), then a woman who is sexually active and may be pregnant (without knowing it) should not ride roller coasters, eat luncheon meat, or drink alcohol.
Leaving Sicree’s argument where it is, what should be the underlying reason for women not to fight in the military? I can’t lay out a verse and say “The Bible says it is wrong for women to fight” because there isn’t one. That doesn’t mean there aren’t many verses that give reason why women shouldn’t fight or be involved in military combat.
1. Women weren’t created as warriors; they were created as helpmates and nurturers (Gen 2.20; Prov 31.27). Men were created to be protectors. 1 Peter 3.7 gives the command to husbands to “show honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you”.
2. In CBMW’s resolution on women in combat, the organization says, “the purpose of combat is to inflict deadly harm upon an enemy, and the essence of combat is to engage an enemy in order to kill, slay and destroy – a purpose and essence aligned with the gender-based roles and responsibilities of males but opposed to the gender-based role and responsibilities of females.”
3. Scripture sets a pattern for men serving in battle. Throughout the Old Testament we see men going off to war. It would have been degrading to the enemy if the opposition sent its women to fight. It just wasn’t done. Deuteronomy 20 speaks of the laws or warfare, calling men to be valiant, brave, and to “draw near to battle” because the “Lord your God is he who goes with you fight for you against your enemies”. (Deut 20.4)
4. I would say that, as with many other oddities in our culture, the fact that women are serving at all in military combative positions is a failure of male leadership. This doesn’t say that I am ungrateful for the women who have given their lives and have sacrificed much on my behalf. I am grateful for the protection you offer; but, you shouldn’t have to. Men should be fulfilling their role as protective citizens. They are men. Men, I plead for you to step up and protect your families, just as Benjamin Martin did in going to war in the 1700s.
There are so many more points and thoughts related to this topic. I can not cover them all. This topic brings up gender neutrality, authority, who is going to raise the children, etc. This is not a perfect world. Sin entered and there has been a battle waging ever since. That war is targeted at the family. By women going off to war with the men, this is just one more scar from the war. As with failing marriages, families is disarray, women pasturing local church and teaching doctrine to men, and a multitude of other areas where the gender roles are bent, this area of women in combat is one more area that needs redemption by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And to that end, I say, “come, Lord Jesus.”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Review: Shepherding a Child's Heart - Tedd Tripp

I've learned two things (and more) from being in seminary and now having worked/working at 2 seminaries:
1. You can have a lot of practical expertise and not know any theology.
2. You can know TONS of theology and not be able to put it into practice well.

Tedd Tripp has authored a book that is good at both. He gives you the theology behind good parenting; and he gives you very practical follow-through so apply this theology.
What I love about this book: (the above paragraph), I love his humility (he and his wife do not have it all together), and his accomplishment of the task at hand - instructing parents how to not only target their children's actions, but how to reach their hearts - to shepherd their hearts.
"Your concern is to unmask your child's sin, helping him to understand how it reflects a heart that has strayed. That leads to the cross of Christ. It underscores the need for a Savior." (p 6)Tripp spends the first half of the book laying the foundation to parenting, shepherding, Scripture, etc. "You need to direct not simply the behavior of your children, but the attitudes of their hearts." (p xxi) Then the second half, he gives very practical advice for different stages of child-rearing: toddlers, children, teenagers. I found these extremely helpful - even as I think back about my youth ministry days and think ahead as I volunteer in the church and even babysit. These are great truths and principles to be adopted.
I went to a Christian school from K-12th grade, only missing one semester. I remember a conversation my mom had when we were talking about one of the trouble makers in my grade. She said something to the effect that her parents probably sent her to this school in hopes that they would "straighten her out". Tripp makes a similar comment in the opening of this book: "They had hoped that school would provide the direction and motivation they had not been able to provide for their daughter." (p xvii) The school nor the church have been given the role of chief discipler/parent in your child's life. You have been given that role (see Deut 6).
"You want the values of your home to be scripturally informed." (p 22) I saw this lived out in my mentor's home. Scripture was every where. Itunes was on to the latest Christian praise and worship. But that wasn't all - conversations were lined with biblical thought, ministry was front and center, relationships were key. All pointing to Scripture. Another one of my friends, Kathy, has as her ministry Scripture Pictures, because she wants to get the Word into as many homes as possible. She does beautiful hand drawn Scripture in art. Amazing woman!
My former professor, Dr. Alvin Reid, at SEBTS, says this: "It is vital that we incorporate the gospel into every fabric of our lives. Our interaction with our neighbors should bring glory to God and communicate Christ to those who need him."
"Parenting is a pervasive task." (p 33) Recently, I heard a radio interview with Sandra Bullock, star of The Blind Side. She said, "Being a mother is easy, all you have to do is love". While there may be some truth in that, there are far deeper implications for parenting than just love. I don't think I have ever heard a parent say that parenting is easy.
Some would say the best way to raise a child is to shelter them from society. Tripp says this: "You must equip your children to function in a culture that has abandoned the knowledge of God. Your objective in every context must be to set a biblical worldview before your children." (p 45, 6)
"You must bring integrity to your interaction with your children. You model the dynamics of the Christian life for your children. You must let them see sonship with the Father in you. You should show them repentance. Acknowledge your joys and fears and how you find comfort in God. Live a shared life of repentance and thankfulness. Acknowledge your own sin and weakness. Admit when you are wrong. Be prepared to seek forgiveness for sinning against your children. The right to make searching and honest appraisal of your children lies in willingness to do the same for yourself." (p 91)
"You must address the heart as the fountain of behavior, and the conscience a the God-given judge of right and wrong. The cross of Christ must be the central focus of your child rearing. God's standard is correct behavior flowing from a heart that loves God and has God's glory as the sole purpose of life. That is not native to your children (nor to their parents)." (p. 120)
"Whatever you do will require patience. It is hard for a family to change its direction. What is ahead of you is a matter of spiritual struggle against the forces of evil. There is more to it than applying some principles. Pray; seek God's help. Wait on God. Study the Scriptures with your children. Try to take them along with you on your spiritual pilgrimage. Share with them what you're learning and why changes in your family life are important." (p 158)
"If you never address the character, you will never get beyond bare obedience." (p 163)
"The primary context for parental instruction is set forth in Deuteronomy 6. It is the ordinary context of daily living. Your children see the power of a life of faith as they see you living it. You do not need to be perfect, you simply need to be people of integrity who are living life in the rich, robust truth of the Word of God." (p 192)

With every book there are drawbacks:
1. All the illustrations. They are great, but for some they will try to live out these truths and principles in the exact same way - or they won't be able to live these out at all because they won't get past the illustration. Way to succeed: ask God how you need to apply these truths to your family, don't rely on the family of the Tripps to be successful.
2. "God intends for parenting to be a temporary task." (p 210) I disagree with this statement. Yes, you might not discipline them the same or help them make every decision, but my parents are still my parents. They help me in many ways: to make wise decisions, to give me advice, to help financially some, to be friends with; but they are still my parents.

This book is very helpful. If you haven't read it, please do.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Fear

I love weekend trips that turn into so much more than you ever thought they would be. I was anticipating just a fun, cold weekend in Chicago, a little bit of work, good food, and fun times with Janel. God had other things in mind.
On the drive up (a 5 hour jaunt up 65/94) I could sense the Spirit was doing a work in my life. God has been doing some heart surgery lately in my life - and I anticipate it continuing for the next few months.
I had no traffic until I got about 20 exits away from where I needed to be and STOP. Don't know what happened but does one ever know what happens to cause traffic jams in the early afternoon of a Saturday? So...I was a little late. Even then God was busy working.
So, I text some friends just to be praying as God was doing his work, and He continued right through the weekend. Janel had the Esther DVD from Beth Moore - I watched a bit of it. Through watching that, reading the end of Deuteronomy and the beginning of Joshua, and talking with a friend who I can be completely real with...two truths about my life came out.
I Fear.
I Fear A LOT!

Beth Moore pretty much said this. If ________, then ___________. Let me fill it in. If I eat too much, then I will gain weight. If I gain weight, then I won't be cool anymore. If I am not cool anymore, than I will be lonely. You get my drift. She said basically your logic had to be
"If __________, then GOD. It always had to be God in that second blank. If not, then something is amiss.
And that tied into something I heard recently - whatever you fear - that is your god. So, let me do some sentences for you....
I fear getting the dream job, because I fear failing at it (or not being OUTSTANDING at it.
(god = success)
I fear gaining weight, because I won't be a role model to other girls and I won't be attractive or be successful in ministry. (god = self image, pride)
I fear rejection by friends, because then that will mean something is wrong with me because they don't like to be around me anymore. (god = friendships)
I fear never getting married, because someone won't love me enough, and like me enough, to commit the rest of his life to me. (god = marriage, relationships).
I fear failure, because I have to be good at what I do (god = success).
I fear people getting to know me, because what if they just like me at a distance, then once they get to know me, they don't like me anymore (god = people, popularity).

Beth said something else. Sometimes we fear not getting married because we don't want to be alone. But, then we fear marriage because what if we get it and its not as great as we always dreamed or we screw it up somehow? I fear not getting that dream job, then I fear getting it because what if I am not good at it and people don't like what I do?

Do you hear these statements? Do you see what brought me to tears this weekend?
I trust in other things besides the God of the Universe!
Here are some verses (it is so often used in Scripture):
Numbers 14 - "The Lord is with you, do not fear."
Dt. 31 - "The Lord will be with you and won't forsake you, do not fear."
Ps 118 -"The Lord is on my side, therefore I will not fear."
Jere 42 - "Do not fear them, declares the Lord, for I am with you."
Joel 2 - "Fear not, but rejoice and be glad, for the Lord has done great things."
Matt 10 - "Do not fear those who can kill the body, but cannot kill the soul."
Heb 13: "The Lord is my helper, I will not fear, for what can man do to me?"

Basically, in my reading....If I trust and obey, if I obey the greatest commandment, then I will not fear. If I am fearing, then I am not obeying. I need to obey.

What do you fear?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Redeeming Relationships: God, Marriage, and Family: Randy Stinson

I had the privilege of hearing my boss speak at Gilead Baptist Church this past Sunday night. Gilead is starting a Gilead U on marriage (in the spring) and parenting (in the fall). It is to help their church see the importance of these two relationships, how they influence the church (and vice versa) and how the gospel has to be applied to both.
Dr. Stinson, who is the Dean of the School of Church Ministries for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and President of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, spoke on this topic to kickoff the semester. It is always a pleasure for me to hear him speak because I know what he is saying is practiced in his own home, and I laugh the whole time. Also, I am convicted by what he says and can apply it to my life now - even though I am neither married or a parent.
(Italics are his, regular type is mine).
He started at the beginning - Gen 3.14-15. A Declaration of War! Cursing and enmity. Right there - from the very beginning, Satan has plans to attack the marriage. This war centers on the home. Through the family (conception, children), Satan's destroyer will come. (Jesus is born of a virgin Mary. You can trace his lineage by reading the first chapter of the gospel of Matthew)
You can see this all around. Divorce rate (even within the church, among Christians), in the tabloids at the check out counter, marriages failing, unfaithfulness on the rise, cohabitation so rampant among young adults, delay in marriage.
Satan wants us to get comfortable and not realize that we are at war in our homes. If we let things slide, tempers flare, complacency dominate, Scriptures and family worship fade away - then we are setting ourselves and our marriages up for defeat.
Malachi 4.6 talks about the work of Elijah the prophet in "turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers." Stinson remarked that one of the ways Satan wages war on families and the home is that the father's hearts on not turned toward home, their children. They are turned toward work, business, succeeding, and other personal interests.
Ephesians 5. This passage is central to the cosmic interaction. It is not primarily about submission and authority. It is about the gospel. Because of the fall, there will be no more harmonious marriages and argument free families. Dave Harvey wrote a book entitled When Sinners Say I Do if you need to read up on this topic - great book. Ephesians 5 paints a picture of Christ and the church. Marriage is just the picture. Since Satan hates the gospel more than anything, he wants desperately to destroy marriages. You and your marriage are targets.
If you care deeply about the picture Ephesians 5 paints, its not about who mows the lawn or pays the bills, it is about the gospel.
If you love the gospel more than everything else, all else will pale. How will you portray the gospel authentically in your marriage and in your home?
Several times a day we are reminded of our dependence upon God. When we eat, we are reminded that we have to eat - God doesn't. When we get thirsty, we are reminded that God never gets thirsty, but send us the Living Water.
Paul says no one hates his own flesh (Eph 5.29). Yet, why don't we treat out spouse that way? We are so often consumed with ourselves, when we should be consumed with others...namely, our spouse. You wake up every day loving yourself. Love the gospel so this (other's focused, loving your spouse) becomes second nature. Many decisions we make are for ourselves. We are self-centered, not gospel-centered.
What if God's greatest goal in your marriage was not to make you happy? What if the bigger picture is your sanctification and portraying the gospel? I think quite a lot about this, even though I'm not married. I think about my pickiness in a future mate, even those whom I will accept dates from? I want the gospel to be revealed daily in my marriage. If that can't happen, I don't want to be married. I do want someone I'm attracted to, because God did create sex and didn't intend for it to be a chore, but more than anything else, I want a God-glorifying marriage. Embrace this function for your marriage, namely sanctification, instead of praying and longing for a way out.
You don't need to question the will of God for your marriage. If you are in a marriage, that's it. Don't worry about if you are married to the wrong person, or made a mistake. God means for your marriage to stay pure and strong. And to the same extent that God loves the Gospel (He sent His Son) and loves your marriage (He created the institution of marriage), Satan hates it. How can you go home - right now - and bless your wife (or husband)? We care more about ourselves than we do about the gospel and our spouse? What needs to change in your life so you care more about your marriage and the gospel then yourself?
The Harris brothers wrote a book for (mostly) teenagers entitled Do Hard Things a few years ago. It was calling teenagers to not take the easy road, but to pursue hard things, excel at what they do, press on. Dr. Stinson said another great title for a book would be "Do Little Things". So often we fail in doing the little things in life. This is a biblical concept - be faithful in the little things (Luke 16.10).
Sanctification: I don't know what God's will for your life is - but I know it is sanctification. Since He loves His Son preeminently, you can bet you becoming like His Son is a first priority.
Many will say "my wife (husband, job, traffic, kids) make me impatience (angry, selfish). No, these things don't make you ________, it just reveals that you are _______. So, if you get impatient with your husband because he fails to take the garbage out when you ask him to, then its not him that makes you that way, the situation reveals that your heart is full of impatience and full of self. Matthew 15 says this very thing: "what comes out of the mouth defiles a person." What comes out of the mouth reveals the state of the heart. You do the right thing - don't be concerned with the response of your spouse. You do right. Start with correcting your heart and yourself. A saying my Mom always says is you can never control what others will do, just your response to the situation.
Forgiveness is key element of a healthy marriage:
1. Ask for it.
2. Create a climate for it.
3. Remember, you are clothed in Christ's righteousness, not your own.
4. This is a lifestyle, not an emergency valve.
5. Reconciliation is key - not separation, subversion, or undermining.

The question I left asking myself is this: What would help me picture the gospel the best? Would it be to get married? Would it be to stay single? What it be to be faithful in the things that God has called me to: to love people, disciple girls, write, be a homemaker, take care of myself, be a good steward? I think I'll choose to be faithful where He has me, and have faith that He will take me where He wants me.

Thoughts on Finishing Well

Last night, in my reading of the b90x plan, I was in the latter part of Numbers. Now, Numbers isn't a thrilling book as a whole, but there are definitely nuggets of truth and thought provoking circumstances that God wants us to know to change us - sanctify us - make us more like Him. Here are some of the players:
Nadab and Abihu - dead because of unpleasing worship to the LORD
Moses - leader of the people, but now who can't enter Canaan because he didn't listen and fully obey the Lord.
Joshua - the chosen person to lead the people of the Lord into Canaan because the Spirit was in him.
Israelites - punished and wandering for 40 years, current generation not able to go into Promised Land because of sin, angered the Lord because of their idolatry and ungratefulness.

While watching some NCAA hoops last night, I thought of some sports figures who are in the media right now:
Lane Kiffin - after only one disappointing season in the best college football conference, he is now going back to the west coast. 1 season.
Tiger Woods - definitely known for being probably the best modern golfer in the world (note, I said modern). Now, is plastered on every magazine in the checkout aisle because of his unfaithfulness to his wife.
Mark McGwire- fabulous heavy hitter in the Major Leagues for so many years. Kids worshipped him, wanted to be like him in every way. Now, admitting that he cheated and pumped his body full of steroids so he could live up to all the hype.

Some illustrations from people in my own life, of how they live:
2 pastors - known to everyone they meet for their humility - not for books they have written or the church they pastor.
My mentor - known to me as a woman of the Word and prayer.
A former co-worker and (still) friend: one word to describe him: humble.
2 other pastors - I would describe as faithful.

After contemplating this during a run and then journaling about it while watching the Gator game last night, here were my two questions I posed to myself:
1. What do I want to be remembered for?
2. What would they write about me if I was to be included in the SBTS Coffee Table Book?

A friend of mine in Louisville comments that the only things I do are exercise, food, tv, and church. There probably is some reality to that - but that is only a portion of the story. And - do I really want to be known for those 4 things? Goodness - no.
But, then the Spirit stopped me in my writing - my brain continued to function - and said to me this:
Who cares if the world remembers Kim Davidson - you are not important - I am. So, after more reading and journaling:
CS Lewis: Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less." I am definitely then one of the most prideful people I know.
Apostle John: "He must increase, I must decrease." (John 3.3)

I heard a wise man talk on Sunday about finishing well. It must be done. What will your life be marked by?
"Spirit - craft in me less of KD, more of Jesus. Out of the heart - so I do. Work in me Jesus so Jesus can be shown and known in everything I do." - Amen

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sick to My Stomach

Sin. Gotta love it. (Hint sarcasm)
This is where the 3 blogs come together.
I went down to Glendale, KY this past Sunday to hang out with some friends and then listen to my boss speak for an activity at their church.
I had a great breakfast (yogurt, flax seed, pb toast) and then a Clif Nectar bar before church started (I ate early as it was an hour drive). I just didn't want to be starving by lunch. So, we went to a great Mexican place there that I had been to before - so yummy. Ordered a greasy chicken quesadilla with rice/beans and then devoured the chips and salsa (and queso). That was at 1pm.
Sat in a big chair all afternoon, reading, hanging with kiddos, and talking.
4:45pm - Texas Roadhouse - eating with pastors/friends/families before the event. I should have ordered nothing - but I wasn't going to do that. I ordered a single chop (grilled porkchop, so good and moist), salad, and fresh veggies. 1 1/2 of their wonderful yeast rolls. By the time I got about 2 bites into the chop, I just knew I couldn't put anymore in my mouth - no, I did. I ate all but 2 bites of the chop and 3-4 carrots. I looked at the folks around me and just knew I was going to be sick (you know that clammy feeling when you just want to throw up). We got up to leave and I just walked real slow.
By the time we made it to church I was feeling better (I think it was standing up). But, I knew that I had failed again.
I had done no exercise (I chose to sleep in rather than get up and do some yoga). I ate way too much when I wasn't hungry. I ate out of: free food, good food, gratitude for the free food, didn't want to stick out and not eat anything, don't always have chips and salsa, hate leaving food on my plate.
Why do I let my body determine my actions instead of listening to the Spirit and obeying?
Two verses:
1 Cor 6.19-20 "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." I know Paul is mostly talking about sexual immorality, but same applies to eating.
Col 3.17 "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." I was so sick I couldn't give thanks to God for what He had just provided for me. Nope, all I could do was recognize my sin.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Birthday Musings

(The two pictures were of: a few days before my 32nd bday, and the bottom, yesterday).
Oh, birthdays. Here is it again. I never get concerned about the numbers getting larger, and never eat a whole bday cake to blow out the candles anymore, however, I do use this day as one for contemplation (and fun).
So, many of you say that the one thing you appreciate about me is my honesty, so here goes...
Starting with something good. Ending with something good.
1. God is so good to me. I just finished praying that as I read an email from a friend, wished in someways that my life was like hers, than very grateful that my life is the way God made it and designed for it to be at this moment.
"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us." - Ps 67.1
2. Solo pictures. FB does this - I promise you! (and yes, I really do love facebook). And my pride does this as well. May God crush that. I hate solo shots. I went to lunch with 2 friends today for my bday and wanted a shot of me at Red Robin. why? To see how I looked. What did I find out - I look alone. My Mom wanted a picture of me for the mantle, my brother took several, they turned out well, but there I will be in a frame by myself. For senior pictures it was ok, but gone are the days of senior pictures.
3. Our bodies age. Ladies - wouldn't you have loved to be have been Eve (pre-fall)? I mean, come on...walking around naked for the joy of your husband without anything sagging, no gray hairs, no anything out of place, nothing sore, nothing on the mend, no wrinkles, no bags under the eyes, no chin hairs to pull out, no waxing to do. Oh, what joy that would have been. But, the fall. It happened. Eve had to eat. Now, we deal with all these things as we age. And going back to #2, I won't ever look "prime" for my husband (if God has chosen for me one). I was reminded of that this morning as I was getting ready. In the next 10 years (if the Lord tarries), my eyesight will get worse, I'll have more gray hair (or spend more money coloring it), will have to spend more on waxing (or become the freak woman at the fair with the beard) - (side note, woman, you all know what I'm talking about). Our bodies are not meant to last forever. This is the effect of sin on us. God has, though, redeemed our bodies and our souls. We are one. I have no clue what our bodies will look like in the afterlife, but I'm glad I won't have to have a pair of tweezers with me - or concealer.
4. I got a card in the mail from my parents (always signed by my mother, I know): "Parents do not realize when their daughter is a child, how fleeting the moments truly are. And in the blink of an eye the little girl who did pirouettes down the hall is dancing her way through her own life. What a joy it was then, what a joy it is now, what a joy it will always be - having you for a daughter!" Yes, I teared. I wonder though - yes, I know parents are supposed to say that, but then time at home is so different than it is here, we fuss, argue, communicate wrongly, have longings and expectations that aren't met. I want my parents to always say this of me: "Let your father and mother be glad, let her who bore you rejoice." Prov 23.25
5. Time is so fleeting. Things are fleeting. Like today - I was so looking forward to eating Red Robin with some friends. 59 fat grams and 740 calories later (I left off bun, mayo, and only ate half of the fries with my bacon cheeseburger) it was gone. Was life any better? No. I just felt yuck for eating all of it (the fries were amazing though). This day is fleeting. Things that I make for people are fleeting, all will rot. Why do I tend to place so much emphasis on things in life. People are more important. I think back to the last few hours I was in Lakeland this time. I wanted to run over (across the pasture) to see my grandparents on our way to Orlando. Christmas Day wasn't the best for family communication, so I wanted to at least end our time on a happy note. My granny was sitting there shelling pecans, my papa was in his chair reading the paper. I thought to myself, if something happens, I may never see my Papa alive again. To my knowledge he is not a believer (by his own testimony). I cry everytime I leave his sight, and even now as I am writing this. He is such an incredibly gracious man. He taught me to fish, drive a boat, pick grapes, clean a fish, make homemade french fries, and corned beef hash. All those are really important things - right? Not as important as knowing Jesus. The Preacher said a lot of it: "Vanity of vanities...all is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?" - Ecc 1.2,3 It is all vanity.
6. I finished Genesis this morning. In 4 days I've read from Creation to the end of Joseph's life. I actually liked reading it in this little amount of time because you don't forget things. I saw many similar topics in Genesis: blessing, presence, covenant, obedience, guidance. "When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces." Genesis 15.17 (If you don't know the story behind that verse I chose, please ask me, it was one that makes me cry every time I read it). You know what I God is very good to me. He created me to have a relationship with him, than...when I messed it up...He pursues me to continue that relationship. (I love the book of Hosea for this very reason.) He called out to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, their mothers, he cries out to me even now. I am so thankful that I have a God who created me in His image, loves me with an everlasting covenantal love, and will never forsake me - even when I am faithless. Praise be to God for another year.
7. And just to let you know - I'm really looking forward to this year. Its going to be amazing. God is so faithful to me. He is so incredibly gracious to me. I look forward to seeing fruit bear in my life from being in His presence. And God has given me gracious and wonderful friends, for whom I am very thankful. All for God's glory, right! "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." - James 1.17

Friday, January 01, 2010

2010 Goals (Not Resolutions)

Hello friends!
Since I have 2 other blogs (My State of Food and Interval Cardio) this one will primarily be on the spiritual/disciplines side of things. Last year I studied and thought much about biblical femininity. Though I didn't read as many books as I wanted to on the subject, I still thought tons about it. Here are two things I learned: if girls ever listened to themselve (in an out of body experience sorta way) they would change the way they talked (the ones i'm thinking of). I don't think half the time we think of what is coming out of our mouths, or the tone of what we say. Second: what is in your heart is definitely more telling of how feminine you are (biblical woman) then what you wear or do. The Word says that - what is in the heart is the truth. I have learned much of that this year as well.
God has been very good to me in 2009 and I look forward to 2010, many changes, more friendships, growth in some key areas.
Here are two verses that will guide me for 2010:
John 15.16-17 - "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another."
Jeremiah 15.16 - "Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joyand the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts."
Here are some of them:
1. B90x. Not P90x, but B90x. It is an intense 90 day reading plan of the whole Word of God. I started this morning, took about an hour to journal, pray, and read it aloud. Very good though. Just means I'll have to get up earlier. Which will have to be ok with me. That means I'll be done by March 31 - perfect timing. And then I want to journal through specific books and maybe do some more indepth study of some smaller books. Thank you Steven Furtick and Troy Temple.
2. Read. Yes, I want to read more. I am not a fast reader, that means I need to spend more time doing it. I want to read a couple different books each month: personal/ministry, biography, food/health, fiction or classic. That will definitely keep me changing things up. Each month I will tell you what is coming next and why I'm reading that book. Here is January (the link to them is on the side): Shepherding a Child's Heart (Tripp), Eat, Pray, Love (Gilbert), My Dearest Friend (Adams), Candy Freak (Almond). Sounds like good stuff for the month of January.
3. Improve scheduling discipline. I've been printing out free calendars and that has worked well in keeping me organized. And its cheaper than buying a dayplanner. But, I want to be more disciplined in my daily activity. Not spending as much time on fb, yahoo, google reader, watching tv (glad football season is almost over for this very reason). I want to make it a point to get up earlier (see #1), and just be aware of how I spend the waking hours of my day. For this reason, I am planning on spending 3 hours each week - one sitting - usually on a weekend or near weekend - in planning my next week. I look forward to that, especially as I go into a new phase of life here shortly and using a Bux giftcard I just got for my bday (thanks SC).
4. Budgeting. I come out of 2009 in better financial shape than I have been since about 2003. That is a very good thing. And I want to continue giving, testing God (Malachi 3), living in obedience, improving discretionary spending, and saving for some big ticket items. All of this is fleeting...
5. Improve the things I want to improve: photography, cooking, health, ministry. These things are important to me. If they are important - you want to keep working on them. God is good. i love these things that He blesses me with and I want to be good at them for His glory.

There you go. Thoughts? What are yours? Any encouragement? If you have made any goals or resolutions, then be diligent in keeping them. Don't give up so easily. Not much in life is worth the fuss if it doesn't take work. Happy New Year