Tuesday, March 25, 2008

1 Corinthians 13

We started ladies' Bible study for the year, today. We had a great crowd, 19 ladies. Mom started a series on 1 Cor. 13. What a challenge! We just studied the first 3 verses. Oh my goodness!
Mom and I had a talk about it beforehand and discussed the implications of the first three verses. You can do everything right. You can give away all your worldly goods. You can be the best teacher and the best singer. You can even become a martyr for the cause of Christ. But if you don't have charity, Godly love, you have nothing, and you are nothing and nothing you do makes any difference in the world.
I sure would hate to get to Heaven just to be told that what I had done, and the little sacrifices that I had made were worthless. I want my life to mean something. I want to make a difference. I want to be a vessel unto honor.
So, it all boils down to charity(love). God's love. I know that I have it, but do I show it?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What do you do?

We all go through times of difficulty where fretting and anxiousness are a temptation. What do you do? I know that the Christian life is about putting off the bad and putting on the good. Thats all good and well, but what does that mean, practically? If fretting is bad, than not fretting is good, (duh) but what do you do? How does one go about controlling your thoughts? Housework is good, but not particularly mind-challenging.
Watching TV is a distraction, but I don't think its a worthy one.

Another book I purchased in the US was "The prayer that changes everything" by Stormie Omartian. I have read several of her other books, and I though this was going to be a re-hash of the same. It was very good and the basic premise of her book is that praise is what changes everything. It honors God and it changes our outlook. This book is coming in the container that is on the ship as I write. Please pray that it will arrive with no problem and with as little as expense as possible.

I realize now what a sheltered life I had growing up. What a blessing! Children shouldn't have to deal with fretting. I shouldn't either, I should have enough faith. But how conceited of me to think that I should have nothing to learn! And next year, it's be something else! Praise the Lord! He thinks I am worth teaching!

BTW, the Oswald Chambers reading that I "randomly" chose yesterday was the July 4 reading. Check it out! If you dont have the book, its online.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Do not fret

So, I was fretting today about a situation that, like many, is totally beyond my control, and yet affects me directly. Don't you hate those? I am a can-do kinda gal, and I don't like feeling out of control.
My daily Bible reading was good as always, but didn't address my current "issues" like it often does when I need a boost. So, here we are, mid-afternoon and I was fretting. I sat down on my bed and reached for good old Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost....". I had already read today's reading, so I just randomly opened the book. The first title I read was "Do no fret". ?!?!? Talk about getting a boost from the Lord!
I guess I can't control the situation, but I can control my reaction to it!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

So, what do missionaries do?

Well, to sum it up, we work with people. We share the Gospel, which you'd think they'd be happy to hear. Not usually. People all over the world think that they are OK. The same approach, that is getting people to understand that they are sinners, in need of God's forgiveness, is the same world over.
Once someone reaches the point where they understand their need for salvation, then begins the work of growing spiritually. Here we are at a great disadvantage, because we must start from the very beginning. Even basic things like lying and stealing must be addressed. Regular Church attendance is a foreign concept, since they were raised to go to church once in a while.
Of course, teaching isn't enough. We must also be patient, because they will only grow when they want to, not when I want them to. We must also let the Holy Spirit work. After all, if He's not doing the work, we are working in vain.
This process is defferent in every single person. Some grow quickly, some never grow. Some must be dealt with gently, sometimes a little "tough love" is necessary.
Often I wish there was a gauge by which to measure our successes or failures, but there realy isn't. Numbers alone are not a very accurate gauge.
Of course the only true measure for success in the ministry is this. Have I been faithful? If the answer is Yes, then we have been successful.

8 things Meme

Sarah invited me to share 8 new things about myself. I am having a hard time figuring out something interesting to write!
Here we go.
1. While I know that housework is important and a noble job, I really don't like doing it!
2. I have two different colored eyes.
3. I don't like tomatoes or avocados.
4. I cannot watch violent movies. I tried to watch "The Patriot"..... Nope, not even that one.
5. I like old Disney music and movies, in that order. The older, the better.
6. I cannot stand to watch "Little House on the prairie" I love the books and find the show to be sappy and awful. If I have to see Michael Landon cry one more time...........!
7. I have never received a traffic ticket.
8. I don't drink coffee. (weird, I know)

There you have it. That's 8 absloutely irrelevant facts about myself.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Money Matters

I have been reading Mary Hunt from Debt Proof Living and Dave Ramsey. Both are Christians and both were terribly into debt.
I haven't done any of their seminars or bought their premium content on the web because, frankly, I can't see spending money to learn how to get out of debt when I'm not in debt! I am interested in their money savings ideas, but when you're not in control of the family's finances, what-s the point?

Here's my opinion. Debt is bad (nothing new, I know) But its also a heart issue. Its a faith issue, Its a contentment issue. People get into debt when they buy stuff they cannot afford and didn't wait for God to give it to them or save up for it. No matter whose program you use to get out of debt, you still need to address the issues that got you into debt in the first place! Cutting up the credit cards you abused is a start, but that doesn't take care of the root of your problem.

We are in the savings part of money management, but this is where DH and I don't see eye to eye. Oh well.

I can't cut coupons because they don't have coupons here. I can't have a garage sale, 1. because they don't do that here, and 2. I cannot sell my junk to people who can barely afford to eat! We can't stop eating out, because we don't eat out! I make most of my food from scratch already.
What's left is contentment, that is not buying stuff. The best way to save money is not to spend it! (profound, I know!) This will also help me tame the Clutter Monster and Flylady will cheer!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

We were supposed to be in Argentina!

Every year, for the past 4 years, we have vacationed in Argentina at this particular time of year. Yes, the week after the annual Bill Smith conference, we pack up the car and head over the Andes into the foothill country of southern Argentina. We spend about a week in a cabin, thankful that the prices dropped after school started 2 weeks ago. We eat delicious Argentine beef and yummy fresh pasta. We visit Bariloche and go bowling and ice skating. We visit the chocolate factory. We head down to our favorite mountain town, El Bolson and rest and relax.

This year, it was not to be. And I am having Contentment Issues.
Does it surprise you that a missionary could have Contentment Issues? Shouldn't missionaries just be thrilled to have a house with plumbing? We'll you're right. I should. I should be thrilled and thankful. So should you. We all should, but we aren't as thankful as we should be. At least I am not, don't know about you!

Well, there's always next year!

John Newton

John Newton wrote hymns. Do you know why he wrote them? To teach doctrine, of course! Yep, when he was preparing his sermons, he knew that he needed some way to drive the lesson home. So he would write a hymn that illustrated the teaching.

Interestingly, his most famous hymn was not popular in his homeland, but in mine. And "Amazing Grace" became popular first among the slaves. Isn't that ironic that a song written by an ex-slaveship captain should be an anthem among those he hurt. Of course they probably had no idea at the time who wrote the song!

Grace is what allows a slaver to become a slave for Christ. Grace is what allows me to breathe! Grace is what allows horrible situations and unfairness to be redeemed for His glory and purpose. And it is truly Amazing!

Wedding gown update and dollar scare

The Bride of the Year went to the city yesterday, and visited the one and only bridal shop in a town of a half a million.
Good news, they don't sell ready-to-wear dresses, you pick a model and they sew it up for you! That means that Bride got herself the coveted 3/4 length sleeves and no worry about showing cleavage. And the thing is only going to cost 150.o0 dollars. Hooray! Not that this has a thing to do with me, but she is my own daughter in the faith, and I am happy for her.

Now, here is where we must put our money (literally) where our mouth is. the dollar has continued to drop reaching 10-year lows. That means that we have 40% less buying power than we had 5 years ago. 40%!!!!!!
WE BELIEVE that God is faithful.
WE BELIEVE that God will provide.

OK, we might panic and little, and we might complain a little, but it will be wrong to do so, and we will repent and never do it again.

Waiting for the Rapture,

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I just don't know

Seems really interesting how everybody knows that they are right about everything. Good, godly people say thus-and-such is good and right and other equally godly, good people say something different. Birth control........clothing........Sunday School or no Sunday School.

We must be very careful when we take a stand about something. We can and should take a stand about things we feel passionate about, but we must remember a few things.

1. If I am right, my attitude towards those who disagree with me must also be right, that is a loving attitude

2. On issues that are not clearly defined in Scripture, I must be willing to open to the fact that I might be wrong.

I don't need to be right about everything.. I don't need to know everything. Sometimes I just don't know.

John Newton's Wife

I read a biography of John Newton, "From Disgrace to Amazing Grace".

What a great story! Truth is more amazing than fiction, and it doesn't get any more amazing than the life of John Newton. God's grace is evident in his life even though Newton was engaged in horrific ungodliness. How God brought JN to Himself is a testament to His mercy.

Anywho, one of the interesting bits of his life, is that he fell in love at 18 or 19 with a 13-year-old girl, who he eventually married. He loved her and she loved him to what seems like an absurd degree. They both feared that they were idolizing one another to the point of being sinful! The author makes a few mentions to that fact that JN's wife was in no way his intellectual or spiritual equal and seemed surprised that Newton should be so enamored with her.

What the poor author doesn't understand is that Mrs. Newton must have been exactly what JN needed and wanted in a wife, and that had nothing to do with intellect or spirituality. Seems that he wanted and needed an adoring wife, and he got one!

Does that mean that a good wife is an adoring ditz? No, it just means that a good wife is an adoring, loving wife, and that could make up for any other deficiencies she might have. I don't know. It takes all kinds. I just thought that JN and wife made quite an interesting couple, to say the least.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Stepping Heavenward

Yep, I read it! It wasn't an easy read, and I need to read it again. It was very convicting. Seems that wives from every age go through the same things. The same misunderstandings and the same hurt feelings.

I sometimes wish that life were easier or that the Lord would just take us home. But of course, that wouldn't serve His purpose, which is to mold us and purge us of everything that is bad for us.

What I think we all have a hard time understanding is that God is purging us for our own good.

I once heard a friend preach a sermon about tithing, and he said " I tithe because its helps me!"

The inevitable trials and tribulations are for our own good. I know this theoretically, its the practice I'm having a hard time with.

What's up?

I have been looking at wedding gowns (I almost wrote "weeding gown" who needs a weeding gown?) for Sandra, who is going to be married next month. Hallelujah! We are a modest bunch and Sandra is more modest. She even has a hard time with short sleeves! (by personal choice) She is looking for a modest, long-sleeved gown. So what's with all the strapless gowns? At every single website, 95% of the gowns have been strapless, bosom-y affairs. When I got married, all the gowns had puffed sleeves, now we can't even find a sleeve!

Sorry, just needed to rant a while!
Its so much fun to be involved in wedding plans!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Waiting, revisited

The Lord has spoken! After waiting uneasily on the Lord, He has finally showed me His will in the matter that I am concerned about. He answered my prayer. Not in the way that I wanted, but now I see that it is the way it must be. God graciously allowed me independent confirmation from not one, but two sources. I am sleeping better now, although there is still much to wade through. There will be a few more tense moments. I am praying even now that God will deliver us from any such moment.

I hope I am not too dissapointing to the Lord for my lack of faith. I do not like for my faith to be tried!!!!!! I am now waiting to see God's hand move miraculously in this situation and for Him to be glorified in His Church.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Modesty and shamefacedness, revisited

Don't mean to harp on a controversial subject, but I can't help myself!
When an unsaved journalist is more honest than many Christians, its time to take notice!
Today on MSN.com, there is an article about Hannah Montana. I have never seen an episode, but I have seen her photos all over the place.

Here's a link to the article, and below is a quote.
"The virginity shtick, which is overrated, is also pretty insincere. Either that or it's as confused as a hot dog with frosting. There is one point to dressing sexy: to attract sex partners. Anyone who says otherwise is in a losing argument with Mother Nature. "

We need to be more and more modest about our dress! All (ok, alot of) the 'tween girls in the US want to dress and act like Hannah Montana.