147,077 Fans   4,312 Followers  

{Week 7} WIWW Link-Up Party… Enjoying the Ride…

I married an amusement park enthusiast.  He’s crazy, that man.  He loves all rides that twist and turn, and his body seems to handle them with ease.  Impressive, I tell ya.  I, on the other hand, can barely survive a ride in the back seat of my minivan without getting car-sick.  Make me read a map while I’m back there, and it’s all over for sure.

So we have this family tradition of attending our local fair every summer, and I have to admit that my adventurous spirit has been lacking most years.  Just the thought of climbing the steps of the Tilt-O-Whirl about sends me over the edge.  Lucky for me, for many years in a row, I’ve had a convenient excuse for letting my husband do the riding honors with our kids.  Need someone to stay back with the baby and the stroller?  Sure, I’d be happy to sacrifice for the family.  Heh.  Someone needs to take the pictures anyway, right?

Family divided.

My problem now is that my youngest is starting to ride rides.  This wasn’t supposed to happen.  Last summer all of a sudden my little excuse was dragging her daddy off to the toddler helicopters, and three excited boys were yelling my name to “Come on, Mom!”  Oh dear.  Can’t we all just ride the carousel together as a family?!

Somehow in the midst of sheer boy excitement (clearly before I could come to my senses!), I had reluctantly agreed to their request and found myself on this thing:

Somebody help me.  Who knew my mouth was this big (don’t answer that)?  And why is no one else screaming (for all I know the ride hadn’t even started yet – ha!)?!  I told myself that I was pulling the natural “I’m here for ya, bud.” mom-move when I grabbed hold of the two boy legs seated beside me, but between you and me, I was desperately reaching out for a little comfort for myself.  Haha.

 

But guess what?  I survived the ride that day.  And I not only survived it, I actually enjoyed it!!  Turns out my thinking was all wrong.  Not all rides are as crazy as they seem, and a little effort on my part sure did go a long way in encouraging  my fun-loving boys.  We all left the fair that day pretty pumped up that we had accomplished something together (“Can you believe Mom actually rode that thing??”), and even a little more connected than we were when we arrived.  And it was worth every bit of the “sacrifice” it took to get me out of my comfort zone.

 

Now fair rides are not for everyone, that’s for sure.  But connectedness in the body of Christ is.  In case there’s any doubt, we’ve had repeated reminders about unity in the body since we started Ephesians (… anyone ever told you that if the Bible repeats something, it’s probably worth paying extra attention to??).  And I have to wonder when we struggle with the unity that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 4, if we’ve held on to some wrong thinking for far too long:

Have we hidden behind our own preferences instead of agreeing on truth (remember that much of what we get “stuck” on isn’t even biblical thinking!)?

Do we rely on the same convenient excuses year after year?

If we were willing to bend just a little on the negotiables, could God use us more effectively?

Could God be calling us to get out of our comfort zones in order to be an encouragement to someone in need?

Are we plain just letting fear get in the way?

 

Unity in our relationships is not always easy.  In fact, let’s be honest… sometimes it is the last thing we want to do!  But Paul is calling us to maturity.  To focus on what really matters.  To remember that we are all on level ground at the foot of the cross.

 “…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Ephesians 4:1-3

And here’s the amazing thing:  when we finally let go of “our way” and submit to practicing unity the way God intended


Freedom comes.  

Is it time for you to let go of something that has hindered unity, so that you can start enjoying the ride? 

At His feet,

   Women around the world are IN THE WORD!

Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other. We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org

 

 

 

{Week 7} Some of the best marriage advice I ever received!

 

I love this man! I am truly head over heals crazy about him! He is my best friend….the one who knows everything about me and still chooses to love me. He has seen my good days and my bad days. He has been with me when I’ve been on top of my mountains and he has held me and prayed me through my valleys. We made a commitment to each other almost 13 years ago that we will always be there for each other “for better or worse”……we will be there for each other. The day we were married we became one in God’s sight. Each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses……but together we are one.

I’m so thankful Dirk is not like me. He is strong where I am weak. He is good at making decisions and I always seem to second guess myself…I think. God has blessed him with a brilliant mind and a compassionate heart. What he does for a living I could never do……NEVER! I just wasn’t made to fulfill that purpose in life. God made me to fulfill a different calling and yet together we make a strong team as we raise our 3 daughters for God’s glory. I feel we compliment each other pretty well. The same is true for the body of Christ. We all have different gifts, things that we are good at, but together we make a strong team. We compliment each other well also. Where I am weak you might be strong and where you are weak another sister might be stronger. We don’t have to be good at everything! In chapter 4:11-12 Paul tells us that God has gifted us all with certain gifts……not all the gifts……according to His plan for our lives.

Right after Dirk and I were married, someone told me to focus on what I LOVE about my husband and not to dwell on the things that could occasionally bother me. She told me not to expect perfection if I didn’t want him to expect perfection out of me. She reminded me that we are all sinners in need of God’s grace…..my husband is no exception. Give grace, forgive, pray for him, encourage him and love him like no one else can!

When I think back on that advice, a lot of it can also be applied to the body of Christ. Instead of focusing on what divides us, lets focus on what unites us! Paul reminds us this week in verses 4:4-6 that there is:

one body,

one Spirit,

one Lord,

one faith,

one baptism,

one God and Father of all.

Did you catch that…….ONE!

Let’s start focusing on what unites us just like Paul encouraged the early church to do. Will we have differences? Of course…..but we should not allow those differences to divide us and therefore make us ineffective in the world. Together as the body of Christ we can do GREAT things!

In verse 3, Paul encouraged the early church to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Did you catch that? We are supposed to get along. I know it’s hard…..some personalities can get under our skin at times, but that’s why Paul tells us in verse 2 to “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” What wonderful advice to keep a marriage together as well as a group of individuals who all have different personalities, wants, ideas and goals.

Just like we should be loving, gentle, humble and patient with our spouses…..we should also be like that with our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we make Christ our focus instead of our agendas, or our ministries, we will we be able to bear with each other in love……because its God’s love that unites us.

Challenge: This week, focus on loving and encouraging the body of Christ. Reach out to someone in your church, your bible study, your Good Morning Girls group and love on them. Give grace where grace is needed. Give forgiveness where forgiveness is needed. Focus this week on what you have in common. Lavish them with God’s love. This week if you feel bothered, upset or annoyed at a fellow Christian, make a point to pray for that person and then choose to do something to build them up. Say an encouraging word. Write a kind letter. Love on them.

Memory verse: Ephesians 4:2- Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

This week read: Ephesians 4:1-16

Digging a little deeper: For those of you who would like to learn more about these verses this week, I’ve provided a few resources below for you to use to help you…….dig a little deeper!

1. John MacArthur

a. Ephesians 4:1 The Lowly Walk pt 1

b. Ephesians 4:1 The Lowly Walk pt 2

c. Ephesians 4:2 The Lowly Walk pt 3

d. Ephesians 4:2 The Lowly Walk pt 4

e. Ephesians 4:2 The Lowly Walk pt 5

f. Ephesians 4:-6 The Lowly Walk pt 6

g. Ephesians 4:7-11 The Gifts of Christ to His Church

h. Ephesians 4:11- Building the body of Christ pt 1

i. Ephesians 4:11-16 Building the body of Christ pt 2

2. John Piper

a. Ephesians 4:1-6 Maintain Unity of Spirit

b. Ephesians 4:4-16 How Christ Enables

c. Ephesians 4:7-16 How Saints Minister Body

d. Ephesians 4:7-16 Why Saints Minister Body

Until next time…

Love God Greatly!

 

 

 

 

 

Your God Is Too Small

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

My father in-law has Huntington’s disease. It is one of the reasons why he lives with us. Huntington’s can rear it’s ugly head when a person is in their mid 30’s but it didn’t show up in my father in-law until he was 60. The scary part is that it is genetic and it has never skipped a generation which means that my husband could very well have it, as could my kids. I pray regularly that God would take this disease out of our family but I fail at believing that God will do it. This request just seem too big and so I change my prayers sometimes and pray that maybe God could keep it at bay until Joe is 60.  I am guilty of praying and then not believing that God will answer my prayers. It stems from fear; fear that God will do the opposite of what I ask. It also comes from unbelief. I don’t always believe that God is generous. It all comes down to the fact that my view of God is too small.

Paul ends Ephesians 3 with a beautiful doxology, a hymn of praise to God. In it he tell us about the grandeur of God. He gives us a picture of God that is so big it inspires awe, emboldens faith, and grants courage. Here are four things we know to be true about God in Eph. 3:20,21.

God is Able

“Now to him who is able”

How do you know if your God is too small? Let me ask you, does He threaten your comfort zone? If not, then He is probably too small.  Do you view God as a kill-joy? Do you pray but then think that God won’t answer?

There are beautiful passages in the Old testament that tell of all the things God has done, and yet His power surpasses even those things. God’s power is extensive. It reaches into every nook and cranny of the universe (Is. 40). There is nowhere we can go where God’s power is not at work. God sustains the world through the power of His word (Heb.1 ) He forgives sins, restores broken souls, raises the dead, forms babies, wakes you every morning, causes crops to grow, keeps the world spinning and the stars from crashing to earth.

Can you begin to grasp the measureless power of God above everything else? It’s only as we know who God is, what He is like, and what He does that our view of God will be larger than life itself– and correct.

Because God is able, we can rest in his power; his ability to act not only for his glory, but also for our good. And there’s more.

God is Generous

“…. to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think”

I bet many of us believe that God is stingy. We wouldn’t say that out loud, of course, but it creeps into our thoughts and actions. When things are going really well do you feel like it is too good to be true? Are you always waiting for the hammer to fall and for God to “zap” you? Are you afraid to come to God with your requests because you feel like you have asked too often, and so now God is going to cut you off? Do you feel that God will turn you away because you have ignored him for awhile, or have sinned “to much?” All of these thoughts stem from a belief that our God prefers to withhold good things from his children.

But consider the story of Solomon. God told Solomon that he could wish for anything his heart desired. Instead of choosing riches and fame, Solomon chose wisdom. God was so pleased with Solomon’s decision that He not only gave him amazing wisdom and understanding, but also the things that he did not ask for such as riches and glory. (1 Kings 3)

Our God is overwhelmingly, embarrassingly, generous. He wants to bless us (Ps. 115:12-13, Jer. 29:11).

Because God is generous toward all, especially his children, it is impossible to ask for too much. The “Father’s giving exceeds our capacity for asking or even imagining.” (via Sam Storms)

God is Active

“according to the power at work within us”

Some of you might get caught up in the lie that God is so busy with everyone else that He just doesn’t have time for you. It may seem that your prayers are taking forever to be answered and that perhaps God is lallygagging around somewhere. Rest assured that our “able” and “generous” God is also always active, never sleeping (Psalm 121:3), nor running out of energy (Is 40:28). While you sleep, God is on the move.

Do you remember who you are according to Eph 1? You are chosen, redeemed, forgiven, adopted, and immeasurably loved as a child of God. He does not ignore his precious people. In fact, He blesses and cares for us collectively and individually. He wakes us in the morning, He provides everything we need for us to get through the day both physically and spiritually. He protects us from Satan’s arrows (2 Thes 3:3), and is always teaching, comforting, forgiving, guiding, strenghtening, convicting and sometimes disciplining before He causes us to fall asleep at night. Even then He is watching over us (Ps. 121:7).

Because God is ever active, accomplishing His will, answering our prayers in the best ways possible, and, as Paul says, powerfully working in us, we can have confidence that He is with us, in us, and for us in all that we face in life.

God is First

“to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever”

God’s goal in all things is His own glory. God is first for God, and He must be first for us. As the Puritans so beautifully said, our “chief end” (or purpose in life) is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Whether we recognize it or not, He is first, and everything else exists under Him. We must live to reflect and experience His firstness.

It is only as we recognize God as first, and ourselves as second, seeing that everything begins and ends with him, that our view of God can begin to change the way we see life and persevere through our calling, questions, and the chaos in this world.

Looking To Jesus,

 

 

 

Digging Deeper

Knowledge of the Holy A. W. Tozer  (you can also find it for free here )
Knowing God J.I Packer

Being Intentional With Our Words

 

As I’ve been focusing on being more intentional in my life, another area I feel God working is in the area of my words. Lately I’ve really tried to “listen” to myself as I talk to my children, my husband and my friends. I’ve paid attention to the words and tone that I’ve been using with them recently and I have to admit some days I haven’t always liked what I have heard.

Join me today over at The Better Mom as I share my story of how God spoke to my heart…….

 

Love God Greatly,

 

Christ Our Cornerstone & {Week 6} WIWW Link-Up Party

Today’s post came from our weekly link-up party!

Congratulations, Kelli from AdventurezInChild’Rearing, you’ve been selected for this month’s WIWW spotlight!

Kelli blogs at http://www.adventurezinchildrearing.com

______________________________________________________________________________

Ephesians 2:18-22

New King James Version (NKJV)
18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Christ Our Cornerstone

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Without a strong cornerstone- the building will not last- it will crumble

“Members of the household of God” – Members of the same household would be a family. This passage describes the household/ family as having Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. 

What is a cornerstone exactly?

As defined by Wikipedia: 
The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.

The whole building is set from and upon that stone – the rest of the building is the rest of the “family” or the body of Christ – the church – all together for the Spirit of God to dwell. Not in the building itself – but in the people – the family of Christ.

We are one family – the body of Christ – where the Spirit of God dwells! That’s pretty exciting stuff!

Makes me want to act like it! 

We MUST exemplify love - which is the example set by our cornerstone: 

1 John 3:16 & 18

1 John 3:16 – “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” 1 John 3:18 – “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

We need to overlook our differences and love with the love of Christ – both within the outside the body/family/dwelling of God!!!

Spiritual “busyness” doesn’t cut it y’all – we’ve got to get real – pull together with love and reach out to this dying world. People – both in the body and out of it - need the love of Christ. If we aren’t living it – where will they find it?

They don’t meet Jesus Christ walking down the street - they meet you and me!

Something God has laid on my heart is that I want to be Jesus to others – both in my family of believers and non believers. He died for each one. He is the cornerstone – He set the example.

More words from Paul to the church:

1 Corinthians 10:31-33 & 11:1So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God–
even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.


____________________________________________________________________________
I am a wife and mother of 3 beautiful (yet very active) little boys. We put God first in our lives and feel that everything else falls right into place. If you had told me ten years ago that I would be homeschooling my three boys – I would have thought you mad. Yet here we are, finding joy and adventure in every day as we grow, learn, and play. This blog is a way to share those experiences with you.
________________________________________________________________________

Women around the world are IN THE WORD!

Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other. We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Hide me
Sign up below to receive free study materials!
Enter your email address:
Show me