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A Healthy Spirit

George F. Watts

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
1. Cor. 7:1

Can you believe that our Intentionally Focused study is coming to an end? I feel like this session just flew by. This week we are learning to be women who are intentionally focused on our health.

I loved Clare’s post this week where she challenged us to examine our desires, struggles and sins in the area of health. If you haven’t read it yet check it out here.

In our verse for today Paul is calling us be healthy in both our body and our spirit. We are challenged to purify ourselves, to get rid of the things in our lives that contaminate us. Basically it is a call to put to death our sins.

Today I want us to look our spiritual health. Even as Christians we are able to become spiritually weak and sick. This spiritual sickness weakens our faith and leads us away from Jesus. Like any illness, there are accompanying symptoms that tell us something is wrong. We must know these symptoms so that when we see them in our lives we will begin to look for the remedy. Below is a list of the symptoms. We may not experience all of them at the same time, but I am sure we have all experienced many of them at some point in our Christian walk.

Symptoms of spiritual sickness

1. A feeling of coldness or hardness towards the things of God
2. Boredom with the gospel
3. Worldly-mindedness, covetousness
4. Prayerlessness
5. Neglect of the word of God
6. Lack of love for the people of God
7. Neglect of, or disinterest in, corporate worship
8. Lack of hunger for and effort in spiritual growth
9. An ongoing complaining spirit
10. We are no longer bothered or saddened by our sin

Identifying such symptoms and diagnosing spiritual sickness is good, but more than that is needed. We need to seek the cure for what is ailing us.

Cures for spiritual sickness

There are many different remedies God uses in the lives of his children in order to heal them and make them stronger. I’d like to focus on two.

1. Afflictions

Contrary to what some teach, afflictions are not always a symptom of spiritual sickness. They are often part of the treatment God uses us to restore our health. This may seem a bit weird. How can afflictions heal someone who is spiritually ill? We need to remember that God’s ways are not our ways. He is the ultimate physician and sometimes the surgeon needs to take a knife to his patients and cut out the parts that are causing the person to be sick.

Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.
Proverbs 20:30

Sometimes God will afflict our conscience and convict us of our sins. We will feel restless and uneasy until we finally repent and turn once again towards God.

Sometimes God may send physical illness in order to get our attention. Not all sickness is a discipline from God but we sure can use that time to reflect on a few things. Any time we are not feeling well we should remember that life is temporary and that God has placed us here for a specific reason. It should make us pray more and ponder the fact that we are finite while our God is infinite in all his ways and loves us anyway. It should kill our pride and instead humble us before the throne of grace.

2. His Word

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation
1 Peter 2:2

Just like a healthy person eats good food so we must also feed our spirit healthy food. This is why we have been given the word of God. The more we consume it the stronger, wiser, holier and healthier we will be. But we shouldn’t just gulp it down and move on to the next thing. We need to chew it slowly, thinking about what we have read, letting it settle into our souls and hearts so that we can be changed. The race is not about who can read through the Bible the most times but who can perservere to the end through the power of Christ found in the word.

“Regularity is also essential; we have too much common sense to try and eat enough on the weekend, to suffice our bodies for the remainder of the week; then why be so foolish in adopting this device to the soul? Time must be found for communion with God even though it means an hour less in bed each night.”
- A.W. Pink

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2

In the long run a healthy body will benefit us very little if we are spiritually sick and weak. We are called to be good stewards of all that God has given us, this includes our mind and our body.

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

jenthorn.com

Week 7 – Your Ministries

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Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:8-10

Welcome to week 7 of our Intentionally Focused study. This week we are looking at our ministries. We are all  called to minister to others both inside and outside of our home.

Here are the things we all have in common. We are all called to:

- Love others
- Show hospitality
- Use the gifts God has given us

But the way in which we practically live out these commands is going to look different in each of our lives. That is ok.  We should not compare ourselves to others because we each are in different seasons of life. The important thing to remember is that while our homes is our first place of service we are also called to serve people outside of our family.

There are so many different ways in which we can love others. We can make meals for other or have people over. We can watch peoples children so they can go out on a date or to simple have an afternoon alone. We can send some flowers or plan a fun game night with friends. We can visit people who are in the hospital, help someone with they yard work or give someone a little gift for no reason at all. The possibilities are endless. I love this quote from Matthew Henry, “it doesn’t matter if your gifts are ordinary or extraordinary use them to do good to others.” We do not have to wait until we discover some super talent. We need to use the gift God has given us now for the blessing and good of those around us.

I hope you enjoy this week’s video. It’s a little different :)

 

 

{Week 6} Reading Plan

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{Week 7} Memory Verse

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{Week 7} Challenge

This week let’s pray that God would lay on our hearts some people whom we can minister to. Then think of some practical ways that we can bless them.  This will take many of us out of our comfort zone and that is good. We grow when we are stretched.

Looking to Jesus,
jen-sig

Intentional Mothering

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But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2. Tim 3:14-17

In our passage for today today Paul is encouraging Timothy to continue in the faith–in the truths he has known and learned from the time he was a child. He was blessed with a godly mother and grandmother who faithfully taught him all about God and there is a lot we can learn here. We should never underestimate the power and influence a person can have on the spiritual life of another, especially children. Our little ones may not say much, but our words, example, and actions will soak deep into their hearts and minds.

We can’t save our children, that is the work of God. But we can point them to the cross. We can show them the beauty of Christ and the blessings of living a godly life. Our job as parents is to raise children in the knowledge of God, but in order to do this we need to act on 3 truths.

1. Know God’s word

Many families in America have more than one Bible laying around their homes. I know we do. While it is the best selling book of all times, it is not necessarily the best read book. It is certainly not read carefully or consistently enough. As believers we must be learn to see the value and importance of this book especially if we want to train our children in righteousness. God, in his grace, became an author because he wanted us to know him and be changed by him. We must give ourselves to the intake of God’s word because only by it do we grow in holiness and love for God. And as we know and cherish God’s word our children will learn to have a reverence for his word as well.

The great cause of neglecting the Scriptures is not want of time, but want of heart, some idol taking the place of Christ.
- Robert Chapman

Weed out the idols that take the place of spending time with God. Be radical about making sure you spend a little time each day with his word and you will begin to not only look forward to reading and studying you will love it and find life in it.

2. Use God’s word

God’s word is not only meant to be known in an intellectual sense, it is meant to be used.  We need to learn how to apply the truth to our everyday lives as well as the lives of our children. Our wisdom must come from scripture: the way we handle conflict, discipline, instruction, and relationships comes from God’s word. We need to make sure that the rules we make in our home are rooted in God’s word and not in our selfish desires for mere peace and quiet. If God’s word isn’t being used well in our homes then it is either being abused or neglected, both of which will lead our children further from God and his word.

We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.
- John Stott

3. Speak God’s word

It is important that in our teaching, training, and correcting we speak the words of God. But we must also do this in normal, everyday situations as well. When talking about the weather, when looking at animals, when someone is sad or going through a hard time, we can point to the stories of saints and theological truths in scripture that will help to make sense of our and our children’s experiences.

Whether we teach young Christians truth or not, the devil will be sure to teach them error. – Spurgeon

Let me say a word to those who do not have children. This season is a great opportunity to practice these things in your own life. To store up scripture in your heart, to learn how to apply it to all areas of life, to speak God’s word to yourself, your husband, and your friends. This way, when you are entrusted with children of your own, living out God’s word will be natural.

Spurgeon said this of John Bunyan, “Prick him anywhere; and you will find that his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his soul is full of the Word of God.”

I have a long way to go, but this is the kind of woman, wife, and mother I want to be. It all starts by living in the word of God and resting in the work of Christ.

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

 

jenthorn.com

A Call To Friendship

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As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

From the very beginning of time God said that it was not good for people to be alone. (Gen 2:18). This refers to all people.  It is not good to be alone. We were created for companionship, for friendship. We exist to have fellowship with God and others. And now that this world is a dark place filled with hardship, disappointment, and sin those who have friends to walk with them have something that is more valuable than money.

But here is the trick. Not all friendships are beneficial. There are some people who will drag us down, bring out the worst in us, and tempt us to sin.  (1 Cor. 15:33)

We need to surround ourselves with people who will make us better Christians, encourage us in our marriages, cheer us on in our parenting, and will speak the truth when we are wrong. Who will love us through it all.

“He who walks with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Pro 13:20).

We will not only be influenced by the company we keep, we will be known by it.  This makes it important to seek out friendships with people who will lead us to walk with and become more like Jesus. And let me give you some good news. It is not common interests that solidifies a friendship, but a common Savior. The bond we have with Christ trumps, differing personalities, styles, passions, and hobbies so that we are able to have strong, deep friendships with other sisters in Christ.

Not only do we need to seek out godly friends, we need to learn how to become this kind of friend ourselves. This is something many of us neglect. We want good friends, but do we want to be a good friend?  Jesus calls us to this. Of course a good friend will point other to Jesus, but here are a few things necessary to being a good friend that leads others back to the gospel.

Being a good friend will mean:

1. Giving up our own preferences

There is no room for selfishness in friendships. We need to be willing to give up our own preferences for the good of another person. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3, ESV) A good friend will seek to honor and bless those around them.

2. Speak truth kindly

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Pro 27:6)

One of the responsibilities of a friend is to reprove when it is needed. But doing this well requires grace and wisdom. It is not our job to become busybodies, but it is our job to gently and kindly correct if we see our friend walk in a way that is dangerous or in conflict with God’s word.

This means we must also be friends who are willing to hear and accept the reproof of a friend. This shows great spiritual maturity. While it may hurt our feelings we need to remember that  truth spoken in love will be used by God to bear fruit in our lives.

“Let a righteous man strike me — it is a kindness; let him rebuke me — it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it!” (Psalm 141:5)

“Yes, rebuke a wise man, and he will love you” (Pro 9:8)

3. Be Wise

Bring a good friend demands wisdom. Without it it is easy to overlook sin and danger, or become overly critical. It’s not just reproving that we must care about, but how we reprove. Can we discerning the needs of our friends? What will effectively encourage them in their Christian walk? All of this, and much more, requires wisdom.

It costs to be a good and godly friend. We see the ultimate friendship in Christ. He is wisdom personified. He spoke the truth, and is the truth. And his friendship toward us took him all the way to the grave, for our good. He did more than lay aside preferences, he laid down his life. “Greater love has no man than this: that a man lays down his life for his friend” (John 15:13). Are we willing to lay down our lives for the good of another?

But this cost is the very gold of life!
It is the only antidote for selfishness!
It is the way of Christlikeness!
JR. Miller

Looking to Jesus,

jen-sig

 

A Woman’s True Beauty

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Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Provbers 31: 30-31

I don’t think I have ever met a woman woman who doesn’t like pretty things. We may have different tastes, but we all like clothing, make-up, hair, jewelry and decorative choices based on what we find beautiful.

Do you know where this comes from? God is the ultimate decorator and designer of beauty. Just look around at all the color found in nature, the variety of fruits and the odd and fascinating animals found on our planet.  He loves things that are pretty, interesting and creative. Because we have been created in his image we have inherited those same traits only ours are finite and marred by sin.

This is why we love beauty and want to bring it into our home. It is why we want to look nice and experiment with styles and color. But there are also a couple of things we need to be careful of.

1. Outward Vs. Inward Beauty

It is important that we do not spend more time worrying and fussing over the way we look than over our character and our growth in godliness. The real place for beauty and decoration is our soul. Those are the jewels that are most valuable because they are useful in this life and will last through all eternity. Age can’t marr them, death can’t take them from us.

Character qualities like, kindness, gentleness, patience, generosity, hospitality, and wisdom which comes through the knowledge of God’s word, will have an impact not only on our children and our friends, but also on our husbands. It is in our character that our true beauty is seen. It is a picture of our soul.  A man whose  wife who pursues these things is truly a man who is blessed.

“A beautiful character, will transfigure the countenance. You look into it, and you read refinement, purity, delicacy, peace, love.”
J.R.  Miller

If you are married then work at being a godly wife to your husband so that you can be a blessing and a picture of Jesus to him. If you are single then work at being this kind of woman for the glory of God. You never know, there may be a marriage in your future and your godliness will be a sure blessing for that man.

2. Judgementalism

Oh how easy it is for us to form judgemental thoughts about the appearance of someone else. To talk about the way a friend chooses to decorate her kitchen or the places she chooses to shop for clothes.

I would prefer my daughters have wild colored hair and unique clothing styles but be on fire for God than to have daughters who fit the cultural norm of fashion and have a cold heart towards God. We have much more serious issues we should be spending our time on, like the sin in our own lives.

Fashion styles and “in” colors change from season to season but holiness has been considered beautiful since the beginning of time. Looking like Jesus should be our main goal and our first concern.

We need to take care that we don’t waste the precious time God has given to us by thinking and talking about other peoples lives instead of praying for them and working on our own deficiencies and sins.

It is a woman who fears the Lord instead of man, whose mirror is the word of God and not the world, who is to be praised, who is worth far more than rubies. Her children and those around her will call her blessed and praised her even when she is no longer around.

Dont be afraid to let your style come out in the way you decorate your home, style your hair or in the clothes you chose to wear. This creativity comes from our God, but let’s make sure we spend even more time cultivating a character that makes us beautiful no matter what life throws at us. We must strive for a beautiful soul that will bless those who come in contact with us.

Looking to Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

 

jenthorn.com

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