Archive | October, 2007

Proverbs 31 Revisited -Part 3

Proverbs 31:13
“She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight.”

flower.JPG1. Productive -Do I love work? Am I productive in the use of my hands and my time? First, this woman is focused on serving her husband (as highlighted in the previous two verses, see posting), as that is her first goal and priority, followed by her family and home. After her husband, she turns her gaze towards serving behind the scenes to make her home run smoothly.

She is eagerly looking for ways to put her hands to good use. She is not sitting around feeling overwhelmed. She brushes those thoughts aside and is doing everything unto the Lord. This is my challenge…we think about the dishes, the laundry, the housecleaning…so much to do, so little time. This verse encourages me to not dwell on these things…it is a waste of time. Just get to it! Do a little here and a little there.

2. Makes a plan -She desires that her home might be an embassy for the Kingdom. Planning her time is the key! She takes time (15 min or so) at the beginning of each day to plan her day so she might not waste a moment. Things will change, there is no doubt about that, flexibility is essential, but planning will make the day flow much more smoothly.

Overall, our focus must be upon the Lord! How can I please the Lord today and be faithful in the role He has called me to?

Revisited February 13, 2008 
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Making Your Home An Embassy

Is your home an Embassy for the Kingdom of God?

This last Sunday, the sermon was focused on the importance of our role as Ambassadors for the Kingdom. We each have a part to play in making our homes places where the truth can spread to others as we welcome the lost into our homes. Is my Embassy radiating a love for the Lord? I was struck by the importance of having each room flooding with Scripture so others would know what is truly important to us. I was encouraged to do the following:

1. Post Scripture where I dwell the most - such as above the kitchen sink and changing table – to meditate upon as I complete these tasks. Not only will my heart be strengthened in the truth, it is also there for all to see. I am going to read these passages aloud and begin memorizing these truths. I pray that through this my children will also begin to learn the truth.

2. Post prayer needs on a bulletin board in a prominate place. As we have our family devotions presently in our bedroom, I am going to post a bulletin board with all the missionary photos we have, in addition to any new prayer updates and letters, so they are right there in front of us during our morning prayer time. I am also thinking of posting a map of the world. This will be used more in the future to train up our children to have a love for the nations as we dwell on praying for them each day.

I also receive a monthly prayer point flyer with needs in the Persecuted Church. Since posting that above my kitchen sink, it has facilitated me to pray more purposefully and faithfully for those Christians who are suffering around the world.

These are some of my ideas for making my home a place where the truth is constantly before our eyes, so that we might treasure it in our hearts and the world might know Who it is all about.

“Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”
~Ps. 119:11

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Frugal Tips: Saving money on groceries!

1. The fewer trips you take to the grocery store the better!
Having a store just down the street is convenient, but if I make little stops several times a week, I start soaring over my budget. Once I limited my trips to twice a month with a plan I kept the costs down.
2. Make a menu and grocery list and stick to it.
Don’t just go to the store and pull things off the shelfs. This will rack you up way over your budget. I use a blank sheet of paper with traced lines to make 30 different boxes for a month worth of menus. I work in two week segments.

3. Buy in bulk.
I buy 25 lbs of oats or other items and can save a few dollars hear and there which all adds up. When they are on sale, accumulate.

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Being Good Stewards

Lately, I have been dwelling a lot on the importance of being good stewards. Now I am not referring to being good stewards of our finances and resources as we often think of when this is said, but I am talking about being good stewards of the world around us.

In the cultural mandate of Genesis 1:26-28:

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His image…God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”

There is a truth in this first command that is often overlooked! God has made us rulers of the earth and we are to be stewards, caretakers of the world around us. What does that mean? As Christians, we cannot ignore our environment. I often made fun of those environmentalists out there to save trees…but the more I meditated on this passage, the more I realized the significance for us as Christians to take the lead in caring for the world around us. How can we play a part?

I find the more I become environmentally friendly, the more money I save too! Isn’t that interesting? Frugality and good stewardship of our environment go hand in hand! These are a few ways that I am seeking to play my part:

1. Cloth diapering!

2. Use cloth/canvas tote bags for all your shopping! I bought three large canvas bags at $1.50 ea. from IKEA the other day and have been using them like crazy for all my shopping, everything from groceries, clothes, etc. They are continually reusable and no need to use those plastic or paper bags at the store. I just keep them in the car when I’m done. Easy! No more clutter of excess plastic and paper bags around my house. Every little bit helps!

3. CFL bulbs. I am replacing all my standard light bulbs around my house for CFL’s. They save me energy costs and better for the environment. They last 10x longer than regular light bulbs and use 13watts instead of 60 watts.

4. Cloth napkins & towels. Not only are they nicer to use and elegant for guests, they are saving trees. I am no longer using paper napkins or towels. Just use kitchen towels to dry those hands!

5. Reusing plastic zip lock bags.

6. Recycling.

Now…I might be sounding a little crazy by now, but I think this is important. Christians need to lead the way! How can we think to share the truth of the gospel with others if we are not concerned about the things they are concerned about.

7. Hang your cloths to dry!
Speaking of washing clothes, try using a cooler cycle than what you are used to. Nine times out of ten your clothes aren’t so dirty that they absolutely require the hot wash, and you’ll save 30-60% of the energy consumed using the hot cycle. When it comes to drying, don’t over-dry your clothes, and consider using the cool-down cycle to utilize the residual heat in the dryer. Try hanging them to dry! This will make your cloths last longer anyway.

8. Turn off the lights when you are not in the room.

9. Eliminate the use of chemical cleaners.

10. Limit trips to town to 1-2 times a week. Don’t run out every day for that little thing you need. Start a list at the beginning of the week, post it on your frig, and add to it as you realize a need. Do this with your grocery needs as well and save yourself the extra trip…plus the gas!

11. Pay all bills and charity gifts online. Eliminate the extra use of paper, envelopes, stamps, etc.

12. Don’t buy bottled water. It isn’t good for you anyway!
The environmental impact that the bottled water craze is having on our planet is staggering:

“Bottled water is responsible for an enormous increase in world production of plastic bottles. Surging sales of bottled water coincided with and may help account for a 56 per cent increase in U.S. plastic resin manufacture in the U.S.A. between 1995 and 2001 (from 32 million tons to over 50 million tons annually). Consuming critical supplies of petroleum and natural gas, plastic bottle factories create and release toxic wastes, including benzine, xylene, and oxides of ethylene into the environment.”

13. Buy locally. Buy as much food as you can from local farmers around you. This food will be so much fresher than what you can find in the grocery store. It will hold and preserve more nutrients as well. Lastly, you are supporting local agriculture!

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Proverbs 31 Revisited-Part 2

“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
Proverbs 31:11-12

flower.JPG1. Responsible & Trustworthy - He can trust a task into her hand and know she will complete it to the best of her abilities. What responsibilities has my husband or father trusted into my hands? Am I being faithful in these? Learning to serve your father is the best preparation for serving your husband in the future. She asks him, “how can I serve or help you today? Is there anything I can do to take a burden or load off your shoulders?” If you don’t know the areas of responsibility you have, ask him, “what areas of our household/lives do you want me to manage?”

2. Submissive - She seeks to follow his leadership by running events and her comings and goings by him for his approval first. This may be invitations received, household decisions, managing spending, etc. She is quick to seek his counsel and advice. In likewise manner, the Proverbs 31 daughter is seeking the direction and counsel of her father. She does not act outside of his oversight.

3. Guards her husband’s heart. She guards his time, energy, sexuality and needs. She seeks to make his time most profitable. Am I or the children distracting him from his work or study time? She satisfies his needs which gives her the greatest joy and fulfillment. What are his goals? How can I guard his time in order that he might work to accomplish them?

4. The man comes first! She is not easily distracted by things that take her focus away from serving her husband/father. Am I too wrapped up on the phone, or on the computer that I am not efficiently serving my husband? Am I easily distracted from the task at hand that he has entrusted to me?He will go far in life with a trustworthy woman by his side. He can so easily become stagnant if his woman is not near to encourage and strengthen him in his role as provider and protector.

Lastly, it is interesting to note that in the order of Proverbs 31 it begins by addressing her responsibility to her husband. He comes first! Before all household duties, he is to be first in her order of priorities! That is, our relationship with the Lord is foremost, followed by our husbands. Is my husband my first priority after the Lord in my life?

Updated…February 13, 2008
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Through the Trials of Life – Hope in God!

Yesterday was one of the hardest days of of raising my little Karis thus far in her short existence. She decided she did not want to take any of her naps on her regular schedule but rather be fussy and want to be held all day long. Which also makes bed time more challenging because she is extremely over-tired. I lost my patience. I was so frustrated. I could get nothing done or accomplished due to her ceaseless cries for attention.

Oh Lord, have mercy on me…a poor wretched sinner! This was one of those times when the Lord revealed to me that I can plan all I want to have a productive day, and come to find out He has other plans. My baby needed my focus for the day…she needed my love and compassion for the pain she may be experiencing with teething and all, but my focus was so much so on thinking she was getting in the way of all that I wanted to accomplish.

I was crying out to the Lord in my discouragement and two passages of Scripture were brought to my attention by the Holy Spirit.

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.” (Psalm 42:5)

I memorized this verse awhile back and it always seems to come to my remembrance at such times. I ask this question directly to my soul, building up my soul verbally. Hope in God! Remember his lovingkindness that has been bestowed upon you. How has He shown His love and care to me in the past? Where had I put my hope now? It was in my own self. In my abilities and hope of accomplishments for the day. Speak the truth to yourself at these times when discouragement plagues your heart and mind. Do not put your trust in yourself or anything of this world. Hope in God!

The other was a passage from 1 Peter that is sung in a song we sing at church. “Through the trials of life You’re working to prove our faith as gold.” (1 Peter 1:6-7) Don’t let the enemy attack your soul into thinking that God is not involved in this trial or struggle. He is intrinsically involved in every aspect of your life. He is always working through every trial to prove your faith. To make it more precious than gold which perishes. It is for the purpose of strengthening our faith and hope in God. To turn our focus from ourselves and onto the great Savior who sacrificed all to bear the sins of the world. The greatest sacrifice possible.

The song continues…“in Your love we’re persevering for one day soon we’ll know. You’ll explode through the clouds, as Your shout cracks the sky. Dead in Christ shall arise as you call home your bride. And though we’ve not seen your face, this greatest glory awaits! Till then by the power of God, through faith we are saved, we are saved!”

Lastly, take hope and encouragement in this passage. Make it your heart’s pray and cry:

“My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all time, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”
~Psalm 62:5-8

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