Archive for October, 2005

When the Going Gets Tough . . .

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

Facing a new situation, with all of its unknowns is one of life’s tough or difficult challenges, in my estimation. I am thinking specifically of the new situation of helping my parents as they cope with failing health in their old age. My dad has been experiencing some small strokes, and is evidencing some loss of ability. This is particularly worrisome because he is extremely loathe to relinquish the privilege of driving a vehicle. Arrangements will probably need to be made soon for an assisted living situation for my parents. They will need to maintain as much independence and responsibility as they can manage, and yet have ready assistance with transportation, meal preparation, housecleaning, etc. if that becomes necessary. So, I will need to become informed about these matters, as well as help them figure out the finances of any change in their living situation. As I contemplate how very busy I am going to be, doing things that are not familiar to me, I feel a little tightening of anxiety around my heart. There are some Bible verses which I am finding to be a comfort at this time:

  • . . . that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. Joshua 3:4b

    I take this to mean that, in this unfamiliar circumstance, I must go to the Lord for wisdom to know “the way by which” I must go. This is an opportunity to depend upon God for guidance, strength and wisdom.

  • Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5

    This is another encouragement to trust the Lord in this situation, rather than trying to figure everything out ahead of time, by my own “wisdom”. It is never the right time to give in to anxious worry, to “What ifs . . .”

  • Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:34

    Little by little I can learn how to help my parents meet the challenges of old age. The Lord will give me what I need, when I need it, if I depend upon Him for those needs.

  • I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

    I hope to encourage my parents to truly examine their hearts as to their relationship to the Lord, that they may not be consumed with worry as death approaches. Rather, I hope they may learn to take each day as a gift from Him, and not worry about the limitations, uncertainties and trials that old age will bring.

Another Favorite Bible Verse

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. – Proverbs 14:23

  • As a wife and mother, my labour is often repetitious in nature. The laundry needs to be done daily. The house needs to be cleaned. Once again, meals need to be planned and groceries purchased. One considering this work might say that it is boring because it is repetitious.
  • Also, my labour is humble in nature. Though it is a “labour of love”(I Thess.1:3), yet it is the work of a servant. My work is not to do primarily what I might be interested in doing, but rather what will be good for my family. Again, one observing this serving work might complain that my talents and interests are not being developed, or that they are being subjugated overmuch to the interests of my family.
  • As a wife and mother, my work primarily is private in nature; if it is noticed at all, it is noticed by my dear family, not applauded by the world at large. One might say, “Where is recognition for the doing of this work?” “Where is the positive feedback for a job well done?”

In response to these querulous observations, I would respond:

  • Since I have chosen to be a wife and mother, I am doing the work which pertains to this calling. The work is good, for it furthers my calling:

    That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. – Titus 2:4,5

  • Since I am doing the work which pertains to my calling, I can have assurance that this work is pleasing to God; it is the work which He has for me to do at this time. I am doing this work by faith.

    But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6

  • Yes, the work is repetitious, yet the Lord assures me that “In all labour there is profit. Repetitious work also, if done willingly, cheerfully, lovingly, is work done to God’s glory; it is indeed profitable. This repetitious work is also profitable in that it produces actual good: clean laundry, an orderly house, and wholesome meals, for example.
  • Humble work is not to be shunned, for the Apostle Paul tells us:

    For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty: only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. – Galatians 5:13

    And Christ said, in John 13:13-15:

    Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

    Also, in Matthew 23:11, the Lord said,

    But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

  • Finally, it is certainly no shame that this work is private. Rather, it can protect one from spiritual pride to do good works quietly and unassumingly, as the Lord admonishes in Matthew 6:6:

    But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret;and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Some Thoughts on Marriage, Inspired by Reading a Book by Larry Burkett

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

In Larry Burkett’s book Using Your Money Wisely in the chapter “Unequally Yoked” in which he discusses business partnerships, he also comments on marriage:

The analogy of a yoke to a marriage is an accurate one. A marriage should be two people, pulling in common bond toward compatible goals and sharing the load equally.

Also, he says:

Just because we can have partnerships with other believers does not mean that we should. Paul said, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.” (II Cor.6:12a). Stretching that principle a little, we can say, “Any two Christians can be partners, but not all should be.” There are different levels of maturity, commitment, and human compatibility. Choosing a business partner should be done with the same caution with which you would choose a spouse.

An application I would take from this is in advising young people concerning a marriage prospect:

  • Make sure you truly know the character of the person you are considering, and are not being deceived by a favorable facade or by one’s own emotions. Just because two people believe the same things or are members of the same church, does not mean that they would make suitable marriage partners.

In the chapter “Keeping a Vow”, Larry Burkett says,

Once someone has given his word, it becomes a binding contract to be fulfilled. Thus, before agreeing to any terms, it is assumed that an individual has carefully considered the consequences.

Few scriptural principles are clearer than that of keeping our vows – literally keeping our word both to God and to others. “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.’ (Ecclesiastes 5:5).

When a couple gets married, they exchange vows or promises to each other. They promise to love each other and forsake all others no matter what. That will hold true, even if the other partner becomes . . . disabled, ugly, or old.

An application would be:

  • Be careful! Do not rush into marriage just to be married! You are making a vow which God requires you to keep, no matter what “outs” the civil magistrate may provide.

Another application, this time to the married, would be:

  • Do not be discouraged. Keeping the vow is a good thing. Do not become weary in well-doing. (Galatians 6:9) Seek God’s grace to walk in love and purity.

A Favorite Bible Verse

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

“Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” ~Proverbs 30:8,9

This verse reminds me of the petition in the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread.” The petition in Proverbs 30:8,9 is more like, “Lord, please give me just the right amount of daily bread. I am likely to sin if I have too little bread or too much bread.” If I have too little bread, or the good things of this life, I may be tempted to use unlawful means to seek to procure them. This would discredit my profession that I trust in God to provide for me. If I have an overabundance of bread, I may forget how dependent I truly am upon the Lord for life, breath, and all things. I may imagine that I do not need him, but that my own abilities and talents are sufficient.
When I ask the Lord to “feed me with food convenient for me,” I am asking two things:

  • I am asking the Lord to give me enough of that which I need. We do have real needs, and we need real supplies. As an obvious example, we need nourishing food and clean water to live and be healthy. In this supplication, I am asking the Lord to take good care of me in providing me with these things, so that I may thrive.
  • I am asking the Lord to decide what amount of this world’s good things is convenient, or good, for me particularly. I need not waste time wondering why I am not as prosperous as someone else. His or her state in life has nothing to do with the part the Lord has for me to play. We read in Matthew 25:15, “Unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability. .” I want the Lord to entrust to me only that amount of this world’s good things which will be for my good and His glory.