Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Yesterday while I was taking a walk in my driveway I came upon a little tortoise. My first thought was that I wished I had brought my camera on my walk. Since I walk from my house to a certain point on the driveway and then turn and come back (I do that 5 times for 1 mile), when I got back to the house I ran in and got my camera. I was afraid that I might have scared him and he would have walked into the woods by the time I could get back down to where I left him. But, no, he was a brave little turtle and had just kept plodding along the driveway! He even seemed to pose for a picture instead of pulling his head into his shell as they usually do when someone comes near.
Do you remember the old Aesop's Fable about the tortoise and the hare?
One day a hare saw a tortoise walking slowly along and began to laugh and mock him. The hare challenged the tortoise to a race and the tortoise accepted. They agreed on a route and started off the race. The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time. Then seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he'd sit under a tree for some time and relax before continuing the race.
He sat under the tree and soon fell asleep. The tortoise, plodding on, overtook him and finished the race. The hare woke up and realized that he had lost the race.
The moral, stated at the end of the fable, is, "Slow and steady wins the race."
Sometimes I feel like I am moving at the same slow pace at that little turtle I saw yesterday. Very S.L.O.W. I've never been known for being fast at anything anyway. It takes me more time than some to get things done. And sometimes I feel like just giving up. There are times when I feel like I'm not really accomplishing much for the Lord. The devil whispers in my ear that I am not really needed or that I'm a failure. And the sad thing is that sometimes...I listen to his lies! Shame on me! Has that ever happened to you? Do you ever get discouraged and tired running the race of life?
I want to encourage and be encouraged today. Let's determine to set our faces toward "the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" as Paul did in Philippians 3: 14. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. We don't have to be like the hare and start off running hard only to burn out and then sit out the rest of our lives napping on the sidelines! Let's be like the tortoise ..... set our eyes on the finish line and keep plodding along!
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." I Corinthians 9: 24
Plodding along today,
Monday, April 27, 2009
For those of you that asked after reading my last post......here are the entries to our own personal "Red Books" that I made during our study of Esther. Beth Moore had sent out a survey to women asking them what the 3 toughest things about being a woman were. She had their answers in a red notebook binder with "The RED BOOK" written across the front. Every session she would read some nuggets from The Red Book. Sometimes it was funny. Sometimes it was sad. But always pertinent!
I wanted to make our study really personal for the ladies in both our Bible study group and my ladies Sunday School Class so I asked all of them (plus many of my friends and relatives via email) to answer a similar question. I just asked, "What's the toughest thing to you about being a woman?" Some gave more than one answer. Because...well, because it's TOUGH being a woman and one answer just didn't cover it! :)
Below are the 52 answers I received from a group of 32 women ranging in age from 25 to 75 and from all walks of life....including missionary wives, young stay-at-home mothers, pastor's wives, business women, retired women.....a whole range of ages and stations in life.
I think you will find yourself among these answers…..even if you did not submit one! It’s amazing how we can all relate as women!
I hope you enjoy reading this, and if there is something that is the toughest thing about being a woman for YOU and you'd like to tell us in a comment, please do!
May God bless you!
1. Keeping up with all the things expected by my family.
3. Holding my tongue—saying things before I think about it or pray about it.
4. As one who worked outside the home all my adult life it’s been difficult to be the Proverbs 31 woman…balancing work, housekeeping, cooking, serving in church and community and being there to meet physical & emotional needs of husband and kids is a challenge.
5. Getting old is not for sissies. It’s hard getting older in a world centered around youth and beauty.
6. Wondering if I can ever live up to what I think others expect of me.
7. Not “really” being understood by a male (my husband)…..nor does he care to understand me “really”.
8. Too many demands on my time and life.
9. Trying to succeed as if a man in the work place and as if a stay-at-home mom at home!
11. Weight control. Comparing myself with my sister.
12. Finding time for “self” in a way that pleases God (without being selfish or a martyr)
13. It’s hard to be a woman in a world where morals are changing daily. I prefer to be old-fashioned.
14. Having to SUBMIT when in my heart I want to be calling the shots – or at least be in on the decision.
15. My weight.
16. Working, cleaning, cooking, studying, showing, listening, teaching, pretending, washing, driving, talking watching, doctoring, sleeping, budgeting, caressing, and nurturing….all when I only have 24 hours!!
17. Being Submissive.
18. There are times in life when opportunities arise, whether in work or ministry, that we’d love to jump at and accept, however must decline due to family needs/desires. Tough discerning God’s will, but trust that if spouse is not on the same page (doesn’t share same vision/passion) either it is not God’s will or it’s not God’s timing.
19. It’s hard to be a woman in a world that demands women be equal to men. I’d like to be pampered by my man!
20. Trying to be ALL that my husband needs while at the same time being ALL that my kids need, ALL my extended family, friends & church family needs ---and ALL that God wants me to be. Seems like I am not able to stretch myself that far!
21. Unable to explain how I feel about things.
22. Keeping this body from busting at the seams when all I want is chocolate!
23. For me the toughest thing about being a woman is juggling my schedule between my obligations to my husband, children, grandchildren, friends, church family, reading and Bible studies, visiting the sick and discouraged, shopping, etc. In other words I never feel I have enough time and strength in a day to serve others and still be the Proverbial woman of chapter 31.
24. The tough thing about being a woman is keeping a submissive spirit to your husband. I guess the curse got us! So often I think I have the better idea and can handle it myself. I have to remind myself to let him lead… by doing this I am actually, letting HIM lead, right?
25. For me, the toughest thing about being a woman is dealing with the fact that my work is so repetitive. When a man takes on a project, it seems that once he's completed the project he can move on to another project. My projects, once completed, have to be redone continually. Meals, laundry, cleaning house. I just finish one task and another one stares me in the face. :-)
26. Really the biggest thing that comes to my mind Marilyn, is the matter of dress. It did not use to be such a difference in the way ladies dressed but nowdays there is a huge difference. Men do not face this stigma (if you could call it one) the way we do. If you still chose to wear a dress or skirt you will be looked at by most as being 'different' or some might even call you 'odd' or 'old fashioned'. I have been looked at oddly by other ladies if they see me with a dress on in a casual setting (any setting outside church) more than one time. I am sure that other ladies who wear dresses or skirts most of the time experience this all the time as well. . Even after we get older it still is unpleasant to be scorned. I'm sure that it is an even heavier burden for younger girls and women. And as time goes on less and less women wear dresses.
27. It is tough being a woman because now a days you have to hold down a full time job and do all the housework and take care of the kids and help with yard work and cook and take care of your husband.
28. As women we put so much time, effort, prayer and oftentimes tears into our areas of influence - house, children, husband, etc. - that it is very easy for me to take ownership of these areas. They are NOT mine - I am only entrusted with their care. I am only a steward of the blessings of the Lord.
29. Having the courage to stand up and fight. Having the humility to sit down and be quiet. Having the wisdom to choose which one is right.
30. One of the things I think is that the woman has to be the "caretaker" of everything in the family!!!! She is the peacekeeper and has to wear so many "hats". I wear a lot of hats but don't feel like I do any of my jobs very well, just enough to get by. Girl, don't even get me started!!! Hahaha
32. Husbands think that you should be able to do it all.
33. People think that you have all the time in the world to do what they want.
34. I find as I get older that there are not enough hours in the day to get it all done before bed time. But I can say that I would not want to trade places with any man. They are the ones God holds responsible for the family.
35. My answer is probably like a lot of other people's responses. It is tough to juggle being a Mom, working full-time, being a wife and still have time for yourself.
36. Never feeling good enough; as a wife, mom, at work, at church. Always feeling inadequate in all I do.
37. Being in the ministry and feeling like everyone is watching everything I do, just waiting for me or someone in my family to mess up.
38. The tough thing for me is to allow the Holy Spirit to work on my husband and keep my mouth shut.
39. Your looks.
40. Being overweight
42. Trying to be everything needed to husband and children.
43. In my case, it was trying to be a good mother without the help of my husband.
44. Watching your weight.
45. Being a good wife.
46. Childbirth, and losing one of your kids before it was born.
47. To raise my girls the right way; to be a great wife and mother; to go to church and learn more about God & church.
48. The ability to stay balanced—with church, home, work, and wanting to meet all the needs that arise day to day.
49. Having the responsibility of raising a Godly family – but being able to retain time for my spiritual growth.
50. One thing is that it normally falls to the woman to take care of the family, irregardless if she works outside the home, ill, injured, etc. Everyone still expects the female to always take care of everyone else and herself last.
51. As a woman, you're more apt to be taken advantage of by car dealers, mechanics, and even in auto parts stores.
52. Women still try to break the barrier that being a woman means you know nothing of the world and can't make it on your own. Funny how that is but women also run the households. Ironic.
Amen to all of the above! Can you identify?
Friday, April 24, 2009
This week brought our study of Esther to a close with our group of ladies at Sav-A-Life. What a great journey we have been on. It has been so wonderful to meet with this group of women early each Tuesday morning and gather around the Word of God. We have laughed, and we have cried. I thought one of our ladies put it so well as she said this week...."I came expecting to learn about Esther and instead I have learned about MYSELF!" As women, we are all made out of the same stuff! (Any men that may be reading this...you will just have to take my word for that. ha)
All of the weekly DVD sessions were good but Session 4 without a doubt stood out to...and for....me. It was all about fear....something I am well acquainted with! It was just what I needed to hear, just when I needed to hear it. I had recently been diagnosed with a thyroid nodule and had a thyroid ultrasound scheduled for the next day. (I have already emailed many of you but for those who have not heard, I got the results today from the thyroid biopsy I had last week and everything was ALL RIGHT! NO cancer! Praise God!) In that week's homework Beth said..."As hard as trusting can be, living with constant fears is harder." Oh, yeah! That is SO true!
As she talked about Esther going uninvited to see the King to beg for the lives of her people, the Jews, Beth gave us these encouraging words: "With every step toward the throne room, she gained a small measure of strength." When we are afraid, every step we keep taking gives us a little more strength to go on. I needed that!
One of the most profound statements that I heard from Beth during the Esther DVD sessions was when she quoted from The Queen and I and said this: "In the eyes of the world, it is not our relationship with Jesus Christ that counts; it is our resemblance to Him". Wow! Doesn't that make you want to look like Jesus? To let His light reflect off you so others can see Him and desire Him? It does me!
And maybe you noticed in the picture of our little group that we were holding not only our workbooks but our "Red Books"! We were so impressed with Beth's "Red Book" that we made one of our own! I asked all the ladies in the Bible study, all the ladies in my Sunday school class, and many other ladies on my email list to answer the question, "What's the toughest thing about being a women?" and then I printed them and made each of us a little booklet. They gave so many wonderful answers. I can so identify with them that it is hard to read them and remember which one I wrote and which ones I COULD have written! ha
Whether you have done the Esther Bible study or not, please remember that you have been placed where you are....and as who you are.....for such a time as this! No one else can do the job that God has placed in your hands! Take up the torch and run with it. Run as if your life depended on it. For it may. Thousands of lives depended on Esther doing what she was put in the palace to do!
"And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4: 14
Celebrating life today!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork: Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard." Psalm 19: 1-2
No matter where on this globe that we live, the "voices" of nature declare the glory of God to all the world.
If we look into the heavens and see the blue sky, sunshine and puffy white clouds, we see the glory of God.
If we see black clouds rushing through the windy sky, chased by bolts of lightning, we still see the glory of God.
When we look at the moon and the stars, we see His handwork.
There is no place in the world....no matter what foreign language that is spoken.....where the voice of God's "handwork" is not seen and heard. And therefore, none are without excuse.
If anyone responds to whatever light that is given them, God is faithful to give them more light.
If God's works of nature speak this loudly to man, should not the words of His greatest creation....mankind....also speak to other men of the goodness of God?
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19: 14
(This post is also running today over at the KJV Blog Directory)
Monday, April 13, 2009
****UPDATE AT END OF POST ! ****
I read Beth Moore's blog post last Friday and have not stopped thinking about it since! If you did not read it, you have to check it out! In it she talked about death and about healing. She used the example of the woman who came to Jesus to be healed and touched the hem of His garment. This woman was healed temporarily but still had to face death down the road somewhere. Beth talked about how one of these days we will trade the hem (of temporary healing) for HIM (when we will be forever eternally healed!)
After reading her post, I left the following comment on Beth's blog:
Bravo!! Standing!! Clapping!! Cheering!! What a Saviour we serve and what a day that will be when we touch HIM!!!!!Oh, sister, how I needed to read this today! To be reminded that, at best, we only have a few brief moments on this earth. And to know that.."oh grave, where is thy victory? oh death, where is thy sting?"(Stopping a minute to lift my hands and praise Him!)Since both my mother and my sister died from breast cancer and I have fibrocystic breast disease, I usually have "dramatic" mammograms too. I never get used to the waiting...the fear of what they are going to tell me "this time". But so far, so good and I'm 55 now. I used to ask the Lord to please let me live until my youngest child was at least 18 and He has blessed me 11 years past that!Lately I have been going through a season of medical problems that have been a little scary. Your Esther Bible study has been a GOD SEND for me "for such a time as this". As facilitator I have been privileged to see the DVD's more than once. Sister, I have had church in my living room alone more than once! :) If you think about it, please pray for me next week. I'm having a biopsy of a nodule in my thyroid gland.God bless you sweet Beth! Marilyn....in Mississippi
April 10, 2009 5:06 PM
I had already prepared my Sunday school lesson for my ladies class by the time I read her post last Friday but after I read it I seemed to be impressed to print it out and carry it with my Sunday school materials..."just in case"!
Later that night while checking my email I found the following message:
Hi Marilyn,You don't know me but I am a "Siesta" from Beth Moore's blog and I wanted to tell you that I was blessed by your post. I don't usually read the comments but I read yours. I had the same biopsy you're having next week last week. I have an enlarged nodule on my left thyroid and it had to be checked and I let fear do a number on me. It wasn't bad at all-the needle is very thin; it's just uncomfortable. God really worked through the nurses that did it; they were very reassuring that more than 95% of these things are benign and I know yours will be too. I also was blessed by you mentioning the Esther study. Right now I'm doing A Woman's Heart (Beth) and was feeling lead to do Esther next. Anyway, long story short, I love when God speaks to me through perfect strangers! Take care and Be Ye Not Afraid! :-)
April 10, 2009 7:55 PM
Wow! Talk about a blessing! Just this message out of the blue. From someone I've never met. Who just "happened" to read my comment when she normally doesn't take the time to read the comments of others! I took it as an encouragement straight from the Lord. It's amazing how He uses total strangers to encouragement one another! That's just like our Lord! Taking care of us when we don't even realize it!
Sunday morning when we got to church, one of our church leaders asked all the Sunday school teachers to cut our classes a little bit short since we were having an Easter musical during the main service. I knew that I wouldn't have time to teach all of the lesson I had prepared on Esther so decided that I would just use Beth's blog post. I explained to the ladies that we were going to have a "Story-Hour" instead of our regular lesson. They all laughed and settled in to listen to the story. I had to stop several times to get the quiver out of my voice. And when I was done, I don't think there was a dry eye in the classroom. (You will have to read the post yourself! You will absolutely get such a blessing from it!)
After we dismissed the class one of the younger ladies headed straight to the "powder room" to fix her makeup. She told me that she had cried all her mascara off but that she had needed to hear that so bad on Easter Sunday. This young woman lost her mother to cancer when she was only 16 years old and she said Easters are always hard for her. I think God had it planned all along for me to read that blog post yesterday!
I am excitedly looking forward to that day ....someday.....when I trade the Hem for HIM!
"Now unto HIM that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto HIM be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen!"
Yesterday when I got to the doctor's office my blood pressure was too high for him to do the biopsy even though I had taken my b/p med before leaving home. Sooooo.....he prescribed an anti-anxiety pill for me to take this morning and come back and try again. I don't like meds at all so went crying to Leah to give me all the info on this drug. She calmed my nerves so that I was able to swallow the pill this morning. ha And it worked! I told her last night that I wondered if God was trying to teach me to trust Him to work through my doctor!! Today the biopsy went off without a hitch. I am beginning to feel the after-effects by now....hard to talk so am whispering mostly.....throat seems "scratchy".....a little pain but not much. He said a Tylenol would take care of the pain so am headed to take one of those when I get off here.
I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have been praying for me! Some of you I have your email address to say thank you but others of you just read the blog. Heather from Beth Moore's blog....if you read this, thank you for your prayers and encouragement. If you have email, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm to call the doctor back next Friday to get results from the lab.
God bless you each and every one!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Although we should celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the grave each and every day in our hearts, next Sunday we celebrate it throughout the entire world as Easter. Truly our God, the risen Lord Jesus Christ, is an awesome God in every way. He spoke and our very world and existence came into being.
Don’t be taken in by the “All roads lead to Rome” theory that is so popular today. In the past few months I have heard many times and from many sources that all people who worship a “god” ….no matter what name they give to him….are all in fact worshiping the same deity. This is so not true. I read “somewhere” just this week…but I can not remember where…a statement that said, “If you don’t have God, then any god will do.” What they meant was, if you don’t believe in the true and living God of the Bible, then any god….person, statue, sun, moon, earth, etc….will be perfectly good enough to serve as a god for you!
Out of all of the “gods” ever worshipped, there is only one true God…the One who is living still…the One who by His own power defied death and the grave and who lives today….the One who had no beginning and has no end. I don’t know about you, but as for me…I will trust my life and my future to the Lord Jesus Christ and no one else.
The Bible says in Jeremiah 10: 10 “But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.”
I have used the word awesome many times in my life to describe our God. Today before starting to write this article, I decided to look up that word awesome in the dictionary. Here is what I found Awesome: fullof or inspiring awe..... Awe: A feeling of mingled dread, reverence, and wonder. After reading it’s meaning I was amazed at how accurately it describes our God.
Reverence…”let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.”
And wonder… “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.”
God does awesome things in my life every day. The miracle of life itself is awesome. Just ask the parents of a newborn baby. The blessing of seeing, hearing, and speaking is awesome. Just ask the blind, the deaf, or the dumb man. The privilege to live in the United States of America where we are free to worship as we please is awesome. Just ask the persecuted Christian in Pakistan, Vietnam, or China. The gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ is totally awesome. Just read the account of one who didn’t accept this gift of eternal life and woke up in hell…”the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments,” Luke 16: 22-23
The power that brought Jesus out of the grave is beyond any power we can think of or imagine. He is indeed the Lord of Lords and King of Kings and should be worshipped as such.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
(this post is also running today at the KJV Blog Directory)
Friday, April 3, 2009
I took this picture of some tulips in our front yard. My husband planted them several years ago. He planted yellow ones and purple ones but for some reason the yellow ones stopped coming back. Maybe they were not of the same hardy variety. I am not good with flowers at all so I have no idea. I'm just guessing.
"Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Luke 12: 27
It's always good to have plenty of rain around here. We live near a lot of National Forrest property so if it gets too dry there is always the danger of fire. I'm reminded of the old hymn "Showers of Blessings". I pray that the moisture of heaven will always be in my soul to keep me from drying out and wasting away. I'm thankful that I have drunk from that living water that Jesus told the Samaritan woman about so that I will never thirst again for a Saviour or for eternal life.
"But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4: 14
Enjoying the showers of blessings God has given me!