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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Being perfect - even just one thing

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48

Most of us would just as soon slide right over this command, wouldn't we?  At the very least, we want to interpret it in a way that cuts us at least a bit of slack. 

What does it mean - being perfect like God???

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wardrobe Malfunction

About a decade ago, the halftime show of The Super Bowl featured a couple of celebrities whose song and dance routine garnered much attention, some of which was quite negative.  Their controversial act included a brief reveal that many of the viewing public found distasteful.  In the backlash, the exposure was excused as "wardrobe malfunction" and opened up great debate on indecency all over the world.

Whether or not that reveal was indeed a malfunction is certainly debatable but I wonder if, spiritually speaking, we Christians display frequent "wardrobe malfunctions" of our own. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Girl Power -Part 2

Girl Power.

Yesterday we looked at the double-barreled weapon of praying God's Word.  If you haven't already checked out the link to Scripture prayers here on the blog, please do so.  Or make your own set.  God has made available to you and me this potent resource, capable of moving mountains of rebellion, prejudice, greed, unforgiveness, and insecurity.  The weapon with the potential to unleash torrents of love and joy and peace, of reconciliation and health and confidence, of changed hearts and mended marriages and secure children. The tool for all Christ-followers.  He just says ask.

For us girlfriends, He gives us something else powerful, too.  More of a tool than a weapon.  A tool more effective than the strongest bully or the greatest orator...and especially more so than the most manipulative personality. 

Like many of God's choices, it seems like a paradox.  Counterintuitive. Like it couldn't possibly work.

But God tells us wives the way to persuade the hubs - even one who doesn't follow God's Word - is not to better explain our point of view.  Nor to cry or freeze him out or pitch a fit.  Not even to get him to read the right books or listen to the right podcasts or join a men's group.

Rather it is

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Girl Power

I grew up in the throes of feminism.  All around me were emerging philosophies that insisted (rightly) on equality of pay and opportunity.  Slowly women began being recognized as capable of the same accomplishments as men.  This movement gave great opportunity to my generation and all that have followed.

Like all changes, though, there came some bad with the good.  In attempts to establish ourselves as "equal", women began to believe that meant "sameness".  As a gender, we morphed into acting like our power came from argumentation, domination, and aggression.  I suppose that has won us some battles but I posit that perhaps we have lost more than we have gained.  When I look around, I see an awful lot of females acting like bullies.  All in the name of power.  And, while men may outwardly defer to their demands, it seems to me that inwardly they long for women to be women and for men to be men.  Equal is one thing...sameness is another.

God's design is not to assign positions of inferiority and superiority, but rather for both genders to express different aspects of His nature.  In the image of God, He crated him, male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27  Singularly, each gender cannot convey the attributes of God but collectively, we get a picture of what He is like.

So when we insist on sameness, we rob the world of an opportunity to see the glory of God. 

And we wind up resorting to ineffective tactics to achieve the power we need to influence those around us.  Things like airing our opinions too freely.  Insisting that others do things our way because we're right.  Pushing back when we get bumped.  Demanding that our "needs" get met. Proving our worth by challenging authority or competing fiercely with those around us. 

Compared to the repression previous generations have experienced, some find this preferable.

But I don't think it's an "either/or" option.

God has indeed equipped us with girl power.  Ways to handle even the most impossible situations with laudable results.  Options that every woman of God can avail herself of, regardless of her education, her social standing, or her life stage.

Two "weapons", if you will.  Although I extend a word of caution here - "weapons" are used in combat against an enemy.  We need to remember who the enemy is...and who it is not.  Our enemy is not our husband, our children, our employer or our neighbor.  Not flesh and blood at all but rather, our enemy is spiritual. The enemy who wants to attack us, divide us, and ultimately, destroy us. He shows up in disguise and deceives us into thinking that we should fight another to get what we want.  And in that process, walls are built, souls are damaged, and relationships are severed.

God has a better way.

The first weapon is available to all believers, not just women.  It is actually two weapons in one, strapped together like two sticks of dynamite, powerful for blowing up plans and plots of destruction, of harm, of despair.  An invisible weapon, to be sure, but dynamically effective indeed.
This double-barreled weapon is mentioned in one passage and explained more thoroughly in another:

 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,  for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses 2 Corinthians 10:3,4

The weapons mentioned there are explained further in Ephesians 6:17b-18 - the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view,be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

The weapons? Prayer and God's Word.  In tandem. 
Praying the Word of God.  Taking Scripture and praying it, believing it, standing on Truth.  Powerful for destroying the schemes of the real enemy.  Powerful to accomplish God's will on Earth.  Powerful to fulfill the desires of our hearts. 

Invisible.  But effective.  Powerful.  And available.

When we women are willing to pray, God responds.  And He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we can ask or think. 

Through prayer, God moves mightily to get His will done on Earth.  When we pray according to His Word, He moves mountains.  He restores relationships, provides protection, appropriates resources, and changes hearts.  All He wants are a few hearts willing to cry out to Him.  To pray and keep praying.  And to follow what He tells us to do.

Prayer.  Not great knowledge or persuasive speech.  Not impressive talent or force of will.  Not tenacity or determination.  Prayer is the tool God makes available for us to wield power.

If you want some help getting started, I have posted a link on the side that lists Scripture prayers for each day of the month - verses to read and pray God's Word back to Him for yourself, your hubby, an your kiddos.  (Tip - the format on a mobile device doesn't show this link in same place as on a laptop so you may have to search -- but it is there :)  )

The second weapon, also quite powerful and effective, is one that God makes available specifically for women, particularly wives, in fact.

The second weapon, well, I'll tell you tomorrow.  This post is getting long!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sometimes you just need to talk about it

You know that feeling when you just need to talk to somebody, to unburden yourself, to share your heart?  Intuitively you know that it would help for someone to listen, to empathize, and perhaps provide some insight, some counsel, some help.

So you do.

You "cowgirl up" and summon the courage to talk about what's bothering you, your hurts, and your confusion.  You work up the nerve to "do this community thing" and you lay your cards on the table. For somebody to listen, somebody to care.

It really does take courage to do that.  At least it does for me.  I figure everybody has their own troubles and I am hesitant to add mine to theirs.

So sometimes I do.  And sometimes you do.