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Monday, March 12, 2018

Psalm 61: The Prayer of Kings and Housewives


Our six year old daughter, Kynthia Joy, is in the nightmare stage. It's so strange how some of my children have never once woke me, afraid of what's lurking in their darkened bedrooms, while others struggle with nighttime fear for years. I know better than to let a wiggly six year old into bed with me---once she finally gets settled, all hope of sleep for both of us is gone. After she'd wiggled for a good hour or so this morning, I sent her back to bed, telling her I'd turn on the living room lamp and sit in there reading so she didn't have to be afraid.

Exhausted as I was, quiet time is hard to find around here so I decided to read my Bible for a bit. I'm currently following what I call the "Blue's Clues" method of study. ("Present time, present time, open it up and see what's inside.") I read some of 2 Chronicles, and then flipped over to Psalm 61. Faithful God didn't disappoint.

Psalm 61
To the Chief Musician. On a stringed instrument. A Psalm of David.

"Hear my cry, O God, 
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You.
When my heart is overwhelmed; 
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For You have been a shelter for me, 
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.
                                                               Selah

 For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those 
who fear Your name.
You will prolong the king's life,
His years as many generations.
He shall abide before God forever.
Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may 
preserve him!

So I will sing praise to Your name forever, 
That I may daily perform my vows."

Only God can take the prayer of an ancient Middle Eastern king and make it the prayer of a 21st century housewife. Matthew Henry* says, "the Psalm itself is very personal, and well adapted for the private devotion of a single individual." Yes. 

I've read this Psalm over and over this morning. The first part that struck me was the "vows":

"For You, O God, have heard my vows;"
and"
"So I will sing praise to Your name forever, 
That I may daily perform my vows."

Henry says the vows he's speaking of are the vows he's made to God---to worship him, to sing praises. Reading it the first couple times, I thought of the other vows King David had made---to his family, his country, his people. I thought of the vows I've made: to my husband, my family, my friends. The commitments I've made to ministry. All of these are also vows to God. For a Christian, a vow made to man is also an implicit vow to God.

Oh, don't I need God's strength to daily perform my vows? It's in praising him that I find that strength. In worshipful obedience, I am empowered to fulfill all my commitments to him---and with joy, to boot!

The second part of the passage that blessed me was this:

"You have given me the heritage of those 
who fear Your name."

I don't have a super strong Godly heritage on all sides of my family tree---not in recent history, anyway. Yet, through Christ's sacrifice, He has made it possible for me to have the same inheritance of eternal life as all the other saints throughout history---the same inheritance given to Christ, himself! Henry says:

"Saints are described as fearing the name of God; they are reverent worshippers, they stand in awe of the Lord's authority; they are afraid of offending him, they feel their own nothingness in the sight of the Infinite One. To share with such men, to be treated by God with the same favour as he mete's out to them, is a matter for endless thanksgiving."

Amen. What a privilege it is to worship, serve, and obey the Lord.


*Matthew Henry was a 17th century minister who wrote an exhaustive commentary on most of the Bible. His notes and commentary are valuable to the Christian who would want to further understand the Bible, verse by verse. You can find his commentary online --- Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Modesty Problems are PARENTING Problems


You know when you read something and it really strikes you as, "yes! Right on!" Then you stew on it a while...and a while longer...and pretty soon you're totally fired up about the whole thing and ready to take on the world? Yeah. That's me today.

Early this morning, I read an article from my friend, Jacque at Deep Roots at Home, about modesty and raunchiness in our culture and it really struck a chord with me. Partly because the idea of requiring modesty of yourself and your daughters seems like a no brainer to me and I have a hard time understanding parents who don't. Partly because I was one of those girls who had no modesty requirements and got a lot of attention and advances, and a whole lot of other bad stuff happened because I flaunted myself like a flippin' floosie.

When Lynzie was a little girl (and the boys were young too), I felt very convicted to get rid of most of the Barbie dolls. She never owned a Bratz doll. We ditched Hannah Montana super fast. I got a lot of flak for that---lost friends over it---even family changed the way they treated us. In fact, I can't tell you the number of "friends" (and yeah, family too, actually...) who have decided to stop being "friends" because they couldn't handle my supposed "superior" attitude about the way I was raising my kids.

Of course, I wondered all the time if I was too harsh. Was my daughter going to turn out weird? Were my boys going to be nerdy---like the gross kind of nerdy? Was I going to be stuck with these kids for the rest of my life because I hadn't prepared them for the "real world"???

To sum it up, my fears were entirely unfounded and my sense of caution was from the Lord. Now that Lynzie is grown and is obviously choosing to be who she is, I don't feel so "braggy" talking about her good character. She values modesty and purity. She knows she was created to worship God and serve him, rather than to worship culture and serve herself. Her standards have always been higher than my own.

...and my boys? They're gentlemen. They are uncomfortable when the girls around them are dressed skimpy. They don't see it as sexy---they see it as someone's parent not doing a great job of protecting their daughter's innocence. They don't give attention to girls who flaunt themselves in words or in actions. ...and they're not even gross-nerdy. They're actually sort of babelicious, from what I hear.

In the early days, "well-meaning" (read: ignorant) people would warn us we were "sheltering" the kids. I started out thinking that was a bad thing. Then I got a swift kick into God's reality that showed me that's exactly the point of parenting. A shelter has windows, it has doors, it's not inescapable and it doesn't mean the rest of the world is inaccessible. A shelter merely provides a safe place of comfort from the garbage of the world. I shelter my husband, these days, way more than I do my kids, and it's come 20 years later than it should have.

If you have kids, parent them. Parent them according to God's standards---not according to the world's. If you're a Christian parent, you hear that all the time. This time, actually follow that hearing up with action. Require a change in your daughter who rebels against modesty. Don't ignore that voice in your head that tells you her clothes are too tight, too short, too revealing. Stop puffing up with pride when men ogle your underage daughter. You are not liberating her---you are setting her up for a life in bondage to what she can offer a man physically and with her outward appearance. ...and in case you're not one of the tiny minority of eternal Barbie dolls, you know outward appearances fade in time. Then what will she have to offer?

Focus on cultivating a heart of modesty, integrity, service, compassion, kindness. Yes, she might find herself at "Sweet 18 and never been kissed", but she'll also have such a full and creative life that finding a guy will be one goal out of many.

Linking with:


Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Homemaking Party: Introducing The Eden Concept by Dana and Kimberly Williams


Welcome to the Homemaking Party! First off, let me thank everyone for your kindness and patience as I took my little blogging break! I'm excited to be back at it and looking forward to all that 2018 brings!

Today is launch day for my good friend, Kimberly Williams. She and her husband, Dana, have written an excellent book on marriage and I hope you'll check it out.

The Eden Concept is a bold breath of fresh air! I love the "back to Genesis" concept especially, as I've been challenged recently to study more how everything goes back to Genesis. The Williams' don't mince words when it comes to discussing our messed up culture's views of the sanctity of marriage---a boldness that those seeking Biblical relationships are thirsty for in these times.

One part that especially blessed me were the Scriptures referring to God's role as helper. I'm very happy in my role as helper to my husband but I'd never considered it as an actual attribute of God. In fact, just reading that over again makes me want to go back and reread the whole book!

I'm so excited to hear testimonies from other readers. This book is a blessing--- I hope you'll check it out!

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Hope everyone is having a lovely week so far! I'm off to my sewing club in SW Missouri tonight. I love driving the backroads out there, hoping to spot a Plain people's buggy on the road!

Blessings,
Sarah

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Greatest Showman: Amen, Yes Sir, Drop the Mic, etc.

In November, Jamie took me to see Murder on the Orient Express. I'm a diehard Poirot fan and the movie didn't disappoint. During the previews, I caught my first glimpse of a movie I wasn't aware had been made: The Greatest Showman. Being the Victorianophile that I am, I've read quite a bit on P.T. Barnum and some of the performers who worked with him, and as soon as I realized what this movie was about, I literally shouted his name in the theater! It would have probably embarrassed Jamie if not for the fact that he's learned to expect the unexpected when doing life with me---and we were the only ones in the theater.

Anyway, I was super excited to see the show this month, to say the least. Our son, Cainan, was also dying to see it so when he found out his youth pastor was getting ready to show spoilers next week, I knew we'd better get out and see it asap! Jamie and I took him this afternoon.

I've been to the theater twice today, actually, because the moment I got home, I declared to Michael that he had 15 minutes to get dressed and ready because he was taking Lynzie to see the evening showing. They're there as I write this.

There's so much I want to say about it but it's one of those experiences that words can't do justice to. A holy experience, even, if you let it be. The message of the movie empowers, emboldens, affirms, uplifts. It frees.

Throughout the entire show, me and the huge lump in my throat were thinking one basic idea: freedom. So many people think a relationship with Christ and a Biblical life are things which restrict and restrain. People who don't understand Christ's sacrifice believe it's a burdensome life that will keep them from all they could be. The truth is, Christ's blood frees us. Christ's covering empowers, emboldens, affirms, uplifts. It allows us to be everything we were created to be and introduces a world of unimaginable possibilities to those who will walk in obedience.

Part of being obedient is being bold enough to be who God created you to be.

One song from the show keeps running through my mind, with just one phrase slightly changed:

"When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna sing the blood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me"

Silly, maybe...but that's what I kept hearing every time she said, send a flood. The blood of Jesus---vital to our existence in every way, it also gives us the freedom to boldly be who God created us to be.

That's all I got, folks. Go see the movie. Go thank God for the freedom he's given you. Then go fearlessly be all he created you to be.
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