Joy Can’t Die.

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Well I have ended up taking an enormous hiatus from actually blogging. Don’t think for a moment that I haven’t been busily writing blogs in my head though – I have! All summer long! Consider them all wise, well timed, and apparently best unpublished.  It turns out that the only missing component in my life was time to sit down. It seems like it is time to break the ice with my old friend, the blog, and it’s patient readers.

Summer has been blasting along beautifully, with no child going to bed on time, just like always. Shadrach broke his femur just in time to celebrate his 2nd birthday in a body cast. He is still in it – we hope for only another week and half. We did volleyball league and lacrosse, Irish step classes, and lots of hospitality. Life has been really beautifully full. The kind of full that makes your back feel sick at night, and your laundry get out of control.

I continue to wrestle, day in and day out with keeping the house clean because I find that to be no small task. There are so many people in this house – living every corner of it up to the max. And I love those people and the creative games that drive them to leave things in all places but the right ones.

But loving this is not the same thing as always feeling like it should be this way. So I think through my options. I feel like if I wanted to keep my house looking great all the time I would have to choose between doing nothing but clean the house, and becoming an affliction to my children all day every day. By that I mean, I could throw away all their toys, and I could walk around behind them all day in order to notice who it was who dragged their dirty hand down the hall wall – but I’d really rather not be that person in their life. Continue reading ‘Joy Can’t Die.’

The Blessing of Stuff

The most obvious area of stewardship is our finances and resources. This is what people are usually talking about when they refer to stewardship, and the Bible is full of directions regarding our money. I’d like to simply take one section of Scripture and makes some applications about stewarding our money.

“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

1. The first point is that we are rich in this present age. We have incredible wealth, especially if you compare what we have to the rest of the world. We sometimes do not feel very rich because we see the mounting bills, and we’re stretched to make the money go the distance. But when it comes to luxuries like indoor plumbing (hot and cold), grocery stores with every possible choice for us, entertainment at our fingertips, multiple means of travel, and modern medicine (just to name a few), I hope you’ll see my point. We are blessed.I am not saying there are no poor in our country. But of those reading this blog post, I’m just saying, if you have access to a computer, you are probably what most of the world would call rich.

2. So we ought not be haughty. Who gave us all these blessings? They are gifts of grace and not anything we deserve for being good people. God is to be thanked, and we are to not look down on those with little. Far from it.

3. We should never trust in our riches, our houses, our possessions.  Why? Because these things are uncertain. They can vanish in a heartbeat, and so can we. This means we have to keep the right Continue reading ‘The Blessing of Stuff’

The Lord’s Business

Jesus’ famous parable of the talents (Matthew3 25:14-30) is an obvious place to start when talking about stewarding our gifts (or talents). And the obvious application is that God gives us gifts and abilities (some one, some ten), and He expects us to turn a profit on these gifts. They are not the kind of gifts that should sit on the mantel for display. In the parable they are called talents because that was an actual unit of currency at the time. Talents are money. In fact, our word talent comes from the Greek word for money.

Much has been said about how to determine what your spiritual gift is, and it’s possible to stall out right there and never get around to using our gifts because we can’t figure out what they are. But think of the money metaphor again. What ever you’ve got, even if it’s loose pocket change, get going on turning a profit. Move forward by faith.

God has bestowed a gift on each believer, and the purpose of these gifts is to “minister it to one another, as good stewards” (1 Peter 4:10). We are not to let our gifts tarnish in the drawer, but we are to be handling them, industriously using them, blessing others by means of them. Matthew Henry said, “These gifts improve by exercise, and brighten by being used.”  We use our gifts and talents for God’s glory and for the good of others, not for ourselves. But the gifts are like perishable food, and if they sit idle, they will rot.

We are called to be “about the Lord’s business” (Matthew Henry again) and “the more we do for God, the more we are indebted to Him for making use of us, and enabling us, for his service.” In other words, it is more blessed to give than receive. As we use our gifts for others, we are doing good to our own souls.

“Stir one another up to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). “Stir up the gift of God which is in you” (2 Tim. 1:6). Why do we need so much stirring and prompting? If we have gifts, why are we not always eager to invest them and anticipate a big Continue reading ‘The Lord’s Business’

Good Days

What does it mean to be a good steward? In fact what is stewardship? I found this definition: “Stewardship is the responsibility to manage all the resources of life for the glory of God, acknowledging God as provider.” I would add that a godly stewardship looks to turn a profit (thirty, sixty or a hundred fold). This profit will prosper my own soul, and it will bring a blessing to those things (or people) for which I am responsible.

1 Peter 4:10 says that we are to be “good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Cor. 4:1 refers to “good stewards of the mysteries of God.” The next verse says, “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” So we can see from these verses that a steward should be good and a steward should be faithful.

What are these “resources of life” we’ve been given? These are the categories I’d like to consider over the next few posts: our time, our talents and gifts, our resources, our relationships, our afflictions, and our blessings.

Let’s begin with time, that daily gift of grace. How do we steward our time?  We all want to “love life and see good days.” How do we do it? What’s the secret to loving your life and seeing good days? Can you imagine the many answers the world might have to this question?

But 1 Peter 3:10-12 says “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” In other words, the short answer is this. Want to enjoy life? Then watch your mouth. Continue reading ‘Good Days’

True Beauty

indexI’m so pleased that Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre have tackled the subject of true beauty, a topic we need to think and learn about from a Christian perspective, particularly in our beauty-crazed, beauty-obsessed age. The world is always trying to press women into its mold, particularly on this point, and this book helps us think about beauty in a completely different way. True Beauty is for all women, no matter what your calling or age.  You can buy it here.

re:flect-I

I’d like to introduce you to a new blog called re: flect-I that some of the women at Christ the Word Church in Toledo, Ohio have started. Here’s what they say about it: “re: flect-I is an unusual name, isn’t it?  It was created because of our desire to reflect our heavenly Father more and more as He conforms us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.