Thursday, June 28, 2012

That is Some Heavy Stuff

I am now in every wife's favorite passage of the Bible.  OK, so I say that lightly.  It is actually the perfect passage for every wife.  It is just a big responsibility for us to bear.

1 Peter 3:1  "Wives in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over witouth words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives."

Yikes.  That is quite the responsibility. 

Now, thankfully, my husband is a believer, so his being 'won over' is already done.  However, he did inform me that I am the reason he has become closer with Christ and desires to keep knowing Him more (score 1 for me :). 

All joking aside.  The purity and reverence of our lives.  Now this is what I am talking about.  It just made me stop and think.  What does this really mean?

Well, Peter does start off by saying "in the same way" which of course refers to the previous passage that I blogged on earlier about Jesus enduring the beating, humiliation and death on the cross without retaliation or threats.  We are to do the same with our husbands.

Now, of course I am not talking about taking beatings and humiliation from them, but we are to be submissive.  So, I looked this up.  It means to yeild to governance or authority.  We are to do as we are told without retaliation or threats.  (Of course with a Christian husband, his authority is not near as bossy and terrible as this definition makes it sound as they are comanded to be considerate and respectful of us)

But onto the purity and and reverence part.  I had to look these up too.  Pure is spotless, stainless, free from any other matter, free from harshness or roughness.  Reverence is showing or making them feel honored and respected. 

All right.  So, the reverence part shouldn't be that hard, should it?  But, as I stated in my last blog.  I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut so the arguing and retaliating part can be pretty tough for me (I even  have a post I need to do on how I failed at this just 1 day after I posted on it).  So I need to zip it and just do it.  No whining.  No complaining.  No thinking I already do enough around here.   

I try fairly hard to make him feel honored and respected though.  Silently vowing to myself and God that I will not talk badly about him in front of others, on Facebook or my blog no matter how frustrated I might be or funny it might sound (I urge all wives to do this same thing as it makes a HUGE difference to the man you love).  But I know that there are more ways I can do this.  I need to do some checking and find out exactly what they are.

But this purity part?  That is a lot to live up to?  Spotless?  Not me?  Free from harshness?  Fail at that one too I'm afraid.  But then I stopped to think.  God sees me this way.  Not that I never mess up.  But he has washed me clean.  Through his blood I am white as snow.  With his forgiveness I am stainless and free from any other matter.  Could I be seen this way in my husband's eyes as well as long as I earnestly seek his forgiveness when I screw up?   If I vow to him to try my hardest and set my sights on becoming pure in his eyes as well?

What a refreshing way to think about it.  I don't have to be perfect.  I just have to clean it up completely when I mess up. 

What an example that can be to our husbands and our children.  Won't you stop to think about this passage too and how it can effect your marriage?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Quick to Defend

I am not one to take things lightly.  If attacked, I will fight back.  A fault.

Apparently, I have something to learn.  1 Peter 2:23 Peter shows us Jesus' example.  "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly."

This is when Jesus was being beaten to death.  He didn't fight back.  This is when he had blood dripping from his face and pain resonating throughout his body.  He didn't fight back.  He took it all in stride.  He knew what was coming and didn't run away.  And yet, if someone attacks me even just a little, I fight back?

Now, I am even just speaking of 'attack' in the verbal sense.  I, thankfully, have never been physically attacked outside of some fun and games.  This is a gut-wrencher.

Why am I so quick to defend myself?  Shouldn't my example, my love of Christ and sharing my love with others speak for itself?  Shouldn't others know enough about me to know if a wrongful accusation is made? 

And if I make a mistake, why do I try to excuse my way out of it?  Trying to find blame in other places, with other people.  Even if being 'attacked' for the mistake, wouldn't it speak volumes louder to own up to it and apologize than to try to defend it?

Oh, I have lessons to learn.  God has some work to do in me, but apparently he just started it by showing me these verses today.

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." v 24

Time to stop living for myself and my pleasure, defending against 'attacks' and start living for righteousness.  What does it really matter if someone thinks badly of you?  God knows the truth.  You know the truth and frankly, no one else matters.  (But if you really must - if people know you well enough, they probably know the truth too).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why Does This Happen To Me?

This is a question we often ask ourselves when trouble finds its way in our front doors, hearts and lives?  When sickness comes.  When death comes.  When pain comes.  Why me?

We often think (if not out loud, at least to ourselves), "Why are you picking on me, God?  I have been devoted to you.  I have been following your Word and doing your will to the best of my ability.  Why would you do this to me?"

I've been there, and I bet you have too.

I absolutely love this section of 1 Peter that I read today for this very reason.  I am not in one of those trying times right now, thankfully.  But it has been there before and when that time comes again, as I know it will, these verses will help me stop before I think or say those questions to God.

2:18-21, "Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters will all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also those those who are harsh.  For it commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.  But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it?  But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.  To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you and example, that you should follow in his steps." 

We often see people in trouble who might lead questionable lives and think, "They got what was coming to them."  Exactly, what Peter is talking about here.

 I often get what I deserve as well.  I sin, I deserve consequences.  I am selfish, I deserve not to get my way every once in a while.

On the other hand, when we suffer unjustly but deal with it gracefully it is a beautiful testimony to God.  A great thing to remember the next time I feel like complaining. 

Honestly, this is almost easier to do in big situations rather than small.  Sometimes, when the doozies come at you turning to God is the first thing you do, but when the small setbacks come your way it is almost a knee jerk reaction just to whine about it.  At least, that is how it is for me.  I often look for God more in the big things than in the small.

This is also a great reminder to remember that God is in everything and in control of everything.  Every minor and major occurrence in my life is a way to glorify Him if I react in the right way. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hard Knock Life

"Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us."  1 Peter 2:11-12

What a doozy.  As Christians, this is our calling in life.  To live as aliens in this rotten world.  The common man may see what we do and think it is wrong or backwards and laugh and point at us or talk about us behind our backs and not include us, but we are called here to stay strong and keep up the good fight.

This is hard.  Especially for me.  Someone who has always been a people pleaser, wanting to fit in, wanting never to be left out of any of the fun. 

It is hard to hang out with that group of girlfriends who don't have an issue with too much alcohol and be able to say no after my 2nd one.  They wonder why I never cross over that limit.

It is hard to be in a circle of friends complaining about their husbands and his downfalls and not join right in.  They wonder why I don't take part in the conversation.

It is hard to be around neighbors who use profanities in every sentence and not cringe when the words come out of their mouths.  They wonder why I don't laugh wholeheartedly at their crude jokes and stories.

It is hard to no "de-friend" people on facebook who often use awful language and post things I don't really want to know about or want to even read.  They wonder why I never comment or like what they share.

It is hard to change the subject quickly on gossip when it comes about.  They wonder why I don't just join in.

It is hard to be left out because they know a bar or a questionable establishment is not my cup of tea.  They wonder why I am such a fun-hater.

It is just plain hard. 

I am not saying that I am perfect in all the above listed categories.  I have certainly succumb to most of these at times and have to ask for forgiveness.  I am not sinless and I am not saying people that do the above listed things are bad people.  They just haven't found better.

The easy answer would to be only to surround myself with people like me.  The ones I know live life like I do.  Christians. 

But what Peter is saying here is that we must be in the world.  If Christians only hung out with Christians, how can we be witnesses to the world as Christ has called us to be?  So I continue to hang out with those friends who choose to get drunk and hope that my influence can show them that I can still have fun without an excessive amount of alcohol.  I hope that my positive words about my husband honor him and give witness to a great relationship founded in Christ.  I hope they see you can have great conversation without tearing someone else down or have a great time at a place where you wouldn't mind running into your pastor.  That you can get upset or tell a story without using cuss words.

Really, the hardest part of all of this is to do all of this humbly, to not seem like I feel that I am 'better than them' because of the choices I make.  Only to demonstrate Christ's love and the life He calls me to live.  Because we all know that we are definitely NOT better than any of them.  The only thing that separates us from them is the grace we have received from God and how that leads us to making different decisions. 

But on that day when they meet God, they will understand.  Fully.  Hopefully, I can effect their decisions before that day by the life I lead around them.  Maybe, they will decide they want it too.  I certainly hope so.

How do you do it?  What gets you past all the crumminess in this world?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cravings: Not Just for Pregnant Women

"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." 1 Peter 2:2

There are definitely things I crave. Chocolate being the top of that list. I crave chocolate daily, heck, probably even hourly. I love the stuff. If I didn't, I'd be 10 lbs (or more) lighter! The darker, the better. When it comes to chocolate and me the words "too" and "rich" do not cohabitate together. I can never get enough.

Today I read in 1 Peter to crave pure spiritual milk. My translation, "Crave God's Word." I should hunger after the Bible like I do chocolate. My soul should think about it every day, every hour and search for His truths in it, like I do for chocolate in my pantry.

My previous experiences and learning in His Word should show me how good it is for me and how much it will help me grow. And this is a good growth, unlike the growth bestowed by too many cravings for chocolate. Craving knowledge from God will lead me away from all selfish and destructive things and to His will for my life.

This is so much better than the temporary sugar high of chocolate. Why don't I feel like I crave it near enough? God's Word will complete me, not leaving me jittery from sugar. It will guide my every thought, not increase the numbers on the scale. Perhaps every time I have a craving for chocolate I should divert myself to go read my Bible?

I do know that the more consistently I am in the Word, the more I notice when I skip a day. Maybe it is just that the cravings feel a bit different so they are harder to recognize? I think it is definitely true that the more you have it the more you want it.

So belly up to the bar and eat your fill. Cravings aren't just for pregnant women or chocolate. God's Word is the only thing that could truly satisfy a craving that will last an eternity and not have any side effects from over consumption.

Monday, June 11, 2012

From the Heart

Yikes!  Its been a while.  Things have been a bit crazy and I have been a bit lazy.  Come look at my house, it isn't only my blog and Bible that have felt neglected the last couple of weeks.  It is a bit scary around here. 

But neglect no more.  I have high hopes for a much more laid back summer from here until the 26th of July, then it gets a little bit hairy again.  I have confessed my failures and asked for some major help in getting back on track.  It seems to happen to me every couple of months, these little 'gaps' in responsibility.  I let my calendar get too full and everything else, including my time with God, ends up in the gutters. 

Well, I'm back in the game again, so here we go!

I have been trying to plug through 1 Peter.  Obviously, it has been a slow process.  Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of good stuff in here, but when you only read a couple of verses a week, it is hard to really dig in.

Chapter 1 verse 22 says "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart."

I think God is trying to tell me something.  Yesterday our sermon at church was on the story of the Good Samaritan, which we all know is about loving our neighbor.  Now I read to love one another deeply, from the heart.  Evidently, I have some learning to do on loving.

Funny thing is, the pastor asked us to think of someone that we have a hard time loving and to purpose to show them love this week.  Someone we kind of try to avoid if possible, etc., and, honestly, I came up blank.  Don't get me wrong, I am no saint.  I don't get along just peachy with everyone, but sitting there I really couldn't think of someone I needed to work harder on loving. 

Clearly, I have some praying to do.  Is it so bad that I don't even realize when I have issues with someone?  Am I so numb to the friction that I don't even recognize it anymore?  Is that possible?  Because, seriously, I do not get along swimmingly with everyone.  I know this.

Or is it the fact that I am totally a people pleaser.  Is this why I don't recognize it?  Do I work so hard to please everyone that I don't even realize we don't get along that great. 

Oh, I just don't know.  And then, the paranoid-people-pleaser in me makes me wonder how many people thought of my name when that question was asked?  Am I that person for anyone?  Maybe my overly loud, bubbly, wants-to-make-you-like-me personality drives some people nuts and I am totally that person they try to avoid? 

Now I think I am over thinking this.  Love.  Its all about L.O.V.E. Love.  I need to not worry about what other people think or do or say or how they make me feel.  The bottom line is that God commands us to love and to love deeply and this is what I need to do.  I need to put my excessively sensitive feelings aside and think of others first.  I need to reach out and do kind things.  I need to demonstrate God's love to everyone around me every second of the day. 

And God knows I can't do that on my own.  It is something I have to depend on Him for.  It is something I have to learn by spending time with Him.

Well, I guess I have a mission for this week.  If I am overly nice to you, don't read into it too deeply.  Remember, I couldn't think of anyone specific that I try to avoid, so I am going to just love everyone! :)