Friday, February 27, 2009

A portrait of two Titus 2 ladies: choosing to live abundantly for the LORD!

I have many dear older ladies in my life, and more than I can count are Titus 2 ladies. How blessed I am!

Today I want to draw a portrait of two of them.

“Lady A” loves the LORD with all her heart. She married her beloved husband and lived happily, blessed all these years. From the beginning, she has suffered from a myriad of sicknesses, even to this day. Life has never been easy for her because of these maladies, which is certainly understandable. Over ten years ago her beloved died and, sadly, “Lady A” has hardly moved on, rarely leaving her home (nor hardly changing anything in her home since he died), practically living in the past, always living in fear. The grief of losing her beloved husband has stymied her life, although her love of the LORD still shines through her. I mean no offense to her because she is a dear, a treasure, and a joy to me.

“Lady B” loves the LORD with all her heart. She married her beloved husband and lived happily, blessed all these years. She has also had her physical failings which “nag” at her. Over ten years ago her beloved also died, but “Lady B” has chosen to get up and do next things for the LORD, even though she grieves deeply every day for her beloved. Her heart’s desire has always been to encourage others because of the LORD. She finds joy in all she does. She finds joy in people and lives every day to the fullest. The love of the LORD shines through her and is spread to others, and all are encouraged because of her. She is also a dear, a treasure, and a joy to me.

This “portrait” I have painted is an excellent example of the life choices one can make after tragedy. After the tragedy I suffered (which has continuing consequences), it would be easy for me to “hide” and never come out; never to do anything because I am so full of grief. My tragedy struck a few years ago, and even to this day, as I continue to greatly grieve, the LORD has lifted my head and put me on a higher rock. I have chosen to get up and do “next things” because of Him. I don’t see myself as being strong or shining His light, or showing great love and compassion. I see and feel only my weakness. In my weakness, though, He allows others to see Himself through me because my desire is to continue. It is all because of the LORD.

"Hear my cry, O God; give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a refuge for me. A tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.” Psalm 61:1-4

I am in awe at what the LORD has done in me and through me. Although humanly I may not want to move on, in His strength my faith has not been shipwrecked, and He has been glorified in my pain.

I want to encourage you that, no matter what circumstances come, choose to live as “Lady B.” May God receive all the glory!

"I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD” Psalm 40:1-3

update 5/27/11

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spur one another on to love and good deeds

Here I am again writing on encouraging the saints, but how can we do this if we don’t feel like it or are in pain ourselves?

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings so also you are sharers of our comfort."
1 Corinthians 1:3-7

Most of the time it is naturally easy to share our joys with others. Sharing our testimony of pain, though, leaves us vulnerable, but it shows the hearer that you are trusting in the LORD for the outcome. Allowing others to see the testimony of someone who has shared their pain, shown their continued obedience to the LORD throughout an extended period of time, and then seen eventual answered prayers, glorifies God.

Every day there are trials. Every day we need to seek the LORD’s face. In my own experience with God’s people, I continually see hurts. When a friendly gesture or an offered prayer is shown, what I have always witnessed is gratefulness. We are needy people who desperately need to be reminded often that God is in control no matter what the circumstances.

I again implore each of you to get out there in person, on the phone, on e-mail, or standard mail and start building up each other in the LORD. The LORD will help you with His strength and oh, how His name will be glorified.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25

Monday, February 23, 2009

Titus 2 - Let the older women teach the younger women

How blessed I am! I can barely remember the years I lamented to the LORD that I had no older Titus 2 ladies in my life. Then came that fateful day when a younger woman called me her older Titus 2 woman!

How the LORD has allowed me to mature! :) Now years later, the LORD has woven so many older godly Titus 2 women into my life that I am blessed a thousand times over!

As godly women, here are three things to remember:

1) When we reach out to others to bless them, the LORD usually works in our own hearts and it is we who are blessed multiple times over.

2) No matter what your age, you can be a Titus 2 woman. There is always someone younger than you, in age or in spiritual maturity, that you can minister to.

3) Be willing to observe and listen to the beautiful Titus 2 women in your life and see how the LORD can bless you and them.

I hope this encourages you.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Peeling Potatoes

(This was originally posted at "The Watchman's Bagpipes" on 2/11/09)

Years ago, I think it was Kay Arthur whom I heard on the radio encouraging women by saying that, if you are peeling potatoes for dinner, do it for the glory of the LORD. Her point was for us to do what is in front of us at the moment and to do it joyfully for the LORD. We are not to do things for our own kudos or in drudgery or feeling guilty.

There is the false thought out there that, as Christians, we need to be missionaries in a foreign land or at least ministering across town, or else what we do isn’t important for the LORD.

Let us not forget that our husbands and our children are our first mission field, in which we need to be joyful as we tend to them, and then we can reach out to the world. What we do and how we behave at home is far more important. We can do marvelous things for the LORD out in the world, but if we do these things by neglecting our families, we fail to adhere to the instructions in Titus 2, let alone Proverbs 31.

The great news that sets us free is that you do not have to be a wonderful cook, an immaculate housekeeper, super mom, or an all round “Jill of all trades” with your children to please the LORD. He sees your heart and your loving desire to do next things for Him.

As we do “next things” in our day, we need to find His joy and do them well for Him. When the LORD sees our hearts, when He sees right motives - this is when He is glorified.

“For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17

Titus 2: Keeper of my home

(This was originally posted on “The Watchman’s Bagpipes” on 2/9/09)

I am a busy woman even though I do not work outside my home. I am busy loving the LORD, loving my husband, keeping my home, ministering to people, doing creative projects, and everything else that comes at me.

I love most of the things which keep my days filled, although my favorite is being the keeper of my home. There are those days when I am off doing “next things” for the LORD; during those days I do not have time or energy to do normal housework - much less anything creative. Although I am out doing whatever needs to be accomplished, my heart always longs to be home.

I love being here when Glenn is home. In over 30 years I have rarely ever planned things to do outside the home when he will be here. I believe this has been extremely beneficial in our relationship as we continue to become one. Juggling children, ministry, work shifts, etc has made this difficult at times, but completely worth it. I will never regret putting him first.

Last week I had two consecutive days away from home. When the next day dawned I went right to work putting my home in order. As I vacuumed (one job I do not like) I realized I was feeling joyful and it came to me that I was just so happy to be home, putting my house in order, soon to be able to work on something creative and just have the satisfaction of having a calm, smooth running home for Glenn when he returned.

You may well understand that my choice is unique. Although I love the path I chose it is not an easy one. The “world” definitely does not respect women who choose to stay home. Sometimes even Christians do not understand. Now in my fifties, I have for over a decade listened to well meaning people suggesting I return to school for a career. Some of these same people (career women) later lament privately to me that their desire has been to come home but they feel they cannot. My heart is always broken for them as it is usually “things” that they want which keeps them working.

My mother was a wonderful example of a loving wife and mother. I am so very thankful for her. Even so, I grew up with the world‘s agenda teaching me that women without a job or career outside the home are unworthy - thus homemakers are not worthy. This lie has haunted me my entire adulthood, even though I am happy in my choice.

Wherever you find yourself----homemaker to career woman, single or married, young or old-----seek the LORD’s face in His word, drawing near to Him as you live. Keep your home for Him, finding joy in all things (even vacuuming) giving thanks to Him.

Praising the LORD! Thanks for listening---Jill


(This was originally posted on "The Watchman's Bagpipes" on 11/26/07)

It is the holiday season once again. For me the "holidays" begin in September each year. This is not only because our season changes into another beautiful autumn, but because our family birthdays begin at this time.

Soon enough our own celebrations blend into November’s thankful mood and then into the Christmas season with all the memories and activities that fill our days. These are wonderful times when we focus on what our LORD has given us in the bounty of our harvests and in the marvelous gift of grace in our precious Savior. It is a cheerful time as we all enjoy it, very happy to see it come.

Joy and happiness are not the only emotions which are felt during this season, though. You only need to look around to notice people next to you. As you get acquainted with others you discover there is much pain and heartache even among believers. Holidays tend to bring the heartaches to a painful crescendo that may be agony for them to endure through these months, only to finally end by entering into the dry, desolate desert of January and February.

There is, of course, a clear reason why the non-believers around us are not truly joyful during any season, especially this one. Bible-believing churches rightly encourage us to evangelize the lost since we have such Good News to share! This is our commission to which we must be obedient. So let us be willing to reach out with love and care for the lost, but when they choose Life let there be grace and mercy when they join us in the Body.

Let’s not let our love and care for people end when they enter our church Body. When considering believers, our problems do not necessarily end when we choose Jesus as our Savior. Sometimes this is just when our real hefty problems begin. Scripture is full of reminders for us to come along side and continually encourage each other in the faith.

Encouraging a fellow believer costs us much in time and emotions. It takes considerable time to listen to another person’s problems. It takes an emotional toll to consider their troubles so that you can then give Biblical advice or just bind their wounds temporarily. I say temporarily because trials are usually not over quickly. Trials for fellow believers could mean a long haul for them. When you choose to come along side them it is a must to run to the Father on their behalf. Just as you need the Father’s strength in all of your life’s activities, you will definitely need His strength when you tend to the wounded.

I personally have chosen to encourage others. Binding their wounds and loving them through their agonies is well worth the cost. Because of the LORD, this changes them. He also changes me, and His mighty name is glorified. Although their trial is not over, they are able to get up to do the “next things” in the joy of the LORD.

I have also been one of the wounded who has been tenderly picked up, my wounds bound, and then lovingly encouraged. I know it is well worth the cost. The LORD changes me, He changes the encourager, and His mighty name is glorified. Although my trial is not over, I am able to get up and to do the “next things.”

Yes, with the LORD it is well worth the cost. Let us go out encouraging as we build each other up in the faith.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:11-18