Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: C S Lewis
A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.

C S Lewis, English theologian and writer (1898-1963)

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  posted at 09:34  

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Consider Your Ways: Question 10
What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

Aargh! Another hard one. I've been sitting here at my computer trying to answer this one and I am having a hard time. When I think over the year to come, I find it difficult to find something that will matter in 10 years - and that depresses me.

I might alter a few diabetes drugs to give someone better sugar control so that in 10 years they still have both legs and can see. I might put a patient on drugs to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol so they don't have a stroke. I might be the first one on the scene when a patient's heart stops and manage to shock it back into working again. (Actually I just did this last week - five minutes later, after a couple of shocks and some CPR, he was sitting up asking what had just happened!) But will any of this really matter in eternity? Or am I just patching people up to fall apart another day?

Then I got thinking. My workplace, the wards and the clinics, is my mission field. In God's wisdom, he has placed me there as his ambassador, as his representative there. How I go about my day, how I treat my patients and my colleagues, what I talk about at coffee time is my witness to the work that God is doing within me. Already I have had opportunity to share some of my faith with my colleagues and my patients.

It is this witness that will matter in eternity. It is the people who came a step closer to knowing God for themselves that will matter in eternity. This is an awesome opportunity and one that I must keep at the forefront of my mind every day.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ,
God making his appeal through us.

2 Corinthians 5:20a

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  posted at 21:00  

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The Beauty of Learning: Initium Sapientiae Timor Domini

My university is not unique with regards to its motto. Educational establishments over the world have been constituted with the motto, Initium Sapientiae Timor Domini, meaning "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

This is where our desire for learning comes from and where our learning has its purpose: to know God more and so to fear and glorify him. Taking prime importance in our lives, we should be seeking to read our Bibles, to learn more from Scripture, to pray and to have fellowship with God's people. But the godly men who set up these universities did not want to cloister themselves away to learn about God, but to put this knowledge into practice for the good of the people.

In the case of my own university, a need for "a more educated laity, given the shortage of doctors, lawyers and schoolmasters in the country" was recognised. Its teaching "embraced all the known branches of learning Arts, Theology, and Canon and Civil Law" and was the place of the first Chair of Medicine in the English-speaking world.

Even as I studied for my degree and now study for postgraduate exams, I find it so refreshing to learn new things. In the last few years, I have tried to learn new languages, have completed a course in Christian theology, learned the basics of Art History and now plod away at trying to play the piano!

Constantly learning stretches my brain in new directions so, rather than tiring me out, it exercises and relaxes me. I hope that I shall never stop trying to learn, but that I shall take every opportunity to try new experiences and to learn more. I have had so much fun and had so much more enjoyment from pursuing knowledge outside of prescribed study and am thankful for the small amount of wisdom I can gain from that.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

Psalm 111:10

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  posted at 10:37  

Monday, August 28, 2006
The Words of my Mouth

Momrn2 found this website and posted it on her blog, A Quiet Corner, so I had to have a go. It seems to work out the most commonly used words on your website.

It is so interesting to see the words that pop up most often here. I am glad to see that Bible, Biblical, Christian, God, Lord, Pray, and Womanhood all merited big words, but I obviously think a whole lot more about chocolate than I realised! What had I written for 'ordeal' to get on to the word cloud? Where did 'void' come into it?

It got me thinking too. I wonder and shudder to think what a word cloud of all the words I say (and worse, all the thoughts I have) would look like...

Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14


  posted at 10:22  

Saturday, August 26, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: Bertrand Russell
Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to human happiness.

Bertrand Russell, British philsopher and mathematician (1872-1970)

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  posted at 16:20  

Friday, August 25, 2006
Consider Your Ways: Question 9

What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

Actually pray! I could begin and end my post there! How many of us struggle with our prayer lives and how much comes down to how much time we spend in prayer? I know that I don't pray enough and, when I do, so often I am not praying honestly and with an open heart. I have to remind myself that it is the Devil who tries to convince me that my prayers don't matter, that my prayers are not needed, and that I am not good enough to pray.

How wonderful that it is on Christ's merits that our prayers are accepted and not our own! How wonderful that, even as we struggle with prayer, the Spirit is working in us, helping us to present our prayers to God in heaven, where Christ is sitting at his right hand intercessing for us! How wonderful that we can bring our prayers of joy, frustration, sadness, anger, hopefulness to a God who knows us so intimately and who knows us so dearly.

After hearing Derek Prime, an Edinburgh pastor, speak on the subject of prayer a few years ago, I bought his little book, Practical Prayer. I loved reading it at the time with its encouragement and very practical guidance in how to improve your prayer life, so I think it is time to get it down from the bookshelf to read again. I am yet to meet a Christian who does not struggle at times with prayer so I would really recommend this book.

One of his big ideas, which he found very helpful in his own life, was to make daily, weekly and monthly lists of the people and situations needing prayer. It allowed him to ensure that he was remaining faithful in prayer and to be purposeful in his prayer life. Over the next few months, I am going to try to slowly and carefully (trying to avoid my tendency to rush into things!) start creating a prayer list to help me both to be more focused in who and what I pray for and to be freed from panicking over who and what I have forgotten to pray for.

Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thess 5: 16-18

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  posted at 11:09  

Thursday, August 24, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: George Meredith

There is nothing the body suffers
the soul may not profit by.

George Meredith, English novelist and poet (1828-1909)

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  posted at 13:49  

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Consider Your Ways: Question 8

What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?

As students, we used to stay up late discussing and debating deep theological points, sharing the emotional, spiritual and physical struggles we faced in our lives, reading and praying together, and encouraging and admonishing one another. Since moving away from my university town and living on my own, I really miss that, both for the conversation and challenge but also the accountability it gave me. Living on my own, no-one needs to know how I spend my time or what I do and no-one is there to stretch my thoughts.

I have written before about the importance of a Titus 2 relationship, with the older women encouraging and teaching the younger women. I think that as my desire for biblical womanhood increases, the time has come to be brave!

Over the next few weeks, I will make a particular matter for prayer my desire to have a mentor, an older and wiser Christian woman teaching, encouraging, admonishing and guiding me in the way I should go. I have an idea who I could ask, but I will pray first before going to her to ask her for her guidance and prayer in a more formal and purposeful way. I will also pray that I will be honest with her, not hiding my struggles or failings, but being truthful about where I struggle and where I need to learn.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.
Titus 2:11-12

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  posted at 21:46  

Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: John Vance Cheney

The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.

John Vance Cheney, American poet and librarian (1848-1922)


  posted at 13:48  

Monday, August 21, 2006
Consider Your Ways: Question 7

For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

I have been having some really exciting conversations with one of my friends. We originally know each other from work but got to know each other better as we studied for postgraduate exams in a little group.

She is in a difficult situation. She lives with her boyfriend and has done for a few years. They love each other...but he won't marry her. Apparently, he will only marry a Christian. Now, if he is a Christian (I don't know what his own understanding of this is), he has got himself into a terrible situation - he should never have started going out with her, never mind living with her. But she loves him and wants to marry him. So she has tried to read the Bible but got stuck at Leviticus and gave up. At the same time, she is quite scared about reading the Bible - what if all this Christian stuff is really true? What if she has to become a Christian!?!

Now she has been asking me questions as she knows that I am a Christian. She is going to read through the Gospels and then we are going to meet to chat about them. As you read this, please just take a moment to pray for her and her boyfriend that they will both be drawn towards God, that he will rededicate his life to Christ and that she will come to know God for herself. Please also pray that I will be kept faithful in prayer for their salvation and be a faithful witness to her as we discuss the Bible and the Christian faith.

My word...shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11

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  posted at 09:41  

Saturday, August 19, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: Richard Steele

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Sir Richard Steele, Irish essayist and dramatist (1672-1729)

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  posted at 16:01  

Friday, August 18, 2006
Death by Chocolate (almost)

When I read this article, US man survives chocolate ordeal, from the BBC website, I was reminded of our Carnival of Beauty last week! It sounds like a terrible ordeal but it's just so funny!

My favourite quotes:

"The man said he had climbed into the tank before becoming trapped waist-deep in chocolate." (What on earth was he thinking?)

"Rescue workers and staff at the Debelis Corporation used cocoa-butter to thin out the chocolate and pull him free." (You learn something new every day!)

And then at the end of the article, as if this explains everything,

"The accident involved dark chocolate."

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  posted at 20:08  

Thursday, August 17, 2006
Consider Your Ways: Question 6

What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

Maybe I am cheating a little on this one as it is not something I am going to start doing, but I hope this counts as I have just started it and really want to focus on it this year! Just recently the elders in my church asked me to start a Bible study group for young women. There is definitely a void in that area, but I was surprised (and delighted) to be asked to lead it.

We have just started meeting together and have started by studying the idea of biblical womanhood together. I thought we should know and understand the basics first before moving on to consider other issues.

It has been such a blessing to meet together. These are young women who yearn to be women after God's own heart, who want to aspire to godly womanhood, who want to be courted by godly men, who want to raise God-fearing families. Some of the girls are still in university, some have jobs (with some in senior positions in high-powered jobs too), yet it has been so interesting to see that God has indeed placed these desires within all of our hearts! Society's teaching of "gender sameness" is being rejected by these young women. Instead there is the recognition of the equality of men and women as people made in his image, but with different roles and responsibilities.

Please pray for us as you read this, that it might be a blessing to me and to these young women to delve into Scripture for this teaching and for us as together we try to become women who fear the Lord.

The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 19:8

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  posted at 20:04  

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: Donna Maclean

All I need to know about life I learnt from my Bible.
Miracles happen.
Somebody loves me.
I am not alone.
The majority isn't always right.
Wonderful things happen in dungeons.
Death is only skin deep.
Poverty is temporary and so is wealth.
He who dies with the most toys loses the most toys.
You can always go home again.
Things may look a lot better in three days.

Donna Maclean, quoted in the Court House Courier, Cape May Court House, NJ

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  posted at 16:24  

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Consider Your Ways: Question 5
What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?

When I moved into my own flat, I decided not to get a television. It's not a decision I've regretted. I found it sucks your soul through its mindless drivel and seductive hypnosis.

Sadly, the Internet, for all its wealth of knowledge and shared wisdom and experience, can have the same effect. It brings me into contact with news, people, ideas, friends and places all over the world, all at the tap of a few keys. Through it, I have read classic works of art, seen beautiful paintings, improved my command of various foreign languages, shared my faith with others, and been challenged and encouraged by Christians across the globe.

However, used wrongly, it can draw people more into themselves and away from the world. With the huge amount of information available, it is easy to become distracted to the detriment of other activities.

As a Christian, I am called not only to be accountable for how I use my money but for how I use my time and talents for God's glory. So this is my resolve, while recognising the value of the Internet, I will ensure that I spend a maximum of one hour each evening using the Internet, whether working, writing, chatting or investigating.

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

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  posted at 19:49  

Monday, August 14, 2006
Lead the Life that the Lord has Assigned
Continuing my book study, I have struggled with the latest chapter of Debbie Maken's book. Chapter 2 is entitled "What the Bible says about being single", but I am not sure if it really does say what she says it does.

The main focus for this chapter is first Jesus' teaching in Matthew 19:4-11. Martin Luther wrote that only those people who were physically unable to participate in marriage or who had received a special direction from God to be single were exempt from the creation ordinance of marriage so "apart from these groups, let no man presume to be without a spouse." Maken takes it another step further saying that "Being single without meeting the necessary just as unbiblical as sexual activity outside marriage." Strong stuff, but I am not sure that she is justified in taking this point so far.

Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 7 is tackled too. I agree with her point that we have to take this passage and interpret it in light of the rest of Scripture, including Paul's own writings, where the importance and value of marriage is extolled.

Maken suggests that it was written for a particular situation faced by the Corinthian church so should not be used to form a complete 'policy' on marriage and singleness. It is difficult to know in what circumstances this letter was written. Commentators disagree on what the "present distress" might be. Some suggest that this refers to a particularly difficult period of famine and persecution faced by the Corinthian church, while others say this is the general trouble that comes with following the Lord.

John Calvin, in his commentary that "here you have two things worthy of observation. The first is, for what purpose celibacy is to be desired - not on its own account, nor on the ground of its being a state that is nearer to perfection, but that we may cleave to God without distraction - that being the one thing that a Christian man ought exclusively to look to during his whole life. The second thing is, that no snare must be put upon men's consciences, so as to keep back any one from marriage, but that every one must have liberty allowed him."

I am used to the subtle teaching within the church that there is almost a higher spiritual state achievable by single people, so I was interested to read this chapter. While I want to agree with her basic principles, I have real difficulty justifying this from Scripture. In the meantime, I will be again enouraged by Calvin who said, "the Apostle would wish those who are at present practicing chastity, to continue in it and persevere; but as they have no security for the continuance of the gift, he exhorts all to consider carefully what has been given them."

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.
I Corinthians 7:17

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  posted at 08:47  

Saturday, August 12, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: Albert Einstein

Science without religion is lame,
religion without science is blind.

Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist (1879-1955)


  posted at 09:05  

Friday, August 11, 2006
Consider Your Ways: Question 4
In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?

I am busy ALL the time. At work, I am permanently rushing around seeing patients, arranging and reviewing tests, writing letters, doing paperwork. Even in the quiet moments, I am poised ready to run at the first sound of my bleeper going off. At home, I work, study, read, do housework, write all the time to the background of music or a radio programme. Although I live on my own, I am permanently surrounded by noise, busyness and thoughts. I am never still. Even now, as I write this, I'm on a train on my daily communte, keen not to waste time.

So I am intrigued about the spiritual disciplines of quietness, solitude and silence. Would I manage to be still for an hour, never mind a whole day?

With the help of the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, I am going to take time over the next year to try the tasks it suggests. I have days off next month, so I might even try to go away for a night to give it a go without all the distractions of normal life. Sallie has allowed me to host the Carnival of Beauty in December on the Beauty of Solitude, so I'll hopefully be able to share some of what I have learnt then.

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10

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  posted at 10:06  

Thursday, August 10, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: J M Barrie

Someone said that God gave us memory
so that we might have roses in December.

J M Barrie, Scottish writer (1860-1937)


  posted at 16:17  

Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Consider Your Ways: Question 3
What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?

This is another difficult one. I live alone so I don't really have a 'family' life. Therefore, I have been thinking about this in two ways.

How can I improve the relationships with my family? We live in different cities and talk on the phone quite a lot, but don't visit each other often. I think I will try to make more of an effort in meeting up with and writing to my parents and siblings so we can build stronger relationships. This is particularly important to me for my sisters who don't know Christ, so I can use this time to be a witness to him.

How can I improve my home life? Balance is the key here, I think. I work a lot and have a long commute, so making a home a restful place and a refuge is important. I want it to be somewhere I come home to be refreshed in and for it to be an open place for friends and colleagues. I've extolled Flylady's virtues elsewhere and have loved her system of keeping house, but I need to remember that friends really don't mind if the place is a little untidy. It is more important to see them and to spend time with them than to closet myself away because the kitchen's messy.

I'm enjoying reading other people's answers to these questions. Please keep your thoughts coming!

But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
Joshua 24:15

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  posted at 22:54  

Tuesday, August 08, 2006
The Beauty of Chocolate: The Divine Drink

As a doctor, I'm always on the lookout for medicines and procedures to make people better. Yet it is often the simplest gestures that help the most. As a Scotswoman, I have to extol the healing benefits of a good cup of tea (served either in a big mug or a dainty china tea cup depending on the crisis!). A close second though, is the healing and comfort provided by good chocolate.

The best thing is that they really do keep finding out that chocolate is actually good for us! Apparently, it can protect our blood vessels, control diabetes, lower high blood pressure and reduce heart disease. People who eat a moderate amount of chocolate have even been shown to live longer! It contains plenty of trace elements, like calcium and iron (a good excuse to eat chocolate if you are anaemic!), and vitamins. For women, apparently we crave the magnesium in chocolate to increase progesterone levels to alleviate premenstrual syndrome! In the 1700s, French doctors would actually prescribe chocolate as a cure for the broken heart! The science tells us that it's all to do with a chemical, phenylethylamine, the same chemical that shoots round our brain when we fall in love.

Of course, that's not all. After all, broccoli is good for us and really very tasty, but you could hardly say that is really met the same need! Imagine the feeling of smooth chocolate melting in your mouth, the clean snap when breaking a big bar of chocolate, the rush of warmth as the endorphins hit your brain...

Now many of us will manage to read the rest of this week's Carnival of Beauty without craving some chocolate, so I share with you my favourite chocolate recipe. It's dark chocolate with a high cocoa content that seems to be the good stuff, so I hope you like it! It's probably a bit hot for this at the moment, but the more I think about this, I get more in the mood for it!

Chop a red chilli into a pint of milk and gently heat. Then stir in a 100g bar of good dark chocolate broken up into little pieces and some cream until it is all dissolved and thick. Serve with whipped cream and a tiny sprinkle of chilli powder for decoration.

The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.
Montezuma, Aztec Emperor (1480-1520)

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  posted at 07:35  

Monday, August 07, 2006
Consider Your Ways: Question 2
What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?

This is such a difficult one for me. My heart is torn in two. I want to be a woman of noble character, but I also want to be a wife of noble character. It is one of my deepest desire and the idea of not being a wife and mother sometimes breaks my heart.

In all this, I have to be wary. Has this become an idol? Is this desire more important to me that my relationship with God?

As a result of all this turmoil inside my head and heart, I have refrained from directly praying about this issue, too worried that it would show a lack of faith or discontentment in my situation. Through my current reading though, I'm wondering if I have made a mistake here. So I am going to pray boldly, asking that the Lord will bring my husband into my life, but also more importantly that he will work me more and more into the likeness of that woman of noble character so I will be ready to be a wife and mother, whether or not he plans for me to be married.

Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
Psalm 37:4-5

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  posted at 07:01  

Saturday, August 05, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: C S Lewis

Joy is the serious business of heaven.

C S Lewis, English writer and scholar (1898-1963)

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  posted at 09:23  

Friday, August 04, 2006
Consider Your Ways: Question 1

My birthday is soon approaching. As I reflect on the year past and the year to come, I'm going to go through some questions recommended by the Girltalk ladies set by Don Whitney. Perhaps you would like to join me as I prayerfully reflect on his article from The Center for Biblical Spirituality. I offer these thoughts here to make me accountable so that next year, as I return to this, I can give thanks to God for the work he has done in my life and I can see where the house is still in ruins.

What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

I really need to be more disciplined about my Quiet Time. I need to make sure that it is a priority of my day and not just something squished into a few minutes before I run out the door.

When I am reminded of the great strength and power the Bible holds, I become disappointed in myself at the times my devotions are a chore. I have to remember that it is the Evil One telling me not to read, not to pray, and not to meditate on the Word. I must not listen to his lies. I do have enough time. There are other things to be done, but none as important as this. I do need to spend time in the Word. I can't manage on my own. My own strength is not sufficient.

I am always so surprised what a joy and a relief it is to come to the Lord in prayer, so delighted when I read God's word and dive deep into its riches. Through this, I can come to know God better and so glorify and enjoy him forever.

Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, "Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways."
Haggai 1:3-5

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  posted at 18:33  

Thursday, August 03, 2006
Train the Younger Women

I wasn't brought up in the church and have no Christian background before becoming a Christian through reading the Bible at the age of 17. Since then, I have learned a lot about God, his Word and about the Christian life, through my Bible, preaching at church and through the patient teaching and guidance of more mature Christians.

As I now approach a stage in my life where the desire for biblical womanhood has been impressed so strong upon my heart and as I prepare, I hope, to become a wife and a mother, it brings into sharp focus yet again how little I know.

God knows this though and has continually provided for me in this. I have been so blessed in the families and older women that he has put into my life to guide me, admonish me, and encourage me through their example, their prayers and their teaching. This has not been done in a formal way but through their friendship and their investment in time and effort in my life.

I wonder though whether this should be made more formal. I was really encouraged to read How Christian Women Can Mentor and Be Mentored by Kelley Mathews when it arrived in my inbox this week. Perhaps I should be more purposeful in how I meet with these more mature women as I actively try to be become a godly woman.

This also gives another challenge to me: I am an older woman too and it is a command given equally to me! Okay, I am just 25 but, to my surprise, there are younger women who come to me with the same desire to mentored and to be guided. In my meetings and friendships with these young women seeking to be women after God's heart, I will try to use this guidance to benefit these girls and to make our time together more fruitful.

I'd be interested to hear how this works for others. Any advice on what to do and what to avoid? Any encouragement from this in your own lives?

Older women...are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Titus 2:3-5


  posted at 13:28  

Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Wisdom of the Wise: George Meredith

Who rises from prayer a better man,
his prayer is answered.

George Meredith, English novelist and poet (1828-1909)

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  posted at 08:59  

Tuesday, August 01, 2006
The Beauty of Philippians: My Joy and Crown

When I first became a Christian, Philippians was the first book I studied. It was such a wonderful introduction to the Christian life and faith. If I wrote down everything I had read and thought about this book, we would be here for a very long time, so I chose to focus on a word study of one of the great themes of Philippians.

The most striking things about this letter is where Paul was when he wrote this - sitting chained to a Roman guard while Christians were being persecuted by Nero! Yet it is a book about joy and rejoicing! We see a completely different meaning to the word 'joy' - it is not just a feeling of happiness when things go right, but a deep rejoicing and contentment that can only come from knowing who Christ is and what he has done.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
Phil 1:4

What a wonderful way to remember people - to remember them in your prayers and with thanksgiving! This joy comes from the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of our fellow believers, working together for the common purpose of furthering the Gospel and glorifying God.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Phil 2:1-3

Paul here encourages the believers to think alike, to love one another, to act without selfishness, and to look after others, because of their love for Christ. He sets them the example of Christ to follow, in how he came in utter humility as a servant and confined as a human before God glorified him. We are asked to do the same - to regard ourselves as nothing, to become servants, to humble ourselves and to be obedient - knowing that a greater and more precious prize awaits us in heaven.

I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honour such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
Phil 2:28-30

The Philippian church had sent Epaphroditus 700 miles to be with and to care for Paul. Here Paul is sending him back (probably carrying this letter), but he is not doing so with bitterness or jealously. His unselfish concern shines out, knowing the joy that it will bring to the Philippians to see Epaphroditus, especially after they heard about how unwell he had been. Paul reminds the church to treat him and "such men" with honour. God's servants on earth should be treated with appreciation and respect for their travail on earth until they receive that honour in heaven. It makes me wonder how we treat God's workers now...

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Phil 4:1

Paul reminds the church in Philippi and now all over the world to stand firm with regards to the Christian life, imitating "those who walk according to the example you have in us". We are also to remember that "our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" who has saved us from our sin, who continues to work out our salvation, and who on the last day will complete our salvation. We have to live in light of heaven, knowing that our true home is there - we are only visitors for a short time here on earth.

For us today, may the Lord help us to remain fervent in prayer for one another, to join together in fellowship and partnership in the Gospel, to love one another and to serve one another, to honour men and women who serve God, and to stand firm in our faith knowing that "he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ".

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  posted at 09:00  

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