I was so delighted when recently she and her boyfriend announced their engagement. This has led on to some interesting chats about biblical womanhood, marriage, singleness and family, so I wanted to share some of the articles we have been discussing to see what you thought. (It might also encourage her to comment here some day - I know she reads this, but has never added a comment before..!)
I always appreciate Carolyn McCulley's writings so enjoyed Faith for the Man He'll Become from Boundless. It's a gentle reminder to us girls that we won't marry the 'perfect man' but that there is a big difference between men aged 25 and men aged 50 in the church so we can't judge them by the same standard. We have a huge part to play in the growing in spiritual maturity of our brothers in Christ and of our (future) husbands, encouraging them and uplifting them in prayer. She writes:
You may see some of the husbands and fathers in your church and think to yourself that you'd like to marry a man just like them. Those are great aspirations to have! But first you may need to talk to their wives.Another Boundless article looks at Deuteronomy 24:5. Jonathan Dodson in First Year Off extends the law that allowed Israelite men not to be sent to war during their first year of marriage to a more general principle of a taking a year off from other responsibilities to "to be happy with his wife". He talks of being careful not to over-commit to work, church or other people when the focus should be developing and deepening the relationship with your spouse.
Why? Because these women didn't marry the husbands they have today. Typically, they married less seasoned men. Thanks to the Holy Spirit's refinements over time, as well as the feminine counsel, influence, and encouragement of these wives, their husbands are different some 20-plus years down the line.
Now take a look at the young men you know. Can you see them with eyes of faith? Like trees in springtime with an impressionistic haze of buds, the potential for growth is strongly evident but it's not yet fully realized.
My friend and I are both busy doctors, so what does this mean practically for us as potential wives? I know I find it difficult enough to keep up-to-date with everything just on my own, so I can't really see me managing this while trying to get used to married life! We discussed this in a previous post, A Helper Fit for Him, and I liked what Sherrin had to say:
I do believe that home and family are to be the priorities, but that will look different for each woman. God has made us finite - and we cannot really "have it all". Something has to give, and we do not want that "something" to be the role of helping our husbands.Our friendship is bound to change over the next year, but we are both committed to maintaining a close sisterly bond. (Thankfully, her fiancé is very understanding and encouraging of the fact that sometimes you just need your girlfriends!) What of my part in their marriage though? Lauren Winner writes about our responsibilities to a friend's marriage in Beyond Being a Bridesmaid:
I will no longer take the responsibility of witnessing marriage vows so lightly, for witnessing a marriage vow is not a frivolous thing. Now, before I attend a wedding, or stand up with a friend, I will consider what I, too, am committing to: a lifetime of support, of sometimes hard words, of prayer, of upholding.When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.
This explains why I have never put my full name up here! I am rather proud of the fact that if you Google me, it is only me who comes up! How many of you are there?
The Beauty of being Made in God's Image
Through her Scribblings, Blair notes that God took us from being "without form, and void" like the earth, to forming us into his likeness and filling our void with his Breath of Life.
The Happy Wonderer, Ellen, wonders about being made in God's image, the call to be holy as God is holy and how this relates to beauty. In Be Beautiful, she shares a practical application that has helped her be more aware of holiness or the lack of it in her daily life.
Barbara gives us Fuel for thought, sharing a reminder God gave her about his work in creation through her own children in She Looks Just Like Her Father.
Here at A Woman who Fears the Lord, I have been reminded while writing After Our Likenessabout how mankind was designed to reflect God's person and character.
Amanda of following an unknown path reminds us of the Creativity of the Uncreated One in making mankind with desires and abilities to create themselves.
Next week, we will be hosted by Enjoy the Journey where we celebrate the Beauty of the Resurrection. Please consider contributing something as we look forward to Easter weekend!
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
Labels: carnival of beauty
Genesis 1 tells us that on the sixth day of creation:
God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."When we talk about being made in God's image, we can see how mankind was designed to reflect God's person and character.
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
God was love even before he created us and loved us, so there was love and fellowship between the three persons of the Godhead. As mankind, we have been created to love God and can see that our lives go awry when we fall away from him, when we depart from our true purpose of life.
We also have a need and a desire to love others, to experience love of others and to have fellowship with each other. We have been given marriage as a picture of how this submission and love works within the Godhead, but, even for those of us who are not (yet) married, we have been given the church and the body of believers as a family in which to experience and demonstrate this.
The first act of God that we read of in the Bible is the creation of the universe. He then gives his brand new and "very good" world to humans to care for and steward it. God has put that desire for creation and work into our hearts so that we might reflect his glory in our own care for the creation and in our own contributions to creation.
Think of many wonderful pieces of art, architecture, literature, scientific advances or music, all created by man but stemming from a deeper desire placed in us by God. He has given us the ability of conscious thought and self-awareness, more so than other creature, and so allows us to study, create and compose. Perhaps this is also reflected in the desire of many of us to have children - the ultimate creative act we are given as mankind?
In the Fall and in our rebellion, this image of God has been tarnished. Our relationship with God, each other and creation has been ruined. We have not been left in this sorry state however. Jesus who is the "image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation" (Colossians 1:15) and the "radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature" (Hebrews 1:3) has come to redeem us. Through him, we can put on a new self, created "after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:24) and "which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator" (Colossians 3:10).
I once was a stranger to grace and to God,In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: 'The LORD is our righteousness.
I knew not my danger, and felt not my load;
Though friends spoke in rapture of Christ on the tree,
Jehovah Tsidkenu was nothing to me.
I oft read with pleasure, to sooth or engage,
Isaiah’s wild measure and John’s simple page;
But e’en when they pictured the blood sprinkled tree
Jehovah Tsidkenu seemed nothing to me.
Like tears from the daughters of Zion that roll,
I wept when the waters went over His soul;
Yet thought not that my sins had nailed to the tree
Jehovah Tsidkenu—’twas nothing to me.
When free grace awoke me, by light from on high,
Then legal fears shook me, I trembled to die;
No refuge, no safety in self could I see—
Jehovah Tsidkenu my Saviour must be.
My terrors all vanished before the sweet name;
My guilty fears banished, with boldness I came
To drink at the fountain, life giving and free—
Jehovah Tsidkenu is all things to me.
Jehovah Tsidkenu! my treasure and boast,
Jehovah Tsidkenu! I ne’er can be lost;
In thee I shall conquer by flood and by field,
My cable, my anchor, my breast-plate and shield!
Even treading the valley, the shadow of death,
This “watchword” shall rally my faltering breath;
For while from life’s fever my God sets me free,
Jehovah Tsidkenu, my death song shall be.
Alexander MacLaren, Scottish Baptist minister (1826-1910)
Have you fallen behind on your To-Be-Read list? Do you have five books that you've started but haven't finished? Have you been meaning to get around to that great book your friend recommended but just haven't done it yet? Do you love to read and to find out what everyone else is reading? Then this challenge is for you!I've spent some time looking through my bookshelves and the piles of books that sit waiting for more bookshelves to be built to pick some that I hope to read before the end of the challenge. Feel free to steal any of my ideas or to suggest any that you think I should read in the future!
by Derek Prime
After hearing him speak on prayer a few years ago, this has been one of the most useful books I own. Things have been a bit more difficult recently, so I think I need to read this - then, more importantly, put it in to practice!
The Inheritance of Loss
by Kiran Desai
I was given this as a present for my birthday, so you can tell how long it has been sitting on my bookshelf. She loved it but I've tried to read it a few times but not got past the first chapter yet...
A Third Testament
by Malcolm Muggeridge
This looks at the spiritual lives of some very influential men of God throughout the ages, such as Augustine of Hippo, Blaise Pascal, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Deitrich Bonhoeffer. I've read a lot of their writings so I am looking forward to learning more about them.
Perfecting Ourselves to Death
by Richard Winter
This is described on the back as "the 'perfect' book for those who struggle with perfectionism". I know that I tend towards this so it will be helpful to look at the positive and negative sides of perfectionism and what to do about it.
How to Read a Paper: The basics of evidence based medicine
by Trisha Greenhalgh
My final entry is really for work. I've got a few interviews coming up so this will be good to read - it currently just sits on my bookshelf looking impressive!
Be as careful of the books you read, as of the company you keep; for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as by the latter.
Edwin Paxton Hood, American minister (1820-1885)
For this reason, I was so excited to be assigned as the hostess for next week's Carnival of Beauty on The Beauty of being Made in God's Image. Please take some time to think about this over the next week and then post your submission on your blog at the beginning of the week. The deadline for emailing me with your details will be 9pm BST (Check your deadline for where you are in the world at the World Clock) on Tuesday, 27th March.
What is the purpose of the Carnival of Beauty?
1. Encourage women by reflecting the beauty of Christ in our writing.
2. Meet women online who cherish the beauty of Christ that we might not have met otherwise.
Who can participate?
Any Christian woman can participate as long as she falls under these guidelines:
Is in personal agreement with the Nicene Creed.
Is in personal agreement with the following statement: I believe in the Godhead of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Holy Bible. I believe that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God and my only means for the forgiveness of my sins and my salvation. My salvation is found in no one but Jesus Christ.
Is not a Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, or Seventh Day Adventist.
Does not promote the emergent conversation/movement/whatever on her blog.
Does not promote theological distinctives in her Carnival post so as to refrain from controversial debate.
How do I submit a piece to the Carnival?
Send an email to the hostess with the following information:
1. Your first name
2. The name of your blog with the link
3. The name of your piece with the link
4. A brief one or two sentence description of your piece that will be in the listing of the Carnival submissions.
In the meantime, take a look at this week's carnival hosted by Amanda at following an unknown path where they are looking at the Beauty of Photographs. Look forward to reading all the posts next week!
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Labels: carnival of beauty
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Labels: scripture memory
Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?
I do most of my reading in bed or on the train, so I prefer paperback. For reference books or my favourite books, hardback is best.
Online purchase or brick and mortar?
Online is fine if I know exactly what I am looking for, but I look to wander round bookshops, looking at books, picking them up and taking plenty of time to decide what to read next.
Barnes & Noble or Borders?
We don't have Barnes & Noble up here, so I'll have to say Borders, especially as they have good coffee and muffins there too. If you ever come to visit me in Scotland, we'll have to go to visit my favourite bookshop - Leakie's in Inverness is an amazing second hand bookshop. It is in a huge old church and has books on everything imaginable!
Bookmark or dog-ear?
I'm with John on this one - never dog-ear a book. I have plenty of bookmarks although if you flick through some of my books, you'd be able to tell which trains I was on at the time and when!
Mark or not mark?
I can't mark books, but I keep notes in a notebook for the different books I read. My diary is also full of little messages to myself based on whatever I was reading that day.
Alphabetise by author or alphabetize by title or random?
For someone who is just a little more than a little obsessive, I am uncharacteristically unorganised with my many books. They have expanded out of the bookshelves and now form artistic piles on the floor! I've gone for purposely not organising my books to encourage folk to have a look at all the piles, rather than keeping all the 'religious' books in one section.
Keep, throw away, or sell?
If it was a good book, I'll keep it. Otherwise, it will be added into the latest charity shop box or given to a friend or one of the family in case they might like it.
Keep dust-jacket or toss it?
I actually don't know my answer to this. Looking at my bookshelves from where I sit at the moment, I have so few hardbacks that came with dustjackets. I'd most likely keep them, I think.
Read with dust-jacket or remove it?
If it is a reference book and I am reading it at my desk, the dustjacket can stay on. If I am reading it in bed, it will need to come off.
Short story or novel?
I like good long complex novels to really get your teeth into over months (well, days...).
Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?
It depends. Roald Dahl has written some great collections of short stories and I'm enjoying reading Tove Jansson's A Winter Book. It's good to be introduced to new authors through anthologies.
Lord of the Rings or Narnia.
Oooh, tough choice! They are both amazing! I loved the Chronicles of Narnia as a child, but Lord of the Rings is so amazingly detailed.
Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
When I am tired - I always want to read more. When I am supposed to be working and revising, I have to make myself stop at chapter headings. I was sitting my finals for medical school when the fifth Harry Potter came out so had to hide it from myself until the afternoon after my final exam. The results were coming out that afternoon so sitting out in the sun and reading Harry Potter was the perfect way to distract myself from the impending news!
“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
It depends what sort of mood I am in. I definitely have more gothic phases yet sometimes curling up with Jane Austen is the best way to spend an evening.
Buy or Borrow?
I'll buy more often, but I love borrowing from friends and recommending books from my bookshelves for my friends to borrow.
New or used?
Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?
I'll take recommendations from friends but enjoy just wandering round bookshops, particularly good second hand ones.
Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
If there is not going to be a sequel, then please tie up most of the loose ends, or I will spend the rest of the night wondering what happened!
Morning reading, afternoon reading or night time reading?
I get some time to read on the train, but I tend to read medical journals or more serious tomes then. In the evening, I'll read fiction. I can't go to sleep without reading, at least for a few minutes. It helps me to wind down a little from the busyness of the day.
Standalone or series?
I can't really decide here. Looking at my bookshelves, almost all of them are standalone books, but I have a few collections of books by the same author.
Is it a bad thing that I want to ask my boss not to make me work on the 21st July? It's just that my friends will be reading it too and I don't want to know the ending until I've read it.
Favourite book of which nobody else has heard?
The Apothecary's House by Adrian Mathews
Favourite books read last year?
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox
God is the Gospel by John Piper
Favorite book of all time?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Mere Christianity by C S Lewis
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Tolle lege, tolle lege.
Take up and read, take up and read.
Augustine of Hippo, early Christian theologian (354-430)
I spent Friday recording my first CD! We only sing unaccompanied psalms in my denomination, so a few years ago, the psalms were retranslated into more modern English than the 1650 Scottish Psalter. To help our precentors (who lead the singing) and the congregation learn to sing these, we are making a CD of these psalms. It was so exciting to hear the recording - it sounds like it was done in a proper studio when it was really done in a friend's living room with duvets hanging around me to muffle background noise! I'll let you know when it comes out...
On Saturday, my little sister got engaged to her boyfriend. They were always planning on getting married from before she became pregnant, but it is good that he's making an honest women of her! We used to fight so much, so it has been great to have become such great friends as adults. It was so touching when she asked me to be her bridesmaid.
I've been away the last few days for my first job interview down in Cambridge. My interview was first thing in the morning, so I had the evening before and the rest of the day to wander around admiring the university colleges. (I noticed that one of the churches held a Goth Eucharist every fortnight advertising that it included "candles, incense and contemporary music for goths"!) I went to Evensong at King's College and heard the world famous choir. The interview itself was fine - once they had found my application form!
Finally (and I hope that Sherrin will forgive me stealing her photo from the blog for this), congratulations to Dave and Sherrin on their engagement! It has been lovely to get to her and to see their relationship blossom.
I will run the course set out in thy commandments, for they gladden my heart (Ps 119:32 NEB).There will be both time and strength today to run that course, for it is always possible to do the will of God. The course He sets for us in his commandments is not an obstacle course, but one carefully planned to suit our qualifications - that is, not too rigorous for our limitations, not too lenient for our strengths.
The plan of God for me, for this one day, is meant not to trouble but to gladden my heart. Christ's yoke, according to his own promise, is not hard but easy - if we bear it together with Him and if we bear it as Christ bore it, in meekness and lowliness of heart.
We must run with resolution the race for which we are entered, our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom faith depends from start to finish (Heb 12:2 NEB).Elisabeth Elliot, American writer and missionary (1926-)
From A Lamp Unto My Feet and found at Rocks in my Dryer
|Your Inner European is Swedish!|
Relaxed and peaceful.
You like to kick back and enjoy life.
|You Should Learn Swedish|
Fantastisk! You're laid back about learning a language - and about life in general.
Peaceful, beautiful Sweden is ideal for you... And you won't even have to speak perfect Swedish to get around!
All this uncertainty about jobs has made me evaluate what I achieved so far in my personal, professional and spiritual life. Sitting on the floor of my study this morning with the Spiritual Gifts Analysis has given me so much to think about regarding what I want my spiritual life to be (like when I have to tick "occasionally" rather than "almost always") and what my role in the life of my local church and the wider Church should be. After much hunting, I've found an Internet version (the definite advantage being that this does the sums for you!) and would welcome your thoughts on the questionnaire itself and on your own answers.
Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts.
1 Corinthians 1:1a-b
System for recruiting junior doctors in crisis (The Herald, 28th February)
Doctors' training system 'a shambles' (Daily Telegraph, 2nd March)
Jobs protest planned by doctors (BBC News Online, 2nd March)
Thousands of newly-qualified doctors may be jobless in August (You and Yours, 2nd March)
Trained young doctors condemned to the scrapheap (The Times, 2nd March)
8,000 junior doctors 'might have to go abroad for work' (Daily Mail, 2nd March)
Doctors chaos 'is worst crisis to hit NHS' (Daily Telegraph, 3rd March)
Junior doctors plan to mount legal challenge over job rules (The Guardian, 3rd March)
Top surgeons risk their jobs to defy 'flawed' interview system (Daily Telegraph, 6th March)
Health chiefs retreat in row over training for junior doctors (The Times, 7th March)
Twice a day, Jews throughout the world will recite the Shema, the words of Deuteronomy 6:4, as part of the daily prayers reminding them of the oneness of God, and of the command to and rewards of loving him with the whole heart and soul and mind and strength.
Although we worship God as a Trinity, the Bible and Christian doctrine are clear that God is one. We do not worship several gods but one God who exists exists, simultaneously and eternally, as a mutual indwelling of three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. There are no other gods (Isaiah 44:6, 45:21-22).
Although many gods are worshipped today, whether explicitly as in false religions or more implicitly with idols of money or power (1 Cor 8:4-6), God is the only true and living God (1 Thess 1:9-10). He is the only eternal King (Jeremiah 10:10), being our Creator rather than being made from created things (Exodus 20:3-6). It is only because he is the true and living God that we can trust in him and receive eternal life (John 17:3, 1 John 5:20).
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Ehad
Is this the answer to my prayers???
Outback appeal to attract medics
I started blogging initially to "to consider how to become more of a godly woman, to encourage others wanting to become women after God's heart, and to be accountable to myself and others as I work on those qualities presented to us by woman of the Bible". Along the way, I have also made some great friends and been challenged and encouraged by some wonderful godly men and women. Please have a look around, read some of my favourite and most discussed posts, and visit some of my friends. Then head back to the blog party to make some more new friends!
We're told that one of the best ways to get to know someone is to ask questions about them, so anything you want to know, just ask away! (Although before you ask, it's said "KEZ-ee-ah"!)
- I celebrated my 100th post by sharing 100 things about me
- I belong to a denomination that only sings psalms
- I'm focusing on the doctrine of the Trinity this year
- My parents became Christians after we had a huge argument!
- I'm working on the Discipline of Solitude
- I'm trying to work on some New Year Resolutions for 2007
- My sister is having a baby! I am looking forward to being an aunt and developing auntie traditions
- Join those of us in blogland Celebrating a Year of Abundance
- I'm off to Morocco to climb the highest mountain in North Africa - on my own!
- What should you do when non-Christian couples who live together come to visit? Do you give them the spare room together?
- I'm dealing with job applications and now interviews at the moment, constantly needing to remind myself that God has things under control!
- Are you or will you be a minister's wife?
- Declare his Glory among the Nations: Working in medical mission in Peru Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
- Work Heartily! - A discussion on multi-tasking and the answer to the most asked question round here: How do you say your name?
- What's your carbon footprint? Does it really matter?
- I'm feasting instead of fasting this Lent
Last night we looked at the problem of sin and learnt that there are three words used for sin in the Old Testament. I had never been aware of this before so wanted to share it. In Psalm 51, David uses all three words to convey the depth of his sin.
Avah - Twisted out of shape
Psalm 51:2a - iniquity
This describes a heart that is not centred in God and instead has its centre on distorted views of self, God and the world and wrong desires. It shows how deep an complex sin can be, yet it might not be committed deliberately or might be something good being misused or twisted into something bad.
Chatha - Missing the target
Psalm 51:2b - sin
This reminds that sin includes acts of omission are just as bad as sins of comission, the ones we do deliberately. We are called to live for God's glory, loving him with all our heart and soul and strength and loving our neighbours as ourselves. When we fail in this, we are equally sinning.
Pasha - Wilfully rebelling
Psalm 51:1 - transgression
God holds us responsible for our actions, however much we deceieve ourselves that we commit sin unwillingly. We act like Adam who blamed God for giving him Eve, who then blamed the serpent, all refusing to take the blame and the responsibility.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!