Thursday, November 15, 2012

On Submission and Idolarty

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Earlier today in my personal bible time I was reading in 1 Kings, when I came across a few different verses that later manifested themselves in my life. I'll list out the verses and then explain.

For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. -1 Kings 11:4-6

 But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: -1 Kings 12:8

And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron. But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days. -1 Kings 15:11-14

Now these three passages are each talking about a different king, but we can learn from their mistakes and successes. When I read the first passage my heart was instantly pricked and I began to think what are the things that I am leading my husband after. The second passage got me to thinking about the counsel I receive from older godly women. The third passage got me to thinking about the things in my life I make idols of. 

These thoughts all sort of go together, but it wasn't until later in the day that I truly saw the connection. After I finished reading I prayed that the Lord would show me idols in my life and what things are competing affections. I have a definition that I wrote in the front of my bible about idolatry that I like to use. 
"Idolatry is expecting people, possessions, or positions to do for me what only God can"
I don't remember where I got this quote from, but it is something I use to kind of check myself. So after I prayed I looked at this quote and tucked it away in my mind as I continued through my day. 

I was backed up on dishes, so I went into the kitchen to start what I knew was going to be a bit of a task. I usually listen to a teaching or Revive Our Hearts while I wash dishes or work in the kitchen. But today I decided to listen to The Excellent Wife audio book, by Martha Peace. I went to take down my dish drainer and I realized that it had gotten a little yucky sitting up above my cabinets (I only use it when I have a lot of dishes to wash). I wanted to clean it one way that would of slightly inconvenienced my hubby, and doing it another way would of much more inconvenienced me. So I proceeded to ask him to change his plans so that I could do what I wanted. After all what I wanted to do was going to benefit us both. But he said no. "How on earth could he say no" I thought, so I explained to him exactly what he was asking me to do, and with a bit of a puzzled look on his face he simply replied "yea". 

Yea? Yea, what? Yea, you expect me to go out of my way and create more work for myself???? Frustrated, I huffed and puffed away. As I began moving things around, feeling completely inconvenienced and unloved, I mumbled under my breath "who does he think he is?" and  other things I will not be sharing here. Then I heard the voice reading Martha Peace's book begin to talk about submission and being a glory to your husband. I glared over at the speakers and really wanted to tell that lady to shut up! But then the Lord lovingly brought to mind 1 kings 12:8 "But he forsook the counsel of the old men..." Here I am desiring to be a godly wife but then rejecting the counsel of a woman who has gone before me, and even worse I sought her out! I went and got this audio book and turned it on, yet now I'm telling her to mind her business.  Talk about a convicted heart. 

I stood there washing my dishes, with a softened heart and listened as the reader continued. Then next thing I know she's talking about idols that a woman can make in her life, that might not seem like idols. Oh, boy. I can't remember everything she said word for word, but she was saying how often times the idea of having a godly marriage, and family, can become an idol because we loose sight of what's most important, GOD. We focus more on what we want, and even risk sinning to attain it, when really our only focus should be on God. That cut through me like a hot knife through butter. 

Am I guilty of that? Of course not... until she said that you can tell by your reaction when things don't go how you think they should. If you're seeking after the Lord you"ll have peace because you are resting in Him. But if you're seeking after something other than the Lord you'll be frustrated when things aren't fitting into you're plan. That's me! I like things to go my way, and when they don't I say, "Lord are you sure?" But that's not the way to go. Now the dish drainer situation is a small thing but if I have the wrong attitude in the small things how much more so will have the wrong attitude in the big things? My reaction shows that my heart was not focused of serving my family but rather just on getting a job done because I was supposed to. When my husband didn't do what I wanted I began thinking "is this how Christ loved the church?" Which is the totally the wrong attitude. (I won't even get into how she was talking about taking the beam out of you're own eye...)

I went from being hardhearted and angry because I was inconvenienced, to the Lord taking me through all the scriptures He had shown me. If I am not careful in keeping my gaze on Him I will loose focus, and create an idol. I could then end up forcing my husband into going after my idol and not fully after the Lord. If I do not harken to warnings of godly women who have gone before me, and instead focus on the ideals of this current culture,  I can hinder my husband from being who God wants him to be. All because of my need to chase after the idol of a godly marriage and family instead of just focusing on the Lord and allowing Him to bring about godliness in my marriage and family. Ouch, ouch, and ouch again. 

Do you have idols in your heart? Maybe yours are different from mine but examine your heart and cast away any competing affections. 

Thou shalt have no other gods before me...Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God... -Exodus 20:3&5

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Perfect in Weakness

I decided to deep clean my kitchen today, and I learned a valuable lesson. Actually I learned a few. I learned that a toaster oven is much easier to clean as you use it, instead of waiting until it gets really messy. Much like sin. It's easier to deal with sin as soon as it happens rather than waiting until it has created a mess of your life. 

I also learned that it's easier to submit selectively, than to submit continually. But it's much more rewarding to submit continually. However, the MOST valuable lesson I learned was that I'm at my best when I'm weak. 

You see my sweet little first born daughter walked up to me and said "mommy I'm sorry." I stopped my cleaning, looked at her confused, and asked for what? Her response? "For being bad to my sister." I asked her when had been she bad to her sister, because the poor "victim" was actually taking a nap. She began to tell me that last night she was being mean to her sister, she told me that they had been fighting and that daddy had to correct them. She told me she was so sorry, and that she didn't want me to be mad. I had no idea what she was talking about. 

But I listened and I explained to her what repentance was. I told her that she needed to talk to God and ask Him to help her to not be mean to her sister anymore. Right there in the kitchen as I listened to my little girl pray for the Lord to help her, and to forgive her, my heart broke. I was reminded in that little kitchen that I am an awful mother. I will fail my precious children many times. But on those occasions when I am no good to anyone, Jesus will be all that they need. I can't be all things, I can't do all things, but I know who can. 

I can tell my children to behave, I can encourage them to love each other. But until it becomes real to them and they decide to do it from their hearts, it's just for show. I can't make that change in their hearts. I am completely at a loss in that area. But Jesus can. He can make their hearts tender, and the more I give them Jesus the more He can do in their lives. Today I learned to delight in this weakness, because if I think I can do it all on my own, God will let me try and I'll fail miserably. But if I can recognize where I fall short and fill in the gaps with Him, then the sky is the limit to what can happen in my children's lives. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
                                                                                             -2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

My New Find And A Discount Code

I want to share an awesome company with you that I recently had the pleasure of ordering from. CPT Worldwide! They are an online retailer of fertility products, books, ovulation  tests, and pregnancy tests. But even better than providing extremely affordable products, they are a Christian pro-Life company! 

I was selected to review some pregnancy tests for CPT and share my honest opinion with you all. Obviously I have to be in a certain "condition" to actually use the tests, so I'll have to hold off on letting you know the results of them.   :o)

But let's talk about their customer service. I found them to be prompt, and very caring. I had an issue arise after I agreed to review the products and they were VERY understanding and even took the time to offer me some encouragement! Totally not something I was expecting, and such a blessing. It's nice to know that you're not "just another customer" and that if you need them they're there to help. Also the shipping was very quick, which is a blessing to anyone trying to conceive! 

The products themselves I found to be true to the pictures found on their site and came discreetly packaged. Each test came individually sealed and also had directions, same as if you were to buy them boxed from the store. Only the price is way better! you can get the test strips (the ones that you dip in the "test fluid") for $.30, The cassette test (the ones you use a dropper, which is included, to put the "test fluid" in the testing window) are $.80, and the midstream tests (the ones you most commonly find in stores) are $1.65. These prices are awesome, especially if you get a little test happy like me. Plus they offer free shipping on orders over $14.99!

Ok, so I hope you didn't think I shared all of this with just to brag on my new find. I've got something for you too! CPT Worldwide is giving a 15% discount to all Herein is Love readers! Simply use the code HEREIN between now an November 30th, 2012! How awesomely generous is that? So what are you waiting for, go check out their site and see all the awesome fertility goodies they have available! 

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. -Psalm 127:3

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