A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Choosing "Voluntary Simplicity"

Christ has called us to a life of simplicity.  Love the Lord.  Love others. Only believe.

 It's a choice that we must make voluntarily.

 A choice to live simply and to walk humbly on the earth.

 The world is constantly trying to complicate our lives so that those three things get lost somewhere in the things I must do, things I should do and things I want to do.

But Christ desires that our faces be turned towards Him at all times, that everything we do be done with an eternal perspective.  For our time on earth determines not only where we will spend eternity, but what we will do in eternity.  The spiritual lessons we learn on this earth are what prepares us for our work in eternity.  Solomon said that "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.  For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil."  And that will determine our forever.

So we must choose "voluntary simplicity".

"Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition.  It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, or many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life.  It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions.  It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose."  Richard Gregg

This quote, although not stated by a Christian, is a perfect guide for living within Christianity.  I hope it blesses you as much as it blessed me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Moving to Wordpress-Update

I have moved my link to Wordpress.  I'm fed up with Blogger.   Here's the link to my blog on WordPress in case you're interested.


Just figured out a way to get blogger to work, so for awhile I guess I'll be posting to both blogs until I decide which one I want to keep. 

Totally Frustrated

I am having so much trouble with blogger!  I can't edit my drafts therefore I can't publish or revise anything either.  I am currently shopping around for another blog site, although I may have to change the name of my blog to do it.  The help group is NO help and you can't contact people directly to ask about the problem so...........I may not publish anything for a while until I can get this worked out.  If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know!

Friday, July 15, 2011

When Things Don't Add Up...part 3

In the story of the prodigal son, the older brother stayed and worked.  He must have been a good worker because he didn't even know that anything was going on until it was already in full swing.  He had been dutifully working out in the fields.  He was pretty shocked at what was transpiring. 

His younger brother had gone out and sowed his wild oats.  He had broken the heart of his father.  He had shamed his family and now he was returning in poverty and disgrace after months of riotous living, gluttony, and frivolity. Probably the older brother thought "well, he got what he deserved!"  But now, instead of a stern "I told you so" from the father, there is a celebration unlike any the family has seen in a very long time!  It's understandable how the older brother might have been confused about all of this.

When he confronted his father, his father said to him,  "son, you have always been with me.  All I have is yours.   But your brother was lost and now he is found.  He was dead to me and now he is alive again!" 

As a parent  I can fully understand why the father felt this way.  We just can't un-love our kids.  It's way different than un-friending people on facebook!  In these two simple statements, we come to see the Father's heart.

Lk. 15:31  "Son, you have always been with me...."
The Father states his pleasure in that the oldest son has always been near.  In fact, I'm sure the Father intended for both his boys to inherit his business and continue to work there until he passed away....close by...near the father.  I know most Moms desire that for their children as well.  We hate to see them move away.

It has been God's desire from the very beginning of creation to be near the human race.  In the Garden of Eden, He visited with Adam and Eve every evening because He desired to have fellowship with them.  In the Old Testament we find God dwelling in the tabernacle in the midst of His people.  In the prophets we find God coming on his people.  In the New Testament we find God dwelling IN His people.  In Jn.4, Jesus told his disciples that he was going away to prepare a place for them so that THEY MIGHT BE WHERE HE IS!  God's greatest desire is to be close to His people at all times.

Stop and consider this!  Almighty God, the Lord and Sovereign of heaven, the creator of all we see and know, the judge of all creation, the one being that is so holy that He stands alone in who He is and what He can do, this God desires to be IN us at all times!  OH, how He loves us!  So much that He desires to be the reality of our every waking moment!  Such love!  Such desire!  Do we really realize that WE are the object of God's affection and attention?  Do we know that God is jealous for us?  Do we live with that realization every minute of the day?  Imagine how our lives would be different if we did.....and we can!

God is love, but love is not love until it is expressed!  It needs an object to express it's love to!  We are that object.  God created us vessels, jars of clay, cisterns to hold something--to hold HIM!  And He wants to pour Himself into us, filling us from the lowest point to the highest point and to overflowing so that we, His body will go into all the world and fill it with Him!  WOW!  That's incredible!

In Sunday school one of my students asked me "if God knew before He created any of this what was going to happen, why did He go ahead and do it?"  The answer can be summed up in three simple words.  In fact, the culmination of all the history of the human race can be summed up in three simple words.  God With Us!  What God had with Adam and Eve was not enough.  He didn't just want to fellowship with them in the evening.  He wanted to dwell in them!  The fall was not unplanned by God.  Jesus was not the solution to an unforeseen problem.  He was part of the plan for God to go from dwelling amongst His people to dwelling IN his people.  So many times I've heard people say, "oh I wish I could live as Adam and Eve before the fall", not knowing that what the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ accomplished is WAY better that what Adam and Eve had, even in their perfected state.  This leads us to the second part of Lk 15:31.

To be continued.......

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When Things Don't Add Up....part 2

I have two teenage boys.  Their two sisters are older than they are.  All were raised with the same set of values and the same set of standards, but the way in which those values and standards have been embraced couldn't be more different between the girls and the boys.   Almost everyone we know with grown children tell us that the boys were much easier to raise than the girls, but that hasn't been our experience.  A great majority of my prayer time is spent in prayer for my boys.  Although I may not think the situation is at it's optimal setting, I'm not in despair.  I have faith in what God has said concerning the "seed of the righteous."

However, when I come upon a story in the Bible concerning families with sons, it naturally captures my attention.  This week, while studying for Sunday school, I read a chapter of an Andrew Murray book about the story of the prodigal son.  Brother Murray focused more on the relationship between the father and the oldest son instead of the father and youngest son (the prodigal) and to be honest, it has held me willing captive all week long! 

In this story we find three characters; a father who the Bible uses as an example of the heart of God for people, a young son who decides to take the money and run, and the older son who remains at home doing what he always did.  There is no doubt that both of these boys are sons.  They were born to the same parents and get their DNA from the same man.  They are sons, in every sense of the word!  The problem is that neither of these boys, although choosing completely different paths lived within the privileges of their sonship!

Let's take a look at the story.   Quick summary: wealthy man, two sons, youngest son takes inheritance and splits only to waste it away and end up in poverty, oldest son stays faithfully working for Dad and gets angry when brother comes home in disgrace and father throws a celebration/welcome home party.  Son confronts father and father replies by saying:

.’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

In this response, verse 31 is key!  There are two significant statements here.  One is that the Father's heart has always been with the son.  It's his desire.  He has designed things in such a way that will keep the sons close.  They were both due to inherit his business where they could live and thrive, but remain in close proximity to the Father.

The other is that all he has is ours.  He has already given us our inheritance.  And obviously some of it is available now.  The youngest son asked for his inheritance while the father was still living and received what he asked for.

It would seem really stupid if my teenage sons, who are ALWAYS eating would stand in front of a pantry full of food and complain that they were hungry when as residents of this household they can have whatever is in there at any time they desire. 

In verse 17 we find the youngest son coming to his senses. 
17 But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ 20 So he got up and came to his father.

I think for the first time in his life, this young man realized what he had given up.  His frame of reference concerning his father's servants lets us know that he realizes that he once had even more privileges than they do.  So, not expecting to receive his former status back he returns to the Father in humility and repentance.  The father, because of his heart, not only receives him back as part of the family, but restores him to his position as a son.  That's a wonderful story and one well worth much more thought, but I want to move on to the next son.

To be continued....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

When Things Don't Add Up

A former colleague of ours is very sick with cancer, in fact he's dying.  He is a Christian.  He is a Pastor.  He belongs to a fellowship/denomination that has a rich history in healing.  Many prayers have been prayed, many verses have been spoken, many admonitions and statements of faith have been proclaimed and yet his friends tell me.....he is dying.  Several of his friends have asked us "Why aren't things adding up.  I just don't understand."

  A friend of mine is very sick, in fact she's dying.  She is a Christian.  She has Lou Gehrig's disease.  Again, many prayers have been prayed, many verses have been spoken, many admonitions and statements of faith have been proclaimed and yet....she continues to grow worse.

A friend of mine died a few years ago.  She was a hospice nurse, a Pastor's wife, and mother to an 18 month old child.  Everyday she had the opportunity to camp outside of the devil's front door and rescue souls away from hell's hungry gates and yet, she died in the prime of life and in the heat of the battle.   And I have to ask "Why?"

A young man, called by God to the mission field, went to Thailand as a missionary.  After year's and year's of learning the language, he was finally ready to deliver his first sermon preached in their native tongue.  On the way to church that morning he was struck by a truck and died along the side of the road leaving behind a waiting congregation, a grieving wife and a son to young too remember him.

Everywhere I go I hear questions from people concerning situations just like these.  They are trying to find some understanding and comfort in a faith that seems to be telling them one thing and doing another.  What ends up happening is that they come to the conclusion that God is sovereign which in their minds is equal to saying "Yes, I know God said this or that, but He can do whatever He wants."  If this is true, then can we really believe anything He says? It's as if the serpent is once again whispering in their ears "has God said?"  If I tell my children over and over again that I will get them new shoes and I never do, will they then believe me when I tell them that I will buy them new socks as well? Of course not.  Yet, this is what a lot of people in Christian churches are being told to do. 

Our Pastor is preaching about revival.  He has shared all the wondrous things that God did during the great revivals of  past years and has convinced me that yes, we do indeed need to be revived again!  I yearn to walk into church and experience the power of God the way they did-the healings, the salvations, the miracles!  If, as all the t.v. preachers are proclaiming, the church today is the best it's ever been, why don't we see the power of God working to an even greater extent than those our generation calls the "less enlightened ones" of history?

Years ago, during a trying time in my faith-walk, I said to God "if this is really all there is to Christianity, it wouldn't have lasted this long."  And although in those years since God has proven to me that there is so, so, so much more, I think that I'm back to asking this question again, only on a different level.  I think God has brought me to a place where I too am going to have to step out of Peter's boat and walk on the water and discover for myself that the water is solid beneath my feet because it is upheld by exactly what God says and means in His Word.

  If Peter had stepped out of that boat based soley on what he knew of water, he would have sunk immediately and probably would have ended up drowning before Jesus could get to him.  But Peter didn't step out based on what he knew about the nature and make-up of water.  He stepped out on what he knew about the nature and reputation of Christ. His Word is completely trustworthy.  Oh, yes, I have said that I believed this for as long as I've been a Christian.  I've told others the same.  I've declared it to saints and sinners alike but......is it working practically in my life?  Do people look at my life and see God doing exactly what I say He can and will do?

As I've pondered these things the last few weeks, asking God for a true answer, not just one that makes me comfortable, not just one that will sound good in the ears of those who are asking me about these things, I am increasingly growing hungry for the truth, no matter how hard to swallow it may be. 

For the last week, God has been answering that prayer through the story of the prodigal son. 

To be continued.......