Friday, October 29, 2010

Stand in awe of God

Stand in awe of God

Did that feel like a lot? I suspect it did, it took all month to get through it! And I have not covered everything.

There is so much about God that we can stand in awe of.

Our God is worthy of our awe – he is truly awesome.

And because we know he is awesome, our awesome God, we will want to worship him with honour, glory and praise.

Let’s keep in our minds a very big picture of God.
  • Our God who is in heaven while we are on earth, our God who we can stand in awe of.
  • Our God who loved us so much that he created us & saved us and who wants us to call him Father.

We have a truly awesome God. Stand in awe.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stand in awe of God – he is our Father

He is our Father

God is all of these things – creator, redeemer, powerful, loving, judge – yet he is also personally involved in our lives. He is our heavenly father who loves us and cares for us. He knows you
  • he knows your personality – he made you that way
  • he knows your body – he created it
  • he knows your struggles – he helps you cope with them

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, (2 Cor 1:3)

To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. (Phil 4:20)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stand in awe of God – he is trustworthy

He is trustworthy
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7b)

"Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation." (Isisah 25:9)

Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:4)

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. (2 Peter 3:13)

Support Networks – conclusion

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Support Networks – conclusion

I hope you have been encouraged to value the support networks you are a part of. Or, perhaps you have been convinced again of the value of supporting one another in a life of ministry.

If you have read all this and still don’t know what to do – perhaps consider making the first move yourself. If you want a support network, set one up – you may be surprised just how keen others are.

Some ministry contexts are extremely isolating and it seems like there is no-one to turn to. If you feel like that, do pray that God will provide you with the support you crave, and that he will sustain you in the meantime.

And in all things, no matter how wonderfully supported you are, or how lonely you feel in ministry, can I encourage you to look to our heavenly Father, the God of all comfort, for your true support.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stand in awe of God – he is faithful

He is faithful
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. (Deut 7:9)

For the word of the LORD is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does. (Ps 33:4)

I will sing of the LORD's great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself. (Ps 89:1-2)

... let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:22-23)

Support Networks – for your family

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Support Networks – for your family

We have spent the last few weeks thinking about the support networks available to us as ministry wives.

For a moment, let’s also think about two other kinds of support networks which we can encourage.

1. Support networks for our husbands

Our husbands often have the some opportunities for support that we do. There are groups they can join, co-workers they can meet with, etc. However, in all the work that has to get done sometimes establishing and maintaining such networks can fall by the wayside. Let’s encourage our husbands to use the support around them, or to seek out another network. Let’s ensure they have the time to do so. I have been delighted when my husband has decided to meet with another man in ministry, just to pray, encourage and keep one another accountable (not to plan and organise!). I am happy for him to be late home that day, because I know there are great benefits to such support for him.

2. Support networks for our children

Some ideas may be:
  • Remember regular fellowship is a support network for your kids (Sunday school, youth group, etc). They need ‘normal fellowship’ with other non-ministry kids just like we need normal fellowship with non-ministry wives.
  • Be open to your kids getting fed in a church that is not yours. One ‘ministry-kid’ (now grown & a ministry-wife herself) said to me how much she appreciated her parents letting her go to a youth group at another church because there were no other kids at her church. She says “Retrospectively, I can appreciate that it wouldn't have been an easy thing to do, but I'm very thankful that they did it.”
  • If you are part of a staff team spend time with whole families, and let all the children get to know each other. On our staff team, the kids love seeing each other as much as the grown-ups do. This also provides opportunities for mentoring and modelling among children and youth. My kids like spending time with the babies and toddlers and they look up to the 10-15 year-olds, who in turn look after them and look up to the 18-22 year olds.
  • Consider a ‘pen-friend’ network. A friend who is taking a young child on the mission field is considering setting up pen-friends so that they remain in touch with other children. In these days of facebook and online blogs, it’s very easy to post video messages and send emails to one another.
  • Keep in touch with other friends in ministry. A lot of our friends from college still all meet together each year, both at a mission conference and at a weekend away. Every year those children see each other, are taught the bible together and have lots of fun together. They have known each other for 10 years and as long as their parents make the events a priority, they will continue to grow up together. What an incredible blessing. These kids will always know lots of people in full-time ministry and lots of other kids like them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stand in awe of God – he is merciful

He is merciful
For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath. (Deut 4:31)

Yet he was merciful;
he forgave their iniquities
and did not destroy them.
Time after time he restrained his anger
and did not stir up his full wrath. (Ps 78:38)

The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him (Dan 9:9)

Support Networks – what do you do together?

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Support Networks – what do you do together?

We have looked at reasons to be part of a support network (1, 2, & 3) and we have looked at the various types of support networks you might be involved in (including personal, groups, formal, online).

There is one more thing to consider: What should you do when you meet together?

Here are some thoughts (which apply more to the personal and group networks)

1. Pray. Share prayer points certainly, but also make sure you actually pray for each other. This should probably be the main part of time together.

2. Read God’s word. This could be a large or small part of your time together, but it should be included. Some groups might choose to work through parts of the bible together, working out what it means and how it applies to them – just like a bible study. Other groups might have a reading together or just a few verses to ponder.

3. Model and mentor, encourage and be accountable (these were the reasons to have a support network). Let’s make sure when we meet together we actually do these things, rather than just have a chat.

4. Work through issues together that are unique to ministry wives. This may be the only forum you have to talk about what it means to be a ministry wife – use it for that purpose. Look at parts of the pastoral epistles together, read books together and talk about how all these things are practically worked out for you.

5. Spend time together socially. If you really want a support network to work, make time to also become friends. Go out for coffee, get together with the families, go away together.

6. Care practically for each other. Help when they are sick, provide meals, offer babysitting, remember birthdays. Become their Christian family.

If you are a new group, it may feel awkward trying to get going. You could start by reading an article or book together to break the ice.

There are a couple of things to beware of when meeting together:

1. Gossip. We have more knowledge about people that almost anyone else in the church. We must not ever abuse that power by sharing information about other people or betraying confidences inappropriately.

2. Whingeing or bitterness. While we should be supporting one another through the hard times, we must not let our times together become sessions of complaint. If you find that you are always complaining about the elders, the parish council, or your housing – be prepared to ban those topics with each other unless you can speak with more respect.

What are some things we can do to help an existing network function better?
  • Be honest with each other. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. Once one person opens up, others are likely to follow.
  • Spend time focusing on thankfulness (this will work as an antidote to whingeing or bitterness, mentioned above).
  • Share answers to prayer with each other (unless you have a fantastic memory, you will want to record prayer points so you can remember your own and follow others up).
  • Be open to new people joining your group. You don’t want to be closed but welcoming. Let them know they are welcome and you are happy to have them there. It’s hard to arrive as the new person into a well established group.
  • Be wise with what you share & sensitive with how you share it. If you are part of a group whose husbands are on the same team, you would not talk about the frustrations your husband has with others on the team.
As we have said previously, we want to encourage each other and keep each other accountable, modelling godliness as we meet together.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stand in awe of God – he is kind

He is kind
“… but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,"
says the LORD your Redeemer. (Is 54:8)

You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit. (Job 10:12)

“…let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,"
declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:24)

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6-7)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stand in awe of God – he is loving

He is loving

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love. (Ps 103:8)

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:26)

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Eph 2:4-5)

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 9-10)

Support Networks - Online

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Support Networks: Online

Where would we be in this online age (and indeed on a blog!) without mentioning the resources available online for ministry wives? Facebook groups and blogs abound. Some denominations and organisations are also getting onboard and creating sites for the wives under their care.

Hopefully for most people these online communities are just an added extra to the support they receive from people in person.

However the online community can have great benefits, especially for those who are isolated geographically, or who are unable or unwilling for whatever reason to meet with people who are local.

A concern with some of these forums is that there is little chance for real, honest, two-way interaction. You cannot always judge the tone of a comment or post correctly, and people are unlikely to be completely honest. It seems easier to be harsher when we type rather than when we speak face to face. Obviously, we all need to use discretion, wisdom and graciousness when interacting with one another online.

Having said all that, I know a lot of women who benefit from reading the thoughts of other women online as it validates their own experience.

I suggest that we strive to set up personal support as well as the online support when possible.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stand in awe of God – he is the judge

He is the judge

Not only is God just, but He is also the judge.
The LORD reigns forever;
he has established his throne for judgment.
He will judge the world in righteousness;
he will govern the peoples with justice. (Ps 9:7-8)

And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
for God himself is judge. (Ps 50:6)

Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns."
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity. (Ps 96:10)

For the LORD is our judge,
the LORD is our lawgiver,
the LORD is our king;
it is he who will save us. (Isaiah 33:22)

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. (James 4:12)

Support Networks - Formal

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Support Networks: Formal

Here I have in mind the formal support networks that arise from the organisation you are a part of – the denominational group, the IFES network, the missionary organisation, etc.

Some of us are involved with denominations or organisations which already have a support structure up and running for ministry wives. Use it! There are other women there who understand the system you are in. Like any group, it won’t be perfect, but it opens up opportunities.

Some things which you might be able to access that fall into this category are:
- conferences
- organised prayer groups
- organised meetings on various topics
- newsletters

There is a support network in the area I am in, and while there are times I have been involved, it’s not really a structure that is ‘like-minded’ ministry-wise with me. Instead, I have stayed in touch with the structure in the city that we trained – I receive the newsletters and return for the conferences every two years. It’s a highlight where I can be encouraged by a large number of like-minded ministry wives, as well as catch up with a lot of friends.

Last year for the first time I attended the AFES Wives Conference – which is the network that supports the wives of university Christian workers around the country. While very different to the diocesan conference (ie. I went thinking I would know no-one, and it took strong encouragement from my husband to get me there) – it was a time of great encouragement and meeting new people.

If you have access to these networks, use them – they are there for you!

Next time: Support Networks – Online

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stand in awe of God – he is just

He is just

Moses says:
For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. (Deut 10:17)

Tha Psalmist writes:
For the LORD is righteous,
he loves justice;
upright men will see his face. (Psalm 11:7)

The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love. (Ps 33:5)

Support Networks - Groups

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Support Networks - Groups

For those of use that are involved in team ministry, a group support network is an obvious choice. If you have more than 2 married men working together in ministry, you have a group of ministry wives ready to go. The support is exactly the same as the personal support, but a group can meet all of those needs and more. Within a group, you are likely to have women who mentor you and other women you mentor. Over time and with persistence, strong friendships can form & the group can keep one another accountable as they meet together.

I am privileged to be in such a group, and I think I can honestly say it is the one of the best things that has resulted from our move to Adelaide to our current church. Our group of ‘Preachers Wives’ now number 12 wives, spread over 9 congregations who meet at 5 different locations. We meet fortnightly each week to pray (in two separate groups this year, we are just too large to meet together). Annually we go away together for 3 days.

These women helped settle me into Adelaide, away from family and other friend networks, and they have now become some of my closest friends.

In some ways I always feel a little guilty talking about our support networks here because I know they are somewhat unique. Many other friends in ministry have nothing like this and would love to. So, I don’t mention it to invoke feelings of envy – but rather opportunity. Are you a rector’s wife? You can organise this. Are you are assistant’s wife? You can suggest it, or at least organise it with those who are interested.

And, of course, you don’t have to be in team ministry to make this work. Get together with wives from other churches in your area. Meet with other missionary wives in your region, other lecturer’s wives at your college, etc, etc. Sometimes, I think everyone is waiting and hoping that someone else will start something – maybe it should be you!

If you have experience of other group networks that are helpful – please share with the rest of us. Sometimes we all just need some ideas!

Next time: Support Networks – Formal

Friday, October 15, 2010

Resources for stepfamilies...

Here's a request I hope other readers out there may be able to help with:

Do you know of any good books to read about stepfamilies; or remarriage and it's impact on parenting?

Both Christian and secular would be fine, each would have their own benefits.

You can comment or send me an email.

Stand in awe of God – he is compassionate

He is compassionate
The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion. (Psalm 116:5)

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love. (Ps 103:8)

The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made. (Ps 145:9)

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaish 30:18)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, (2 Cor 1:3)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Stand in awe of God – he knows everything

He knows everything

Paul marvels at the depths of God’s wisdom & knowledge:
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?" (Rom 11:33-34)

And John writes:
For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:20b)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stand in awe of God – he is powerful

He is powerful
Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. (Jeremiah 32:17)

O great and powerful God, whose name is the LORD Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. (Jeremiah 32:18b-19a)

Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit. (Psalm 147:5)

Support Networks - Personal

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Support Networks: Personal

There are many ways we can have support around us in ministry. The main one will be through the personal relationships with have with people. These can include:

1. Friends

Whether they are also in ministry or not, we are all likely to have a couple of close friends with whom we can be open and honest. When you find a friend like this – hang on to them and figure out a way to actively support and encourage one another, as well as keep one another accountable.

I* have some friends in ministry with whom I can share almost everything, and similarly I have some friends not in ministry who are just as likely to be my first point of call in times of crisis.

With one of these friends we have both become more purposeful over the years with our support for each other, so we now ask each other the pointed questions – How is your marriage going? How are you coping with that? Are you being godly with that? It was awkward in the beginning, but it comes more naturally now.

2. Mentoring

Obviously this works both ways. In an ideal world, we would hope to have someone we can mentor and someone who can mentor us.

In recent years I have purposely sought a mentoring relationship with an older, wiser Christian woman (who is also a ministry wife). It’s been wonderful to read the bible with her and be asked the hard questions of my own relationship with God and where my struggles are. I am able to watch her life and how she shares with me, and store up knowledge for myself.

I am now in the position of being able to actively ‘mentor’ other younger Christian women, and I will take some of the lessons from my mentor, as I now also become a mentor.

A note about choosing a mentor: it’s worth thinking about who you want to be your mentor. Consider someone who is a little different from you and who is likely to encourage you to grow in areas you would not push yourself in. Don’t pick the person who is the same as you will be in the future, but rather someone who has characteristics you admire but don’t tend to be strong in yourself. In short, choose someone you want to be like.

3. People you have responsibility for

We should be trying to establish support networks amongst the people we are ‘responsible’ for in ministry. So, as the number of men that have my husband as their direct boss increase, so do the number of wives that I seek to care for. Sometimes we catch up one-to-one, other times it is in smaller groups. However, as our husbands are responsible for staff, we hopefully will be seeking to care for their wives.

4. People you just want to care for

Sometimes in ministry you know of people you want to care for. You may have no direct reason to do so, other than it seems right.

A few years ago a colleague moved to Adelaide for ministry. We did not know them very well, but another wife and I offered to form a prayer group with this new wife – purely because we knew how hard both of us had found settling into a new city without old friends around. We all met for about 3 years and it was a lovely time of support for each of us, all involved in separate ministries but all wanting to care for one another. It’s also helpful to remember that sometimes these relationships come in seasons, you don’t have to feel guilty or bad that such a support network has ended, but rather thankful for what it provided at the time.

Others who may be included in this category might be other people on your staff team – perhaps a single man or woman who your family wants to support, a new family or those who are a long way from biological family.

Next time: Support Networks - Groups

* This post and the next couple contain a number of my personal examples. I have benefited from numerous support networks, and it seemed more appropriate to use my own examples rather than finding others. I hope you will forgive me if it sounds a bit 'me-centred', that is certainly not my intention.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stand in awe of God – he is sovereign

He is sovereign
See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power,
and his arm rules for him. (Isisah 40:10)
God is referred to as Sovereign Lord almost 300 times in the bible.

The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all. (Psalm 103:19)

God is the ruler of all things, he is the King of all and the ruler of all. Paul writes to Timothy about:
God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim 6:15)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stand in awe of God – the saviour

He is the saviour

God has saved us, he has saved us from death, by our salvation through Jesus’ death.
Our God is a God who saves;
from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death. (Psalm 68:20)

Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:22)

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me. (Psalm 13:5-6)

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The LORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God. (Ps 98:1-3)

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. (1 John 4:14)

Support Networks - Your family

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Support Networks: Your family

Not all of us will have an extended family that acts as a support network. But for those that do, you know the incredible benefit that it can be.

Across the spectrum we probably fall into a couple of categories:

1. Those with Christian family who are supportive. If you have this, do not ignore it. If your parents or siblings are Christians, you already have a depth to your relationship that the rest of us can only dream of.

And even more so if you have family members in full-time ministry. What a privilege it is for those who have watched their mother be a ministry wife and now they too are a ministry wife. You have watched it lived out. You have seen the highs and the lows and you are alert to the issues for your children.

Use these support networks. Be open with your family. Share the joys of Christian ministry. Be honest about what you find hard. They probably have a wealth of information to share. Similarly, those who have siblings that are going through the same thing can encourage one another as they work things out together.

Of course it won’t be perfect – families never are. But don’t discount it as a support network. It may well turn out to be the best you have, and it will certainly last the longest.

2. Those with family who are supportive. Many of us have families who are supportive, at least to a certain degree, with our decision to be in ministry. They may not be Christian, but they support your choices. Again, do not discount this. You are unlikely to be as open as you might be in situation #1, but your family longs to care for you and they love you. Let them in to your life.

3. Those with family who are not supportive. They will be just as many of us whose families (Christian or not) who were not happy with us going into ministry and wish we had chosen another path. In reality we are unlikely to get much support, we probably have to accept it and look elsewhere for support.

And in all of this, it’s probably also worth considering – what kind of support are you to your family? Whether they are Christian or not, are you a support they can rely on?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bringing up Girls

Book Review: Bringing Up Girls, Dr. James Dobson

In the past 12 months, I have read a bit about girls (5 Conversations, Girltalk, Getting Real) and am keen to keep thinking about raising daughters. This recent release by Dr. James Dobson seemed an obvious choice. I read his Bringing Up Boys a few years ago, and recall enjoying it (I plan to re-read it in the next few months).

It's a good book, very easy to read being full of anecdotes and stories. That makes it very quick reading. Sometimes I think there are a few too many anecdotes, and I would prefer a bit more 'meat', but having said that it's still definitely worth a read.

Here are some things I liked and that it made me think about:

1. Passing on your faith to your children is vital
If it is true that children should be trained in the knowledge of the Lord, and Scripture tells us it is, then there is one task in parenting that outranks all others in significance. It is the responsibility of Christian mothers and fathers to introduce their children to Jesus Christ and to cultivate their understanding of Him at every opportunity. (p258)
2. Mothers are critical. I guess we know this deep down, but as a mother, it's certainly nice to read it.
To put it succinctly, Mom, you are indispensable. The start your baby gets in life is in your hands - and in your voice and in your heart. What a wonderful privilege and responsibility it is to welcome her with open arms. (p62)

3. Involved fathers (or father figures) are crucial. Interestingly there was one chapter about mothers and daughters, but 3 about fathers. There is a place for a father with girls that a mother cannot fill (p88). These chapters about fathers I found very helpful and I will place this book in my husband's hands, for him to read those chapters if nothing else. I suspect mothers have an intrinsic understanding of how their daughters work, but girls can mystify their fathers - this will help both to realise how important fathers are, and how much power fathers hold in the healthy development of their daughters.
I have watched daughters talks to fathers... Daughters are never lukewarm in the presence of their fathers. They might take their mothers for granted, but not you [fathers]. They light up - or they cry. They watch you intensely. They hang on your words. They hope for your attention, and they wait for it in frustration - or in despair ... Boyfriends, brothers, even husbands can't shape her character the way you do. You will influence her entire life because she gives you an authority she gives to no other man. (p19-20)
4. As parents, we need to stay in touch with what interests our kids - online, movies, music, books, etc.

5. We need to actively teach against the 'hook-up' culture, which encourages kids to have sex with who ever they want and do whatever they want. We need to instill morals and manners as a priority and work at fighting the prevalent messages of culture.

6. I was surprised how positive he was about the 'princess movement'. (eg. the Disney Princesses) But when I thought about it further, I could understand why. While there are negatives (you need to be beautiful to get Prince Charming, you are only complete with a man, etc), there are some positives. The princesses wait for the right man & they are treated by that man with respect and care. The subtle message is that you wait for Prince Charming, then you marry him, and then you live happily ever after (there is a level of purity here). Often they need to develop some character trait to succeed, and while their clothing has become less appropriate with time, "Cinderella and Snow White do not wear low-rider jeans or thongs" (p120).

There were lots of useful ideas, information and tips that will encourage you along the way as you raise a daughter. And it will keep reminding you that God is sovereign, and that he loves your daughter too.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Stand in awe of God – the redeemer

He is the redeemer

God has redeemed us – he has called us to him.
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Is 43:1)

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins. (Ps 130:7-8)

I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. (Job 19:25)

They remembered that God was their Rock,
that God Most High was their Redeemer. (Ps 78:35)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Stand in awe of God – the sustainer

He is the sustainer

The sun rises and sets each day because God sustains it. The rain falls on crops and the sun shines because God sustains his earth.
You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows
and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers
and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the desert overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing. (Ps 65:9-13)
Not only can we stand in awe of God for creating everything, we also stand in awe because he sustains his creation daily.

God sustains our lives:
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. (Ps 3:5)

Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4)

Jesus sustains all things:
The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (Heb 1:3)

Support Networks - Your husband

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Support Networks: Your husband

Your marriage is your most natural support network, you don’t have to look for it or seek it out, it’s (hopefully) part of your existing relationship.

A marriage is a funny relationship – on one hand you can be each other’s greatest ally and supporter. On the other hand, you can also become each other’s harshest critic. It’s the one relationship on earth where one person sees us for who we really are – both the positive and the negative.

In our marriage we can find:
  • understanding – only your spouse really knows what your particular life of ministry looks like. Hopefully it is something that the two of you have talked about and agreed upon. You both know the struggles & joys each other has, what you find difficult and what you enjoy.
  • encouragement – the closeness of a marriage means that we can keep encouraging one another, to persevere, to be godly and to remember the goal of serving God, no matter what challenges we face.
  • accountability – you know each other better than anyone else, and you really know where each other’s tendencies to sin are. We are best equipped to keep each other accountable, from the safety of a committed relationship.

Of course, not all marriages function this way – some are more strained and less open.   A supportive, encouraging and edifying marriage is a great thing and it’s worth putting lots of time into developing it – there are certainly great benefits, both to your marriage itself and to your ministry.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stand in awe of God – the creator

He is the creator

God made all things, the entire universe. Every star, every planet, every plant, every seed, every insect, animal and bird – God made it.

He made all people – every skin colour, every shape, every size, every nationality – God made it

He made us - every bone, every muscle, every tendon, every organ, and every hair – God made it.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:28)

(This is what the LORD says)…
It is I who made the earth
and created mankind upon it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens;
I marshaled their starry hosts. (Isaiah 40:12)

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being. (Rev 4:11)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stand in awe of God

Recently I had cause to think a bit more about God. I was looking at Ecclesiastes 5 and the instructions on how we are to come before God when we worship him. The only reason that we are to come before God is given in v 2b:
God is in heaven
and you are on earth
God is the one in control, he sits on the throne of heaven. We are on his earth, living the life he alone gave us.

There is such a vast difference between who God is and who we are.

So much so, that the final instruction in the passage is simply “stand in awe of God” (v7b).

It’s easy to lose the awe of what it is to come before the living God. We take it for granted that Jesus has allowed us direct access to God by his death and resurrection. It is with great joy that we can freely approach God because of Christ, but sometimes in doing so we forget the magnitude of being able to come before God himself.

Join me for a couple of weeks as I stand in awe of God. I’m going to spend some time looking at who God is and how awesome he is, I won’t be doing much writing – just looking at what the bible has to say. Don’t expect any theological treatise. Instead just take some time to stand in awe of God.

Our #1 Support Network

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Our #1 Support Network: God

When we think of support networks, we often forget our primary support – God.

God is our creator, our redeemer, our sustainer, our comforter, our Father and our Lord. He should always be our primary support. The one whose word we turn to as our model for living, the one from whom we are encouraged and the one to whom we are ultimately accountable.

It is from our relationship with God that we receive support and from which we are able to support others.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Cor 1:3-4)
When you need support, do you turn to God in prayer and to his word first? If not, why not?
What things or people in this world are you tempted to turn to first? Why?

Friday, October 1, 2010


Well, the Briefing team have managed to do it again. Just as I had decided (again) that I would cancel my subscription as I never have time to read it - they come out with an issue I really want to read.

It arrived in my inbox last night and I read it straight away. Thankfully for you non-subscribers out there, the main article by Toni and Roger Lindeback, Raising Kids in a Sex-Crazed World, is available online. For those with kids and those who minister to kids, it's definitely worth reading, as well as printing a copy to keep. There is also a book review on Getting Real (which I also looked at earlier this year).

The other very helpful article was by Jean Williams, Love, sex and romance: Sexual purity for every woman. Sadly that is not available online, but I can send a copy of the Briefing to anyone who wants it (allowable with their copyright requirements), so if you would like to read it & I highly recommend you do, email me. Alternatively you can buy a emailed copy of the whole issue from Matthias Media.