Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

Reading The Bible January 22, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — womenembracingfaith @ 4:02 am
Tags: ,

Please accept my invitation to visit my new website . I wanted to make pdf files available for downloading my research on “Warm-hearted Calvinists” and my thoughts on “Building A Devotional Life.” So I am also transfering my blog to that site as well. I hope you will find the site user-friendly. I invite you to share it on facebook and twitter if you wish. http://www.CarolBrandt.com

My goal remains the same: to encourage others, especially women, to read their Bibles and to apply its teachings to their own thoughts, attitudes, and actions. I hope you will drop by often. http://www.CarolBrandt.com

 

WHY SO LONG? March 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — womenembracingfaith @ 6:32 pm

Wonder where I’ve been?  I’ve had no time to write since September.  Too much on my plate.  My daughter found out in September that she had cancer and I’ve been helping out with the grandchildren.  In addition, my pastor asked me to research Children Ministry materials for Sunday School, Children’s Church, and Wednesday night programs. (Visit me on Facebook at Carol Cook Brandt for the personal details.) So I had to put aside my writing for awhile.  I may not be able to write much until we implement the new Children’s Ministry in September and until my family responsibilites settle down a bit. 

There is an old hymn I used to sing that has become my motto these days, “As Thy Days, So Shall Thy Strength Be.”  God has kept that promise and made it real for me these last months. 

What promise has become real for you these days?  I hope it is the Bible’s promise that the Lord Jesus Christ’s dying and rising again makes access to the Father possible for any of us.  Think about it as we approach Palm Sunday and Easter.

 

Forgiveness and Hope September 15, 2011

Filed under: Family Life — womenembracingfaith @ 10:51 am

I have an antique chest with wooden keyholes on each drawer. Someone hand-carved each keyhole then carefully cut out a place for the metal lock to be inserted. A craftsman used his woodcutting tools…probably early 1800’s in New England. Until lately, Americans were proficient with their tools. They were very careful to safeguard that toolbox. I recently saw a toolbox preserved in the Alaskan State Museum in Sitka. An immigrant from Germany brought his tools with him and set about building a new life. Think about your own set of tools for building relationships and your life. Have been using your home-building tools?

Cooperation, Unselfishness, Truthfulness. Each has a lot of intricacies and implications deserving of your meditation. In recent blogs, we’ve focused on how a cooperative attitude differs from negotiating one’s self-interests and how being self-absorbed is the opposite of unselfishness. Truthfulness needs to be examined too. For instance, if your husband is self-absorbed to the point of being controlling (dominating instead of lovingly leading and cooperating), you may need to be truthful with him about how that trait makes you feel. Another example might be to see if you are being too demanding and unforgiving when others fail to be totally honest with you. Think about how you are using cooperation, unselfishness, and truthfulness in building your own relationships. We need to fill our rooms with them rather than more stuff.

“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (Proverbs 24:3-4).


As I write this from a Christian’s perspective, I am saddened at how many times I’ve missed the mark of being unselfish, cooperative, or truthful. Only faith in the death and resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ to cover those misses and set the stage for forgiveness and grace keeps me hopeful and persistent. I hope you are familiar with these same biblical experiences of forgiveness and hope. If not, why not?

 

Telling the Truth August 10, 2011

Filed under: Family Life — womenembracingfaith @ 1:58 pm
Tags: , ,

A safe place should have an atsmosphere of mutual trust. This aroma of safety and trust is what you want to smell when you walk in the door. Homemaking is not all about interior design, furniture, the latest style, scented candles, or even dust or mildew. Or steamlined organization, the current trend. A home should be safe. Safe in the sense of physical safety, sure, but, at the next level, emotional safety is built on reliability, dependability, trustworthiness, and loyalty. All these looped together make up our third construction tool:truthfulness.

Telling the truth seems so easy. But, little life hindrances keep butting in. “I’ll take you fishing Saturday.” “I’ll be home for dinner.” “I’ll forsake all others and you will be the center of my life.” “I’ll get a sitter for Friday night so we can be together.” “I’ll pick up the movie for family night.” The hindrances to keeping our word don’t appear so bad: “I forgot I’d promised to paint the nursery on Saturday.” “Oh, I stopped at Starbucks and got so involved with my projects on the internet, the time just flew.” “I really couldn’t help it; she was so alluring, and you’d been so tied up and busy lately. “No sitter. But, I couldn’t go anyway. Jeannie called and she’s got a coupon for two-for-one manicures.” “Oh, my goodness, I completely forgot about the movie.”

You see what is happening here, don’t you? It doesn’t begin as an intent to lie but a pursuing of one’s own agenda. A hurrid, rather careless, aiming at the goal of pleasing yourself. The result in our closest relationships is a letting down, a tossing aside of loyalty, a cumulative destruction of dependability. If we can’t know that our husband/wife, parent/child, sibling/sibling relationships can be relied on, what are we left with?

Telling the truth counts. That is why God wrote it in stone. “You shall not bear false witness.” This is not only on the witness stand before a judge, but in our everyday, our most intense relationships. Keeping promises over time, being there when we said or when needed or expected, builds rather than slowly tears down a relationship. Truthfulness seals love. Without it, the family may live under one beautifully designed roof but be fractured in all different directions, each seeking what he or she wants. The result is, instead of growing closer together, we are increasingly isolated, looking around for fulfillment, competing, pursuing our own agenda.

Are we using truthfulness to glue our family together? How does picking up this tool look to you personally? How can you use it to build up your home? Be sure to keep all your tools handy.

 

Another Tool For “Keeping House” August 4, 2011

Filed under: Family Life — womenembracingfaith @ 1:55 am
Tags: , ,

“Keeping House” has become a sexist slur. It hasn’t always been that way. In fact, the roots of “to keep” mean to guard, to watch over, to protect. So when Titus 2 urges women to be busy at home (or as the ESV says,”working at home” and the NKJV renders it as “homemaking”), the primary meaning is to watch over and guard the home. To make or keep a home. It is not all about dusting and cooking, but of course, that becomes part of it. It is about protecting a safe place for our closest relationships to flourish.

Unselfishness is a tool for building, protecting this safe place. Proverbs says a wise woman builds her home while a foolish one tears it down with her own hands. Competition and negotiation have become such a part of our relating, cooperation and unselfishness need to be revisited. Watch yourself and your family. Do you see a pattern here? A habitual way of relating?

When we’re after winning or having it our way, self-protection becomes a habit. We negotiate in our best interest; we criticize when it’s not done our way. We demand. We manipulate. Demands, criticism, and giving orders stem from being more interested in yourself than the other person. Listen to your family this week. Hear thr tone of voice, body language, word choice. You can’t keep house if your eyes are closed to what is going on. Some of the most self-absorbed people I’ve met are Christian men.

Unselfishness is putting aside self-absorption. If you discover that winning, getting your way, controling are your chief ways of relating to your husband, you are selfish. Or he has been and now you are getting even. Or both of you are self-absorbed.

The problem is that self-absorption as a habitual way of relating to those we love (or used to love) is destructive. Gordon Livingston, M.D. and psychiatrist, believes, if left unchecked, it can lead to diseaster for the relationship. If you are absorbed with yourself, get over it. It will take some hard work. Habits can be broken, but it takes repetition, support, prayer, forgiveness. Start by thinking of the other person, listening, respecting, regarding. This is where theology steps in. Christians have hope in the promise of the Holy Spirit’s enabling power. Unselfishness will help you keep house.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” (as much as or in the same way as you naturally love yourself).

 

Cooperation, Not Negotiation July 19, 2011

Filed under: Family Life — womenembracingfaith @ 7:03 am
Tags:

Have you tried cooperation instead of competition in your homemaking this week? One way to remind yourself to use this tool is to post a note on the refrigerator in caps…..COOPERATE. Then, think about how you need to respond to your family members today.

I’ll tell you about how stress on cooperation is looking here. My husband works out of his home office next to the kitchen. Need I say more? Oh, between the laundry room and the kitchen. Then, he has at least ten projects going requiring multiple phone calls and service people stopping by. And this week is my once a year visit with a friend at Shakespeare By the Sea. My collie dog has stomach problems. I have a disorder causing me to go into sensory overload. My daughter is pregnant, feeling lousy and needs help with her three year old….Vacation Bible School at my church is coming up…

Bet you could write just such a list of challenges. The thing is… homemaking is not something about which we can say, “Done!” We need to cooperate, sure. But, I need more than one tool. And, I’ve been at this building a home for years now… We should remember that the basic principles don’t change even though the stresses do.

Did I mention it is John’s Reunion of his high school graduation class—this week? In town…for boat rides, old cars, receptions, and dinner. I’m trying to cooperate.

Cooperation implies a two-way give and take. It takes “two to tango.” Cooperation instead of competition in family life means to get along, to give up some of what you want and go along with the ideas, ways, desires, likes, activities of the other people in the home. Competition is more of a “I’ll give up this, but you have to let me do, have, be…..in return.” That is more like negotiation than cooperation. And what negotiation leads to is a lot of pulling, pushing, and demanding. Like business rather than a home. That unlying demanding attitude sure gets the deal done, but can wipe out loving, close relationships.

No one enjoys being pulled at all the time, so they just push back. Pulling leads to pushing. That’s no way to build a home. Ask any teenager who is pushed along to fit into Mom’s or Dad’s straitjacket. Or the wife who pulls away emotionally because her husband’s way is the only way. Or the husband who knows there is no use asking…

Remember the purpose of this blog? To teach the Christian woman how to think through the Bible, passage by passage. Normally, I don’t get into much else because I don’t want us to lose that focus. Today is different. This is all abou psychology. Some of it I read in “How To Love” by psychiatrist Gordon Livingston. He is against using negotiation in a love relationship.

As you are practicing using your tool of cooperation, lay down that competative one, think about our Lord Jesus Christ’s major teaching on relationships: “Love your neighbor as yourself;” …or Love your neighbor like you love yourself. As much as you love your ways, your ideas, your pleasures, your desires and activities, and even your work. Love is, after all, the major Christian virue.

 

Tools For Building a Home July 7, 2011

Filed under: Family Life — womenembracingfaith @ 1:43 am
Tags:

The Royal Wedding, 2011<img

Summertime is a time of reflection for me. A time to catch up on my reading, to look at things from a different perspective, to travel a little. Family life is in more of the spotlight as people come and go. And then, there is usually a wedding to enjoy. As beautiful as Kate's dress and cake were, they pale in comparison with the responsibilities she has assumed. I'm sure she needs some tools for building her royal home. We do too–and for rebuilding. Tools kept handy. To grab at a moment's notice. (Things always come up suddenly–even for royal couples.) Think of the following Six as your set of tools for building and rebuilding. Take them out often this summer and practice using them. Keep them handy to grab at a moment's notice. “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands” (Proverbs 14:1). I hope these tools will be useful to you in building your family’s relationships.

1. Cooperation. Save competition for sports and business. Family life is not about winning. Those winning skills and focus ability so needed in sports and work will tear a family apart. Instead, cooperate, think of the other person, get along. Keep reminding yourself: “Winning is not my goal here. Building strong relationships within a family setting is. We also saw this same concept in Galatians and Philippians where we were urged to stand together for the gospel. To stand firmly together. Family life is like that too. We need to stay together. Cooperation with each other around the goal of standing firm in your love for each other is the tool you need. How does that cooperation look to you today? What do you need to say and do? Think about it some today.
AN ENCOURAGEMENT
“The house of the wicked will be overthrown, but the tent of the upright will flourish” (Proverbs 14:11). Remember, the upright is one who has trusted in the uprightness of Christ Jesus’s character instead of their own and the sufficiency of His death for the atonement of her sins. “The righteous by faith will live” (Romans 1:18). Now she is equipped to cooperate since she has forgiveness, a cleared conscience, and a desire to please Her Savior. You might have only a tent, but it will bloom if cooperation is its hallmark.

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.