Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

Summer Dreams June 25, 2008

Filed under: applications,Family Life — womenembracingfaith @ 2:35 pm
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We all dream of lazy summer days with no demanding schedules;

cute kids in flip-flops along the shore;

or chasing lizards or butterflies in the backyard;

family reunions with great food (prepared by Aunt…..) and fun games (organized by Uncle…..);

luxury cotton linens;

and quiet escapes;

time to read a great book or flip through a magazine.

But, summer reality is a far different picture! Let the following turn your thinking from summer dreams to reality:

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you–that is, that we may be mutually encourage by each other’s faith, both your and mine” (Romans 1:11-12).

“…we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2).

“Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:16).

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us” (I John 4:16).

“In the beginning was the Word (God the Son), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made” (John 1:1-3 ( ) added by me).

I hope this will help you think straight. “Right” thinking leads to “right” living. Dreaming sometimes needs to be reined in like a spirited horse. Truth matters.

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June 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — womenembracingfaith @ 9:47 pm

 

Summer On the Rocks June 14, 2008

Filed under: Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 3:04 pm
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Benjamin (my grandson) and I spent a morning at the beach this week. This is such a family tradition for me. I was flooded with memories of my own children and my mother. There was an opportunity to lay the foundation for a biblical principle and a thinking skill for understanding the Bible. It was really brief; after all, he is only two! But, we have to seize the moment with children. Here is a lesson adaptable to kids from 2-12. Talk about it as you “go in and out” this summer. Or use it in Bible school.

What We Did

Benjamin got a little scared when the waves lapped at his feet, pulling the sand out from under him. We then stood on some rocks (the ones without moss). “We’re standing on the Rock,” I said. “Look how the rock holds us firm. We don’t fall. The rock doesn’t move like the sand did.” Then we went from rock to rock until his mind moved on.

The Biblical Principle

God is like a rock to us.

“I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I will trust:…The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (Psalm 18: 1-2; 46)

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)

The Thinking Skill

All good literature uses visual images. Children already have a wonderful ability to pretend. Let their imagination help with using the Bible’s images. Jesus as our Rock is one image. In Benjamin’s case, we were starting with what a rock is and what standing on one does. Start with their experiences and spring from that to concepts new to them. A rock can defend someone; it can make a person stronger because they stand firm on it or hide under or on it. Jesus is like that; He makes us strong against our own sin and life’s problems; He saves us from judgment and being condemned; we can hide in Him. This is one of the thinking skills all of us need to use when we read the Bible. Children love to move while they think, so hide behind a rock, throw rocks in the river, stand on the rocks, climb a mountain, etc. etc. and relate the rocks to Jesus as you go in and out all summer. It’s fun!

 

Teen Spirituality June 6, 2008

Filed under: Church History — womenembracingfaith @ 11:14 pm
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Our culture has things all mixed up. We give teens so much liberty in some areas and expect so little from them in others. One area of low expectations is spiritual experience. Ann Judson turned to Christ at 16, thus beginning her personal relationship with Him. Since her journal has been preserved all these years (since 1830), how she was feeling about this personal relationship is right out there.

Ann grew up in a small town in New England where few people (only 6.9%) joined a church. They had moved far from their Puritan roots. Life was fun and very social in the early 1800’s. (Think no T.V., radio, phones, or computers to interrupt talking to one another.) She loved the parties and the clothes. She thought herself safe because of her outward morality, and this was confirmed at the age of 15 when she interpreted “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan to mean that Christian reached the Celestial City by keeping to the narrow way. Yet, she began to doubt that she was even on the narrow way:

“My heart was filled with aversion and hatred towards a HOLY God; and I felt, that if admitted into heaven, with the feelings I then had, I should be as miserable as I could be in hell.

…I began to discover a beauty in the way of salvation by Christ. He appeared to be just such a Saviour as I needed. I saw how God could be just, saving sinners through him…A view of his purity and holiness filled my soul with wonder and admiration. I felt a disposition to commit myself unreservedly into his hands, and leave it with him to save me or cast me off, for I felt I could not be unhappy, while allowed the privilege of contemplating and loving so glorious a Being… I felt myself to be a poor lost sinner, destitute of every thing to recommend myself to the divine favor; that I was, by nature, inclined to every evil way; and that it had been the mere sovereign, restraining mercy of God, not my own goodness, which had kept me from committing the most flagrant crimes.”

At the private school Ann attended, around eighty young people recorded similar personal experiences. It was happening all across America and became known as the Second Great Awakening. Revival. People of all ages experienced similar spiritual intensity. Why should we not look for that today? Perhaps our low expectations for teen spirituality stem from our need of general revival.

APPLICATION

Think about His sovereignty:

“I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.”

Plead for revival:

“Rain down, you heavens, from above, And let the skies pour down righteousness; Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation, And let righteousness spring up together. I, the Lord, have created it.” (Isaiah 45:6-8)

This is what happened in Ann’s teen years. Her parents and sisters were also saved during this revival. People sought to please God and glorify His way of salvation through Christ. A concern for the lost nations arose. Churches formed a cooperative missionary alliance. Ann became the first American woman to go out as a foreign missionary.

Pray for revival.

You may order Ann’s biography (My Heart In His Hands by Sharon James) at amazon.com or cvbbs.com or alibris.com to find out why her memoirs affected a whole generation of American women.

 

Summer Reading June 2, 2008

Filed under: Church History — womenembracingfaith @ 5:46 pm
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Myanmar has been in the news a lot lately. Democracy, ethnic minority rights, and Christian practice has been repressed by the military controlled government. Christians face restrictions on witnessing, job opportunities, and literature distribution. It is hard for them to bring in literature from out of the country.

America’s first foreign missionary couple went to this area (then called Burma) in 1813. Ann Judson kept a journal which was published shortly after her death at thirty-seven in 1826. Her journal influenced an entire generation of Protestant women in America. It gives us an intimate glimpse into her spiritual experiences during great trials and suffering. Using an 1830 copy of the journal, Sharon James has written a biography which shows that what Ann experienced in her relationship with God was always based on scripture and was like those experiences recorded by other Christians during times of revival. My Heart in His Hands reminds us that God never changes–our hearts are also in His hands.  Your own felt experiences might be stimulated by this example of what revival feels like as well as to see Ann’s endurance through much hardship.  Ann’s husband stayed in Burma and carefully translated the Bible into Burmese while working to plant churches.  Order the book at http://www.cvbbs.com (Sharon James, My Heart in His Hands (Evangelical Press, 1998).