I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
Two things I frequently desire as a woman: help and security. God is both of those things for me, and he fills the roles perfectly. This psalm spells it out for us; walk with me through it today.
Help: Whether I admit it or not, I am a needy person. I need help in many areas of life, from housework to hugs. My family can help in limited ways, but never perfectly. Only God can be my true Helper. He alone is fully sufficient to cover all of my lacking, all of my imperfections (and boy, do I have a lot of them!). On the days I feel overly strained and empty, I call on him even more. I pray for his help, I lift my eyes to the hills (v. 1), up to the horizon, looking forward to where I am going…to where he is! When I feel weak, I read the Words he wrote to me and am reminded that my foot cannot slip because he holds it fast (v.3). He is where I am planted and I will not fall (praise God for that because somedays I feel like I might). What can hinder my God from helping me? Nothing! He has made everything and it is at his command (v.2). He is always there, he does not sleep or get weary (praise God, because I sure do). He is present, strong and attentive (what comfort that brings!). I am helpless, I cannot save myself at all. God is that help I desperately need and he has saved me.
Protection: The Lord keeps me! How precious to know that I am safe because God has declared me “a keeper!” This is by his grace alone (knowing myself, I would have thrown me back). I cannot keep myself from evil, I find myself wandering toward it every day, but the Lord keeps me from “all evil” (v. 7). I will not be forever stained by it, I cannot be (what a relief!). He sustains my life, it is his, he purchased it at an unfathomably high price. I am not worthy, but he keeps me because what he spent on me declares me as worthy - the infinitely valuable blood of his son.
He uses his creation to bless me and not harm me (vv. 5, 6). All things bend to his will, even the sun and moon (yes, be amazed). “Your going out and your coming in” (v. 8) is language from Old Testament times when kings went out to war and came home (in) again. War still rages today and my Lord has placed me in the fray. I am NOT terrified because he is my help and he comes from the hills. So that is where my gaze rests. I go on battling and watching, battling and watching every day. I will be kept by him “forevermore” (v. 8). Eternally protected by my Keeper, this causes me to fight harder. My Lord wins, he has told me that already (he wrote it down over and over again so I wouldn’t forget), so I fight on like the woman he destined me to be.
My God keeps me and my God helps me. My God is mighty and Lord of all! I pray you serve him too.
I have watched more baseball in the last few weeks than I have in the past ten years combined. True, I am usually reading a book or doing something else at the same time, but I think it counts. My husband’s and son’s enthusiasm for the postseason is catching and I enjoy watching them root for the same team (or commiserating together). I’m happy the Chicago Cubs have made it to the World Series and I hope they win it too.
I find it interesting how a game can change many people’s perspective on life, even if temporarily. There is a buzz to life right now, at least among Cubbies fans (and all real baseball fans). You feel it at work, the grocery store, restaurants, on social media sites, and anywhere else people are gathered. Talk of the Cubs dominates conversations for young and old alike. Allegiance is reflected in what people are wearing each day and their ring tones playing “Go, Cubs, Go”.
What causes this buzz and excitement? Hope. Hope that the Chicago Cubs baseball team can really do it - they can win the World Series.
In the midst of all this post season hub-bub I have been studying the book of Hebrews with my boys. One word that could describe this book of the Bible? Hope. Real hope. Not nail biting, “I-hope-they-can-do-it-but-I’m-not-completely-sure” kind of hope, but solid and unwavering, “I-am-fully-convinced -no-doubt-about-it” kind of hope. Hebrews has once again concreted my faith in God.
The author is unknown for Hebrews, but God is proven the perfect Chooser. This author is a poetic, historical and literary genius. Beautifully written to the Hebrew people it presents the case for Christ using evidence from the Old Testament; lining up the prophetic words and what was lived out under the old covenant to prove the case for Christ being the Messiah and High Priest of the new and better covenant.
The evidence is overwhelming, undeniable and thrilling. After several chapters of presentation and encouragement, the author writes this in chapter 10:19-23:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
I find these verses to be nearly the book of Hebrews in a nutshell. Because Jesus is the answer to all things Old Testament and because of what he did for us on the cross, ushering in the “new and living way”, we can have FULL assurance of faith and can hold fast in our hope. No wavering! Why? Because HE who promised is FAITHFUL. In other words: because God says so, that’s why!
God tells us that if he has picked us to be on his team, we win. The World Series is in the bag and we can call ourselves victorious already. Jesus Christ, putting on his jersey of flesh for a time, hit the out-of-the-park, walk-off home run that saved us. Then he went and sat down at the right hand of his Father, job done (Hebrews 10:12). That is why the Bible is full of commands to rejoice!
So… rejoice! We can possess real hope because Jesus has already crushed the Opposition. We who are on the side of Christ remain on the field until all of our teammates are fully gathered together. We eagerly await the return of our Savior to begin the victory ceremony (Hebrews 9:28). Until then we walk in full assurance that it has been accomplished. “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf,” Hebrews 6:19-20a.
So, let the buzz begin. Spread the good news of what Jesus has done. Let your hope and enthusiasm be on display and affect the way you behave. Let this assurance of victory be on your lips as you encourage your team often, “…and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25b. That “Day” of His return is coming quickly. Be sure you are identifying with Christ and clothed in the Holy Spirit, not trusting in a short-sighted jersey of blue and red dust.
The Cubs may or may not win the World Series this year, I don’t know. I hope they do, but it is not something I hope in. My life’s hope is firmly in the hands of the One who has accomplished the eternal win and who has given me faith to believe that when he said, “It is finished.” He meant it.
Sometimes this life can wear me out. You? I begin to feel the weight of the burdens assigned to this life: work, keeping a house, meal planning, kids, grocery shopping, bill paying, discipline, church work, the list goes on. The swirling dust of the world begins to choke me. I begin to feel defeated. I need a victory over the darkness I feel creeping in. Do you ever feel that way?
In times like this we need to worship God. There are many ways to worship God, but today I am referring to praise through singing. Now, this may bring about images of church services or jamming out in your car (I often wonder if my kids know what the radio sounds like without me singing along to it). These are good, but let’s break this wide open to understand some of the true power that can be released when we sincerely worship God. Let me tell you a true story that happened long ago. This story is found in 2 Chronicles chapter 20.
Jehoshaphat was king of Judah and was facing a huge problem; a HUGE army in fact. Jehoshaphat had gotten word that an army of multiple countries was coming his way to make war with him and the people of Judah. They were vastly outnumbered and things looked bleak. The king sought help from the Lord. He ordered a fast and gathered the people of the nation together at the temple courtyard in Jerusalem. Jehoshaphat prayed to God, (see verses 6 – 12). The final lines of the prayer: “For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (That last line is epic.)
While families stood together before the Lord, God spoke through a man named Jahaziel. He told King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah not to be afraid of this vast army, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (v. 15). After this the people praised and worshiped God.
The time came for the men of Judah to move out toward their enemy:
“And when [Jehoshaphat] had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.’ And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another. When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the horde, and behold, there were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped.” - 2Chronicles 20:21-24
The worshipers were placed at the head of the army to praise God! When they began to sing, God acted and caused their enemies to fight against each other. By the time the army of Judah arrived, all were dead; that massive army of multiple countries was destroyed. God had fought the battle for them just as he said he would.
Worship from a surrendered heart is undeniably powerful; God’s word provides the proof. When you praise and sing to God in sincerity it causes your heart to move nearer to God’s heart. Psalms 100:2 tells us to “Come into his presence with singing!” We gain access to God through our worship of him!
Worship is how we show our adoration for our God; it is a time of expression of his worthiness and greatness. It reminds us of our desperate need for him - worship places God back in his proper place as Lord of our life.
Ladies, I want you to remember this power the next time you begin to choke on life. Begin worshiping God with a sincere heart - knowing that your words are reaching his ears and that he is working in your life and in your heart as you praise him. He is drawing you nearer to himself as you exalt him - now that is victory!
My two boys have been sick this week with the stomach flu. This nasty bug is making the circuit fast, so maybe you have been dealing with some of the same things I have. In the middle of switching out puke buckets it can be hard to remember to still praise God, so I made myself try to brainstorm some blessings I have experienced out of this. Here are a few that I have come up with:
God is amazing, there is ALWAYS grace to be found in every situation. After meditating on these blessings I found myself happy my kids had been sick…what an odd statement…but not untrue. God desires us to look to him in all circumstances and to praise him for managing our daily divine assignments. Yes, divine and ordered by God no matter how mundane (or messy) they seem.
This experience brings two verses to mind. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” from 1 John 3:1(NIV) and “For from his [Jesus’] fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16. When you are adopted as a child of God his love is lavished upon you and his grace stacked high. All from the abundance found in Jesus! This is not an occasional sprinkling like from a little squirt gun but like a continual flowing from a wide open fire hydrant. Live joyously in this current, knowing that all things coming at you flow first through the loving hands of God himself.
My boys only had the flu and not cancer or a debilitating illness. Yet, this is where thanksgiving in all circumstances starts (1 Thessalonians 5:18), in the small, ordinary occurrences of life. When larger and more difficult moments come, you are practiced in trusting God and are able to worship him in the midst of it. If it doesn’t happen in daily life, it won’t happen when life’s true trials come.
Ladies, what has God brought you to today...this week...this year? Stop to find his grace in the middle of it. Where do you see good coming from it, how about spiritual growth or a training up of your soul? Still finding that hard? Then look at Jesus and think on the love he had for you that drove him to the cross and how he broke death so that our eternity can be forever sweet and glorious with him. Everything pales when staring into the face of Jesus Christ.
Let’s praise him today no matter what you are going through. Find his love lavished and his grace stacked high at all times for those who love him.
…but God is good and I will praise him anyway. I am a Christian and I live in this sinful world right along with the rest of you. I have good days and I have rotten “please don’t make me get out of bed” days. Life can feel full of blessings one day and curses the next.
Yet, once you are a heart-deep, follower of Christ these highs and lows do not determine or deter your purpose for breathing. Every day and every night is meant for praise. Praise for the gracious God who plans our steps and has written out our days – the easy breezy, the messy and the miserable (Ps. 139:16).
Things will not always go well for us, there is no such thing as karma and you don’t deserve easy living no matter how hard you work. When in doubt, take some time to talk to my good friends Noah, Moses, Aaron, Abraham, Sarah, Leah, Job, Ruth, Naomi, Daniel, Rahab, Joseph, Joshua, Esther, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Jonah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Mary, Peter, Paul, John, and Stephen. And then sit down and have a chat with my best friend, Jesus, and ask him all about his life on this planet.
True Christians are not allowed to be fair-weather followers and neither are they to be storm-soaked beggars. We praise, because that’s what were created to do. “…all things were created by him and for him.” Col. 1:6. We praise God day in, day out, in sunshine and hail, at the beach and knee deep in the swamp.
Why? I think the better question is why not?
Is God always good? Yes (Ps. 136:9). Does he promise to have you, hold you and never let you go? Yes (Heb. 13:5). Does he promise that everything he does is for your good and that you will receive a glorious eternity? Yes and yes (Rom. 8:28, Jn. 3:16). Umm…why are we complaining again? Praise seems the only logical expression when you serve a God this wonderful.
Peter said it well, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9. If you have been called out of darkness into his light, you are to declare his excellencies. That is the purpose that he called you for.
So, ladies, while we are living in this world together, let’s praise God. On the days of cute selfies, happy children, helpful husbands and clean houses. AND on the days of ugly tears, unruly homes, rude spouses, and fat clothes. Praise God. Whether it is a victory shout or a whisper of hope in the darkness - praise God!
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” Hebrews 13:15
Do I really need to say more? It seems quite self-explanatory to me. In our constant pursuit for perfection (or at least as close as we can get) how often do we stop and think what we are really striving for?
We think it would be awesome to be perfect; preferably in as many areas as possible. We want to be Wonder Woman, or Super Mom if you prefer the name, same thing.
We want to have a well decorated home, that is well kept and always clean. Same with the kids, hubby and certainly ourselves - well decorated and clean. Physically beautiful and fit? You bet. Wonder Woman so obviously is. And haven’t you ever envied her ability to fly? Wow, I sure have! That has to make life easier.
But if I had to guess, being Wonder Woman is probably pretty lonely. Who could measure up to all that? What would you talk about? You probably wouldn’t want to invite her to your home to meet your husband.
So why do we find ourselves wishing to be like her? Wanting to be found fantastic and amazing in every way? Oh, how our hearts deceive us so easily. Sinful desires creep in and lead us to into discontent with the blessings God has lovingly assigned to us.
It is truly a heart issue. We begin to worry more about what others think of us or even what we think of ourselves over and above what God thinks of us. We forget we are playing for an audience of one and we begin to act out dramatically for an imagined audience in our heads who have no sway over our value or identity.
The Bible tells us that we are vessels for him. “For we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 1 Corinthians 4:7. This treasure is disclosed in the verse prior, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
We are called to let the light of the treasure of Christ shine through our weaknesses, the thin spots in the clay. Often the parts we don’t like on display.
How could we show that the treasure (what is truly valuable) belongs to God and not to us if we were Wonder Woman or Super Mom? We would get the credit when the hurting and dying world looks our way, trying to figure out just how we do it all. We would be thieves, stealing glory due to God.
The beauty and display of Jesus comes from weak vessels displaying greatness that could only come from someone greater. This is why God tells Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul says, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Amen to that. We should actually boast in our weakness, ladies, not our strengths.
As I think about my closest friends and imagine them next to Wonder Woman, I have to laugh. They don’t compare either, and I love it that way! Praise God, he has been lovingly creative with us. Our lives of imperfection can speak volumes of the grace of Jesus Christ and how he alone makes us wonderful and super.
We were not created to be like Wonder Woman or the fictitious Super Mom, we were created to have a need for a savior. Our lives and even our bodies were created exactly the way they are in order to produce the most glory for God possible in our lives. This is what true beauty is all about, reflecting the beauty of Christ. I enCOURAGE you to look for it in those around you, your sisters in Christ. Look for it in yourself.
Mothers are on my heart this week. I have been praying for and ministering to several moms recently who are struggling in a variety of ways. Grown children, little babies and all ages in between. These children seem to have the strings of our hearts tightly in their fists, pulling and tugging away at us. I want to remind you today that although we love our children very much our hearts still belong fully to God. The strings belong in his hands and we praise him for that; he is still in control!
Below is a Psalm that I shared with one of the mothers and I want to share it with you today as well. I hope it brings you encouragement. If you are struggling and feel as if things are crumbling around you, remember that you are fully secure in the arms of God. He rules the mountains and the oceans; he can certainly rule your heart. Allow him to calm it and be your help.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Even though there may be uncertainty and difficulties surrounding you, you will not be moved out from under his care. If God dwells in the midst of you; you dwell within the fortress of the Almighty. Moms, I enCOURAGE you to find comfort in the steadfast words of God today.
Ladies, last week I posted a blog that was stern and straight forward, asking each of you to make a choice of whom you will serve: God or the world. This week I want to truly encourage you on how to go about choosing to live for God. I will still use the same chapters from Deuteronomy so I hope you did read them like I challenged you to. I want to start by sharing how God recently worked in my own heart.
God has set before me a task that I don’t feel equipped for or even adequate for right now (I’m sure you will hear more about this in the near future). I was feeling particularly burdened one evening after talking to some family about this new calling. They were not as supportive as I had hoped and a couple tried to discourage me from taking this path. Since I had been struggling with this decision for several weeks and was finally feeling more secure in my decision, hearing these words of disagreement hit me hard. I found myself in tears that night, struggling between what the world (and nearly everyone in it) wanted me to do and what I felt God was calling me to.
I prayed for God to give me insight and grabbed my Bible with a bit of ferocity, determined to seek his will alone. I thought about where to read and decided to keep on my same track in the Old Testament that I have been on in my usual nighttime routine, currently that was Deuteronomy (yep, explains my recent posts). Chapter 31 was next in line so I started in. What I read caused the tears to flow and internal shouts of thankfulness to God to explode within me.
Moses was passing on his leadership of the Israelites to Joshua and was encouraging him for this very large and important task. I’m sure Joshua did not feel fully equipped or even adequate for this role (sound familiar), but God had decided it was his and assigned it to him. Here are the words Moses spoke to Joshua:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deut. 31:6.
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deut. 31:8
These words were like healing salve to my heart. How I needed confirmation of God’s care for me and the knowledge that he goes before me in everything he calls me to. I never walk alone, I never have to dread or be in fear since he is there.
I also needed to hear the direct commands to be strong and be courageous. These are commands, not suggestions or far hopes that Moses had for Joshua. No, he told him, “Just do it!” BE strong, BE courageous. Don’t shy away from this assignment, it is yours and I am with you in it. These words are for you today too.
When we choose to follow God and be obedient to him, we have not stepped into an easy task. Do not get visions of praying away your worries while guardian angels clamor to keep you safe and God pours blessing after blessing on your head. Sorry…it doesn’t work that way.
When the Holy Spirit grabs your heart and you accept Christ and choose to live for God, it is an awesome decision! It is the best and most important decision you will ever make in all of eternity. However, it is the very first in a long line of decisions to follow. Although the event of salvation (justification) is a one-time occurrence, the task of following Jesus is a continual and active process needing daily effort. To put it another way, we make continual choices of whether to follow God or the world every day. We need to be ready and equipped to choose wisely.
A final word of warning, when you read the book of Deuteronomy, two words will stick out to you. Those words are “be careful”. They are used over and over by Moses in this book. They are used to keep the people aware of the need to follow God’s commands always. One example, 12:28 “Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.”
Ladies, I continue to plead with you to choose God every day, choose to serve him wholeheartedly and with confidence. Not in yourself but in him. When God calls you to a task, and you know it is his will, get moving on it. Walk in strength and courage, being careful to know and follow his commands that we find in his Word. My enCOURAGEment to you today… BE strong and BE courageous!
Women, I want you to take this blog seriously today. My heart’s desire is for women of faith to be courageous and walk in the truth even when the world around them seems to be sprinting in the opposite direction. I want you to choose God over the world.
Listen to the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 31: 11-13. To the priests he says “you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”
Moses was soon to die and was preparing his people to move forward without him into the Promised Land. What were some of his final words? To paraphrase the above verses: “Make sure the people hear and know the words of God, make sure they obey the Lord, they must fear the Lord or they will come to ruin!”
We need to be proclaiming these same words today. We must know God’s words to us; we need to know his instructions and we need to obey him completely. Otherwise we will come to ruin like those who ignored the words of God long ago.
God told Moses what his people would do after they entered the bountiful land they would soon possess. Read these words and see if it reminds you of America today. Deuteronomy 31:20, “For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant.”
The Israelites long ago lived in a blessed land filled with abundance and freedom. When they became comfortable, they forgot the words of their God, no longer obeying his commands. Maybe even the priests, who were charged with the task of reading these words out loud to the people, forgot (or outright neglected) their job and did not remind the people of God’s instructions. They did not correct their bad behaviors for fear of offending them; they did not proclaim God to the people as they were instructed.
Oh, how these same words so accurately describe today’s world. We as a country, a blessed people, have neglected God’s words and instructions to us and have turned to serve other gods. Worthless gods of success, fleshy pleasures and greed. We have grown fat on God’s blessings and have turned our backs on him, now despising him and his word. Not even those behind a pulpit often preach the truth any longer. Under the guise of acceptance and love, truth is shoved out the door; no longer desired or found worthy.
What happens to those who choose to disobey God? The answers are painfully spelled out in detail just a page back. Deuteronomy 28 contains the lengthy lists from God given through Moses; blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. The blessings cover 14 verses and are grand; the curses cover 54 long verses and are excruciating even to read. Moses, responsible for this group of God’s people, wanted everything completely spelled out and crystal clear so that the Israelites would make a well informed decision.
After describing the blessings and curses in detail, he then calls the people to choose. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him.” Moses offers two options and proceeds to tell them exactly what to choose, the obvious choice – life!
I challenge all of you ladies to read these chapters in Deuteronomy today and think on what is happening in the world around us. Just as very few chose to follow God back then, very few choose to follow God today. Do not be swayed by the world and the opinions so prevalent all around you. Don’t form your beliefs to how you feel and then try to make God’s word fit your desires. It doesn’t work that way. There is only one perfect God and you are not him, you don’t get to rewrite scripture.
There is absolute truth and you must seek it earnestly. You must know God’s word (the Bible) by hearing it, reading it and studying it. The Word of God is the standard upon what all else must be measured, weighed and judged. If you do not agree with what it says or do not desire to obey God, then this faith is not for you and you must stop claiming to be a Christian, you are not a follower of God.
Ladies, the decision remains the same, choose this day whom you will serve. There are only two choices and will never be more; it’s the world or God. Decide. The rules are clear and do not bend. Do not think that Almighty God should bend for you or change his commands so you can live as you desire. He does not have to tolerate anything, he is God. He is just and he is good. I choose to follow him. I enCOURAGE you to choose the same.
“One-anothering” is a catchy phrase that I thought I had cleverly made up in my mind all by myself until I did an internet search just now to see what popped up. Apparently I am not the first to think of these words, there are books, Bible studies, articles and sermons on this very phrase. So even though I may not be as clever as I originally thought, I still love the term and what it means to the body of Christ.
What is one anothering? I want to answer this using God’s words; it will become clear very quickly:
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. – John 13:14
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. – John 13:34
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:21
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom… – Colossians 3:16
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, - Hebrews 10:24
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. – James 5:16
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. – 1 Peter 4:9
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11
Are you getting the picture? This is just a small sampling of what the Bible contains. One-anothering is us, as the body of Christ, being obedient and acting on God’s instructions on how to treat and care for other members of the body of Christ.
Jesus was faithful in giving us instruction on how to treat each other and being our perfect example in how to do this. Jesus taught, healed, loved, rebuked, washed the feet of and prayed for those he loved. We need to be busy doing these same things.
God has blessed each of us with special spiritual gifts in order to use them to continue to build up the Body. If you read the Bible it will be easy to see that there are to be no “loner” Christians in this world. We were made to be dependent on each other and to be united together for the glory of God (see Philippians 2:1-4)
We are responsible for each other and must be active in caring for each other in order for us to continue to “hold fast our confession” (Hebrews 4:14). Have you ever sat in a church service or Bible study and looked around at your brothers and sisters in Christ and thought, “I am accountable to God for these people.”? I’m hoping now you will, because you are.
God has ordained this beautiful interdependence within the body of Christ, allowing us each to use our God-given abilities to help each other. This is the means by which God has decided that his people be taken care of, by his people. Yes, it is a mighty calling indeed. This is one ministry that every believer needs to be active in.
I have the privilege of getting to do some serious one-anothering in Guatemala in just over a week. The language and geographical location may be different, but God’s commands stay true and perfect. I will be loving, encouraging, teaching, praying with and figuratively washing the feet of the body of Christ in Guatemala. This will be done in homes with dirt floors, schools with hungry children and churches with joyful brothers and sisters. I can’t wait.
We will also be doing much one-anothering within our own team. We will get continual opportunities to practice encouragement, submission, forgiving, and the act of bearing each other’s burdens and joys. This will be easy and enjoyable at times and at others terrifically difficult, but always done in love and with Christ in mind and heart.
Ladies, be found faithful in your ministry of one-anothering, enCOURAGE others in the body of Christ for the glory of God.