Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A Prayer for the Worried Mom's Heart

As a Mother it can seem impossible to get away from anxiety.  But that's not how we are called to live. 
Here is a great blog post from Desiring God: A Prayer for the Worried Mom's Heart.

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

He Has Blessed Us

We are so blessed.  So, so blessed.

I think the extent to which we are blessed is too often overlooked.  Perhaps once or twice a year we really dwell on our blessings, quite often around Thanksgiving, or maybe Christmas.  But those times can be oddly distorting to our perception of the many gifts in our lives.  Sometime we are so blinded by our good health, our good fortune, and our bounty of friends and good food, that we never get past those more-tangible blessings and gaze upon the more subtle, and more profound ones. 

For example, we need to remember that we are blessed by God to be in possession of our good intentions, our desires to serve and any wisdom we attain.  If we are eager to learn more about God and His character, He has bestowed that desire upon us.  If we are consistent and fervent in our studying, He has gifted us with that steadiness.  And when we learn more about who He is and His truths, He has revealed that to us.

We are blessed to have a God who holds us so dearly, that He insists on disciplining us, as a Father disciplines his children. Oft times in the modern church, the idea that God disciplines us is viewed as archaic and brutish.  But discipline isn't the work of a brute: it's the work of a God who will not suffer those He loves to ever fall away from His hold.  It isn't beating us down until we submit, but rather helping us attain a desire to submit to His perfect ways.  Shane & Shane's song Though You Slay Me beautifully depicts this in their lyrics: "You strike down to bind me up, You say You do it all in love, that I might know You in Your suffering." 
This discipline "yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it," (Heb. 12:11) and is a gift to us, because those who are left without discipline, scripture refers to as illegitimate children, and not sons (Heb. 12:8).  We are instructed to, "endure hardship as discipline," and that hardship may come in many forms, but when it comes we need to examine what in our lives God may need to correct us in, to respond appropriately with repentance and reformation, and to thank the Lord for His faithful love which is not content to allow us to continue in our sinful ways. 

We are blessed by what God teaches us through our trials.  When money is tight, we should praise God for the lesson in stewardship!  When we feel unappreciated and like we're the only ones striving to keep the house clean, we can thank the Lord for the chance to embrace a true servant's heart.  When we encounter issues with out health, or our children's health, perhaps God is helping us to understand how to cope, so that in turn we can be blessed to assist others when they are faced with similar issues.   

We are blessed by the gifts God gives us, even though we sometimes forget how badly we want them.  As a mother of young children, by about the seventh time the toddler is screaming at only 9:30 a.m., it can occasionally be tricky to remember that we want to stay home with our children and raise them, but God hasn't forgotten.  He knows that's where our hearts lie.  And when we're picking up that cup on the counter that somehow, yet again, evaded being put in the empty dishwasher by our spouse once he was done with it, God knows that we're infinitely happier having that spouse in our lives, than we would be if he were taken away (dirty dishes and all).  And on those good days when our husbands are affectionate and helpful, and our children's faces, and attitudes, are shining and cherub-like, it's infinitely easier to be grateful for them, but even in those moments of frustration, they are still a blessing, and the opportunity to walk with them through the most stressful times are a blessing in themselves.

Turkey and fun times aside, we are richly blessed, and sometimes we are so blessed that we are blinded by our wealth.  But in reality, if we were left with our turkeys, and our friends, and our warm houses and nice clothes, but without these gifts of greater importance and our eternal inheritance, we would be utterly destitute.  So it's funny, in a very sad way, that it's often much easier to be grateful for the tangible gifts we have than the eternal ones. 

Every breath, every moment, every joy, and every trial, is a gift to us from God.  He is Sovereign in what He had brought to us in our lives, and we are responsible for how we respond to those opportunities.

So rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice - He has richly blessed us. 

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen.

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Submissive Wife

This week at City Chapel, our sermon focused on Ephesians 5:22-23, which reads, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior."

The elder who spoke this week did a fantastic job clarifying this portion of scripture as he illustrated some of the ways that the idea of submission is misconstrued; biblical submission is not mindlessly following, it is not an open invitation to abuse of authority, it should not be pushed back against by extreme ideas of feminism... You can download or listen to the whole sermon, dated June 9th, 2013, here.

Through the sermon, a number of quotes were mentioned which depicted the depraved way the world views "submission".  This encouraged me to write about what Biblical submission truly looks like, in a practical way; we know as wives that we are called to submit, but sometimes it can be confusing to figure out just how to do that. 

First off, I want to point out that we are called to be submissive not just with our actions, but also with our thoughts and our intentions.  Typically as women within the church, we consider 'serve' and 'submit' to go hand-in-hand, and very often they do.  As we embrace our roles as Keepers of the home, and submit to that position that our husbands encourage us in, very often service is the practical way that we submit.  But it's not enough to do the chores that make up part of our role - we need to submit in our hearts, as much as we submit our time and energy. 
We may applaud ourselves for cleaning the much-dreaded bathroom floor, and consider that as an act of submission, since it obviously wasn't an act of indulgence, but the reality is that if we complete such tasks while grumbling, expecting recognition and cursing our family members for making such a mess in the first place, those tasks are degraded to being only an act of service (in the most surface-level interpretation of the word), and no longer resemble submission, or worship, or much of anything good.  Yah, your house might be clean, but to whose glory and benefit? 
We can often figure out on our own that part of submitting to our husbands is submitting our time and undertaking the role which we find ourselves in, but it's not merely about doing the chores.  We are called to submit in our hearts, joyfully embracing our roles and seeking to honor our husbands through our accomplishments.  No grumbling.  No praise-seeking.  Just doing the service, but with a servant's heart.  So as we go about our duties, we need to take care to perform them not only well, but willingly, and gladly.  We aren't called to begrudging submission, but true, heart-felt, and willing submission.

Another way in which we can practically submit to our husbands is in the little differences of opinions we may have in our households.  You like the walls blue, he likes them burnt orange.  Is this a big deal?  Not really.  Can people make it into a big deal? Absolutely, and we do all the time.  It's almost as if because it's a small deal, people feel justified in fighting about it.  "We'd never fight about the big things like religion or how to raise our children - this is just about paint colors."  Or often, there's not even a fight - the wife just decides, doesn't consult the husband, or doesn't listen to his opinion when it is offered up.  Because we tend to spend more time in the home, we feel like it's our right to dictate how the home will work and how it will look. 
Here's a tip: let the walls be burnt orange.  This isn't about letting your husband win.  This is a marriage, not a competition to see whose will is the strongest; there should be no 'winning' in a marriage, because if there is, then someone is 'losing'.  Instead, this is about honoring our husband's preferences, considering their desires and seeking to please them, even through submission of our own tastes, preferences or desires.  It's not just house colors.  It's meals, what you do on dates, what hangs on your walls, how you spend your free time.  This does not mean that you never get to do what you would prefer - because the beautiful thing about a marriage which portrays Biblical submission is that the husband is called to submit to wife as well (Ephesians 5:21).  Once you have both offered up your opinions, you can either choose to submit to his preference 100% off the bat, seek to find a common ground that you can both agree on, or respectfully apply to him to consent to your preference.  And if he has a real issue with letting you paint the walls blue - back off it.  This is where the hardest part of submission comes in: submitting to our husband's will and desires when we truly dislike where those fall. 

When should we not submit to our husbands?  When what they are asking of us is contrary to what God is asking of us.  Period.  If it is harmful to you or someone else, if it is in violation of the law, or if it in any other way sinful, we are called to submit to God first, as our higher authority, and are in that instance exempt from submitting to our husbands.  But painting the walls burnt orange is not sinful.

It might be an easy enough thing to let the walls be burnt orange.  But what if the subject in question isn't paint colors, but rather where you are going to live?  Or whether you go back to work after the kids go to school or you stay home still?  Or whether you continue in a volunteer position or give it up?  These are tough things to disagree about.  Part of the reason is because it directly affects your life, and how you use your time and energy, and the world tells us that since it's our life, we should get to dictate what we do with it.  But I hope by now we've learned to drown out what the world is saying. 
Even if we feel very strongly about something, and we want something completely opposite from our husbands, instead of going into a head-butting stalemate where it turns into a waiting game to see who folds first, we are called to submit to the will of our husband.  Allow them to lead the household, as they are the ones who are responsible to be the heads.  The burden of the household's well-being falls first to the head, as one who will be held accountable.  We need to trust our husbands.  And if you submit to your husband in something, and it turns out that you were 'right' after all, and what you had suggested would have worked out better, you still would have glorified God through your submission and obedience, so you have still done the right thing. 

If your husband is asking you to do something, but you see it as sinful or harmful, yet he does not, seek the counsel of a wise, Godly third-party.  And if the third-party agrees with your husband, don't be bitter, but take the cue that it is now the time for you to submit your will to your husband.  And remember, it's not your husband's job to break your will, which is abusive, but rather it's our job to submit our will, to the glory of God. 

And as a closing note, what is a wife supposed to do if her husband is not a Godly man?  Submit.  Unless he is asking her to sin, a wife is always called to submit to her husband, Christian or not.  Scripture even tells us this is the best way we can witness to our spouses if they are not believers.  (1 Peter 3:1-2)  I fully acknowledge that there will be people who disagree with these depictions of submission, but I believe that scripture is true, God-breathed, and our highest authority as God's own word, and wives are called to submit to their husbands repeatedly throughout the course of scripture.  And if we can agree that we truly are to submit, it is important that we each strive to fully comprehend the depth of that call, past the surface-level interpretation which stops short at occasionally cleaning the bathroom when we don't really want to.  Husbands and wives should seek to outdo each other in who can submit the most for the benefit of the other.

Our submission to our husbands on Earth is an act of worship to our Father in Heaven.  And as our husbands lovingly strive to lead us and serve us as Christ is the head of the church, our marriages will become rich with blessing as we each stop thinking of our own benefit for the sake of our spouse's.

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Real Food for the Spirit

As mothers and wives, we typically carry the responsibility of providing nourishing foods to our families.  Many mothers are becoming increasingly aware, and vocal, about the benefits of whole foods, untainted by man-made chemicals or treatments.  There is a very strong emphasis these days on organic, natural produce, and on abstaining from foods that are highly processed.  We're becoming better at making sure things are safe for our families and will help our kids to grow. 

But do we pay as much attention to our Spiritual nourishment as we do to our physical nourishment?

The bloggers at Keeper of the Home addressed this issue in a post recently, that I thought I'd share through here; check out their post, Real Food for the Spirit.  We should all reflect on what we're putting into our own systems, and whether we're showing enough concern for nourishing our souls with God's truths, or if we're more prone to filling ourselves with superficial, processed 'food'.  And it's a great time to remind ourselves that these are matters of eternal consequence - infinitely more important than whether we choose to eat grains or not - so while we are still called to be good stewards of our bodies by what we put into them, our spiritual well-being needs to hold the higher priority. 

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Perfect Model

"The Lord is gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and rich in love." Psalm 145:8

I love this verse.  Every time I read it - or very often sing it since it's been set to music in a popular worship song - I reflect on His grace and how His love endures in spite of all my failures.  It's a beautiful reminder of how great God is as He deals with us.

But is this verse only to be used to acknowledge those attributes in God, or merely to take comfort as the objects of that grace? By all means we ought to embrace the comfort found in these truths - what would we be if it weren't for His love?  But to stop there is to stop short, for, "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." (2 Tim. 3:16)  We need to seek the sanctifying truths in such verses and ask God to work in us through them. 

Psalm 145:8 doesn't directly address us, but rather talks about those attributes of God.  Of course, whenever we hear of God's grace, mercy, compassion and love we always think of ourselves because we are the recipients of that grace.  But we aren't supposed to just rest as the recipients of such grace; we ought to strive to imitate and reflect it.  As Christians, we ought to be in a constant state of purification and sanctification as we allow God to work in us through His Spirit, making us more like Him.  If the Lord is gracious and compassionate, we ought to desire to be gracious and compassionate as well. 

Where is one of the best areas to help refine these attributes in us?  In our homes, raising our children.
What better encouragement towards being slow to anger than a toddler who you have just finished correcting, and then turns around and does the exact same thing again?  Or a pre-schooler who is convinced they know what's best and who challenges our authority? 

James reminds us that the trials we face will help bring us to a point of maturity and completion - "not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4).  There are going to be rough patches raising children - we all know this.  But we should be glad that the trials we do encounter are providing opportunities for us to learn to be gracious, compassionate, patient and loving like God. 

Practically speaking, what do those traits look like in the home?

It means not blowing our tops when something gets spilled - sure it might be frustrating to have to deal with such a mess, but it was likely a result of carelessness, or even just a side-effect of a little guy growing so fast and not knowing how to handle it yet, and there was likely no sin committed, so we can hardly count our anger as righteous at such an instance.
It means forgiving our children when they have sinned and not holding it over them, making them dwell on their own shortcomings.
It means not losing it because it's 11:30 at night and they're still awake and calling us and we have things we need to do; putting aside our agenda to provide for them in the way they need and assuring them that they are precious to us - at all times of the night.
It means sitting down with your child for the third time that morning as you explain to them why they shouldn't do something instead of screaming at them.
It means disciplining our children firmly and consistently, never out of violent anger and always with love.  Joel R. Beeke made the point in his book, Parenting by God's Promises, "We must enforce and enrich every act of discipline with large doses of love."  Why?  Because that's what God does for His children - something which we can't deny as we've seen His faithfulness in our own lives.  God has set the supreme example of disciplining with love - the Bible doesn't say that He does not get angry, but rather that He is slow to anger, that His anger is righteous, and that He is rich in love even when He is angry.  What an awesome model for us to follow.
And it also means setting the example for our kids, like our Heavenly Father has set for us - and openly acknowledging when we come up short and pointing them towards the better model: Christ.

We have the perfect example laid out before us of gracious, patient parenting, and when we set that as our standard we'll likely see many areas we can improve on: Are we truly being gracious?  Does our parenting style reflect compassion?  How much slower can we get to anger while still being firm in our limits and correcting our children?  And how much more love can we lavish on our children as we raise them? 

And the best part?  While we can set a new standard for our parenting as we strive to emulate our Heavenly Father, He is the most gracious, the most compassionate, the slowest to anger and the richest in love, so when we fall short - which will happen - we never need to be afraid of turning to Him, confessing our failures, and asking for His help to make us more like Him.

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Rejoice in the Lord - Always.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice."  Philippians 4:4

What does it mean to you to rejoice in the Lord?  And furthermore, what does it mean to do it "always"? 

For many of us, this verse may seem a bit perplexing.  How can we always be rejoicing?  Wasn't Paul aware of what sort of things can complicate the life of a wife and mother?  Was he unaware of the anxieties that accompany those roles, and how many concerns we have brought before us day after day?  And what about those seasons of sorrow that all of us face?  Surely we are excused from rejoicing then?

But that's the beauty of scripture: "All scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16)  Which means that the word "always" is in there for a reason, and there's also a good reason why Paul felt the need to admonish the Philippians to rejoice twice: it's easy to forget to do this!

But what sort of 'rejoicing' are we called to do?  Is this an un-natural behaviour where in the face of deepest sorrow, we as Christians are never allowed to weep or mourn?  Of course not.  Christ wept at the mourning of the Jews after the death of Lazarus.  He was sorrowful to see the despair that death brings.  Christians aren't required to be perpetually happy and never sad.  There may be those that you've come across who don't seem to understand that, and who may feel like it's a sin to be sad, but they forget that we are called to, "Mourn with those who mourn." (Romans 12:15)  No, we have freedom in God to experience the emotions that He gave us.  But we also have the responsibility to not sin because of our emotions. 

You should notice that the verse doesn't instruct us to "rejoice in our illness", or "rejoice in the loss of your loved ones," but rather, "Rejoice in the LORD."  That is why we are called to do it always - because we always have reason to rejoice in Him!  While our circumstances themselves may not prompt us to rejoice, the faithfulness and goodness and sovereignty of our Lord should! 

In our illness we should rejoice because we have a faithful Father who will comfort and heal according to His will.  In times of loss we should rejoice because we know that the victory has been won and that death has lost its sting.  In seasons of tension and hurt in our relationships we should rejoice because we are benefactors of the eternal love of God, which He will never remove from us.  Only in the Lord will we find our unending cause to rejoice! 

Now, I must admit that I feel this in particular is a verse that is profitable "for training in righteousness", as referred to in 2 Timothy.  When you think of training for something, there's the implication that perfection does not come naturally, and that sometimes there will be mistakes that you need to correct, learn from, and move forward from.  Does it come easily for us to rejoice at all during the hardest seasons of our lives?  No - but that's because in our fallen state we had forgotten that there was something as constant and faithful as God which we could eternally rejoice in.  But as we train in righteousness, and God continues His good work in us, we can find ourselves coming to a point where we don't need to work so hard to rejoice in our sovereign God.  We'll find ourselves, by His grace, remembering that while under the sun there is a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1), He does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17); He is always faithful - and that is a great reason to rejoice. 

So what is your burden today?  What is weighing on your heart, or breaking you down?  Whatever it is, we need to remember that while there may not be much cause to rejoice in our hurts and anxieties, God welcomes us to cast all our cares upon Him, and that is one of the incredible reasons why we are called to, "Rejoice in the Lord always."

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Teaching Your Children About Marriage

Another post - another outside link!  Occassionally articles are brought to our attention that we feel convey solid truth and sound reasoning, and which do the job well of glorifying God.  This is another such article:

Teaching Your Children About Marriage

The article is written by a woman, to women, and while it certainly isn't exhaustive, it makes a great point that our children will learn what marriage means by watching what ours looks like.  Is your marriage about serving yourself, is it all about the kids, or is it about glorifying God while you and your husband serve eachother?  I pray for all of you that it's the latter!

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Me Time Myth

I recently saw this article shared on Facebook and felt it was a wonderful reminder to women about what we really need: Christ.  In a self-centered world, we can find a lot of bad council, but if we remember to look back into God-breathed word, we can find truth and promise, just like this woman experienced.
So I encourage you: read this, apply the heart of the message to your own life, and dive into God's word for more encouragement!

The Me Time Myth

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

An Opportunity to Serve

February 14th.

Valentine's Day.

The day when women all over the world expect flowers, candies, cards and dinners. 

Valentine's Day has many foes; large numbers of people despise the focus on relationships when their own love lives are lifeless, many people lament the emphasis on spending money and the apparent necessity to buy into the commercial aspect of the day, and then there are people who believe that boycotting the day is the best way to state to the world that we should celebrate our relationships more than just once a year. 

I'd like to point out that I personally enjoy the day.  I enjoy the prospect of a day designated to the celebration of our relationships.  Plus, I think it's fun. 

That being said, I do have my issues with Valentine's Day.  My biggest issue is with my expectations about the day. 

Growing up as young girls, we are taught that Valentine's Day is when it is the boys' responsibility to lavish us with tokens of their affection, and anything less than the sweetest "Be Mine" card and one more candy than they gave every other girl is grounds for being upset with them. 
In High School, if our boyfriends forgot Valentine's Day, they were no longer 'boyfriend material', and if so-and-so got a better gift than we did, we felt ripped off. 
Fast-forward to our married selves, and while our expectations may be more moderate and our hormone fluctuations more temperate, we still expect something and a fight may be brewing if we feel ourselves neglected or forgotten. 

But perhaps we're looking at this all wrong.  Instead of thinking ourselves the best wives in the world because we make it easy for our husbands by telling them exactly what our expectations are and helping them remember to bring home flowers, shouldn't we be viewing this as the perfect chance to show our spouses how much we love them?   Instead of waiting to be served, should we take the opportunity to serve?

The selfish expectations we hold regarding how our men should treat us is something we were likely taught at a very young age.  In an attempt to equip girls with self-esteem and a feeling of worth, the world told us we were beautiful, that we deserved the best and that we needed to hold out until we found someone who was willing to give us that.  But what we should have been taught is that we are beautiful because we are daughters of our Holy Father, that we deserve death but have been redeemed through Him, and that 'the best' is a man who pursues God with all his heart, and who strives to serve Him in everything he does.  The first model did little more than teach us that we needed to find a husband who would wait on us hand-and-foot, particularly in seasons such as pregnancy or obligatory dates, such as Valentine's Day and our anniversary.  The second model teaches so much more; it shows us that we need to desire to serve, that pursuing God is our highest priority and that keeping our focus on God is the best thing that can happen to our earthly relationships. 

Should your husband remember Valentine's Day, your birthday and your anniversary?  Yes, he probably should.  But instead of worrying about his memory and his plans, we should instead worry first about ours. 

Wine him.  Dine him.  Show him that you adore him.  Let him know that you appreciate the man and the leader that he is. 
Get your kids in on it.  Make sure they let him know what a great Daddy he is. 
And remember that this day is a great reminder to do these things, but that we need to do it regularly.  I've heard it said before, "Ladies, if you don't pursue your husband, there are plenty of women who will be willing to take over for you."  And it's true.  We need to encourage our husbands in our relationship, and I think Martin Luther had a great formula for it: "Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave."  But our responsibility as the wives in that equation lies first in making him glad to come home - to making him feel loved, appreciated, served and respected. 

So whatever your expectations for Valentine's Day were, throw them out the window.  Shift gears and use this opportunity to serve your husband to the best of your abilities.  Greet him at the door with a cold drink and a plate of nachos, make sure he get's a say in the evening's activities and make double-sure that he gets a nice long back rub. 

And if you find that you do feel he is neglecting you and that you would appreciate him to express his affection more freely, talk to him respectfully, not emotionally, and request that he think about it and perhaps talk with an older man to gain perspective on the situation.  And remember the teachings of Peter when it says, "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct." 1 Peter 3:1-2  We need to submit to our husbands and serve them for God's glory.  And God truly is glorified when we celebrate the relationships He has blessed us with!

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Desire to Improve

As we roll into a New Year we are constantly being encouraged to improve ourselves.  Sales for organizational tools and exercise equipment remind us of areas that we need to work on, and spur us on towards self-betterment.  Self-help books appear on shelves in droves and will tell you how to do anything from manage your time better, to lose that last 5 pounds. 

Desiring to improve ourselves is not a bad thing.  We should desire to be better in many things.  But why do we desire it?  And are we focusing on the wrong areas?

First and foremost, we need to desire God more.  We need to desire to serve Him better, and to let Him work in every aspect of our lives.  This is FAR more important than whether or not we stay on top of laundry or whether our craft cupboard is organized.  We need to pursue relationship with Him, asking Him to ignite that desire in our hearts and strengthen us to follow through with our goal of knowing Him more intimately.  This is not an area that falls under 'self-help'.  The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we can't help ourselves when it comes to right relationship with God.  We have been redeemed by the blood of our Savior, through no merit or works of our own, and we will be continually restored and renewed through the work of the Spirit, as it pleases the Father.  Self-help books on your relationship with God should all be very short: Pray to Him, surrender to Him and let Him work in you. 

Not only does this need to be the first priority, it needs to permeate through every other goal you set!

Why should we want our houses to be cleaner?  To impress our company?  Because so-and-so has such a clean house?  Pride?

I am not a tidy person by nature.  But I have identified a need in my life to improve on the cleanliness and order in my house because the Bible commands me to submit to my husband, and instructs me to help him, to care for him, and to serve him as an act of worship to God.  My husband likes when our house is clean, therefore I clean my house, to serve my husband, to the glory of God. 

Many of us struggle with body image and desire to lose a pound or two (or twenty).  But why do we desire it?  Because then our clothes fit better?  Because we're embarassed by how we look?  Because we crave the compliments we'll receive?  Or because we seek to treat our bodies well, to stay healthy and be desirable to our husbands, for God's glory? 

Often we take this time of year to relook at our finances.  I'm sure the vast majority of us feel like we could do well to have a bit more money, and we all sit around at some point, wondering where we can cut back, how we can save and what we can do to possibly make sure there is more money in our account.  But if we are doing all of this to save up for a debaucherous trip to Vegas, or so that we can spend money selfishly without guilt, or so we can excuse poor stewardship, it's wrong to desire that.  When was the last time we sat down to relook our finances to see how we could give more to God's work?

It's not wrong to desire to improve, but the heart behind the desire can be wrong.  We need to realize that things like healthy lifestyles, good organization and fiscal planning can be idols.  In all things we need to set our gaze on our Heavenly Father and work for His glory.

So by all means, go through Pinterest and find wonderful ideas for ways to organize your linen closet, and how to keep your house clean, and recipes for low-fat, organic foods, but do it all to God's glory, because while God may not care how organized your pantry is, He does delight in the things we do as an act of worship to Him, which can be everything we do if our first and foremost desire is to serve Him.

To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!