Subtitle

Abide in Love ~ Abound in Thanksgiving ~ Work in Joy...
Live Fully ~ Suffer Rightly ~ Trust Deeply ~ Bless Truly!

LISTEN & LEARN:

"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths,
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
~ Psalms 25:4,5

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LESSONS FOR A LEARNER

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Submission-An Unexpected Reversal

"Submission" - that word that seems synonymous with "doormat" in many minds.

Although it conflicts with the sinful aspect of independence that I inherited from Mother Eve, I have come to believe that what God explains in Ephesians 5:17-33 is truly that way that God designed His world to work best.  But, unfortunately, we live in a broken world that often doesn't look like that model and thus the conclusion has become that "submission" is the problem.  I would argue that it isn't God's way that it is the problem, but those not following God's way that cause the model not to work properly.

As an opinionated, independent woman the quiet and gentle spirit of the godly submissive woman in 1 Peter has been a struggle for me.  However, I saw an unexpected blessing of me having a submissive heart recently...

DH's Dad offered to buy DS4 a specific gift last week.  My initial response was a rash, "What would we do that for?" To me, it seemed ridiculous to buy a 4 year old this present.  So, it came back up and DH and I were discussing the progress Grandpa had made in shopping for this said gift.  At that time I respectfully shared my concerns...though I hadn't thought through an articulate explanation, I rambled enough that he caught the idea that I thought this gift might be a little "too cool" for our four year old who already struggled with having to be the best and the fastest and similar pride issues.  I was concerned that this gift would perpetuate those feelings, but that he wasn't at the emotional maturity level that we could just take it away if those issues did indeed arise.  

The decision wasn't a matter of one choice was sin and the other wasn't.  It also wasn't an issue in my heart of me just wanting it to go according to what "I think" is appropriate and thus me being an over-protective controlling mom.  I had legitimate concerns, DH heard them and assessed.  At one point he said, "I understand where you're coming from, but I still think it's OK."  

On the one hand I wanted to put on my attorney's suit and defend my case, getting him also to not just understand my position, but to "feel" the same way I did.  But, looking back, my heart was at peace...I was willing to submit to him giving his dad permission to move forward with the purchase, even though I could foresee problems, which I would prefer to avoid.  In the end, he told his dad to hold off...not a "no", but a wait. 

Ephesians 5:21 - "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."

I felt very loved and respected that though he thought it was an OK gift, he saw wisdom in the wait and was willing to articulate that to his dad.  And I am thankful that Grandpa was willing to "submit" to our decision as parents - he was open to our input from the beginning & respected it (even though maybe he thought it unnecessary precautions).

So, "submission" could have looked like me just letting them go ahead with the gift without saying anything.  But the consequences of that could have been me getting bitter if there were issues I foresaw or the issues arise and they become a big problem that could have been avoided if I had used wisdom in sharing what I saw as "God honoring wisdom" (not putting an unnecessary potential temptation in front of our young son).  

That was a good practical lesson for me - submission does not have to mean not saying anything, but it does mean if you do say something it must be with a quiet, gentle, and respectful spirit, willing to relinquish my desire should the decision sway against my preference.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Already, but not yet...

This is a phrase I have heard in regard to our eternal hope..."already, but not yet"

We already have salvation, but not yet.
We already have the hope of living in peace with Christ, but not yet are able to experience the full effects.
We already have the security of Christ conquering our enemy, but not yet do we live in the fullness of that freedom.

I was reminded of that as I had the thought today, "I think I'll wait 'til Baby comes."  The way I chose to word that to myself struck me, for she is already.  She is here - very apparently here to me with the bulging belly:)  She has come, she is with us, she is our daughter, she is already, but...not yet.

To be fully with us, to experience her fully in sight and smell and hearing and touch, she needs to be born, she needs to take a living breath.

It seems that we can have three lives to live...life from creation, where God knits us together in our mother's womb (Psalms 139) to birth, where God breaths into us the breath of life (Gen. 3) (our first physical impregnation to birth experience)...to new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) where we are reborn and the Holy Spirit breaths His ever-present life into us (our first spiritual impregnation, where we are in the dark not seeing the world as God intended it to operate until we experience our spiritual birth)...to creation redeemed, where we enter into the new heavens and the new earth (Rev.21-22) and experience God in all His glory and live in eternal peace and joy in the full reality of His presence!

Would this mean that our living the Christian life in this already, but not yet stage would be a second spiritual impregnation?  Where we are alive in Christ, but in the dark to the fullness & experience of the eternal promises of salvation, peace, joy, the full glory of God.  We are already, but not yet...we're in the pregnant stage?  But do we live with that reality - the bulging, living and active reality of these already but not yet promises?

I walk around just as I did before but now with a bulging belly that gets head turns and smiles - seriously I had multiple random people just smile at me in Wal-Mart yesterday and I seriously think that it's because there's something about being pregnant - the eager anticipation of the hope and the joy of birth, it brings smiles! (John 16:21)  Spiritually speaking, as we live in the "already" and wait in the "not yet", are we as the body of Christ bulging evidences of the eager anticipation of the hope and joy of birth into the Ultimate Kingdom of God, bringing smiles because it means there will be a no more pain, no more sorrow, no more sin, everything made right, reality of Creation Redeemed...as real and true as the little girl growing in the dark of this womb!

And as we live in the darkness of this world run by Satan, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), we can live out the reality of already, but not yet, grow in Christ and be the obvious, bulging, undeniable evidence that there is a hope worth smiling about - even in the midst of darkness, discomfort, pain, suffering!

Easier said than done, I know...But, she will be worth being joyful over amidst the discomfort & pain of pregnancy & child birth (Gen. 3:15, John 16:21) and so is HE!!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"You have to let me take risks, Mom"

The four and a half year old voice echos the 36 year old voice, "You have to let him take risks," which echos the almost 50 year old neuro-psychologist's as his 14 year old son shows off his explosive chemistry projects.  "You have to let them take good risks [like parent supervised chemistry explosions] or they'll choose to take bad ones."

And all this after DS4 stands on the chair and jumps up and over the arm of the chair to the wooden floor below.

And his words ring back to me right after he's practicing balancing on a football and as I say, "Uh..." right before he steps up to balance on the empty foot talk oats cylinder and right as I shut my mouth and then say, "OK, go ahead."  And the cylinder buckles under him and he stumbles, but he doesn't fall and he's proud of his risk and his mama realizes that was a "good risk" - a risk with only the possibility of maybe a bruised shin and a bruised ego that leads to humility and better judgment?

And all this from cautious first born who still gets stiff in the swimming pool, his mama's second home.  This cautious first born who took the training wheels off at 51 months of age and 2 weeks later was ready for a motorcycle.  This cautious first born who is blooming into a risk-taker?

And his cautious first born mama?  Have I bloomed yet into a risk-taker?  Have I open-handedly, open-armedly, open-heartedly trusted the One in control?  Have I been a risk-taking Pray-er, a risk-taking Hoper, a risk-taking faith-filled Truster, Share-er? Have I taken the risk of breaking my alabaster jar of all I'm worth to express my love and gratitude for my Christ-bought forgiveness?  Or have I stayed in my comfortable box in which I have pseudo control...what has that gained me, really?  Hmmm...the freedom of risk-taking in God's control...what risks does God want me to take for His glory?  What will that be like?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Peeling A Hard Boiled Egg

What comes to mind when you think of peeling a hard boiled egg?

The frustration of the egg white getting stuck on the egg shell?  The potential of a beautifully smooth tasty oblong object marred by the craters?  Sometimes it's a smooth unpeeling and other times...well, there's just not much of the desired egg remaining, huh!?!

I was standing over my kitchen sink, gazing up to the pines past the park, letting the shell drop in the sink and I had an Ann Voskamp moment.  I don't feel like I have them very often.  Is that a special gifting or a learned practice?  The ability to glean a spiritual lesson out of a mundane task.  Did this analogy come to mind because I am trying to have my mind set on things above while living down on earth, having my eyes open to see the glory of God in the little things here and now?  OR was it just a coincidence?

Whatever the cause, I want to remember the lesson:

Some eggs are easy to peel other eggs are a pain in the rear - slow going and frustrating.  But, no matter how they peel, their make-up and taste is the same.  Likewise, God has created us each with the same make-up: His Image.  And yet our sin has hardened us, made us stiff-necked, obstructed the pure, smooth beauty of the glory of God to be seen by all.  God is in the business of refining for our good and His glory.  As God is peeling away our hard outer shells, does He have an easy shell to work with, like pliable clay on a potter's wheel, or do we make His work more challenging by being the stubborn piece that clings to the "comfort" of the protective shell, leaving a marred crater in its place.

Whatever it is that makes eggs easier to peel, LORD, make me a learner of Your ways - that I way live in Your world in Your way - a way that makes me easier to work with in my sanctification process and a way that bears the image of Your glory more purely and majestically!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Attack

So, I started seeing a counselor on Tuesday, May 22nd to help me sort through some key relationships I find myself in recurring conflict management with.

Wednesday, I had a spat with my husband.   Thursday the kids were squirrely, I was trying to get the house pulled together so we could leave to go swimming and I had to keep dealing with strife between them, I was wearing thin and then as they are squirrely & playing with the magnets on the fridge, DD2 crumples up the ultrasound picture.  I start crying, feeling quite out of control at that point.  We didn't end up going swimming, but two more things made me cry that morning.  That evening DH and I discussed the spat which left me in tears again right before entering in to Bible Study.  Friday, I lost it with my Father-in-law for the first time since he moved in 3 months ago and I was deeply broken by my behavior.  I just felt a mess and not myself, more like "old Jill."  Was it pregnancy hormones, feeling legitimately overwhelmed, spiritual warfare?  I called a friend to pray for me and it was ministering to me.

As I processed/journaled with the LORD Saturday morning it became evident that the events of the last three days were primarily spiritual warfare.

The enemy made the mistake (I believe God allowed Him to in order to enlighten me) of hissing the lie: "See, Jill, you'll never change.  You'll always be that emotional, over-reactor that you've always been.  Counseling won't do you any good."

And therein the Truth was exposed!  The truth is that usually I'm not like that anymore.  That means I HAVE changed.  God has worked and therefore I can have hope that He will continue to work!

The next week the enemy seemed to lay off and I didn't battle much emotional ruckus.

This past week Monday & Tuesday were tiring days with a workout where the fan wasn't reaching me, a DMV trip, almost passing out getting blood drawn (pregnant women should not fast prior blood being sucked from body), 1 hour car ride to/from doctor, and no naps either day.  None of that was especially emotional nor would I classify as spiritual warfare, but tiring nonetheless.  Wednesday, one of those cyclical marriage issues arose which had me torn & in tears - God is gracious as He lead through this, but this an attack on the emotions.  Thursday, at my OB appointment I find out that the issue that caused 1 month of discomfort in my last pregnancy will cause 6 months of discomfort this time around, increase my risk of blood clots, and I have to get out of the car to stretch every 2 hours.  We have 3 long car trips planned this summer.  The first being in 12 days - a biking/hiking trip I have had planned with 3 girlfriends since before I found out I was pregnant - this  was an emotional issue as I already feel like I'm the group's weak link and raised questions as to how this news would affect the trip.  For the next 28 hours this was heavy on my mind & heart before I talked to one of the gals who reassured me it was not going to be a drag on the group to tailor things around my "condition needs."  I really don't like being "that person" but may Christ work through this humility - when I am weak, He is strong (1 Cor. 12:12)!

Saturday, there is a church-related disagreement via email between us and a couple who are our dear friends and Bible Study group members.  DH is in the process of bringing this to resolution, but oh, so heavy on my heart & mind until it is.  Just what Satan wants to bring division among God's people - may it not be so!

So, again a tri-fold attack.  This time instead of three peoples in my home; it's once again marriage, but then also includes, my health, my friends and emotional issues therein, and unity of The Church!

Sunday, heart still heavy, but the Spirit ministered to my soul through:

This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world, the battle is not done,
Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and heav’n be one.

and

Jesus, Lover of My Soul, let me to thy bosom fly
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, ‘til the storm is past
Safe into the haven guide, receive my soul at last

Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee
Leave, ah! Leave me not alone, still support and comfort me!

This is my Father’s world, the battle is not done...I will stay in the fight knowing He's in control and try to remember to cling to Him as my refuge!

My next counseling session is Thursday, June 14th - may the LORD open my eyes and heart to see and discern the schemes of the enemy and grant me wisdom and strength to persevere as a soldier honoring her Commander...for healing to bring You Glory!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Toes or Cotton Balls? A matter of narrating for perspective

DD2 sees cotton balls and proudly says, "Toes" - Yes, sweetie, Mommy uses those cotton balls to take the nail polish off my toes.

I am struck my how her world is growing, her perspective of the world filling in.  She not only sees a bag of roundish, white puffy objects and recognizes them as cotton balls, but she is able to articulate their purpose (or at least a purpose known by her).  I am reminded of a phrase a dear older Titus 2 type woman shared with me at church one time - "Our children are excellent observers, but poor interpretters.  It is part of our responsibility as parents to narrate life for them."  And isn't this what God does for us throughout His Word - His perspective is being narrated so we are able to interpret life as He desires?

And the Spirit Prompts me with a CF thought as I think about this later in the day - As my children's perspective of their/our/God's world is forming and growing, may I be faithful to help narrate it in such a way that they are able to interpret it as God desires them to understand His world.  May they see, experience, and want to live in the Greatness and Goodness of living in God's world in God's way - acknowledging Him reigning on the throne of His kingdom, in their hearts and in this tangible universe they engage each day!  May they see and experience His glory, His goodness, His grace in the big and the small, the sacred and the secular, the ugly and the beautiful, the spectacular and the mundane!  (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28) May I see this so I can help them see this! (Random Thought - 5/27/12 - CF)

Random Thoughts

It dawned on me as I was early in the journey of hearing from God that there are different voices to discern.  Well, actually this isn't new as 1 John 4:1 makes it clear that there are different spirits, some from God, some not and we are to test them.  We are influenced by the quiet and loud, subtle and obvious voices of our past, our present, our enemies (spiritual and fleshly), our friends, our God, the media, the culture, inner, outer.  The main voices I wanted to discern were the deception of the Enemy, the fickleness of myself, and the Truth of God.

And then I realized that there are times which I know it is the voice of God - Him illuminating His Word or a sweet God Whisper (GW) to my soul and other times I don't feel like it's of me (for it seems too spiritual, too selfish, too others focused), but I'm not confident it is the voice of God. Is it just a random "good" thought or is it truly goodbecause it is inspired by God and He wants me to do something with the thought?  I think I've discerned those as Spirit Promptings (SP) in my life - prompting my heart, mind, & soul.  Not quite the directness of the voice of God that I must be obedient to (in thought and action), but His influence I should pay attention to and follow through with...for good and glory.  And then there are those thoughts which I want to grow and dwell on, to fill up my perspective so this is the way I see, so my life is more Christ-centered - shall I call them Christ-Focused (CF), Colossians 3 thoughts? 

So,  check out the "Random Thought" tab on the Home Page for some GWs and SPs and CFs which I may not have wanted to take the time to make a full blog post on, but thought it would be fun to collect them in one spot.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thank You, Mom.


Two words, eight letters…it’s not enough.

Not enough for the nine months of ickies and heavies and umpteen hours of grunting and moaning and breathing and hand hurting from all that fatherly squeezing…the necessary uglies and pain to bring forth she who would bring forth joy, but also bring forth more pain and more uglies of her own with her attitude and disrespect to you.  Oh, what you had to endure. Thank you is not enough.

Not enough for all your sleepless nights à up feeding and rocking and soothing and driving around so the hum of the car would finally calm me down.

Not enough for trading in your beloved classrooms to make our home and our comings and goings a classroom to deeply and fully teach and mold two beings who would go on to use those lessons to influence others.  Being home and being there to all the day long teach those lessons of justice and compassion, those lessons of enthusiasm and commitment (even though we fought piano practice), those lessons of writing and reading (I think of family reads on the ugly 70 sofas in Sparta, not to mention the countless hours of being read to and the countless times “The Little Engine that Could” got up that mountain – maybe that’s part of why I know how to persevere), those lessons of sacrifice and being on time (OK, maybe I haven’t learned that lesson, yet, but I hope to by the time my children would be waiting on me to pick them up – that they’d NEVER have to wonder if Mom forgot – how I took for granted that security; I would think that would cause a child some angst that I never had to experience!), those lessons of kindness and honesty (even though the grocery store didn’t reward me for turning in the $20), those lessons of manners and morality that kept me on the straight and narrow (for all the goody-two-shoe remarks I took from peers and for all the over-protectiveness I felt, I’m thankful I don’t have many regrets from leaving the straight and narrow too often), those lessons of balanced meals and balanced checkbooks – learning to live modestly within our means…and all these lessons of love, not just taught by books but lived out by you.  Thank you is not enough.

Not enough for the endless love – extending beyond the 18 years.  Those 18 years of live-in duty of have-to time and have-to provisions, converting into whatever time and resources you wanted to give.  And oh, do you give the time…to every swim meet, to every special occasion…and not just a day on either side of the occasion, total of weeks to look for a wedding dress (and oh, the patience needed for the indecisive daughter shopping for the ideal) and plan the big day – the time, the energy, the creative, the money… given freely, sacrificially.  The weeks you’ve given to ease the transition with baby #1, baby #2, hernia surgery, foot burn recovery.  The time and expense to travel and visit and prepare family vacations and the gifts and the work to update the house and make it more organized and the cleaning and the this or that device to make life at home more convenient.  No, surely, “thank you” is not enough. 

And yet you don’t expect or have ever asked even for those eight letters…because that’s just the kind of sacrificial and loving mom you are.  So I guess, thank you is more than you even expect, so: THANK YOU!

Happy 32nd Mother’s Day, Mom!


This post was inspired by The 1000 Moms Project

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I'm a Tooth


No, this isn't like the "You're a heel," this is in reference to how the theme of the Body of Christ has been coming up a lot in my recent study of Scripture. (Although I wanted to look up exactly what that insult means and according to wiki answers it means "a despicable, contemptible sort...the word illustrates...the lowest part of the body".)

And so what if you are "the heel" of "The Body".  For I am under the impression that it was the heel of our Savior Himself which was foretold to crush the head of the deceptive serpent responsible for inviting sin into this world and thus bring healing and restoration to creation - between God and His people! 

Genesis 3:15 - "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

That long awaited for, messianic, metaphoric heel would be God's instrument of bringing ultimate victory in an age-old battle. 

Colossians 2:13-15 - And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (v.15)

That "lowest part of the body" that wiki describes ... that's the one that will be first in Christ's kingdom!

Exekiel 21:26 - this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low.

So what's so bad about being The Heel of The Body?  I wouldn't want to walk without a heel.  And those who have had to temporarily walk on a the ball of the foot, they sure do have sore calves.  I'm thankful for those in Our Body, in Our Family, in Our Kingdom who exemplify our Savior by overthrowing sin through their humility!  Put that way, it makes me want to be more of a heel! :)

And 1 Corinthians 12:21,22 says it itself - The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable..."

But, that wasn't the point of this post ... I guess now I'm a little sad to say I don't think I'm a heel, but as 1 Corinthians 12 and elsewhere in Scripture we are reminded that all parts of The Body are indispensable ... I will use the space of another post to tell you why I still think I'm a tooth!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I still think I'm a Tooth



...Continued from I'm a Tooth (Click the link for the rabbit trail I got on when I first started this post:))

So, for about the past month I've been looking at what the Scriptures have to say about my identity.  My identity in Christ is something I have learned about over the years, but I haven't dwelt on it in a way to transform how I think about myself.  I started in Ephesians and moved to the Corinthians, looking specifically for terms of identity: "you are, we are, etc."  I still have some more transformational meditating to do, but one thing I was struck by in each book was the theme of The Body of Christ and the unity God calls for among His people.  

The parts of the body and Spiritual Gifts are other themes I've learned about over the years.  There have been "tests" I've taken to "identify spiritual gifts," but I never took much time to ponder what part of the body I might be or what part of the body that spiritual gift correlates to.  Knowing that the parts of the body is an analogy, I haven't felt the need to seriously discern it.  But for whatever reason, one morning this week in my time with the LORD, the idea of a tooth came to mind.  It seems to fit.

A gift the LORD's entrusted to me, a role God's grown me into and opened doors for is one of "teacher."  So, my role in the body?  A messenger of the Word...and what part of the body relates to words, messages?  The mouth.  But, no, I'm not that significant.  The tongue.  But, no, I have not been refined enough to be a teacher with a fresh water tongue (James 3).  Teeth.  Yes.  Not the important biters, nor the necessary molars, but maybe an incisor?  A tooth - a piece of the mouth.  A mouthpiece of God.  Helping others hear the Word of God.  Helping other bite into and chew on the sweetness of the Word of God. 

Psalms 119:103 - "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

And teeth also play a protection role - keeping out that which should not coming in and even keeping in what you don't want to come out (impure/untrue words!?!)  And without some teeth, one may speak with a lisp.  May God's Word not be misheard.  

I was reminded of the image of teeth in Song of Songs:

"Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone." (4:2)

The image of clean - white sheep after washing...may my mouthpiece be clean and pure (fresh water - James 3:10-12).

The image of fullness - each tooth with a twin, none missing, none alone...God delights in the beauty of the fullness, the way He designed that part of the body.

So, if each tooth is delighted in by God, I am significant as the incisor I am.  Surely, the body can do without a tooth, but God doesn't want The Body to be without even a tooth.  He wants the beauty of the fullness, not one without another.  

And if even an "unnecessary" tooth is wanted, what an good reminder of The Gospel - that each part may be worthless on its own, but when part of The Body it is desired, delighted in, important, significant; our identity in The Body of Christ grants us to be desired, delighted in, important, significant to the Creator who made us and loves us through the Savior who suffered and died for us!

Ephesians 4:16 -"from whom [the head, Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."

May my role as a tooth, a mouthpiece, a teacher work properly so The Body is built up in love! 

Blessed

I just feel blessed.  I look out and see the pretty burgandy-copper minivan sitting in my driveway and I just feel blessed.  So, our friend works for a car dealership and about a year and a half ago she came to us with an old, low mileage, inexpensive well-kept minivan.  We took it for a test drive, prayed, assessed our finances, sought counsel and decided against it.

In considering that minivan, I learned what I was hoping was becoming true about me seemed to be - I would be content.  There was nothing fancy about this minivan and I would be content.  You see, even before I knew about the book, I was seeking to be reformed from the inside out and to live "Radical - Taking my Faith back from the American Dream."  Not that I'm against America or its mission, I'm just wanting to be primarily about Christ's Kingdom, Christ's Dream over the American kingdom, the American Dream.

And this was a little test, I think.  Part of why we decided against the minivan back then was financial and part because we didn't really need to upgrade to a bigger vehicle.  Now, we do - before 12/12/12!

So, we were officially in the market and our friend had been telling about her parents low mileage minivan for about that same length of time, but not sure when they would want to sell it.  Last week we found out that wanted to sell it NOW.  The problem was they were 200 miles away and we couldn't test drive their actual vehicle.  So, we found the same model with roughly the same mileage, it was just 2 years older.  And it was fine. I would be content.  It wasn't as zippy as my Grand Am, but it was twice the size, I would get used to it and be thankful for the extra space.

We decided to pursue our friend's parents' minivan, so they drove it into town today.  We took it for a test drive and ... it drove WAY better than the two we had previously test driven and had more perks than I was even aware of!  A year and a half ago, when I started thinking about minivans and having to articulate "what I would want" I remember thinking that I really would be content with basic power locks and windows for the sake of putting forth the least amount of financial resources as possible (being a wise steward of the resources God's entrusted us with)...BUT if the LORD wanted to throw in the perk of automatic sliding doors in a vehicle that would be the same financial cost, that sure would be a blessing:)

Because we had a connection to the owners we got the minivan for $1000 less than private party sale and it not only had the automatic sliding doors but an automatic trunk hatch, power driver's seat, and tells me what direction I'm heading, the outside temperature, & the average miles per gallon!  There's other little fun perks with the extra space, but those are some that make me feel the blessing of luxury without the cost of luxury - being a good steward of God's resources, being content with little and God choosing to bless with more than we would have asked or imagined!  (Ephesians 3:20)  That's the kind of God we serve - and not just because of what He gives us either!  I don't just want to be pleased with a piece of the American Dream, I want to praise God for His gracious, abundant provision; I'm learning that living life in God's world in God's way is all a matter of perspective.  May God be glorified and my heart transformed that He receives more of the Glory due His name!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Distracted or Delighting?


I was watching an interview of Ann Voskamp that a friend sent me.  She was talking about how her blog is so much an expression of lessons between her and God.  I could relate to that.  And as I think about how I haven't articulated many of my God-lessons in the last month, even though I've had many, I haven't felt as close to, as intimate with, God in this time.  I've missed it - I've missed Him, I've missed processing and putting into words these life lessons, these lessons I want to renew my mind and transform my life to the glory of God!  (Romans 12:2)

So what has filled this time instead - a week of preparing to travel, a week out of state (throwing my parents a joint surprise 60th birthday party - it was marvelous!), returning to attempt to bring life and house back to "neutral", returning and four days later finding out I'm pregnant:), and seven days later really feeling pregnant:(

Ugh!  Now struggling with the low energy and yuck feeling - no puking, yet, but just yuck and eating continually to keep the yuckies away, which gives me a different bloated yuck feeling.  With DS and DD I didn't start feeling pregnant until about 8 weeks, but this time around it hit at about 5 1/2 weeks.  And I have to remind myself to give thanks in all circumstances - and this one is easy because it means the pregnancy is taking, a peace of mind for anyone who has had an early miscarriage.

And I also think I was still in the process of playing emotional catch up.  Another example of how if I hold my hands more opened to God, I can receive His gifts with more immediate joy!  See, we had been "trying" for about a year and I was banking on this month falling in line with all the previous months for two reasons - 1) I had been training for a cycling trip to the mountains of Colorado in June - I will probably still go, but finding out I'm pregnant did put a damper on my excitement about being pregnant and about the trip.  2) Due Date: Middle of December.  One child has a birthday 10 days after Christmas and now one about that distance before Christmas.  And this past Christmas it dawned on me that 5 of our last 8 Christmases together had something major going on right around Christmas.  I was really hoping we would get to have a Christmas that we just got to focus on the Reason for the Season!  I guess I'm easily distracted.

That's been my theme as I've been returning to the LORD tired and weary and foggy brained this last month.  I'm sorry, LORD, I get so easily distracted.  I want to be thinking clearing and be able to focus on You and things of You, staying in step with Your Spirit.  "Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may walk in Your paths, Give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name." (Psalms 86:11)  This is the prayer of my heart... and then I get distracted...

And the low energy and the yuckies certainly don't help.  But really are those just more excuses for distraction...do I really desire intimacy with Christ and reflecting His glory more than I want my life smooth and comfortable?

"Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalms 37:4)  Am I delighting myself in the LORD?  Or I am being dragged down by the never-ending duties and depressions of this world.  For if He's my delight, then He's the desire of my heart and if I'm delighting in Him then He will give me more of Himself, which is the desire of my heart anyway!  Now that's a win-win situation!  

When I start feeling the distraction or the drag or the depression, can I replace those thoughts with what I want the reality of my true desire to be!?!
What does it take to set my mind on things above and not on earthly things? (Colossians 3:2)

Yes, easier said than done, but this articulation is a step and it's a step I've been missing for many a weeks now.  Draw me back, Jesus, I'm really ready to be drawn back...It does me no good to keep floundering in this place..."Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest..." (Matthew 11:28-30)  Yes, I am physically, spiritually, emotionally weary and I am burdened by my own sinful distractedness.  May I learn from you, gentle and humble-hearted Teacher (Matt. 11:29)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"It means a clean heart." (A Lesson from DS3 on Forgiveness)

This is a retro post from last fall...

A friend of mine was over and processing some hard things that were happening with a friend of hers.  She was feeling rejected and unreconciled from conflict with this friend in which she was initially wronged and then as baggage would have it, words ended up being flung both ways.

The kids had just woken up from their nap.  DS was hanging out on the sofa by the banister looking over the foyer, keeping himself occupied, as my friend was walking out the door.  As she was leaving she said, "Jill, I just don't feel forgiven and it hurts.  And I think I've forgiven, but I still hurt.  I mean, really, what is forgiveness?"

Before I have a chance to impart "words of wisdom" (in which I really didn't know what I was going to say and hoping it was one of those times the Holy Spirit would do the talking for me), DS3 pipes up, "It means a clean heart."

We were both floored.  We laughed and we praised him and I'm still in awe.  This isn't anything my husband or I taught him.  He must have learned it from Sunday School or Children's Church - way to go Pastor Keith, Pastor Pat, or Mrs. M. - he's absorbing something from your teaching - keep it up!  What a gift, I'm so thankful.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I should have known

It took four days to figure it out and yet I thought I was prepared to see it coming!

We had a guest preacher at church this morning, who happens to be a personal friend of ours.  He preached a dynamic message on Matthew 4:1-11.  Since the passage is about Jesus' temptation with Satan, it was one of those messages that really exposes the Devil for who and how he is...he doesn't like that one bit.

So, I let our friend know afterward that I would be praying against spiritual warfare for him this week.  His response, "Have you talked to my wife or are you just saying that?"  I was just saying it because the LORD had laid that on my heart, but apparently the enemy had been attacking at their house this past week in a preemptive attempt against his preaching on Matthew 4.

As I was explaining to him that I often feel under spiritual attack after I am involved in a Spirit-led proclamation of His Word...and in fact just Tuesday night I was telling DH, "Bible Study of Genesis 1 with the teen moms went really well tonight.  As excited as I am about that, I'm not looking forward to the potential spiritual warfare to follow tomorrow."  And that's when it dawned on me!

That melancholy mood, that depression I could seem to shake Thursday, Friday, Saturday...THAT was probably due to spiritual warfare.  The enemy knew I was expecting it on Wednesday, so he delayed and then zapped my energy, distracted my focus.  I couldn't figure it out, but today I am enlightened and maybe next time I can be a learner who learns and applies more quickly!




Sunday, March 11, 2012

To Refresh The Intense

If you don't know me personally, you have probably gathered from this blog that I am an intense person.  Intense, intentional, serious (although I love to laugh, I am not the Fun Creator).

Lately, I have been spending Sunday afternoon - while my family naps - resting my soul with a good book, articulating and thus imprinting on my heart what God's been teaching me by posting on this blog, being refreshed and/or spiritually challenged through www.aholyexperience.com, or a combination of the above with maybe something else thrown in occasionally.

Sunday, February 19, 2012 I found  myself plain worn out - physically, emotionally, spiritually...

It had been a long week and I was tired of it all -- tired of the pressure for progress with Grandpa moving in, tired of conflict with multiple loved ones, tired of the spiritual battle...

As I thought about my Sunday afternoon, my heart sank heavy - none of my usual activities sounded restful and rejuvenating...instead they felt heavy and I needed to be lightened.  I didn't want to just go through the motions and I couldn't discern what would God would want me to do.  Nothing sounded good except that Cheesecake Factory Brownie Cheesecake from Pancho Villa restaurant.

I went to hang my purse up and noticed the DVD in the pocket that a friend from church let me borrow to preview for DS...Cars 2.  I do not like the idea of watching a movie on Sabbath -- an escape that numbs my mind and heart instead filling it with the Life-giving Truth of God and His Word, but...Cars 2 sounded good to this 31 year old mama on this heavy afternoon in February!

For some reason God gave me a peace (no guilt!) I would not have expected - a peace to drive 24 minutes round trip and spend $7 (including tip) on a slice of cheesecake! (those who know this Scottish thrift know that I normally don't have peace about that kind of "waste" of time & money) and the freedom to watch a purely entertaining film.  It was a peace that said "This isn't emotional eating and this isn't an escape - this is the freedom I'm offering my beloved daughter because I love her."

And the even more pleasant surprise...I felt refreshed afterward!  I know those things don't give life in and of themselves and so I was expecting to feel about the same when it was all said and done.  (Which happened minutes before DD woke up from her nap and the call of motherhood rung again - thank you , LORD!)    But in the LORD's faithfulness, He is the One who granted the freedom and He provided the refreshment.  Cheesecake and a movie wouldn't be refreshing for me each Sunday, but when Guided by the Giver, there is even refreshment for "The Intense" in a quiet afternoon with dessert and Disney.

What a beautiful lesson, thank you, dear Father!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jesus Mountain - Adventure of the Christian Life

How do I articulate this?

I tried at our Mom-2-Mom last Thursday (March 1, 2012) and I really feel I botched it, so I'm going to try in written form...

It's the articulation of where I am in my Christian walk.  What I learning from God right now.  But how do I say it without sounding self-debasing or self-righteous, over-analytical or judgmental?

I want to know Christ, I want to live out His righteousness...(Philippians 3:8ff)  But to say that implies that I don't and does that come across as arrogant or belittling to someone who views me more spiritually mature than themself?  "If she doesn't think she knows Christ, then she must think I really know nothing."  No, no, no not at all!  No, I feel like I am the babe in Christ, learning how to drink this basic spiritual milk (1 Peter 2:2): Knowing Christ, living out His righteousness instead of my own "assets" (Philippians 3:7 - do I really!?! my pride deceives me!!!)  I may have been able to articulate truths for my Theology 404 class that my heart hasn't fully embraced yet.  Yes, yes I know & deeply believe the truths of His life and death and resurrection...this Easter, I want to really know it.  What does that take?  I think that takes many Selahs.  And the Selahs of the failures of fasting in Lent may just help with that.

A new Lesson to Learn for the Adventure.

For me, it's been 31 years of breathing on this earth and 16 years of those knowing Christ as my personal LORD and Savior.

16 years of hiking the mountain with God - first three years: very slowly, very flat terrain, establishing myself as a committed hiker; the next four years during college: charging that mountain, gaining a significant working knowledge of that mountain, being captivated by the breath-taking views, growing stronger by the dryness of the valleys, enjoying to minor peaks as I keep looking toward that Ultimate Peak of Heaven; two year post college: more peaks, more navigation skills, still quick pace, learning some of the finer tuned skills - growing in heart knowledge and not just head knowledge, finally committed to daily learning from The Guide Book; the last seven years: more dry valleys, more rocky terrain, more heart knowledge, more opportunities to apply the head and heart knowledge, more slips, stumbles, scrapes, blood, bruises - a more seasoned hiker to weather the storms but maybe also able to see the Hope of the Peak a little more clearly through the fog.

So, is this where God has me now after 16 years?  (For the timing and pace and lessons and challenges and victories and even smaller goals of everyone's journey to the Ultimate Peak is so very vastly different!)  We all start the journey on this "Jesus Mountain" with the Maker-Messiah Himself.  And depending on our background and personalities and opportunities to learn and what type of learners we are etc, etc, depends on how much and how often we take the lead and when we let the Maker-Messiah navigate for us.  How well do we listen to Him or do we think have been anointed the one to figure out this path now that The True Anointed One has gotten us started?

It has been my experience that echoes the stories of Scripture that the more we stay in step with the Maker-Messiah the more peaceful our trip, even when we have to weather storms.

But oh, that is so hard for this self-sufficient traveler!

So, I think this is where Maker-Messiah has me -- during this Lenten season -- at a place where I want to have a deeper understanding in my heart of hearts of my sin that sent Him to be sacrificed and the significance of that sacrifice.  Oh what deep lessons that will take a life-time to continue to wrap my heart around!

John Piper's The Passion of Jesus Christ: 50 Reasons Why He Came and Died has been a resource I've tried to slowly work through to break down the self-sufficiency of my heart.

I did not Make me or any of my talents and I did not Save me nor do I sanctify myself in any way.  Hmmm...that mysterious process of sanctification...I know in my head that it is all because of Christ's work, but my heart lives as if something of the sanctification part of salvation relies on my work..."work out your salvation" says Philippians 2:12.  "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose," says Philippians 2:13.  It's a both and.

Maybe it has something to do with Tim Keller's words in the "Heart: Three Ways to Live" section of  "Gospel in Life": "We need to not only repent of the bad things that we do, but we need to repent of the reasons we do good things."

"All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD." (Proverbs 16:2)  Oh, how it seems like even the good things I do and want to do are tainted with impure motives or reasons.  Purify me, LORD Jesus, purify me!!!

So maybe if I stay more in step with my Guide on the mountainous trails of life, I will see more clearly the path -- maybe I will want to stay away from the sin that sent Him to be sacrificed and maybe just maybe I will understand more His righteousness that I can receive through the power of His resurrection and maybe when I slip and stumble on the rocks (temptations to sin in thought, word, or action!) of the trail, I will know they were necessary to point me back to my Guide & Savior - the Only One who can & did walk the trail without slipping in order to save us and thus is the Only One I should link arms with as I navigate this Jesus Mountain called "life".  It's this truth of the Grace of Christ in the midst of Failure that seems to be the key Lesson of the LORD for me on this path of the Jesus Mountain.

The Jesus Mountain is Glorious no matter which trail you are on - the beginning trail head holds so much Glorious anticipation, the steady climb gives you opportunity to enjoy His Glorious scenery, the rocky terrain & valleys gives you opportunity to cling to the Glorious One into whose Glory you are climbing!  Keep hiking fellow traveler!  Keep hiking in Him and through Him and for Him (Romans 11:36)!


Friday, March 2, 2012

God's Helping Us Sweep - Little Learners

As I'm sweeping up the kitchen crumbs enough to feed a family mice for the week, DS4 says, "Mom, I want to help you sweep!"  Now what mom wouldn't want to hear that!  But it gets even better than that...there we are each with broom in hand, sharing the dust pan when he declares,

"Mom, God's helping us sweep."  

And I say, "How do you know that?"

"Because He's in our hearts."


"You're right!"

"He helps us with everything." (the emphasis of an energetic, passionate four year old shining through)


"Yes, He does give us the strength we need for everything we do."


And isn't this the lesson I'm learning: 1) Surrender Self-Sufficiency                                            
                                                       2) Any strength I have is the result of Christ's sacrifice


May I Learn through Child-Like Faith!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Sacrifice of Lent


As I was reviewing some memory verses lately, Ephesians 4:29 stopped me in my tracks.  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  (NIV)

With Ash Wednesday approaching, it dawned on me that  in view of God’s mercy to me through the cross, I could offer my words as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God as a spiritual act of worship.  Not conforming any longer to the pattern of this world (which justifies the flinging of letters under the guise of “personal expression” and “freedom of speech”), but - wow - to be transformed by the renewing of my mind.  (Rom. 12:1-2, NIV, not word for word)  What would happen if I truly thought about what I was going to say before I said it?  Thought about how those words will make an impact.  Will they be a relational withdrawal, will they take a piece away from that person’s (fragile?) God-made image?  Or will they be words that build that person up and benefit them in their walk with Christ?

I have “given up things for lent” many a times in the past.  And the discipline of this fasting has proven beneficial in different ways (Hopefully I will have a future post on my fasting experiences).  In years of late I have strove to have my mindset be more of a sacrifice in order to redirect my thoughts onto the deep, painful sacrifice of my Savior on my behalf – something I too often take for granted.  When I am tempted in that specific way, make the suffering of Jesus for my sake be my focus, instead of that temporal satisfaction.  This transforming of my mind has proven more challenging than the actual "giving it up" itself.

And yet, it’s only a day in to this sacrificial fast and already three times the type of words I committed to giving up are the words that have poured out of this fount which can’t decide if it wants to house fresh water or salt water! (James 3)  Oh, dear brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be so…thank you, Jesus, for your righteous work on the cross for me.  

I exhort you in this spiritual act of worship – Go before God and seek Him for Guidance in what He would want you to sacrifice in order to draw closer in intimacy with Him.  What part of you would you willingly lay on the altar, the refiner’s fire, in order for Him to take away the impurities and re-create you to look a little more like His Suffering Servant-Son, Jesus?



Banter


Continued from original "Lent" thoughts...

I have two friends whom I banter with like sisters.  This is an email I wrote to one of them regarding my Lent Sacrifice.  

So today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.  "Giving up
something for Lent" may be baggage you have from your Catholic background.  I have my own baggage on it from my Methodist background, but  in the past several years, choosing something as a sacrifice to remind me of the sacrifice of my savior is a spiritual practice, I have found freeing,
humbling, and rewarding.  I wanted to share my sacrifice of this season with you.  I recently had Ephesians 4:29 laid on my heart, "Do not let any
unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only what is useful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen."  I want to sacrifice my words to Jesus for the next 40 days and pray that each time I am tempted for something that is unwholesome, not building up or benefitting someone that it refines my tongue in such a way, that after 40 days my lips will flow with the words Jesus would have spoken more naturally!

I tell you this for three reasons:

1)      This commitment will affect the way I speak with you and you will
probably notice and I wanted you to know what's up with that.  I have been especially convicted lately that my words have been way too loose with you.  I am committed to only speaking words that build you up and benefit you!  So no more engaging in banter with you
J

2)      As one who I speak with regularly, I ask for your accountability,
dear sister.

3)      I invite you to join me.  I understand this is my conviction and not
yours, so I leave it between you and God.  If there is something else he
wants you to sacrifice, that is great.  If He shares a reason He doesn't
want you to give up something for Lent, I will respect that, too.  I just
know building habits like this is like working out - sometimes easier with a partner
J

Love, Jill
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And her response was that she would pray about it; then that she didn't feel a strong leading; she's got a spiritual formation book that keeps bringing up stuff; and she's not sure what I mean by banter.  When I used the specific example from a recent evening of our bantering, she seemed shocked.  In her mind it was harmless teasing. In my heart sarcasm usually has a root and it's more healthy for me to avoid it completely, for when I start getting sarcastic my words too easily fly into words that tear down rather than build up and hurt rather than benefit (or I end up on the receiving end of it.)

So then I got off the phone and felt like I failed at fulfilling Ephesians 4:29 because my explanation itself made her feel guilty!   AHHHHHH!!!

So this was my response...

Failure and Grace


An email following up my falter in my Lent commitment:

Dear Friend,
I guess I failed at Eph. 4:29 again already today – I have a feeling I didn’t leave you feeling built up and I have a feeling I didn’t benefit your walk with Christ if I left you feeling guilty.  A skilled teacher is able to meet someone where they are and help them take the next step.  I’m still having my skills refined.  I think Beth is much better there than I am.  I am too quick to see people’s potential, that I think I don’t assess where they are as well.   But know that was my intention – using the lent season to help us grow in the area of the words of our mouth; what I hoped to communicate was “wherever God had you there” not “what it looks like for me”  OR if God had another aspect of your “process of holiness” for you to sacrifice in this season in order to better embrace the sacrifice of Christ (because I know that’s a weakness of mine and I think for others as well).  I just think we can get overwhelmed by all of our areas of unrighteousness that it can be beneficial to focus on just one for the 40 days of lent in hopes that it breaks the bad habits and builds new ones, to refine us to look more like that Savior who sacrificed His Life on our behalf.  Hope that explains more of where I’m coming from and helps relieve the guilt that Jesus does NOT want to be there!

In His Grip of Grace as He picks me up from my falter,
Love Always,
~jill><>

And a follow-up thought on this!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Marriage/Divorce

Divorce and Deceit
Bible Study of Divorce and Adultery

In His Grip of Grace


Follow - up thoughts from a email of confession.

As I was meditating on my sign off in the email “In His Grip of Grace as He picks me up from my falter” I just realized, maybe this 40 days will be more a lesson of God’s grace than on my tongue!  Maybe He led me to an area that He knows I will fail at regularly so I will regularly have to turn to His Grace – which was at the root of the cross, the object in which I want to better embrace during this Lenten season! 

Maybe I should have “given up” chocolate, that would have been so much easier!  Oh my, there I go again, saying something that could offend someone…what I mean is that giving up chocolate would be easier for me, it’s no judgment on anyone who genuinely gave up chocolate.  That can be a true addiction that can lead someone to meditate on the sacrifice of Christ time and again as they are faced with that temptation!  Phew…It’s all about You, Jesus, all about You!

Divorce and Deceit


It happened again, I heard of a pastor (whom I respect), telling a wife that she had grounds for a divorce.  Sexual immorality...porn addiction.  "Every time he looked, he broke his vow."

My heart breaks for her, for her situation and for her pastoral advice.  And my heart breaks for God - for how His marriage covenant - the promise, the commitment - has become so tainted over the centuries and is barely even recognized as a covenant in modern society, even Christian society, among His people.  

To clarify up front, this is NOT a condemnation for the divorced nor a condoning of sexual immorality; for we all are probably friends with someone divorced and many of us affected by the pain and brokenness of divorce.  “He who is sinless cast the first stone;” (John 8) I do not stand as judge nor can I stand as judge (I believe my sin of harsh, disrespectful words and the ways he fails to fully love me are just as ugly sins in God’s eyes – physical adultery and adultery with words both offend God’s holy design for marriage).  And yet there is A Judge who has established the standard for marriage, even created it to model the relationship He has with His people.  

I only want to voice how I see the Bible portraying marriage and divorce in hopes to spark in people's minds a transformed (Rom 12:2- not conformed to the pattern of this world) understanding that maybe, just maybe will be a spark that starts a radical passion for marriage that flames strong in The Church, fighting against the deceit the crafty serpent has demised. 

So, God creating marriage to model His relationship with His people…and that is modeled after the union He has in the Trinity! (Genesis 2, Ephesians 5)

So what does God’s relationship with His people look like?  He extends His covenantal love, grace, forgiveness, faithfulness, protection, provision to an appreciative, faithful, loving people – right?  No! - He again and again reaches out to an ungrateful, faithless, idolatrous/adulterous, grumbling group of people.  His people (Israel and The Church – think Peter, Saul) sin against Him and each other regularly, not just every once in a while.  And He forgives them and embraces them in His covenantal love each time – no doubt with sadness, even anger…but the picture of our God is to initiate toward us in our sin…and yet again.  (cf. Hosea)

Is this the picture - the model - the people of God are giving as a witness of God’s love to the watching world?

I think most would agree, “No.”

When my best friend from high school was separated from her husband and contemplating divorce, as one who stood as a witness to her marriage covenant vow, I was motivated to seek what the Bible really says about divorce (as opposed to what our itching ears have become accustomed to hearing these days – 2 Timothy 4:3).

That study can be found HERE.

Bible Study of Divorce and Adultery


This is a follow-up post from a post "Divorce and Deceit".

When my best friend from high school was separated from her husband and contemplating divorce, as one who stood as a witness to her marriage covenant vow, I was motivated to seek what the Bible really says about divorce (as opposed to what we our itching ears have become accustomed to hearing these days – 2 Timothy 4:3).  This is the study that unfolded.  I am aware that it flies in the face of what most Christians I've heard of support, so it may rub you the wrong way.   I'm not looking to be confrontational; I'm looking at what is actually said in the Bible, the immediate context in which it is said, and the broader context of Scripture as Jesus' platform on which He would speak on divorce.  I'd be honored if you considered the exegesis without dismissing it because it's not "common teaching."

For the Glory of CHRIST and HIS CHURCH!!!

Matthew 5:27-32   27 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.'  28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.  30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.  31 "It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.'  32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

q  Man divorces wife, makes her commit adultery
q  Man marries a divorced woman, he commits adultery.


Ø     Why does he make her commit adultery?  He leaves her alone (in that culture a woman being  alone leaves her pretty useless,) so it is almost necessary for  her to remarry, but if she does, she commits adultery because she is still joined to her husband in God’s eyes.  That is why the husband would make her/ cause her to commit adultery.
Ø     Why does a man commit adultery if he marries a divorced woman?  Because God still considers her married to her first husband.
Ø     Why does a man not make her commit adultery on the grounds of sexual immorality?  Because when she was sexual immoral, she committed adultery on her own, he did not make her.

  I don’t think this is a justification for divorce, but a clarification of the adultery labeling.


 Matthew 19:3-12   3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?"  4 He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,  5 and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh'?  6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."  7 They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?"  8 He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.  9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery." 

q  Man divorces wife, marries another, commits adultery.

Ø     Clarification: “marries another” – that second union is what causes adultery to be committed against the first spouse.
Ø     Could it be that he does not commit adultery by divorcing his wife and marrying another because he has already committed adultery through his sexual immorality?
This verse is different than Matt. 5 because it refers to him committing  adultery instead of making her. OR does he not commit adultery against her because she has already committed adultery against him with her sexual immorality?  Who’s sexual immorality is highlighted here?


Luke 16:18   18 "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

q     Man divorces wife, marries another, commits adultery.
q     Man marries a divorced woman, he commits adultery.



Mark 10:2-12   2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"  3 He answered them, "What did Moses command you?"  4 They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away."  5 And Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.  6 But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.'  7 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,  8 and they shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh.  9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."  10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter.  11 And he said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her,  12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

q     Man divorces wife, marries another, commits adultery.
q     Wife divorces her husband, marries another, she commits adultery.

Ø     All bases covered: Man divorcing wife, wife divorcing man, and man marrying divorced wife = adultery because Jesus reminds us in these passages of God’s original intent for marriage that has been distorted through hardness of heart.  God joins two together in marriage to become one and does not separate that union except through death. (Rom. 7)
Ø     No “except for sexual immorality” in Mark or Luke, must not be the key message of those verses.  If the clause for divorce justification was the intent for those verses, you would think it would be present in each of them, since there would be no other Biblical support for it.  The Matthew verses stand alone for the supposed “justification of divorce on the grounds of adultery,” thus maybe that is not their intended message.