Monday, April 21, 2014

Synthetic or Real?

Synthetic or Real?

"Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies." Proverbs 31:10
Isn't amazing how culturally relevant the bible remains throughout the ages? Even today, as it was back when the verse was breathed by God, it is so unusual to find a virtuous woman. As rare as rubies! It may seem like rubies aren't so stores are full of them. Check out this ABC news story: (excerpt below, full store here)

You can't spot a composite with the naked eye. But under the microscope, the difference is dramatic.
The natural ruby is on the left, and the composite on the right.
See those bubbles in the composite stone? They're air bubbles trapped inside the glass material.
"There's a huge addition of glass in this particular product. And while it looks beautiful, extreme care needs to be exercised when you wear them," said professional gemologist Antoinette Matlins.
Unlike real rubies, composites are not totally stable. Lynch showed ABC News what happens when a composite is exposed to the chemicals jewelers typically use.
After 2 minutes, the chemicals start to eat away at the glass.
"If it were a regular ruby and just all ruby, nothing would happen," he said. "You could leave it in there for days."

Sure, there are many fabricated stones out there that are imitations of rubies...and some are very deceptive! To the naked eye, most of us can't tell the difference between a real ruby and a synthetic one. What a timely comparison to the "christian" women of today! There are many fabricated virtuous women out there, that from the outside have all appearances of the Proverbs 31 woman. But only God, the creator of their souls, knows if they are authentic.
A true ruby will show its authenticity when tried by the fire and chemicals. A virtuous woman will also expose her true foundation and faith when tried by the fire and stresses/conflicts in life. We are designed and designated for a purpose by our Creator. We will withstand the fire and come out authentic when we are grounded and rooted in His perfect design for us! He is the One who traded our sin for His righteousness, our heart of stone for a heart of flesh, and our weakness for His strength!
Virtuous by definition means "morally excellent". There is no other place for a Christian man or woman to find their compass for morality than in the Bible. Therefore, the prescription for our virtue, or moral excellence, is laid out for us very specifically in God's Word. A quick comparison of a virtuous woman vs. a synthetic, fabricated woman is enlightening and convicting.


Her husband trusts her
Synthetic Ruby:
Is deceitful, tells half truths to “protect” him

Does her husband good
Synthetic Ruby:
Looks out for her own interests, not placing her family first

Is busy caring for her household
  Synthetic Ruby:
Is busy running around, staying on the phone, etc. and doesn’t take care to make her home a haven

Is a good steward of her time
Synthetic Ruby:
Uses time frivolously and is lazy

Is a servant to others, the poor and the needy
Synthetic Ruby:
Is not prepared for hospitality as her own home is not in order
Is busy caring for her household
Her faithfulness and submission are testimony to her husband and His spiritual leadership
Synthetic Ruby
She is testimony that her husband is not the head of the home by her lack of sub- mission and i impropriety

Strength and dignity are her clothing and she smiles at the future
Synthetic Ruby:
She crumbles at the first sign of trial and weakens her family structure

She is wise and able to teach other women because of her virtue
  Synthetic Ruby:
She is known for folly, slander, and gos- sip-not for biblical living

Her husband and children are blessed by her godliness and desire to live for God
Synthetic Ruby:
Her family has suffered due to her synthetic godliness and they don’t desire “Christianity”

Her beauty radiates from her godliness and fear of the Lord
Synthetic Ruby:
Her beauty is also fabricated as her sin has blighted her face and eyes and weakened her body

She lives out her old age in blessing and purity as she is praised for the product of her hands and faithfulness go to God
Synthetic Ruby:
Her life is lived out in regret and loneliness from a life lived in selfish ambition and gain
(adapted from Proverbs 31: 10-31)
How many women do you see around that are authentic? I don't mean living out for all to see...those are the synthetic ones! A true ruby is working meekly and humbly for the Lord by serving her family (home and church) and by exemplifying the qualities God has prescribed for her. Her secret? Living and loving, by faith and obedience, according to His Word.
What a difference there would be in our homes and churches if women would embrace the freedom in submission, the glory in obedience, and the blessings of faithfulness!
If you desire to be a virtuous woman, God will bring examples into your life. There are some out there! Look for them and mark the difference in their lives, their husbands, their children, their service and their countenance. Study His Word concerning women and then open your eyes. You will see true rubies! They are rare, but they exist!
Ask questions:
Is there a woman that you admire for her Christ-likeness?

For her true love for God and His Word?
For the way she honors and respects her husband?
For her meekness and gentleness?
For her modesty yet femininity?
For the way she raises her children?

For the way her children respond to her and others?

May we all ask God to make us living examples of His power, grace, and strength and help us to live out His design! All for the glory of God!

"Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies." They are hard to the exception!

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen" Romans 11:36

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Book Review: Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full

I would love to buy cases of this book and hand it out to all the moms I know!
If you are looking for an honest and gospel centered book on mothering - Buy this book!  Whether you are a mom to small children or grown...even grandmas!  You will want this book!
Husbands:  This would be a great Mother's Day gift! Buy this book for your wife!

"Yes, mother, your hands are full, literally. And your hands are filled to overflowing with grace by the one who stretched his hands out for you on the cross. "

I highly recommend (can you tell?)  Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full by Gloria Furman. 
Gloria's bio states, 

"I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, wife to Dave, mother of four young children, and a Tex-Mex enthusiast. When my husband and I moved to the Middle East in 2008 to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai it was just the two of us and our baby girl, and we had no idea what the Lord was going to do. Not a day goes by that we're not astonished by God's grace in calling us here, in using us to minister to people from many nations, and in blessing us with three more children along the way."
 She is the author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home and blogs regularly at the Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, and

I was so thrilled to read a book, written by a young mother, that is so full of godly wisdom and truth.  So much so, that I have little doubt that it was written through the power of God and for His great glory.

"The gift of motherhood points mothers to treasure Jesus Christ as he transforms our heart from the inside out. That’s the subject I am going to unpack in this book. In case you’re too busy to read the rest of it (I know what that’s like!), the gist of my thesis is this:
Because of the gospel—the news about what Jesus did on the cross to save sinners—mothers who make Christ their treasure can rejoice in their work as God works in them. "

I love how she points out in the beginning of the book that, 

"Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full is not a to-do list on how to be a good mother. It’s about our good God and what he has done.  AndWhile I do not venture to give sage advice in the how-to’s of mothering (my oldest child is still in primary
school), the application of the gospel to motherhood is immensely practical. I kept a note on my desktop while writing these pages. The note says: “Resist the urge to reduce God’s Word to nice tips for nice living: give them the gospel.”

Once I got to this point in the book, I knew I wanted to read more!

Mrs. Furman has an uncanny way of shining a scriptural light upon the lies and misconceptions of motherhood.  She is transparent in the motives of the heart and quick to combat her sin and wrong thinking with the Truth of the Word.  I so love her heart in this book and her desire to point everything to Christ.  Sometimes a book will have a title that is just catchy.  Not this book.  It is clear that Treasuring Christ is not only the title, but the intent of the entire work.  From first page to last, Furman points herself and mothers to Christ: Part 1-God Made Motherhood for Himself and Part 2-Motherhood for Worship. Every section of this book is so filled with Christ and the Truth of scripture, that there are 3 full pages in the back to notate the Scripture references!  I always say don't read any man-written book without your bible right beside...I still say it for this book, though it is wonderfully on point with referencing every thought or statement against the Word of God.  So refreshing.

And grace.  Grace is a popular topic throughout the history of Christian writers, yet many are seeing and understanding grace in a new light in this generation.  Furman stays biblically firm in her application of God's grace:

"Family Tradition #1: We Always Need God’s Grace

He fulfilled God’s highest expectations of perfection, and in Him all the promises of God find their Yes (2 Cor. 1:20). In Him we find mercy in our time of need—which is alwaysGrace is the most important thing for us to keep in mind as we shape the expectations of our home. Our children need to grow up knowing, “We always trust God because he’s willing and able to help us,” and, “We always praise God because he is our most valuable treasure.” And we need to get up every morning knowing, “I always trust God because he’s willing and able to help me.”

Yet, she lovingly causes us to take an honest look and  true inventory of our need for grace:

"Do you need God’s grace? Or do you have what it takes to multitask your busy routine? Do you need God’s grace? Or have you been “down this road before” with your husband, and your conflict will sort itself out in time? Do you need God’s grace? Or do you just need Google? Do you need God’s grace? Or do you pretty much have this motherhood gig in the bag? 

She gives so many real world and transparent examples in her own life...when she blows it, being willing to ask her children forgiveness, and to defeating unrealistic expectations and guilt:

"Things like “mommy guilt” cannot crush us because Christ was crushed on the cross in our stead. Jesus is our consistency;"

"The Lord is just as near to you when you’re using a bulb sucker on a tiny, congested nose and as you’re summoning the wisdom of Solomon to settle a spat over a disputed toy."

"Indeed, the steadfast love of the Lord is better than life (Ps. 63:3) because his love gives us his life. Because of his love we are able to love. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
It is this love—the love of Christ—that compels Christian mothers to love their children."

"Why was I so depleted in love for others? Why was my attitude so hostile toward the people I love the most? In my prayerful reflections on that incident, the Lord graciously revealed to me that I had a deep craving to satisfy my own needs before the needs of others. I saw how my nearly unceasing service toward my family had actually been powered by attempts to resuscitate myself through sheer willpower and control my environment. "

“There are no perfect moms,” we quip, but we’ll die trying to prove we might be the exception. "

In a time when countless books are being written on how to be a better mom, how to get your kids to love you more or how to get more "me-time", Gloria Furman's book stands out as the book that shows us how to treasure Christ more, how to glorify God in the privilege of motherhood, and how to point our children to Christ by showing and embracing grace.

"Treasuring Christ as preeminent in our lives gives our children a self-sacrificing, neighbor-serving, sin-forgiving, grace-extending illustration of how God is worthy to be seen, admired, and displayed as the greatest hope we could ever have. Jesus is the one who loves us most of all with his redeeming love."

(I was given a copy of this book by Beyond the Page/Crossway Books in exchange for an honest review)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Toiling On!

Marching on, marching on,
For Christ count everything but loss!
And to crown Him King, we’ll toil and sing,
’Neath the banner of the cross!
(The Banner of the Cross-Daniel Whittle)

For some reason this song has been stuck in my head since I was a little girl.  I'm not sure if we sang it a lot in church when I was a child or if my mom used it as a motivational song for me to get my chores done. Whatever the reason, it is stuck!  But, I have always sung the first line as "Toiling on, Toiling on" instead of marching on.  It wasn't until recently that I saw the song printed somewhere that I noticed I had the words wrong!  But did I?  I believe God had it planted in my head that way because He knew the mission He had set out for me.  Motherhood.

Being a mom is wonderful!  I love it!  Most days...

Here's the definition for toil:
  1. 1.
    work extremely hard or incessantly.
    "we toiled away"
    synonyms:work hard, labor, exert oneself, slave (away), grind away, strive, work one's fingers to the bone, put one's nose to the grindstone; More

  1. 1.
    exhausting physical labor.
    "a life of toil"
    synonyms:hard work, laborexertion, slaving, drudgeryeffortindustry, 'blood,sweat, and tears'; More

This really does describe motherhood...but I don't look at this as discouraging but encouraging!  We all toil at something!  And I love that my calling is to toil at motherhood but I'll be honest-  some days are just hard!  Some weeks are hard!  It's not always how commercials, pinterest and movies make it look.  In fact, is it ever?  Like so many other things, culture likes to give us this "picture" to live up to in order to sell us something.  "If I just had that mixer, I could bake chocolate chip cookies with my kids and giggle as we get flour on our noses."  "If we could just go to Disney together, I know we could have some really great moments that would bring our family closer."  And, "If I just had that mop that makes life easier I can just shake my head and giggle at the milk and jelly that just crashed on the floor."  Sometimes we have those moments and SOMETIMES...nah...I never shake my head and giggle at the spills.  But, my joy and happiness in being a mom is not dependent on these things.  It's not dependent on the special moments...though we have plenty. I want my kids to know that.  I want to constantly remind myself of that.  My joy and happiness comes from my faith, hope, and trust in God, not in the atmosphere I can create in my home to show the world that we are doing it "right".

 I toil on for Christ! I rejoice in the good days and the bad days for Christ!  It's a shocking thing I'm gonna say here.  Prepare yourself.  My children are not the source of my joy and hope.  My children bring me great joy.  I love them more than I love myself (except when I get mad because I love myself more than I love them...but that is another post).  They are, apart from salvation and my godly husband, my most precious gifts from God.  But if I base my joy on them, I will be disappointed.  If they base their joy on me they will really be disappointed.  My joy is in Him and my only expectation is from Him.  "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him."Psalm 62:5  I want them to know that.  I want to demonstrate that to my children so that they never look for joy and happiness in anything but Christ.  Oh, temporary happinesses may come...but the rough days come as well.  I pray I will teach my kids to base their hopes, foundations, dreams-everything on Christ alone.  He is the only One who never fails!  He is the source of hope: Psalm 119:14;Psalm 23...and a million other verses.  I want my kids to look to Jesus for everything...not look for happiness in things, people or events.  Psalm 16:11 

So, I toil on in my calling of motherhood.  Not for their benefit and not so I will be mother of the year.  I toil, as the song says, to crown Him King beneath the banner of the cross.  Everything I do is to honor and glorify Him.  My children will benefit from that so much more than the vain things this world says makes a great mom. What makes a great mom, dad, family, or person is Christ and Him being the source and purpose for all that we do. 

Sometimes it's easy and all the world seems right.  Sometimes it is toiling.  But, with joy I will sing:

Toiling on, Toiling on,
For Christ count everything but loss!
And to crown Him King, we’ll toil and sing,
                                ’Neath the banner of the cross! 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Take My Life and Let It Be

We are singing this in church tomorrow in response to Romans 14:13-19.  As I have been meditating on the words, preparing for worship, I am trying to sing them with thoughts toward my own life and heart so as not to sing numbly, but with a tender heart.

"Take my life (truly, Yours Lord) and let it be
Consecrated (sacred, holy, set apart) Lord to Thee
Take my moments and my days (each moment, second-not being on auto pilot in the mundane; every part of my days and all my days)
Let them flow in ceaseless praise (Oh, that we(I) would praise Him with each moment, regardless of what it brings, with my life in obedience to Him.)
Let them flow in ceaseless praise

Take my hands (clean hands, with a pure and holy heart-I lift them up to You, Lord) and let them move(not idle, but working for my Lord!)
At the impulse of Thy love(listening to the prompting of the Spirit, the One you left to lead and direct us)
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee
Swift and beautiful for Thee(beautiful are the feet that bring the gospel of PEACE)

Take my voice(You gave me a voice!) and let me sing(A way to worship you audibly from the outflow of my heart)
Always only for my King(Doesn't the pot do all the Potter created Him for?  Oh may I never use my voice for what doesn't please you, My Creator!)
Take my lips (may I repent like Isaiah of my unclean lips )and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee(May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight)
Filled with messages from Thee

Take my silver and my gold
Not a mite would I withhold(It's all Yours, Lord)
Take my intellect (all I have comes from you) and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose
Every power as Thou shalt choose(Lord, help us to seek wisdom for Your glory and not intellect for man's applause)

Take my will(my will?  Would I have ever sought you?  Now that you have saved me, let my will be lost in Yours) and make it Thine
It shall be no longer mine(I am crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live, but Christ lives in me)
Take my heart(You made my heart of stone a heart of flesh) it is Thine (I am His and He is mine! )own
It shall be Thy royal throne
It shall be Thy royal throne(Isaiah 66:1-Let my heart be Your throne!)

Take my love(any love I have comes from the One who IS Love), my Lord, I pour(I pour it all out for You...poured out, yet You continue to fill me til my cup overflows)
At Thy feet(where I long to stay, bowing before You, my All in All) its treasure -store
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only all for Thee (You are always enough for me...)
Ever, only all for Thee(You are all I need.  Hallelujah, all I have is Christ!)

Francis R. Havergal (thoughts mine)