Tag Archives: Church

Blog Bible Study #6

16 Mar

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Hi BBS girls! I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already – this week has flown!

Chapter 6: A heart that follows

This is just one of those chapters that you know is going to challenge you before you even begin reading it. Submission definitely doesn’t come easy!
However, I did have a little bit of an issue with this chapter. I agreed with what she said, but I thought she was treading a fine line of getting the word ‘submit’ and ‘obey’ mixed up in her final point about responding to your husband’s words and actions positively.  I understand (and agree personally) that as women we often have a tendency to say “no” to our husbands too much, but for her to be encouraging us to always say “sure!”  to our husbands requests almost takes away the wife’s ability to think. Submission doesn’t mean that we follow our husbands on auto-pilot, as I mentioned in last chapter’s study; it’s all about team work. I realise that maybe she didn’t have time to go into all of this, but I think the woman does have an important role in advising her husband in a godly way, and the way she worded it made it sound like we just have to say yes to our husbands whatever he asks (as long as it’s not unbiblical). Maybe I’m being too harsh and nit-picking…what did you girls think?

Anyway…what does the bible say about submission?

Ephesians 5:22-24
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Colossians 3:18
Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Titus 2:5
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

1 Peter 3:1
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives.

Choose a positive word of response – Ok! Despite my earlier point I actually I think I say no to Josh way too much. Sometimes I don’t even have a good reason to say no, but it just comes out without much thought.

Ask of each word, act, and attitude, “Am I bending or bucking?” I am a massive control freak and I’ve recently realised that I don’t really trust Josh to do things, even though he’s perfectly capable and often better than me anyway!
I really need to trust in him more in the things he does and the decisions he makes for our lives. I think that I need to think more before I answer Josh too. My immediate reaction is to buck against his suggestions, but if I train myself to keep silent and pray for God’s guidance I know that I would realise that most of the time it’s not worth kicking up a fuss!

Make a commitment to revere and respect your husband. Ask of your attitude, “Am I demonstrating respect for my husband?”
I would hope that people seeing me would think that I respect my husband, but I know I could do a lot better. I think it’s important for wives to curb their tongues because it’s very easy to nag and embarrass their husbands in public.
I also want to make more of a commitment to put Josh first and listen to him when he’s excited or upset about something rather than getting distracted by the busyness of life.

I do not give Josh enough credit for how amazing he is. He deserved my respect!

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Blog Bible Study #5

9 Mar

Even if you’re not taking part in the Blog Bible Study and you normally skip over the ‘God stuff’ on my blog please read this post! I want to know what you think!

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Recently, lots of people have been asking me what I want to do with my future. Quite a lot of those people have looked at me a little strangely when I have replied ‘I want to be a vicar’s wife’.

This chapter (for those that haven’t been joining in) is all about how we can be servant hearted – specifically towards our husbands.

I know so many women, and a few men actually, who have huge problems with women being described as a man’s ‘helpers’ in the bible. They see that as sexist, chauvinistic and that it demeans a woman’s role in society.

I don’t know if you noticed that yesterday was International Women’s Day. Josh mentioned to me an interview he heard with a woman who was bemoaning the fact that women often have to stay home and look after children and that it was harming the advancement of women in society.

Now, I don’ t know if it’s my upbringing, my character or the fact that I’m not career driven but I can’t understand that point of view  at all. I have no problem in seeing myself as a helper to my husband. I would challenge anyone who thinks that the bible doesn’t describe the roles of men and women being equal, because it definitely does! (ask me about it in the comments if you disagree).

Anyway, sorry for the rant – but I feel quite passionately about this. I’m not a model wife by any stretch of the imagination but I do truly desire to support my husband in what he does and that’s why I describe myself as wanting to be a vicar’s wife.
You often hear horror stories about how stressful being a pastor is and how it can break apart families and marriages. I don’t want that to happen to us. I don’t want Josh to be burnt out. I want to be a support to him and create a home which he can come back to and feel loved, cherished and refreshed.

Having said that, being selfless and supporting in this way isn’t easy, and that’s where we come back to the root of this chapter.

Service

1) Make a commitment to help your husband. As I’ve already said I want to commit to serving my husband and supporting him in his role as a (trainee to be!) vicar. We’re a team and I truly believe that God has called us into this together. It may seem completely un-PC to want to be a woman who creates a home and a lifestyle which is a haven for my family and for others that are in need rather than to pursue a career, but that’s what I want to do!

2) Focus on your husband. But in reality how can I really fulfil that commitment? It’s going to be hard because it means putting Josh before myself and that just doesn’t come naturally! I guess it becomes easier when you realise each other’s gifts and see yourself as a team working towards a common goal. I would be rubbish at getting up and preaching and having to be with people all day long, and Josh’s gifts don’t lie in admin cooking and homemaking but if we work together we make up for what the other lacks.

3) Ask of your actions: Will this help or hinder my husband? I really liked this section and thought it applied to every relationship. Will what I say build up or break this person emotionally? There’s so many times that I choose to say or do something that is selfish and it isn’t helpful to Josh. I especially think it’s easy for me to nag him. Sometimes it’s okay to ask him to do something and to push him for his best – but nagging never gets anywhere.

At the end of the day if any relationship is working at its best it’s a give-give situation. Although it’s not the reason we should serve, if the relationship is working correctly both parties will be serving equally. It’s not as if the husband is constantly taking, sitting around with his feet up while his poor harassed wife runs everything. He will be loving and serving his wife to the same degree as she is helping and serving him. Like I say, it’s all about teamwork!

Even if you’re not taking part in this BBS I would love to hear your views on the role of women. Please let me know if you disagree with what I have said, I am genuinely interested in what people think!

Blog Bible Study #4

2 Mar

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In this section titled “Two Kinds of Hearts,” we contrasted the disobedience of King Saul with the obedience of David.  Make notes on these instances of Saul’s disregard of God’s commands through His prophet Samuel. 

In 1 Samuel we read the story of Saul becoming King. Several times God gives Saul direct instructions, and several times Saul disobeys God. In 1 Samuel 13 we see that Saul disobeys out of fear. He thought his and his men’s life was in danger and assumed that he knew best; even though God had already given him clear instructions through Samuel.

As a result of this (and other) disobedience God rejected Saul as king.

The fact that you are reading this book and doing this study indicates your desire for a heart that obeys.  So…it’s time for some honest personal application and heart searching!  Can you think of any situations in your life when you are making excuses about your disobedience?  Or blaming someone else for your disobedience?  Or obeying God only halfway? 

I often justify my actions in light of how other people act. For example, if my husband is being really grumpy and frustrating I’ll consider it okay to be un-loving back! One really important thing that I have realised is that concentrating on a personal relationship with God is key. If I am taking notice of how I act in situations, aim to be Godly at all time and leave the other people up to God I automatically become less judgemental, less controlling, I take things less personally and I’m less likely to treat others badly. 

Read 1 Peter 2:1 and begin a list of heart attitudes and behaviours that hinder growing a heart of obedience.  Which, if any, are hindering the growth of your heart?
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind.

Hmmm…probably hypocrisy. I often get frustrated with people for doing things, make judgements and or say harsh things when actually I make mistakes too (shocking I know!). Just because that person has done something wrong doesn’t give me an excuse to hold a grudge. For example, my husband is amazing. He helps me round the house loads and he’s really romantic. But sometimes I just snap at him because I’ve had a busy day and I think that he should have had time to do some chore or another. However, I need to keep it in perspective. He’s had a busy day too…and everyone sometimes has quiet days where the chores don’t get done.

Read 1 Peter 2:2, Ephesians 4:15-32, and Colossians 3:1-17, for heart attitudes and behaviours that enrich your life as a Christian.  What one or two areas would you like to cultivate?

Therefore,as God’s chosen people clothe yourself  with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
That sounds like the woman I would like to be!

This week has been crazy for me, so I’m sorry I haven’t done all the questions today but I have really liked this chapter. I’ve been especially challenged about not sinning even when other people provoke me. It’s not an excuse.

Blog Bible Study #3

23 Feb

Welcome to Chapter 3- A Heart Committed to Prayer

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I’ve got to admit that when I grabbed my book this week and saw that this chapter was about prayer my heart sank. Why? Well, because like Elizabeth George I know that my prayer life is a real area of struggle {and failure}.

I think I find prayer hard for three main reasons:
– I’m lazy, and prayer takes time and effort – much more so than bible reading I would say.
– I’m a quiet person who prefers to listen than to talk, so the idea of pouring all my thoughts and feelings out doesn’t come naturally in what sometimes feels like a monologue
– I know that God does want to hear my praise, concerns and petitions but sometimes they just seem inadequate.

*Of course, Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of a Person of prayer.  Read Mark 1:35 for a glimpse at Jesus in prayer.  What can you learn about His prayer life?
Jesus escaped the busyness of healing, driving out evil spirits and large crowds following his every move by retreating to a solitary place, alone, where he wouldn’t be disturbed to pray.
It’s a good example to follow that daily, solitary, set aside time for prayer is important. Not just praying as you go through your day and as situations arise, which is what I often do.

*Let’s review the 7 blessings of prayer listed in this chapter.

Blessing #1: A Deeper Relationship with God–As you consider that prayer increases faith, provides a place  to unload burdens, teaches us that God is always near, trains us not to panic, and changes lives, which one of these benefits would be the greatest reason for developing a heart committed to prayer at this stage in your life?  Why?
I’ve been thinking a lot about faith recently. Last week I prepared a talk on Psalm 6 in which we looked at David’s prayer to God. He appealed to God’s loving nature to save him from his sin and from his enemies, and then later in the Psalm he had a reassurance that God had heard his prayer. We also considered about how God answers prayer. It might not always be in the way that we deem ‘perfect’ for our lives, but it will be perfect in God’s plan and so will be the best for us in the long run.
If we don’t believe that God will answer our prayer in his way then what is the point of praying in the first place? And if I do honestly believe that God has heard my prayer shouldn’t I have immense peace and joy about the fact that God has things all under control?
Things are quite up in the air for us at the moment, and I feel ill-equipped for what our future will bring, so I’m trying to remind myself of what God is teaching me at the moment and have more peace that he will lead and equip us.

Blessing #2: Greater PurityI shared with you my problem with gossip in this area of purity.  Now won’t you identify your particular problem area and share briefly what you plan to do about it?
I wish that I could be more patient and I long to be able to hold my tongue in certain situations! I liked the way that Elizabeth George talked about confessing her sin of gossip and getting very serious about it, not just glossing over it but flagging it up every time it happened.

Blessing #3: Confidence in Making Decisions– What difference did prayer make in the direction for Jesus’ new day?  And what difference might prayer make in the direction for your new days?
As I’ve already said, I was really challenged by this chapter. However, I genuinely want to be changed by God through this bible study so I grabbed my diary and wrote down some prayer points in the notes section for this week. I found that really helped me to keep my focus. I might not be praying for long, but having a list made it easier to keep my focus on what I’m worried or concerned about (without it my mind tends to wander!).
Jesus started his day with his father and then went onto have a busy, profitable day with the people of that area. In the same way I have found pouring out my concerns and recording them really helpful. I know that I have given my day to God and that he will work them out in his way. It gives me more peace.

 

Blessing #4: Improved Relationships– What relationship do you need to improve through prayer, and how can you begin immediately to commit to pray about that relationship? I guess my constant prayer is that I’ll be a better wife. Josh is such an amazing husband to me, and I want to be the best wife I can be, whether that means nagging less or being less selfish. I know it will take a lifetime of work and that I can only do it through God so I’ll keep on praying!

Blessing #5: Contentment–Identify an area in your life where you struggle with finding contentment.  Now look at Philippians 4:10-13.  What can you learn about contentment from these words from the apostle Paul?  How can you apply Paul’s lessons to your own situation? 
God knows what we need, and he will provide for us. I heard a phrase the other day which made me smile – “If God doesn’t provide it, we don’t need it!”
For the last few years I have been struggling with contentment over our future. My friends from Uni seemed to be moving on and getting jobs and we still seemed to be in Aber not quite knowing what the future held. I was happy in my job, but there was always a nagging feeling that we weren’t quite good enough. Now of course, we know what God has in store for us and we can see why we have been in Aberystwyth for so long. It’s been a good lesson in patience and trust.

Blessing #6: God-Confidence–How do these scriptures increase your trust in God?
Psalm 34:9—He will provide for those who follow him.
Psalm 84:11—He will bestow favour and good things. Not just the things we need but blessings beyond what we need too.

Blessing #7: The Ministry of Prayer–Edith Schaeffer stated, “Interceding for other people makes a difference in the history of other people’s lives.”  Who are the people you can minister to through prayer, and when do you plan to begin this “ministry”?
I’ve always had 4 or 5 key people that I have prayed for throughout the years, but I’ve been seeing that as I’ve gone back to recording my thoughts in my diary that it helps my prayers to be more structured and reminds me that I need to pray for them DAILY and not just when I remember!

Although I started out reading this chapter with a sinking heart, I have been so encouraged this week! God has answered lots of the prayers that I have recorded in my diary already and it has encouraged me to keep plugging away at getting up early to do my quiet times before work.

Blog Bible Study #2

16 Feb

The Pursuit of God – Chapter 2 :: A Heart Abiding by God’s Word

What meant the most to you from this chapter or what offered you the greatest challenge or inspired you deeply?
I really liked this chapter. I thought it was set out in a really helpful and concise way. I was especially challenged by the story she told of the woman who spent time with God before each seminar she was teaching at a conference and was much more calm and controlled as a response. I’m so often in the same situation [frantic church activities] and I long to be calm, peaceful and trusting in God!

Drawing Life from God’s Word
“Am I flourishing or failing? Thriving or wilting? Blossoming or withering? These are questions we would do well to ask ourselves regularly about our spiritual condition. And abiding in God’s Word is one sure way to develop a root system that causes us to draw from the Lord all we need to enjoy a flourishing, thriving, blossoming life. Let’s take a few minutes to learn more about roots. 

*Roots are unseen — How is your “underground” life, the time you spend abiding in God’s Word and prayer out of sight, alone, in secret? Before we move on, search your heart and jot down a few honest answers to this all-important question.
I am grateful to God that my devotional life with him has grown so much in the last few years. I work at a church and it’s quite easy to be immersed in God’s word all the time as we have prayer meetings and bible studies as part of our staff meetings etc.. Through that I have come to LOVE reading and studying God’s word more and so it’s easier to find the motivation to have a devotional time on my own.
However, I’m still a long way from where I would like to be! I need to work more on the prayer side of my devotionals.

*What is the first word of Psalm 1, a psalm that spends three verses describing a woman (or man) who is flourishing, thriving and blooming?
Blessed!

*How does the person of Psalm 1 approach the Word of God according to verse 2a?
He delights in the law of the Lord 

*And what does she do (verse 2b) with what she finds in God’s Word?
Meditates on it day and night

*Note the results listed in verse 3 that come from time spent in God’s Word:
Yield fruits in season, doesn’t wither, whatever he does prospers

*Roots are for taking in – – – Consider again my friend Karen and her time of “taking in” on pages 33-34. Are you more than breathless, frazzled, fretting, and worrying women in that scenario — or are you more like Karen, recognizing the need to slip away for a few minutes alone with the Lord when tensions mount? Write down an honest answer about how you tend to handle the pressures of life. Consider, too, how those closest to you would answer this question about you!
I’d actually say that people around me would say that I am calm in a crisis. I’m a church administrator so I’m faced with these situations all the time. I thank God that he has been growing the gift of patience in my life but I still need more and more! Even though I might seem like I’ve got things all under control I’m still stressed and annoyed under the surface more than I’d like! I’m good at being polite to people who are frustrating me in the office, but I’d rather just not be frustrated in the first place!!

This is a good time to look at Isaiah 58:11 in your Bible. Here God describes the blessings that will be poured out upon those who seek after God in the right ways. List them here.
God will guide us always, satisfy our needs when things are tough, strengthen us. We will flourish like a well-watered garden, and a spring that doesn’t dry up.

How can you remember to sink your roots down deeper to take in the “waters {that} do not fail” when lifts heats up?
Keep reading God’s word and remember the good things he has done in our lives in the past and in the lives of others. TESTIMONY!

*Roots are for storage – – – When I go through tough and trying times, I try to think of every verse of Scripture that I’ve memorized that can help me through those trials. Do you have a reservoir of verses hidden in your heart? Can you write down two or three that you could (or do) draw upon for strength and endurance?
But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you for ever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.
(Psalm 52: 8-9)

*Roots are for support — Is yours a life marked by the repeated need to be constantly staked up, tied up, propped up and straightened up, until the next wind comes along and you topple once again? If so, what will you do today to strengthen your root system in the Lord so that you can profit from the power a network of strong roots provides?
The last two years for us have been those of immense growth. It’s been painful at times, but I have LOVED how God has been ‘strengthening our root system’ through it all. He’s been teaching us more about ourselves and more about him and has taught us to rely on him again and again. I’m so glad that I have experienced that ‘the joy of the Lord is our strength’. Even when physically I’ve been exhausted and down my heart has still been rejoicing because of God’s goodness. It’s a weird feeling to describe! My prayer is that I’ll always remember these times so that it will strengthen us when further trials come.

And now it’s time to dream (see pages 39-41)! Jot down today’s date and then describe the woman you desire to be spiritually in one year.
I love that this is one of the questions as I was actually only thinking about this the other day and discussing it with my mentor. I’ve was considering who I would like to be spiritually and realised that all the things I was thinking about were in a round about way the fruits of the spirit! I just wanted to be more like Jesus without realising it!

I would like to be:
– Understanding more of the bible and having a closer dialogue with God on a daily basis.
– Using my full range of gifts to glorify God
– Growing more patient, humble and gentle with people around me, and learning how to be a better wife.
– I’d like to have more wisdom and courage to help others with their relationship with God.
– I want to be living each day to the full making the most of each opportunity God gives me.

Next describe the woman you desire to be spiritually ten years from now.
It’s so crazy that in ten years I’m probably going to be a vicar’s wife!!! Oh, I am SO SO SO excited about the opportunities we’re going to have! I just long for us to be leading a church which is completely Christ centred. I hope that even though it’s going to be TOUGH we will never stray from God’s truth and leadership and start doing things our way.

Did I mention I’m going to be a VICAR’S WIFE!!!! [no – the news hasn’t really sunk in yet!!]

Head on over to Rebekah or Monica’s to see what everyone else has to say about this chapter!

HE GOT THROUGH!

15 Feb

(if you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about read this post first)

Oh  me, oh my – I’m going to be a vicar’s wife people. I’M GOING TO BE A VICAR’S WIFE!!!!!!!

I’m feeling slightly brain dead from the fact that we’ve actually found out and the news hasn’t really sunk in yet but…

  • We are so grateful that God has given us this opportunity and that we get to work for him full time. I am simultaneously ecstatic and terrified about the challenges we will face in the future, but just praise God that he has once again given us the ‘desires of our hearts’.
  • I am SOOOO proud of Josh. He has worked so hard for this. We had a report back from the board and they were so positive about him. I’ve married an amazing man.
  • I don’t think I will ever be able to THANK YOU enough to all of those who have been praying and supporting us through cards, emails and phone calls. You’re all amazing and we have definitely felt the benefit of the prayers!

So all I have to say in conclusion is Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooop!

Will you pray with us?

21 Jan

In just over a week Josh will have his final interview for becoming an Ordinand in the Church of Wales. Cutting the jargon, that basically means if he gets through he’ll be going to Cardiff to study in college to be a vicar within the Anglican Church in Wales. After three years he’ll be sent as a curate somewhere to work with a church for another three years for his ‘practical’ training. After that he’ll get his own church and he’ll be a fully fledged Vicar. And I’ll be a vicar’s wife [can you hear my hysterical laugh from here!?].

This three day interview will be the climax of two and-a-bit years of praying, contemplating, learning, trusting, impatience, joy and disappointment.

God has been teaching/reminding me of two things recently, and they have been a comfort to me as we’ve been waiting for this interview to come around:

1. God’s love is extravagant.
So often I underestimate how awesome our God is, and so often I forget that he loves me. Psalm 147 says that God delights in those that love and honour him. Delights. God wants to love us, wants to bless us, wants to have a relationship with us…so much so that Jesus was willing to die so that we could know God personally.

That doesn’t always mean that things will always turn out as I expect, but it gives me the reassurance that whichever way we end up turning God will be right there guiding us through.

2. God is teaching us faith all the time.
How do we know we can trust something? By hearing it advertised? Or by hearing it recommended my friends? It’s more likely that a real trust will be built by experiencing something that gives us a positive results again and again over time.

It’s the same with God. He promises in his word that he has a plan for each one of us, and that he will provide for us.
We’ve experienced time and time again God’s goodness to us. Sometimes it’s been great and easy, but sometimes we’ve had to go through disappointment or pain in order to learn to trust God more, and see him work through us. But whatever has happened [sometimes in hindsight!] God has always been there, and we’ve always come through loving and trusting him more.

We know it will be the same with this. We’re pushing a door and we’ll praise God whatever the result.

 

So, will you pray for us as this week, and as we wait for the result of the interview?

  • For Josh. I’m so proud at how hard he is working. Doing lots of sleep-ins at work, NightLight, writing sermons, leading services [some in Welsh too] and preparing for his interview. Please pray he gets rest coming up to the interview and that his prep. goes well.
  • For his interview. It’s going to be three days of constant writing and group work, along with several one-to-one interviews. Some of the people there are likely to be quite liberal too so I know that Josh really wants to keep his integrity while not coming across as too opinionated. He needs lots of Spirit guidance!
  • For me! I find it hard at times [despite what’s written above!] that my future is being decided but I have no say into it. Pray that I can be supportive of Josh and that I will have peace about the situation.

Sorry for the long post folks, but I just wanted to keep you updated on what’s going on. We appreciate you all, friends 🙂

Listen up!

31 Oct

We’re going to be live on the radio tomorrow!

Listen out at 8.10am (GMT) on Radio 4…Josh is playing the drums!

BBC Radio 4 92-95FM or listen online here

(and be glad that you don’t have to be in your seat by 7.30am after doing NightLight!)