Coffee Talk 2015: Week 12 {Role of Women in the Church, Part 2}

Coffee Talk 2015
Damsels in Distress

Role of Women in the Church – Part 2
By: Gaila Roper

coffee talk online edition pictureLast week we covered Godgiven foundations for personal salvation, growth and ministry. We covered the ‘creative order’ concept and how men and women were uniquely created and gifted to serve. This week we will address how the Apostle Paul taught the Corinthian church an authority structure that originated in creation, and how that would play out in ministry within the local church.

In I Cor. 11:3, 7-9, 11-12, …”Paul made it clear that the wife is under authority of her husband, and the husband is under the authority of Christ.” (Martha again) That would mean woman was created for man’s sake, the glory of man, and under the man’s headship.  The woman was under the authority of man, man under the authority of Christ, and Christ under the authority of God. Within this authority structure are other key passages such as I Cor. 14:34-35, about women keeping silent in the church and I Tim. 2:9-5 where Paul instructs Timothy to teach this structure to a church in chaos. By addressing God’s original intent in creation order that Adam was created first and then Eve as a helper and companion to him, Paul pointed out God’s order of authority was preeminent over personal motives. The Corinthian churches’ misuse of showy gifts, voicing of opinions, and creating confusion, even to the point of immodest adornment, revealed hearts more interested in self glory than God’s creation order. A woman was not to have authority over a man or to teach men.  That would include being a pastor, holding an elder position and not teaching Bible doctrine to men. (Note the above verses).

Is my heart overly concerned with the restrictions rather than the privileges? Can I be contented with the things fitting for sound doctrine, such as being temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance?  Do I “encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored?” (Titus 2:1-7) As we learn to do this, it will be a proving ground for later, when we as older women in the church seek out the younger women and are a great source of encouragement and blessing.  Yet even greater than this wonderful ministry will be the honor we bring to the Lord by our loving obedience to His word.

Have we considered what is precious to God in our role of being a woman of faith? Do I seek from His word rather than this ‘present age’ what He really values? I know one thing, He highly values the “hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (I Peter 3:1-6) Personally, I talk too much. It’s better to be content and not dispute His dealings with me.

Do you put your hope in God and learn not to be frightened with what God intends for your life?  How can I, in my little circle of influence, “proclaim the excellencies of Him?” (I Peter 2:9)  

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 11 {Role of Women in the Church, Part 1}

Week 11
Coffee Talk 2015
Damsels in Distress
By: Gaila Roper

coffee talk online edition pictureMartha Peace summarizes our topic of The Role of Women In the Church with the Scripture passage in Romans 9:19-21: “You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?’ On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?”

God has authority over His creation; that is clear from His Word. We know that His purposes are good, acceptable and perfect, as well as wise, loving, and completely sovereign. (Romans 12:2) As His child, my only response is worship, thankfulness and humility from a heart of obedient service focused on His glory, not mine. Service to God is a privilege. Since He is my Creator, Redeemer, and loving Savior, where else will I go but to Him to make sure I am pleasing to Him.

There is a God-given basis within Scripture to follow in our service to God, specifically to women. It starts with the need to be “born again.” (John 3:15) God gives us a new heart to believe and trust in Him, when we previously were dead in our sins. He does a work of faith, repentance and cleansing from within. The Holy Spirit does this supernatural change of heart so that now we desire Him and want to grow in our knowledge of Him. We must gain a knowledge of doctrine from Scripture (1 Peter 2:2). We will desire to walk a consistent Christian life (Eph. 4:14) and begin to discover and use our God given Spiritual gifts (Eph. 4:11-13).  As we mature, especially later in life, we pour ourselves into younger women,”to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands…” (Titus 2:4-5) All of these are done with the chief purpose of proclaiming His excellencies. (1 Peter 2:9)

As we learn more of Scripture and begin living our lives for His glory, we should seek to serve Him with our spiritual gifts within the guidelines of Scripture.  For just as we learn and grow in Scripture, we must also follow in obedience to them. We should be knowledgeable about the key Scriptures concerning God’s role for women in the church.  Both men and women were created in God’s image and given rule over the earth. (Gen. 1:26) They were also created uniquely man and woman.  Adam was created first and then Eve as a companion and helper. (Gen. 2:7,18)  Eve was given a different role than Adam and after the fall, (Gen. 3:1-6) God’s judgment to Eve was that her desire would now be to overtake (control) her husband, yet Adam would rule over her. (Gen.3:16)  Because of the presence of sin, there was now a ‘power play’ in their roles, as Martha puts it.

Next week, we will see how this ‘power play’ worked out in the Corinthian church where Paul addressed various heart attitudes that were contrary to Scripture.

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 4 {Idolatrous Emotional Attachments}

Biblical Solutions for Problems with Others
What Do You Mean I Can Live without Him?
Idolatrous Emotional Attachments
Gaila Roper

coffee talk online edition pictureJenny looked excitedly at her most recent text. It was from Tom, who was her high school sweetheart for two years.  This Saturday was their secret Senior Prom rendezvous she carefully disguised as a date–then a sleepover with Patty her best friend.  In reality, it was to be a special night celebrating their two year relationship at a downtown motel!   Jenny was a church kid with godly parents. She was attracted to Tom, captain of the football team and kind of a bad boy, who ridiculed her faith.  Jenny put up with him because he made her feel special.  Like that time Tom confided to her that nobody understood him or was as patient with him in his insecurities and bad temper.  He said she was good for him and she rationalized that he was well worth the ‘missionary dating’ thing.  My parents will come around to the idea of me and Tom when they see how much we love each other.

Jenny didn’t foresee that her mom and Patty’s mom were also best buds. Jenny’s mom called up Patty’s mom and asked if she could send over some snacks for the girls after their special prom event.  After their phone conversation, Jenny’s mom and dad were shocked that their daughter had deceived them. They prayed together about confronting her. “How could this happen? We’re a Christian home and these kids are in the same youth group!”

After supper they confronted Jenny and everything spiraled down into threats. “You don’t trust me.  We love each other.  He needs me.  I’ve been sharing Christ with him.  Don’t you care about that?   If you ground me or forbid me to see Tom, we will run away. Can you deal with that?”

Her parents, heartbroken and shell shocked, simply said, “honey, we’re deeply hurt that you’ve deceived us for some time.   We’re all too upset emotionally tonight to address this.  Just know that we love you, and we’re going to trust God to help us deal with this in a God honoring way. We’ve called our church elders, and they’re willing to come over tomorrow.  Are you willing to show up?”

Martha Peace opens the chapter with several illustrations as to what an idolatrous emotional attachment looks like. In a similar scenario above, “There is an idolatrous emotional bond that involves inordinate longings and sinful desires to be with the person even if it is obviously wrong.” (page 46)  Inordinate means excessive, or unrestrained according to the dictionary.  Her strong emotional desires have been habitually developed by a belief that what she wants is worth more than honoring God. Jenny knows Tom is an unbeliever. She believes the lie that she cannot live without Tom.

What would be the biblical response to these ungodly desires and beliefs? Encourage Jenny to respond to God based on the objective truth of His Word rather than to how she feels.  Wanting a relationship is a good thing.  Witnessing to Tom is good.  But her intentions and desires of her heart were revealed by how far she was willing to sin, rather than her obedience. She wanted Tom’s acceptance and good feelings more.  There are many layers of unbiblical beliefs in Jenny’s young life. Perhaps she should examine her heart to see if she’s in the faith?

It would be a good thing if her parents could receive some counsel to address this as well as the emotional bondage. Because Jenny is still living in her parents care, all members of the family would benefit from a small accountability group which may consist of a pastor, elders, and a biblical counselor.  Wrong thinking could be addressed and corrected such as, “I don’t want to be alone”, or “I can’t live without him”, or “it’s ok to lie”, etc.  By putting these off, we see Christ is sufficient and promises to never leave us. (Heb.13:5)  She’s also in emotional bondage to sexual sin.  Believers are taught to flee immorality. (1 Cor.6:18-20)  By submitting to this accountability, it will have a humbling and discipling effect, with the promise from God that He gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

Are there other ways to engage in an idolatrous emotional bond?

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 2 {Gossip & Slander}

Damsels in Distress, Chapter 2
Biblical Solutions for Problems with Others
Well, Isn’t It OK If My Mother Told Me?
Gossip and Slander

coffee talk online edition pictureSue was excited about attending the annual Woman’s Spring Luncheon at church.  As she settled down with her food at the table with girlfriends, she noticed that Sally, a sweet elderly lady, was seated across from her and chatting away as usual.  In the midst of all the various conversations, Sally’s tone changed into ‘dumping mode’ as usual. Systematically shredding her downstairs neighbor’s character, Sally continued to criticize her housekeeping to child rearing skills, or lack of them. “Sally”, I said, “could you please stop for a second? We don’t know this woman, but you do, and God has placed her in your life. We are not part of the problem, therefore, not a part of the solution. We all do not need to hear this.  Have you tried to befriend her, invite her over, or shared the gospel with her?” Great. Dead silence.  Then she started up again, stating that this was for prayer.  “No, that is not a prayer, Sally. If you care for her, reach out, pray, and trust God.”  Women were actually relieved to move on.  And we did. We all tolerated this for many years.

What Sally was sharing was probably true.  A biblical response in Sally’s mind could have been, “all this chaotic stuff about my neighbor is true, but that doesn’t give me the right to give a bad report about her, especially disguised as prayer! I’d better be careful about what I share here. Maybe asking them to pray for me to share the gospel and befriend my new neighbor would be more God honoring.”  (Phil. 4:8)

Have you ever been a Sally, or a Sue, or in a group where this has happened? I sure have.  One time many years ago, I was so angry at a family member for hurting me that I dumped private information onto six or so persons and then had to call each and every one back to ask for forgiveness!  Then I had to humble myself and ask the ‘person’ who hurt me, to forgive me! My anger and emotions overrode my love and obedience to Christ.  My biblical response should have been, “even though that relative was unrepentant, I am going to show love to them by not continuing to ‘take into account a wrong suffered’ and not replaying the sordid details over and over in my mind and out loud. (1 Cor 13:5) (page 42).

So how do I lovingly shut a person down or even myself when obviously going down the road to slander?  You could use the example given above and recognize that sinful thoughts begin in our hearts. “The Bible does not command us to change our feelings; it commands us to renew our minds (Rom.12:2). We do this by simply studying, meditating on, and memorizing the Bible, as well as by hearing it preached. Then when we realize that our thoughts and (gossiping and slanderous) speech are wrong, we are responsible to change our thoughts and speech. This is what Paul calls “lay(ing) aside the old self…” and “put(ting) on the new self” (see Eph 4:22-24). We don’t have to live by our habits.  It says in James 4:6 that ‘He gives a greater grace…’.(page 43)

Martha states that the Greek word for gossip is diabolis. We get our English word devil from it; It means to accuse or give false information.  Slander is blasphema, and connotes evil speaking or vilification (to malign or disparage).   Our speech is the fruit of our heart.  It reveals our thoughts, intents, wants and beliefs (Mark 7:20-23).  Do I speak truth in my heart and take care not to slander, secretly before the face of God or openly before men? (Psalm 15). Let the words of Phil 4:8 and 1 Cor 10:31 be your grid for truth in your heart as you put off and then put on God honoring speech for His glory.

Have you, like me, been guilty of gossip and slander? If so, repent, and thank God for His forgiveness. Go back and humbly make it right. Are you willing to go back to the person(s) you offended and ask for forgiveness in what you had no right to share?   Have you been a victim of gossip? Try to gain their good will, if possible, by approaching them kindly and graciously with the truth (Rom 12:18, 1 Cor 4:13). Did you rather tell your mother or girlfriends or rant on Facebook that you were offended? What should be your biblical response?  So what will you do in your mind renewal process to put off evil speech?  You can change you know.  Work hard at putting off sin and putting on Christ.  The focus has to be Him.

A Year in Homemaking: Ordered Heart, Ordered Home – Part 3 {Week 50}

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“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33).  “The command is to seek God’s kingdom first. The promise is that as we do, God will provide for our temporal needs. Because we are often fainthearted regarding the promise of God, we find it difficult to obey His command.  Consequently we often give the affairs of this life top priority in the basic decisions of our lives.”(Jerry Bridges, ‘The Pursuit of Holiness’, page 143).

This is part 3 in the Ordered Heart/Ordered Home series.  We will focus on clutter and downsizing.  Right, in 500 words or less!   Previously we quoted the verse in Matthew 11:28 and 1 Corinthians 10:31 where both had the commands, not suggestions to ‘come, learn of Me’ and ‘whatever you do…do for the glory of God.’ What do these Scriptures , as well as the quote above have to do with keeping house?   They focus us on God’s commands, and God’s promises.  They very much engage the belief/motive section of my heart.  And we know by now that what we really believe comes out in our behaviors.  The desires of my heart always dictate my choices. So why do we have to talk about all this heart change stuff anyway? Or have accountability?   All I want is to get rid of clutter, and downsize a bit so I can be more organized! Right, just tell me how to fix my mess,  and don’t mess with my head….

Usually it is wise to ask the “buried in clutter” person, ‘what is it that you want my help for?’   It does help to examine yourself to see how this became an issue for you, and your family. Remember, they suffer too in your mess.  We can’t always assume that people with clutter/messes are lazy or disobedient.  Sometimes they are, and that can be corrected by addressing their heart like we’ve mentioned above.  But often clutter can happen due to a new baby in the house, chronic illness, death, or a major crisis.

When you go into a house ‘to help’, remember, these are folks who are overwhelmed, weary, fainthearted, burdened. Ask, ‘how can I help?’ or sit down for a while with them and inquire how have they been lately, or what would you like to see done here.  Be patient, and take the time to know their story.  You can guide them out of the mess with caring, truth-filled words of encouragement. Words like, “yes, it’s a mess, but let’s map out a plan of attack, and begin to work in one area at a time.” Working side by side, clear out a small area of the room for a keep, toss, and donate pile.  Go through the stuff quickly, separating each category.  When the pile gets big, bag the trash pile and take it out immediately. Then box the donations, label and take to the holding area preferably the garage or car trunk (to haul away).  These two action steps will clear space in your room immediately so you can keep sorting and doing the same routine until you move quickly through the whole room. The ‘keep’ pile will still be there, of course, waiting to be arranged in that pared down room.  You will be able to have a better feel for what you want that room to be used for when you examine the furniture & accessories that remain. Then you can make a decision later on of what is truly useful and meaningful to you.

Getting rid of clutter doesn’t have to be so hard if you focus your heart on things eternal.  The verses shared in this series contain commands as well as promises of God’s faithfulness. He knows what things we have need of.   In Colossians 3:2-3 Paul says, “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”   Leave the stuff—and cleave to Christ.

A Year in Homemaking: An Ordered Heart Leads to an Ordered Home/Part Two {Week 47}

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One of my most vivid memories is of my mom falling asleep in the piles of laundry from her 7 children.  Are you weary Mom? Overwhelmed? Sleep deprived?  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.

Housework is boring, and [Read more…]

A Year in Homemaking: An Ordered Heart Leads to an Ordered Home-Part 1 {Week 44}

{Click here to view all of the “A Year in HomeMaking” posts}

There’s a lot of information out there regarding “organizing”.  Some of it can be over the top and costly in time, money and energy.   Some tips turn into way more information than is needed or even desired! So if you’re searching for more efficient ways to bring order into your daily homemaking tasks, it’s best to keep them simple, flexible and tailored to your family’s lifestyle.

Proverbs14.1It’s also important, since I am a Christian that I remember my motive is to bring glory to Christ, and honor my husband in my desires and motives I have for keeping my family organized. We’ve all seen both ends of the spectrum from chaos to ‘stinking clean’ households who were miserable because the lady of the house made ‘her housekeeping’, or lack of it, her identity.  My identity is my union with Christ.  Yes, theology has everything to do with homemaking/housekeeping skills.  We all live our theology every day in our motives, desires, thoughts and beliefs. What we think in our hearts will show up in where we live life.  And we live life mainly in our homes with our families.  Love God. Love your neighbor.  Your spouse, and kids, (if you’ve been blessed this way) is your closest neighbor.  I won’t spend a lot of time on motives, but will stress the importance of laying proper foundations.  What you believe will determine if you even care.  So if you’ve read this far I assume that you do care, and want to direct your heart toward God, and serve your family through an organized home. Let’s get started.

  1. Take time to examine your own heart as to why you desire to have an organized home(who are you seeking to please? (1 Cor.10:31)
  2. Enlist the support of your husband. Make sure he knows your desire, as well as your frustrations. Ask him what is important to him. Try to talk together regarding personal preferences, as well as what would help both of you serve and love each other.
  3. As your children see you two seeking to make this happen and working together on it you will make it easier for them to join you.  Make sure they see and know that you  are seeking to please God, and serve each other. Kids are always watching how spouses treat each other. Loving and respecting each other deeply in front of them is a real deterrent to rebellion.
  4. Think about how your family starts and ends their day. For example every family needs food, clothing, shelter, transportation, obligations, school, jobs, pets, church, etc.   Start with  a very brief outline with your day.  Then go through your husband’s day; your kids, pets, and  other people you regularly see and do things with.  Ask your husband and kids what’s important  to them, and how we can address it.  A family meeting helps. But sometimes just talking at the dinner table and in the car works too.  It doesn’t have to get bogged down with too many details.  Think brainstorming. We are in the setting up the foundation stage.

Next time we will talk about how to lay out our day.  Specifically, how to prepare ahead for the next morning, and so on.   Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house. But the foolish woman pulls it down with her hands.”  Always take time, take pains in the preparation stage.  It’s part of ‘counting the cost’ mindset. Many lose heart along the way.  To prepare yourself for next time, read Matthew 11:28-30.   

Perspective & Grace…Getting Comfortable

perspective grace banner

Reflections from The Afternoon of Life: Finding Purpose and Joy in Midlife by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Probably the hardest thing about writing for me is figuring out how to efficiently use a computer. I’ve had several reality checks along the way. “Adapt or die!”   “Use it or lose it!”   “Just Do It!”   “Quit Whining!”  Yes, I’m giving the process of change a lot of push back lately.  The chapter title, “I’m Getting Comfortable with Looking Comfortable,” was not exactly my perspective on aging in Elyse Fitzpatrick’s book, “The Afternoon of Life”.   Perhaps I’d rename it “I’m Becoming More Comfortable with Looking Contented”.  I disagree with her title, but not her content. She’s spot on in that department.

What do I tell myself when an aging body and mind begin to fail me, or my friends?  And what does aging and loss mean in the context of the gospel that I’ve said I’ve believed most of my life?  It helps to look at the big picture when all the pixels of my life become distorted.  Dependable things have ways of fading as a gradual sunset.  Could it be that most of the things of this world, including my personal world, are passing as well?  Knowing truth is way different from believing truth.  God says that this world, and the things of this world will pass away, but my Word will never pass away (paraphrase of 1 John 2:15-17).

Giving a grocery list of all the declines in life and the equally matching Biblical commands to meet them would seem much like a ‘white knuckled’ legalized approach. The path of Galatia is as exhausting, and relentless as an unforgiving judge. But what if the Judge was forgiving? What if He provided a way of escape and forgiveness? And what if He promised His unending support throughout your sojourn that was designed before the foundations of this world to transcend you into another one? (Eph. 1) This flips everything, including me, on it’s head. The world would say-“wow, this is like Christmas!” God says, “yes, this is the gospel of my dear Son.”   This gives aging, the changes, the losses a new perspective.  The child of God can look through the eyes of faith, and learn to trust that He is faithful, and sufficient to provide all that He asks me to do. I want to finish well, and on His terms, not my own.  If the focus of my heart is on temporary things, I will have temporary results. (Col. 3)   All of my motives, desires, thoughts and beliefs, even good and pure ones must spring from and toward the life of Christ within me. (1 Cor 10:31; Phil 4:13, just read the whole book!)

So what about menopause, wrinkles, hot flashes, and all the other temporary changes?  Keeping a sense of humor can help.  I have personally traded a head of silver for a box of gold call “Light Ash Blonde!” I now have earned seven crowns in this life, according to my dentist.  I gladly ask for a senior discount, and try not to look stunned when it is given without my even asking anymore. Oh well, God must have a sense of humor I tell myself as I look at my grandson.  He has my stomach muscles, my hair’s bald spots, sporadic teeth, and expects everyone to know what he means when he whines. I’m sure we could list some verses to address that one.

Perspective & Grace…Dealing with an Aged Parent

(Reflections from The Afternoon of Life: Finding Purpose and Joy in Midlife by Elyse Fitzpatrick)

“The last thing we do is die”, said Jack’s foster mom the last time we visited her. Age 86

“I just want to die.  I’m the only one left”, said by my grandmother, Helen. Age 88

“I’m not dead yet Nellie!”, said by Grandpa John to Grandma a few hours before death. Age 88

“Will you take care of her?”, said by Grandpa Kel to my sister, Paula, regarding Grandma Helen. Age 74

“I’m going to live to 100!”, Grandma Nellie said to me.  Age 99.8 months

“I’m so tired. Where’s my Don? Where’s my wedding rings?”, my mom said to me of my Dad, shortly before her death. Age 79

“There’s nothing left for me here anymore. I miss your Mother. I want to see Jesus”, said my Dad to me-this year. He will be 87 this month.

These are some of the last words of the matriarchs and patriarchs of my family.  I am blessed to say they are all believers. All made a tremendous impact on my spiritual life. All had a series of losses and gains in their latter years.  Some of us were closer. Some were only connected by an occasional Christmas card or call.  But l remember and honor their lives by retelling their stories.  I love them, and still miss them.

Only my father is left. His name is Don.  I call him Daddy.   My relationship is a long distance one of weekly phone calls, occasional cards and packages, and a yearly family reunion 350 plus miles south of me in Vandalia, IL.  A couple of my cousins popped in—Bob and Jo Ann, children of Dad’s deceased sister, my Aunt Margie, who passed last spring. This year we had the reunion in a hospital room.  It went fast just like his life.  He’s an octogenarian—80 something and a believer for most of his life . He got saved in a tent meeting with his brother Harold, Margie and his mom. My Aunt Helen believed later.  When we talk, it’s mostly of things of the past that he enjoyed; farming, truck driving, heavy equipment–mighty machines my grandson calls them nowadays!   But mostly, we talk about Jesus and a little bit about Mom.  She’s been gone over four years now.  That first year was the hardest.  Silent pauses on the phone filled with muffled weeping. That’s ok Dad…another wave of sorrow overwhelming the soul.

There’s a lot of losses in old age–mostly physical ones of a gradual nature. And yes, a bit of mental decline.  “Daddy, you’re old! There’s a lot of history in you!”  We laugh.  He cries a lot but not in a bad way.  As we talk about the season of life he’s passing through, we relate it all to a series of gains too.  Because he’s a believer, he’s more open to being steered to a more biblical perspective.  Some days he’s pretty down.  We remind ourselves of how short this stint called life is, and what God might possibly be up to.  He comes around most days to a more Christ-focused mindset.  You can tell when he begins to brighten up and gets silly.  We talk about the future hope of a life lived in the presence of Jesus and our loved ones in Christ.   And of course, no problem of evil anymore and all that brings.  So now what?  What kind of hope can I give him while contending with a broken down body in a broken down world?   And can I let him get away with being depressed, grumbling, and drifting into a downward spiral?   I swear at times, it’s like the exhausting interchange with a defiant toddler.   You just want to scream, or let things go, and not address his heart.  But that wouldn’t be loving or honorable to him or our Lord.    And that’s why we’re here, in this particular relationship, with this particular guy, my dad. It really is all about you, Lord. The process of biblical change into Christ’s image is throughout every season of my life, and then I can be glorified forever with Him. No retirement down here.  Our rest, our inheritance is Him.

We’ve had a lot of heart to hearts and even some, “Now wait a minute Daddy…”ones.  “If you want to have a relationship with me, we’re not going to talk down about (so and so) or bring up the past. That’s not Christ honoring, ok? I love you Daddy, but we’re not going to be talking like this anymore. That’s in the past, and forgiven, and placed at the foot of the cross, ok?”   Silence….”Ok, then, ok, ah, let’s talk about something else then.”   “Sure, Daddy.  Love you.” Can we really confront our parents, or elders?  Boy, that’s a lot of work, and what a can of worms, you say.  Yes, you can, and you must, if you really love them, and want to honor Christ.  But, be careful and gentle.  There is an honorable way to do this.(Gal. 6:1-5, Lev. 19:32) And check for logs in my own eye!

As we relate to our aging parents there are temptations that are of a different nature. We can become self focused, ingrown people not taking responsibility for our lives. Here are some resources that have been a help to me: Psalm 90:12; Eph. 5:16; Psalm 139:16; Phil. 4; Col. 3; “Peacemakers” by Ken Sande; and “Trusting God” by Jerry Bridges. There are some good charts on biblical responses in Martha Peace’s books, “The Excellent Wife” and “Attitudes of A Transformed Heart“, and last but not least, “Wrinkled but Not Ruined, Counsel for the Elderly” by Jay Adams.

We can help them to redeem the time left–turn their losses, so to speak, into gain as we teach them by example from Scripture to lay up treasure in heaven, where moth and decay don’t diminish all that we’ve worked for. (Matthew 6:19-20) Regarding relating to the aging, Jay Adams says, “What, for the believer, then, is the conclusion of the matter? It is to fear God and keep His commandments. It is your privilege to help others see and appropriate this truth as their own personal conclusion to guide them throughout the rest of their lives.”

Book Club: “Counsel From the Cross” (by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick & Dennis E. Johnson) Reviewed by Gaila Roper Part 4

The Means of Grace

1)In the Word Preached

“The Word of God, in particular, the gospel message, which is the integrating center of the whole Word of God, is the means that the Spirit uses to transform the hearts and minds of the elect.” By hearing His word we are drawn to Him, desire to obey, receive with gratefulness the power to progress in sanctification. The Holy Spirit, through the gospel preached, brings us life, stability, strength, cleanses our conscience, creates faith and reminds us to love God and one another. Reading daily God’s word is the primary means of God’s grace to you.

2) In Baptism

“Baptism was given by Jesus to display and assure believers of the washing away of our sin, our union with Christ in his death, and our new resurrection life.” “…in baptism we see God’s great love for us in Christ, and we are assured—not only by our baptism, but also when we see others being baptized—that we are completely free: forgiven, welcomed, and loved.” “In addition, baptism is a sign of our death to sin by the Spirits cleansing work.” “Because our union with Christ the Son in His death and resurrection is now being applied to us by his indwelling Spirit, we can be certain that we will continue to die to sin and live to righteousness in our new lives.”(Rom.6:4;Titus3:5)

3) In The Lord’s Supper

Jesus said, “Take, eat; this is my body…which is given for you” (Matt 26:27-28). This is the gospel. His body was broken and given for us. It cost Him dearly. This gospel also provided for our union with Him.  We are in union with His church, His body. Members of one another. Christ asked us to ‘remember’.  He uses this regular sacrament in our transformation. “We cannot assume that we know better than God what means he will use to transform us, for he says, ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”(Isa. 55:8-9).

4) Fellowship with Other Believers

“The gospel of Jesus Christ—that we are all more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe but more loved and welcomed than we ever dared hope—is meant to be lived out in relationship:each of us assuring, reminding, confronting, counseling, and listening to one another, praying for one another, and bearing one another’s burdens. It’s here, within gospel-centered relationships, that the spirit will reveal the Son to us.”(all quotes from author) (Rom. 15:14)

From One Degree of Glory to Another

“How are we transformed?” “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18) This is not instantaneous, but gradual change. Sin still will be a struggle, but the work of the Spirit will produce eternal fruit, able to bring God much glory. “…seeing Him through the Word, the Sacraments, and the church will impel and motivate our transformation” (1 John 3:1-3)see also I Peter 1:7-8, Philp 3:21.

Moses Beheld the Glory of God

Remember Mose’s second time up on Mount Sinai? This was the visit where he asked God if he can see His glory. And God said “You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live”Ex. 33:18,20.  But He did put Moses in a cleft of the rock, cover him with God’s hand until God passed by. When God passes by, He took away his hand, and Moses was able to see God’s back. God did not have to do this, but He wanted to. God did not have to save us, but He wanted to, out of His good pleasure we are told in Ephesians 1. Moses was transformed—he had to place a veil over his shiny face. Eventually it did fade. But we have something that will not fade away, according to I Peter 1:3-9. Reserved in heaven.  Seated in the heavenlies, our life, in Christ. This can make a huge difference in our desires, motives, thinking—our inner man(Col. 3). “ God has hidden the church in His Son, who was cleft for us, and now we are enjoined to behold his glory and be transformed.” “We don’t need to cover our faces before the Lord (as the angels must), nor do we need to be protected from God’s glory by God’s hand (as Moses was) because we are in union with his Son; Jesus Christ is the Rock in whom we are hidden.”

By Gaila Roper