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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas or Happy Holy Day!

Photo by Nicolas Thomas on Unsplash
There is so much in the news now about Christ being removed from the holiday we call Christmas. We see it everywhere, "Happy Holidays" instead of the age-old greeting "Merry Christmas". But it seems to me that the two are the same. The word holiday is a compound word derived from the words holy and day. Christmas is a holy day. So when folks say to me, "Happy Holiday", I say in return, "Yes, Christmas is indeed a holy day - the day God became a man for the salvation of men."

So, Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday!

Here are several videos of the acapella group called Straight No Chaser singing The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Carol of the Bells and Silent Night. Notice all the references to Christmas in these songs. So even if there is an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas, He can't be taken out of the songs that express the fact that He is what this holiday is all about. And He certainly cannot be taken out of the new song that lives in the hearts of those who know Him.


Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Merry Christmas or Happy Holy Day!

Monday, December 8, 2008

You Do Not Always Have Me

The study of the book of James has been quite an eye-opener for me. In chapters one and two, James brings up the topic of the poor several times. The rich and poor are mentioned in verses 9-10 of chapter one and as Christians, they are instructed in what their real treasure is - faith in Christ. In verses 26-27, James reminds us of what true ministry is - to visit orphans and widows in the distress of their grief and extreme poverty.

In chapter two James exhorts his Hebrew flock not to show partiality by catering to the rich man and neglecting the poor man. He reminds them that God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the needs of the poor. Robert and I have had the opportunity to help with a ministry in Uganda - a school for street children (the poorest of the poor) started by a dear friend of ours. And then there is always the reminder at this time of year of our own physical comfort as we hit the malls in search of that perfect gift. This contrasts so sharply with the needs of the poor all over the world. I just learned last night that worldwide, one child dies of starvation every three seconds. There are so many desperately needy people!

Of course, we are compelled by Scripture to minister to the needy. When we become aware of the reality of the poverty that exists, it often happens that our hearts are so touched that we get real busy - organize this and that, cover this need, don't forget that need. But the poor are everywhere. Where do we start? How do we meet the needs of so many? How do we even begin to really raise one such person out of the degrading dust of their poverty?

We begin with the One who became poor for our sakes. We begin at Jesus' feet. In Matthew 26:6-13 we read about a woman who came to Jesus with a vial of very costly perfume, equal perhaps to a year's wages. She broke it open and poured it on Christ's head in the worship of her Lord. The fragrance filled the room. But when "...the disciples saw this, they were indignant. 'Why this waste?' they asked. 'This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.' "

These disciples were so concerned for the poor (supposedly) that they actually berated the woman for worshipping Jesus. But Jesus commends the woman for her good deed toward Him and then says to the disciples, "For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial."

Worship of our Savior must come before our work for the poor. If it doesn't, we do not have Jesus with us in that work! We will always have the poor, the Lord tells us. The opportunities are countless and demanding. But these very demands can crowd Christ out. Busyness will always grab our attention, but will we set aside those demands to worship the Savior first and foremost? Will we recognize that He is with us and fall at His feet in adoration?
Jesus kindly calls to our hearts, "...you do not always have Me." All too often we do not have Him in our day. Like the innkeepers in Bethlehem, because of our busyness (perhaps in even serving the needy), there is no room in the inner sanctum of our hearts for Him. Then it doesn't really matter what we tackle - how many poor we feed - for we do not have Him with us. Our busy work is of naught - wood, hay, stubble.
What a joy, however, when we do welcome Him adoringly. The fragrance of His life permeates our own life and spreads to others. He so motivates us and empowers us that nothing is impossible. When Christ is our most precious treasure and priority, we will be sent to His poor that they may become rich in faith, rich in Christ for eternity. No time, no resources, no energy will be wasted for we will be directed of the Lord, clothed with His compassion and love for the needy, and supplied with His strength and wealth. And how will this all end? As it began - in worship for our Savior for He will receive all the glory and honor.

As you enjoy this Christmas season of the year of our Lord, 2008, please remember the poor. But first of all make sure that you have Jesus with you. May this be to what you are committed. Then indeed you will have a joyous Noel!

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

You Do Not Always Have Me

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Christian's Mandate After the Election

As we consider the implications of what yesterday's election will mean, for all who truly call upon the Name of the Lord, I, like the Apostle Paul:

First of all...urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim 2:1-5

This text makes it clear that the way Christians will be able to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity is through God's saving work among all classes of people - the great (kings and those in high positions) and the small (the working classes).

Living in godliness means that we seek His kingdom and righteousness here on this earth - that we support what God supports and stand against what He stands against. One of the things we must stand against is the daily slaughter of innocent lives. We are commanded to defend the innocent.

"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." Ps. 82:3-4

"Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy." Prov 31:8-9
We should be actively concerned (without making political issues an idol) that President-elect Obama has promised to make the signing the Freedom of Choice Act his first order of business in the White House. With a Democratic Congress, he will have no problem in overturning all of the advances made for the protection of the unborn and to somewhat limit abortion since 1973 (click here, then scroll down on the page to see the list of these successes that will be undone). He is even opposed to administering protection and nourishment to a child born alive during an abortion. It would be considered a crime to assist such a baby.

We should begin today to pray earnestly that God would have mercy upon our new leader - to turn his heart against this legalized slaughter of the "least" among us, and even more, that God will cause Him to be born again. It is God's desirous will for men and women to be saved. It is also His will for His people to be able to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity.

Since we have a promise in 1 John 5:14-15 that if we pray according to God's will (His desirous will is all we can know and that is the expressed thing we are commanded to pray for in the 1 Timothy text), we should have great confidence that He will answer.

"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that if He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked of Him. " (1 John 5:14-15)

Let us ask with confidence for our new President and other governmental leaders! In this we will be found faithful to the call to ask God that we might live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. This is how we should pray so that ultimately we may openly, (even in public) declare the glories of Christ, the only One who can right all wrongs and forever change the hearts of those who slaughter the innocent for personal convenience and forgive their sin as He has our own. All for Christ's honor and glory! (For more from John Piper in this regard, click here.)

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Posted by Sharon Kaufman

The Christian's Mandate After the Election

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Family Controversy

Since before we went to Hawaii (got back very late last night - and that, by the way, is why there was no Tidy Tip Tuesday today), I have wanted to do a post about same-sex marriage. In California right now, same-sex marriage is legal because four California Supreme Court activist judges ruled against 4 million people to overturn marriage as defined by those people - that being a legal and moral union between one man and one woman. On November 4th, the citizens of California have the opportunity once more to preserve the definition of marriage in their state. They have the opportunity to protect marriage as it has been from the beginning of time.

I am currently watching a video that is quite lengthy (over an hour), but just from the first 15 minutes of viewing it, I have been informed of many aspects of this controversy that I was not aware of. For instance, did you know (I did not) that all legal benefits have already been bestowed on members of gay unions living in California that are currently available to traditional married couples? These same-sex unions have simply not been allowed the distinction that heterosexual unions have been allowed - that of being united legally and morally in a union called marriage. And one reason is because they cannot procreate independently in a union between themselves (it will never happen without at least a third party). Marriage has always been defined as one man and one woman who have the capacity to create new life within their union of two by the addition of children (though infertility or the choice not to bear children does not dismiss a heterosexual couple from being married for obvious reasons.)

May I beseech you to watch this video with me? It will inform you so that you can intelligently and accurately state to those who may be undecided (and even to those who have decided but are open to hear opposing aspects) just what the implications are of marriage being redefined to include gay couples. It is a message that all should hear and know even if redefining marriage is not being challenged in their state at present.

Go here to view the video and pass it on to others that you know even if they are not Californians. This is so important to the health of our society and to our religious freedoms.

God willing, I will be writing about this again soon.

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Posted by Sharon Kaufman

A Family Controversy

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rock Me, Mama!



Though I have never mentioned this before, it may interest you to know that, at 59 years of age, I am caring for a child in my home. Last year I began watching a baby while his mom was at work (it has been a necessity for her to work at this time). Riley was just under one year old when God blessed me with him. He is now just under two years of age.

He comes to my home at 5:30 in the morning, five days a week and stays till about 3:15 in the afternoon. Riley is a very happy and well behaved little boy and loves to come to stay with "Granny" and "Poppy". Though he is not a grandchild, he thinks he is and we love him like he is.

I said that to say the following. Yesterday I came across a post on another website that I thought was interesting. It was about the pros and cons of allowing children to sleep with their parents in the parent's bed.

This idea of mom and dad and baby being in the same bed leaves me with a question: "Whatever happened to the age-old, tried and true rocking chair? Do mothers of young children ever use the rocking chair any more? I now hear and read so much about this practice of having the baby in bed with the parents. I just don't get it for several reasons which I will express in the following questions:

1. How do mom and dad get adequate sleep with baby in the same bed?

2. Isn't there concern that the baby could be smothered by mom or dad if they actually do sleep soundly?

3. Whatever happened to the truth that the bed is a marriage bed, not a family bed (even as far as an infant sleeping in their bed for 3 months goes)?

4. And lastly, with baby in bed with mom and dad, will this not put dad at a disadvantage since he has to go to work and earn a living? Will not his performance levels at work be affected by interrupted or inadequate sleep?

Now may I offer an alternative that may be superior to the family bed option?

From the time my children were infants till they were toddlers I rocked them. My parents rocked me to sleep. Rocking my children provided a structured time for me to cuddle with them and to sing and read to them (in other words, to teach them). This also gave me much-needed down-time to relax, though it still served as quality time with my children.

Enter Riley on the scene - I now rock him. At first, he didn't like it. But I did not give up. It wasn't long before he began to love our 15-20 minutes together before his nap. I sing simple children's songs to him and he has actually learned to carry a tune and sing the words. His favorite song is Old McDonald Had a Farm which he sings as "Ol McGonnel" (so cute!!!).

We also discuss all the topics relevant and important to a toddler, such as the sounds that animals make and where his and my eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth, tongue, etc. are. Of course, I also read to him - small-sized board books. And he loves to have his "blankey" during this time. (It is the only time he has it other than to sleep with.) When Riley finally falls asleep I put him in his bed. If he wakes up when I lay him down, he knows he must stay put and go back to sleep. His nap lasts about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Now lest you think that this trains a child to depend upon the rocking chair to fall asleep, you need to know that when this little guy comes in the morning (at 5:30), I put him to bed without rocking him. He does not fuss at all. In fact, he smiles sweetly, kisses me and says, "Night, night, Granny." That's it! He goes right down and sleeps till at least 7 and sometimes till 7:30, which gives me time with the Lord before making breakfast. Riley has learned to adjust to my agenda and time schedule.

Rocking my children, grandchildren (and now Riley) has proven to be only beneficial. All of my little ones loved their rocking time and consistently went to bed willingly for their naps. I never had to wean them off or break them from the habit of the rocking chair. They eventually just outgrew the chair and my lap - literally. They got too big to rock. As it was uncomfortable at that point, they no longer desired to be on Mommy's lap and the feeling was mutual.

Another benefit was that when the children were too big to rock anymore, rocking time just naturally graduated into a reading time with them. Since the time was already set aside, I just moved the children into their beds and sat at the bedside and read (at night and nap time also). Thus they learned to love books and reading.

Rocking time was also advantageous in that my husband and I slept soundly at night. However, I always woke when any of my infants were hungry. I got out of bed and rocked them during their feedings. Then I was able to return to bed where I knew I could stretch out however I wanted. My husband did not have to worry about rolling over on the baby nor was he disturbed and kept awake when it was time to feed and change her. This was obviously helpful for him (we are to be helping our husbands in ways like this, are we not?) since he had to get up and go to work in the morning.

It seems to me that the rocking chair is a win-win way of nurturing babies and young children, but it seems to be a lost grace. I would be interested to know if anyone out there still rocks their children. Reiterating, I hear and read much about the bed thing, but never anything about the good old fashioned rocking chair. What a shame for this is how I remember it:

The Rock of Love

My mama rocked me in her chair.
My papa also tried,
Though on his shoulder still I laid,
My eyes were opened wide.

What tender words I heard from them,
And songs so dear and sweet.
They nestled me and whispered love,
Then rocked me fast asleep.

With fond affection I recall
The stories that they shared.
But precious more, their kind caress
In that old rocking chair.

It made for such sweet sleep and dreams,
For Christ's love was displayed.
"Now let the little children come."
It seems I heard Him say.

This habit carried on until
My feet - they reached the floor.
Though too big now for mama's lap,
She loved me like before.

I too have rocked my precious ones,
And tender words I spoke.
Yes, that old rocker, though it creaks
Still nurtures little folks.
SKK

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Rock Me, Mama!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Woman is Helper - Three Facets of the Woman's Role as Helper

Part 2 - Aiding by Complementing Godly Male Leadership

The following is a series on Biblical womanhood that I have taught both here in the states and abroad. It is universal because it is the Biblical model of the helper role and therefore applies to Christian women the world over. It will be delivered in bite-sized pieces in the following weeks. I pray that you will be encouraged as you read.
(Please find Part 1 of this series here.)


Whether you are married or unmarried, as a woman you are "helper" to godly male leadership. That would translate into being a helpmeet for your husband or, if you are not married, into being a helper for church leadership. As a helper you will basically fulfill your role in three specific ways. God has designed us, as women with distinct inclinations. Women are endowed by their Creator with specific characteristics that enable them to function as God intended when He first created woman. First of all I want to state what those three characteristics or facets are and then I will define and elaborate on each one throughout the coming weeks:

Facet 1. As helper to male leadership, woman is an aide or supporter:

A.) As an aide woman completes godly male leadership
B.) As an aide woman complements godly male leadership
C.) As an aide woman submits to godly male leadership

Facet 2. As helper to male leadership, woman is a keeper in the home.

Facet 3. As helper to male leadership, woman is a nurturer of life.

In this post I will cover what it means for woman as helper to aide godly male leadership by complementing that leadership (Facet 1B).

Though man and woman are equal in that each is an image bearer of their Creator, they are also different, are they not? We can see the obvious physical differences, but women are also different emotionally. For instance, women enjoy the intricate details of whatever it is they are involved in, while men are bottom-line creatures. We women know that the real story is in the particulars and the implications of them. We willingly get lost in the finer points.

So when I am relating an important incident to my husband, sharing the details is just second nature to me. It is then that Robert typically grows impatient with all the minutiae and says something like, "Just give me the bottom-line, Honey. I don't need to know all the small stuff." Though I don't understand that, I have given up trying to convince him otherwise. He's a man and I just need to accept the fact that God created him to be different than me. And when God finished His creation (man and woman in particular), He pronounced that His design was good, in fact, it was "very good" - even this difference between us.

God created the genders, as different as they are, to complement each other. Again we can see this illustrated with the helping hand. My left hand always complements my right hand. It never has an agenda all its own, but always identifies itself with my right hand and what it is doing and supports it. My left hand makes things easier, not harder for my right hand. It complements its counterpart, never competes with it.

The appendages on my right and left arms are equal yet different, illustrating the same thing with man and woman. Both are hands, but they are different in significant ways. The physical design of my left hand is exactly and equally opposite that of my right hand. That's equality with diversity, just as woman is equal in her humanity with man, both genders having been created in God’s image, yet woman is exactly the opposite of man in physical and emotional characteristics and in function. Though my hands are exact opposites of each other they fit together perfectly. And the only reason they fit together so perfectly is precisely because they are exact opposites. If I had two right hands or two left hands nothing much would be accomplished and the two certainly could not become one.

Feminists tell us that women must compete to become equal in all ways with men. But God designed the differences between man and woman for the purpose of complementing one another – just like the right and left hand complement each other.

My left hand is physically weaker than my right hand and so is somewhat dependent upon it for its strength, but still my left hand assists my right and adds its own independent strength to my right hand. The strength and independence of my left hand is absolutely needed by my right hand, and visa versa. The two are interdependent upon each other. Together the two are stronger than if they were alone, though one is physically weaker. This is the true nature of a complementary relationship.

And so it is with man and woman. Though she is the weaker vessel, physically, she needs man and he needs her. She is to complement him in all he does rather than pursue her own independent course.

This does not mean that she never seeks a ministry in which her husband is not involved, if she is married. It does not mean that she gives up her personality to be glued to her husband's side as if she had no individuality herself. It simply means that whatever God-glorifying thing (this could be planting a garden) her husband pursues, she is available to help him achieve it. She does not make it hard for him. She does not compete.

Think again about how the left hand complements the right hand, never working against it - always there whenever the right hand needs it, but it is so different and individual that it is called "left". It is situated on the opposite side of the body and if it had to, it could function without the right hand. I got along just fine when I had my right hand in a sling for several weeks. Though it was challenging, it was not impossible. Life went on.

The call to complement my husband has not always been something that I have embraced. There was a time when, if Robert asked for my help and wanted my undivided attention immediately, if it was something that I thought could wait, I became perturbed. Perhaps he needed my point of view for a lesson he was preparing for the Sunday morning adult training time that he was scheduled to teach in two weeks. If I was absorbed in doing something for myself, I would expect him to wait until I was finished. Philippians 2:3-4 was not my mindset:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit, but with humility of mind, regard one another as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also for the interests of others.
Looking out for my husband's interests or the interests of the leadership of the church - this is part of what it means to be helper. This is the woman's assignment from her Creator. Helping godly male leadership by working alongside and complementing, never competing is a high calling that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.

Reiterating, woman aides by complementing male leadership, whether that is her husband's leadership in the home or the leadership of the elders in her church. And again, woman aides in this way regardless of her marital status.

For the next post we will continue to explore how woman aides godly male leadership, this time in regard to submission. And I don't want to hear any groans!

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Woman is Helper - Three Facets of the Woman's Role as Helper

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Woman is Helper - Three Facets of the Woman's Role as Helper


Part 1 - Aiding by Completing Godly Male Leadership

The following is a series on Biblical womanhood that I have taught both here in the states and abroad. It is universal because it is the Biblical model of the helper role and therefore applies to Christian women the world over. It will be delivered in bite-sized pieces in the following weeks. I pray that you will be encouraged as you read.

Whether you are married or unmarried, as a woman you are "helper" to godly male leadership. That might translate into being a helpmeet for your husband or, if you are not married, to church leadership.

As a helper you will basically fulfill your role in three specific ways. God has designed us, as women with distinct inclinations. Women are endowed by their Creator with specific characteristics that enable them to function as God intended when He first created woman.

First of all I want to state what those three characteristics or aspects are and then I will define and elaborate on each one throughout the coming weeks:
Aspect 1. As helper to male leadership, woman is an aide or supporter
A.) As an aide woman completes godly male leadershipB.) As an aide woman complements godly male leadership
C.) As an aide woman submits to godly male leadership

Aspect 2. As helper to male leadership, woman is a keeper in the home.Aspect 3. As helper to male leadership, woman is a nurturer of life.
Another way to say this is 1) In her aide to her husband and/or to the church woman is helper to man; 2) In her cultivation of the home woman is helper to man; and 3) In her nurturing of others, woman is helper to man. (Each one of these three aspects operates in several ways, as you will see further along in this post.)

These are the three main aspects of the woman as helper, whether she is married or single. The man’s God-given purpose is different and he does not concentrate on these facets of life, though he helps and cultivates home and nurtures life also. But he is not driven to do these things as his calling. His calling from God is to lead by protecting, providing and sacrificially loving. These are the areas in which he specializes, and strives for. Woman generally is directed toward helping man by specializing in aiding him, keeping the home and nurturing life.

The first way a woman carries out her role as helper is to serve as an aide or supporter to her husband if she is married, and as an aide or supporter to the church regardless of her marital status. We see this because the same order that God created in marriage, He also created for the church – men lead and women help, including single women. However, single women can be undivided in their service to the church (1 Corinthians 7).

Now it may sound redundant for me to say that women carry out their helper role by being an aide or supporter. That may sound like the same thing to you, but as this is clarified, hopefully, you will see how it is accurate to classify this aspect of the helper role that way.

In this post, we will begin with the helper's aide to her husband and/or to the church.

As an aide, woman supports godly male leadership in three ways. (Remember, there are the three aspects already mentioned - aiding, keeping the home and nurturing life - and each aspect operates in several ways.) The three ways a woman supports godly male leadership as an aide are as follows: 1) she completes male leadership, 2) she complements male leadership, and 3) she submits to male leadership. This is how she aides male leadership. It is true in the home with her husband, if she is married, and in the church also. A woman, whether married or single, carries out this role in the church as she submits to the elders, compliments their leadership and helps to complete the work there.

In this post we will look at the helper's aide to male leadership in completing him; in the next two posts we will look at the helper's aide to male leadership through complementing (second post) and submitting (third post).

But first, let's understand what it means to be an aide. Here is an analogy:

An Analogy of an Aide – You are a Helping Hand

It always helps me to use an analogy when trying to grasp the meaning of a spiritual truth. In better understanding the definition and function of an aide or supporter the analogy of a “helping hand” came to my mind. As an aide we could say that woman is man’s “helping hand”. Please remember this analogy. It could transform the way you relate to male leadership. When I compare woman as aide to a helping hand, I think of how the left hand aides the right hand and how it completes, compliments and submits to it.

Aiding by Completing Male Leadership

My right hand by itself is not complete. It is never as efficient and useful alone as when my left helping hand is assisting. Together, the two hands are one in function and purpose. They are a complete set. They are each other’s counterpart.

Woman completes man in all ways – spiritually, physically, emotionally and intellectually. Spiritually, she completes him by filling what is lacking in his ability to image God alone. I will get back to this. Physically, she completes him through helping him bear children for God’s glory, by meeting his physical need for intimacy, and by caring for his need for physical nourishment. Emotionally, she completes him by offering a softer side to humanity, a tenderness and sensitivity that he does not characteristically possess. This comes out in her passion to nurture people. Intellectually, she completes him by her focus to detail, which balances his bottom-line orientation. One way this is manifested is through her attention to the home, intelligently cultivating the place where he lives, looking well to her household and all the details of it.

Concerning woman completing man, God said during the creation week, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Once Adam had named the animals and observed that each one had its particular counterpart, something Adam himself did not have, he came to know personally that he was incomplete. He was alone and he felt it for the first time.

Spiritually, Adam was only half of the expression of God and half of what God's intended function for mankind was on the earth, like a right hand represents only half of the body’s ability to function with the upper appendages. Adam bore God’s image, but only part of it. There was another side of God that would be expressed through Eve’s personhood and function. Together they would bear His image completely. Together they would carry out God’s mandate to rule the earth.

Now what I am not saying here is that every man or woman must be married to be complete. Obviously, the apostle Paul did not believe that for he made it clear that it was his preference to remain single. Even though Paul preferred singleness for himself, God still used women, like Phoebe and Prisca, to help Paul (Romans 16:1-4). He was not himself independent of women aiding him with his work in the early church.

What I am saying is that in the larger scope of mankind bearing God’s image and functioning in creation, both male and female are necessary. The human race cannot even perpetuate without both. And without the softer side of femininity and woman's diverse function the world cannot accurately image God or carry out His mandate.

Woman bears God’s image in many ways, different than man. God created her with unique attributes that are also part of His character – nurturing for example. She represents Him in this way to her children and others that she attends to in loving ways.

God’s nurturing side is seen in Scripture through the care He bestows on His children. Isaiah 49:15 says, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.” And in Isaiah 66:13 we hear the Lord saying to Israel, "As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you…” In the New Testament we are familiar with Paul’s instruction when he tells fathers to bring up their children in the “nurture” and admonition of the Lord.

God fashioned Eve from Adam’s bone and flesh and she completed him. He was thrilled to have what had so obviously been missing from his life. He no longer felt alone and now had new motivation and momentum to be God’s agent on earth. Together they would rule the earth, and together they would bear God’s complete image. Just as my left hand completes my right hand, so woman completes man.

William Shakespeare wrote concerning man and woman completing one another:
He is half part of a blessed man, left to be finished by such a she; and she a fair divided excellence, whose fullness of perfection lies in him.
In the next Woman is Helper post, we will explore how woman aides man by complementing him in his leadership role.

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Woman is Helper - Three Facets of the Woman's Role as Helper

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chef Rosa and the Cuisine Dream Team

I thought it was about time that I posted photos of the 15 people who cooked and served the delicious meal at my daughter's wedding. In case you did not read the post I put up recently about this wonderful group of people, I will reiterate.

There were 15 people from the Bible study that my husband teaches who volunteered to make and serve a sit-down meal for the wedding. This was such a display of God's goodness and love. It continues to amaze me! I am overflowing with gratitude. It was a labor of love that was precious and reminds me of the first miracle Jesus performed. He commanded the servants to fill the water pots with water and then turned the water into wine at the wedding in Cana. I felt like I was there at that wedding.

Rosa worked for weeks in advance to get everything organized. She and Mary, Agatha and Phyllis did the prep work for the Chicken Parmesan. On the day-of everything went so smoothly. This team was so well prepared. It amazed the guests. Everyone wanted to know who the wonderful caterers were. They served with such efficiency. But what was so glorifying to the Lord were the wide smiles and constant joy they displayed with every plate that was presented, every glass that was filled, and every slice of wedding cake that was served.

The Dream Team was a beautiful picture of the goodness and love of Christ. Christ still uses His servants, performing His wonders through them. He was present, and again turning the water into wine. I loved it and have never had such good food and cheerful service at any restaurant or event.

Here are some photos of Chef Rosa and her Cuisine Dream Team:

Mary (in white) and Shirley. What servants!
Agatha, ready and willing to do whatever needs doing.
Suqui (on left) and Marilyn. The smiles never stopped!
Les (on the left) and Joe were so professional, it seemed like they had done this all a hundred times before. No one could believe this team was serving for the first time ever.
And here are (from the left) Marv, Ben and Joann. Ben is Suqui and Marv's son. He surprised us when he showed up ready and willing to help. There were actually two people that came that we had not expected. Ben was one and Shirley, in the first photo was the other. Fifteen people, and they all had such fun!
Marlene is Les' wife. They had just returned from a much needed vacation in Hawaii. This was one of the first things that they did when they got back. I even got an email from Les and Marlene while they were vacationing, saying that they so looked forward to serving at the wedding.
And here is Chef Rosa herself. This precious servant of the Lord labored before, during and after the wedding, and only to glorify the Lord.
Here is Phyllis on the move, serving the groom's father. The team all served the guests from the right and picked up from the right. We had researched this aspect before the wedding. This was a well-oiled machine!
Bob, Rosa's husband, in the foreground, and Marv ready to roll!
More sweet smiles from Jann (left) and Marilyn - such servants!
Here is the crew, except for Les and Marlene , on a well-derserved dinner break. They even fed the disc jockey (in black shirt) and the photographer. From the front and counter clockwise: Marilyn, the disc jockey, Rosa, Agatha, Suqui, Shirley (standing), Ben, Jann (standing), Joann, Marv, Bob (Rosa's husband), Mary, Phyllis and Joe. It is my understanding that the photographer got a picture of all the workers together. I am so looking forward to seeing that one.

Thank you Rosa, Bob, Marv, Suqui, Ben, Mary, Joe, Phyllis, Jann, Marilyn, Les, Marlene, Agatha, Shirley and Joann! Your reward awaits you in heaven, but for now please know that you have ministered more than words can express to Robert and me, Bethany and Curtis and all the other folks you so graciously served at the wedding. Most of all, you served the Lord Jesus Christ.

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Chef Rosa and the Cuisine Dream Team

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Imprint of God in Creation

The following videos are worth the time. You will worship your Creator-Redeemer as a result. Louie Giglio, in these two clips takes, us on a tour of the intricacies of creation. You will see that God has left His imprint everywhere. Not only do we see this openly and obviously in the creation, but His signature is also viewed in what, until recently, has been hidden from the human eye. Now, because God has gifted man with not only the intelligence to develop amazing technologies and tools, but also with the unquenchable desire to explore what the naked eye cannot see, many previously hidden aspects of creation are being revealed. These aspects, whether viewed from the lens of the microscope or that of the telescope reveal God's glorious imprint in creation. And His imprint is very specific.

Here is a microscopic peek:
Note: Before watching the video, turn off the music (player is at the bottom of the blog).




Even the way laminin is spelled fascinates me. Wikipedia describes its makeup: "There are four of beta-chains: LAMB1, LAMB2, LAMB3, LAMB4" Is this not amazing? In His Sovereignty, God even ordained that the beta-chains would be named "LAMB". I find this staggering to think of!

Now take time to watch the following telescopic view of God's imprint in the Whirlpool Galaxy:




Awesome! Rev 13:8 says, "All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast — all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world." God has seen His Son slaughtered from creation and His artistry in the heavens and in the cells of man himself declares it.

From the smallest cell, perceivable only with a microscope, to the vast unreachable galaxies now seen with the Hubble Telescope, God has put forth this testimony and we have discovered it exactly when He ordained it to be so. All men, saved or not, carry the emblem of God's great mercy and grace - the Cross - within themselves. Amazing! Men's mouths may not whisper His name in love, but his very molecular structure shouts that God not only created him but has given His Son to redeem Him. Amazing!

These discoveries point to the reality of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done on the cross. They bear witness to God's great heart of love for man. Laminin and the Whirlpool Galaxy are but God's "artwork" that bear witness of His great "heart-work" on the cross. This is so stunning and staggering to think on.

But there is an even more stupendous (who can come up with adequate words?) imprint to man from God. It is the imprint of the nails in the loving hands that were bound and fastened to the cross by wicked men and women - you and me. This imprint God placed on Himself, on He that is uncreated and this imprint is what all the other created imprints announce. This imprint manifests yet another truth about our powerful, sovereign, majestic and creative God. This is an imprint of His great love for His prodigal creation - man. And this imprint is way beyond description, explanation or comprehension, so this is where I will stop. Indescribable!!!

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

The Imprint of God in Creation

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Theology Eight - Soul Food for the Hungry Heart


This is the last post in the series of theology for women. If you have not read the previous posts of Theology - Necessary Soul Food for the Good Woman, please find them here.

Theology, that is pursuing the all-satisfying knowledge of and relationship with the Triune God, has brought such balance and dignity to my life. As a woman, I find there are many voices in my culture vying for my allegiance, including the feminist who has openly had her say here.
But in many cultures women are suppressed. India has been one such place. A passage in the Puranas, one of the Hindu's sacred books, reads “Let a woman who wishes to perform sacred oblations wash the feet of her lord and drink the water, for her husband is her lord, her priest, her religion. Wherefore abandoning all else she ought chiefly to worship her husband."
Culture in India also practiced “suttee”, an observance whereby a widow was burned alive on the funeral pyre of her dead husband. Many other atrocities abounded in regard to India’s females before the early twentieth century, including infanticide for unwanted daughters and temple prostitution for small girls, some as young as three and four years of age.
Imagine then the wonder with which the women there received the teachings of Christianity. One Hindu woman was noted to say, “Surely your Bible was written by a woman.” When asked “why?” she replied, “Because it says so many kind things for women. Our pundits never refer to us but in reproach.”
Christ restores balance and dignity for women whatever their culture promotes. For the Christian woman in India, dignity is restored in the midst of a culture that dehumanizes her.
But looking at another imbalance, in America, feminists seek to glorify women beyond their God-given place. The goal is supremacy, not equality, and herein we see the opposite extreme. This woman, out of a motive of retaliation, would like to rule over man the way he has ruled over her since and as a result of the fall.
But reiterating, in Christ we find a true balance where “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) It is a paradox that in Christ, woman finds her dignity, yet there is no distinction between male and female. In the pages of Scripture she discovers an ally who so understands her that she could easily mistake Him for a woman.
But this is the One who “…being found in appearance as a man…” personified the goodness of God (Philippinas. 2:8a). This is the One who spoke to an immoral woman, considered a mongrel by the Jews (Samaritan), the epitome of human outcasts and gifted her a royal position when He made her a child of the King. When the rest of society shunned her, Jesus revealed God to her, in all His goodness, and she was changed forever in an instance. (John. 4:4-45)
Spurgeon said, “My beloved sisters, you owe much to the Gospel, for it is only by its agency that you are raised to your proper place. Jesus has lifted you up to your true place, side by side with man.” But really He has lifted us much higher than that -all the way to the third heaven where He reigns. We dwell with Him there even in the midst of the storm or in the mire of a fallen culture when we truly know Him.
Do women need theology? Can we rise above our circumstances to find peace in the midst of a storm-tossed life? Where is the balance in a culture which seeks to either denigrate or deify us? Perhaps Jesus can best answer these questions. To every nation and tribe, to every people of every tongue, to men and women the mandate is still set forth. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Theology is not only essential for the woman of God, it is a command from its Author that we must embrace.
May we, as women of God, look to the apostle Paul as an example of what theology is all about. May we take to heart his passion for knowing Jesus:
I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death... (Phil. 3:8-11)
Oh, may we know Him! That is what theology is all about!

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Theology Eight - Soul Food for the Hungry Heart

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Franziska - Chapter Seven

Note: If you have not read Franciska's amazing story up to this point, you should do so now. Find chapters one through six here. Start at the bottom of the page with chapter one.

This long-time-in-coming seventh chapter of Franciska's story is devoted to Hermann's home going. I was delayed in writing this chapter because Hermann's obituary and a poem that he had written shortly before he died had to be translated from German to English. That is done now thanks to a friend from church. Thank you, Monica, for your kindness in translating the two pieces. So let us continue...

In 1932, on May 29th, Hermann and Franciska celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. An account of the celebration appeared in the local German paper. An excerpt reads:
"The evening of that day we reminisced...about the church and friends and relatives who had been there previously. At this testimonial, the representatives of the Meyer family, other relatives, and the congregation delivered their wishes for happiness and blessings to the celebrating pair. May the Lord we serve give us more such festivities."
Looking back to when Hermann and Franciska met, an item of interest to me is the last entry in Franciska's "Poesie" book, that little autograph book that she kept from the age of 12 through the age of nineteen (mentioned in chapter one). The last entry was made in December 1881 in Bromberg, Germany by Hermann. My Aunt Francis still has this little book in her possession. She writes of it:
One of the treasured mementos of Franciska still in existence is a small autograph book called 'Poesie' (poetry). It made the journey to America, survived the homestead, traveled to South Dakota by wagon and ferry, and onto Colorado and Oklahoma. 
The pages are brown with age and the once bright gilt edges are spattered with fly specks, but within are pages filled with exquisite handwriting... The first three entries are written in Thorn, a town near Bromberg, the latest being in December of 1881...The last entry is undated and signed, 'Hermann Meyer'! They were married in May of 1882.
Though Hermann's entry is written in German and I do not know what it says, it is more of a curiosity to me, as to why after 6 years of entries, Hermann's was the last. Franciska pursued no more autographs after his. Was she was satisfied to leave it with her future husband's as the best and therefore the last? Did she regard his entry as the culmination of all that had been written there in Poesie? Perhaps the answer lies in what he wrote and if I were to get it translated, the secret would be had.

But for now, we must return to what is known. In late 1930 or early 1931, Hermann was diagnosed with cancer. He suffered for two years and then on January 4th, 1933, he went home to be with the Lord. His obituary reads:
Brother Hermann Gustave Meyer, born December 12, 1857, near Bromberg, in the province of Posen, Germany, died after a lengthy battle with cancer on January 4, 1933, at La Salle, Colorado at the age of 75 and 22 days. He was married with his now grieving widow on May 29th, 1882 and the Lord blessed him with 13 children, of which 6 died before him.
Last May Brother Meyer and his wife celebrated their Golden Anniversary with all their children by their side. 1886 was the year Brother Meyer and his family came to this country, where they settled in Nebraska, South Dakota and since 1903 near La Salle, Colorado.
Brother Meyer accepted the Lord as his Savior. He was baptized by Brother Currant in 1877...Just as in the old country, so in this country, Brother Meyer showed a deep commitment to the work of our Lord by holding Sunday School and Worship Services in his own home, and many have come to Christ through his initialed contacts. He was a devoted Christian and kept faithfully to those teachings of the Word of God.
Brother Meyer held many offices in his church, such as superintendent of Sunday School, secretary, treasurer and the last 20 years as a deacon. He consistently fulfilled his Christian duties, as he always wanted what was best for the Lord and His congregation.
He was especially pleased, that all his children came to the Lord Jesus Christ. One of his sons, Herbert Meyer, from Alva, Oklahoma followed the call and became a pastor himself. A few weeks before his death, Brother Meyer composed the following poem which was read at his funeral:

At the Edge of Eternity

by Hermann Gustave Meyer
Written in December 1932, a few weeks before his death.

I stand at the edge of eternity
And look back one more time
I see the God of Majesty
And am lifted to joy sublime.

I am so very happy
My Savior died for me.
He took my guilt
He took it all and now, by grace, I’m free.

Christ freed me from God's judgment,
“There’s no more fear” I cry.
He conquered death and gave me life
My soul shall never die.

Now Christ is my Protector.
He owns my life, my soul.
I’m clean by the blood of Jesus;
I’m free, I’m His, I’m whole!
Grieving is his wife, 5 sons, 2 daughters, 35 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren, 2 sisters and many other relatives and friends. May the Lord bless all that are left behind and give them the assurance of seeing their departed loved ones at the Throne of God in good time. La Salle, Colorado.
As I read and reread my Great Grandfather's poem, I am struck with the peace, joy and anticipation he exhibited as he looked forward to his own death. For the Christan, this is the mindset concerning leaving this earthly realm. There is no fear because we know there is no judgment. Jesus Christ has experienced my judgment, my penalty and my punishment for sin. Now for me, there is only great anticipation as I move toward eternity. I will be with Jesus - face to face. No longer chained by sin, I will be able to worship Him just as Grandfather Hermann now worships, without a single hindrance, alongside my loved ones who have gone before me. Oh, what satisfaction and joy! Praise God who has so generously given us His Son!

Franciska's story is nearly complete. The final chapter will follow detailing her latter years after Hermann's death.

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Franziska - Chapter Seven

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Iron Men



Today I received the following story and video in an email from my daughter's fiance. After watching it I knew I had to put it on the blog. Please do not skip over this post. It is an amazing picture of God's grace, goodness and strength for our lives. He has done all the work and now carries us in our daily lives. The video makes it all clear, but read the following first:

A son asked his father, "Dad, will you take part in a marathon with me?" The father, despite having a heart condition, said "Yes". They went on to complete the marathon together. This father and son went on to join other marathons, the father always saying ''Yes" to his son's request to go through the race together. One day, the son said to his father, "Dad, let's join the Ironman together." To this, his father said "Yes" .

For those who don't know, the Ironman is the toughest of all triathlons. The race, which takes place in Hawaii, encompasses three endurance events. These include a 2.4 mile (3.86 kilometers) ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile (180.2 kilometers) bike ride, and ends with a 26.2 mile (42.195 kilometers) marathon along the coast of the Big Island. Father and son went on to complete the race together.

Click here to view the video of the duo.

After you see that video you will want to watch this one which tells the story of the father and son.

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

The Iron Men

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Theology Seven - Soul Food for the Hungry Heart


This is a continuing series about why and how real theology is necessary for the woman of God. For previous articles please click here.

When Jesus visited Martha’s home in Bethany, both she and her sister, Mary, learned a penetrating and enduring lesson from Jesus about the importance of theology for women (Lk. 10:38-42). At that time Rabbis considered it unthinkable to allow women to learn the Scriptures. “Rather burn the sayings of the law than teach them to a woman” was a common adage. But in their home in Bethany, Jesus interrupts time, busyness and decorum, and in His infinite essence heralds a message to Mary and Martha (and the men) that only one thing is of eternal importance – knowing Him. “Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (vs. 42).

Paul tells Timothy to, “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission” (I Tim. 2:11). So we have it from Christ and the apostle Paul that women should be students of Christ who come to Him to learn. Martha could not handle a simple situation because she had not been at Jesus’ feet. How then can women have peace in difficult circumstances without the anchor of a full knowledge of their God? And knowing Him only casually is really not knowing Him at all.

The woman determined to know God intimately, strives to sit at His feet when everything else shouts “Get up, get busy!” When God’s goodness is obscured from our sight in the storms of life, a casual knowledge of Him will only hasten a faltering faith into the depths of doubt and despair. In order to weather the deluge, a real working knowledge of God is imperative if we would have a compass to guide us in the chaos.

We will be assured, like Job, that no matter what life’s challenges, God is good – He is perfectly and eternally good. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled” (Ps. 46:1-3).

Recently I heard a story about some Christian women from Bangladesh, a culture in which women are considered chattel. In Bangladesh women's lives are agonizingly hard. Most have no love demonstrated toward them, whether they are young or old. Husbands in this culture have many women (just as you and I have as many pairs of shoes as we please) and they treat their women like property.

A group of these women heard the gospel and some came to know Christ, but since they did not fully grasp how much God loved them, they continued to live dejected, heartless lives. There seemed to be no change until a missionary began to teach them about the attributes of God – theology proper. When they understood the magnanimity of His love for them and His goodness toward them, they asked, “Are you saying that God loves us in this way? He wants only our good? Why didn't someone tell us of this sooner?”

From that day on they were able to smile, though their circumstances were not changed. They had the peace of God and knew that He truly cared for them. A new personal dignity sustained them. Not even the harshest, most brutal treatment could shake their confidence in God’s love for them. They were changed because they dug deep into God’s glorious character and discovered strength there for themselves.

While in Uganda recently, I taught a group of Christian women from Entebbe. These women were mostly illiterate and therefore unlearned in the Scriptures. I observed that a course of child rearing “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” was badly needed. When raising children in this harsh environment, parents tend to be severe and unloving, with the idea that this will help their kids cope with the difficulties they will face as adults. I saw children with real needs left to cry and “get over it”. Obviously, the women needed light from the Scriptures.

As they learned about their relationship to God, how He sees them in His Son, their adoption by the Spirit, their Heavenly Father's parental love for them, how He disciplines the ones He loves, about His goodness toward His children, and more, the women were overwhelmed with gratitude to God. They repented of their harsh practices and simply wanted to love their children, to be kindly disposed to them as God was toward them. I saw before me a “new creation” in Christ. The old cultural standards passed away in the warmth of this fresh knowledge of God, and all relationships became new. Their difficult lives and their children’s also became sweet that day because of what they knew, because theology became a part of their being.

While we were there in Uganda, I became acquainted with Eddie, the wife of Venencio, the college chaplain in Zana, Uganda (currently, Venencio is pastoring a church in Bundibudgeo, which is on the border of the Congo in northern Uganda). I was overjoyed when she responded to the theology that she learned when we visited there. The mother of toddler twins who suffer terribly from sickle cell anemia, she was despondent and had even emotionally detached herself from her babies since there was so little she could do to help them in their pain. She distanced herself, realizing she might not always have them. She was truly caught in the storm’s tempest. But when she heard that God was “the Lord above the storm”, about His sovereignty over the storm, she began to look up to Him and found great strength and comfort. Her countenance revealed the peace she had as a result of her knowing God better.

Personally, I can affirm that theology – knowing God – has been an anchor for me in the trials I have faced. When one of our daughters ran away from home at the age of sixteen, one day before her birthday, my world came crashing down. I turned to God, although I could not understand why He would allow such anguish. He strengthened me and even gave me joy in spite of the heartache.

But I knew that my knowledge of God was shaky at best. He was using the trial to deliver me from the false teaching I had succumbed to over the previous five years. Living legalistically, I had expected that because I was doing my part in raising our children, God was obligated to save them. Now I told myself, “Either God is a liar or my beliefs are completely false.” I knew God well enough to recognize that the problem was not with Him; He can not lie for He is not only the source of all truth, He is truth. I thank Him for those early lessons of theology proper that taught me that fact clearly.

God then put a desire within me to discover more truth concerning Him so that I could battle the lies I had believed and the bitterness that would follow if I became complacent about pursuing Him. Along with the Psalmist I confessed, "It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes." (Ps. 119:71) So with abundant resources before me (shelves filled with my husband's theological books and every English Bible translation known to man), I began a quest for God that resolved all my issues. That initial seeking has become an unending pursuit for me. Even today, seeking God in this way creates in me more of a hunger for God. The more I know about Him, the more I realize there is so much more to know about Him, for He is inscrutable.

Now I know the truth of Psalm 119:67-68, "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. You are good and do good; teach me Your statutes." Notice that the Psalmist does not rest on his laurels, the fact that he keeps God's word (..."but now I keep Your word..." in verse 67). No, he knows his heart all too well. He knows that he must continue to pursue knowing God in His word. He prays "...teach me Your word." (68).

This is exactly what I need. If I ease off of this pursuit, I know where my heart will take me and I do not want to go there. The practicality of daily theology, consistently getting to know God more intimately, is the "one thing " I need. And it is the only pursuit that yields eternal, lasting returns.

Oh, may we, like Mary, strive to sit and learn at Christ's feet. When the world pulls and demands our attention, may we hear His admonishment as did Martha, "Sharon, Sharon, you are worried and bothered about so many things but only one thing is needed. Choose that which will not be taken away from you. Choose to know Me."

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Theology Seven - Soul Food for the Hungry Heart

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Well-Pleased Prisoners

My husband was reading G. Campbell Morgan's commentary on the book of Acts today and called my attention to a song that Madame Guyon wrote sometime between 1695 and 1705, a 10-year period that she spent in a French prison. Morgan related Madame Guyon's song to the joy that Paul and Silas displayed as they, in stocks and bleeding from having been publicly whipped, worshipped God in their dark dungeon cell. Think of her song when you find yourself complaining about what life throws at you:

A little bird am I
Shut from the fields of air;
And in my cage I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there;
Well-pleased a prisoner to be
Because my God, it pleaseth Thee.
Nought else have I to do;
I sing the whole day long;
And He Whom most I love to please,
Doth listen to my song;
He caught and bound my wandering wing,
But still He bends to hear me sing.
Thou hast an ear to hear;
A heart to love and bless;
And, though my notes were e'er so rude,
Thou wouldst not hear the less;
Because Thou knowest, as they fall,
That same, sweet Love, inspires them all.
My cage confines me round;
Abroad I cannot fly;
But though my wing is closely bound,
My heart's at liberty.
My prison walls cannot control
The flight, the freedom of my soul.
Oh, it is good to soar
These bolts and bars above,
To Him Whose purpose I adore,
Whose providence I love;
And in Thy mighty will to find
The joy, the freedom of the mind.


Need I say more?
Photobucket

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Well-Pleased Prisoners

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Berry Much Like Discipleship

I just picked these luscious strawberries from my backyard. In a few days there will be that many again. And this from our small little lot! Amazing, huh?

Well, the really amazing part is that I was not resposible for a single one of the plants that bear these beauties. When we moved into the house we are in now, the yard was completely barren. Both front and back were nothing but dirt waiting to sustain life. We brought with us a very large assortment of plants in buckets and large containers from the house we had been at previously. The property was sold to a developer and knowing that all the roses, shrubs and perennials would be turned under, we took them with us.

By the shed in the backyard (at the new house) I planted a plumbago because it was a shady spot. But alas, the plumbago died and in its place a strawberry plant germinated. I paid no attention to it. I expected that since it was the offspring of a hybrid, was growing in the shade and in clay soil to boot, that it would not do much at all. I basically ignored it. It only got water when I intentionally watered plants around it.

But this little strawberry plant was determined to live and so it did. The next spring it was still there and the next. Once in a while it put off a little tiny strawberry but since it was in the shade it bore hardly any fruit.

Then it happened! The little plant began sending off runners - lots of them and some managed to land in the sun. And I began to get strawberries. The new plants then sent off runners and now six years later I pick strawberries from several hundred plants. I have tried transplanting some, but the ones I left in the clay soil seem so much happier and productive. I guess that they just became accustomed to the harsh soil and do best there.

I call this strawberry "Franciska" since it seems to be entirely unstoppable. (If you have not read about Franciska, click on this link to get there.) And it seems to me that what I have seen Franciska Berry do is a good example of discipleship.

The Lord brings us to life spiritually. Most of the time our situation in life is not ideal when He saves us, but He has given us life and that is our joy. He causes us to continue, even if our circumstances do not improve. But we are alive to Him and in due time He brings about growth and fruit bearing. As we get nourished in the light of His word and enjoy our relationship with Him, we begin to be concerned for others and God uses us to witness of His love.

God expects that others will come to know Him through us and that we will make disciples, teaching them what we know of Christ. If we all did what we are commanded - love God and take discipleship seriously, we would see an explosion of new life springing forth - new followers of Christ bearing much fruit, like my strawberry patch in the backyard!

May we take the example of Franciska Berry to heart. What great glory to God would result!

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Berry Much Like Discipleship