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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lessons from Sophie - Looking unto Jesus...

"...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

If I could simply look to Jesus the way my dog looks to me, all would be well. Sophie thinks I’m the greatest (the picture is of Sophie in July, 2007). When I’m away, she sits and waits by the front door in anticipation of my return. When I come back she is exuberant over seeing me. All of her body trembles in the expression of her excitement. Her tail, wagging at warp-speed, propells the rest of her body in unison.

Sophie does not center her attention on herself. Her eyes are always toward me, even when she dozes off. Her desire is for me. She works at remaining by my side, following along when I move from room to room. Her motivation is to be with me and enjoy me. Whatever makes me happy, makes Sophie happy. And when I am somber, she feels that also and seems to empathize.

Discipline crushes Sophie. She knows she has met with my disapproval. Making up is then her passion, craving a good word from me. Submissive, she seeks to be restored to my good graces, which, translated, means a good tummy rub.

This dog lives for me, making much of me. So I give her myself. Her devotion to me results in my careful attention to her, though it was originally my love for her that rescued her from doom and destruction. She loves me because I first loved her, though she did nothing to deserve my love and is really only a liability to me.

As Sophie grows and learns more about what makes me happy and what I expect from her, she will become more and more devoted, loyal and obedient. Because she is so enthralled with me, she is a happy dog and things can only get better. The reason Sophie relates to me this way is because she recognizes that I am her superior, in fact that I am a superior being. So she shows her fear and love for me by behaving appropriately.

Now that you have Sophie's behavior fixed in your mind, let's think about ourselves in relation to God. Psalm 123:2 says, "Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to you the LORD our God, until He is gracious to us." A handmaiden did not hear orders spoken from her mistress. Rather, she looked to her hands and received her orders as signals. Thus the term "handmaid".

So we look to Jesus our Lord. When our eyes first fell on Him what did we see? We saw Him looking to His Father's hands pointing to Calvary. We saw the Master, infinitely superior to us - very God of God - becomg the servant (Philippians 2:5-8). We saw Him dying our death on the cross, paying for our crimes. Then looking closer at His hands we saw the nail piercings for our sins. Instead of crude hand signals ordering us about, we saw His hands scarred from the work He did for us on Calvary.

So our eyes have looked to You, our LORD and our God, and indeed, You have been gracious to us beyond human imagination. May we look to Your nail-pierced hands for our joy and strength today. May all of our attention and affections be focused on You, Lord Jesus. May we go where You send, serve when You bid, love as You love, may we share in Your sufferings. And may the glory be all Yours, dear Savior."Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to Your word." (Luke 1:38)

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Lessons from Sophie - Looking unto Jesus...

My Husband I Promise to...

Abide in Christ, for without Him I can do nothing, not even for you. (Jn. 15:5)

Beautify our home with the treasures of heaven. (Pro. 24:3-4)

Commune with you - body to body, mind to mind & spirit to spirit. (Song 2:3-4; 5:16)

Devote myself to doing you good all the days of our lives together. (Pro. 31:10-12)

Express my gratitude to the Lord daily for gifting me with your love. (Phil. 1:3-4)

Forsake all other binding relationships and cleave only to you. (Ps. 45:10-11)

Govern our marriage by the Law of Love. (1 Pet. 4:8)

Help you in all you do, complementing and completing you. (Gen. 2:18)

Image Christ before you, the purpose for which I was created. (Gen. 1:26; Phil.2:5)

Journey with you wherever you go. (Gen. 12:4b-5; Ruth 1:16)

Kindle fires for you - in the hearth, in my heart & in our human oneness. (Pro. 5:18-19)

Laugh with you, for laughter is a gift from the Lord that binds hearts together. (Job 8:21; Pro. 17:22)

Manage our home, cultivating life and love there. (Pro. 14:1; Rom 12:13)

Nourish and nurture you & all who enter through our door. (1 Tim. 5:9-10; Titus 2:4-5)

Outlaw bitterness in my heart & nurture forgiveness in our relationship. (Eph. 4:31-32)

Pray for you always - for your spiritual, physical & emotional well-being. (3 Jn. 2)

Quiet my anxious thoughts with God’s precious promises. (Phil. 4:5b-7)

Respect you as the God-given head of our marriage. (Eph. 5:21b-24)

Serenade you with a gentle, quiet spirit that trusts in the Lord. (1 Pet. 3:3-5)

Treasure Christ above all else, even above you, my Darling. (Phil. 3:8a)

Uphold God’s design for marriage by yielding to your leadership. (Eph. 5:21-24)

Value each moment we have this side of heaven, knowing that life is but a vapor. (Jms. 4:14)

Withhold not love, but rather initiate reconciliation regardless of who is at fault. (Eph. 4:26-27)

X-amine the log in my own eye before looking at the speck in yours. (Matt. 7:3)

Yearn always for your manly love. (Song 3:4)

Zealously guard my love for Christ so that you will be the Zenith of my earthly love. (1 Jn. 4:19)

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

My Husband I Promise to...

Just Sitting Around

Setting up this blog has certainly been a tedious and long process, mostly because I do not know what I am doing. But this I do know, I desire, as an “older woman” to be obedient to the summons in Titus 2:3-5: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior…teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the younger 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 is not dishonored.” That is what I a desire to do.

The problem is that I find myself so caught up in creating this blog, that I can actually sacrifice being a Titus Two woman in order to get the job done. Good intentions are not worth much as Martha of Bethany discovered (Luke 10:38-42). She welcomed Jesus into her home and intended to serve Him by providing a meal for Him. That’s definitely a good work. But somewhere between her good intentions and her preparations she lost sight of the goal - to actually honor and glorify God in her serving. Why? Because she became distracted by her serving.

Martha was so caught up in preparing to serve Jesus that she left Him out. As a result she missed out on the goodness of the Lord. Mary was a partaker of His goodness as she sat at His feet listening to His words and renewing her mind (Rom. 12:2). Jesus commended her to Martha when He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

The phrase in verse 42 translated ”the good part” can also be translated “partaker of that which is good” (see Col. 1:12 for an example of the Greek word “meris” translated as “partakers”). Mary’s intentions, I am sure were to serve the Lord also, but she knew that sitting had to come before serving.

Good intentions can cause me to miss out on my good God. And where does that get me? I will only be worried and bothered by all my serving. The joy of serving will turn into complaining when I do not let the goodness of Christ rub off on me by sitting at His feet, as Mary did. My good intentions must be empowered by Him to become actual good works. It will not happen any other way.

So as I set up this blog, I ask God to keep reminding me of Himself and where I need to be before I attempt to serve younger women through this blog. I must sit before I can serve if it is to be serving that glorifies my good God. And like Jesus said, “…Mary has chosen…” Like Mary (and I’m sure Martha too after the Lord’s rebuke to her), I want to chose to partake of that which is intrinsically good - only God is - so that I might be equipped to really serve others with joy that glorifies Christ. I really do want to be a Biblical (Titus 2) woman as I prepare this blog so I am planning to just sit around for a spell. That way I know much good will get done!

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Just Sitting Around