Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot

Samantha in her "father's arms" when she was about 4.
Also, from Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Whitney said something like, "As though becoming like Jesus wouldn't take much effort." That's a pretty good point! I want to write some things that I want to remember from The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot. She said, "A little child wants 'somebody with skin on'; he wants the father to be there in the dark, his weight felt sitting on his bed, his hand on the child's hand, his voice audible. His own father's arms are all he yet knows of the Everlasting Arms. As the child grows he is conscious of more than the physical presence. He watches everything the father does and tries his best to imitate it exactly..." She quoted 1 Tim. 4:12, 15-16, Set an speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity...Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." On childtraining she writes, "Because all of us are born in sin, all of us are rebellious, some more than others. Some children seem to be born sweet and compliant; others are called 'strong willed' when what they really are is merely willful-governed by will without yielding to reason,obstinate, perverse, stubborn, as my brother Phil was in his high chair when he refused to drink his milk. Mother's steadfast insistence on obedience was not for her personal victory over a 'strong' will but rather to strengthen her small son's will to enable him to will against himself, that is, to do the thing he ought to do before doing the thing he wanted to do. How many adults have remained willful, selfish, and immature because they were denied this essential lesson in childhood." I put the emphasis on what I mostly want to remember from that. On being an example to our children I loved this that she quoted, "Being to those under her, as far as in her lay, what Our Lord was to His disciples, reproducing His humility, His charity, His goodness, His sweetness, His patience...never surprised at defects and imperfections...forming by example rather than by precept...leading to love and confidence rather than by fear...proportioning her teaching and trials to the character, strength, and measure of grace of each individual, making them understand that only by renunciation and death to self can they reach the goal, and ever helping them by all the means that unwearied charity could suggest." Maud Monahan, The Life and Letters of Janet Erskine Stuart, p.74 The bold I emphasized here I pray the Lord will help me with! I am always so surprised by my children's sin nature. My husband is not. ;) When I get a little hyper about something he's like, "Well, yeah, Amber...they are going to sin." He can handle it with more calm and ease. And I desire to not just teach them to follow the Lord and tell them what they should do but to BE an example.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney

The analogy of disciplining your body physically has really helped me to understand disciplining yourself for the purpose of Godliness. This book focuses on the spiritual disciplines of worship, prayer, journaling, evangelism, Bible intake, service, fasting, stewardship, silence and solitude, and learning. Whitney said that Godly people are disciplined people. He writes, "In my own pastoral and personal Christian experience, I can say that I've never known a man or woman who came to spiritual maturity except through discipline. Godliness comes through discipline." He talks about three things God uses primarily to change us: people (friends, enemies...), circumstances, and Spiritual Disciplines. He says, "Sometimes God uses our friends to sharpen us into more Christlike living, and sometimes He uses our enemies to file away our rough, ungodly edges. Parents, children, spouses, coworkers,customers, teachers, neighbors, pastors-God changes us through these people." Referring to circumstances, he talks about how God uses things such as financial problems, physical conditions, and even the weather to turn us toward holiness. Then he talked about the Spiritual Disciplines saying, "We often have little choice regarding the people and circumstances God brings into our lives, but we can decide, for example, whether we will read the Bible or fast today. So on the one hand, we recognize that even the most iron-willed self-discipline will not make us more holy, for growth in holiness is a gift from God (John 17:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 2:11)." Then he went on with the analogy that really struck me, "Think of the Spiritual Disciplines as spiritual exercises. To go to your favorite spot for prayer or journaling, for example, is like going to a gym and using a weight machine. As physical disciplines like this promote strength, so the Spiritual Disciplines promote Godliness." "Discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness." 1 Timothy 4:7

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Two Books

Two books I am really enjoying right now. The first one is, The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot. This is the second time I've read this book. The first time I borrowed it. It was so good I have bought it now about two years later. The second one is, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney. I want to share some things from them as soon as I get the time. Some really good stuff. I am also rereading, Sheperding a Child's Heart again and being reminded of some really important things. Also, I went to BCO's site to download a sermon and found Carol Mack speaking about "being the wife your husband needs" and have really enjoyed the reminders and conviction it has brought.

Family Picture