I have a lesson assignment "How do you live as a Christian widow/divorced" (what a way to phrase it, but English is not their home language.) I've not been down this road. . .
Our Sundays are really physically challenging right now. Each Sunday, we are travelling two hours on difficult roads to worship with a new congregation. This means arising at 5am and returning by 4pm. But oh, the joy of the majority of the members in this small church are university students--having access to teaching at a higher level with inquiring minds who sincerely want to please God. Hey, 5am means nothing!
And then Monday and Tuesday come along with more teaching opportunities--but the body is crying :) Thankfully Thursday and Friday are "free" days! And then the classes come around again. And before I know it the month is gone--and I am a year older.
I know you experience the same, so I thank you for listening. We are sisters, seeking wisdom where it may be found (Job 28:12), living for Jesus.
Have a wonderful day.
I'm back. . . please don't give up on me. Our health remains steady, our Bible classes continue and the weeks seem to gallop by. I've been reading a number of your entries and respond where I can. You are important to me.
I recently posted the following on Facebook and thought you too might enjoy, perhaps benefit:
Long ago (1987), my husband wrote the following to one of our sons.
Your letter was very revealing and open, a reflection of your honesty and confidence in us. We are pleased that you feel you can share your feelings with your mother and me without fear of reprisal. I hope we can maintain your respect in that. Parents are ever on the verge of overreacting to dangerous situations for their brood, and we are no exception. The seriousness of your relationship with ______ is a blessing to be safeguarded. You yourself have already identified the tremendous temptations involved and as long as you keep facing the reality of the temptation, you may come through unscathed by the help of God and to His glory.
As you soar above the clouds in the ecstasy of the loving emotion, we soar with you. There is perhaps no greater emotion in life that can raise man to such rapture. Poets have attempted to describe it, writers have tried to capture it, but still it eludes our understanding. It is intoxicating, and there lies the rub. When one is intoxicated, he loses a sense of good judgment and decision making, and then he loses his inhibitions and loses his head.
Soar high, Tim. Soar higher than any before you. But soar responsibly, in a god-ward love of what is best for the object of that love and not out of a love for yourself. And while you soar, understand life has cycles of emotional highs and lows. Recognizing the cycle will not cure the “down” time, but it does let you know what is going on and thus becomes an encouragement to get up and get going in doing good.
Now that we parents have “reacted” to your letter, we can feel satisfied in fulfilling our responsibilities. We love you so very much and want so very much what is best for you.
Here is my contribution on that day.
Dear son, about your concern in wanting to be independent or not having to rely on others, meaning your grandparents. When you are making adult decisions, you will often have to do what you understand you need to do and not what others expect you to do. But remember, a person loses valuable knowledge and wisdom if he is always seeking independence. Depending on others is not necessarily a reflection of youth – even those of 50 years need the wisdom others can offer. So, try to push yourself a little more with each experience, because life is fun, a challenge, an adventure. Scary? You don’t know the half of it yet. So, bite the bullet, my boy. And son, when and if that tunnel seems to get darker and darker – reach out, open your eyes and SEE all of the helping hands and hearts around you. They were in that tunnel before you! One more thing – loneliness can blow a relationship out of proportion, so ease up and laugh. Your grandparents love you so very much and they are also in the process of learning to grandparent a 19-year-old! So let love, anger, loneliness, and laughter do their part. These are “alive” emotions. Make them work for you for good.
You mentioned you still feel “uprooted.” We did that to you, son. We brought you to a foreign land and reared you there. Then we sent you back to find your “place” in the land of your birth. It may be true that you will always feel misplaced, but a good wife and family should heal this pain. So, while you are feeling uprooted, I am dealing with “mom pain.” Last Sunday evening, we sang, “God Be With You” and I know now that I will never again be able to sing this song. Pain in loving. That’s the deal.
I want to move to another subject, one that your father and I have walked through and remember vividly. It is good to be honest about love. Recognize lust and its intense power. Don’t play games with either lust or love.
A Dr Coleman wrote the following from in his book, Sex and the Single Christian:
“A couple should be careful not to get too romantically and physically involved in a situation that can get them into trouble. It is like driving 90-miles-an-hour down a city street and a child runs out in front of the car. We may jam on the brakes and have every intention of stopping, but the actual decision was made when we chose to go 90-miles-an-hour on a city street. Once that decision is made it is sometimes very difficult to reverse.
The same holds true in sexual temptation: the amount of physical contact and the setting a couple place themselves in are important factors in avoiding temptations. God gives us the option to avoid overwhelming temptation. So the guidelines have to be drawn early enough so as not to get so excited and so involved sexually that they reach a point where it’s difficult, if not impossible, to stop.
Every couple should talk this over if they don’t want to engage in premarital sex. And they should know themselves well enough to know how involved they can be with this person they’re in love with without it creating a problem. Then they must draw the line at that point, or even sooner. That’s one of the important things – BOTH parties have to take full responsibility for stopping at that point. Neither one should say, “You stop me.” Both parties assuming full responsibility helps to prevent them from going too far.”
The name Pleonast actually has a meaning--but I'm not sure I would consider it a compliment to its users!
Pleonast - One who is addicted to pleonasm, or redundancy in speech or writing.
I think I'll take its other meaning -
Pleonast - Sillimanite, also known as fibrolite, monroelite or bucholzite, is an aluminum silicate mineral.
Nope, not applicable either!
Whatever its meaning or meant to mean, I'm thankful for each one of you on here.
Well! is five months absence any kind of record? I am not proud of it . . .
We had a quiet holiday season. Since all business close for about a month (except stores!) everyone is back home where they grew up. Africans consider this their home and where they work, usually far away in distant cities, this not their home. Gift giving is a given, but no "extras" of any kind, especially those who do not have much.
Soooo, Christians use this time for gospel meetings and lecture series. Dave and my classes that occur weekly are suspended and we are asked to participate in these additional efforts. Three days before Christmas I scheduled classes for young women in my home. We had a wonderful time! Nine ladies camped out and helped me cook in addition to our nine classes. Even got in teaching crochet in the afternoon. Learning to read patterns and recipes was all new to them.
Afterwards, I thought to write a lesson that was incorporated during all nine classes--how to take notes and organizing time spent with God. The following may prove to be helpful to you in your teaching efforts.
Developing A Disciplined Life
Life is about discipline–self-discipline in reaching spiritual maturity. It is an onward effort and not without tears and sorrow amidst laughter and joy. Even at my age self-disciplined effort is still absolutely necessary. The Apostle Paul wrote the following at a similar age: “I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” Phil 3:13-14.
But knowing HOW to develop self-discipline and have workable, reachable goals can seem overwhelming. Perhaps every effort in the past to be spiritually organized (and thus also physically organized) has not been sustainable or has been lost in the shuffle of living. Let’s reexamine our deep desires and longing for a life with Christ and then make a plan.
"Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” Mat 6:31-33.
We are to seek Jesus FIRST, really first! Anything else that might be taken out of “all these things” and placed first can destroy our ultimate goal of being with Jesus forever. And when these things take over, our lives become scattered on a daily basis and we feel somewhat lost. Focus is momentary and quickly forgotten even as yet another area of living demands our attention. A rat-race life demands a rest, but a holiday by the sea cannot solve the problem. It is merely awaiting us when we return. Only when we look to God for solutions, can we find peace and rest. When Moses sought help, God answered, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest" Exodus 33:14.
How do we make God our number one priority in our lives? First, we must understand, believe and accept that we must live our lives consciously before Him, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. David wrote: “I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely.” Psalm 16:7-9.
Second, we must hide ourselves in a daily quiet time spending the time with Bible, pen and paper, talking with God. We all have 24 hours in a day (what a gift!) and we are the ones who choose how to spend these hours. Is just one hour with God each day too much to ask of ourselves?!
Third, be diligent to be present when the Lord’s people come together to study and worship together. Not only is it a command to remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the first day of the week, but Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us to “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
Just from these verses we can see three priorities when we make our daily lists of things to do.
Priority #1: Daily time with God and His Word.
Priority#2: Helping another Christian with His walk
Priority #3: My work in this world, including talking to others about Jesus.
Your Life Plan
Let’s get started with your own life plan. It will take a deliberate effort to make your life fit into what God wants. “If God wills. . .” (Acts 18:21; Romans 9:16) and as Paul wrote, “ I run in such a way, as not without aim” 1 Cor 9:26. “Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established” Proverbs 4:25,26.
At the top of your page write “My Life Goals – Fear God and Keep His Commandments”.
As you write down your main goals, notice that all that’s really important in this life is God, people and connecting people with God.
Each goal should be specific enough to take careful aim. To give you some idea of what your goals might read, I will share mine with you (written back when my children were young).
1. To be meek and humble in seeking a home with God–less of self toward none of self and all for Him.
2. To serve my husband as lovingly and faithfully as a true helpmeet can.
3. To guide my children to a true love and desire to serve God with open honest hearts.
4. To lead others to Christ and strengthen those already on the path. I can do this by my example and teaching."Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” Daniel 12:3.
The Apostle Paul gives us a fine list to draw from in Colossians 1:9-12.
1. Be filled with knowledge
2. Walk worthily
3. Bear fruit–good work, knowledge
4. Be steadfast
5. Be patient
6. Be joyous–thankful
Now that you have your life goals, you need to break these down to more manageable pieces by considering what you want to achieve five or ten year goals from now. Consider your first goal on your list and think what you want to be able to complete as a person. For example, for the first one on my list:
1. To have a workable knowledge of the Bible. To have memorized many verses that pertain to character qualities that will help me to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. (By creating more specific goals I can now make a plan, year by year toward the five year goals which are aimed toward my personal life goals.)
Continue planning your five (or 10) year goals directly connected with each one on your life goals. For your one year goals, become even more specific. For example,
1. Continue my personal Bible study by using a one-hour study plan to create a list of all Bible events and their moral lessons on 3x5 index cards. (See One-Hour-Plan and how to use index cards at end of this lesson.)
2. Memorize one Bible verse per week. (Recite from printed card at each meal time with family. By the end of the week, the verse is learned by every member in the family–no pain!
Notice how my plan has become more specific. Do this for the remainder of your one year goals.
At this point consider your one-month goals, aiming toward your one-year goals. Notice from the following how some of my goals in the month of January became tied together within my four main goals.
1. Begin with Genesis and study through the book using the index cards. (Today, many years later, I still have these cards, now being taught to new teachers.)
2. Help Dave to organize his library.
3. Try to always wait for David’s blessing in what you plan to do!
4. Be more patient with my sons.
5. Daily teach our boys using the Bible event recorded on the 3x5 cards. Think of some activity to aid revision throughout the month.
6. Adjust with mouth shut about school demands.
7. Visit new teachers.
8. Laugh! “A merry heart hath a continual feast.”
9. Sew curtains and lawn chair cushions
10. Sew Janet’s dress
11. Work on Bible lesson for ladies’ class.
At the end of the month, tick off each item completed. Make a new list which may have some goals that still need attention. At the end of the year, review and create a new list for the new year. Always keep in mind your five-ten year goals toward your life goals. (As you reach your 5/10 year goals, increase and improve your goals!) Each month you should have a wonderful sense of accomplishment and a positive outlook toward the next month and year as you grow in the Lord.
Your Personal Notebook
You need somewhere to record and refer to your goals on a regular basis. I chose to create a personal notebook where I could expand my plans and ensure a strong interest in continued growth–staying on target! Here are my suggestions that worked well for me.
Find a binder/file that you feel comfortable with and would enjoy using on a daily basis. It is important to choose a size you can always have with you–or keep open on your desk where you can consult it throughout the day. I also included dividers which could be labeled. As you will see from the following, a pre-made planner might prove too limiting.
On the inside cover of my notebook I have a one-year calendar, folded and attached.
My first page is the present month with space to record appointments, etc. If the appointment is several months away, I write it at the top of the month calendar. (You may wish instead to have a separate year calendar to keep with your notebook.)
The following pages in the notebook are daily pages, divided in half, where I record what must be done each day. This also includes my meal plans for the week. (My ongoing list for the grocery run is in my “Pantry” section.) At the end of the month I check back through and pick up weak areas that swallowed up my days. It will soon become obvious if physical concerns have overpowered spiritual concerns and changes need to be made. These pages may then be discarded.
As the days go by you will begin adding sections in your notebook as I did, created for various reasons. Perhaps some of these will be incorporated into yours.
1. Husband–what he needs, how I can help, ideas, memories.
2. My Boys–thoughts, plans of how I can help them. Memorable events/sayings.
3. Bible Verses–verses to help me grow, verses that will help my sons.
4. Sayings–I love short pithy sayings that cut right to the heart of what is good or evil. I also include poetry and short stories.
5. Sermon Notes–using the Cornell method of study (Date, speaker. Divide page in half, right side for notes, left side for questions to be filled in afterwards to prompt memory of sermon notes or some thought that needs followup. Then at the bottom, a personal note for how to improve my heart/life.) Website: http://lsc.cornell.edu/study-skills/cornell-note-taking-system/
6. Prayers–written. I needed to tie my mind down better while praying. The last page includes those I am praying for. When I read back through this section I can SEE God’s hand and His answers in my life and in the lives of others’.
7. Teaching–Bible class ideas, ways to reach out to the community and a list of specific ones I want to bring to Christ, my sons being at the top of the list.
8. Meal menus–a list of family favorites, location of recipes, grocery list according to month/week plan. U.S.A.–S.A. equivalents and measures.
9. House goals–making a home welcoming takes effort!
10. Family Clothing–needs and wants (consider items for birthdays)
11. Handwork goals and accomplishments. I deliberately take photos of completed work because each item was made with someone special in mind. When I look back through these beautiful photos I remember that person yet again and why they are special to me.
12. Family Health records–date, event, meds, followup, results. I also included medical advice for ongoing problems.
13. Budget–Note how my household monies are being spent–and then improve! Include a list of family needs and a buying plan.
14. Pantry–what to keep on hand, grocery list, foods found in freezer, etc
Now, go and make your own very personal special notebook. It will prove invaluable. In years to come it will become a beautiful memory of a good life filled with good works, glorifying God.
Truly a self-discipline life is a challenge to learn and maintain until death overtakes us. But we CAN do it with our Father’s help. “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Daily One Hour With God
Draw a large circle on paper. Divide the circle into eight pie slices. Label the following pieces:
1. Pray–for guidance
2. Read chosen chapter in Bible
3. Define unknown words, find places on map, identify on timeline
4. Begin filling in index card/s.
5. Read chapter again
6. Study-find other verses to help, meditate. Use Cornell method.
7. Write down lesson/s learned, attitude/obedience on card/s.
Cut pie pieces and stack beside your Bible, pen and paper/cards. You will notice some pieces take less time than others. As your hour progresses, note how much time you are taking for each section of the hour. If your hour is up and you have not completed the sections, make a plan to improve your progress, limiting your study time and continue the next day where you left off.
3x5 Index Cards
To be filed in boxes by Bible Books
An excellent source of Bible events reading plan: http://ownit365.com/pick-a-plan/whole-bible/
Lessons to learn from event
Visual aids made
Questions asked (5W’s&H)
Sequence of Event (to be used when teaching the lesson to children/ladies