Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why I Write

Today I am writing and linking-up for the Blog Bash Party over at Women Living Well.  Courtney has asked for us bloggers to give her and her community a little information about us and what type of blogger we are, where we blog from, and what's the inspiration behind our blog. 

So here are my answers to her questions (plus it will give you a glimpse into my heart and life as well).

The reason why I blog:
Because God has called me to write on His behalf; to be His vessel.  My voice, or should I say, my typed words, is the instrument that He has called me to use (whether I like it or not!)   My Father has tugged on my heart asking me to share my story, my struggles, my pain, my heartache, my tears, my fears, and my failures to His daughters. (Can you say, vulnerable and awkward?)  "To obey is better than sacrifice."  1 Samuel 15:22

Plus, He has asked me to share the insights that He has given to me during my journey of following Him, in hopes that it will offer you guidance as you face your own trials and storms.  "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."  Proverbs 27:17

There is NO other reason for me to write, because after all, I know my story and it is not like I need to hear it again (and nor would I want to!)  I am not in search of fame, status or wealth,  I just write for my King. (period!) 

My Inspiration

My Savior, my King, and my God.  Apart from Him, I can do nothing.

I write to the female Believer:
·       Sometimes a broken one  (if we look deep into our hearts, we will soon realize that we are ALL broken!)
·     Sometimes to one who is discouraged and tired in her journey of following Christ
·       Sometimes to one who is married or to one who is single
·       And sometimes I write to one who needs to be equipped with the Word of God so she can apply it to her own life
But even if you don't know Christ and you are longing for the unconditional love, joy, peace and comfort that only a Savior can bring, you can find Him here as well!

In essence, my blog would fall under two categories.  The first category would be the  Devotional/Inspirational blog.

Perhaps there are times in your life that you have found yourself as the weary, Christian traveler.  The woman, who may consider her Christian walk to be more like a hike; an arduous climb over steep mountains and rocky terrain.  A daughter of the King that is seeking, desiring, and thirsting to find relief, comfort, guidance, and assurance as she learns to navigate her way through the hills and valleys of her journey.  Longing to find Christ.  Hoping to walk by faith and not by sight.  Yearning to dwell in His Presence.  Learning to live a victorious life in Christ in spite of all of our defeats.  (You can learn more my defeats and struggles here.)

I desire to encourage you and inspire you to live a life that is poured out to Christ regardless of your circumstances, because that is when His glory is revealed the most!  It certainly isn't an easy thing to do, in fact, sometimes  that 'die to self' thing just kills me!  

The second category would be Marriage and FamilyI ABSOLUTELY LOVE to talk (write) to other sisters about having a Godly marriage!  Our marriages can bring sooo much honor to the Lord especially when our focus is on Christ and not on our spouse.  When our marriage is strengthened and built on the Rock, our love will naturally overflow into the lives of our children drawing them closer to their parents, which will allow us to draw them closer to the Savior.

Where I write from:

My 'desk' is my laptop computer which now sits on boxes from our recent move.

When I write: (although this question was not asked, I am going to answer it)

I have been blogging for about 7 months now and when I began I didn't even know what a 'post' was!  (For those of you that don't know a thing about blogging, a 'post' is just an article that the author has written.)  I write when time permits, (usually once or twice a week) knowing full well that my first ministry is to my husband, then my boys-who I homeschool, and then the keeping of my home, (plus, I move a lot so that keeps me busy!)  Hopefully when the storms of my own life settle a bit, I can spend more time in this on-line, writing ministry.

One last thing.  I am sooo excited about this that I can hardly contain myself!  Very soon my blog will be getting a new look and a new home (hmmm, kinda like me, minus the new look, except if you count the extra 5 pounds that I have gained since my last move!)  For those sweet sisters that are signed up to follow The Alabaster Jar, (whether it be via Facebook, Google, email, or whatever else it is called), I am currently in the process of moving my blog from Blogger over to Wordpress.  Please bear with me as I attempt to learn all the ridiculous, technical stuff.  You may just need to re-subscribe when I move over to Wordpress cause I am just a moron when it comes to all of this!  (Sorry for the inconvenience!)

I am humbled and blessed that you have chosen to spend your precious time learning about me.  Perhaps the Lord may have plans for you and I to become on-line friends!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ever Question God?

I was angry at God the other day, (but I have since repented, lol). I was bent out of shape because I had to move again for the 4th time in the last 18 months.  Now, these moves have not been the kind of moves that are filled with happiness and excitement, but rather they are filled with snappy attitudes, weariness, broken dreams and disappointment.  (And by the way, I am not married to a man who is in the military and we are not missionaries.  We are just your ordinary family trying to get by in this fallen world.)

As I stood in the kitchen of our rental home unpacking pots and pans again, I soon became disheartened and my heart sank and my flesh gave way.  Trials.  Tribulations.  Long-suffering.  Heartache.  (Ughh!)

How much longer, Lord? 

How much more will You take my children, my husband and myself through?    

Will You uproot us from this place as well?  

All those questions ran through my mind and the little seeds of anger and self-entitlement started to sprout in my wicked heart that morning.   

Did you happen to notice how I was cleverly questioning what the Lord was doing in my life?

Interestingly enough, just two days earlier I sat for a few moments to write a new post on marriage, (well that didn't happen) because the Lord felt it fit for me to learn a few more things about Him, Job and his sufferings, along with Satan and what God would allow him to do.  As I studied the scriptures, I had a hard time swallowing what the Lord had to say to Satan in regards to Job’s life, (and mine as well).

Picture this scene in your mind’s eye for just a moment.

God is seated on His throne in heaven and angels come to present themselves before the Lord, along with Satan. (Job 1:6)  The Almighty God asks Satan where he is coming from and Satan replies, “From to and fro on the earth and from walking back and forth on it.

Can you see that scene, dear sister?  Satan is roaming the earth, seeking whom he may devour.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  1 Peter 5:8

Now here’s come the part of the story that was painful to read because it is just a matter of time before that same statement will apply to either you or me!

As Satan tells the Lord that he has been walking back and forth on the earth, the Lord says to him, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”  Job 1:8

Think about that statement for just a moment and let it sink into your brain.  Now, take a look at your trials and apply the above verse to you.   

“Have you considered my servant (insert your name).”   

Whatever is going on in your life, God is ALLOWING it to take place!

The Lord sifts our trials through His hands before we receive them.
The conversation between the Lord and Satan continues on in Chapter 1 of Job.  Satan basically tells the Lord that the reason why Job is a man who fears God is because the Lord has blessed the work of Job’s hands by providing him with many riches.  Satan further says that the Lord has protected Job by putting up a hedge around him and all his household.  In other words, Satan basically said,  Of course Job is righteous and fears You God, because you have abundantly blessed him!  Snicker, snicker, with a hint of sarcasm. 

Satan continues to say to the Lord, “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

Here’s the Lord’s response.  “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”  Job 1:12 (later in the story, God allowed Satan to bring devastation to Job's body as well.) 
Let me show you something in this verse:  God knew the heart of Job and He knew that Job could go through his trials and thus, God allowed Satan to harm Job.  The Lord knew Job better than Satan did.

The Lord knows our hearts and minds as well and He knows us better than the enemy.  He knows that you and I can go through the trials that He has already sifted through His hands.

Here's 5 Things to Know About the Enemy (in case you were wondering!)
1.  Satan is accountable to God.  (Job 1:6)
2.  Satan is a created being, he is finite.  He is not all-powerful and he can only be in one place at a time. (Job 1:7)  Although he does have his demonic minions running around trying to trip us up.
3.  Satan can tempt us, but he cannot know what we are thinking nor can he foretell our future.  (Job 1:9-11)
5.  God actively restrains Satan.  (Job 1:12; 2:6) 
We can be confident that with God’s power we can overcome Satan.

Satan does not have free reign to do whatever evil he wishes.  God is still, and will always be, sovereign.

Yes, God ALLOWED Satan to test Job for a time. But God also delivered Job from suffering, he restored him and blessed him even more.

As Job endured much, he asked the Lord the 'why' question?  Yet, God never gave Job the answer, instead God asked Job many questions. 

God may never give you or I the answer to our 'why' as well, but here is something for you to think about:

The scriptures say that as Believers we are to be set apart for God’s holy purpose.  Did it ever occur to you that the purpose God had in mind for your life was to go through trials faithfully and obediently the way Job did?  “Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast.  You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”  James 5:11 

In the end,  Job responded to the Lord, "Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth."  Job 40:4  (You can add vile to the list next to my wicked heart as well.)
Although our lives may be filled with pain, there is a purpose for it and we never need to question God, because He is sovereign. 

Were you encouraged by what you read?  Become a 'friend' or subscribe to The Alabaster Jar where future posts will be emailed directly to you.
I am linked up with:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Who Is On the Throne in Your Marriage?

Today I am guest posting over at the Time-Warp Wife.  I'll be writing on, "Who Is On the Throne in Your Marriage?"  I hope you stop by and join me!


Top 15 Things a Woman Can Do to Strengthen Her Marriage

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, 
but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. 
Proverbs 12:4

1. Respect your husband
…and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33

2. Believe in him

3. Encourage him

4. Follow him

5. Make him Number #1 in your family life (little lord, after your Lord and Savior)
…being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. 1 Peter 3:5,6

6. Help him and serve him
Desire your husband
And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

7. Accept him

8. Desire him

9. Forgive him- let things go (bitterness)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14

10. Don’t treat him like a child; you are not his mother, you are his wife.

11. Be content with how much money he makes

12. Be content with his parenting skills

13. Be content with his walk with the Lord (aka, his ability to be the spiritual leader of the home)
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

14. Be a godly wife; your conduct will help your husband rise to the challenge/occasion of being a more godly husband.
Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives. 1 Peter 3:1

15. Leave and cleave; make sure you share your heart with your husband more than with anyone else, including your mother, sister, friends, etc.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

Written by Jolene Engle
Copyright 2010

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Discontentment in Your Marriage

Have you ever been disappointed by your husband?  Hurt by his actions?  Felt angry or unloved by him?  If you’ve been married for longer than a day then I am sure the feeling of discontentment has occurred in your marriage!

Look at your husband through lenses that are tinted with graciousness.

Marriages are far from perfect.  Combine a man and wife- two sinners.  Mix in a cup of misunderstandings, raising kids, dealing with in-laws and facing trials.  Stir in a heaping of heartache.  Then add the Enemy.  What do you get?  A tough marriage frosted with discontentment. 

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage.  Look at Adam and Eve before sin even entered into the world.  As I stated in my last post titled, Dealing with Discontentment, Eve was discontent when she ate the forbidden fruit.  Imagine what their life was like after they got kicked out of the garden?  They were going to have some serious marital issues!  

Then there's Job's wife who had everything a woman could ever want.  A righteous man.  A family.  Wealth.  Health.  Reputation.   

But then Mr. and Mrs. Job lost it all it.  

So, how did the sweet and loving wife respond to her husband as he was clinging to the Lord in the midst of all the sorrow upon sorrow?

Did she pray with him or for him?  No!
Did she encourage him?  No!
Did she comfort him?  No!
Did she do her best to build him up?  No!
Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!"  Job 2:9

Job’s wife was certainly discontent with the way her life was turning out and unfortunately, she took it out on her husband. 

As wives, we can easily become discontent with so many things about our husbands.  Here’s a short list and I am sure you could add to it!

·       How much time he spends at work (or doesn’t work).
·       How much money he makes.
·       How much time he spends with his family.
·       How he spends time fostering his relationship with the Lord (or doesn't spend).
·       How he spiritually leads (or doesn’t lead) the family.
·       How he parents the children.
·       How he spends his free time.
·       How he spends or saves money.
·       How he handles outside relationships (with in-laws or friends.)
·       How he treats you.

When your marriage is not all that you hoped it to be, it is easy for discontentment to seep into your thoughts, actions and attitudes as you go through life.  Be careful here because these thoughts can grow so fast and so deep that suddenly the roots can take hold and destroy your marriage.

Don’t look to your husband to be Superman, that’s Jesus’ role.

Our men are human beings; imperfect sinners who fall down and disappoint others.  (Just like us!)

God created our husbands to have a helper (that would be you for your husband!) and our husbands need us to be their biggest cheerleaders, ESPECIALLY when they have fallen.  They need to know that we will be by their side cheering them on and letting them know we believe in them.  They need to know that we respect them and they need to know that we forgive them when they do fall. 

What they do not need to hear from us is, ‘curse God and die’.  Now, we may not say those exact words like Job’s wife, but our actions and words most certainly can communicate that to our husbands.

Here are some things you can put into practice to protect your marriage from discontentment.
·       Change your focus from what you are not getting out of your marriage and put your eyes on the Lord.
·       Ask your husband to forgive you for your discontentment towards him, because I am sure he knows how you feel!
·       Confess your sins of selfishness and self-entitlement.
·       Guard your tongue from complaining. “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”  Proverbs 31:26
·       Find some ways to encourage and minister to your husband today.
Let him know you are praying for him and that you support him. 
Make him one of his favorite meals.
Ask him how you can help him.
For some wives, you may just need to keep your mouth shut! A gentle and quiet spirit is very precious in the sight of God! 1 Peter 3:4 (my paraphrase)

The more you do these things, the better and stronger your marriage will become.  Your repeated actions will turn to habit, which in turn will start to develop your Godly character, which will ultimately make a great impact on your marriage.  “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”  2 Peter 1:5-7

Our words to our men can either build them up or tear them down. The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.  Proverbs 14:1

Dwelling on what one does not have, will not create contentment.  Instead, dwell on the good that you do have in your man.

Here's one last thing that you can do to ward off discontentment in your marriage:  
Look at your husband through eye wear glasses that have lenses that are tinted with graciousness.  Here's what the 'gracious' lenses look like:
Life is not perfect.  My husband is not perfect.  I am not perfect.  But CHRIST is!  

You will find contentment in your marriage when you look to Christ and not at your husband's shortcomings.


You can find more posts on marriage at the Time-Warp Wife for the 31 Days of Love, Marriage Challenge.  You can find me guest posting over there this coming Saturday, October 8th.  Look for my post titled, "Who Is On the Throne In Your Marriage?"

Were you encouraged by what you read?  Become a 'friend' or subscribe to The Alabaster Jar where future posts will be emailed directly to you. 

I am linked up with:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Marriage Challenge

Need some encouragement or guidance in your marriage?  Join the Time-Warp Wife for her, "31 Days of Love" Marriage Challenge.  It starts today and runs until the end of October!

Bringing a Gift of Love is the first post of this series, written by the Time-Warp Wife, herself!

Look for my post, Who's On the Throne in Your Marriage? during this series.  It will be featured next Saturday, October 8th.