Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dealing with Our Critical Spirits



1 Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
~Matthew 7:1-5

Usually the people who see everything wrong in somebody else's life see absolutely nothing wrong in their own life. And the only gross, vile, wretched sin that never sees anything wrong in its own life is what? Self-righteousness. And that's what the plank is. As long as you're self-righteous, as long as you're spiritually proud, as long as you set yourself up as a judge, you can't help anybody out with any sin.  ~John MacArthur

I'm going to cross into a sensitive area but I am hoping you will read the entire post and ponder some of what I'm sharing today.  This is an area that has been on my heart to write about partly because I am convicted by it when I see this sin in my life but also because I know the damage it can do in our churches and amidst our relationship with other Christians.  I have also been the victim of it.

I'm addressing when we have a critical or judgmental spirit against others and I'm specifically talking when it is against our brothers and sisters in the faith.

The Matthew text above is to be taken in context as coming after the Sermon on the Mount which contrasted the behavior between the Pharisees and that of followers of Christ:

-The Pharisees were proud and the Lord calls us to be humble.

-The Pharisees denied the Word of God and made up their own rules, God's Word is our only standard of truth.

-The Pharisees obedience was external and Christ calls for our obedience to be internal, from the heart.

-The Pharisees were focused on materials and possessions and we are called to be focused on the kingdom.

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

When the Pharisees set up their own system of rules and morality they now could become the judge and jury.  I know how often we hear the term, "don't judge" and I am going to tell you that it is many times (okay most times) taken out of context.  We do have absolutes in scripture. Theology and doctrine are important so there are times when we rightly need to judge but I'm talking about the times when we become those self-righteous Pharisees and find ourselves judging not because of sin but because it doesn't fit with our personal preferences.

It's the judgments on things like, personality, character, how they live, where they live, how they dress, how long their hair is, what kind of car they drive, where they shop, what kind of food they eat, etc., etc.  When we judge motives we can't see and the many other items that our prideful, self-righteous hearts are drawn to just so we can be lifted up and others can be looked down upon, we are no longer loving our brother.  

Let me be clear, this is not overlooking sin in a person's life.  When you see a sin in a fellow believers life it is not loving them if you don't address it. The most loving thing you can do when you see sin is to speak to them about it because you do love them.  You are literally "hating" your brother if you allow them to walk down that path of sin without lovingly calling them on it.

Your Standard is Not Everyone's Standard

Many times we can find ourselves determining others are wrong or not as spiritual or as mature as us in their faith and we base it by looking at their lifestyles and choices against our choices.  When we do this we have just taken God off of His throne and put ourselves on the throne.

The way we live and many of the choices we make are determined because of our faith in Christ but many other choices we make are personal preferences.

If everyone was to live up to my standard of what I think a true Christian should live and look like here's what it may look like:  They would live in the suburbs, eat fairly healthy, wear skirts on occasion but pants throughout the week, get their hair colored as they turned grey, occasionally eat fast food, shop at the local grocery store, have a very clean home, homeschool their children, take family vacations, have regular date times with their hubby, drive a minivan, blog, read solid theological books regularly, have a daily time with the Lord, rise early, meal plan etc., etc. etc.

What would your perfect standard look like?  Farm living or city living?  Homeschool, private school, Christian school or public school?  Skirts or pants?  Long or short hair?  Birth in a hospital or home birth?  Natural medicine or conventional medicine? Big or small church?  Family integrated church or separate services for various ages?  Bake your own bread or buy bread?  Big house or small house? Home garden or farmer's market? Suburban or Minivan? Classical music or country?  Large family, medium or small family? Movies or no movies?  TV or no TV? Working mom or stay at home mom or work from home mom? And the list goes on and on.  

See, here is what I want to get across.  It is not wrong to have strong opinions and live your life in the way the Lord has called your family too but it becomes a problem when we put our standard on other families and judge them because they are not doing it our way.  The problem is a problem because we see our way as the only right way.  When we judge and criticize wrongly- you know what - we're in sin.


We've just become those self-righteous Pharisees - not pretty.

Don't Raise a Pharisee

Another danger I want to address when we begin to set up our lifestyle and choices as the only right one is what that does to our children.  We are going to raise little Pharisees.  They are going to focus on the external instead of the internal.  When we judge others outwardly by appearances and our personal preferences we never get to see into their hearts.  This judgmental, critical attitude will carry over into our children.

It is so important to not just hang around people that are just like us.  Take the time to know other believers that think differently than you and live differently than you.  Learn about Christians in other countries and how they live.  Express your opinions but do it with a loving attitude and you may even have a change of mind in an area you feel strongly on.  The Lord has softened my heart over the years to many areas that I used to think very legalistically about. My standard used to have to be everyone's standard.  Not fun and not pretty but I can give thanks to the Lord opening my eyes to the beautiful diversity we have in the body of Christ.  

Loving Each Other

May we give thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who forgives us and offers us great mercy for all the times we judge and criticize wrongly.  Let's pray that He will continue to open our eyes to sinful, wrongful judging and criticizing of others. Pray that our prideful, self-righteous attitudes will be torn down and He will continue to mold us more and more into His likeness.  May we be praying for a humble, tenderhearted, kindness and love towards others.

Ladies, if we could get this right, imagine the changes in our homes and families and churches.

May they know we are Christians because of our love for each other. 

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
~ John 13:35 ~




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Monday, October 27, 2014

Considering Your Future Spouse


I'm sharing today a resource that I highly recommend for single women - Your Future 'Other Half': It Matters Whom You Marry by Rebecca VanDoodewaard. I would put this on a must read for every single woman who desires to be married.  It is a valuable resource and Rebecca shares the impact marriage has on us spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and relationally.  She also addresses what you, as the single woman, should be doing to prepare yourself for marriage in the last chapter.  At 127 pages it packs in a lot of good, solid, Christ focused wisdom.

Please note she states very clearly that, "this book cannot give you the ultimate Potential Husband Check List, Dating Strategies that Work, or a Perfect Marriage Pattern that you can hold up to your boyfriend to see if he fits."  The reminder is every couple is different and every Christian marriage is different.  No two marriages will look alike and this book is not a formula but the purpose is to get you thinking in a Christ focused way on what is the purpose of marriage.

Please join me over at Raising Homemakers to read the rest of Considering Your Future Spouse.


Related Resources:


It Matters Whom You Marry - The Christian Pundit Blog



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Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekend Nuggets - Preparing for Sunday Morning Worship, Feeling Connected at Church, When Your Tempted to Neglect Church & Planning for the Lord's Day


My husband and I are home from our time in Africa where we participated in a women's conference and visited church plants that our local church supports in northern Kenya.  We traveled to Nairobi, Marsabit & Moyale and were so blessed by our time with the local pastors, their families and congregations.  I have much to share but I want to wait until we give our presentation to our local church in a couple of weeks before I post some of the photos and stories on the blog.  

So, in the interim, I have some articles to share that I've been encouraged by and one that has been on my list of reads is the importance of our attendance and participation in our local churches.  All the articles below are to encourage you in your role as a member of your local church.  Take the time to read through them and see how you can be a blessing to your congregation and the leadership in your church.  

Why You May Be Tempted to Neglect Your Church - "When you are tempted to disassociate from the local church, whether permanently or semi-permanently or even for a lazy Sunday where you just can’t be bothered, you have forgotten what you bring to the people of your church. You have neglected to understand or believe that you, yes you!, are a crucial part of the body of Christ. You have a gift to bring, and the church is only complete when you bring it and use it."

When You Don't Feel Connected at Church - "Can I confess something to you? Sometimes I don’t feel very connected at church. And I’m the pastor! But, guess what I do? I get to work on myself because nine times out of ten, the problem is with me. I need to get to work with the simple, ordinary means of grace. This always gets my focus off of myself and on to Christ. It helps me to remember that while the church is full of sinners, I myself am also a sinner."

The Scandal of the Semi-Churched - "I want to talk about church members who attend their home church with great irregularity. These aren’t unchurched folks, or de-churched, or under-churched. They are semi-churched. They show up some of the time, but not every week. They are on again/off again, in and out, here on Sunday and gone for two."

Planning for the Lord's Day “For the majority of people, even church members, church is not the priority of their week. Too often school, work, sports, and other activities take precedence over going to church. They make the mistake of letting their time be ordered by the world, which views the weekends as a time to relax, to play sports, to stay up late and sleep in. For Christians, however, Sunday should be the most important day of the week. You should try to schedule your work, activities, get-togethers, and vacations around church. You should live by the principle that Sunday morning starts Saturday night.”

Preparing Our Families for Sunday Morning Worship - "How many times does Sunday morning roll around and you find your heart in a state of chaos instead of calm to worship the Lord?  How many Sunday's do you arrive at church and realize you haven't taken the time all week to pray for your pastor or your church family?  I want to share with you some simple steps we can take to prepare our hearts and the hearts of our families for Sunday morning worship to the Lord."


Some Other Helpful Links:



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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Helpful Bible Study Tool - Look at the Book


Look at the Book from Desiring God on Vimeo.
(If you're viewing this in your email you will have to click through to the blog to view the video)

There is a new online Bible Study Tool from Desiring God called Look at the Book and I am hooked.  It is a video series where the emphasis is on the text and John Piper walks you through how he marks the text, what he sees, how me makes connections and leaves us with a better understanding of the text and how to tear it apart and see and find the treasures of God's Word for yourself.

It is great for family or personal devotions.  Each video is 8-12 minutes long and has an outline available of the teaching time.

Mama's this would be a great addition to your homeschool studies or a great addition to your normal bible study time.  Take the time to watch the introduction video and at least the first lesson - you will be hooked too.  Make sure to sit with an open bible and notebook so you can follow along.

You can visit the website here - Look at the Book - to find all the videos and they are posting two new ones every week.

Here is the first full lesson on 2 Corinthians 8:1-2:



2 Corinthians 8:1–2 // An Abundance of Joy from Desiring God on Vimeo.
(If you're viewing this in your email you will have the click through to the blog to view the video)



Related Links:
Look at the Book - Desiring God



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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Favorite Planner for the Homemaker


I love planners and have tried a multitude over the years but one favorite that has been a good fit for me in my role as a homemaker is the Homemaker's Daily Planner

It was designed by a wife and mother who knew the varying needs a homemaker needs in scheduling her days.  Rarely are two of our days alike and this planner offers the flexibility we need as keepers of  our homes.  Sue Hooley is the designer behind the planner and she has been married for 24 years and is the mother of six children.



How I Use My Planner:

There are seven sections in the planner.  The Yearly Section looks ahead to 2016 so you can put any future events on paper so they will not be forgotten as you're planning ahead. In this area I may write future vacation plans or special events like weddings I know the date of ahead of time.

Monthly Section


In the Monthly Section the year to date is broken down into months.  This is where you get an overview of your month and can write in all your appointments and events coming up.

Weekly Section


The Weekly Section is where the road meets the rubber for me.  My planning for the week is usually done on Sunday evenings and I appreciate the room allotted for each day's tasks and the overview section to write in any extras that I need to tend to that week.  The planner leaves room to put your menu plan in for the day, has an encouraging verse and a monthly calendar overview.

Task List


The Tasks List & Projects Sections gives me space to plan for other items I hope to get through in the course of the year and I turn to them as I plan my weeks each Sunday night to see if there is room to get to any additional projects.  It may be planning an event for church or getting a closet cleaned out or working on a photo book or writing a letter to a faraway friend.

The Info Section is handy for important numbers and addresses.  My doctors, accountant and family and church family members information is kept here handy at my fingertips.  It is also helpful when you are meeting a new friend to quickly get their information to enter into your phone at a later time.

Shopping List


Last but not least is the Shopping Section which has perforated shopping lists for every week of the year to use.  It is great to jot down your needs as the week moves on and helpful for your menu planning and shopping.



The planner is small enough to fit in your purse or diaper bag (6 x 9 inches) but still big enough to keep lots of information right at your fingertips.

Homemaker's Friend is offering a free copy with your purchase of the 2014 calendar (while supplies last) so get started on your organization before the new year starts with that special offer!!

If you are looking for a planner that is easy to use and helpful to you as a homemaker you don't have to look any further.  The Homemaker's Daily Planner is practical and affordable ($13.99) and I highly recommend it!








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