So, Monday’s the big day. Club signup will begin at 5 O’Clock am (EST) and if you’re taking the 28-day challenge, be sure to set your alarm (2 or 3 if need be) for whatever early time you want to get up! The way we figure it, after 28 days of rising early or 4 weeks of fasting once a week, these disciplines will be well-worn habits.
And join with your friends—that’s how we got started. Mom used to call the three of us each morning to wake us up; and we all used to fast on the same day of the week as well. As I poured my second cup of coffee or tried to ignore my growling stomach, it was nice to know my mom and sisters were too. And excuses don’t sound so noble when you tell a friend. So, sign up for the clubs together and hold each other accountable.
OK, we said there would be a prize for the first 28 people (not counting us) and every 28th person after that. You will each win a $5 Starbucks card!
Finally, to the funnies. We first posted this cute story after our initial FAM Club posts. It still makes me smile. Renee wrote in:
Just wanted to share a funny….now it is….. story about a friend who was fasting. I saw my friend in church. His face was scratched and had brushburns, bruises, scrapes, like when my son fell off his bike. I asked what happened and he said he was fasting and passed out!!
First, to clarify: sign up for the clubs begins on Monday, along with the 28-day challenge. Monday morning we will direct you to a new page on the site with a sign-up form and all the information. Of course you can sign up for the clubs any day after Monday as well. Until then, we hope you will review our posts on The 5 O’Clock Club and The FAM Club and prayerfully consider joining one or both come Monday.
The FAM Club is all about praying and fasting one meal a week for the salvation of family members—whether they be children, parents, siblings, nieces or nephews. To encourage your participation, we have two stories to share with you. The first we received just the other day from Rachel:
My mom was a great mom. Loved God, her husband & her 4 kids. God in His wisdom took her home sooner than anyone would have expected, instantly in a car accident during my freshman year of college (1996). She was 44. I was 18. At her funeral service, several ladies contributed to her eulogy, most of the things they shared to honor her I already knew being her daughter. I was surprised when a close friend who lived with us shared something none of us kids ever knew! I’ll spare the long details of how our houseguest discovered the secret, but my Mom spent every Monday lunch for years fasting & praying for us kids & my dad. Once the friend discovered Mom’s secret, she was sworn to secrecy too. It was the best inheritance anyone could have handed me at her funeral. Many times as I see God at work in my life and my siblings, I wonder how many prayers my Mom didn’t know the answers to but prayed anyway and I am so glad she served us in that way! I can’t wait to “catch up” with her on the details!
What a legacy this godly mother left for her children! Rachel, thank you so much for sharing her story with us. I want to follow her example!
And I want to emulate the faith and faithful prayers of this mother, who prayed and fasted for her daughters’ salvation:
In a seaport town of New England lived a pious mother of six daughters. At the age of sixty, she had been for many years subject to disease and infirmity, which confined her to her house, and almost to her room. In an interview one day with a friend, she said—“I had not for many years enjoyed the pleasure of going to the house of God with his people, and taking sweet counsel with them. But I have another source of grief greater than this—one that weighs down my spirits day and night! while disease and pain bear my body toward the grave.” Her friend tenderly inquired the cause of this peculiar grief. She replied, “I have six daughters; two are married and live near me, and four are with me; but not one of them gives any evidence of piety. I am alone. I have no one for a Christian companion. O that even one of them were pious, that I might walk alone no longer.” Such was her language. Yet she seemed submissive to the will of God, whatever it might be, having strong confidence, that in his own good time, he would answer her daily prayers, and in a way which would best advance his glory.
Not long after the above interview, a revival of religion commenced in the town in which she lived. Among the first subjects of this work were four of her daughters. A fifth was soon added to their number, but the other, the eldest, remained unmoved. One day one of the young converts proposed to her mother and her converted sisters to observe a day of fasting and prayer for the sister who remained so insensible. The agreement was made, and a day observed. Of this the subject of their prayers had no knowledge. But on the same day, while engaged in her domestic concerns at home, her mind was solemnly arrested; and she was soon added to the Christian sisterhood.
The praying mother lived a few years to enjoy their Christian society. They surrounded her dying bed, received her last blessing, and unitedly commended her spirit to God.
Our hope and prayer for The FAM Club is that God would mercifully grant us many such testimonies of His saving power in the lives of family members. We hope you will join us!
“When my sons were three years and nine months old, I reached a point of desperation. I was exhausted all the time, often getting up in the middle of the night to care for one or both boys. My morning wake-up time happened only when the boys were no longer quiet in their beds. At best, my passion for Christ was lukewarm. I was not enjoying the Holy Spirit’s presence on a day-to-day basis in my own home. Sinful attitudes such as anger and judgmentalism were at an all-time high, and my desire to fight sin was weak. I was not quick to humbly receive my husband’s counsel. I was not pursuing biblical fellowship. I felt isolated and alone. I had lost perspective on what my priorities were. In short, I was in emergency mode, and my time alone with the Lord was not in its proper place. Always so much to do—and never enough time to stop and give attention to my soul.”
In emergency mode. So much to do. No time for the Lord. Desperate. Alone. No doubt every woman—whether you are a mom, a student, or a businesswoman—can identify. We all want to be consistent to sit at Jesus’ feet. And yet it can seem impossible to find a slot in the schedule that we can maintain.
Dramatic action is needed. Enter the 5 O’Clock Club. For many of us, the only cure for our starving souls is to wake up early—or at least earlier than we currently do. It doesn’t have to be 5 O’Clock to join the club, just early enough to secure a regular time to sit at Jesus’ feet.
Here’s Julie again:
“I knew I needed to wake up earlier, but I kept telling myself that I’d never be able to do it. I dreaded the thought of failing yet again. Then it occurred to me that I made time for other things I considered important such as grocery shopping, showering, doing my makeup, eating, date night with my husband, spending time with friends. Was my love for God truly my highest priority? The realization: MY daily schedule was not reflective of a heart set on seeking God first. I needed to take radical measures. If I was going to have consistent and quality time with the Lord. It would need to happen before the rest of the family was up and before the day was rolling. If I waited until the boys always slept through the night or until everything was ideal, it would never happen.”
The consequences of a lackluster spiritual life and the advantages of rising early to seek God finally motivated our friend Julie to take action. She began having her husband nudge her awake and having a friend call her:
“Here we are, three years later, and I’m still waking up early—which for me is quite a miracle. I’ve never once regretted the days I’ve risen early. The boys are not five and three, and I am still aware of my desperate state, yet more aware of God’s grace. Having my early morning time with the Lord doesn’t eliminate my sin or guarantee the day will go as I have planned. But having received fresh perspective and vision, the day starts more peacefully. I now have a much richer understanding of the gospel of grace that transforms me, and I love Christ Jesus more today than every before.”
What a transformation! From desperate to dependent, from sporadic to consistent, from anger and anxiety to peace and perspective, from lukewarm affections to growing love for Christ—only because, by the grace of God, she chose to rise early and sit at Jesus’ feet.
So what radical measures do you need to take to consistently sit at Jesus’ feet? Maybe it’s time to take the 28-day challenge and join our crazy club on Monday! Together let’s develop a habit of rising early that can last a lifetime.
2010 at 4:26 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
I get the huge honor of announcing the winners of our “Pick One Spot” contest. That’s right, I said “winners.” After pouring over your many entries, we were finally able to narrow it down to two. So it’s a tie, but don’t worry, y’all won’t have to split the prize! You will each get $100 to the home store of your choice.
Our first winner is Janie Grange. Woohoo, Janie! You are gonna love reading Janie’s story because what started out as “pick one spot” actually became “pick two spots” while she wasn’t looking. But Janie triumphed over both! Way to go, Janie. E-mail us so that we can get you your prize.
I would like to tell you what happened today when my friend Viv Bates and I picked one spot in my house to clean up! My basement bedroom has become the catch all room and since Christmas has been an absolute disaster. So today Viv came over and we decided to tackle this room together. My older two were at school but at the house we still had Gavin (2), Milena (4), and Carson (2). They were playing together very nicely. They were playing with baby dolls and having a great time giggling and talking. So we decided it was okay to leave them playing while we went down to clean! Mean while we worked extremely hard and managed to get the entire room organized and spotless! We were so proud of ourselves- feeling pretty good about our accomplishment! As we were taking things out to the car for consignment and putting other things where they belonged, Viv worked her way up to my bedroom where she came upon a BIG surprise! She yelled to me Janie get up here with your camera right away! I went running up to my room and was shocked at the sight I saw. My once very tidy room was covered with everything from my loft - couch cushions, pillows, blankets, every movie, every magazine (there were lots), wii equipment, baskets, toys, you name it, it was there! We couldn’t do anything but actually laugh at what had happened while we neglected the kids to organize and try to win a contest! We obviously spoke sternly with those little rascals and had them help (somewhat) with cleaning it all up! So instead of tidying up one disaster of a room we got to clean up two disasters in one day. Hope you have fun looking at our pictures of BOTH spots that we cleaned! By the way Viv and I are a great organizing team if anyone needs any help! We obviously get lots of experience picking up after our kids!
Basement Bedroom Before
Basement Bedroom Before
Basement Bedroom Before
Basement Bedroom After
Basement Bedroom After
Basement Bedroom After
My bedroom after the kids wrecked it!
My bedroom after the kids wrecked it!
My bedroom after the kids wrecked it!
My bedroom after the kids wrecked it!
The kids delighting in their mess!
My bedroom after we cleaned up their mess!
My bedroom after we cleaned up their mess!
My bedroom after we cleaned up their mess!
And our second winners are sisters Bronte and Cosette Gamache. These teens tackled their “secret room” together and well, let’s just say the before and after pictures really do appear to be different rooms. Well done, girls, I have a few “secret rooms” that could use your professional skills if you are so inspired. E-mail us to collect your prize.
My sister and I would like to enter your Pick One Spot contest. My sister (Cosette) and I (Brontë) successfully cleaned out and organized our secret room. Well, it really isn’t a secret room. It’s a small out-of-the-way hallway (of sorts) that runs between the boys room and the girls room and we keep all of our toys in there. With 5 kids, a lot of toys, and a lot of visitors you can only imagine the mess. This contest was the perfect motivation to clean the room. So we did. 3 hours and 4 garbage bags later we have a clean secret room! After all that hard work, my siblings got a long talkin’ to about keeping this place clean and putting toys away instead of in the middle of the floor—believe me there will be trouble if there is one thing out of place!
To cap off our sitting series, we’re excited to announce a new feature here at girltalk. Next Monday, February 1, we will officially launch our two clubs: The 5 O’Clock Club and The FAM Club.
The 5 O’Clock Club is for those who want to rise early (it doesn’t have to be 5 O’clock, that’s just the name of the club) to meet with God.
The FAM Club (Fast AMeal) is for those who want to fast one meal a week to pray for a family member’s salvation.
You will have the chance to put your name on the rolls, to share testimonies, and to read about God’s grace through these spiritual disciplines. We hope these clubs will provide encouragement and accountability to keep sitting at Jesus’ feet long after the sitting series is over.
Many of you are long-time members of one or both of these clubs. Or maybe you’ve let your “membership” lapse. Some of you have never heard of these clubs! But all of us need reminding and refreshing. So for the next few days we’re going to post information, encouragement, and the stories of two women who experienced the grace of God to rise early and to pray eagerly for unsaved family members. As you read, we hope you’ll prayerfully consider joining one or both of our clubs.
Next Monday we’re going to kick things off with a 28-day challenge, one that we will take ourselves: to rise early and/or fast one meal a week for the entire month of February.
You don’t have to take the 28-day challenge to join our clubs, but we hope it will help all of us—by God’s grace!—turn a good intention into a consistent practice. We’ll try and provide encouragement along the way and you can do the same for us through your testimonies.
And of course there will be fabulous prizes! The first 28 people to join each club and every 28th person after that will receive a prize.
So grab your mom, sisters, cousins, and friends and get them to join our clubs with you (oh, and did I mention they are free?).
Together, let’s rise early to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen eagerly to his teaching. And let’s bring unsaved family members before His throne of grace.
(P.S. - Tomorrow we’ll post the Pick One Spot contest winners. Yep, you read that right: We couldn’t pick just one!)
Happy weekend, y’all! Don’t forget that our deadline for the Pick One Spot contest is midnight tonight EST. You still have three hours to finish!
Enjoy this Friday Funny. Labor and delivery through the eyes of a child- a hilarious perspective!
Back here on Monday! Janelle for the girltalkers
The Middle Wife by an Anonymous 2nd grade teacher
I’ve been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back.
When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they’re welcome.
Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater.
She holds up a snapshot of an infant. ‘This is Luke, my baby brother, and I’m going to tell you about his birthday.’
‘First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom’s stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.’
She’s standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I’m trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.
‘Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying and going, ‘Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!’ Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. ‘She walked around the house for, like an hour, ‘Oh, oh, oh!’ (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.)
‘My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn’t have a sign on the car like the Domino’s man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.’ (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)
‘And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!’ (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too much!)
‘Then the middle wife starts saying ‘push, push,’ and ‘breathe, breathe. They started counting, but never even got past ten.. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom’s play-center, (placenta) so there must be a lot of toys inside there. When he got out, the middle wife spanked him for crawling up in there.’
Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I’m sure I applauded the loudest… Ever since then, when it’s show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another ‘Middle Wife’ comes along.
“Most Christians neglect their Bibles not out of conscious disloyalty to Jesus, but because of failure to plan a time and place and method to read it” John Piper
Now that we’ve talked about time, let’s consider place and method for sitting at Jesus’ feet.
What’s the best place for reading our Bible? If at all possible, pick a secluded place. A quiet place. A place where you won’t be distracted.
And prepare your place. Have all your “sitting stuff”—your Bible, journal, commentary, book, pen, highlighter, Kleenex, etc.—readily accessible. Maybe even put everything in one basket. That way you won’t have to spend the first ten minutes (like I have before) wandering around the house to collect everything!
Finally, we need a method for reading our Bible. If we don’t have a good plan for reading and studying God’s Word, we will likely become discouraged or even disinterested—which can hinder us from keeping this discipline in place.
If you don’t have a good plan or know how to create one, let me encourage you to ask a godly friend or pastor for help. But here are two links you might find useful.
Bible Reading: Justin Taylor links to ten different Bible reading plans offered by Crossway Books and other sites and gives an overview of a few of them. I personally am using the Discipleship Journal plan in my devotions.
2010 at 6:26 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
If it is cold and rainy where you are (like here in Fairfax,VA), and if you have small kids who need to let out some energy (like I do), these videos will brighten your day. They are two songs from the Sovereign Grace Music’s children’s album, To Be Like Jesus, which were filmed at Summer Celebration 2009—a kid’s camp at Covenant Life Church.
My kids loved watching Mr. B (Uncle Monkey to them) lead a cast of young people in song and dance. And I loved watching my kids enthusiastically sing along and (try) to do the motions.
So, moms, here’s a little gift for you: a happy break for you and your kids, no matter what the weather. I might even make watching these videos a part of my daily routine!
“Many good things do not happen in our lives for the simple lack of planning” explains John Piper. “Most Christians neglect their Bibles not out of conscious disloyalty to Jesus, but because of failure to plan a time and place and method to read it.”
So do you have a time, a place, and a method?
Let’s talk about time.
There is no law in the Bible that dictates when to have a quiet time. In fact, we are to meditate on God’s Word day and night! However, there is biblical encouragement for rising early to seek the Savior.
Consider the psalmist who directs his prayer to the Lord in the morning and then watches for the answer (Ps. 5:3). The Proverbs 31 woman is famous for rising “while it is yet night” to provide food for her family. Finally, and most notably, Jesus himself rose early to pray. Mark 1:35 records, “Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”
Referring to Bible reading and prayer, John Piper again offers this advice:
“I earnestly recommend that it be in the early morning, unless there are some extenuating circumstances. Entering the day without a serious meeting with God, over his Word and in prayer, is like entering the battle without tending to your weapons. The human heart does not replenish itself with sleep. The body does, but not the heart. We replenish our hearts not with sleep, but with the Word of God and prayer.”
Compelling logic, is it not?
We don’t want to head unprepared into the daily fray. By rising early we can secure much-needed refreshment for our souls.
More on place and method this week…
(Portions of this post adapted from our book, Shopping for Time)
Last week I sent these two quotes to someone who is going through a trial. My husband used them in a sermon a few months ago and they continue to encourage my soul. Whatever your “need of the soul” is today, i pray that pondering the truth of who God is and how He works will strengthen your faith:
“Faith in a person involves not merely the conviction that the person trusted is able to save, but also the conviction that he is able and willing to save us… if we are to trust Jesus, we must come to Him personally and individually with some need of the soul which he alone can relieve.” J. Gresham Machen
“See here the wisdom of God, who can make the worst things imaginable turn to the good of the saints… God works strangely. He brings order out of confusion, harmony out of discord… God often helps when there is least hope, and saves His people in that way which they think will destroy… God’s ways are ‘past finding out’ (Rom. 11:33). They are rather to be admired than fathomed.” Thomas Watson
In lieu of the Friday Funnies, we want to encourage you to seize these few moments to continue to pray for the suffering people of Haiti. As Dr. Al Mohler has so movingly written:
“The earthquake reminds us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only real message of hope. The cross of Christ declares that Jesus loves Haiti—and the Haitian people are the objects of his love. Christ would have us show the Haitian nation his love, and share his Gospel. In the midst of this unspeakable tragedy, Christ would have us rush to aid the suffering people of Haiti, and rush to tell the Haitian people of his love, his cross, and salvation in his name alone. Everything about the tragedy in Haiti points to our need for redemption. This tragedy may lead to a new openness to the Gospel among the Haitian people. That will be to the glory of God. In the meantime, Christ’s people must do everything we can to alleviate the suffering, bind up the wounded, and comfort the grieving”
As a teenager, I visited Haiti twice on short-term mission trips. Seeing firsthand the severe poverty in that country had a profound impact on my young life. But it is impossible for me to imagine the suffering that so many are experiencing after this devastating earthquake. We want to encourage all of you to join us in praying for the people of Haiti, and especially that the gospel would go forward in the midst of this tragedy.
In response to the devastating earthquake that occurred in Haiti on Tuesday, Sovereign Grace Ministries has opened a Disaster Relief fund to help deliver food, medicine, and other needed aid there. We will distribute the funds we raise primarily through existing ministry contacts we have on the island—both in Haiti and the Dominican Republic—who are already involved in relief efforts. ??If you want to join us in our support of these efforts, you can donate to the Disaster Relief fund on our website or by calling 800.736.2202. On behalf of our friends in Haiti, thank you for considering this opportunity to give. Regardless of your ability to make a donation, please join us in praying that those affected by the earthquake would receive aid quickly, and that despite these hardships the gospel would continue to go forward in that nation.??
Mary wanted to sit at Jesus’ feet by deliberately ignoring distractions—namely, Martha and her anxious busyness.But we need to be alert to what distracts us from keeping our daily appointment to read God’s word and pray.
Maybe it’s a hobby, the newspaper or a magazine, watching TV, listening to your ipod, staying up to late at night, loving sleep too much, blogging, keeping up with facebook, following twitter, texting, etc.
We must do whatever it takes to say “no” to the distractions that keep us from the one thing that is necessary: sitting at Jesus’ feet.
A while back, I found that the Internet was becoming a distraction. I was using the five minutes it took for my coffee to brew each morning to quickly check my email, or headline news, or maybe a blog or two, before starting my devotions.
I’d check a headline and then I just had to read the story; or I’d check a blog I enjoy, and I just had to check out the link they recommended, or I’d get caught up not just looking at my email, but answering it.
Before I knew it, five minutes would turn into twenty minutes and then my quiet time would be cut short.
So, I knew I needed to make a choice. I had to choose to say no to this distraction! I resolved to not look at email or blogs or headline news until after my time of Bible study and prayer.
What about you? Is there a distraction in your life that you need to say “no” to?
Whatever it takes ladies, let’s be ruthless about not allowing anything to distract us from seeking God through His Word and prayer.
WHAT we are to sit and listen to: Jesus’ teaching. It is the one thing that is necessary.
WHERE we are to sit and listen: at Jesus’ feet, with humble hearts, eager to listen and learn.
WHEN we need to sit: even in busy seasons we must consistently seek God through His Word and prayer.
WHY do we sit: because we need God’s grace, not as a way to earn His approval.
The final question is HOW. How do we sit at Jesus’ feet?
Then answer is in Luke 10:42: “Mary has chosen the good potion.”
Mary didn’t just think about sitting and listening or talk to others about it. She chose to sit and listen. We must choose to sit and listen.
“It’s easier to serve than commune” observed the great preacher Charles Spurgeon. It’s easier to do what Martha did than what Mary did. So we need “great grace” to follow Mary’s example—to choose to sit and listen.
Two things will help us to choose the good portion:
…as a way to earn God’s approval. It can’t be done. No string of quiet times in a row can meet the standard of a holy God. No amount of Scripture reading or prayer can earn His forgiveness.
Jesus Christ is the only person who ever met with God’s approval. He lived a perfect life and died in our place, receiving the wrath of God that we deserved. He rose again, and stands “before the throne of God above”—the perfect, spotless righteousness of those who trust in Him.
As believers we are justified—declared righteous, forgiven, and accepted by God—through grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone. We do not earn or forfeit our justification before God based on our performance.
Our good works, our faithfulness to sit and listen, our diligence to seek the Lord through prayer and Scripture do not add to Christ’s finished work.
Ephesians 2:8-9 sets the record straight: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
We must keep this truth ever before us as we resolve to sit at the Savior’s feet. It is necessary and beneficial; but it is never, never, never a means to earn God’s forgiveness or acceptance.
B.B. Warfield empathically hammered home this point when he said:
“There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot be accepted at all. This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live…It is always on His ‘blood and righteousness’ alone that we can rest.”
Are you discouraged or condemned by your failure to sit and listen?
Then revel in this truth: We have a Savior who died for our sins. His blood and righteousness alone makes us acceptable to God.