Jun 17

We All Strive for the Prize, But it isn’t a Competition

2013 at 11:17 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Good Works

In our frenetic society we are already so busy with homework, jobs, and families, that the five good works in 1 Timothy 5:9-10 may feel overwhelming.

But we must remember that Paul was talking about what these widows had accomplished throughout their lifetime, not all at once. Giving themselves wholeheartedly to good works no doubt looked different at various times in their lives.

For moms of small children, you are applying this verse every day, all day. As my husband often says “no one has a harder job than a mom with young kids.” This statement felt true to me when I had little ones, and now that I am watching my daughters mother their children, it rings more true than ever.

You may not be the first to show up in a crisis or do the most hospitality, but you are washing little feet all day as you humbly serve your family. I pray you know God’s pleasure in your faithful service. It is pleasing to him, and even though no one else may see, “your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:4).

I also know women who are eager to do good works, but despair because of limitations such as sickness, aging, a disability or a crisis. If you feel, “put on the shelf” as Charles Spurgeon vividly described it, then take his advice and pray for others. For there is “no greater kindness” you can do for someone. You may not be able to serve others in physically demanding ways, but you can still bring honor to the Savior through good works.

We all have different capacities and gifts, and so we must resist the temptation to compare. This is not a competition. Every woman who sincerely serves the Savior gives glory to God. It all comes down to one question: Do I strive for a reputation of good works in order to reflect the Savior’s Good Work?

And remember this: When all is said and done, after we have spent and been spent doing good works, we must, as one wise man once said, make a heap of all our good works and all our bad works and flee them both to Christ.

Jun 14

Friday Funnies

2013 at 2:50 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Friday Funnies

After our brief hiatus, we are back with the second winner of our Friday Funnies contest back in April. We have more funnies to share with you in weeks to come, but Rebekah is one of our winners with this funny story about a conversation with her daughter. Have a wonderful weekend everyone. See you back here Monday! Nicole for the girltalkers

This is from quite a while ago, when my first child was about 5 years old. Now, at 12, I think she’s reconsidered her position, but it remains to be seen…

On a car trip, she calmly informed me she would name her first daughter, “Marinade.” Trying not to laugh, I asked her why that name.

“Because it sounds pretty,” she replied.

“I suppose you could call her ‘Mary’ for short?”

“Maybe.”

“Um, do you know what marinade means?”

“No.”

So, I explained it to her, and asked “You wouldn’t want to name your child after food, would you?”

“Well,” still perfectly serious, “Noah named his son, ‘Ham.’”

Jun 13

A Reputation for Good Works

2013 at 9:41 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Good Works

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. (1 Tim. 5:9-10)

What are gospel-glorifying good works exactly? Jerry Bridges calls them “deliberate deeds that are helpful to others.” They are tangible acts of kindness that serve and bless others and proclaim our Savior’s goodness.

In 1 Timothy 5:9–10 Paul gives counsel to Timothy about widows, but in so doing, sets the standard for godly women by describing a lifestyle of self-sacrifice. The godly woman grasps the sobering fact that “God’s reputation is at stake in [her] public profession” of godliness.

She desires to be known for good works because she longs for God’s Good Work to be known.

Every Christian woman should strive to have a reputation for good works. There are no good works specialists. This is not for the gifted or enthusiastic few. We all must raise our hands to volunteer. All of us can do good works, for God has called all of us to do good works.

And as Jerry Bridges put it, good works are “deliberate.” We don’t fall into them or stumble upon them. We must choose to practice good works. In First Timothy, the apostle Paul provides us five categories of good works.

These five examples of good works in 1 Timothy 5 are not exhaustive, nor are they to be applied exhaustively. But they characterize the woman who has a reputation for good works. To get a picture of this woman of good works let’s look briefly at each example.

Brought Up Children. The heart’s desire of a godly woman is to raise her children to honor and serve the Savior. To that end, a mother should give herself to bringing up her children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). A woman who doesn’t bear children can be a godly influence on children in her church and community, and care for orphans. Bringing up children to serve the Lord is precious to our Savior who said “let the little children come to me” (Matt. 19:14).

Shown Hospitality. This is a home-based good work. To show hospitality means “meeting the needs of others through the use of one’s resources, specifically in and through the context of the home.” The godly woman practices hospitality by having people into her home, giving refuge and refreshment, and by taking meals and resources from her home to others.

“The ultimate act of hospitality was when Jesus Christ died for sinners to make everyone who believes a member of the household of God,” writes John Piper. The hospitable woman desires to reflect Christ’s hospitality. Regardless of the size of her home or her budget she wants to extend to others the unmerited love and grace that she first received from the Savior.

Washed the Feet of the Saints. Foot washing was an essential but menial task in ancient times, as everyone’s feet were either muddy or dusty from the roads. It was a chore usually reserved for household servants. So to wash the feet of the saints meant to be a humble servant, to take on the tasks no one else wanted to do. In other words, the godly woman is willing to take on the dirty jobs, the lowly jobs, and the unattractive jobs. When we serve others, we follow the example of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet: “For she has done a beautiful thing to me,” Jesus said (Matt. 26:10). And so he says to us when we humbly serve the saints.

Cared for the Afflicted. The godly woman is like a nurse in a hospital, on call, ready to help the suffering—whether they are afflicted physically, mentally, or emotionally. To do this good work we must draw near to that which is raw, ugly, difficult, and painful. In so doing we properly reflect our Savior’s reputation as one who is “acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3), “near to the brokenhearted” (Ps. 34:18), “comforts us in all our affliction” (2 Cor. 1:4), and is “a very present help in time of trouble” (Ps. 46:1).

Devoted to Every Good Work. If you had to describe her in a sentence, you would say that the godly woman “has at all times thrown her whole heart into good deeds.” We are to, as someone once said: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.”

Jun 12

52home from my phone

2013 at 6:44 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under 52home

I did begin my day with two red flip-flops. Somewhere along the way a certain child made off with the right shoe and chewed on it. (We have healthy immune systems around here.) Went to switch to pink and could only find one. At least it was the right foot. Never a dull moment!

52home

Jun 11

Reflecting Christ in Summertime

2013 at 12:12 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Beauty | Good Works

Here are a few summer time activity ideas from the Apostle Paul. Even though these were originally written about a specific group of women, they should describe us all:

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. (1 Tim. 5:9-10)

These good works don’t comprise a checklist; they describe the godly woman’s character. She has a reputation for good works.

But some may be concerned—if we focus on good works do we run the risk of taking something away from the glory of the gospel?

Scripture says the opposite: good works bring glory to God and adorn the gospel.

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven,” the Savior instructed in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:16).

When people see our good works: “They will ask, ‘What is it? Why are these people so different in every way…?” writes Martyn Lloyd-Jones. “And they will be driven to the only real explanation which is that we are the people of God, children of God…We have become reflectors of Christ.”

Scripture emphasizes the importance of good works for all Christians and for women in particular in 1 Peter 3:6, Titus 2:3–5, 1 Timothy 5:9–10, and in Proverbs 31:31. This last passage ends with the exclamation, “let her works praise her in the gates.”

In fact, in 1 Timothy 2:10, God tells us that good works are “proper for women who profess godliness.” Robert Spinney explains that this phrase means:

[T]o make a public announcement or to convey a message loudly. Our lives make public announcements. The godly woman’s public announcement must consist of good works, not questionable clothing….The implication here is that both good works and improper clothing have a Godward element: one provokes men to praise God while the other encourages men to demean Him….God’s reputation is at stake in our public professions. God’s glory is more clearly seen when we abound in good works, but it is obscured and misunderstood when we make public announcements with improper clothing.

Good works do not distract from the gospel or undermine the gospel, they are essential to our gospel proclamation. They promote Christ’s reputation and they bring glory to God.

Doing gospel-centered good works means that we don’t rely on those good works for our righteousness before God or our forgiveness from him. We are accepted before God only because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. We are able to stand before God only because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

We do good works, not in order to receive the gospel, but because we have received the gospel. Let’s consider what specific ways we can reflect Christ this summer!

Jun 10

Who Do You Compare Yourself To?

2013 at 10:36 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Beauty

(We’re back! Project finished today. Thanks to all of you who wrote in to say you missed the posts. And thank you for your prayers! Here’s our first post for the summer from Carolyn)

We see them when we walk into a room or stroll through a crowd: the women who are prettier than we are. They are everywhere, aren’t they?

Women have special powers of observation that enable us to instantly spot a woman with a prettier face, a skinnier figure, cuter clothes, or more of a flair for style than we do. We tend to rank everyone we meet on our own private beauty scale—placing them somewhere above or below ourselves.

Comparison is a common trap for women, and it can quickly turn into complaining. I wish I had a gorgeous head of hair like she does. I wish I were as skinny as her. She always wears such attractive clothes. I wish I could afford to dress like that. If only I were tall like her. If only I had her pretty face. Obsessive comparing and complaining leads to envy, and envy, as we know, makes us bitterly unhappy.

Why are we so unhappy that we don’t have so-and-so’s figure or that other girl’s face? It is most likely because we want the attention she receives for ourselves.

Instead, we must repent and choose to trust God. We must recall that it is God has decided what we look like and what every other woman looks like too. When we remember that He has ordained our beauty “lot” we can receive it as truly pleasant (Ps. 16:5–6). We can cease stressing, striving, and comparing.

In 1 Peter 3, God teaches us to trust him by giving us a different group of women to look at. Instead of picking out the prettiest girls in the room and marking them for resentment, we are to look to the godliest women:

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening (1 Peter 3:5–6).

These are the heroines, the company of holy women of the past who trusted in God. Instead of comparing our physical appearance to other women, we should be measuring our hidden beauty next to these women, and striving to be like them.

Here’s the good news: while most of us will never be the prettiest girl in the room, we can, by the grace of God, become like these holy women. When we cast off comparison and clothe ourselves with a gentle and quiet spirit, we can become beautiful children of Sarah.