Courageous: Mary, the Mother of Jesus

When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.  And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart Luke 2:17-19

Having raised two kids of my own, I can remember times when I would look on those little wonderful babies and think, “Can they get any cuter, any smarter, any more inquisitive or any funnier?”  It was so much fun watching them discover the wonders of this life and how things work, and as they grew, more about themselves, their passions and dreams.  It is truly the joy of motherhood to be given the privilege to be up close and personal with God’s wondrous little humans.

When I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus, I am filled with wonder again, but this time I am conflicted with so many emotions.  She obviously knew that His birth was a miracle because she, above any other human, knew that He had been conceived by the Holy Spirit.  I’m sure she looked upon His sinless childhood and asked herself many times how she could have been chosen for this enjoyable journey. . . the perfect two-year-old, the perfect big brother, the perfect adolescent, the perfect adult son. . . what a sweet ride!

But then, I remember that Mary was a Jewish girl, raised with the Torah and the prophets readily available to her on any day, at any time.  I have to believe that, when Mary discovered who her Son would be, she began to search the Scriptures for more of His description, His assignment from the Lord, and ultimately His fulfillment of those same Scriptures.  

I ask myself when I read about her bold moves recorded in the Bible, “What was she thinking?”  For example, at the wedding in Cana, described in John 2:1-11, when she told Him to turn the water into the best wine, perhaps she was thinking, “It is time for everyone to discover about the Son of Man the things I already know.”  Or what was she thinking when she came to take Jesus home because “he was not in his right mind,” as in Mark 3:20-34.  Was she trying to rescue Him from danger, take Him home where she could care for Him, and perhaps hide Him from the inevitable coming storm, delaying God’s plans?  And finally, what was Mary thinking when she observed the final week in Jerusalem when Jesus showed His deity, authority, and ultimate sacrifice for all? Did Mary remember that He would conquer death as she had read in Isaiah 53, or was she simply taking in the fulfillment of His suffering? 

Whatever the answers to all my questions are, this one thing I know.  Mary was courageous because Mary believed, as you may read in Luke 1:46-55. Mary had hope and on that day of her Son’s resurrection, Mary had to laugh and perhaps look up to God the Father with a wink and a nod, finally understanding the answers to all her questions, now confident that God had the answers all along the journey.  

Finally, my last question regarding Mary the mother of Jesus is “What was it like when she met her Son, God’s Son, the Son of Man face to face again?  Perhaps He said, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” and “Welcome home Mom!”  Mary is one of those I’d like to visit when I get to Heaven, just to hear about her personal journey as she experienced the joys of motherhood with the One who would ultimately save her.  

Please consider these questions:

  1.  As you look at Mary’s life, what characteristics do you see that God saw when He chose her to be the bearer of His Son? Were these her characteristics or were they God’s in her?
  2. When you remember that Mary knew the outcome of her Son’s earthly life and ministry, there had to be times when she was overcome with grief and fear.  How do you think she recovered during those times?  How can we recover when we also are overcome with grief and fear?  

If Mary can live her life with courage knowing the danger that was to come for herself and her Son, we can look at her example and know that God was certainly with her through it all. We also can live our lives knowing that God is certainly with us through all of our trials.  We can have courage because Jesus has already won the victory!

About the Writer:

Pam is Director of Women’s Ministry of First Baptist Dallas, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, and grateful to be included in this great team of Yada Yada bloggers.  

Attitude Replacement

Occasionally I have heard Christians say, “It’s okay to be angry with God!!! He can take it!!” However, I have never felt comfortable with the idea of me shaking my fist in God’s face and ranting at Him in anger. I don’t think I am entitled to do that. And I don’t believe God’s Word encourages us to do it either, but instead gives us what I would call “The Antidote for Anger.” And, that would be gratitude!

Whenever I read the following verses, I find their message to be very sobering:

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened.  Romans 1:20-21

The New Living Translation uses these words:

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. Romans 1:21a (NLT)

As Paul was indicting the whole human race for its guilt before God, it is as if he were saying, “The least anyone could do is be grateful!” Even an atheist could have a grateful heart, though he wouldn’t know to Whom he should be saying “Thank You!” A wonderful thing happens when we express appreciation: we give up our “right” to be angry! It is pretty difficult to be angry at someone who has blessed you in some way. How much more applicable is this principle in relation to Almighty God!

Even the poorest among us can be grateful for the sunrise each morning, waking up to enjoy a beautiful sunset, or observing a baby’s smile. Many mornings, as soon as I wake up, I thank God for a good night’s rest! I constantly thank Him for bringing me into this world right here in Dallas, Texas, in the United States of America!!! I thank Him for my wonderful parents, sister, and grandparents who all lived together along with me in our house. I wouldn’t exchange my upbringing for any amount of money. I thank Him for bringing my precious husband and me together and for giving us many years of happy marriage with good health, great friends, and opportunities for service in the church. I thank Him for two exceptional children, their loving and faithful spouses, and our three perfect grandchildren!!!! (Yes!!) I am grateful for the schools and churches I have attended and all of my pastors, school teachers, and Sunday School teachers! Most of all, I thank God for inspiring holy men to write His Book, containing all we need to know for life and eternity, and for sending His only Son to die a sacrificial death to make atonement for the sins of the world, including mine. . . all of them!

I challenge anyone to spend time enumerating all of the ways God has blessed her life and then see if she can still be angry with God. Consider Philippians 4:6-7:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thanksgiving has the power to replace an attitude of rage with an attitude of humility and submission to God’s will. Instead of raising an angry fist toward God, all of us should be raising holy hands to God in thanksgiving and praise!

About the Writer:

Diana is a former high school teacher, Sunday School teacher, and Women’s Bible Studies teacher. For many years a stay-at-home wife and mother, she is now also a grandmother to three young Oklahomans, who call her “Gigi.”

 

The Best Pathway

The LORD says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.’” Psalm 32:8 (NLT)
My perfectly-laid plans for starting a family were not working out according to schedule!  It became obvious that “becoming” a parent definitely was not the easy part!  We prayed earnestly that the Lord would give us a baby.  After about three years, it appeared that there was not going to be an answer for us.  Friends were having, not just one, but two or three babies while we were hoping for just one!  I was disappointed, to say the least.  I WAS NOT MAD AT GOD! I DID NOT TRY TO ARGUE WITH GOD!  But I was definitely disappointed.  I had to come to a point at which I was willing to be content with whatever His plan was for me.  Was this possibly one reason why God delayed answering my prayers?
I didn’t want to be “defined” by childlessness!  I didn’t want to be “the one” who was compared to Sarah, Rachel, or Hannah.  I didn’t want to be the subject of speculation about “whose fault it was” that we didn’t have a child!  I didn’t want pity.  And I didn’t want to talk about it!
Eventually, we decided to pursue adoption.  This process involved a very long wait; we were instructed not to contact the agency after we submitted all the documents and letters of recommendation; they would call us when they were ready to consider our case.  Every day, when I checked the mailbox, I hoped and prayed we would get a letter from the adoption agency—for about TWO YEARS!  Finally, we were invited to a group meeting for prospective parents.  What a great experience that was!  I finally felt comfortable in a setting with other couples who were going through the same disappointments we were, other couples with whom I felt free to talk about the experience we were all sharing.  We were absolutely not alone!!!  And since we were finally reassured that we were “on track,” we felt free to tell all of our family and friends the happy news!  Everyone was thrilled for us and amazed that we had not shared with them sooner.  When we told them we wanted to be sure we were accepted, in case we might be rejected as parents, they all laughed.  From then on, the process sped up exponentially, and, within a few months, we received into our arms, our hearts, and our lives the most beautiful baby boy we had ever seen.  Instantly, we knew that we were his parents and he was in fact our child, loved as much as if he were our own flesh.
Three years later, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl we had ever seen!  And, instantly again, I was in love with her. The prayers that we had lifted up many years before and had almost forgotten, had not been forgotten by God.  In His graciousness, He saw fit to create for us a family both by adoption and by natural birth!  What a great surprise, privilege, and blessing!
You may be struggling with the same or a similar issue. Let me encourage you by sharing some truths I discovered during this process.
  • My trust has to be in the almighty, loving, omniscient, gracious God whose sovereign will is superior to mine and is perfect.    
  • I am never alone. God has promised to be with me always.
  • God’s plans are better than my plans.
  • The time of waiting should be a time of growth, productivity, dependence on God, and gratitude.
  • If the desired answer is not part of God’s plan, that means God’s plan is STILL superior to mine and I must embrace it and anticipate experiencing what He has for me to do.
  • Not everyone has children, gets married, becomes successful, enjoys the love and support of a large family, or lives a trouble-free life. The “best pathway” for one person’s life is not the same as the “best pathway” for everyone else’s.
  • I have value because God considered me valuable enough to give His only Son to redeem me from the curse of sin and to make me His own child. He desires to use me for His glory, and that should be my own desire as well.
  • I already have more blessings in my life than I could possibly enumerate, and God’s grace is sufficient.
  • It was a mistake for me not to share my disappointments with a trusted friend who could have provided loving support during the wait.
  • Sometimes the waiting makes the ultimate answer all the more precious!
  • It is healthy and encouraging to keep busy and to continue to serve the Lord during a time of waiting.

When God answers my prayer, He does it out of His own love and grace.

Remember:
~A prayer answered differently does not equal a prayer unanswered.
~A delayed answer does not equal a prayer unanswered.
~A prayer unanswered does not equal a prayer forgotten.
Don’t be discouraged.  The same amount of time will pass whether you are sad or joyful.  What can you possibly gain by wallowing in sadness and self-pity?  Allow that time to be used for the glory of God!!!  Trust Him to guide you on the path that is best for you!
The comfort and peace which come from trusting God to guide you along the right path can be experienced only if you are TRUSTING GOD!  No one can truly know God’s plan without first being part of God’s family, through putting one’s faith in Jesus Christ.  Sin separates all of us from God and His plan for us until we realize we are sinners and need to be forgiven by the One who lovingly and willingly gave His own life, shed His own blood to bring about atonement for our sins, and was raised from the dead to live forevermore.  The gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins is freely given out of the love and grace of God to everyone who believes in His Son, Jesus Christ.  Won’t you make that decision today?
About the writer:
Diana is a former high school teacher, Sunday School teacher, and Women’s Bible Study teacher.  For many years a stay-at-home wife and mother, she is now also a grandmother to three young Oklahomans who call her “Gigi.”

Christmas Traditions That Point to Jesus

Many Christian moms strive to make sure the Christmas season doesn’t get swept away in commercialism, but is truly a time of joy. What an opportunity we have to celebrate with our family the greatest miracle the world has even known!  God coming to earth as a baby named Jesus to rescue us from the curse of this world is worthy of jubilant celebration. Christian moms know this and desire this for our families, but cutting through the expectations of the season and getting to the heart of Christmas can be difficult. What’s the solution?

There is no formula. What works best for one family doesn’t create a mandate for others to do the same. Some mothers excel at and relish in Pinterest-worthy advent projects.  Others find doing simple things like reading stories that point to Jesus’ coming in the Old Testament best for their family. I humbly share a few things our family does with our young children to celebrate Christmas. Perhaps one of these strikes a chord with you or gives you an idea all your own.

  1. Our girls love playing the “Star from Afar” game. My husband and I move the star every night, and the girls wake up each morning to search for the star. Upon locating it, they move the wise men under the star as they follow it on their path to meet the new King! When my girls wake up Christmas morning the star is over the manger and they along with the wise men find the Savior!
  2. We host an annual Happy Birthday Jesus party, normally on Christmas Eve. It’s small and simple. We have a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. We sing a few Christmas songs and read the Christmas story from Luke 2. The children put on a play of the Christmas story using things we have around the house like sheets, sticks, and blankets as costumes.
  3. We snuggle on the couch and watch a YouTube video of Joy Williams song “Here with Us” set to scenes from The Nativity Story.

Children thrive on rhythms and routine. Having a few traditions in your family that clearly point to the wonder and awe of Jesus’ birth will seal in the lives of your children the miracle of Christmas. Celebrate and rejoice!

About the Writer:
Caroline is a wife and mom who loves Jesus. She also has a career in commercial real estate investing. God has given her a heart for encouraging other women. She and her husband, Eric, are the directors of the Fellowship Class, a young married Sunday School class, at First Baptist Dallas.

You Mean it’s not all about Me?

A woman is bathing on the rooftop.  The king sees her and decides he must have her.  He sends for her, and so begins one of the biggest blowups in the Bible.  But what about the woman?  Was she looking for the attention of the King or was she an innocent victim?

We don’t know what Bathsheba’s intentions were.  I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I was missing in my reading, and finally realized her intentions weren’t important to the telling of the story. The story wasn’t really about her. She became a very important figure in the Bible and was mentioned in the lineage of Jesus, but she was identified only as the wife of Uriah the Hittite.

Can you imagine being in her story, what it must have been like to lose her husband, then marry the King, then have a baby, then lose that baby?  And that was just the beginning of the tragedy that ensued.  I know in that situation I would have been crying out to God, “Why me?  Why are you doing this to me?”  But, you see, it wasn’t about her or we would know the details.

The story was about King David and his blowup.  Bathsheba played a part, but the story unfolding was his story.  I can’t count how many times I ask God why.  Very frequently, the answer is – it’s not about me. That place of asking why comes from a focus on myself, and comes from taking my eyes off what He wants for me in the moment. It comes from selfish pride, thinking the world revolves around me and I am here to be happy.

Oh wait, you mean I wasn’t put on this Earth to be happy?  Not exactly.  Sure, God wants us to be happy, but He first commands us to be obedient and serve Him.

Love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.  Deuteronomy 11:13 

I think Bathsheba got this. In the few verses where she is mentioned as taking action, that action began with bowing before the King.  She eventually gave birth to the wisest man on earth, and could have been either the inspiration for the author of the Proverbs 31. While we don’t know her intentions, we do see the fruit of her actions, and we see how God redeemed her circumstances.

But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. Romans 5:20

For me, the story of Bathsheba is one of obedience, of service, and of grace. But today, she is a good reminder it isn’t always about me.

About the Writer:
Wendy is a wife and mother who works full time in Risk Management.  Here at First Dallas she serves in Sunday school, helps coordinate Angel tree, and teaches at Discipleship University.  Her greatest joy comes from discovering how following Jesus can greatly impact her daily life and the lives of those she cares about in innumerable, practical ways.

Delilah: The Great and Powerful . . . Woman?

Women are powerful. Many times we don’t feel it, but we have far more power than we often realize. Do you remember Delilah? She was one of the most powerful women in the Bible. She “took out” Samson, the world’s strongest man. Can you imagine? Big, powerful muscles and Fabio hair, wrapped in a man who served God? He was unstoppable. The Philistines couldn’t touch him, but a woman was his downfall.

We all know the story. Delilah seduced Samson and asked the source of his strength. She asked three times before he gave in.  And then, while he slept with his head in her lap, she called in a man to cut and shave his hair.  When his strength had left him, Delilah turned him over to the Philistines who bound him, gouged out his eyes, and made him grind grain in the prison.

But Samson “died” before his hair was cut. What was it really that killed him? Was it Delilah’s beauty? Her intellect? Her overt power? No. That would make the story too far from us; it would make her the evil woman with whom we have nothing in common. In fact, we have far more in common than I like to admit.

Here’s what the Bible says:

It came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death. Judges 16:16 NASB

Words kill. We say, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” That’s not true. Words create. God created the Universe with words. The Word became flesh and redeemed us all. Words also destroy. Solomon had much to say about the power of words. Consider this:

With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. Prov 11:9 NASB

Or ponder this:

A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.  Prov 15:4 NASB

Reading this story made me think back to all the times my words have nearly annoyed my husband to death.  How many times have I pressed him daily with my words? How many times have my words, even my questions, put him in an uncomfortable position? Have I pressed him to give up his power? Sure I have, and those times caused chaos in my home.  When I hold back and ask God for His words, then we are more likely to have peace in our home.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Prov 16:24 NASB

So you see, women really are powerful. We have the power to heal and nourish with our words.  We also have the power to destroy. Father, show us how we can use the power of our words to bring healing and nourishment.

About the Writer:
Wendy is a wife and mother who works full time in Risk Management.  Here at First Dallas she serves in Sunday school, helps coordinate Angel tree, and teaches at Discipleship University.  Her greatest joy comes from discovering how following Jesus can greatly impact her daily life and the lives of those she cares about in innumerable, practical ways.

The Calling of Gentleness

Look in the news, or on popular Christian social media accounts and blogs, or even just just down the pew.  You will find Christians who disagree on everything from politics to social issues, to the interpretation of the book of Revelation.  Sincere Christians don’t agree on everything.  What governs how we respond to other Christians when we don’t agree?  What is our primary purpose?

Ephesians 4:1-3  implores us to:

 . . . walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

We are to remember that all Christians are part of one body.  Despite our differences we have one Lord.  What a precious gift!

We can’t endorse a false peace that tells the oppressed to be quiet in the name of unity, but we can work to preserve the unity of the Spirit by being gentle – gentle with the hurts of others; gentle to the friend at church that tells you they were crushed by the way someone you respect treated them; gentle to the single mom who feels condemned by the sermon on marriage; gentle to the friend who feels like their views on social issues are scorned by their fellow Christians; gentle to the spouse who disagrees with you on what living out faith looks like in your household.  Gentle looks like saying, “I see you and your hurts, and I’m going to come along side you and bear your burden with you.”  We can encourage and edify, but it’s probably most important first to empathize.  Weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).  Make no mistake.  We can disagree sharply on important issues, but we should never let that disagreement distract us from the fact that we agree on the most important issue:  that we need Jesus and He is our savior. When we are gentle, we communicate our relationship with Jesus Christ and that His mercy triumphs over judgement (James 2:13).

Gentleness does the work of the Lord in relationships in a way our own bravado cannot.  Ask the Lord how you can walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness.

About the Writer:
Caroline is a wife and mom who loves Jesus. She also has a career in commercial real estate investing. God has given her a heart for encouraging other women. She and her husband, Eric, are the directors of the Fellowship Class, a young married Sunday School class, at First Baptist Dallas.

 

Strong Hand With a Soft Touch

I use to dream of being gentle. Then I was hurt. Again. Again. Again. I wanted to be mean. I wanted to be heard. If not for the grace of God, I would be that person still. Then entered the gentleness of God (1 Kings 19:12) like a soft breeze speaking words of truth and direction.
God, among other things, is gentle. He was described as gentle by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 40:11). Jesus even called Himself “gentle” (Matthew 11:29) and said those who are gentle are blessed (Matthew 5:5). He called us to be gentle (Ephesians 4:2). He said gentleness is an expression of the fruit of God’s Spirit in the life of a believer (Galatians 5:23).
What then makes the gentleness of God possible for Him and difficult for us? For me, it is desiring my gentleness to be rewarded—naively holding onto something like a chimera, the idea that, if I am thoughtful and kind enough to someone else, he will be happy and never do me harm—quite different from God’s calling to walk in gentleness.
When Christ showed gentleness, most people were mocking Him, spitting on Him, saying false things about Him, even crucifying Him. Yet, He was gentle. When Apostle Paul said, in Philippians 4:5, “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near,” he was in prison. In 1 Peter chapter 3, where Peter was urging wives to be gentle in their attitudes and behaviors to their husbands, it was amidst an exhortation to women with unbelieving husbands. None of those situations promise a change of heart or a good response from the ones we are called to show gentleness to. 
Someone once said that “gentleness is a strong hand with a soft touch.” It is the ability to speak the truth in love, guarding overtones and expressions so that the truth might be more easily received. It is a tender, compassionate approach toward others’ weaknesses and limitations. 
So why do it? Why not speak the truth without love? Why not close one’s heart when it hurts so deeply? Why put up with someone else’s weaknesses when you could even more easily abandon ship? Why not write off others’ faults as “their” problem? The answer is clear! Do not think for a moment that you can experience the abundance of the kingdom of God while walking in opposition to Him (Galatians 5). 
The promise in the Beatitudes for the gentle is that they will inherit the earth. And, in Psalm 37, this promise is again repeated: 
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.
But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity…
Wait for the Lord and keep His way,
And He will exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you will see it. (Psalm 37:7-11, 34)
If the hope of God’s faithfulness to a courageous woman who trusts in the Lord is not enough, if rising up to the example set by Christ Himself is not enough, if compassion towards the weaknesses of another sinful human being is not enough, ask God to whisper His Word in your heart…”A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice” (Isaiah 42:3).
About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to loving her amazing husband and raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

Great is Your Faithfulness

 

It doesn’t take long to realize that nothing we see stays the same.  A trip to the beach illustrates this as the coastline changes yearly.

Also obvious, is change in people.  Don’t babies change seemingly overnight?  Consider a high school reunion’s effect: “Tell me the truth, do I really look that old?”  No one remains physically unchanged. No human always behaves consistently.  Even the most dependable disappoint.

Some people experience change through betrayal or divorce.  The sweetest relationships endure unintentional mistakes, and, inevitably, loss through death.

The Bible described a life-change: “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job.  This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” (Job 1:1 NIV)  Job was enormously wealthy and had ten children.

Unknown to Job, God asked Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?  There is no one on earth like him.” (Job 1:8 NIV)  Satan stated the only reason Job feared God was that God had blessed him.  If you take away what he has, Satan suggested, he will surely curse you “to your face.” (Job 1:11b NIV)

God allowed Satan to destroy all of Job’s wealth, children, and health.  After devastating loss, Job responded as follows: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’  (Job 2:10 NIV)  In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”

We wonder at Job’s faithfulness.  Many struggle to cling to faith under far fewer  difficulties.  However, Job’s response to three friends who came to explain why he was suffering revealed his secret. (Job 19:26 NIV) declares, “ . . . after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.”  Job’s faithfulness was based on his understanding of God’s faithfulness, not on his own performance or ability to explain what was happening.

Job declared finally, “My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You.” (Job 42:5 NIV)  This echoes the words of Jesus in (Matthew 5:8 NIV),  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”  When change rips our faith away from things that won’t last anyway, our wandering hearts are purified by recognizing Who remains worthy of our faith.  Our hearts are finally able to find rest in the absolute faithfulness of God.

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:22-23

About the Writer:
Nan Haines is so grateful to belong to God’s people. She loves getting to know all kinds of people and enjoys discovering new places, which is a good thing since she’s moved twenty five times. She has been married to Jim, a pastor, for 34 years, and together they have four grown kids, a son in love, and three grand puppies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Goody Goody

Margery Meanwell is thought to be the original (and fictitious) goody goody. According to the British Library, The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes is one of the most important children’s books of the 18th century. It tells the story of two orphans, Margery Meanwell and her brother Tommy, and their escape from poverty. Dressed in rags and having only one shoe, Margery is given two shoes by a charitable gentleman. Through hard work she becomes a schoolmistress before making a good impression on the local landowner and marrying him. She inherits his wealth when she is widowed and is granted a large dowry from her brother who has also acquired great wealth in his foreign pursuits. Margery’s wealth enables her to help the poor just as she herself had been helped. She remains adamant that money is to be used for the good of others less fortunate than oneself, not for personal benefit.

Unfortunately, as I know from personal playground experience, the expression goody two-shoes is not usually used as a compliment. The admirable pursuit of the good of another has come to mean something smug and self-righteous — more often than not, a way to heckle a playmate.

To many, good is grey — an ever-shifting concept fluctuating between black and white, depending on the circumstances. For a time I pursued the path of the “healing arts” and spiritualism. During that season of my life, I saw much as grey, but more than that, I saw black as white and white as black. However, there really is no “good” definition for goodness beyond being synonymous with the nature of Christ. Test your definition of goodness against God’s Word. If it’s NOT what God calls good, it will probably be more like what the spirit of the anti-Christ calls good and therefore:

  • it cannot be measured by how closely it resembles the person and actions of Christ
  • it is often in opposition to God’s blueprint for His children or His standard of righteousness
  • it sounds very appealing, because it “feels” good
  • it involves more conclusions that are “right in my own eyes,” rather than “right in God’s eyes”
  • it is based on the argument that an individual is innately “good” rather than innately “sinful”
  • it breeds rebellion against God rather than submission to Him
  • as right as it looks, it eventually leads to destruction

For those of us who search for remnants of Eden and God’s good creation here on earth, it’s easy to want to downplay the negative effects that sin has on each one of us and on the earth itself; however, let it be known: God alone is good (Mark 10:18).

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them. Ephesians 5:6-11

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to loving her amazing husband and raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.