Thursday, December 27, 2007

Daily Challenge- Women

Sometime in the near future I would love to write a series of posts on masculinity and feminity as a continuation of the comment discussions. For now, though, I thought I would share with you something that I do to keep focused on becoming a woman of God.

Several years ago I found A Challenge to Women by John Piper. The first time I read it I was blown away- it is incredibly comprehensive and yet concise. I began to read it, at least weekly, and use it as a reminder and prayer guide for myself.

Several months ago I found this at Target (for $1.99!):

It started as a place where I was going to transfer my million individul Scripture memory cards into the "short" method I use now (read about it here).
Then I had the idea to put my prayer list, divided into days of the week, in there too:

As I read over my tattered copy of A Challenge to Women I got a flutter in my heart (ok, these kinds of things excite me!)- I could also break down the Challenge to Women by days!

1. That all of your life—in whatever calling—be devoted to the glory of God.
2. That the promises of Christ be trusted so fully that peace and joy and strength fill your soul to overflowing.
3. That this fullness of God overflow in daily acts of love so that people might see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.

4. That you be women of the Book, who love and study and obey the Bible in every area of its teaching. That meditation on Biblical truth be the source of hope and faith. And that you continue to grow in understanding through all the chapters of your life, never thinking that study and growth are only for others.
5. That you be women of prayer, so that the Word of God would open to you; and the power of faith and holiness would descend upon you; and your spiritual influence would increase at home and at church and in the world.

6. That you be women who have a deep grasp of the sovereign grace of God undergirding all these spiritual processes, that you be deep thinkers about the doctrines of grace, and even deeper lovers and believers of these things.
7. That you be totally committed to ministry, whatever your specific role, that you not fritter your time away on soaps or ladies magazines or aimless hobbies, any more than men should fritter theirs away on excessive sports or aimless diddling in the garage. That you redeem the time for Christ and his Kingdom.

8. That, if you are single, you exploit your singleness to the full in devotion to Christ and not be paralyzed by the desire to be married.
9. That, if you are married, you creatively and intelligently and sincerely support the leadership of your husband as deeply as obedience to Christ will allow; that you encourage him in his God-appointed role as head; that you influence him spiritually primarily through your fearless tranquility and holiness and prayer.

10. That, if you have children, you accept responsibility with your husband (or alone if necessary) to raise up children who hope in the triumph of God, sharing with him the teaching and discipline of the children, and giving to the children that special nurturing touch and care that you are uniquely fitted to give.
11. That you not assume that secular employment is a greater challenge or a better use of your life than the countless opportunities of service and witness in the home the neighborhood, the community, the church, and the world. That you not only pose the question: Career vs. full time mom? But that you ask as seriously: Full time career vs. freedom for ministry? That you ask: Which would be greater for the Kingdom— to be in the employ of someone telling you what to do to make his business prosper, or to be God's free agent dreaming your own dream about how your time and your home and your creativity could make God's business prosper? And that in all this you make your choices not on the basis of secular trends or yuppie lifestyle expectations, but on the basis of what will strengthen the family and advance the cause of Christ.

12. That you step back and (with your husband, if you are married) plan the various forms of your life's ministry in chapters. Chapters are divided by various things—age, strength, singleness, marriage, employment choices, children at home, children in college, grandchildren, retirement, etc. No chapter has all the joys. Finite life is a series of tradeoffs. Finding God's will, and living for the glory of Christ to the full in every chapter is what makes it a success, not whether it reads like somebody else's chapter or whether it has in it what chapter five will have.
13. That you develop a wartime mentality and lifestyle; that you never forget that life is short, that billions of people hang in the balance of heaven and hell every day, that the love of money is spiritual suicide, that the goals of upward mobility (nicer clothes, cars, houses, vacations, food, hobbies) are a poor and dangerous substitute for the goals of living for Christ with all your might, and maximizing your joy in ministry to people's needs.

14. That in all your relationships with men you seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in applying the Biblical vision of manhood and womanhood; that you develop a style and demeanor that does justice to the unique role God has given to man to feel responsible for gracious leadership in relation to women—a leadership which involves elements of protection and care and initiative. That you think creatively and with cultural sensitivity (just as he must do) in shaping the style and setting the tone of your interaction with men.
15. That you see Biblical guidelines for what is appropriate and inappropriate for men and women in relation to each other not as arbitrary constraints on freedom but as wise and gracious prescriptions for how to discover the true freedom of God's ideal of complementarity.

That you not measure your potential by the few roles withheld but by the countless roles offered. That you turn off the TV and Radio and think about...

The awesome significance of motherhood

Complementing a man's life as his wife

Ministries to the handicapped:
hearing impaired

Ministries to the sick:
hospice care—cancer, AIDS, etc.
community health

Ministries to the socially estranged:
emotionally impaired
recovering alcoholics
recovering drug users
escaping prostitutes
abused children, women
runaways, problem children

Prison ministries:
women's prisons!
families of prisoners
rehabilitation to society

Ministries to youth:
open houses and recreation
outings and trips
academic assistance

Sports ministries:
neighborhood teams
church teams

Therapeutic counseling:
church based

Audio visual ministries:

Writing ministries:
free lance
curriculum development
institutional communications
journalistic skills for publications

Teaching ministries:
Sunday school: children, youth, students, women
grade school
high school

Music ministries:

Evangelistic ministries:
personal witnessing
Inter Varsity
Campus Crusade
Home Bible Studies
outreach to children
Visitation teams
Counseling at meetings
Billy Graham phone bank
Radio and TV ministries:
technical assistance

Theater and drama ministries:

Social ministries:

Pastoral care assistance:
newcomer welcoming and assistance
food and clothing and transportation

Prayer ministries:
mobilizing for major Concerts of Prayer
helping with small groups of prayer
coordinating prayer chains
promoting prayer days and weeks and vigils

all of the above across cultures

Support ministries:
countless jobs that undergird major ministries

So, now I have a daily pile of cards-
1. Prayer
2. Challenge to Women
3. Scripture memory (new and review)

Girls, PLEASE take this idea and do it for yourself!

Guys, think about writing your own resolutions like Jonathan Edwards did (see them here) and referring to them daily. Like:

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

I do think about this one every time I get hurt. It sounds funny, but it puts life and pain- ALL things into perspective. Why does God allow us to feel pain when we get a paper cut, stub our toe or wake up with a sore back? It is not "just another part of being human" but another opportunity to make us more like Christ.

Hummm.... maybe I should pick some of Edwards too... :-)


Spanish Morning said...

Geez...where do you get the time?? :-P I haven't posted in how long?

I have the card holder from Target in the same line as your notecard holder. I love it! :-)

I hope you are having a good time in Wyomin'.

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Jaclyn,

I am sorry about my indecent outbursts in the last post. Thank you for being a gracious host and for your patience. Thank you.

Keep up the good work, Jaclyn!

In Christ,

Augustinian Successor said...

and yes, yes, a Blessed New Year!

Augustinian Successor said...

how about singing a wonderful hymn ...