City of Angels


So good ol’ Darc-face finally made me watch the movie “City of Angels” tonight. I’ve never seen it, because back a million years ago when it first came out, my silly little brother told me how it ended and I thought it was a ridiculous way to end a movie. I refused to watch it for the principle of the matter– love stories end “And they lived happily ever after,” otherwise, they are too much like real life. I have enough real life everyday without getting it in my movies, too. That and the “angel gives up eternity for a girl that dies the next day” was just pitiful irony to me.

Anyway, so I’m going into this knowing where it’s going that thinking in my haughty, judgmental mind, “Why would any angel in his right mind give up the glories of heaven and eternity for the fleeting, human pleasures of this temporal life?” But then my very next thought was, “I bypass the glory of an almighty God everyday for the fleeting, human pleasures of this temporal world.”

Suddenly, it wasn’t pitiful irony any more. It really was real life, my real life. And it convicted me like few things have in a long time.

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You Say You Search for His Greatness


My friend Jamie wrote this, and I don’t know that she’ll ever do anything with it other than share it with those closest to her, but I have her permission to use it as a I wish, and I can’t think of a better way to use such an incredible piece of writing besides posting it so that many people can be encouraged by it.

You Say You Search for His Greatness

By Jamie Ellington

 

You say you search for His greatness? His greatness can be found in the vastness of His love. His love is broader than the horizon and deeper than the sea. Just think of the splendor, the majestic beauty that can be found in the horizon and the sea. While they are truly remarkable sights, He wanted something more. He created you in His likeness. You believe a lie if you believe everything about you is wretched. The psalmist said you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God said I knew you in your mothers womb. He made something in you that He desired to fellowship with. As a Father His heart delights in watching that special part grow, as you become the person He saw from the very beginning. He saw all the bad stuff in between but knew what you would become was worth it. He began a good work in you and will see it to completion. He uses the bad for His good. He has to, because we are all bad so thats what He has to work with.

 

His greatness that you seek can be found in the face of a child, in too many ways to name in nature, people healed from sickness, and I could go on with His greatness that can be seen, but those are just fleeting, tangible things. His true greatness, His true splendor, His majestic beauty cannot be seen it can only be felt. That is why it is so hard to recapture what you no longer feel. It seems as though it slips from our grasp as grains of sand. You cannot see true love. It is felt in a place that is not physical. It cannot be photographed to pull out later as proof it existed. Love can certainly be demonstrated but that is only a physical act, not a picture of what is felt by the person doing the act or the person receiving it. There are so many things that cannot be captured or held peace, joy, hope I believe these are felt so deeply, so completely, so real, words are a disservice to them because there are no words for them. Theres no way left to pull them out for viewing. I believe this phenomenon is by Gods design. If we could keep things or moments felt we would not continue to follow Him to the next one. He wants us to experience fresh ones each time, not stale old ones. Each time we feel one that bears the same title it is not the same. Even if it is for the same reason we felt it and we call it the same feeling, it is still not the same. Its intensity grows. It is built on the one before, making it deeper, stronger. Like the servants that were each given money while the king was away. The one who buried his had only that to give back to the king. The other two who wisely invested it had double to give when the king returned.

 

That is how we are to live out the things He lets us feel. Whatever it may be love, peace, hope, mercy, hurt, sufferingwe are to use it for Him so when He returns we can say we have been good stewards of what we felt. We invested them in His kingdom and even the bad feelings did not go to waste. We used them to gain compassion for others, to be less inclined to judge, and to increase our desire to avoid not only feeling like that ourselves but also assuring that we not be the cause of someone else feeling it.

 

Somehow, in a way only God understands, the truly great feelings that seem to slip so quickly away are brought back when we feel them again to join with the new one. The pleasure of them ever increases. In the same way is His love for us. Just like the prodigal son when he says he is no longer worthy of being called son; you never were worthy, but He calls you that anyway. He loves you so much. Psalm 18:16-19 is all good but really let the last verse sink in to every fiber of your being: he rescued me because he delighted in me. When you thank Him and praise Him for rescuing you, He doesnt say, Youre welcome. He says, It was My pleasure. Your past is for Him to work out, your only responsibility is to accept that He will, for His glory. 1 Sam 12:22 says, For the sake of His great name, the Lord will not reject His people. Did you notice why He will not forsake you? For the sake of His great name! The Lord will not reject you, no matter what youve done to your great name. His faithfulness to you is based on His great name.  He is not leaving or accusing.

 

There is no accuser as dreadful as the conscience that dwells in the heart of every human. Our conscience is like an old tape recording of all the terrible things we have done. Every time we get tired or weak it is like we hit play and sit back to hear for the thousandth time why we dont deserve grace. Salvation does not erase the tape; it just gives you the record option, to renew your mind or, in this case, to renew the tape. We must record over the old recording with the Truth of Gods word. He says He loves you, and He does. He says youre forgiven, and you are. He says you dont deserve mercy, and you dont; but He lavishes it on you anyway. He says He has a purpose for you, and He does.  He says you are family and you are, but this one He commands His children to share in because He knows how it makes us feel when we can say you are my brother or sister, and you are!

Qualifications of a Female Mentor


The Feminist Movement in America, which began in the 1960s, opened the floodgate for a deluge of women who, for the first time in history, began working outside of the home by choice and not just out of necessity. Women were told working in businesses of all varieties showed liberation from the constraints of an archaic, patriarchal society. A generation of liberated and empowered women went to work, dropping their children off at daycare on their way to the office.

A generation later, those children are having children of their own. Like every other generation of parents before them, they are passionately dedicated to giving their children all the things they did not have as children. The only difference is that the children of the 1970s and 80s, the ones that had every material possession available to them, are determined to give their children the stable and nurturing environment that they often did not experience themselves.

Today more mothers are opting for fewer toys and gadgets and smaller budgets in exchange for staying home and being full-time wives and mothers. But as more women choose to make their families their primary focus, a new problem has emerged; they have no idea how to be homemakers. As children they were raised by day care workers and fed by McDonald\’s. Many young wives and mothers are facing the daunting task of on-the-job training for the most demanding full-time job that exists: motherhood. Many feel they are on their own and must learn the job through the exhausting and often overwhelming task of trial and error. While the cultural pendulum (at least in the church) seems to be swinging away from the extreme of the Women\’s Liberation Movement and back towards a more balanced and conservative view of womanhood, the prevailing attitudes of the movement are still very present. Behaviors have changed as more women are choosing to stay home, but the hearts of many are still stained with the \”I can do it myself\” attitude of a generation ago. At best, this attitude can lead to a stressful and lonely existence for mother and children as these women set out to prove that they are more than capable of doing this job of mothering on their own. But at its worst, this prideful isolationism can lead to a spiral of depression and despair for the woman who feels she is simply unable to be the perfect wife and mother she believed she should be.

While the results of the last forty years of history and culture can be complicated and even devastating, the solution to the problem has been laid out in a clear and simple manner in Scripture. Author Lucy Mabery-Foster goes so far as to say, \” Many marital problems would be avoided if godly older women fulfill the biblical mandate of Titus 2:4-5. … Many of the problems our society faces today are the direct result of our failure to fulfill this divine mandate –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1] –>[endif]–>.\”

The first concept all people must grasp is that, contrary to the message of today\’s society, humans simply were not created to be able to live this life independent of all counsel and assistance. From the moment that God created Adam, humanity has required help. Author Paul David Tripp aptly describes humanity\’s need for assistance in his book Instruments in the Redeemer\’s Hands:

Immediately after creating Adam and Eve, God talks to them…God knew that even though Adam and Eve were perfect people living in perfect relationship with him, they could not figure out life on their own. They were created to be dependent. God had to explain who they were and what they were to do with their lives. They did not need this help because they were sinners. They needed this help because they were human… Our culture tends to think that we need help because of something we did or something that was done to us—the result of bad biology or bad personal chemistry. But Genesis 1 confronts us with the fact that our need for help preceded sin. We were created to be dependent. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[2] –>[endif]–>

God created humanity with the need to be taught. Contrary to what some people think and what many television shows and movies portray, no one was simply born knowing how to be a successful person, regardless of how success is defined. This basic concept must be grasped before anyone can be taught anything. God in His sovereignty did not give simply one example of His teaching humanity in the Bible. On the contrary, the Bible is full of instructions, examples, and guidelines for how people are to submit to the teachings of God. Christians are also instructed to submit to the teachings of the men and women God places in authority to carry on the teachings of successful, godly living. \”In 2 Timothy 2:2 we see the potential for four generations\’ worth of impact by [teaching] the Word of God: \’and what you (Timothy) heard me (Paul) say in the presence of many others as witnesses entrust to faithful people (third generation) who will be competent to teach others (fourth generation) as well.\’ –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[3] –>[endif]–>\”

The simple fact is that even in matters of the household, the modern culture is in direct opposition to the words of Scripture. While society is now telling beleaguered mothers to get away from their families and focus on themselves, Scripture tells women to learn how to run a household in a godly and efficient manner. How are women to learn how to do this?

According to Titus chapter two, women are to learn from those experienced in the work required to run a household and maintain a godly character; mature women. \”As women, we draw strength from others who have survived tough times. We benefit from those who have walked longer with the Lord… We need to see how life has been handled by others who can be examples for us to follow. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[4] –>[endif]–>\”

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. –Titus 2:3-5, NIV

Paul wrote this passage to Titus, a fellow missionary, whom Paul had left on the island of Crete to \”straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[5] –>[endif]–>\” In the instructions given to Titus, Paul sets up a system of teaching, which is to be implemented in the churches on Crete. Titus is instructed to appoint elders to \”encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[6] –>[endif]–>\” They are also to rebuke sharply those whose minds and consciences are corrupt. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[7] –>[endif]–>

Paul then gives Titus specific instructions about what he is to teach the congregations: sound doctrine. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[8] –>[endif]–> While Titus is to teach the people sound doctrine, Paul gives the older, more mature Christians in the congregations the responsibility of teaching the next generation of believers how to live their daily lives in a manner that exhibits the fruits of an active life in Christ. Paul gives the character qualities of those whom he sees as being qualified for carrying out such a huge responsibility. Titus is instructed to both teach the older men and to encourage the young men, –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[9] –>[endif]–> but he instructs Titus to gather the older women and instruct them to teach the younger women. Paul understands that \”an older woman will be able to expand upon a pastor\’s input, applying God\’s truth in a way unique to younger women. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[10] –>[endif]–>\” Author Kelley Mathews continues to explain this system further:

Who\’s going to model godly marriages if not those who have been doing it for a while? What does it mean to be kind, to work diligently at home? How do we love our husbands better? Our children?… God knew that only women who have been there can speak with authority to those coming behind. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[11] –>[endif]–>

So if it is the older, more mature women who are to teach the younger women, what qualifies a woman as being older or more mature? Most will agree there are two areas that qualify a woman as being more mature: More mature in age and more mature in faith. Age is important simply because more life experience grants a woman more authority in many given subjects. It would be highly unusual to see a sixteen-year-old girl leading a Bible study on being a godly wife simply because she would not be equipped to teach women how to do something she herself has never done. Logically, a young mother would want to seek out a mother of middle schoolers to ask advice on raising children through the elementary school years. A mom with kids in high school will want to find a woman who may be a recent empty nester to find out how to prepare for such life transitions. Advice often comes best from the mouth of experience, and many experiences can only occur with passing age.

Age is the indicator for practical advice, but often spiritual advice can come from someone who is older in her faith. A twenty-one-year-old woman who has been walking with the Lord most of her life may have some deep spiritual insights and devotional tips for a new Christian who is in her forties. Regardless of age, however, Paul points out several characteristics that should be present in the life of a woman who desires to be a mentor in the lives of other women. The ability to be a mentor \”does not come with educational degrees, age, or other accomplishments. Instead, you are qualified in your heart. Christ qualifies you… Serving as an effective mentor does mean you are open to Christ, learning and growing, and actively pursuing your own wholeness. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[12] –>[endif]–>\”

The first guideline Paul gives is a foundational point for any Christian: a woman seeking to mentor others should live her life in a reverent manner. In her book The Titus 2 Woman, Martha Peace describes a reverent life in the following manner:

The Greek word for reverent is hieroprepeis…. Heirps means sacred or services. Prepei means proper, to be fitting. Behavior is the word katastema meaning demeanor or behavior or deportment. In other words, you behave in a proper manner…. Matthew Henry described this type of woman as one whose \”behavior becomes a woman consecrated to God.\”… She should be outwardly different from the world and holy within. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[13] –>[endif]–>

The woman desiring to have a godly influence in the lives of other women should simply be living her life in a manner that speaks Christ to all who are in contact with her. This is mainly accomplished, according to Mrs. Peace, in three key areas of a woman\’s life: in her dress and attitude, in her actions, and in her words.

In his writings, Paul has much to say to women concerning their behavior, dress, and interaction with others. God has told His people that \”man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[14] –>[endif]–>\” This directly correlates to Peter\’s directions concerning how godly women should appear: \”And let not your adornment be merely external… but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[15] –>[endif]–>\” Peter is essentially telling women that it is more important to have a spirit that is beautiful in the eyes of the Lord than to have a beautiful appearance and nothing more. \”Her true beauty comes from what is on the inside—a \’gentle and quiet spirit.\’ This kind of gentleness is meekness. …In addition to a gentle heart, she has a quiet spirit; one that is peaceable and tranquil. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[16] –>[endif]–>\”

Mrs. Peace continues giving practical advice for applying this Scripture to life by describing for the reader the qualities of a woman who acts in a reverent manner.

She shows love to others by remembering that \”love is not rude\” (1 Corinthians 13:5). She has good manners…. She is not loud and obnoxious and rolling over people like a steam roller. Plainly put, she behaves herself. She is a proper lady at home and in public. … [W]omen who are actually reverent in their behavior enjoy life. They laugh and speak loudly enough for others to hear. They do not have a false idea of spirituality. They have fun and love the Lord. They want to make others feel comfortable. They show love to others by acting properly as they rejoice in every day that the Lord has made. Their dress, attitude, and behavior are pleasing to the Lord. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[17] –>[endif]–>

After discussing an older woman\’s reverent attitude, Paul lists two behaviors that specifically indicate the spiritual health of a person: They are not to be slanderers, nor are they to be \”addicted to much wine. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[18] –>[endif]–>\” The Women\’s Evangelical Commentary states that in the Greek, \”slanderer\” is diabolous, or \”devils.\” \”This word is a compound form with dia, a preposition meaning \’through or by means of,\’ and ballo, a verb meaning \’to throw.\’… Spiritually mature women who are going to be leaders must not cast through or gossip. Their words are to be encouraging and uplifting and instructive. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[19] –>[endif]–>\” In addition, Susan Hunt has pointed out that, concerning the speech of women, \”A critical and complaining spirit is devastating on those who come under its effect. A reverent inner-life will enable a woman to \’speak with wisdom, and faithful instruction… on her tongue\’ (Proverbs 31:26). –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[20] –>[endif]–>\”

Not surprisingly, Jesus had similar instructions for those who would listen to his teachings: \”The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[21] –>[endif]–>\” The condition of a woman\’s heart will greatly affect her ability to minister to those around her. Paul recognized this and instructed Titus to teach the existing members of the church the doctrine of Christ that would create an inner change. Titus was then instructed to ask those people to teach younger Christians how to behave in a manner that showed the world the impact Christ had on their souls. While actions can speak louder than words, often the words a woman speaks offer a window to her soul\’s true intentions. The ideal mentor is one whose actions, attitudes, and speech all coincide with a life described in Scripture as being fruitful. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[22] –>[endif]–>

The final qualification Paul gives for a woman who desires to be a mentor is to not be addicted to \”much wine.\” Matthew Henry says, \”The word denotes such addictedness thereto as to be under the power and mastery of it. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[23] –>[endif]–>\” The Cretan people were well known for their drunken reputation, so for Paul to mention this stronghold specifically would make sense in the context of his audience. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[24] –>[endif]–> While this was an issue of direct concern for the churches in Crete, the concept can be transferred to any behavior that can become a powerful and addictive force in the life of a woman. \”Addiction is enslavement. We must be free from habitual, compulsive behavior in order to live disciplined lives for God\’s glory. Self-control, as opposed to self-indulgence, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[25] –>[endif]–>\” To say that Paul is only speaking of addiction to alcohol would be a rather limited instruction for women today, but Martha Peace addresses this by pointing out:

Many of you are probably not plagued by drunkenness. However, there is a secondary application. You can be enslaved to other things such as television, food, romance novels or prescription drugs. Just because something may be \”lawful\” such as prescription drugs does not mean it is profitable…Being mastered by anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ is a serious sin…. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[26] –>[endif]–>

To be a godly woman and a qualified mentor, Peace goes on to give this timely advice: \”Instead of pursuing wine or food, use that same energy to think about God—His goodness, mercy, and holiness. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[27] –>[endif]–>\”

The need for spiritual mothering has rarely been more obvious than it is in the church today. Thankfully, God used the negative situation in Crete as a blueprint for future believers concerning how to deal with a culture fraught with sin and ungodliness. A look at the beginning of Titus gives a description of Crete that sounds very familiar to the situation facing the church today. Paul describes the Cretans as being \”rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[28] –>[endif]–>\” \”liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons, –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[29] –>[endif]–>\” and \”detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[30] –>[endif]–>\” Paul desired these believers to live lives contrary to the reputation of Crete, so he gave a standard for the women who would help other women strive toward godliness. God used Paul to deliver a message specifically to the women under Titus\’s authority, a message that is repeated and reinforced throughout Scripture; the heavenly Father expects his children to live out their faith as a walking testimony of their belief in him. \”Women who want to be teachers and mentors of other women are to be held to the highest standards.\” –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[31] –>[endif]–> Like their male counterparts, the lives of women in positions of leadership are to be lived as an example of how a godly life should look.

Through the remainder of his instructions regarding the teaching of women, Paul gives an outline that these mature women should teach the younger women. A woman who is teaching other women how to successfully live and work in the home will not be accepted as a respected teacher if her own home life is in disarray. If these women are teaching these concepts, they should also be exhibiting them in their own lives.

Paul says these women are to \”teach what is good. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[32] –>[endif]–>\” There is a great difference between actively doing good and simply avoiding evil. Paul encourages the women of the Cretan church not just to teach a list of behaviors to avoid, but he challenges them to go a step further and actually pursue what is good. According to the Women\’s Evangelical Commentary, the word Paul uses to explain what they are to teach is used only in this one instance in the New Testament and other ancient Greek manuscripts. –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[33] –>[endif]–>

Perhaps Paul coined this word to describe a unique method of teaching, which would combine both example (character) and behavior (lifestyle). Actually, the apostle showed a prophetic edge as he offered a timely word for subsequent generations. How can you warn against evil effectively when the pattern for what is good and godly has been lost? –>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[34] –>[endif]–>

This question can still be asked today. To expect people to act in a \”good and godly\” way when they have not been taught what a good and godly lifestyle encompasses is difficult. Often people come into a church knowing what specific behaviors in their lives are ungodly, but they are never taught godly behaviors which can replace those ungodly ones. It has been proven countless times that the best way to teach a person a skill is to model that skill and then allow her to try it herself. Living a victoriously godly Christian life is no different, and Paul\’s challenge to the women of the churches in Crete survives to challenge women in churches across the globe today. If there is to be a new generation of women to rise up and actively to pursue righteousness and holiness in their daily lives, women must answer God\’s call to model lives of righteousness and holiness and in turn encourage those coming behind them to come alongside and learn the ways of an actively good and Christ-like life.


Works Referenced

Akin, Dr. Danny L. \”God\’s Portrait of a Wonderful Wife and Marvelous Mother: Proverbs 31:10-31.\” May 8, 2005. Transcript of a sermon delivered May 8, 2005 at Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC. (August 18, 2006). The publisher of this website is the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC.

—. \”The Role of Men and Women in the Church: Titus 2:1-8.\” March 30, 2005. Transcript of a chapel message delivered March 30, 2005 at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. (August 18, 2006). The publisher of this website is the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC.

Agar, Frederick A. Help Those Women: A Manual for Women Church Workers. (New York: Revel, 1917)

Brown, Jamieson F. \”Titus 2:2-5.\” Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. (copyright 2005-2006) (accessed August 18, 2006) This website is published by the Salem Web Network.

Echevarria, Pegine. For All Our Daughters: How Mentoring Helps Young Women and Girls Master the Art of Growing Up. (Worcester: Chandler, 1998)

Ellison, Edna and Tricia Scribner. Woman to Woman: Preparing Yourself to Mentor. (Birmingham: New Hope, 2000)

Elwell, Walker, ed. \”Human Beings: Women.\” Baker Topical Guide to the Bible. (GrandRapids: Baker, 1991)

Gill, John. \”Titus 2:3-5.\” John Gill\’s Exposition of the Bible. (copyright 2005-2006) (accessed August 18, 2006) This website is published by the Salem Web Network.

Henry, Matthew. \”Titus 2:2-5.\” Matthew Henry Commentary. (copyright 2005-2006) (accessed August 18, 2006) This website is published by the Salem Web Network.

Hunt, Susan. Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women. (Wheaton: Crossway, 1992)

Kaemmerling, Charlene. \”Ordination of Women: Wrong or Right?\” The Theological Educator, No. 37 (Spring 1988): 93-99.

Mabery-Foster, Lucy. Women and the Church: Reaching, Teaching, and Developing Women for Christ. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999)

Matthews, Kelley. Women Training Women: What\’s the Point? (copyright 2005-2006) (accessed August 18, 2006) This website is published by the Salem Web Network.

Mauldon, Frank Louis. \”Pricilla and Aquila.\” Mercer Dictionary of the Bible. Watson E. Mills, editor. (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1991), 712.

McBeth, Leon. Women in Baptist Life. (Nashville: Broadman, 1979)

Otto, Donna. Between Women of God: The Gentle Art of Mentoring. (Eugene: Harvest, 1995)

—. Finding a Mentor, Being a Mentor. (Eugene: Harvest, 2001), pp.

Patterson, Dorothy Kelley. Beattitudes for Women: Wisdom from Heaven for Life on Earth. (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2000)

Peace, Martha. Becoming a Titus 2 Woman. (Bemidji: Focus, 1997)

Robertson, A.T. \”Titus 2:1-8.\” Robertson\’s Word Pictures of the New Testament. (copyright 2005-2006) (accessed August 18, 2006) This website is published by the Salem Web Network.

Women\’s Evangelical Commentary. Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelley, eds. (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2006), 731-736.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>


–>[endif]–>

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1] –>[endif]–> Lucy Mabery-Foster, Women and the Church (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 5.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[2] –>[endif]–> Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer\’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2002), 40-41.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[3] –>[endif]–> Kelley Mathews, \”Women Training Women: What\’s the Point?\” (copyright 2005-2006) http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/1415961.html, (accessed August 18, 2006) This website is published and maintained by Salem Web Network.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[4] –>[endif]–> Ibid.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[5] –>[endif]–> Titus 1:5

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[6] –>[endif]–> Titus 1:9b

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[7] –>[endif]–> Titus 1:13, 15

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[8] –>[endif]–> Titus 2:1

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[9] –>[endif]–> Titus 2:6

[if !supportFootnotes]–>[10] –>[endif]–> Mathews.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[11] –>[endif]–> Ibid.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[12] –>[endif]–> Edna Ellison and Tricia Scribner, Woman to Woman: Preparing Yourself to Mentor (Birmingham: New Hope, 2000), 5.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[13] –>[endif]–> Martha Peace, Becoming a Titus2 Woman (Bimidji: Focus, 1997), 32.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[14] –>[endif]–> 1 Samuel 16:7

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[15] –>[endif]–> 1 Peter 3:3-4

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[16] –>[endif]–> Peace, 33-34.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[17] –>[endif]–> Ibid., 35.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[18] –>[endif]–> Titus 2:3

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[19] –>[endif]–> Women\’s Evangelical Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2006) 734.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[20] –>[endif]–> Susan Hunt, Spiritual Mothering (Crossway: Wheaton, 1992), 43-44.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[21] –>[endif]–> Luke 6:45

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[22] –>[endif]–> See Galatians 5:19-26 for a further discussion from Paul concerning the comparison of living in a sinful nature and living in the Spirit.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[23] –>[endif]–> Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry Commentary (copyright 2005-2006) (Accessed August 18, 2006) This website is published and maintained by Salem Web Network.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[24] –>[endif]–> Women\’s Evangelical Commentary, 734.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[25] –>[endif]–> Hunt, 44.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[26] –>[endif]–> Peace, 43.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[27] –>[endif]–> Peace, 44.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[28] –>[endif]–> Titus 1:10

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[29] –>[endif]–> Verse 12.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[30] –>[endif]–> Verse 16.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[31] –>[endif]–> Women\’s Evangelical Commentary, 734.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[32] –>[endif]–> Titus 2:3

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[33] –>[endif]–> Women\’s, 734.

–>[if !supportFootnotes]–>[34] –>[endif]–> Ibid.

Fathers and Daughters


If He so chooses, God speaks through rock music.I’m not sure John Mayer had that intention in mind when he recorded his song “Daughters,” but it spoke to me in a very spiritual and relational way not too long ago. This song is written from the perspective of a young man who is in a relationship with a woman who is the love of his life; he just can’t seem to convince her that she is worthy of that title. He says:

I know a girl/ she puts the color inside of my world/

But she’s just like a maze/ Where all of the walls all continually change/ And I’ve done all I can/ To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands/ Now I’m starting to see/ Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me/

He loves this girl. But as much as he loves her, needs her, tries his best to be her everything, he just cannot seem to figure out what it is he is going to have to do to get her to return his love and trust and affection. Now I’m sure that no man in this room has ever felt like the woman in his life is a maze whose walls move, but in that last line, he gives a very good observation that every man in the world should notice:

Now I’m starting to see/ Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me.

In the chorus, he gives an invaluable life lesson to all fathers and future fathers:

Fathers, be good to your daughters/
Daughters will love like you do.

He then says:

Girls become lovers who turn into mothers/
So mothers be good to your daughters too

But that’s another topic for another writing. This truth about fathers and daughters is something that we overlook in our culture today. In a time of feminism and the empowerment of women, we have forgotten that little girls need their daddies. It’s not enough that we are taught to be strong and independent and freethinking. A woman’s very self worth is found in the approval or disapproval of the men in her life. Daddies are the first men in our lives that give us a sense of security and protection. He is the one that confirms our femininity—or destroys our self worth and creates a world of insecurity.

An example of this can be found in the story of Susan. Susan had spent all afternoon getting ready for her first school dance. Being the typical tomboy, she had never really been interested in dresses or makeup or high-heeled shoes, but Susan had begun thinking these things might not be so bad. In fact, she even felt good in her new dress and was excited about the thought of putting on her mother’s makeup and being a “real woman.” She fought with the foundation, nearly poked her eye out with the eyeliner, and had to try twice to get her lipstick on straight, but when she looked in the mirror, she knew her persistence had paid off. She went downstairs and asked her father, “How do I look?” Her father looked up from his paper, smirked and said, “Who hit you in the eyes?” Susan said that she remembered running back upstairs in tears and locking herself in the bathroom and vowing that her first attempt at her new feminine look would be her last.

That one brief and, in her father’s mind, teasing moment shaped Susan’s view of herself for years to come. Why? A father’s approval or disapproval of his daughter shapes a girl’s image of herself. Whether you know it or not, you hold tremendous power over your little girl and her own self worth. Even if she doesn’t let on, your opinion is of vital importance to your daughter, no matter how young or old she it.

Our songwriter discussed this in his second verse:

Oh, you see that skin?/ It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away/ Now she’s left/
Cleaning up the mess he made.

Often that mess ends up being her life. But this is such a depressing thought. What can we do to keep this from happening? There are some very easy ways. Love her, hug her, tell her she’s beautiful, never tease her or make fun of her, even if she’s tough and she can take it. Even those of us who are as tomboy as they come still have the hearts and emotions of little princesses. Be observant and do the little things that she doesn’t think you will notice. When I was in the sixth grade I tried out for the varsity basketball team at Ooltewah Middle School. I was so nervous about it because I was only in the 6th grade and I just knew that I didn’t have a chance of making the varsity. It didn’t help my nervousness that I knew my dad lived and breathed basketball. Lucky for me, Coach Crawford was no dummy, and he didn’t think it wise to be cutting a 5’8″ eleven year old, so I got to call home that morning during homeroom and tell my mom that I had made the varsity basketball team. When I got home that afternoon, I got off the bus and was greeted by a large cardboard sign that said, “Congratulations Rebekah” with basketball and confetti drawn all over it. It was taped to our garage door. My dad knew how important that was to me, and he encouraged me to go for it even when I didn’t think I could make it. And when I did make it, he made sure I knew how proud he was of me. Now of course, I was a 6th grader and was way too cool to ever let my dad know how much it meant to me, but 14 years later, I still have it.

My dad goes the extra mile like that now. A few months ago, he and Kevin Smith had the opportunity to have a boys’ night out at a Titans game in Nashville. Of course, since it was a boys’ night out, Dad asked Joseph to go with him. This of course left me fuming, because Joseph doesn’t have a Titans jersey with his name on the back of it; but I do. But dad called at half time to tell us just how good their seats were, and he asked me if there was anything he could bring home from the game for me. I told him he could bring home Drew Bennett, who is the Titan’s beautiful wide receiver. That was of course my sarcastically impossible request just to let him know I was still furious that I didn’t get to go. But when I left to go to work the next morning, a felt team flag was lying under my car keys on the table, and on the team flag was a huge picture of Drew Bennett. My dad brought Drew Bennett home for me! This isn’t to make anyone else feel bad, or to give you the impression that my dad and I have a perfect relationship. In fact, the 14 years between those events were tumultuous to say the least. But he has always gone the extra mile to make sure I knew that he wanted to be the most important man in my life.

This is the part where I give the daughters a hard time. Mr. Mayer addresses the reason for this tumultuous time in his last verse:

On behalf of every man/ Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

At first, I was a little skeptical of that line: “You are the god and the weight of her world.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how true that is. Dads should not be our gods, but when we are little, when our personalities are forming and being formed, our fathers shape how we see God. Genesis 1:27 says that both men and women are created in God’s image, which means that God possesses both male and female characteristics. He is the perfect parent because He is as tender, nurturing, and compassionate as He is firm, upright, and powerful. But because we refer to God as our Heavenly Father and not our Heavenly Parent, we often try to squeeze God into the mold that we have formed in the shape of our fathers. When we are young, our parents are our sole caregivers. We need them to provide everything for us. In the ideal situation, our parents enable us, as we grow older, to look less to them for our every need and look more to God for those needs. But unfortunately, our parents are not perfect and they are not always able to make that transition for us. That’s when our perceptions of our fathers can skew our perception of our Heavenly Father.

That’s what happened with me. I allowed my perceptions of my father to create misconceptions about God. When I was young, I thought my dad could do no wrong. He was the larger than life superhero that swooped into people’s lives in time of need and made things better. He was the rock people leaned on, the counselor who provided advice, and the teacher that lovingly corrected and taught people the truth. But as I got older, I began to see that most people only contacted my dad in times of need. When someone died suddenly, people called my dad. When a spouse walked out, when a child was arrested, when someone had made poor life choices and had hit rock bottom, then they called my dad. I began to see that people only needed my dad in times of crisis, and this shaped how I saw my dad as well. I began only allowing him in my life in times of crisis. “Dad, I overslept and am late for school.” “Daddy, I overdrew my checking account—again.” “Daddy, I really don’t want to go out with so and so tonight. Can you tell me I can’t so that I don’t have to tell them I don’t want to?” Other than that, I didn’t see why he needed to be in my life. I even began learning to do things for myself so that I didn’t have to bother him. I thought there were too many other people in crisis that needed him that I only needed to “bother” him in times of crisis.

I began looking at God the same way. Why should I go to Him with the little things in life when there are famines and wars and divorce and drug use and abusive parents? I began to let my relationship with God slip away because I didn’t want to bother Him with my little everyday problems. It has only been the last few months that I have begun healing those relationships not only with my spiritual father, but also my physical father. I recently read in a counseling book that “God as our true parent is not only concerned with the spiritual aspect of our lives, but he is also interested in the more mundane facets of our existence.” God is interested in our everyday, boring lives in Chattanooga, TN! He is interested in what I did at work today, He wants me to tell Him how ticked off I got at what my friend said, He understands how I could care less about working out today.

Have any of you allowed your perception of your earthly father cloud your view of your Heavenly Father? If you have, think about this: we often see God as the powerful, disciplinarian that sits in the clouds waiting to strike us down when we do wrong. On the other hand, we see Jesus, the Son as the loving sacrificial brother who hears our petitions and speaks on our behalf to the Father. While it is true that Jesus prays on our behalf when we don’t know what to pray, we must also remember that in the Trinity, Jesus and God are one in the same! Read through the Bible and find passages that describe Jesus. God as our father is loving, compassionate, kindhearted, tender. My favorite passage about Jesus is Mark 10:13-14 “And they were bringing children to Him so that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked the parents. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, ‘Permit the children to come to me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.'” This is a picture of our heavenly father. He desires us to be like little children. He wants us to crawl up in His lap and tell him all about our day. He loves us no matter what, and wants desperately to be a part of our lives.

But you might be saying, that’s all good, but I’m an adult, so what is there to do to heal the relationship with my dad? Like God, it’s never too late to come home. Dads, if it’s been a while since you’ve done it, tell your daughter that you love her, tell her that she’s beautiful, hug her when you see her. Do those little things that make women feel special. And daughters, don’t think that your dad isn’t interested in what’s going on in your life. Unless you play golf in the PGA or drive a stock car, he might not necessarily understand what’s going on in your life, but that doesn’t make him any less interested. Tell him about your work, your family. Ask him for advice, even if you don’t need it. We are self sufficient, independent women, but dads like nothing more than to feel needed.

So let him know that he is still needed.

Anselm’s Proslogion


I am reading The Proslogion by Anselm of Canterbury, a 9th century missionary to England. I don’t usually enjoy reading ancient works because the translations are usually so stuffy and just, well, old, but I absolutely loved the last section of this work, and I wanted to share it.


I pray, O God, to know you, to love you, that I may rejoice in you. And if I canot attain full joy in this life may I at least advance from day to day, until that joy shall come to the full. Let the knowledge of you advance in me here, and there be made full. Let the love of you increase, and there let it be full, that here my joy may be great in hope, and there full in truth. Lord, through your Son you command, nay, you counsel us to ask; and you promise we shall receive, that our joy may be full. I ask, O Lord, as you counsel through our Wonderful Counselor. I will receive what you promise by virtue of your truth, that my joy may be full. Faithful God, I ask. I will receive, that my joy may be full. Meanwhile, let my mind meditate upon it; let my tongue speak of it. Let my heart love it; let my mouth talk of it. Let my soul hunger for it; let my flesh thirst for it; let my whole being desire it, until I enter into your joy, O Lord, who are the Three and the One God, blessed forever and forever, Amen.

Anselm desired that the joy of the Lord would be full in him. But he didn’t say he was going to sit alone in his house and contemplate all the ways he wasn’t joyful until God made him joyful. He said that “in the meantime…” and he listed a whole lot of actions. I know I have been guilty many times of asking God for something and then sitting back and waiting for him to deliver. But Anselm believed that if the joy of the Lord was the desire of his heart, and if he meditated on that joy and spoke of it and desired it… If God’s joy was his one thought, his one desire, then God’s joy would be his. I think Anselm may have been on to something…