Friday, September 21, 2007

Pride, Control and Discontenment

The more I have been reading the New Testament lately the more confused I have become. At the end of 1 Corinthians it talks about all these great gifts and how they should be used in the church to edify one another. I think, "How wonderful this would be if we could use all our gifts to glorify God and lift each other up." I begin to hope in my heart that God would grant ME the gift of prophecy since it is suggested by Paul to desire the greater gifts. Then just a few verses later it says that women should be quiet. What? How can you tell me to desire these gifts, get me all excited about using them, then tell me I must be quiet? Something I will think on and discuss with some scholars.....

As I read on in 2 Corinthians I am taken by a few verses in chapter 3:5 "We are not saying that we can do this work ourselves. It is God who makes us able to do all that we do." I think I read that yesterday, but for some reason it only sank in today when I read it again. I hadn't planned on reading it twice, but an elder in the church took me to get an alarm system installed in our new car. He needed to do some errands as well so I waited patiently in the car and began reading my Bible. It is a good thing I have begun carrying it with me. I was actually just trying to find where I left off. I really needed to reread it though. I am feeling like I can not do this. I know I can not do this new life in Lithuania on my own for sure. I am emotionally overwhelmed this week. We have put out a LOT of money we didn't anticipate and a few more surprises here and there have just been more than I feel like I can handle well. Even though it is nice to have our 'stuff' it is now EVERYWHERE and waiting for me to get to it. Like I needed one more thing......I started my period today. Aaaahhh the extreme emotions explained. Praise the Lord that in a few days I will go into hormonal balance and be strong again. What is that about?

Another few verses that comforted my weary soul today were 2 Cor. 4 :16-18 ," So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles. We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever." I know God has it under control. It is I who looses control and I am desperately grabbing at it let me tell you.....

Why is it that contentment with where you are is so hard to grasp. This week I have worried so much about money. "What happens if we dont' have enough?" "Are we doing enough ministry to warrant what people are giving us?" "What will we do if we need more than we have?" I even began to think irrationally about how to generate more money from what we now have. ' We could pull the kids out of school, that frees up 500 a month'.....But that is not rational. The kids are good where they are and we will have enough money! I am just trying to stay in control and not give this over to God.

I am finding it very difficult to live on so much less. In the States we were getting in one paycheck more than we get here in a month. It goes farther here, but there really isn't any room for extras. It is a big adjustment. One I knew we would have to make but hurts to make it. I am reminded now that I am the Rich Young ruler that Jesus speaks of in his parable. The ruler was living by all the laws, but the one thing he could not give up was his lavish lifestyle. I wouldn't even say I was living a lavish lifestyle by American standards, but I could go to a movie and coffee whenever I wanted to, that's for sure. I am understanding why so many people told me that they couldn't do it. It is not easy....and we have it good where we are too.

Reading on in 2 Cor. I found my memory verse and the verse I think we will begin learning as a family. We can say it each day after our prayer ride into town. 2 Cor. 6:6-10 "We show we are servants of God by our pure lives, our understanding, patience and kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by true love, by speaking the truth, and by God's power. (stop here for family, going on for me) We use our right living to defend ourselves against everything. Some people honor us, but others blame us. Some people say evil things about us, but others say good things. Some people say we are liars, but we speak the truth. We are not known but we are well known. We seem to be dying, but we continue to live. We are punished, but we are not killed. We have much sadness, but we are always rejoicing. We are poor, but we are making many people rich in faith. We have nothing, but really we have everything"

This is what I need to know by heart. This is the truth about my situation. I am a rich woman! What I get to do is help others live rich in their faith. I know what is going on is a spiritual battle. It is an old one. pride/ control/discontentment. It is alive and well and tries to visit as often as I will let it. Drenching my mind with the truth of God's word is the only remedy. Believing what I read and reading what I believe is a must for all of us.

2 comments:

Lori Garringer said...

Sophie,
It is my understanding that the reason it is told for the women to be quiet was because in that church the women were speaking out of turn during teaching, causing commotions and such. I am under the impression that it does not mean that women are never to speak. Let me know if you find out something different.

Also if you think about it we should go to our husbands first...you know, the chain of command. I think it is honoring to our husbands to inquire first from them and then seek outside answers if they cannot /do not know.

I will continue to lift you and your family up in our prayers. I will pray especially for peace right now for you. Lori

Anonymous said...

Sophi,
I've been thinking of and praying for you over this past week and meaning to write, and here I finally am (happily procrastinating on something else ;) I wanted to encourage you that I truly believe the work you guys are doing is worth every penny of support coming in. Its so exciting to read the email from your Alpha Group leader about the responses she saw, and to hear your updates as you connect with people in need of God's healing touch or who thirst to know Him more. God is working through you guys in fresh ways!
As to gifts / women, I firmly believe that God is the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17) and made us with purpose (Jer 1:5, 29:11). He has given you many gifts, including your passionate take-a-stand spirit, and He gives gifts to be used, not buried in the sand (Matt 25). You know all this. And since The Lord Our God is One (Deut 6:4), He doesn't contradict Himself - therefore if there is an apparent contradiction something is being misunderstood or taken out of context. All this to say, be free in using the gifts God has given you, and teach!
for what its worth ~
Debbie Vinall