Starting a Prayer Tracker in your Bullet Journal

Bullet Journal Prayer Tracker | AuthenticallyAsh.com

Praying for one another is the first act of serving others that a Christian learns to do. We pray for the protection of our families. We pray for those who do not yet know Jesus Christ as their Savior. And we pray for our own spiritual growth. But sometimes we forget to pray as we ought to. This is why I have included a Prayer Tracker in my Bullet Journal.

Continue reading “Starting a Prayer Tracker in your Bullet Journal”

Christian Bullet Journal – October Flip-through

Christian Bullet Journal

I’ve finished making my first monthly Bullet Journal flip-through. I can tell you one thing for sure, it is different from other Bullet Journals. You see, I’m a Christian and that means I have a Christian Bullet Journal. Well sort-of…

I mean, a Bullet Journal is an inanimate object, it can’t be a Christian. But a Bullet Journal tends to reflect the personality of it’s creator. Since I am a Christian, my bullet journal will reflect that.

Continue reading “Christian Bullet Journal – October Flip-through”

Keepers at Home: Titus 2:5 Study Notes

As promised last week, I will share my study of Titus 2:3-5.

Disclaimer: Please note that I have never attended a Bible College, or done any theology courses. This blog post is an organized version of the notes I made while researching Titus 2:3-5, specifically the part that the NIV Bible translates as “to be busy at home”.

My attention was brought to Titus 2:3-5 through a few blog posts* I read regarding Godly Womanhood. I had heard this verse before, and I had done a brief study on it, but I had never felt God leading me to it like He did while doing the Funeral Visualization Exercise.

I mostly use the NIV Bible, so this is how I first read it:

Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)
“3 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. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 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.”

I went back and read the whole of Titus 1 and 2 so I could get the verses in context. The book of Titus is actually a letter that Paul wrote to Titus, giving him instructions.

For some reason, that I cannot explain, I pulled out all the different translations of Bibles I had in my home. What I found was that each of the versions I own translated the phrase “to be busy at home” in Titus 2:5 differently.

Revised Standard Version (1952): “to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be discredited.”

New Living Translation: “to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.”

God’s Word: “to use good judgement and to be moraly pure. Also, tell them to teach young women to be homemakers, to be kind, and to place themselves under their husband’s authority. Then no one can speak evil of God’s word.”

While I noticed that all 4 of these versions translated the phrase differently, another part was very similar in all versions and caught my attention… women were to be taught these things so that nobody could malign / bring shame on / discredit / speak evil of the word of God. To me, this indicated that it wasn’t simply instruction for the times, but rather instruction for all time.

I couldn’t get over how each version was translating “to be busy at home” differently. So I went online to search for more translations of the passage and see what they say… (Comparison of Various Bible Translations)

I found that more translations used the phrase “keepers at home” or “workers at home” than any other phrase. So I decided to go deeper and I looked up the original greek word and its meaning.

οἰκουργούς is the greek word that I found to mean “keepers at home” or “workers at home” (Reference)

What I realized was that regardless of how a person interprets the phrase, the one part is clear: it is a woman’s responsibility to care for their homes.

The extreme of this viewpoint is to say that a woman must not work outside the home because her duty is within the home. Some people may feel that God has led them to this conclusion. After much prayer and careful consideration, I did not arrive at the same conclusion.

But, I feel that this verse does indicate that a woman should be the primary carer for her home.  If she is capable of caring for her home and holding a job outside the home there is nothing stopping her from doing so.

Perhaps God has led you to a different conclusion. Your perspective may be different from mine, and that is OK… it would be an awfully boring planet if everybody thought the same. I would love to hear your perspective in a comment below.


 

* I really wish I still had the links to some of the articles and blog posts that started me on this study. I like hearing other people’s opinions, from all angles. Unfortunately I used my mobile phone for browsing, and it seems like my history was cleared sometime in the past month. So I won’t be quoting or referencing the blog posts and articles that led me down this path.

Heaven and Earth Hierarchy

Authentically Ash - Earth and Heaven Hierarchy
Earth and Heaven Hierarchy

A while ago I came up with the Heaven and Earth Hierarchy (as seen in my own eyes).  To make a point I have drawn the diagram the way that a worldly view see’s it.

The reason for drawing it from the worldly view-point is because it is the perception we are bombarded with daily (unless you are Amish or living in another closed community… maybe…).  So it is the hierarchy we all know and love.  … OK not all of us love it, in fact I think very few people love it.

So let’s get to the explanation.  Let’s start with the Average Human Being.

Mr. and Mrs. Doe (the average Jane and John).  These are our normal average non-Christians.  Some of them might even be “Christians” but only because their parents, grand-parents and great-grandparents were Christians.  Or because it is expected of them to attend a church in their area.  This is the regular average family that works the 8 to 5 routine, has 2.1 children and lives in the suburbs.  We can also include the average homeless person here, or the average teenager, or the average college student.  The only requirement is that you are not a Christ follower and you are average with a low to middle income.

I said at this point “In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. ~ Psalm 10:4”.  These people may not be noticeably wicked.  They might be relatively good and nice people.  The key of what I am saying here is that in their thoughts they either don’t want to know God or they haven’t given Him much thought.

Mr. Slate and Mr. Spacely (the leaders / managers).  Notice the reference to The Flintstones and The Jetsons’ characters here.  That is the image I want in your mind when you think of the typical leaders and managers.  Now, when you look at the “worldly” social class, leaders and managers are considered as slightly above the average Doe.  With leadership comes more responsibility, and a slightly higher worldly status, and with that responsibility, salary increase and status comes a recipe for pride to filter in, because you can start seeing yourself as better than the average Doe.  This makes it harder to maintain a Christ-like nature and cultivate the “Fruits of the spirit”.  I’m not saying that Christians cannot be leaders/managers, I’m just saying it starts getting harder to be a Christian if you are a leader/manager.

Mr. Wonka (business owner).  I’m sure that most people have heard of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  The image of Willy Wonka is what I want you to have in your mind.  Especially the slightly more “arrogant” version that Johnny Depp acted as.  While I do really enjoy the eccentric Willy Wonka, think how somebody would be perceived in the real world.  He would be admired.  In the story there were people who were envious of his success (probably Leaders and Managers who wanted their own business – Envy), and Willy Wonka had developed techniques to shut them all out of his chocolate factory and keep his secret recipe’s to himself.  Gluttony and Greed are easily seen here, all routed in a form of Pride.  People are envious of the business owner and want what he has.  It takes a person firm in his faith in order to keep humble and Christ-like while being a business owner.

Mr. President (the political leader).  Picture just about any president or political leader.  They are strategists, they tend to do whatever will get them the most votes.  If they get votes by being a Christian, then by golly gosh they will be Christians.  If they will get votes by being pro-gay marriage, then they will be.  They are expected to do whatever will get them the most votes.  They have their advisers all around them, pressure from the public, pressure from their sponsors and pressure from the media.  Staying true to Heavenly/Godly values is super hard for the average political leader.

Miss Starlet (actress, singer and all-round famous person). This one I made up, but you can put pretty much any celebrity into this role.  It must be awfully tough to stay true to God when the entire globe is watching you.  Make it known you are a Christian and you have opened up a whole list of “don’t get caught doing XYZ”.  You are a representative for Christ and being a celebrity Christian puts a whole heap of new responsibilities on your shoulders.  You would have to turn down Playboy cover shoots (LUST) and don’t you dare wear a slightly too short skirt to the Grammy Awards.  The long and the short of it, it is way easier to be famous if you are not a Christian than if you are.  For some reason people are more forgiving of sin if you don’t claim to be a Christ-follower, and being a celebrity you can be sure that all your sin is open in the spotlight for the world to see.  I’m not saying you cannot be a Christian celebrity, I am saying that it is near impossible.

Mr. Tony Stark (Iron Man – X-treme Riches).  Yet again I’m using a fictional character to make my point.  He is so Prideful, arrogant, and extremely wealthy.  Why is it that we can’t seem to help admiring this person.  So many men want to be like him (in their deepest depths of their hearts), and so many women would like to be the lady that eventually sweeps him off his feet and keeps his interest for life.  And now, comes the cruncher… when you have absolutely everything in the world, why do you need God?

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:25

Of course, we know that without God you are kinda screwed in eternity, but staying humble must be pretty difficult if you have absolutely everything this world can provide.

And along with this mindset comes the classic 7 deadly sins: Sloth, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Greed, Wrath and Pride.

This is the hierarchy of worldly status and values… climbing the Worldly Ladder as it were.  My point is that the higher you go on the “worldly” ladder, the harder it is to stay on the heavenly ladder.

But what about the other side of the ladder, the one that the world sees as sinking down, down, down… but in truth is the up, up, up (and I just got an image of the Pixar movie in my brain).

I believe that there are stages in the Heavenly ladder too.  First there are the new Christians.  Those that have just acknowledged that Jesus Christ is Lord, that they are sinners and have humbled themselves before God.

Then there are those that are on their walk with Christ.  They are reading their Bibles daily, they are spending time in reflection and prayer, they are building the fruits of Peace, Faithfulness, Kindness, Gentleness, Joy, Self-Control, Goodness, Patience and Love… the heavenly values. Many of them go unnoticed by the world at large, because the impact they make is on individual lives rather than the whole world, but then there are those who have become World-Changing Christians.  I think of William Wilberforce who lead a movement to abolish slavery and  C.S. Lewis who wrote numerous books about Christianity.  There are so many others!

Then come the Saints – I would like to classify them along-side the World-Changing Christians, but I decided to give them a higher level on the Humility scale.

Finally, just before Jesus himself, the 12 apostles. Their humility, even in Peter eventually, was commendable.

Jesus, the ultimate in Humility: “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” – Phillipians 2:8

And this Jesus, is the person that we are encouraged to strive to be like.  The Jesus of Peace, Faithfulness, Kindess, Gentleness, Joy, Self-Control, Goodness, Patience, Love and HUMILITY!!!

So, this is how “The World” sees the status ladder, with X-treme riches at the top and the humility of the apostles at the bottom, when in truth, Jesus is at the top and Satan at the Bottom.

Serenity Prayer Commentary

Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr | AuthenticallyAsh.com

I recently read the whole version of the Serenity Prayer, that is often used in AA meetings and numerous other rehabilitation organizations.  I also recently discovered who wrote it.

This is a powerful prayer, and something makes me think it has been watered down because of its modern use.  I’m going to go through it in detail, and what it means to me in this post.  I think that it is a fitting place for this blog of mine to start.

Continue reading “Serenity Prayer Commentary”