Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What a Woman Brings to Marriage by Laura MacCorkle

As we make our way further into the twenty-first century, the term hope chest is becoming fairly extinct. In fact, many of you reading this may have no idea what I'm talking about.

Also called a dowry chest or a glory box, a hope chest is a box—usually made out of wood and sometimes decoratively painted or intricately carved—in which unmarried women would place objects that they hoped to bring with them to marriage one day. These could include linens, dishes, silverware, household items or perhaps family heirlooms.

While I was growing up, there were still some visible sightings of hope chests being recorded. I made note of a few of them myself in my friends' bedrooms (they were usually positioned at the foot of their beds). If their fathers were handy with woodworking, they would have crafted them for their daughters (or grandfathers for granddaughters). The boxes might have also been passed down to them in their families or purchased at furniture stores.

I didn't have a hope chest, but I did collect a few items to bring with me into marriage one day: an apron, a silver-plated, commemorative, bicentennial server and some tablecloths, among other things. These were all given to me by one of my grandmothers—but when I received them, I didn't think they were such great gifts (I was young and really just wanted a Lite-Brite, some Luv-It jeans or a Barbie doll instead). So, I said "thank you" and stored them away somewhere in the back of my closet.

Many years and multiple moves later, I now cannot find any of these objects. But honestly, it really doesn't matter to me that much—for I know that it is really the intangibles I bring to a marriage that are most important. And I must carefully (and continually) add to this trove of "gifts" while I prepare myself for marriage.

As of late, I have thought about these qualities a great deal. Of course, the Proverbs 31 woman is a natural go-to model of the "perfect wife," and I have been encouraged (and overwhelmed) by reading through the verses that describe her way of living.

But recently, it dawned on me that the ultimate example who should inform my life is Christ. His relationship with his Father, his interactions with others, his choices, his words reflect so well what I hope to bring to my marriage and to my future husband. …

A Humble Heart and a Submissive Spirit

When Jesus walked the earth, he did so in humility and in submission to his Father.

"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:38-40).

Imagine, if you will, had Jesus not done the will of his Father. Had he not walked in humility. Had he not submitted. Had he not followed when being led by the Spirit. Everything would have been thrown out of whack. He wouldn't have been raised on the last day, and we wouldn't have eternal life. We would have no way to the Father and no relationship with our Creator. Jesus knew that there was an important plan in the works and a purpose for God sending him to earth. In obedience, he humbly submitted to his Father.

Now, in considering how a woman brings a humble heart and a submissive spirit to her marriage, she would also upset God's design of the husband and wife relationship if she did not follow this same example.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. … And the wife must respect her husband (Ephesians 5:21-24, 33b).

When we follow Jesus' example, we begin to realize that our choices really shouldn't be made on our own. We are here to do the will of the Father, and to submit to each other out of reverence for Christ. It is not about us. It is about God working through us—empty vessels willing to be used by him.

When a wife respects her husband and submits to him, he naturally responds in love "just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." He is submitting, too, and is devoted to caring for her in a way that will make her holy. And when she feels loved, she naturally respects. As it says in Ephesians, "this is a profound mystery." But it's the way God designed the husband and wife relationship, as we mirror his relationship with the church. It is awesome and beautiful to behold, and it just works.

A Desire to Nurture and a Proclivity to Provide

While on earth, Jesus spent a great deal of time discipling, teaching and listening to and caring for others. Yes, there were times when he took some time to rest, but by and large his life and his schedule were open to whoever needed him. He was constantly reaching out to others.

He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied (Matthew 15:35-37a).

"I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty" (John 6:35).

Jesus poured his life into people. When they left his presence, they were edified and encouraged. He filled their cup. He fed their spirit. He stirred their soul.

A woman has the same opportunity to nurture and provide (practically, spiritually and emotionally) as she tends to her husband and (one day) to her children. She can choose to give life to her family and be one who offers them "healing" and caregiving. She can provide a safe haven for her husband, encourage him in his leadership role and be his confidante. Likewise, her children will feel secure under the protection of her wing. They will benefit from her training, as she speaks into their lives and carefully monitors their upbringing.

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life … Her children arise and call her blessed (Proverbs 31:11-12, 28a ).

A woman's outpouring will reflect the nature of her relationship with Christ. As she grows closer to the Lord and hides his Word in her heart, her life will be changed and those around her (first and foremost, her husband and children) will be nourished by the fruit of the Spirit that is produced in her life (Galatians 5:22-23).

A Noble Character and a Permeating Influence

Jesus' reputation proceeded him. Wherever he went, people were drawn to him and large crowds followed him. People were amazed at his teaching, and lives were changed as a result of his influence.

Others, because he was so compelling and his words so powerful, left what they were doing, gave up everything and followed his example.

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases … Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him (Matthew 4:23-25).

"Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. "Isn't this the carpenter's son? …" (Matthew 13:54b-55a).

"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19).

A woman's character can add to her husband's reputation and not subtract from it. Her sphere of influence in her husband's life is far more powerful than she realizes (some would even argue that a woman can "make or break" a man just by her words). Just as Jesus' example convincingly shaped how mankind viewed God, so can a woman's example help determine how others view her husband and his household.

A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones (Proverbs 12:4).

Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land (Proverbs 31:23).

When Boaz spoke with Ruth for the first time (Ruth 2:8-12), he commented on her reputation: "I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before."

And later, when Ruth asked him for protection as her kinsman-redeemer, he said: "You are a woman of noble character" (3:11). Not only did Ruth rightly influence (not manipulate) Boaz in his decision to fulfill his kinsman obligation, but she also offered the invaluable gift of character (her reputation had proceeded her!) to her soon-to-be husband.

A Servant's Mindset and a Sacrificial Love

It is interesting in Scripture that Jesus always points out that his agenda is not his own. It is his Father's will that he serve and not be served. As the ultimate servant, he gave his life for us without complaining, "But this is my life!" Jesus kept serving without reservation and loving unconditionally, even when rejected.

"Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:26b-28).

In the same manner, and in fulfilling the command to love one another, a woman should be ready to serve her husband and not enter marriage so that she may be served. Or be made comfortable. Or happy.

Just as she offers herself as a living sacrifice to God, she knows that her life—her body—is not her own. And in marriage a woman offers all that she is to her husband, as they now belong to each other.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2).

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).

These days, it's considered countercultural or antiquated for a woman to focus more on giving and serving in a marriage (seen The Oprah Show lately?). In fact, the world seems to be doing everything it can to encourage spouses to live separate lives instead of becoming one: "How does he/she make me happy? Protect your interests and keep your money separate. Why should I have to give up [fill in the blank] for him/her? What's best for me? This is my time!"

In author Gary Thomas' Sacred Marriage, he offers a different point of view:

"What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy? … Marriage calls us to an entirely new and selfless life … Whether it is delightful or difficult, your marriage can become a doorway to a closer walk with God, and to a spiritual integrity that, like salt, seasons the world around you with the savor of Christ."

That's radical. But it's right. The Bible encourages us to focus not on ourselves, but on what and how we can give to someone else, as two become one (Genesis 2:24). A woman must practice daily dying to self, as she is fused together with her husband in marriage. And her example can be a witness of greater sacrificial love (the love of Christ) to others.

Following Christ's Example in Marriage

As a wise woman is motivated to bring the qualities that Jesus exemplified to her marriage, she also knows that she will not take the place of primary importance in her husband's life.

She is a co-laborer in the cause of Christ and a sister in God's family. And she should do all that she can to help point her husband to Christ first, so that he is the center of their marriage and the primary focus of their relationship.

And the intangibles that a woman packs in her hope chest? They will hopefully bear forth Kingdom-minded qualities that she will one day offer her husband in marriage.

Surely he will be blessed and will praise her as they begin their marital—and spiritual—journeys together.

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD (Proverbs 18:22).

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30).

Laura MacCorkle is's Senior Editor and oversees the Books, Movies, Music and Singles channels. While she's still holding out for Mr. Right, Laura has recently downsized her "perfect" wedding day ideal from high-budget, blow-out extravaganza to inexpensive, beachfront ceremony or informal, backyard barbecue.

She also cowrites the monthly "He Said-She Said" column with contributing writer Cliff Young. Click here to read the latest edition in Crosswalk's Singles Channel.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Apprentice (UK TV series) Season 04 Episode 01 Part 1

The Apprentice is a BAFTA award-winning British reality television series in which a group of aspiring young businessmen and women compete for the chance to win a £100,000-a-year job as an apprentice to the British business magnate Lord Sugar (previously known as "Sir Alan Sugar"). Winners have gone on to work at Amstrad, an electronics manufacturing company founded by Sugar (but since sold toBSkyB),[2][3] or one of Sugar's other companies, Viglen,[4] Amsprop[5] or Amshold.[6] The Apprentice, billed as a "job interview from hell", is very similar in format to the American series of the same name, which stars entrepreneur Donald Trump.[7] Both American and British versions of The Apprentice are produced by Mark Burnett.

The first and second series aired on BBC Two in 2005 and 2006 respectively and the third series ran on BBC One in early 2007,[8] the success of which led the BBC to commission two more series.[9] The fourth series began in March 2008 and the fifth began in March 2009. A sixth series ran from October to December 2010. The programme has spawned three spin-offs, The Apprentice: You're Fired! (a studio-based programme which acts as a companion to the regular series), plus celebrity versions for Comic Relief and Sport Relief.[10][11] Occasional 60-minute special episodes, often concentrating on particular candidates and their stories, also air.[12]Apprentice-related merchandising includes a magazine, podcast, and official books.[12][13][14] The programme has led other production companies to produce shows that follow a similar format, including Tycoon, Beat the Boss.[15][16] and Election. It has also been compared to another BBC series, Dragons' Den


Friday, July 16, 2010

Use Your Body the Way God Designed It by Whitney Hopler

Our culture is constantly bombarding women with messages that tell them their appearance is what matters most. But God made bodies for much more than simply being viewed. Bodies are meant to be used in all sorts of wonderful ways to love God and other people.
As a woman, it's freeing to look beyond our culture's shallow view of your body and start using your body the way God designed it.

Here's how:
Replace lies with the truth. Recognize that the pressure you feel to conform to a certain image of what our culture considers beautiful is based on the lie that you're not valuable unless you look a certain way. Replace that lie with the biblical truth that your value isn't based on your appearance, but on the fact that you're one of God's beloved creations. Stop striving to make your body appear a certain way, and rest in the knowledge that God is willing to bless you no matter what your body looks like. Embrace the truth that you're worthy simply because God says you are.

Accept your body in its natural state. Don't worry about the ways your body might not fit our culture's standard of beauty - from a nose that's too big to breasts that are too small. Instead, embrace the fact that God sees every person He has created as good and accept the natural way He has made your body rather than trying to change it to fit a cultural standard. Let the way you express yourself through your body - the way you dress and carry yourself with posture and mannerism - send others the message that you really like who God has made you to be.
Overcome temptations with trust. You can overcome your body's struggles with cravings and addictions by trusting God to satisfy your needs instead of trying to use quick fixes to try to satisfy them yourself. Realize that nothing you do to your body - from eating sweets or drinking alcohol to try to find peace during stress to dieting to try to feel loved because you're thin - will ultimately fulfill you. Only God has the power to truly satisfy your needs, so turn to Him through prayer when you feel tempted to seek fulfillment through your body.
Stop judging. Be aware of judgmental thoughts that enter your mind when you see people who don't fit our culture's idea of what's attractive. Stop them by reminding yourself not to assign people a value that's any less than the value God has assigned them. Ask God to give you the confidence to make decisions free from the pressure of considering what other people will think of you.

Say "enough is enough." Resist the temptation to satisfy every bodily impulse the way our culture pushes you to do, from eating unhealthy snacks you don't need to buying extra clothes on impulse. As you break free of gluttonous consumption, you'll also break free from a crippling preoccupation with yourself. Then you'll notice other people's needs more often, and be able to respond to them by sharing what you have.

Embrace uniqueness. Stop trying to fit yourself and other people into our culture's mold of what's considered beautiful. Instead, thank God that He didn't create us all the same and ask Him to help you recognize and appreciate distinctive qualities in yourself and in others you meet. Realize that God made people unique because they're worth recognizing.

Look beyond appearance to function. Remember that God's purpose for your body isn't to appear attractive to others; it's to perform useful functions that help you love Him and others. So rather than worrying about what your legs look like, use them to kneel in prayer often, and instead of comparing your hands to someone else with graceful fingers and manicured nails, use your hands to do volunteer work to help others in your community.

Be marked by love. Jesus' body was marked by love because He used it to perform loving actions in the world - including the ultimate loving act, dying on the Cross to save people, which physically marked His body with scars. As one of Jesus' followers, do all you can to mark your own body with love, from giving blood or even an organ like a kidney to someone in need, to cutting your hair to be used for wigs for cancer patients who are going through chemotherapy. A lifestyle of self-giving love will transform you more and more into Jesus' likeness, so that others will recognize Him through your life and be drawn to Him.

Touch others with love. Use your body to express love to others through physical touch whenever you can, from hugging a friend to carrying your kids to bed. Use your facial expression to show others unconditional love and acceptance.

Age with grace. Don't fight the aging process that naturally causes your body to become frail and your hair to turn gray. Instead of trying to hold onto fleeting physical beauty, turn your attention away from yourself and toward others - and in the process, you'll find that God will meet your need for love more than you could ever get it met through looking beautiful.
Exercise wisely. Rather than exercising simply to look good, exercise in order to express love for God and others. For example, run around a park with a single mother's children to give her a break and enjoy God's creation instead of just running on a treadmill by yourself in a gym.
Eat wisely. Millions of people struggle with obesity, while millions more struggle with hunger. Ask God to help you keep a sense of justice in mind when you decide what and how much to eat every day. Don't buy food you don't need, and don't eat when you're not hungry.
Dress wisely. Choose clothes that are modest so you don't invite others to disrespect your body. Instead of buying new clothes every new season, buy clothes only when you need them and buy used clothing whenever you can, to avoid wasting too much money on clothes.
Find a body buddy. Get together with a friend each week to encourage, support, and hold each other accountable in a mutual quest to use your bodies in healthy ways that please God.
Adapted from Unsqueezed: Springing Free from Skinny Jeans, Nose Jobs, Highlights, and Stilettos, copyright 2010 by Margot Starbuck. Published by IVP Books, a division of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill.,
Margot Starbuck is a popular speaker at conferences and retreats and on college campuses. She has an M.Div. from Princeton Seminary and is also the author of The Girl in the Orange Dress: Searching for a Father Who Does Not Fail (InterVarsity Press, 2009).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sixteen Steps to Build a Campfire

1. Split dead limb into fragments and shave one fragment into slivers.
2. Bandage left thumb.
3. Chop other fragments into smaller fragments
4. Bandage left foot.
5. Make structure of slivers (include those embedded in hand)
6. Light Match
7. Light Match
8. Repeat "a Scout is cheerful" and light match.
9. Apply match to slivers, add wood fragments, and blow gently into base of fire.
10. Apply burn ointment to nose.
11. When fire is burning, collect more wood.
12. Upon discovering that fire has gone out while out searching for more wood, soak wood from can labeled "kerosene."
13. Treat face and arms for second-degree burns.
14. Relabel can to read "gasoline."
15. When fire is burning well, add all remaining firewood.
16. When thunder storm has passed, repeat steps.