Friday, May 10, 2013

There's a Green Plastic Monkey in my Purse

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Motherhood is full of surprises! Although you never expect to hear yourself say, "There's a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse" author Jessie Clemence shows in her book that we should be prepared for the kind of mother we want to be for when those unexpected things happen.

Clemence takes topics that every mom struggles with, like being happy, smart, productive and organized and gives insightful, practical and biblical advice on being the best mom you can be in those areas.

This book is not an in depth study of any particular area, but covers broad topics and through humor, she shares thought-provoking ideas for improving in several areas of motherhood.

Clemence uses Scripture well and for those unfamiliar with it she explains the story within the whole context of the biblical story line.

This is a great book to share with non-Christian moms because every mom deals with these issues. In a fun and encouraging way, Clemence presents faith and hope in Christ as the solution to our struggles in motherhood.

What's In Your Purse?

This is what I shared at our Mother/Daughter Banquet last night:
Theme: What’s in your purse? Looking at the inside instead of the outside
The stage of life you are in determines a lot about what you carry in your purse:
A Teen’s purse - comb, lipgloss, mirror, cell phone, bubble gum
A Mom’s purse - diapers, wet wipes, crackers, small toys, hand sanitizer
A Grandma’s purse - hankie/kleenex, candy, reading glasses, lipstick

But for the Christian woman, no matter what stage of life you’re in, what’s in your heart should remain the same: Let’s look at Galatians 5:16-26 (ESV) to see what should and shouldn't be in our hearts:

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

It’s easy to look great on the outside, but still be a mess on the inside – and nobody knows. Have you ever been searching for “that thing” on the bottom of your purse and you have to dig to find it? It requires focus to find “that thing”. It also takes focus to follow the Spirit and not the flesh, as v. 16-18 points out to us. How do we stay focused on following the Spirit? We “dig in” to Bible study, prayer, and Christian fellowship. Those things will help us stay focused on walking in the Spirit.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 
Who likes to clean out their purse? All the gum wrappers and Kleenex that get shoved in the bottom make it hard to find what we’re looking for. Sometimes cleaning out the purse is needed, even if it’s not very fun. V. 19-21 tell us clearly what not to carry – the works of the flesh. It’s easy to skip over these because we don’t want to be convicted or our pride keeps us from seeing we struggle with any of these issues – but our flesh/old self is constantly at war with the Spirit in us, so we need to check our heart and repent or “clean out” when and where we fail. 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Isn’t it fun to get a new purse? The strap’s not broken and the bottom of the bag is not all sticky or stained. You check out all the pockets and pick things out of the old purse to put in the new one. When we repent of our sin and trust in Christ as our Savior, the Bible says we are a new creation, we get a new heart. And what should we put in this new heart? V. 22-23 tells us what to carry – the Fruit of the Spirit. You are probably familiar with this Fruit, but these things don’t come naturally to us, because of our struggle with the flesh, they require practice and desire – as v. 24 says when we are in Christ, we have killed fleshly desires. Then, we must replace them with Spirit desires/fruit. When we are focused on growing the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives thru Bible study, prayer and fellowship – then v. 26 will be true of us – we will not be conceited, provoking or envying but we can truly encourage each other in love, kindness, and gentleness and be the body of Christ as He desires us to be.