Influencing Brothers (June)

Copyright by Sarah Bryant

Do you realize what a great influence you have in your brothers’ lives? This influence will impact their future wife and children, and those they come in contact with as adults. It humbles me to think the traits my brothers see in me is chiefly how they will think of godly womanhood, and also what they someday will look for in a wife. My life is also helping to mold them into the kind of men they will become, either good or bad. How sobering! What a responsibility we carry as sisters.

“Be strong and of good courage” (1 Chronicles 28:20). We want our brothers to be manly and courageous, ready to face the battles in today’s society. Our culture tears down the masculinity of men, discouraging them from standing up to their duty. As daughters of the King, we should be gentle and fulfill our duty in order to encourage them to fulfil and stand strong in their godly role. We can encourage our brothers to be strong and manly by simply acting like a lady. Allowing them to open doors and thanking them with a smile encourages them to be gentlemen. Serving them and caring for their well-being encourages them to, in turn, care for and protect us. We should encourage and support our brothers’ leadership and advice. Even if they are our “little brothers,” we can support and respect their role as men. In the same way you honor your father when he comes home from work, greet your brothers when they have been away as well. We also should be sure to encourage our brothers when they display manly traits.

Always thank them for standing up for and protecting ladies. We should encourage their chivalrous acts and kind treatment, but never take their deference for granted or demand it. It is an honor and we should graciously thank them for their kindnesses. We also should always accept their offers to help us, such as carrying a load or helping us out of the car. If we refuse it, we are discouraging their manliness and their desire to be kind to ladies as a “weaker vessel.”Though I am sometimes “in charge” of my younger brothers, I can still ask for their opinions, seek their thoughts on a topic I am writing about, or include them in a project. In this way I encourage them to be responsible and masculine.

I have often found it a blessing to read books together with my brothers, or to recommend good books to them that I have read. We always have fun talking about the story after they have read the book. Encourage your brothers to read profitable and worthwhile books. Our brothers aspire to be like the other men that we admire. As they see you respect a godly character trait in another, they will want to display that trait. They desire your admiration! So encourage good examples in their lives. For example, if you are reading about George Washington, point out good character traits he portrayed. This will encourage them! Yet do not push them or compare them to other people. Be patient, invest, encourage, and pray for them. I have encouraged certain traits in my brothers for many years, and they are now growing in those areas. It has taken a long time – nothing comes immediately – but it is so worth it to see my brothers grow in these godly traits. I am so awed and grateful! If you feel like your brothers never pay attention to the way you treat them, or they scoff you, do not despair. As they see you treating them with respect, they realize you are sincere and care about them. When our treatment towards our siblings change, you can always be assured that they will notice and eventually change their actions in return. Treat them as men and they will desire to act as men. We must be patient, and never hurry or belittle them.

Show your brothers they are important to you. Strive to show an interest in the things they enjoy doing. Ask your brother to teach you how to skin the racoon he just trapped, even if you naturally shrink from the task. This has been an interesting project for my brother Nathan and I! Take time to listen about his latest adventure, help him in school, and offer encouragement as he learns new skills.

Your encouragement will be a great blessing to your brothers as they are striving to grow into manhood. Use your god-given influence in your men’s lives for His eternal glory!

Nathan and Sarah Bryant

“But charge Joshua,
and encourage him,
and strengthen him:
for he shall go over before this people :
and he shall cause them to inherit the land
which thou shalt see.”
~Deut. 3:28

SHILOH » Incredible Sarah! My Daddy is always reminding me that the way I treat my brother is the way I will treat my (Lord willing) future husband. It’s encouraging to read an older sister’s thoughts on how to encourage her younger brothers to manly traits—something I need to work on more! I always enjoy reading your monthly Thoughts!

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ASLHEY CALDWELL » Sarah, I can confirm that the way one’s brothers act is a direct relation to how their sister treats them. For many years I was quite “independent” and treated them very badly. Unfortunately, I was under the wrong impression the my brothers were the ones treating me badly, and that I had to “get back” at them. =) As a young teen I realized my error and started treating them as I would like to be treated if I were in their place. It took time and many “bitten tongue” moments on my part, but it certainly worked. My brothers are my best friends now.

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SHILOH » I just wanted to thank Ashley for sharing her testimony! This part “Unfortunately, I was under the wrong impression the my brothers were the ones treating me badly, and that I had to “get back” at them. =)” Really spoke to me! Thank you so much, Ashley!

I thought maybe for a future MT you could write about what you think about young ladies going to college and along those lines… Something like: ” Thoughts on What to do Once You Graduate”…

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MAGGIE B. » Hello Sarah! I just wanted to add my thanks for this ‘monthly thought’ about how we ought to treat our brothers. I have often struggled with this too…all your thoughts really encouraged me. Thank you!

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SAMANTHA P. » I really appreciated your monthly thought for July, about encouraging our brothers! Good point!

Accepting Correction (May)

Copyright by Sarah Bryant

“You don’t like correction, do you?” What a humiliating question to be asked. Yet God has been asking me this so many times lately, through different circumstances or people. It seems like every time I think I “have it down,” this is brought to my eyes again. What a hard area it is!

Who likes being rebuked, instructed, or corrected?

Well, Proverbs 13:1 says a wise son will hear his parents’ instruction and humbly accept it. Our natural human nature despises counsel and correction, but Proverbs 10:8 says “the wise in heart will receive commandments.” The wise person embraces correction, realizing his/her own weaknesses and need to learn.

On the other hand, a fool scoffs and rejects correction. “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” (Pro 15:5) Which do we want to portray–the wise, or the foolish?

We are commanded, in Proverbs 19:20, to “hear counsel, and receive instruction…” Jesus says that His rebuke is a sign of His love for us in Revelation 3:19: “As many as love, I rebuke and chaste.” We should feel loved when our parents correct us, because they have the courage and love for their children to do so.

“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Proverbs 19:18)

A wise man will love those who rebuke him in love (Pro 9:8). Our parents want our best when they correct us; they care enough to stop and show us where we are erring. When we are reprimanded by our authorities, we should have an open heart for their wisdom and thank them for it. God will greatly bless that humility!

I have found that I must seek God’s grace to accept correction. I cannot do it alone. When someone tells me that I did a certain task wrong, I must ask God for grace to respond humbly, to be humble enough to say, “I am sorry; I was wrong!” Then go on with life, joyfully accepting it. When I am asked to do something that I do not want to do or that interrupts my schedule, I must stop and pray for God to work in me so that I can serve Him foremost. “Sure, I can do that for you!” When I get frustrated and am tempted to say something wrong or display a bad attitude, I have to close my mouth and go in another room to pray for help! God has truly delivered me, though, when I do this.

This is such a hard area; I fail many times a day. But the Lord is teaching me so faithfully, and it is a comfort to know that how ever many times I fail or give a wrong response, He still has grace and forgiveness for me. He will help me start again. And He wants me to succeed for His cause! He will be faithful until the battle is won. But I must desire His work to be done in my life, and must surrender my will for His.

Will you too allow the holy Spirits’ conviction and work in the daily, hidden, mundane responses of life? Few will see your efforts. But God will. What else matters? When we allow God to change our “old man” into His new nature, HE will radiate from our lives and others will be blessed by our life crucified with Christ. Will we let Him live in us completely? He gave His life for us; He will surely see us through.

“I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith
of the Son of God, who loved me, & gave himself for me.
(Galatians 2:20)

Press on with me, dear sister!
~SarahLee

“A wise son
heareth his father’s instruction:
but a scorner
heareth not rebuke.”
~Proverbs 13:1

Copyright by Sarah Bryant

“Humble yourselves
in the sight of the Lord,
and he shall lift you up.”
~James 4:10

Trusting God (April)

Recently, I wondered why God had not given a clear answer in various situations in my life, just a “yes” or “no”! I asked God why He could not just give my an answer so I could “move on with life.” I just wanted to know the answer, to know what He had for this situation!

As I pondered this, He gave me a clear revelation of the reason: He reminded me that through me not knowing exactly what He has in the future, He draws me to Himself and shows me His all-sufficiency in all areas. Through waiting I have to turn to Him in complete surrender, waiting for His will. And this is exactly why He wants to lead me through situations when I do not know what is ahead. He desires me to look to Him completely in my insufficiency, to lean on His promises, to learn more fully Who He is and His great love.

Though it is hard not knowing what lies ahead, the best part is the lessons He will teach through it. I am so amazed that God loves me enough to teach me these wonderful lessons! He could simply let me wander alone, but He shows me Light and His character instead. Isn’t it amazing to think God of all desires us to know Who HE is personally? He cares! How glad I am of that. I am so thankful He is working in my life! It is assuring to me to know that this time is being used profitably by Him.

His work is always so different from what we expect, isn’t it? It always catches me by surprise, for some reason.

A friend recently encouraged me with her words on what God has been showing her as well:

It is hard to not have a ‘yes or no’ answer to things. But really what matters is if we are trusting God with what we are doing and with what the outcome will be. I think one of the reasons He gives us these times where we can’t see the road ahead is so that we will fully rely on Him! He says, ‘Come to me, all you heavy laden and I will give you rest.'”

Maybe you are not sure what is in your future in some areas as well. Whatever area it is, lean on God. Search His Word. Learn His character. It will be worth all to learn more from our God, Sister!

“Blessed be the Lord my strength~
“My goodness, 
& my fortress;
my high tower,

& my deliverer;
my sheild,
and he in whom I trust.

“LORD, 
what is man, 
that thou takest knowledge of him!
or the son of man,
that thou 
makest account of him!”
~Psalm 144:1-3

Sarah

Loving God (March)

“Thou shalt love the LORD thy God
with all thine heart,
& with all thy soul
& with all thy might.”

(Deut. 6:5)

I have heard this verse countless times. But have I taken it into consideration?

Lately, the Lord spoke to me through this. He asked me to search my heart: “Do you truly love ME above all else?” My immediate answer was, “Of course I do! I would be nothing without you, God.” But when I further thought about it…when it comes to everyday living,

Where are my thoughts?
Who do I go to for strength?
Where am I spending my time?
Whose favor am I seeking?
Do I relish the time I spend with Him?

O, when it comes to this, I find myself so lacking for love for my God–the holy One who requires my love and full surrender of every part of my life. Gill’s Commentary says, “God is to be loved because of the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hand, of nature, providence, and grace; and because of the relations he stands in to men, and especially to his own people; and because of his peculiar love to them…”

What is the deeper meaning of this verse?

“And thou shalt love
[to have affection for]
the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all
[properly the whole; hence all, any or every]
thy soul, and with all thy
might. [properly vehemence, that is, vehemently; by implication wholly, speedily]”
[definitions from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance]

My love for God should be a mighty fervor that is not divided among any other thing or person; perfect, pure, and complete love. My affection for Him should be whole, unmatched, and vehement!

“A superlative love, above all creatures whatever; with the whole of the affections of the heart, with great fervency and ardour of spirit, in the sincerity of the soul, and with all the strength of grace a man has, with such love that is as strong as death.” -Gill’s Commentary

How I need to place God on the throne of my life! How I need to give Him the honor in my life that He deserves!

How can I love God with all of my soul, with all of my heart, and all my very might?

There are many ways to do this, and I have not begun to find the answers. But we simply must make the choice. As a friend recently said, “He will help us!” He is faithful. God WILL give the rewards when we strive to seek Him. We are unable to know His face, but He WILL answer our quest for wisdom. Let us start today, to give God our hearts, our love. How can we begin to love God above all?

1. Yearn to love Him!

2. Humbly pray for more love for Him.

3. Spend time with Him in His word.

4. Dwell on Him throughout the day. Avoid distracting thoughts, non-glorifying music, and unprofitable books. Share your struggles with Him, and trust Him to take care of them–don’t think about it anymore.

5. Memorize Scripture. This will help us focus on Him throughout the day, if His word is in our heart.

6. Show His love to others! When we love God, we love others as well. (1Jn 4:20: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar.”)

God should be my greatest love,
my highest goal,
my constant thought,
and my very being.
Is He?

 “Walk in love,

as Christ also hath loved us ,
& hath given himself for us an offering,
and a sacrifice to God.
(Eph 5:2)

Developing Useful Skills (February)

The Lord has been faithfully pointing out areas of my life that need growth. One of the most recent has been that I need to perfect more homemaking skills. In earlier years, this has come easy for me. But as my interests have expanded, I have become lax to practice some necessary skills — they have dropped on my priority list. As well as letting them become rusty, I have also not helped my family as much as I can in these areas. The Lord tells us to use our time wisely, and I feel the need for that improvement in my own life so much. I need to purpose to take an interest in areas that I may not have a personal desire to involve myself in. The question should not be, “What do I want to do,” but “What do I need to learn so I will be fully prepared to be a homemaker someday?” Too often I get focused on the projects I want to get done, and the skills I am interested in. I must keep the eternal and important perspective in sight as my goal.

Let us seek to learn all the necessary skills today in our years at home. This will bless our family and gird our arms with strength! I have found lately that when I make the choice to do these tasks that I do not necessarily prefer to do, that they have become more of an interest and joy to do. Once we make the choice, our emotions follow; we must not let them lead us and our actions. Is there an area that you have been struggling to take an interest in? Seek the Lord for strength and He will, in due time, give you a love for it. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).

Maybe it would motivate us if we shared our goals in this area with one another. Find someone to be accountable to, and each week, make a list of things you would like to do so that you will use your time more wisely. (Such as, I will make a nutritious dinner three times this week, I will wash the clothes every morning without being told, I will plan a garden for this spring for my family’s food) Ask for their opinion on how you are doing and advice on where to improve. This accountability person could be your mother, father, sibling, or a godly friend.

I also would love to hear your goals and thoughts. Please share! Let us exhort and encourage one another in good works to please the Lord.

Here is a recipe that I have made that my family enjoys.

Fish Stew

3 16-oz frozen fillets (fish)
8 medium potatoes, chopped ½” cubes
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. Salt (to taste)
1 tsp. basil
One 32 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
Water
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup frozen corn

In large pot, cook frozen fish, potatoes and carrots until almost done in chicken broth and sufficient water. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until done (about 10-15 minutes).

Cheese Variation: Instead of adding tomatoes, add more water; add 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese and one 16oz. package cream cheese at end. This is very good!

Servings 8 hungry people

“LORD,
make me to know mine end,
and the measure of my days,
what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
(Psalm 39:4)