Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Have You Purchased Your Ticket Yet?

Some of Rob's last words to Sandy before he died were to let the youth, that he ministered to, know that God had not let him down. In his dying moments, as a young man with children and a young wife, he cared about the youth at his church and making sure that they knew that God was faithful, even though their prayers for Rob's healing never came. God had allowed his death to come at an early age.

Kara Tippetts is dying from cancer with four younger children and a husband whom she loves. She just wrote this on her Facebook wall ~

Friends, I'm sorry my blog hasn't been able to keep pace. Your love and support has come through. I love you friends. Today, hospice came; we open a new chapter. Friday, I will have my last appointment with my kind faced oncologist. I cannot imagine it; he and I have become such a team. Pray I would encourage him in his calling. That he wouldn't see my fading as a failure but my sweet wooing towards home.

Her body is shutting down. All the treatments have failed, yet at this moment, all she cared about was her oncologist and encouraging him. Her faith inspires many. Rob's faith inspired many. People see Jesus in us most in our sufferings. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. {Romans 5:3-5}

When we suffer or are nearing death, we see things clearly. The rubber meets the road. This isn't our home. We are strangers and aliens passing through. Michael Pearl says our time here is Grand Central Station. We are all purchasing our ticket to heaven or to hell. It's a blip on the screen of eternity.

Jesus came to set us free. Free from what? Free from sin. Selfishness. Free to deeply love others and serve them. Free from ourselves and free to give our lives away so that others may see Jesus in us. Use your time wisely. Every person in your life has faults and will disappoint you at times. You will disappoint others at times. Forgive easily and often and love others, for love covers over a multitude of sins.

If your husband is unsaved or is walking in sin, think more about his eternal soul rather than your happiness, then make his life as pleasant as you can. Minister to him with your life. Learn to have a meek and gentle spirit that draws him to Jesus.

Today ends another year. Make it your ambition in life to live for Jesus and to serve others by loving them deeply, forgiving them easily, and serving them. 

Happy New Year, dear friends and readers!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Should Weight Be Off Limits in Marriage?

I {the joy filled wife} think that weight is a sensitive subject in general for women and, because of that, it can make it very difficult to look at this scenario from an unemotional standpoint. Nonetheless, it's a subject that most women think should be "off limits" to their husbands and, honestly, I don't think that's fair. Gaining weight {or losing way too much} is a huge health concern that not only impacts how long we live, but what the quality of that life is. 

My mother has been very overweight for as long as I can remember. This causes her a lot of physical pain and she doesn't have energy to run around with the grandkids at all. She, at one point, lost 50 pounds {which is the most she ever has} and she felt so much better and had more energy. Due to some deaths in the family and other situations, she stopped watching her eating and ceased her physical activity {which was the main reason she lost weight in the first place} and has since gained it all back. It's heartbreaking. I know that her weight impacted her view of herself and, in turn, her behavior toward my dad. I wish my dad had been able to step in there early on and help prevent the downward spiral for my mom that left her with such low self-confidence that she didn't have a single nice thing to say about herself. Husbands absolutely have the right {and should} step in and help when they see that their wives are heading in a dangerous direction with their health {or anything else, for that matter}. Also, men are very visual and if a husband knows that his wife gaining a bunch of weight is going to reduce or eliminate his attraction toward her, he needs to gently step in. 

As you mentioned, Lori, so many women feel differently if the scenario is on the opposite end of the spectrum. As you know, I'm very lean. Being tall also accentuates how trim I am. A few years ago, after one of my pregnancies, I got down to 120 pounds and my husband made a comment that he was concerned I was looking a bit too thin. Several others made comments to me about looking extremely thin. My husband asked me to make sure I didn't lose anymore weight. I was very healthy and eating well, but my baby was a nursing fiend and, since I'm one of those people who eat to live instead of live to eat, the weight was coming off fast. Although I wasn't particularly thrilled that my husband said I was looking frail {no one wants to be perceived that way}, I honored what he said and gained about 10 pounds to make him feel more comfortable. It wasn't always easy to maintain that, but I did. 

We have had more children since then and I am back down to 120. But I have tried to build a little bit more muscle this time around so I don't look as frail. It did the trick. My husband said that, even though I weigh the same as I did back then, I look healthier because of the definition I've developed in my muscle. I'm still very trim and plan to build a little more definition still, but I have been checking in with my husband every now and then to see what he thinks. He said it's perfect and he appreciates how I've approached this whole thing. 

I think it's important for us to remember that our husbands are responsible before God for protecting us physically. This can even mean protecting us from ourselves. If we are physically destructive to our bodies by overeating or undereating, it's their job as our physical protectors to bring us back to safety. If we will choose to see this subject from that perspective, we will graciously thank our husbands for their care and concern over our health and our being.

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church.
Ephesians 5:28,29

Monday, December 29, 2014

What Can Wimpy Husbands Do With Rebellious Wives?

The post on Wimpy Husbands with Rebellious Wives elicited many comments with some believing that a reticent husband can do nothing but either put up with unruly behavior from his wife or separate. I think there is a lot a godly husband can and should do to try to assume his role as leader of the marriage and guide his wife forward to a Biblical marriage in a loving way. Many Christian wives, even difficult ones, will respond positively when a husband shows consistent loving leadership.

Be a Christian to Your Spouse
My {Ken wrote this post!} advice to all husbands is to act like a Christian to your wife and insist that all things in your home be Christian. No good leader is above leading by example, so ask your wife to point out to you any area in your marriage where you consistently "miss the mark" of God’s Word. But never fall for the lie that because you are imperfect you lose your God given responsibility to lead your marriage and family.

Practice Your Faith
Remember that Christianity is about faith and trust in God, not in what we can see or manage on our own. We must believe God has put us together with the spouse for me, and the one God will use to grow us up to be like Christ. Trust God that no matter how dark or frustrating things seem that He has you right where He wants you, to learn, grow and love. So trust God and jump in and lead.

Ask Your Wife to Practice Her Values
If your wife shows a pattern of acting in an unchristian way call her out on it in a Christlike way of correction. If your spouse claims to be a Christian, or not, begin to gently show her where her behavior does not match up with her own stated values. Ask her if she believes in kindness, generosity, goodness, grace, unselfishness, treating others the way they would like to be treated and mutual respect. Each time she shows a pattern of bad behavior show her where she has a dichotomy between her values and her bad behaviors. Explain that,

Happiness comes to those who live out their chosen values, and unhappiness to those who deep inside know they are a fraud as their own behavior condemns them.

Remember it Should Never Be About Superiority or Control 
God did not make the husband leader of his wife and family by virtue of his superior knowledge or wisdom, but because God plans on working in and through his life to make him a good leader. Check in with Him regularly before any knee jerk reaction and ask the question, “What Would Jesus Do?” Be humble about your leadership and let many things slide. Remember, it is not controlling your spouse, but to solve repeated unchristian behaviors so as to create harmony and oneness in your marriage.

Be in the Word Daily
Bring your Bible to the table for breakfast and dinner. Open it up and read some verses, or a chapter each day, and ask your wife and kids how these words fit into the life of your family. The job of a Christian leader is far less about changing behavior as it is about changing bad thinking. Find the lies your spouse is believing and replace them with the Word of God.

Set Specific Behavioral Standards
To work on specific bad behaviors write them down, then send a written request to your wife that she please work with you to replace her bad thinking with Christian thinking. Email your love letter explaining that you are committed to allowing God to work in your life and marriage to make the two of you fall madly in love again with each other. Be specific on what you see needs to change, and explain how her behavior now is hurting you and the marriage. Give the answers from God’s Word as to what new behavior you would like for you both to develop in your lives together.

Establish Accountability and Creative Consequences
Ask your spouse if she will agree to reasonable consequences each time a regular pattern of sin or misbehavior shows itself. Explain that you are willing to accept the same if you do not live up to your part of the deal. The consequences should be more light hearted at the first violations and perhaps increase, but never should they be anything more than a communications tool. Neither of you are children, but even adults often need forms of accountability to solve bad behavior issues. I cut tardiness by 95% in my practice by taking a dollar per minute away from a team member’s year end bonus for every minute late in the morning after a reasonable grace period. Then the lost money was given to those who are on time. Just this game is enough to keep people focused and arriving on time. So too, a good set of agreed upon consequences can keep both spouses focused on their responsibilities towards each other.

Consistently Correct with Grace
Gauge the response of your wife, and if it is not positive at first, keep inching forward. Changing bad habits takes time, and it is often one step forward and one step back. If she is unwilling to commit to change, leadership will be much more difficult, but this does not remove a husband from his leadership role. Each and every time she exhibits the bad behavior call her on it by exposing the lie and giving her the truth. Use as light a comment as possible, perhaps with a smile, or humor. Correcting someone does not mean that you have to be loud or difficult. Instead, speak your mind, give what the correct response should have been, and walk away. No discussion is necessary in the correction, but perhaps discuss it later. This is discipline, to be shown one's sins and misbehaviors with perhaps an admonition, “Please work with me on this.”

Gently and Consistently Apply Consequences
Even if your spouse refuses the consequences, smile and tell her that she just got fined for her bad behavior, but a simple apology may cut the consequence. If she apologizes you have won half or more of the battle. Give her a hug and do the consequence for her. If she won’t apologize, try smiling, shaking your head and walking away. The next day address the behavior and ask why she will not play along. Does she want a good marriage? Does she have a better way of getting to a great marriage? If so, you are all ears. 

Know that Your Christian Wife Wants Your Leadership
Assume that your Christian wife wants to work with you on your marriage and will accept your leadership if you stay consistent. No matter how difficult things may seem, most Christian wives, after a time to process your new found leadership style, will desire to move forward with you towards harmony and peace in the marriage. The unruly Christian wife often desires discipline, knowing that she cannot produce it on her own. She appreciates an outline of reasonable expectations, misbehaviors she must stop, disciplines she must learn, and she often suggests her own consequences for when she does not live up to reasonable standards that she helps set. The process of the discipline becomes easy when the husband uses a consistently light hearted yet direct approach to helping his once rebellious wife live out her own values.

Never lose hope!  
One of the finest qualities of a leader is that he never gives up believing that this is the wife God has given him to lead and God will cure his marriage. Just as a wife must trust God when trying to win a difficult husband “without a word” by her chaste and godly behavior, so too a husband must trust God with His leadership role. A Christian husband never gives up his role as a loving head and leader just because his wife is difficult or undisciplined. He is obliged by his role to at least try to lead his wife in a loving manner and that starts by not letting her fleshly desires run wild, without at least calling her out on them, and challenging her to match up her life with her own values and beliefs. Then allow God to do His mighty work in her life without much pushing or pulling. Just be like Jesus and speak the truth and rebuke as necessary without much negative emotion. "The facts, nothing but the facts tested against God’s Word."

We have heard from wives who have been so thankful for their husband showing leadership where they were undisciplined. What a husband does to win a difficult wife can be many things specific to her needs and what he believes may work with her unique personality and issues. But no matter what, he must always reflect the Lord Jesus, His love, and His tough love and discipline for His disobedient children. All with one goal in mind, as to present his bride spotless and blameless before the Lord some day.

If this exercise is for anything other than serving a wife through loving leadership, it is bound to fail. A husband must be willing to patiently wait for a wife to decide that it is the Lord who asks her to willfully submit to her husband. If we are ever to grow up into Christ we must give up fleshly behavior for a walk in the Spirit. Truth replacing the lies, because a loving husband will no longer allow unchristian behavior in his home, or marriage, without showing leadership, even if it costs him his bed some nights.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, 
and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse 
it with the washing of water by the word, that He might 
present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, 
or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it 
should be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:25-27

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Jelly Filled Whole Wheat Scone

Cassi made these for Christmas morning brunch and they were a hit!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put in a large bowl:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/4/ teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter

Mix all together with a pastry mixer or two knives until crumbly.

In another bowl add:

1 cup raisins {if you like raisins}
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
2 Tablespoons yogurt
2 eggs

Mix these ingredients together thoroughly then add to dry ingredients. 
DON'T over mix!Flatten out to a circle about 1 1/2" thick and cut into 8 wedges. 
 Cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

For additional flavor add before baking:

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh or frozen fruit {Press into the dough at the very end}

***Cassi has a food blog HERE that is filled with MANY delicious recipes!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Are You Okay with Your Children Having the Sin Disease?

Voddie Baucham says it like it is and he isn't afraid of not being politically correct. I love preachers like him who don't make me comfortable but exhort, rebuke and challenge me to grow in the wisdom and the knowledge of the Lord. He preached a sermon on the Centrality of the Family and I'm going to discuss some of the points he made. EVERYONE should listen to this HERE! I am going to summarize parts of this sermon and this one concerning the family.

We are losing a generation and we are losing that generation rapidly. For instance, depending on where you look, we are losing somewhere between 75 and 88% of our young people by the end of their freshman year in college {They are leaving their faith.}...In our culture, in America for the first time, our birth rate is below replacement rate. Replacement rate is 2.1 children per family. We are at 1.9. Now, in case you don't understand what that means, what that means is we are not having enough children for our culture to continue to survive. Our culture is dying one generation at a time. {In regards to numbers and faith.}

Why? Because they want prosperity more than they want children. And it is the same for us. We despise children in our culture...You don't believe me? Find a woman with six or seven kids and follow her into a church and watch the way we mock her. Watch the way people who don't even know her come up to her and say, "Haven't you guys figured out how that happens yet?

Now, let me make it plain and bring it home. Christianity in America is dying one generation at a time, one home at a time...It starts with us. And it all goes back to prosperity. The poorest nations in the world see children as a blessing. The richest nation in the world, we talk about children in terms of how many we can afford. God help us. We are dying one generation at a time because we refuse to receive the gift that God wants to bring through the womb. Stop buying the lies of society! Marriage is WAY more important than education. We need kingdom marriages who are raising an army for the Lord. 

We need to discipline our children in the Lord. If I tell my child to do something and they don't do it, they've disobeyed. I was training my children to sin. When they don't do something when I say it by saying it more than once, counting, yelling, or they obey with a bad attitude, I am training my children to sin. NO sin is acceptable. {You are either training your child to be obedient or disobedient.}

Read Proverbs. Spank their behind. "Yeah, well I just don't believe in spanking." Then you don't believe the Bible. The Bible teaches it. Dr. Jesus does. "Folly and rebellion are bound in the heart of a child and time out will drive it out from him." No! "...the rod of correction will drive it out from him." This is the ONLY instrument God gives us to drive out the folly and rebellion of children.

If your baby gets bit by a snake, you take it to the ER. The doctor has a long needle of anti-venom. "No, that will hurt my baby!' "Ma'am, if I don't stick this needle into your baby, your baby will die." The Bible says our children have a disease and there's one anti-venom. If you don't give them the anti-venom, then you're saying you're okay with the disease.

John MacArthur's teaching on the rod in his study bible, "Early childhood teaching requires both parental discipline, including corporal punishment and balanced kindness and love. There is great hope that the use of the 'divine ordinance' of the rod will produce godly virtue and parental joy. Such discipline must have the right motivation {Hebrews 12:5-11} and appropriate severity {Ephesians 6:4}. One who has genuine affection for his child, but withholds corporal punishment, will produce the same kind of child as a parent who hates his offspring."

He that spares his rod hates his son: 
but he that loves him chastens him.
Proverbs 13:24

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child;
 but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him
Proverbs 23:13

Withhold not correction from the child: 
for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 
Proverbs 23:14

Thou shalt beat him with the rod, 
and shalt deliver his soul from hell. 
Proverbs 29:15

The rod and reproof give wisdom: 
but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame. 
Proverbs 29:15

Friday, December 26, 2014

Get the Beam Out of Your Eye!

There are many women who write me who are very upset with their husbands and even want out of their marriage. The past ten years since I have been mentoring women, it always begins with them telling me how rotten their husbands are to them. Recently, a young woman wanted to be mentored by me through email. She was even willing to pay me! 
{No, I never accept money.}

She told me that her husband was so mean that she wanted out. 
She has small children. I wrote her a list of these questions ~

Do you really respect him as your leader and authority? 

Do you try to fight him? 

Is he allowed to correct you without you getting upset? 

Are you warm and loving to him?

Do you prepare meals he likes, keep the home like he likes it, 
and try to please him? 

Do you smile at him often?

Are you in the Word daily, feasting upon His Word? 

Are you filling your mind with only good things or things of this world?

Some of them she was good at but the truly important ones like not arguing with him, getting upset when he corrected her, smiling at him, being in the Word and filling her mind with only good things, she wasn't so good. After honestly responding to these questions, she ended with this comment, "After answering these questions, I can kind of see where my own weaknesses are."

We are good at trying to pick the mote out of our brother's eye without seeing the beam in our own. Am I perfect at fulfilling these questions? NO, but I no longer try to get the mote out of Ken's eye, because I am too busy getting the beam out of my eye!

We can only anticipate God's blessings and help when we first put the responsibility of changing our marriage on our self. God's principle of "you reap what you sow" is alive and well even in our marriages. So let's model for our husbands all the things we want in return from them, especially obedience to God's Word as opposed to being judge and jury towards them. Trust me on this, you will be much happier when you focus on what you need to improve on in yourself, instead of looking at your husband's weaknesses. Instead, focus on his strengths and respect him for them.

Therefore, women, if you'd like me or anyone else to mentor you because you have a difficult husband, ask yourself these questions first. Then, when you come to me for counsel, you will be WAY ahead of the game!

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; 
and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote 
out of thy brother's eye.
Matthew 7:5

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Uncle Si Preaches the Gospel on National TV

Uncle Si Robertson of the Duck Dynasty was on Good Morning America. He wrote a children's book. While he was being interviewed, he gave the simple Gospel message ~

I wanted to tell the real Christmas story about how God became flesh willingly; died on the cross for what Si Robertson does wrong and the rest of the world; was buried in a tomb but the tomb couldn't hold him. Three days later, He rose from the dead.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: 
for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; 
to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16

Darius Rucker sings "What God Wants for Christmas" HERE.
Play it LOUD for your family and enjoy!

Merry Christmas to All of You 

and May God Bless You Abundantly!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Keeping the Record Straight

At times, I {Ken} hear about some pretty off base things written about us by our detractors. We try to avoid reading them and Lori does a good job of hitting the delete button on some pretty silly and often derogatory comments by a small subset of anti-fundamentalist watchers. We must fascinate them by how we live and what we write as it goes so contrary to their belief system, or feminist agenda.

Recently, to my surprise, I discovered that all my children were living off of me as no fundamentalist children can get good jobs with good pay. I had a good chuckle at this baseless assertion that seems to have been made because our daughter asked, as a joke, if Mom would get her a massive puzzle {18,000 pieces!} for Christmas, and because of its size, she also joked about needing a table to put it on. Then the apartment would be too small, so could she have a larger apartment too? {with a Ha Ha!}

The old telephone game we used to play as kids pales in comparison to the conclusions reached when one person puts only a piece of truth on the Net and then another "agenda bound" person takes it and twists it like a pretzel, sending it on through a filter of idle speculation; mischaracterizations that results in outright lies. For instance, no one is quite sure in one small group exactly why Lori writes what she writes and teaches what she teaches. It couldn't be because the Bible actually teaches this stuff about submission, keepers at home and loving your husband. No, Lori must hate women, or her relationship with Ken is so messed up with both of us beating each other daily, that this propels us to write such things. This is the polar opposite of the truth as it is the love for women and wives that propels Lori to countless hours of study and counseling that bears much fruit from her writings.

Look at what we actually stand for; we want Christian women everywhere to come back to God’s values of loving and respecting their husbands. Lori wants wives to be keepers at home; to not have to work two jobs, but to be able to focus on their God given role as the primary nurturer of family. Lori admonishes that women show their love by submitting to their husband's leadership and trying to please him; while I teach men to love their wives as Christ loves the church by always showing leadership in a Christian way. We clearly denounce any form of abuse, control or unchristian behavior in a marriage, but because Lori teaches what the Bible teaches on submission, somehow we become the enemy to some who fear our biblical perspectives. They see any husband leading a wife as by definition a form of abuse even if she willingly follows.

We can’t do much in today’s world about those who gossip behind an anonymous moniker on the Internet. If you read things about us that are outside of what you know us to be from the blog, rest assured, if it is anything outside of being Christian, it is not true. We are willing to have our imperfect lives measured against the fruit of the Spirit, but we cannot play "whack a lie" with those who once hiding online do not show ethics that match up to their own stated values.

Not only are each and every one of our children doing well spiritually and great by the world's standards, they also all have hearts for doing things God's ways. The idea  that fundamentalist children cannot be successful is blown away by all of our children and their terrific spouses. The girls are all highly intelligent, yet want to use their wisdom and knowledge for building God's kingdom. They make our guys so much better to be freed to work hard providing very well for their families, yet still be able to have great family lives. 

All the children run their own lives and pay their own way in life. This should dispel the myth that fundamentalist kids carry a strange stigma that keeps them from being able to achieve good careers.  It is so far from the truth as almost any young adult taught a mandatory ethic of hard work, and being the best they can be, will be able to provide well for their family.

We all live reasonable lives with how we spend, and my daughter is happy with her $40 Craigslist table and her inexpensive apartment. {Thank you student housing!} She is especially thrilled with her choice of husband, Ryan, who is a gem in many ways, works hard, and is a much loved addition to the family. But if you have an extra few dollars this Christmas for a puzzle, she is supporting a dental student on a part-time job, and she loves puzzles!

As for my relationship with Lori, it has never been better! We have our moments where we may miscommunicate, or I am stressed by the job, when we do not connect as well, but you will rarely find a negative tone of voice or cross word. We are far too mature as believers to stay trapped in past bad behaviors, and besides, it is easy for me as she is almost always practicing what she teaches. Love, kindness, generosity, caring, helping each other, being best friends and companions, and lovers; these are the things that characterize us, and our home, moment by moment, almost every day. We truly love each other with a sense of oneness, and we would be lost without the other to walk every day hand in hand around the park.  This is a far cry from the fabrications of the Internet Hidebehinds.

We have many great joys this holiday season as we look back this year with family and ministry. Lori hears from 3-4 people every day what an impact her writings and blog have had in helping them grow up into Christ Jesus and becoming the godly spouse God has called them to be. These testimonies of how God is working through His Word to change lives gives us many personal connections. After all, how many couples can minister together and watch the fruit of their ministry blossom in their children and their readers almost every day. We also share many laughs from some of the silly comments meant to distract us and the readers from the truth. But it can also get annoying at times.

Thank you for those of you who support Lori’s blog, and please keep us in your prayers that the task of swatting the silly comments will not grow wearisome for Lori. Her health seems to have turned the corner for the good, so we hope for many years of Always Learning and mentoring those who desire to learn from an older Christian couple who could have done it far better earlier in our lives had we been given the wisdom taught here. To dispel another myth; Lori has months of pre-written material as a lack of godly wisdom is rampant in today's society. She makes all decisions about the blog. I just help out when asked.

We have nothing to hide, and perhaps someday a few of the detractors will come to visit with us and see that what we have is for real. No pretense, not all talk, just a faithful attempt to walk in the Spirit of God, and to believe and teach all of God’s Word, even the parts that are opposed to worldly thinking. For we have but one life to give, and we have chosen to live it sold out to Jesus; the one we call Savior and Lord. And if you fall short of God's Word, rest assured that there is much forgiveness and understanding from the Lord and from us. We did too many things wrong and only hope to save a few from our years of upsets and disobedience.

May the Lord bless you all this Christmas season as we seek God together where He can be found in His Word and in the hearts and minds of those who have chosen to accept Jesus as the little baby who is the King of Kings. May His peace be upon you, and may our detractors be at peace with allowing us to share our message of the Good News that brings not only salvation, but changed lives and marriages.

For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which tries our hearts. As you know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that you would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
I Thessalonians 2:3-4 & 11-12

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sanctifying Your Unbelieving Husband

Some of you are married to unbelievers. You married an unbeliever even though you knew it was wrong. You loved him and wanted to spend your life with him. Others became believers after they married but their husbands aren't interested. It isn't easy being married to an unbeliever. Your view on politics, raising children, and many things are different since you see everything from a biblical view and they see things from a worldly view.

Now what? Many times, women aren't happy being married to unbelievers. They don't feel like they have anything in common with them anymore. Some husbands are even mean. They don't treat their wives kindly and are always grumpy. They may even close you out of their lives by working a lot, watching a lot of television or playing sports.

One thing you must never forget is that as long as you live with them, you are sanctifying them. They are seeing Jesus in you since Jesus lives in and through you. Jesus is in their home. If you leave, they no longer have Jesus in their life and the chances of them becoming saved are slim since they will probably have a bad taste in their mouth with anything concerning Jesus since their "Jesus freak" wife wouldn't even stay with them.

Now, if the unbelieving husband wants to leave, you must let them leave, according to God's Word. It is the one reason Paul gives for allowing divorce. Yes, it is a sacrifice women make when they choose to remain with an unbelieving husband but one that has eternal significance.

God hates divorce. It deeply damages children and causes harm to the cause of Christ. When believing spouses leaving unbelieving spouses, Jesus leaves their home. They are no longer influenced by goodness, faithfulness, and purity. God tells us that women have the power to win their unbelieving husbands without a word by their godly behavior. Wow!

Besides sanctifying your husband, your children are made holy! Your children need a mother and a father. If she separates and the father has the children sometimes, they will no longer have a godly influence while they are at their father's. This is not good and something that needs to be carefully considered by any woman who wants to divorce her unbelieving husband.

Therefore women, for the sake of your husband and your children, stay married. Focus on the Lord, your children and your home. Allow the Lord to convict and change your husband.

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, 
and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: 
else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
I Corinthians 7:14

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Can People See Peace By Looking at You?

AA meets six days a week at a restaurant in town. A friend of mine goes there three or four mornings a week to have coffee and read her Bible. She sits in a room next to where the AA people are meeting with just a glass separating them.

One day she came in to give her order and a petite lady was there shaking and crying. My friend asked her what the problem was and she just said that she was so afraid. My friend grabbed the lady in a big bear hug and began praying aloud for her.  The lady thanked her and left much calmer.

The next week as my friend was drinking her coffee and reading her Bible, she heard a screech and felt arms wrap around her neck from behind. It was the petite lady. She went on to tell her how happy she was to find her again and asked her what gave her so much peace. My friend began sharing Jesus with her and this lady accepted Jesus and has been coming to our church for awhile now.

Another man came out of AA and walked right over to my friend and asked her what gave her so much peace. He told her he could tell she had peace by the way she looked! My friend shared Jesus with him and he continues to ask questions.

She told me it is amazing how God has used her at this restaurant. Four people from AA have come to know the Lord because of her quiet time she spends there and the peace they see in her. They learn that there is a higher power in AA and then she carefully explains Who that Higher Power is that they are learning about.

Do you have a peace about you? In your home, with your family and friends, do you have peace? I read a little bit of Matthew Henry's book A Discourse on Meekness and Quietness of Spirit every day. I need it. A meek and quiet spirit does not come naturally. I try to post a comment of his often on my Facebook Always Learning page because I know we all need to be reminded what meekness looks and acts like. It is so contrary to our nature but so needed. This was his quote from the other day, "It is better to say nothing than to say that which is provoking. When our hearts are hot within us, it is good for us to keep silent and hold our peace." Don't we ALL need to be reminded about this?

My friend has a meek and quiet spirit and it draws many people to her. She holds meetings several times a year and women come to Jesus from listening to her simple but solid faith in Jesus. She spends daily time in the Word and gives herself to be used by the Lord. He uses her in a mighty way!

Do you want people to look at you and want what you have? Do you want peace? Go to the Author and Finisher of your faith, Jesus Christ. He came to set the prisoner free. He came to give life, abundant and free. Spend time at His feet. Get to know Him. It will be the best investment of your time you will ever make.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, 
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

Friday, December 19, 2014

Is Submission Ever Comfortable and Easy to Do?

James Dobson from Focus on the Family has done a lot of good in his lifetime. He ministers to families and knows that they are the foundation upon which a healthy society is built. I agree with a lot of his teachings. I remember long ago when his children were young, he taught that mothers needed to be home full-time when the children were young. As his children got older, he would decide that mothers needed to be home full-time when they were older also. Then, he decided that even children in high school need full-time mothers. I applauded him for his advice.

He recently came out with the poster shown above. I disagree with it. I don't think any woman is comfortable following a husband's leadership and this is why older women are commanded to teach young women to love and obey their husbands. None of us want to be told what to do. We want things our way and the way we like it. No one submits to authority easily. It has to be taught just as children need to be taught to submit to their parent's authority. I have known many kind and gentle parents who didn't discipline and teach their children obedience to their authority. Therefore, the children grew up to be disobedient.

This kind of teaching destroys marriages. Most wives will never think their husbands are loving or gentle enough for them to follow. 'Loving' and 'gentle' will have to live up to their definitions and expectations of what those words look like. They become the leader of the home, instead of the husband. I have seen marriages where the husbands were very kind, yet the wives nagged them mercilessly.

Ken has always been loving and worthy of my respect. He has not always fit my definition of gentle but can you tell me any husband that does??? I'm not always gentle, are you? Aren't we called to take the log out of our own eye before we take the splinter out of someone else's? Besides, our obedience to the Lord should NEVER EVER depend on someone else's obedience. This is a total recipe for disaster!

  Certainly husbands are worthy of our respect but they will always have faults and disappoint us. They won't live up to our expectations. They won't do things we like, however, this shouldn't matter to us. Obeying God is what should matter to us and cause us to follow our husband's lead by being submissive to them.

 Therefore, women, don't wait for your husband to become the husband that you think he needs to become before you obey God. Obey God now, today, and see what God will accomplish through YOUR obedience. He works through those who are willing to give up their rights and do things His way since He is our Creator and knows what is best for us.

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; 
that, if any obey not the word, they also may 
without the word be won by the conversation of the wives. 
I Peter 3:1

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Male's Perspective on Femininity

My post on Feminism and Femininity garnered great comments! Ken finally contributed with a male's perspective on femininity and I thought it was fantastic! I thought you should ALL read ~

I will add a male point of view to the discussion, because I believe both the Bible and history have much to say. Look throughout history and what do you find. Very "strong" and "weaker" women all generally deferring to a husband's greater strength. The strength of most women is not measured by the pounds they can bench press, but by their inner fortitude, stamina, and industriousness within the family unit. Women complete men in ways they cannot complete themselves. They are gifted in ways most men are not gifted with natural gentleness, sensitivity and cuteness.

Throughout history most men are not looking to spend a lifetime with another man, but with a woman with feminine qualities. We want our wives to be "strong and courageous in the Lord" but we also want them to melt into our arms, trust us and be a wife to us. We like our wives to dress pretty, look as feminine as they can, and be a sexually attractive person to us. Most of us want a wife who is strong enough to tell us her fears and her desires, but we also want her to do it in a gentle way that lets us know she respects us and our very few decisions that cannot be resolved by way of communications. 

So for most of the godly men out there, we want a feminine woman. This is not a Bible issue, this is an issue of nature and sex. What most attracts men to a woman are the feminine things she does. The way she laughs with a feminine laugh or how she gives you that smirky smile. When she walks in the room we know "that one is mine," and she is all dressed up and looking good for you. The last thing most men want is a testosterone filled wife who wants to arm wrestle us for every decision made or wants to wear jeans all day and night, and even to bed. Yes, we want a certain sexual tension that only  a flirting feminine wife knows how to do to start our engines. 

I think sometimes God does not speak a lot about things that are so obvious and this is one of those cases. Strength within femininity looks great, and much of that strength is spent in being a terrific wife, even with an imperfect husband. Remember, for the man with 650 ng/ml of testosterone rushing through his blood at any given time, he is not looking for a wife to match his hormones. He is looking for her to be his lover and friend. 

Too much strength shown in the wrong ways is a huge intimacy killer for a man or woman. For to have intimacy one must have trust, dependence and vulnerability. These are great feminine qualities that used to come naturally to most women, but now are protected against by guarded hearts in too many marriages. I think the Bible says all it needs to say about femininity, "a meek and quiet spirit" and "in submission to her husband in everything." This does not mean a mealy-mouthed woman who is afraid to speak her mind. No! Men enjoy a good discussion, and we need our wife to set us straight at times, but we want her speak to us in a ladylike and respectful way.

Only a messed up world says otherwise where the roles and natures of men and women are being blended, all in the name of gender equality. Christian wives are completely equal to their husbands in all things pertaining to personhood, but if we do not play differing roles based on our natural makeup and God given gifts, we lose out on God's best for our marriages and our lives. 

I am married to a very strong minded and strong character woman, but she has learned to harness her strength within her feminine qualities which makes her quite attractive and fun to share a life with her. Man and wife, male and female, two complements of differing strengths and perspectives necessary to raise a wonderful family for God; raising sons and daughters to live out their natural God given gifts of masculinity and femininity for the enjoyment of their spouses.

Let it be the hidden person of the heart,
with the imperishable quality of a meek and quiet spirit,
which is precious in the sight of God.
I Peter 3:4

***The picture is my precious niece, Ali, with her brand new husband, David!
I was just telling Ken that it is interesting how many women want their husbands to adopt feminine qualities {being sensitive and emotional}, yet men want their wives to act like a lady, not like a man.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Was This Abusive Towards Me?

She thinks Ken is abusive towards me since he likes me to stand in church when we're singing! She was responding to the following comment on this post ~

Ken loves to stand up during worship at church while we're singing. I prefer to sit down since my lower back and feet hurt if I stand too long. On Sunday, he stood and I stood up beside him and asked him if he prefers I stand with him. He smiled and said, "Yes." I then whispered why I don't like to stand long. Later, we talked about it and he told me that I was welcome to sit down after a minute or two if I start to hurt at all, but he does like me standing beside him. So I decided I will stand now whenever he stands. My desire is to be a submissive wife and even if I'm not perfect yet, I am a lot better than I use to be!

Here is the woman's comment concerning Ken's supposed "abuse" of me ~

There is such a thing as 'just saying no' to such a ridiculous request to make you stand until you are in pain. Yes---it is ridiculous. If MY husband had made that request I would have questioned if he really loved me!! That is abuse!! In a marriage, respect for both partners is a must. Sounds like your husband does not respect you or your pain or he would not ask you to do something that would make you hurt when you could simply sit all the time. At MY CHRISTIAN church, if one of the marriage partners has health issues, he or she remains seated the whole service---we would not THINK or even consider asking that partner to stand just because WE wanted them to stand. Good heavens!

Let's say she is right, (although she is dead wrong!), and I take her advice. I refuse to obey my husband since it is uncomfortable for me to stand many minutes and I'm now angry with him because he's abusive, doesn't respect me AND probably doesn't love me according to her! Do you think this advice will strengthen our marriage or harm it? Do you think this is good advice to give to another Christian woman when you disagree with something her husband is asking her do? How does this uplift her or edify her marriage? All this kind of counsel does is damage the marriage as it serves no healthy purpose but to cause further upset and division. Also, the word abuse here is WAY over used when there is NO abuse at all.

My friend, Sandy, just called me and discussed the same post with me about the woman who refused to obey her husband and sit down when he asked her. She said it all comes down to original sin. We don't like anyone telling us what to do. We want to do what we want to do, period. We want to go our own way and not listen to the commands of the Lord. Ironically, Ken never even told me to stand with him. I was the one to ask him if he liked it. But when I ask, he says Yes and I want to please him; the world of abuse arrives at our doorstep. Just from a simple "Yes."

Let me make this very clear. This is NOT abusive! Ken has never abused me and has never come close to doing anything that is abusive. He never swears, rarely if ever raises his voice, and never has done anything where I might fear him. He is an honorable man of God who I trust completely to look out for my best interests over his own. His daily sacrifices for me are evident everywhere, so to sacrifice a little to please him seems only right. 

Therefore, women, whenever you are mentoring other women about their marriage, DO NOT attack their husbands and put them down, especially when you have only one side of the story. It does nothing to improve the marriage and only makes it worse since the wives can do nothing to change their husband's behavior. Most definitely never throw around the inflammatory word "abuse" unless it is truly abusive. No counselor throws fuel on a fire, but instead tries to move the spouse they are working with to a point where they can positively impact the marriage. 

You will never change a husband or marriage by inserting your sense of right and wrong into another person's marriage. If I saw nothing wrong with Ken answering me truthfully, why would anyone try to make him into an abusive husband in my mind? Let's get something straight about what God demands of a believer; if we want to please God by being godly wives we must be willing to sacrifice, especially in the little things of life to please our husbands. After all, is this not what we hope and pray our husbands are doing for us each and every day? From Jesus' own words ~

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

So next time you hear a wife say something you think is unfair or unkind about her husband, work on her attitudes and behaviors according to the Word of God and what it teaches. Help her to focus on her husband's good qualities and the sacrifices he makes for her, not on his faults. Then encourage her with I Peter 3:1 ~ Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives {I Peter 3:1}.