Monday, March 31, 2014

Duck, Ladies!

Submission is ducking so God can hit your husband!  This is a cute illustration that shows perfectly how powerful and easy submission truly can be.

Men are made to fight or flight. If you fight and argue with them, they will fight and argue back or they will flee. Sometimes this is an emotional fleeing into a protective shell. So the more you fight them, the worse your marriage will come. No man has ever crawled out from under his wife's criticism to become a better man, as Debi Pearl so eloquently states.

When you lovingly accept your man the way that he is, God can convict and change him. As you draw closer to the Lord and become more like Jesus {kind, considerate, loving, not easily offended, forgiving, full of grace and mercy, gentle, etc.}, the more your husband will be drawn towards you instead of away from you.

Submission is your greatest evangelistic tool. It is so opposite of what the world teaches or our natural inclination. We want to fight for our rights, get our own way, and we think we are always right. All of these push men away from women. We wonder why so few men want to marry women these days.

What feminism teaches is polar opposite of what God's word teaches. Be strong! Be independent! Fight for your rights. It has caused havoc between the sexes, destroyed families, and led to the slaughtering of millions of unborn babies. God's Word teaches us to be strong in Him and in His might, be dependent upon Him and live in obedience to His Word. We are called to deny ourselves, even laying our lives down for others. The servant of all is the greatest of all.

So next time you want to argue back with your husband, mentally think of yourself as ducking and allowing God to take charge of your husband. He does a much better job. Any changes we make in our husbands don't last, but God's changes will.

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, 
so that even if some do not obey the word, 
they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 
when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
I Peter 3:1,2

***Remember, you are a new creature IN CHRIST, 
covered by His grace and mercy, and walk in newness of life!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saying Nothing To Offend Others

This blog offends some people and I wish it did not. Maybe if I could shine the love of Christ more, my words would be better received by others. Trust me, few know more about the life changing power of the gospel than I do, because I had a lot to change when it came to how I treated my husband. Yet it was this same Truth that offended me, that has set me free.

Unfortunately, the gospel offends many people and that part I can do nothing about. Just saying the name of God or worse yet, the name of Jesus, greatly offends many. David Wilkerson wrote a sermon against the "seeker-friendly" churches and I thought I would share a piece of it ~

I listened in horror to a man, who attended one of the largest seeker-friendly churches, being interviewed by CBS. He said, "I come to this church because I'm comfortable. I'm never made to feel uneasy. I bring my Jewish friends and my business friends, and I know nothing will ever be said that will offend them. The best part of it is, the whole thing only lasts an hour." Take it from me: You can get your big church and be one of the big boys, but it's going to cost you your soul if you preach with a focus only on earthly things, rather than on the things of God.

I am the type who likes to hear hard words. I like to be challenged. I read comments on other blogs like, "I love your blog. You never make me feel guilty for working full-time." You won't like my blog then. If you are working full-time and neglecting your husband, children, or home, I don't believe you should be working full-time if you truly don't need to. Maybe there are a few women who can be godly help meets to their husband, train their children to walk in Truth, fix nutritious food, and care for the home while working full-time, but not many. When a few work out of necessity, I know God’s grace surrounds them, but God’s Word does call Christian mothers to be keepers at home.

If you don't want to hear that you are to be submissive to your husband, even if you do not think he is worthy, you will not like reading my blog. I am called by God to teach the younger women to be subject to their husbands and if God’s Word teaches it, I will also. I don't like being comfortable where I am. I always want to grow in the wisdom and in the knowledge of God, especially knowing who I am in Christ.

My purpose in writing this blog is not to offend, but to encourage my readers to begin pondering their ways to see if they line up with the ways of God. I see the seeker-friendly church that has thousands of attendees, makes loads of money, and makes people feel good about life, but endangers their soul. God warns strongly against being lukewarm Christians. Lukewarm means compromising God's Word for the pleasures of this world. Jesus warns against calling Him "Lord, Lord," then not doing what He says.

This is why it is so important to be in His Word every day seeking Truth, knowing God, and the power of the Gospel. Find a church that isn't afraid to teach all of God’s Word systematically, isn't afraid to call sin "sin" and encourages their congregation to walk in obedience to God, in the newness of life. Find a church that teaches who we are in Christ often and encourages you in this way. One that loves the Lord Jesus Christ and desires more than anything to please Him and be like Him.

I pray I can continue to teach the Truth of God's Word boldly and without compromise, yet with much grace. Pray for me that my personality and writing style will not hinder the gospel but will be used by God to touch lives. Please forgive me when my words get in the way of God’s most important message of the Good News, salvation in Christ alone.

So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, 
I will spit you out of My mouth.
Revelation 3:16

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mr. Oleson's Appealing Temptation

Nels Oleson was married to a very difficult woman in Little House On The Prairie. Harriet interfered when Nels tried to discipline the children. She didn't know how to cook and burned all of the food. She was constantly nagging him, yelling at him, and angry with him. She never said anything even remotely nice to him.

He decided he needed to get away for awhile to pursue selling something. He came to a place to stay and as soon as he walked into the inn, he heard the happy singing of a beautiful, young woman named Molly. She always spoke kindly to him and had a continual smile on her face. She told him the woman's place was in the kitchen and everything she cooked tasted wonderful.

When she asked him if he was married, he told her he wasn't and oh, how he wished he wasn't. In the evening, they spent time laughing and dancing together. {She taught him how to dance.} She was always encouraging him with her words. He kissed her on the cheek good night.

When he returned home, Harriet was so happy to see him. She missed his cooking terribly! He was so unhappy to see her. As he was about to leave again, he told Harriet he didn't know if he would return. He went back to Molly and brought her a cameo. She hugged him and they kissed on the mouth. Charles walked in and saw them. He later told Charles that Molly makes him laugh like he hadn't in years and makes him feel young again. He told him he loved Harriet but he was all mixed up.

Molly finally said something about Nels asking her for her hand and Nels replied, "I can't marry you, Molly...I'm already married. I'm sorry I lied to you. I do care for you, Molly, very much. I'm just a silly old man I guess."

When he went back home and walked in his front door, Harriet was standing there and said, "Welcome home, Nels" and then complimented him on his new suit and told him how handsome he looked. He told her she looked very nice and she told him she wanted to look nice, especially for him. She fixed his favorite drink and had him sit down at a beautifully set table with candlelight. Then she served him burnt roast that she couldn't cut. She began sobbing since she wanted to cook something special for him, but he started laughing. He exclaimed, "Don't you see? My place is in the kitchen unless you want us to starve! No one forced me to cook. I did it because I enjoy it!" Then she began laughing hysterically, they hugged each other, and then took a long walk arm in arm just the two of them like they use to.

If this was a show today, Nels would definitely have left Harriet for the young, cute Molly. Oh, how I wish they would bring back shows like this where men decided to be faithful even to their difficult wives! {It also helps us see clearly between the two types of wives. We should strive to make it easy for our husbands to love us and be like Molly.}

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; 
bind them around your neck; 
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Proverbs 3:3

Friday, March 28, 2014

Father Daughter Purity Dance

"If my life and what we are sharing with you tonight is so bizarre, why am I so in love with my wife? Why have we had thirty amazing years of marriage? Why do all my kids love one another and love us? I think you have to look at that," said a father being interviewed on Nightline Prime.

One of the families that is part of this Christian community that attended the Father Daughter Purity Ball was interviewed by the staff at ABC. The staff had this to say about this family, "The Wilson kids were all home-schooled and the purity lifestyle was evident everywhere, from the blessings Randy conducted with them in their backyard to the purity rings all the kids over the age of 12 proudly wore.  Some of the older Wilson children were already married and had all experienced their first kisses at the altar on their wedding days."

Their Christianity and purity infiltrates every part of their lives, similar to the Duggar family. Ken taped this program for me and I watched it with a smile on my face! I love seeing families living their faith completely, not trying to compromise with the world in any way. A young newly married daughter said that she believed the husband is the masculine leader of the home and the wife is the nurturer of the family.

It is rare to see this among Christians. We did everything we could to teach our children about purity when they were growing up. We sent them to purity camps, gave them books to read, and spoke openly to them about purity.

The world doesn't get it. Of course they wouldn't. They think it is silly, old-fashioned, and boring, but "the proof is in the pudding." Living God's ways produces beautiful fruit. The world mocks sexual purity and saving virginity for marriage, yet look at the results when these godly things are set aside for sexual freedom; emotional scars, abortions, rampant STD's, etc.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; 
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, 
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.
Isaiah 6:20

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My SAHM College Friends

When I was growing up, all I wanted to be was a wife and mother. After high school, I went to Westmont College which was $3500 per year which included everything so few people ended college in deep debt. Then I went to CSUN to get my teaching credential. I taught for three years before I was able to quit when I had my second baby.

I liked college, mostly for these friends I made. {This picture was taken at Ryan and Cassi's wedding. We all were in or went to each other's weddings. We attended each other's baby showers and now those babies' weddings!} I didn't like studying things I didn't enjoy, like many of the requirements, and I much preferred studying things I am interested in, like I do now.

All of my college friends ended up being stay at home moms. Now, that we are older, one caters out of her home, another one writes cookbooks out of her home, another one has done various jobs out of her home, mostly secretarial. Lately, one has been nursing her very ill mother 24/7.  Some are still raising children, babysitting grandbabies, showing hospitality to others, etc. They all love Jesus and have solid marriages after being married for many years.

Yes, most of us got college degrees but I think I am the only one who used my degree for a start of a career. My dad never wanted my mom to work, EVER, even after we were raised. He wanted her home caring for us and then helping us with our babies. He did, however, want all three of us to get degrees. Oh, the changes in one generation.

People did get married younger back in my dad's day and even in my day. I wonder if this big push for education {which costs SO much more today} and careers by women has caused marriage and babies to be put off. The time, the debt, many things come with women getting careers that complicate the making of a good, solid family life which is the foundation of any healthy society. 

Teach young women to be keepers at home.
Titus 2:5

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Husband's Abuse Of Headship

We know that the “wheat and tares” must coexist until the end of time, and that Satan wants nothing more than to plant within the true church something that mimics the church, but produces bad fruit and evil. Church history is littered with false teachers, cults and many a christian leader who has been disqualified by sexual sins.  It is no wonder that some groups would over-emphasize submission to the point that leaders become immune to acting like Christians, and instead act like God died and left them their own little plaything called the church.

The abuse of spiritual authority can be seen in legalism, the overemphasis on minor theological doctrines, submission to spiritual authority, and often many family members of the leader on the payroll. If anyone questions the leader in any way they are blacklisted as a troublemaker. Often such churches or groups implode under a pile of sexual allegations as there are few boundaries when Jesus is not the Head. Unfortunately, far too many followers of this group are burned by not knowing the truth of God's Word for themselves, and they are dragged along by the deception that Christ is somehow pleased with their blind submission, when He is not.
Some are critical of the Always Learning blog believing that it teaches a form of blind wifely submission. They are concerned that the wives who heed the advice given here will become "shells of women" who are obeying their husband's every whim as he abuses his role as her leader by demanding her submission. Recognizing that the Internet runs worldwide we would like to make very clear that not only is godly submission voluntary, it should never be forced upon a wife.  

To any wife out there who may be in a marriage where you feel your church is over-emphasizing husband leadership to the point where love is not being shown to you and others wives, or you simply believe your husband may be using his position as “head” to bully or manipulate you, please seek help from a godly counselor, perhaps outside your church. Seeking wisdom and truth is not being unsubmissive in any way. It is the truth that sets us free.

It is one thing to stay with, to love and to try to win a difficult husband, and yet quite an awful thing to be a part of a marriage where a husband is abusing his leadership, all in the name of Christianity.  Jesus reserved his strongest rebukes for the religious leaders who abused their positions. There is no excuse for such abuse, so one must differentiate between the two dramatically different conditions of a husband’s heart.

God makes it clear that we are to be known by the fruit of our lives. We love the fruit that God has given Lori in her ministry to hundreds of women who have been a part of creating a Biblically submissive marriage, yet we also know that her ministry is not to husbands, but to wives. Lori speaks unapologetically to the wife's Biblical role in a marriage, and if it appears at times to be unbalanced, it is not. A wife's role, like the husband's, stands on its own as both spouses are to fulfill God's calling on their lives 100%, even if the other spouse does not do their part. Remember, it only takes one obedient spouse to put Christ into a marriage and thus sanctify the other.  
I will be happy to speak husband to husband so long as wives do not look to their husbands to be perfect before they fulfill their role. To any Christian husband who may feel the need to play the “submission card” on his wife to lead her where he feels she needs to be, rest assured that we are not opposed to your request that she be obedient to God's Word, so long as you allow that wifely submission is to be a voluntary state and not one that you manipulate or control. Not all husbands must lead the way I do, but I suggest three tests of your leadership ~
1. Does your leadership reflect acting like a Christian with the fruit of the Spirit in your life?  Being controlling, domineering, demanding, putting your wife down, and not building her up in love, are unchristian. God did not give you the role as "head” of your family for personal gain, but to serve your family with the life of Christ shining in the fruit of how you behave and treat your wife.
2. Do you lead by example? Can you turn around almost every request you make of your wife and do it yourself first? If a leader is asking something that they are unwilling to give or do themselves then they are not being a kind or generous leader. Certainly one cannot expect the husband to do everything for a wife, all dishes and housework, plus a job outside the home, but whatever the demand is, the “smell test” for fairness is whether you would do what you are requesting yourself.
3. Lastly, a wise leader rarely tries to lead by themselves. You have a partner God has given you who knows you and the family perhaps better than you do, so listen to her. Leaders who are islands are dangerous to themselves and others because they cannot see life, and especially themselves clearly. I am not saying you should in any way abdicate your responsibility as leader, but when listening to your wife, if you are not able to give her most of what she desires or feels she needs, then something is broken in one of you. Seek help.

I will add that I believe it is best to give your wife the authority to stop you when you are about to do something stupid, and that includes if you make a bad request of her. If my wife feels strongly that I am wrong she may choose not to submit to me with my pre-approved blessings. This should not be a regular occurrence, but when a godly wife says, “I am sorry, but no way!” we as husbands must take a step back and listen, pray and work through this with them. I also give to my spouse specific areas I request she hold me accountable for, and that includes that I treat her with kindness and respect. 
In a previous recent post, Biblical Submission Is So Understood, we explained that the concept of a Biblical marriage has many facets. This post shows some additional facets that must be considered. There is black and white in what God’s Word teaches, but in its application one must allow “scripture to interpret scripture” and see that there are many truths which balance out and help clarify how God intends godly Believers to live. To overemphasize one truth just to wipe out others is not what God desires for the Christian life, nor should submission become an exaggerated truth. 
I also stand by the post we wrote, Dealing With A Rebellious Wife as simply another facet of the truth contained in the application of a Biblical marriage. There are times, and it should be few, that a wife is significantly off course and a loving husband may show a firm side to leadership to try and win his wife and marriage. The Christian ideal is to be like Christ who loves completely when dealing with women, children, his disciples and the Pharisees.  This includes the most gracious of loving kindness, but also rebuke and accountability, especially if the offense is one of the abuse of spiritual authority.
The ultimate goal of a Biblical marriage is oneness uniting husband, wife and the Spirit together in a marriage that shines Jesus. To achieve such oneness will demand a certain level of vulnerability for intimacy and connection to flourish. Look to your spouse and decide how much they can be trusted, and perhaps trust a little beyond your comfort zone in doing what they request or feel they need from you. But if your spouse is untrustworthy, no amount of wishful thinking should develop that trust, but only time and the work of the Spirit can make the necessary changes. Do not blindly follow the ideal of Biblical submission, but test it with modest vulnerability, without blindness, and see what fruit begins to result in your marriage. If no fruit is forthcoming, make sure you are talking to wise Christian counselors who can coach you. 

Christianity is meant to be lived in community and to be part of the one body of Christ made up of many members. Christian men, if you see another husband abusing his role, take him to breakfast and discuss it with him to create a level of accountability. Wives, do not neglect being part of a group of believers who can support you, pray for you, protect you and insure that you are in God's Word and will. Submission is not blind obedience, nor is it servitude or playing second fiddle. 

A true Biblical marriage is two equals playing two God given different roles in a healthy way where there is no loser, but a union of husband, wife and Spirit into One Flesh.

And the two shall become one flesh. 
So they are no longer two but one flesh. 
What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.
Mark 10:8-9
***Written by Ken

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

God's Supernatural Supply For Keepers At Home

Bottom line, we don't trust God. We don't trust God for women to leave their jobs and go home to raise their children, take care of their homes, and serve their husbands. "If we don't work, we will starve." Yet, God tells us He will supply our needs. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but we still worry.

Marilee Horton quit her high-powered career to go home and take care of her home, husband, and children. The family immediately lost a half of their income, yet she writes the following ~

"With all the wisdom that God promises to supply us with to make the best use of our money and talent, we must not forget that what He is mainly trying to teach us is to trust in Him.  Our family lies in a town of seven colleges, one of them being a Christian college housing a seminary/bible institute. One thing taught in these institutions of higher learning with emphasis on Christianity is that, whether preparing for the pastorate, the mission field, or education and business, you must trust God. Trust Him to lead you into the right area of ministry, trust Him to guide you as you serve, and trust Him to supply your needs. 

The things that astounds me is that while these men are in class learning these wonderful truths, they are sending their wives out to work to pay for them to learn how to trust God. Why? "There is no way I could go to school if she didn't work." It is rare to find a couple completely looking to God to provide a way to earn the money needed without always answering the prayer by sending the wife out to work....Couples called by God to the life of faith have thrilling stories to tell of God's supernatural supply so that mother doesn't have to leave her children. Sometimes it involves part-time work of babysitting, typing, or needlework. {Today, the options are endless with the Internet!} Sometimes it involves a miracle."

She began living frugally, never wasting any food, being content at home, and finding all sorts of ways to save money. She figured out that saving a dime instead of spending it on something not truly needed was the best antidote to inflation. Her greatest weapon was prayer. She consistently asked God for wisdom and He provided it abundantly.

"Oh, but today is much different in the past. Women have to work." God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If He commands women with children to be keepers at home, you step out in faith knowing He is your provider and you trust Him. I have readers who say they don't own a TV, cable, drive old cars, etc. so they can be home training and loving their children full-time. Yes, there is sacrifice but there is much more sacrifice to the family unit for a mother to leave her home and children for hours every day. {And no, the Proverbs 31 woman did not have a "career" that caused her to leave her home for hours every day.} What God commands of us, He richly supplies the means to obey.

But my God shall supply all your need 
according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

picture source

Monday, March 24, 2014

Thinking We Are Better Than Our Husbands

Most wives believe they know more than their husbands and that they are much better than them. We don't have that powerful sex drive like they do, therefore, we don't struggle with lust like they do. We don't sit on the couch all evening watching TV or playing video games. We are much more spiritual than they are since we have regular devotions, go to more bible studies, and are much more involved in church activities.

Men, after all, are just boys in men's bodies. They really never grow up. We are so much smarter and more intelligent than them. Bring it on feminism! Down with masculinity. I am sure there would be world peace and no more wars if women ruled the world.

Admit it. We all have some feminist qualities in us. Most of us truly think women are better than men. This, my dear friends, is why we have a very difficult time truly respecting our husbands. Bottom line, we think we are better human beings than them.

The great problem with this thinking...PRIDE! Why is it so easy to think this way? We are not taking our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. He commands we reverence our husbands. Love always thinks and believes the best of others but we are terrible about doing this with the one person we are to love the most.

Let me list the good things about men now. We wouldn't have homes, buildings, cars, ovens, freeways, planes, telephones, printing presses, wood floors, etc. without men...oh, maybe they aren't so bad. We wouldn't have men to hunt and farm food for us and use their physical power for good things, like protecting us from harm. These are a lot of things to be thankful for men.

Your husband deserves your respect because the God who created you tells you to respect him. God never wants you, even for a moment, to think you are better than your husband. He never wants you to think more highly of yourself than you ought or to think negatively about or criticize your husband.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, 
but only such as is good for building up, 
as fits the occasion, 
that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Ring By Spring

"Mom, how did you do this? 
I know the sacrifices you've had to make to marry dad."

"What are you talking about?"

"New York Publishing. Your whole career."

"That is just a job I had after college."

"But it was so exciting, glamorous!"

"But it wasn't what I wanted, Cara. This and you and your dad is what I wanted. I didn't give up anything. I got it...I would have sacrificed anything to be with your dad and never for an instance considered it a sacrifice."

"I get that you would have done anything for dad but you guys are 
still crazy in love. What is the secret?"

"Well, for starters, we like each other. When I see your dad lying next to me or I hear him in here making breakfast, it makes me smile. It's another day and your dad is going to be a part of it and that makes me happy."

This is why I love Hallmark. Any channel that would have a conversation between a daughter and a mother like this is absolutely worth watching and my cup of tea!

Teach the young women to love their husbands.

Friday, March 21, 2014

What is the Best Flooring to Buy?

When we moved into this home 16 years ago, we put dark green carpet in our family room. I loved it because it never showed any stains. I have to vacuum it all the time, however, because it shows every piece of lint.  We are getting our 15 year old couches covered so I thought it was time to get new carpet.

I went to a carpet store and there were thousands of colors and samples to look at. {This is simply overwhelming to me.} I told the owner, who had been there 35 years, what I wanted and the price I wanted to pay and he found a great one for me.

When he came over to measure my room, he told me that 35 years ago when he began selling carpet, 80% of the orders were carpet, 10% tile, and 10% wood. Now it is 70% wood, 20% carpet, and 10% tile. He said the tile hurts women's muscles and joints since it is so hard. Carpet looks bad after 10 years {especially after four or five washings} so it needs to be replaced. Carpet is made completely from toxic chemicals and gathers germs, bacteria, pollutants, and everything else that comes off the streets. Wood floors last forever. By the time someone has replaced their carpet one time, they could have gotten wood.  He said that no other place in the world do they use carpet like Americans do.  

I have wood floors in the rest of my home. I love having wood floors. We have not done one thing to them in 16 years and they still look great. They are easy to clean and even when they get a little knicked up, they look good.

I thought this was interesting information from a man who has dealt in flooring for 35 years. By the way, he gave me a really good deal because he said I "was so kind! Kindness goes a long way."  On a side note, I wanted to recover my couches because I loved them so much. Fifteen years ago, we spent $4500 on our couches. They are Taylor King and very well made, stuffed with down. They are so comfortable. I only needed to get new ones because the fabric is falling apart.

I told Ken I really want to just recover my couches instead of buy anything new. I went to the retailer where I bought them and could have them recovered for $6000 or brand new for $7800! I knew Ken would never let me spend that kind of money on couches. My neighbor told me of a woman who does it for so much less. I called her and she would cover them for $775! I thought it was a joke! I bought material for $700, therefore, it is only costing my under $1500 to recover them. I am so happy I get to keep my couches!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, 
and cometh down from the Father of lights, 
with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:17

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Biblical Submission Is So Misunderstood

The concept of Biblical submission as it relates to marriage is very misunderstood in the church and outside of it. God’s truths are often far more complex than what they appear on the surface, as are many Biblical ideals. Most of the ideals for a Christian marriage can be summed up as simply "being Christian" to each other by trying to serve and please one another.  

“I want to show the Jesus living in me to you in the way I love, serve and please you.” 

The Bible, and the godly principles taught therein, is our operating system, and God's Word should be first and foremost on the minds of both husband and wife. To please each other goes beyond a 50% marriage and instead seeks the best interest and desires of your spouse before your own interest and desires. Is this not what Christ showed all Christians to do; to give up our lives in love and service towards one another? 

There should be nothing equal about my serving my spouse, but instead I should seek to out-produce him/her in almost every area of the marriage. Certainly we can have roles with husband working a job outside the home and the wife working within the home, but if either spouse needs help, even when it is not requested, we are to jump in and “do unto others” with selfless service and sacrifice.

Now you say, “This sounds great! But then why are so many Christian marriages failing if both spouses are trying to please each other?” The answer is simply that too many marriages are not living up to even a modest set of Biblical ideals. Many Christians are not acting like a Christian to their spouse because they selfishly want their share, their half, their ways.

What makes a Biblical marriage unique is not really submission, but the the order of things ~ "For the husband as head of the wife as Christ is head of the church" {Ephesians 5:23}. 

To go from a good Christian marriage to a strong Biblical marriage one must willingly move beyond mutual submission to understand how God prizes order in relationships. God assigns the husband's role to be leader not because he is smarter, wiser, stronger, but because God wants order. A relationship without a "head" is prone to potentially endless arguing, perhaps not in all marriages, but many. But beyond this a husband as head is to love his wife sacrificially, even when she does not follow.

C.S. Lewis puts it this way ~
"This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is - in her own mere nature - least lovable. For the Church has not beauty but what the Bride-groom gives her; he does not find, but makes her, lovely. The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man's marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying {never paraded} care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence. As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labours to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like {and he is allowed no other sort} never despairs.”
The concept of “mutual submission” as perceived and believed by many in the church is an oxymoron because one cannot both be “subject to” and be the "head" or leader. One cannot lead and yet “submit in everything.”  Christ could not be both head of his church and submit to his church, and elders do not mutually submit to members. 

The concept of an "egalitarian marriage" often has both spouses looking for equality, as an “equal marriage” often means I am looking for my half, my rights, my needs to be met my way? Christ made it clear that all are to be treated with equal personhood, but our role is to serve and put others before our own selves.  

It is the "Biblical marriage" where the husband is the sacrificial leader and the wife is submissive and respectful of his position as the head of the family. When things go wrong, or become difficult, the godly spouse gives more, loves more and plays an even greater God given role to be "like Christ" to try and win over their difficult spouse .  

If you want a great marriage, move beyond egalitarianism to a Biblical marriage of pleasing and serving one another fully without waiting for your spouse to respond in like manner. Allow your spouse to play their role in God's order.  Beyond this, trust that the Holy Spirit is doing His work to bring you both into "One Flesh," just as Christ and His Church are One, and God the Father and Son are One. At the center of the Biblical One Flesh marriage is not principles, actions or deeds, but Christ Himself. 

Can you see Jesus in your marriage? 
If not, will you be the one who puts Him there no matter what?

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus ... who humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.
Philippians 2:3-9

***Written by Ken, as if you couldn't tell! ;)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Losing Her Husband To A Mistress

Heather Campos thought she had a great marriage. She loved being married and had been married for almost 25 years. Her husband began withdrawing, losing himself in computer chat rooms. He was a pastor and decided to leave his ministry. He was talked into staying.

Shortly afterwards, Heather was diagnosed with a low strain of a sexually transmitted disease. He told her there is no way he could have given it to her. He slowly imploded and finally admitted about an on-line relationship. When she finally realized the depth of her husband's sin, she ran to the book of Hosea. "God knows about betrayal and unfaithfulness," she said to herself. "I need to know how this works."

Shaken out of her stupor, Heather knew she had to begin to forgive. "I remember looking at Rennie and saying, 'I know I have to forgive you. I'm going to.' But I was not flooded with a great sense of forgiveness. I was confronted with the truth of having to forgive. Forgiveness was something I could walk into."

She shared her struggle with a pastor, who assured her that forgiveness doesn't imply or confer trust and it doesn't remove the pain. Heather learned that giving forgiveness was vital to her spiritual survival and growth. "The Lord taught me that it's a matter of obedience. If I'm going to keep my heart open through this whole awful process, I'm going to have to be obedient." 

Notice that Heather's first focus was vertical. She was willing to forgive her husband because that's what she had to do in order to stay right with God. The marriage was secondary at this point. Heather was more concerned with doing what was right spiritually than with anything else.

Because bits and pieces of Rennie's story leaked out over time, forgiveness became a constant discipline. There was always something new to digest and try to understand. She fought against bitterness, she loved being a pastor's wife and she loved being a part of their church, and she knew that Rennie's actions had taken away from her something very precious.

Several months later, Rennie finally came completely clean. He laid out everything he had done. Many hurtful things were disclosed, including the fact that Rennie had had another affair and thought he might still be "in love" with this woman.

Biblically, Heather knew she was well within her rights to kick Rennie out of her life and start over, but she never seriously considered that option. "Forgiveness was the harder option, definitely, but I never felt in my heart that divorce was the right thing to do."

This is the key, I believe, to Heather's spiritual maturity and growth through this awful ordeal. Heather told me, "I've always lived my life by conviction and the harder road is not something I'm afraid to take."

It was precisely on the hard road of suffering that Heather started growing, learning lessons, and drawing closer to her God. She would never choose to go through this kind of trial again, but by adopting the right spirit and being willing to forgive, she experienced growth in ways she never could have otherwise.

"I've learned that even when we're in great pain, we're not excused from considering others and from carrying out our call to witness to God's faithfulness."

Though Heather was feeling numb, she learned selflessness by focusing on her concern for her children, the welfare of the church, and even Rennie's soul. Rather than lashing out in anger at Rennie, she was more broken over the spiritual consequences of his actions than over how those actions offended and affected her.

It was a tough, tough time of testing, but choosing forgiveness kept bitterness and anger at bay. It saved her marriage in the end, brought Rennie around, and moved Heather many steps closer to more fully modeling the person of Jesus Christ. Why? I think back to what Heather said ~ "The harder road is not something I'm afraid to take."

Heather was given a bitter juice. She offered that juice to God, 
who made spiritual honey in her life.

Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? 
Prudent, and he shall know them? 
For the ways of the Lord are right, 
and the just shall walk in them.
Hosea 14:9

***Taken from the book A Sacred Marriage.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Keeper At Home ~ A Horrible Expression?

There are a lot of people who disagree with me on different subjects that I teach and that is okay. I certainly do not know everything or claim to know everything. I just teach my convictions and sometimes they even change except for those that are solidly biblical.

The topic of keepers at home always initiates a lot of discussion. 
One women made this comment recently on this post ~

As a empty nester, middle aged woman, I never looked for a career. I always wanted to be a wife and mother. However, that was not God's plan for me. After years of doing foster care, we adopted a child in his teens. He obviously quickly became an adult and moved out on his own. 

Through foster care, God led me to my calling of nursing. It would have actually been disobedient *NOT* to have answered this call. I work 32 hours a week, living my calling, and am paid very well to do it. My husband has three day weekends every week, and I have plenty of time to be a so-called "keeper at home", which is a horrible expression, BTW. 

I think you suffer from tunnel vision, thinking that 1. Paul's message for how to care for widows isn't adaptable to the 21st century, 2. That all "career" and "Career women" look alike.

Cabinetman is a frequent commenter on my blog and I always enjoy reading his perspective on different subjects. He responded to this women this way ~

Almost every teaching in the Bible we don't like gets attributed to "it isn't adaptable to the 21st century." Which is just false and your calling God's Word false by the way {to put it another way you are saying God is wrong}. It isn't that it isn't adaptable, it's that we as His people are not being obedient to His Word. 

Your situation is not the situation Lori was speaking about, unless you are neglecting either your husband, your grown child, your home or things the Lord is asking you to do {in church, for those in need, etc.}. If that is not the case, then this message is not for you. However, most career woman are indeed neglecting those things. One only has so much time and energy in this life and giving 32 or 40 hours to "the world" and your boss is a pretty sure fire way not to have that energy and time to give to those who need it most, your husband and children. {And I might add teaching younger women as God commands!}

Great food for thought!

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, 
and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.

Psalm 113:9

***Another verse about being a keeper at home!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Emotionally Abused Women

There was a woman I know who was dating an emotionally abusive man. He would manipulate her with his words and actions, using his anger to get her to do what he wanted her to do. If he got angry with her, he would not speak to her for days and hold a grudge against her. When he was nice, he was very nice. When he was mean, he was very mean. Thankfully, she did not marry him.

What if she had married him? How would I have mentored her when she was absolutely miserable in her marriage? No matter how nice she was to him, he still treated her poorly. I know there are many women in this kind of marriage. I am only going to give my advice but I would advise her to seek other's advice also since women like this are in so much pain.

Being treated poorly is not grounds for divorce. I would never encourage her to get a divorce. I have mentored women who are being treated poorly by their husbands and my advice is always the same. Win them without a word. Good overcomes evil. Heap burning coals upon their head. A soft answer turns away wrath. Love your enemies. All biblical advice.

However, I would also encourage her to seek an older women to meet with on a consistent basis to continually build her up and encourage her. Since she is beaten down so much by her husband, she needs to be continually being transformed by the renewing of her mind. She is dearly loved by the Lord. She is called His child and He is a strong fortress around her. She needs to be reminded that she can do all things through Christ who strengthens her.

She needs a very strong support system that will pray for her and comfort her. It would be great if church discipline worked like it was suppose to work and the elders of the church would go confront the husband or even a good, close friend of his would do that. We are commanded to go and confront our brother or sister in sin.

We were never meant to go through this life alone. When you married a man that does not treat you good, you need help; good, solid, biblical comfort and support. Don't try to do it alone. Don't let your husband beat you up verbally without a strong support system underneath you to hold you up, pray with you and for you.

Continue working on becoming a godly woman of God and allow God to work on your husband since He is the only one that can change him.

Only the woman in this situation can decide what to do. Just remember, God hates divorce and divorce solves nothing of eternal significance. A godly woman sanctifies her husband. She may be the only Jesus he ever sees and if he spends eternity in heaven because of her faithful dedication to him and her marriage, it will all be worth the pain.

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, 
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Proverbs 11:14