Monday, November 30, 2015

She Has a Thankful Spirit ~ Chapter Three

It is difficult to have a thankful spirit in today's culture. Every commercial reminds us of something we need. Viewing Facebook or Pinterest causes us to be dissatisfied with our lives when others are having such fun vacations, romantic meals and getaways with their husbands, beautifully decorated homes and perfect meals. There is is lot to cause us to be discontent.

However, the Lord commands that we be thankful. Those who walk away from the Lord and His ways begin with an unthankful spirit; For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. {Romans 1}. Therefore, we must train ourselves and our children to have a thankful spirit!

A wise woman sets a joyful mood in her home. Through laughter, music and happy times, she creates a positive attitude in her children. She knows that a lighthearted home relieves her husband of stress.* One of the GREATEST gifts you can give your husband and children is a spirit of thankfulness. Even when you are going through a difficult time, you can always find things to be thankful for even if it is knowing the fact that Jesus loves you, died for your sins and is preparing a mansion for you one day.

Discontentment is not a product of circumstances; it is the state of the soul...Thankful people have a view of life that begins somewhere deep in their souls, and outside circumstances just can't mar their joy.* The way you do this is by changing your thinking; be transformed by renewing your mind with God's Truth. When your husband is doing something that irritates you, makes you mad or you begin comparing him to other husbands thus falling into a big ole' ugly pity party, quickly change your thinking and begin to think of all those things you love about him: he works hard for you; he loves your children; he is faithful to you, etc. It is learning to control your thoughts and emotions rather than allowing them to control you.

Practice makes perfect. Practice having a merry and thankful heart.* Memorize verses on being thankful. Write them on post-its and put them all over your home. Write them on index cards and put them in your Bible and in your purse. We will never understand the power of God's Word, but we must believe for it is sharper than a two-edged sword and does NOT come back void!

Homework: Learn to enjoy life. Be thankful. Smile. When you catch yourself becoming irritated or disturbed at circumstances, stop and laugh at the little things that steal your peace. Count your blessings and learn to be appreciative..."Thanksgiving is good; thanksliving is better."*

In every thing give thanks: 
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

***Please feel free to write quotes that touched you in the comment section or questions and insights you may have!

*Quotes taken from the book.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

What about the "Apostle" Junia and "Female" Preachers?

Last week's post Men Make Better Pastors caused quite a stir among women. They used four different verses in Scripture to try to prove to me that God approves of female preachers having authority over men in the church. I am going to go through all four and show you how wrong these arguments are so when others use these verses to try and convince you of female preachers, you will have a good defense to these perversions of Scripture in justifying female preachers.

Many use Junia in Romans 16:7 to claim Junia was an Apostle, therefore she must have had authority over men; "Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me" {Romans 16:7} Paul states "my kinsmen" right after using this name, so we can be sure it was a male since he wouldn't call a female "my kinsmen." Secondly, just because he wrote Junia was "of note among the apostles" doesn't necessarily mean that Junia was even an Apostle; just that the Apostles took note of him and he was special to them. If Junia was an Apostle, God's authority structure throughout the Bible was given to men, except in a few rare instances.

Another verse many use to say that there were female deacons in the church concerns Phoebe. "I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea" {Romans 16:1}. All of the translations call her a "servant of the church" except for the NIV and the New Living Translation which call her a 'deacon.' These are the more recent transliterations of the Bible. There is NO way she can be a deacon since Paul made it very clear that deacons were to be the husband of one wife. After giving all of the qualifications of a deacon in 1 Timothy 3, Paul wrote, "Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well" {1 Timothy 3:11, 12}. However, women have always served at churches in some capacity that didn't include being in authority over men.

Others will use this verse to argue that women can be preachers thus having authority over men. And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams {Acts 2:17}. Every single person who believes in Jesus with saving faith receives the Holy Spirit, including sons and daughters. He is the Comforter that Jesus told His disciples they would receive after His resurrection. This verse does NOT prove that there can be female preachers or elders in authority over men in the church!

The final argument I was given for female preachers was when the women found the empty tomb and were told to go share the news that Jesus had risen. They went to the disciples and "preached the Good News" according to those who want to use this verse to support female preachers. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word {Matthew 28:7, 8}. Does this mean that the women were preachers, elders, deacons, and in authority over men because they told the disciples what they had seen? This is an extremely weak argument for women preachers, wouldn't you say? 

Be very careful what teachers or preachers you learn the Bible from since many will turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables {2 Timothy 4:4}. All throughout God's Word, He used men as the leaders. They were the Patriarchs, Kings, the leaders of the twelve tribes of Judah, Jesus' Disciples, Elders, Deacons and Authors of the Bible {For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:21}. This is the authority structure God has instituted and we best be abiding by it. 

He has given women the special role of being a help meet to their husbands, bearing children for Him and raising godly offspring. There are also many ministries women can do in the church that are not in leadership positions over men. Older women are called to teach younger women many good things. He also calls us to use our lives to glorify Him in whatever we do and as an offering for Him, including telling others about the Lord and sharing the Gospel. 

Every single human being has purpose and is deeply loved by our Creator. Having an authority position doesn't make the one in authority better than those under their authority just as parents are not better than their children. We all have value in the Kingdom of God and should use our gifts and talents in serving others and serving Him, recognizing and appreciating the authority structure God has ordained.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

When the Leader Isn't Respected

Grandma wants to feed her grandson who has Type 1 Diabetes junk food when he’s at her home since she believes his parents are way too strict and health conscious. The father wants to feed him only good and wholesome food because he has this disease. He wants him to be as healthy as possible. They fight back and forth, calling each other names and always angry at each other. The daughter of Grandma wants peace between the two. She loves and respects both her mother and husband and wants them to stop arguing about it. How does the psychologist help them?

She counsels them to think how they will act before they see each other. Ask “How…?” questions instead of attacking each other and so on. She gave several steps they needed to take anytime they are with each other. I have heard the same type of steps given to married couples in order to solve marital arguments and conflict.

My answer to the above problem: The husband is the head of his wife and family; what he says goes! Easy! There is no trying to remembering what to say, how to ask the questions, etc. There’s a leader in this home and it isn’t Grandma. See how easy the problem is solved when there is one leader and a final decision maker?

Conflict and arguing are bound to happen when there is no leader. Of course, this solution wasn’t given to this couple since they don’t believe in biblical headship of the husband and neither do a lot of Christians. Trying to do things that are contrary to God’s plan makes things SO complicated! The whole time this conversation was taking place, I knew the answer immediately and it would have been solved if I could have given it. I would have been laughed off the stage, however. They would tell me I want women to go back to the Stone Age. No, I want women to go back to the Lord’s ways; the ancient paths laid out for us many, many years ago.

A father has every right to do with his child as he sees fit and mothers-in-law should respect that right. We need to do everything we can to promote peace in families and peace always comes when there is one designated leader. I was talking to my neighbor the other day. I said to him, “Aren’t your children your greatest blessing?” He responded, “They are one of them but my wife is by far my best blessings. God threw out the mold after He made her.” His wife loves to serve her husband and make him happy. She respects him as the leader of their home. There is peace in their home. Peace comes from doing things God’s ways. They will NEVER come by trying to do them our way.

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, 
the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
1 Corinthians 11:3

Friday, November 27, 2015

Modesty and Neatness Over Elegance and Fashion

Oh, how I love the preachers of old who were not afraid of the culture they lived in and spoke the Gospel plainly and unashamedly. They were not afraid of the feminists and women leaving their church in droves because they spoke the Truth of Scripture. They didn't water it down; making it lukewarm to make sure those listening were comfortable in the way they were living. No! They wrote boldly and fearlessly; fearing God rather than man {or woman}! I came across this great commentary by Matthew Henry ~

Women who profess the Christian religion, must be modest in apparel, not affecting gaudiness, gaiety, or costliness. Good works are the best ornament; these are, in the sight of God, of great price. Modesty and neatness are more to be consulted in garments than elegance and fashion. And it would be well if the professors of serious godliness were wholly free from vanity in dress. 

They should spend more time and money in relieving the sick and distressed, than in decorating themselves and their children. To do this in a manner unsuitable to their rank in life, and their profession of godliness, is sinful. These are not trifles, but Divine commands. The best ornaments for professors of godliness are good works.

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price 
{1 Peter 3:3, 4}.

When trying to figure out what picture to use for this post, I decided to use one of Nancy Campbell who has raised ten godly offspring with a godly husband. She has been ministering to women for over 27 years teaching them in the ways of the Lord. She began her free magazine in a response to feminism to encourage women in their high calling of having as many children as the Lord blesses them with while being a keeper at home. She lives simply and dresses modestly and neatly. She is a great role model for us!

We must not spend loads of money on our clothing since Scripture does forbid it. We should be known more for our good works than how we dress! Our clothing should be modest, clean and neat, not showy or always having to be in fashion. Women today spend way too much time and money on how they dress and look, instead of the good works they are called to do, including being the best help meet to their husband they can be and caring for their children and home. Look into women's closets and makeup drawers; many will attest to where they are spending their money. We must not get caught up in this culture's craze to stay beautiful, fashionable and perpetually young, but instead spend more time working on acquiring a quiet and meek spirit which is precious to God.

A young woman's "good works" are clearly listed in Titus 2:3-5 and older woman's "good works" are as follows: if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work {1 Timothy 5:10}.

Now that you clearly understand what the Bible teaches young and older women, get to work living a life that is pleasing to the Lord, instead of trying to fit into the stressful and expensive societal mold of our culture that is on the broad road to destruction!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

When Your Husband Irritates You

All husbands will irritate their wives at times. Some chew with their mouths open. Some watch too much television. Some are messy and never pick up their clothes. Some never tell their wives how wonderful they are or how much they appreciate them. Some are often late for dinner and forget to call. How are we to handle these irritations? Should we get angry about them.

No, for anger does not achieve the righteousness of God {James 1:20}. So what are we supposed to do? I'm sure most women have already spoken to their husbands about the things that irritate them but either the husbands don't agree, don't want to change or forget. Now what? Learn to accept it. How? Every time they are doing something that irritates you, think of something you love and appreciate about them instead and learn to be thankful. 

They chew with their mouths open. Thank the Lord that they work so hard to provide your family with food! They watch too much television. Thank the Lord you have a comfortable home for them to watch television in and that they are able to get some much needed relaxation. They don't appreciate you like they should. Begin telling them all the things you appreciate about them. Treat them the way you want them to treat you instead of expecting them to treat you a certain way. Model this behavior to them and they just may catch on! They are late to dinner. Thank the Lord they have a job to go to everyday to bring a paycheck home to pay the bills. Be transformed by renewing your mind with Truth and thankfulness, instead of irritation and anger.

We are to win our husbands without a word. This means we don't scold them, yell at them, boss them around, treat them like a child or get angry with them. We work on our own behavior in becoming more like Christ who lives within us and allow the Lord to work on our husbands. We learn to win the battle in our mind and quickly change negative and critical thoughts to good and pure ones. We speak uplifting and encouraging words instead of degrading and discouraging words.

If you're having difficult relatives over for Thanksgiving, practice the same with them. There's good qualities in everyone. Seek them out and dwell on them. Make sure you do everything tomorrow to have a peaceful, thankful holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Beware of Jesus Calling

Many are raving about the book called 
Jesus Calling. For some reason, Sarah Young’s words never seemed right to me so I decided to research the book for myself. John MacArthur had this to say about the book, “Scripture has true spiritual power to save and sanctify those who listen and obey it, but human writings masquerading as divine prophecy—such as Jesus Calling—have no such power.  Nevertheless, many people today are enticed by the idea that God is speaking supernaturally through these frauds. In order to help your friends, you should gently point out the superior authority of Scripture and refer them to passages such as 2 Peter 1:16–21, 2 Timothy 3:16, Jude 3, and Psalm 19:7–11." Another good resource is John MacArthur’s two-part series, The Sufficiency of Scripture.

Justin Peters, speaking at John MacArthur’s church said, “Sarah Young writes, 'During 1992 I began reading God Calling, a devotional book by two anonymous listeners. These women practice waiting quietly in God’s presence, pencils and papers in hand, recording the messages they receive from Him.'  This was her inspiration, reading this book God Calling, written by these two anonymous female mystics. They claim to tune in just to the right frequency; they tune in to God’s frequency and God began speaking to them and they were writing down what He said.  Does that sound familiar what happened about two thousand years ago with the Apostles?  Sarah Young says, ‘I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more.’

"You see, the Bible was just no longer enough. The Bible wasn’t enough. In theory, theologically conservative evangelical Christians, whatever that term means nowadays, but in theory we have won the battle over the inerrancy of God’s Word.  But where the battle is raging today is over the sufficiency of God’s Word. And you know what?  We’re losing that battle…big time.

"Sarah Young says, 'I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believed He was saying.' 'Houston, we have a problem.' So Sarah Young tuned in, she got to just the right frequency and Jesus began calling Sarah Young. And with pen in hand, writing down what He said. Dear Ones, if that is indeed what is happening, then Sarah Young is writing Scripture. She’s writing Scripture and when you read this devotional book, and it is light years ahead of any other devotional book on the market; I mean light years ahead.  It’s written in the first person for Jesus. 'I, Jesus, will do these things. I am such-and-such, I know this.' She writes in the first person for Jesus. When you read it, it’s a very warm, fuzzy, emotional effeminate Jesus. Ladies are eaten up with this. There’s a shocking lack of discernment in the church today; shocking lack of discernment. 

Beth Moore also claims that God speaks to her and even going so far as saying, 'Now Beth, you write this down.' Dear friends, that is profoundly dangerous; it’s profoundly dangerous. All these people going around saying God spoke to me; let me tell you what He had to say.  God spoke to me and told me to tell you that you need to do this.  You need to do such-and-such. 'Pastor, God spoke to me and he told me our church needs to go this way.'

Friends, Jesus is the final speaking of God; the final speaking of God. Everything that God has to say to us, He has said in His Son Jesus Christ. And we have a perfect, inerrant, infallible, all-sufficient record of that in His Word. Jesus is the final speaking of God. Dear ones, if you want to hear God speak to you, there’s one way I can guarantee you that you will hear God speak, read your Bible. If you want to hear God speak to you audibly, read it out loud. I promise you, I promise you, you’ll hear Him speak.” 

Tim Challies, a book reviewer wrote this: “James Montgomery Boice once said that the real battle in our times would not be the inerrancy or infallibility of Scripture, but its sufficiency—are we going to rely on the Bible or will we continually long for other revelation? In Jesus Calling we see this so clearly. Young teaches that though the Bible is inerrant and infallible, it is insufficient. It was not enough for her and, implicitly, she teaches that it cannot be enough for us. After all, it was not reading Scripture that proved her most important spiritual discipline, but this listening, this receiving of messages from the Lord. It is not Scripture she brings to us, not primarily anyway, but these messages from Jesus.”

The Word is clear about those who add to the Words of God. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Revelation 22:18, 19). In fairness, Young claims not to be adding to the Word of God, and defends the completeness of the scriptures. She believes herself to be showing believers what Jesus has said to her, and that they too can have a closer communion with Jesus where He will speak to them; just as many seek to achieve in Contemplative Prayer. 

The reason God doesn't allow women to be leaders in the church and preachers or teachers to men is recording in 1 Timothy 2:14, "
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." All of the great theologians of the past were men for a reason. Many things that Sarah writes sound good and biblical but one must be concerned with not only why and where she got the inspiration for her book, but also does Jesus intend for believers to be hearing His Words through one who claims not to be an apostle or prophet? As David Pawson wrote, "Eve, as typical woman, was more liable to be misled and therefore more likely to mislead...Sentimental theology and situational ethics ('unconditional love') are eroding our understanding of a God and a gospel of righteousness, to say nothing of judgement to come. Yet it is only against this backcloth that the beauty and brightness of God's glorious 'agape' love can be truly appreciated."

We must be very careful what we are filling our minds with. I encourage you to get most of your learning from reading and studying the Bible, then listening to godly men who teach the Scripture accurately such as John MacArthur, Michael Pearl, Charles Swindoll, and John Piper. If you want to listen to solid female Bible teachers, I encourage you to listen to Nancy Campbell, Elisabeth Elliott and Nancy Leigh DeMoss who don't fail to teach the most important things that God commands older women to teach. If all Christian women were only listening to women like these who clearly teach Titus 2:3-5, there would be very few divorces and a LOT more babies with mothers at home caring for their children. It is of little benefit to know the Word of God thoroughly but to ignore God's clear admonitions of loving and obeying your husband, loving your children enough to be a keeper at home, with training and disciplining them in the ways of the Lord.

If you are looking for good devotionals, I recommend Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. Ken and I read it almost every morning and it convicts, challenges and encourages us in our walk with Jesus. However, we always read the Bible, the pure Word of God, afterwards!

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; 
continue in them: 
for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, 
and them that hear thee.
1 Timothy 4:16

Monday, November 23, 2015

She has a Merry Heart ~ Chapter Two

Most people thought of me as a positive and happy person most of my growing up years. In fact, one time in my public high school, I walked by a group of guys and smiled and said, "Hello!" One of the guys said to the rest, "She'd smile if she was a piece of sh*t in the toilet!" {It's funny how you never forget mean words said about you.} However, it does give you a clue as to how others viewed me!

The problem was when I got married. I was often upset with Ken but I knew I was happy with everyone else. Therefore, I thought it was him who caused me to lose my joy. As soon as I read the second chapter in Debi's book, I realized it was MY problem! Immediately, I began smiling at him whenever I saw him! This is the first assignment I give to every woman I have ever mentored since most have forgotten to smile at their husbands. A merry heart is the foundation of health and happiness. And the day you have a merry heart will be the first day of rebuilding your marriage into the heavenly gift it was meant to be.*

When we smile warmly at our husbands, they sense that we accept them and appreciate them. Also, they feel like we are happy to see them! I love even smiling at people in stores, in parking lots or wherever I am. They almost always smile back at me. There is POWER in a smile!!! I have also found it to be a great face lift as I have gotten older. "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance" {Proverbs 15:13}. Everyone is drawn to a smile and wants to be a friend to someone overflowing with goodwill. Men are highly attracted to smiles...Women spend billions of dollars every year to make themselves more attractive, but the most effective beauty aid is free - a joyful smile.*

There have been studies done asking men all over the world what was the most important quality they look for in a woman and it is a joyful woman! Everyone likes being around joyful people. Life is difficult. Dwelling on all of the ugliness of the world will NEVER make you joyful. You must begin to do what the Lord commands you to do; Dwell on the lovely, the good, and the pure!

In this chapter, we come to my favorite quote from Debi; "No man has ever crawled out from under his wife's criticism to become a better man - no matter how justified her condemnation.* I have memorized this quote since I use it so often! God commands us to overcome evil with good. Constantly criticizing our husbands will NEVER draw them closer to us; in fact we are a foolish woman who tears our own home down if we criticize our husbands thinking this will shape them up. It's NOT our job to make them into a godly man; it is the Lord's job. Whenever you are upset with him, quickly train your mind to think of all the good qualities that he possesses. You will never win him to yourself by being angry and upset with him. The tool of your warfare is your loving, kind, delightful, radiant, adoring self.*

Even our tone of voice, posture and eyes show our appreciation or disapproval of our husbands. I have asked Ken to help me in this area and point out to me anytime I do something that causes him to feel disrespected. It has helped a ton! Many times, we are so used to behaving a certain way that we may not even realize we are acting inappropriately. He needs to hear gladness and appreciation in your voice when you speak to him, even when you are talking of everyday things. He needs this as much, or perhaps more than, sexual release.*

Every woman wants to feel adored, loved and cherished by their husband, however, many go about it the completely wrong way. For many years, I was trying to make Ken cherish me by being angry and critical with him. As he drew farther away from me, I would get even more angry with him and even decided at one time that he sure wasn't the husband I dreamed about. Thankfully, the Lord got a hold of my silly, foolish notion and showed me that if you want your husband to cherish you, you must work hard to cause him to want to cherish you by loving him deeply, serving, pleasing, submitting, obeying, and loving deeply. God stands with you when you stand by your man, but you will stand alone if you insist on standing by your rights. Always remember that the day you stop smiling is the day you stop trying to make your marriage heavenly, and it is the first day leading to your divorce proceedings.*

Your homework this week is to begin smiling at your husband! Don't be surprised if he can't figure out what is different about you. He may ask you if you have lost weight, changed your hair or something else. He'll know something is different about you!

Every wise woman buildeth her house:
 but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
Proverbs 14:1

***Please feel free to write quotes that touched you in the comment section or questions and insights you may have!

*Quotes taken from the book.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Men Make Better Pastors

All Christians who believe the Bible will affirm that the office of elder {Pastors are simply the elders who labor in preaching and teaching} is limited to men. We affirm this because the Bible says it with greater clarity than almost anything else.

However, as we affirm this truth, we often make the mistake of giving too much ground. Given what Scripture says, we should not affirm that a woman would make a fine pastor, but we can't do that because Scripture does not permit us to do it. She would not make a fine pastor.

The reason for this is very straightforward: a woman would make a terrible pastor because she would exercise her pastoral duties without the aid of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will not empower us to do what the Spirit has explicitly commanded us not to do. In short: men make better pastors because faithful, qualified men are empowered by the Spirit to do the Spirit's work. {Tim Dukeman on Facebook}

There are many good women Bible teachers. I have no problem with women teaching the Word of God for even Paul wrote to Timothy how his faith was taught to him by his mother and grandmother {2 Timothy 1:5}. We must be women of the Word and know Truth so we can pass it down to the next generation.

However, I do have a big problem with women who stand behind podiums in churches and teach the Word to men since this is strictly forbidden. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church {1 Corinthians 14:34, 35}. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence {1 Timothy 2:11, 12}.

Men are to be the leaders and preachers in the church! This is how God ordained it and we must obey it. If you go to a church with women preachers and teachers of men, I encourage you to find another church who obeys the Word of God. We must fear God and take His Word seriously, women! It’s not something we want to fool around with. I would NEVER feel comfortable teaching in a church service or a Bible study where men were present since I know this is not my role.

***The picture I used is John MacArthur. He has been faithfully preaching the Word for many years. In fact, I went to his church once in a while when I was in high school, a long time ago. He is one of the very best expositors of the Bible today. If you want to listen to his sermons, go HERE.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Overuse of the Word "Abuse"

While reading a book about marriage, I read about two women who were going to share their stories about being abused by their husbands. Then the author explained one wife "suffered the pain of pornography" and the other one "endured the pain of verbal abuse." I agree these are sins committed against these wives but I believe we use the word "abuse" way too often and diminish what some women are enduring at the hands of their husbands.

These are both painful situations a wife must endure. However, would you describe a husband enduring a wife who rarely gives him sex, isn't submissive, nags, manipulates, and controls her husband "abusive?" Many would not, yet it is every bit as painful for a man to endure this from his wife as it is for a wife to endure a husband's involvement in porn or verbal abuse.

For some reason in this society, many husbands "abuse" their wives, yet extremely few women are ever accused of abusing their husbands. {Although, we are hearing about this more often these days.} If a wife was being physically abused by her husband, I would encourage her to call the authorities and get help immediately. However, I wouldn't advise her to do this if her husband were involved in porn or verbally abusive. I would encourage her to study I Peter 2 and 3 then go about winning her disobedient husband by her godly life and seek to have a meek and quiet spirit. She also needs to find an older, godly woman to encourage and strengthen her for the battle; it is a spiritual battle being waged in the heavens.

Some women I have mentored tell me they are being emotionally abused by their husbands. Yes, their husbands aren't treating them with kindness and love but when I dig deeper, I find MANY sins the wives are committing against their husbands, such as disrespect, scolding them, treating them as a child, always being angry and upset with them, etc.

I think we need to be careful about using the word "abuse" so we don't diminish what some women are enduring at the hands of their husbands. If your husband is verbally harsh with you, memorize all the verses having to do with this: a soft answer turns away wrath; overcome evil with good; love bears all things; hopes all things; endures all things, and many others similar to it. If he's an alcoholic or has some other physical addiction, find a godly, older women to mentor you, give you wisdom and hopefully guide you in a biblical way. If you are being physically abused by your husband, please read this post and get help quickly.

For even hereunto were ye called: 
because Christ also suffered for us, 
leaving us an example, 
that ye should follow his steps.
1 Peter 2:21

Friday, November 20, 2015

Can Wives Contribute to Their Husband's Affair?

{Written by Ken and me}

Many scream "Foul" if anyone accuses a wife of having anything whatsoever to do if her husband has an affair. I agree that any man or wife who cheats on their spouse is the one who is ultimately accountable for their sin, yet let's take a close look at what God's Word says about this subject. If Christians are called to NOT cause another believer to stumble {Romans 14:21}, certainly a spouse can do much to help prevent an affair, even if it is not their fault if a spouse chooses to break their covenant vows. 

We know Paul commands husbands and wives to not deprive each other except for a time of prayer and fasting. However, the verse that exhorts couples about this subject ends with, "come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control" {1 Corinthians 7:5}. Therefore, the reason we must NOT deprive our spouse is to protect them from being tempted by Satan since the Lord knows it is too easy for the spouse that is being deprived to go looking elsewhere because of their lack of self-control. 

Therefore, don't deprive your spouse to help protect your marriage. We are commanded to NOT deprive them!!!  If we deprive them, we are not doing our part to protect our spouse. Love says that we must do our part to help our spouse stay faithful, and when one regularly deprives their spouse, it can easily become the wedge that drives them to seek sex outside the marriage bed. Two wrongs never make a right, but you will be held accountable for your depriving your spouse, even if you are not held accountable for his or her affair.  Depriving your spouse sexually is a sin. 

Women have told me {Lori} that married men should be able to have extended times of celibacy and be fine with no sex since godly single men like Paul lived without ever having sex and did not have affairs. There are so many things wrong with this statement including the fact that a Christian wife is NOT the one who should be determining the frequency of sex in the marriage. There is a BIG difference between a single, godly man who does not have to live just feet from an attractive woman that he is not to able to touch or have intimacy with and a married man. More so, a husband by marital contract and promised vows is living in anticipation of having regular sex, unlike a single man who has not been willing to be married to a wife and meet her needs. It takes an extra large dose of self-control for any married man who is being sexually deprived from his wife compared to a single man, especially when anger sets in over the unwarranted and often unkind situation.

Godly, single men who want to walk in purity and godliness have the opportunity to make a covenant with their eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman {Job 31:1}. However,  if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn {1 Corinthians 7:9}. The main reason most men and women marry is because they are burning with the need for sexual expression. Neither husbands nor wives should be causing the other to burn any longer by depriving them.

What many wives do not realize, although affairs can happen for many reasons including stupidity, most men long for a close relationship with their wife, and to a man, sexual expression is a key part of that. Men want to bond sexually and have a wife not just lay there, but to actively participate in sexual enjoyment, together as one; sex is not the end point of their sexual need, but a part of creating the closeness they desire with the one which they chose to live out their life with. Sex as a duty is important, but even that is not enough to affair-proof a marriage; if one is not seeking the ultimate purpose of sex to create life-long, connected commitment and closeness to each other.

In conclusion, women and men, DON'T deprive your spouse!!! God commands that you  protect your spouse from Satan's temptations. No one but the Lord can ultimately judge if an offended spouse is partially responsible for an affair, but God's Word sure makes it sound like they may well indeed be partially culpable if they are depriving a spouse of sex; even if each one is responsible for their own sins. God gave marriage precisely for sexual needs to be fulfilled in the marriage bed, including the close connections created by sexual enjoyment together. Only the offended spouse and God can ultimately know what happens in a home that may help a spouse excuse their inexcusable behaviors in an affair, but it seems that according to God's Word, not depriving your spouse can have a great impact on keeping a spouse from burning, and getting burned. 

***If your husband feels deprived due to illness, injury, childbirth, etc., please understand that these circumstances may be rare exceptions to what we are trying to convey through this post.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Heavy Burden Men Carry

When we were young and raising children, Ken worked extremely hard and has for many years. He was gone traveling half of the year and when he was home, he spent many hours in his office every day talking to clients and working on scheduling, building plans, etc. He took the job that God gave him to work hard and support his family very seriously.

My dad was the same way. He traveled almost an hour to work each day and got home every night around 7:00 after leaving around 6:00 in the morning. He never wanted my mom to work and knew he was the one to support his family.

Men carry a heavy burden of supporting their families, yet this is the way God intended it to be. As Melissa in the chat room said, "An older woman encouraged me when my husband was working TWO full-time jobs. She said, 'He was made to work. He can handle this.'" This is why God gave them ten times the testosterone and a much more muscular build than women. They are also much stronger than us and have more energy to accomplish the role that God gave them. 

Women, on the other hand, are the "weaker vessel" according to God's Word. God gave us the role of bearing and nurturing our children. He gave us the role of WORKING in our home; not being lazy and entertaining ourselves. It takes a lot of time to train and discipline children, keep a neat and tidy home, fix nourishing meals and be a help meet to our husbands, but since our work is in the home, we don't have to deal with the stress that our husbands have to deal with in meeting deadlines and making their bosses, clients, etc. happy and satisfied plus bringing in enough income to support a family. 

Why women ever fought for the right to leave their homes so they can have careers is beyond me. Why would they want to take up the man's curse along with their own of pain in childbirth? It ended up being a big, fat deception from Satan since women thought they could find contentment outside of the home. They are not built for careers in the same way that men are. There is nothing in the Bible that matches the feminist's agenda: having careers outside of the home; having equal pay with men; being able to do what men do; birth control that gives a woman the right to decide when to have children; abortion when pregnancy was inconvenient; preschool so they could work, etc. Show me one verse that supports the feminist's agenda! You won't find one so please never say you are a feminist if you love the Lord and His ways, since feminist's ways are completely contradictory to His plan for women. Instead, believe God's Word and His ways for men and women.

Thanks to the feminist's movement we also have many divorces. Since women so badly wanted careers, they expect their husbands to be "mommy's helper" and are upset with them if they are not. They are trying to find satisfaction outside of the role the Lord has given them and they will NEVER find it there. 

God's role for you, women, is very good. If your husband works his tail off providing for you, thank him! Spend his money wisely. Live within his income. Make sure you always make him a priority in your life. Build him up to your children and others. Providing an income for your family is a heavy burden they must bear all of their lives, so instead of complaining {which is sin}, express your appreciation often to them for this is God's role for men.

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Genesis 3:17-19

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Searching Yet Unable to Come to the Truth

{Written by KEN}

It is not unusual for the Christian to long for something more in their spiritual life; to want to have a deeper and more abiding relationship with God that helps to satisfy a longing for intimacy with the Creator that has been missing since the days Adam and Eve walked in the garden with Jesus and fellowshipped with Him. Many a Christian movement, church and cult have been founded on this seeming need for more spirituality and more of a real and emotional connection with God. The mystics have been with us since the founding of the church; those who desire not just a relationship based on God’s Word and promises, but a real time emotional connection with God.

Many of us hear our pastors interject the quotes of many a mystic, and particularly one modern day mystic named Henri Nouwen. Nouwen, like many mystics, have excellent things to say about many aspects of spiritual life and hence make great quotes to spice up a sermon and cause the listener to think; "I do want something more than just knowing about God. I want to be in fellowship with Him and walk with Him in my daily life."

Recently we discovered a conference for Christian women where many of the well-known Christian women bloggers and book writers presented their views on spiritual life. Much of what was taught seemed to point from an old model of Christianity that is said to no longer be working to a new model based on the emergent church where women take on a whole new role as leaders in the church. I am sure that much of what was taught was biblically accurate as the listener was moved emotionally by emotional stories and videos to seek a deeper love for others; a strong sense of security in self-worth and a contemplative prayer life. The virtues of the words of Jesus as given by Sarah Young in her long time best seller Jesus Calling seems to also help many believers create an emotional bond to Jesus. 

Unfortunately, this new budding movement is too often not discerning enough to be able to weed out those things not based on God’s Word, but on emotionalism and new age speculation that is rampant in the emergent church. Like with Sarah Young, God seemingly speaks directly to the leaders and teachers of the movement, and how can one argue if “God says so?” God's Word in the Bible appears to take a back seat to a level of spirituality and contemplative prayer that is to replace the "old time religion."

Well, let me not argue with the movement, but instead encourage you to make an easy test for whether or not a female Christian blogger or author is on the right track or the wrong one. Do they honor God’s Word or instead seek only an emotional personal word from the Lord that they then want you too to believe is for you and the modern day church. My test questions come from Lori and are quite simple as older women are commanded to teach the younger women these things:

Do they ever mention what young women are called to do according to the Word?

Do they teach that a wife is to be obedient and submissive to her husband?

Is loving your children enough to discipline and train them in the ways of the Lord an important theme?

Do they exhort women to be chaste and modest, keepers at home, along with warning that those women who are not doing these things are blaspheming the Word of God?

"Titus 2:3-5 is the most important text in the Bible on married women's roles; capsulizing a young wife's marital, sexual, biological, economic, authority and ministering roles. Yet, women's books {and blogs} routinely ignore, mutilate or even mock this passage. There appears to be a great desire to accommodate Christianity to our culture, and a corresponding willingness to dismiss the Bible's teaching as a remnant of outdated, male-dominated culture." {Mary Price}

If your favorite female blogger or author is not teaching any of these important Biblical themes, and perhaps not even applying these things to her own life as her ministry comes first above her husband and family life, I suggest you stop learning them. Find Christian women who are teaching these important principles since this is what God wants young women to learn and know. These are what will make the biggest difference in your life and will be the greatest benefit to your family. {Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Elisabeth Elliot, Nancy Campbell, and women like these are who you should be listening to and learning from!}

So much of the church is now seeking something new, something exciting, something intimately and emotionally connected to God through contemplative prayer and the speaking in tongues with miracles. Jesus knows that mankind wants signs and wonders and he spoke against needing such things when he said: “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe” {John 4:48} and "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah" {Matthew 12:39}.

Listen, we are not against new and exciting. We are not against a contemplative prayer life, or even having one sense that God is speaking directly to you and not against speaking in tongues. What we are strongly against is when Christian teachers want to teach a new gospel and ignore, or go against, what is clearly written in the Word of God. God’s Word will stand forever, and before the believer starts running to a deeper spiritual life filled with emotional intimacy they should first ask the question, “Am I obeying God at His Word with what I already know to be true?” God honors those who honor His Word, and I fear that He allows those who walk away from it into emotionalism, and new things for the church, to be distracted from a true spiritual life, all the while thinking that God is with them.

If you want to know the dangers of Christian mysticism where God speaks to a mystic directly all the while this teacher moves away from the foundational truths of God’s Word, listen to Henri Nouwen, the philosopher who your pastor may be quoting this Sunday, in his final book, and tell me if you can see the lie plainly. It's not the lie that Buddhism and Hinduism and all religions have much to offer Christianity, but it is the ultimate culmination of exactly what Satan wants to do in the end of times; to form all of the world's religions into one religion upon which the Whore of Babylon may ride. The modern feel-good religion of Christianity where Christ dies for all, and nothing more is necessary for salvation because Love Wins:

“Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God's house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today, I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.” {Henri Nouwen}

Mixed with many great thoughts about the spiritual life and how to get close to God are often lies that cut right through the heart of Christianity because an individual heard God’s voice which was louder than His infallible Word. Don’t ever allow anything to trump what God has already clearly told us in His Word, as God, and His Word, are never changing. 

Herein lies the truth of the matter; Henri Nouwen may indeed have been a wonderful Christian priest who through his battles with with loneliness, homosexual inclinations, which he is said to have never acted upon, and depression, has left Christianity with a wealth of spiritual thoughts and gems that can lead us to a closer walk with Jesus. So too, these emergent women may have some things to offer in their quest to recreate a more living and applicable modern gospel, but let us never walk away from the time-tested truths that God Himself has spoken so that one might move forward into "spirituality" while leaving God's established truths behind. 

There are many differing Christian ideologies, and we must embrace our brothers and sisters in Christ, all the while "testing to see if this spirit is from God" {I John 4:1}. To run ahead with personal spirituality without doing those things you know God has called you to do, is a test where you are failing God at His Word.  As for me, I would much rather hear a great preacher like Charles Spurgeon in his devotional Morning and Evening than focus upon the modern words of one who hears a voice of Jesus. The apostles and prophets I know, but I can't ever have certainty of words received by women who hear a personal voice of Jesus speaking to them well beyond the end of the Good Book.

Let the reader beware; for the Devil was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:44