Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Trouble Obeying Your Husband?

Many disdain the idea of obeying their husband. They may think it resembles a child-parent or a slave-master relationship instead of a marriage. Many have accused me that this teaching leads women to being abused! They much prefer “mutual submission” and not just having one leader in the home. Are we commanded to obey our husbands? Yes, absolutely. Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement (1 Peter 3:6). We are to obey our husbands just as Sara obeyed Abraham and she even called him “lord” showing him her respect and submission.

What if you have friends who despise the idea of obeying their husbands? What should you say to them to convince them that this is indeed how they are supposed to be with their husbands? I asked the chat room for their opinions and they gave me some great ideas!

Lindsay: “I would ask whether obeying their boss sounds like a parent-child relationship or whether obeying a police officer sounds like a parent-child relationship. We all have to obey authority, not just children.”

Adrienne: I would say to them ‘You are actually saying you can't stand God's Word.... ‘ And then tell them the Scriptures and admit that as sinners this can be difficult but we will be sanctified and grow...”

Amber: I'm not sure what I would say, but what I see happening in so many marriages is the wife trying to treat her husband like a child and forcing him (usually through nagging) to obey her. Most of the men I know want peaceful lives and don't abuse their position of authority in the family. That's not the case for all men and women of course, but I think it's true for the majority of couples. Obeying my husband is pretty easy for me because he is calm, likes to make rational decisions based on facts and not feelings or emotions, and he never uses childish tactics to get his way. Plus biblical submission is a willing decision made by the wife. If the husband is forcing the wife to obey, that's not submission. I don't even really think about submission on a daily basis because it's just kind of a daily decision to be kind and loving and respectful to my husband as we should be to all people. I think about it more in important decisions.”

Amy: “I would say it's God I'm obeying.”

Dina:  I would say that it is very fulfilling to me because it is just how God designed it to be.”

Brooke:  “I'd challenge them. Be obedient to your husband’s authority for thirty days. After thirty days, let's catch up and see where you stand. I would have never believed it either. I thought my husband would abuse his power. I felt I'd feel like a timid woman-child. I felt like he'd actually want someone else after a while (someone who didn't let him ‘walk all over her’). There is very little you can do to persuade someone....the outcomes provide the best example.”

Kayla:  “I'd say I didn't marry my husband to disrespect and disregard his thoughts and feelings for the rest of my life. I married him because I love and trust him to lead us and our family in any situation.”

Our obedience to our husbands is our God-ordained role. If you want to fight it, you are fighting the Lord. His will is always the best place for you to be so stop fighting and begin obeying Him. You will find rest for your souls living in the center of His perfect will for you.

Teach the younger women to be... obedient to their husbands.
Titus 2:4, 5

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Beautifying Our Homes

A wise woman builds up her home and a foolish one tears it down. How do we build up our homes and beautify them? There are many ways we can do both and give God the glory for it all! He is the One who created the family and puts families in homes; He is also the One who blesses them when we live for Him and do things the way He has called us to do for He promises that we will reap what we sow.

Sow beauty into your home. Work hard at home keeping it clean and tidy. Never be so busy away from home that your home becomes unkempt. Let every child have one basket of toys and teach them to put their toys back into their own basket after playing with them. When you see something that needs to be cleaned, don’t put it off but do it as soon as you can. If you see a dirty toilet, clean it. If something needs dusting, dust it. In this way, nothing will ever become overwhelming because you have kept on top of the little things and haven’t allowed them to grow into big jobs. When you spill something, wipe it up immediately so it doesn’t harden and make it harder to clean up. As soon as you climb out of your bed in the morning, make your bed. Clean the sink out if you see it is dirty while you are brushing your teeth. Think of beautifying your home as you clean it, because this is what you are doing. A clean home is a beautiful home! 

“It is almost impossible for a child to grow up into loveliness of character, gentleness of disposition, and purity of heart – amid scenes of slovenliness, untidiness, repulsiveness and filthiness. But a clean home, with tasteful and simple adornments and pleasant surroundings – is an influence of incalculable value in the education of children.” (J. R. Miller)

Sow kindness into your home. Speak only words of kindness to all those who dwell in your home. Even when you are upset with your children, you can speak kindly to them; for anger and angry words do not accomplish the righteous life that God requires of us. Speak kindly to your husband. Practice it daily and eventually, it will become a habit to be kind.

Sow patience in your home. In 1 Corinthians, the love chapter, have you noticed that patience is the first quality of love? Love is patient; love is kind. We will all make mistakes and no one will ever be perfect on this earth. Don’t get upset when your children make mistakes. Be patient with them as your Heavenly Father is patient with you. Be patient with your husband. Allow him to make mistakes in his leadership of your home. We all grow and learn through our mistakes. Being angry and impatient will never accomplish anything beneficial. They only injure the relationships and create distance between others.

Sow faithfulness in your home. Faithfully read the Word to your children. Speak of your faith often to them. Teach them to be faithful to their friends and to their word. Make sure they follow through with the commitments they have made. Be faithful to your husband in every way, even what you place before your eyes. Don’t read or watch anything that could cause you to be unfaithful to your husband, even in your mind. Be faithful to the Lord and walk worthy of Him within your home; giving none occasion for others to speak evil of His Holy name.

Sow contentment into your home. Godliness with contentment is great gain. Let your family see that you are content in life. Choose to be content with the size and location of your home. Don’t allow grumbling and complaining into your home. Be content to live on your husband’s income and how you must live within it. Contentment is a beautiful quality to pursue.

Sow cheerfulness into your home. The joy of the Lord is your strength! Let your children see how wonderful it is to follow Christ. Let them see that it is the best thing in the world and nothing the world has to offer can compare. Be cheerful with your husband and your children. Smile every time you see them. Be cheerful to the clerk at the store and all those you meet. Everyone can use a warm and friendly smile.

Sow thankfulness into your home. Be thankful. Thank the Lord daily for His blessings; for the food on the table and the roof over your head, for eternal life and His blessed Son, for living mightily within you and the peace He blesses you with. No matter what your situation in life, you can find things to be thankful for. Make sure your children see and hear you being thankful. In this way, you are creating a beautiful home for your family.

She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31:27

Monday, August 29, 2016

Working Outside the Home to Be a Role Model For Her Children

A couple in Britain makes a decent income with both of them working full time. They have two children with one on the way. They have no extras to go on dates or vacations but spend a hefty portion of their earnings on child care. “Financially, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to be working, but I wish to be a good role model to my children and don’t want Alex to shoulder all the burden.” For another couple who are squeaking by on two incomes; “Childcare is the big drain: more than a third of our earnings goes on paying our childminder to look after the boys three days a week.”

Neither of these couples live extravagantly. They shop carefully yet can hardly make ends meet. A third couple makes a great income together but their childcare also takes a huge sum from their income. “Some people might wonder why we need two cars, but they’re essential for us to be able to get to work and nursery (child care).” All three couples say they are broke and are forced to borrow from family.

If each of these mothers came home, sold their second car (cars are very expensive to maintain and insure) and took their children out of all day care, they can easily afford to live on one income. However, what I want to specifically address is the statement, “I want to be a good role model to my children…” I have read and heard this statement before. Mothers work even though they don’t want nor need to so they can be good role models for their children.

What are they modeling for their children as they leave them in the care of strangers each day? Their jobs are more important than they are. Having someone care for them who is a stranger is more important than their own mother being the one to care for them. Money is more important than they are to their mothers. They are unimportant since their mothers don’t want to be with them all day. This is what they are modeling to their children and they are all negatives in a child’s mind.

What are mothers afraid of? That the glass ceiling women broke through will not mean anything to their children? That their children will grow up to be lazy bums and won’t want to do a thing? Or possibly, their daughters may choose to stay home and raise their own children since this was modeled to them? Would this be so terrible? In the eyes of today’s culture, yes, it would be terrible.

Instead, mothers are willing to sacrifice their time with their precious children to work for strangers every day not knowing that because they have decided to do this their children have a much greater risk of growing up to be insecure and emotionally unstable. They will have a more difficult time bonding with others. This is a mighty steep price to pay to be a role model to their children.

Now, our government wants to pay for childcare to make it easier for mothers to work instead of encouraging mothers to be home and care for their own children. The idiocy of it all is astounding! Then the one mother says she wants to continue working so the burden won’t fall on her husband’s shoulders. They have proven, after looking at all of their expenses, that it makes no sense to pay for childcare and they would actually save money if the wives didn’t work!

Stop falling for the lies of this culture and the enemy of your soul, women. This is who is behind the entire masquerade. He doesn’t want mothers at home raising their children. He knows how important it is for the children and if he can steal the children, he has won. Your children need you! They want you and only you! You are irreplaceable to your children. Go home and stay there. Your children will benefit for a lifetime for this simple choice you make and one day will praise you for it. There is no place like a home with the mother in it. She is the heartbeat and warmth of the home. She beautifies it and keeps it running smoothly. Home is where a mother belongs.

He makes the barren women to keep house 
and be a joyful mother of children.
Psalm 113:9

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Keep Out That Monster Unbelief

Written By Charles Spurgeon
Strive with all diligence to keep out that monster - unbelief. It so dishonors Christ, that he will withdraw his visible presence if we insult him by indulging it. It is true it is a weed, the seeds of which we can never entirely extract from the soil, but we must aim at its root with zeal and perseverance.

 Among hateful things it is the most to be abhorred. Its injurious nature is so venomous that he that exercise it and he upon whom it is exercised are both hurt thereby. In thy case, O believer! it is most wicked, for the mercies of thy Lord in the past, increase thy guilt in doubting him now.

 When thou dost distrust the Lord Jesus, he may well cry out, "Behold I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves." This is crowning his head with thorns of the sharpest kind.

 It is very cruel for a well-beloved wife to mistrust a kind and faithful husband. The sin is needless, foolish, and unwarranted. Jesus has never given the slightest ground for suspicion, and it is hard to be doubted by those to whom our conduct is uniformly affectionate and true.

 Jesus is the Son of the Highest, and has unbounded wealth; it is shameful to doubt Omnipotence and distrust all-sufficiency. The cattle on a thousand hills will suffice for our most hungry feeding, and the granaries of heaven are not likely to be emptied by our eating. If Christ were only a cistern, we might soon exhaust his fullness, but who can drain a fountain? Myriads of spirits have drawn their supplies from him, and not one of them has murmured at the scantiness of his resources.

 Away, then, with this lying traitor unbelief, for his only errand is to cut the bonds of communion and make us mourn an absent Savior. Bunyan tells us that unbelief has "as many lives as a cat:" if so, let us kill one life now, and continue the work till the whole nine are gone. Down with thee, thou traitor, my heart abhors thee.

"How long will it be ere they believe me?"
Numbers 14:11

Friday, August 26, 2016

Critical Care Surgeon to Full Time Mother

Kathryn Butler was a trauma and critical care surgeon. She saved lives and worked long days. In today’s world, this is way more acclaimed and rewarded than any mother at home ever could be. After all, a mother at home is only raising children and that has low priority on the totem pole in today’s fast driven culture. Feminists cheer for Kathryn and society rejoices that yet another woman has broken the glass ceiling and can have it all. Yahoo! However, she had a baby who almost died and immediately understood the depth of love a mother has for her child; he tore the floodgates to my heart wide open.”

She continued to work long hours since this is what mothers do today. She had another baby not long afterwards, returned to working long, grueling hours but soon realized that after missing her children’s first smile, step, and word, she knew it was time to resign and go home for good when she understood that she was the one needed to be home with her children, not her husband. The harried days, the teaching, and the hours in the operating room, once so important, paled in comparison with my call to shepherd the children with whom God entrusted me. When my daughter, not yet nine months old, burst into tears as I lifted my backpack to leave for an out-of-state conference, the Lord drove the point home.”

She wrote, “Cradled in sin, we are born with a proclivity to pursue things that glorify ourselves, rather than those that glorify God.” It would be difficult to use mothering as a way to glorify ourselves since it has no awards, praise, recognitions or achievements from the world. Many today make it appear like it is the worst thing in the world for a woman to choose to do. This is why we must have the mindset when being a mother that we are giving up our sleep, sacrificing our bodies, time and talents for precious human beings. We are doing it to glorify God, since He is the One who asks us to have children, be keepers at home and be content while doing them. Don’t worry about having a name for yourself or making money to prove you are of value, mother. Contrary to what culture tells us, “You are not wasting your life being a mother!” Nothing that God calls women to do is a waste of a life, but you must take the feminist mindset that you have probably been raised with and exchange it for the Lord’s mindset and what He values. He values humility and humble service, not looking for worldly praise.

“Oh, but don’t you need a career to fall back on when your children are all grown?” Many have asked me this question whenever I write about women being wives, mothers, and keepers at home. Kathryn’s response to this was outstanding, “The premise rests on an understanding of personal satisfaction as the chief aim in life. For such well-meaning friends, hope depends on identity through accomplishment.” When children are grown up and gone, women today are pressured to go and finally “do something for you!” If you don’t need the money, how about doing something for the Lord, like teaching younger women, as the Lord asks us to do? Younger women are in desperate need for older women to come alongside them and help them in the ways of being a wife and mother. Do you know what a huge impact this would have on the Church and for the cause of Christ?

Young mother, never feel badly for being home with your children, not earning any money, and not having the world’s approval. You have the Lord’s approval and His is all that matters. You are storing your treasures in heaven.

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
1 Timothy 5:14

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Study to Be Quiet

This world is a noisy place. It is shouting to us all the time. The news shouts at us to dwell on the bad and ugly, and then worry about it since there’s nothing we can do about it. Hollywood shouts at us to have sex with whomever and whenever you want to and live the way that seems right for you. Advertisements shouts, “Buy me! Your life won’t be complete without this or that but hurry, there are only limited supplies and they go fast because everyone wants it!” It’s a mad, loud, and crazy world and it is not our own.

Then the Word who was made flesh comes along and tells us to “study to be quiet” (1 Thessalonians  4:11). He changed everything! Just as we have to learn to be content, we must learn to be quiet, especially we women since most of us love to talk and we are the ones given the admonition to have a “gentle and quiet” spirit. There are even Proverbs about a wife quarreling since words are the way we use to try to get our way and if we don’t, we quarrel until we do. If you don’t quarrel with your husband, your words will be much fewer. Men don’t like quarreling women since it takes away peace and most of them love peace.

So how do we learn to be quiet? For one thing, shut off anything that takes away your peace. If you are one to listen to the news and then fret and worry about it, stop listening to it. I have listened to hardly any news for months and my life is better. Instead of worrying, pray for our leaders as the Bible commands. Stop watching and supporting movies with immorality in them. If all Christians stopped watching them, it would make a huge impact. Limit television viewing. Tape your favorite shows and speed through the commercials like I do so I never have to see an advertisement. Stay out of malls since they shout at you too.

We are told to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Practice being a better listener. When people talk, listen to what they are saying and actually listen to them instead of trying to figure out what you are going to say next. When you want to argue with your husband or someone offends you and you want to fight back, bite your tongue and say nothing instead. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

Stay home if you are a mother with children.  The rest of the verse states, “and to do your own business and to work with your own hands.” Be busy with your hands within your home. When you see something that needs to be done, do it right then if you can. As soon as your children eat, clean up after them. After every meal, clean up and put away. Imagine how clean and tidy your home would be if your hands stayed busier than your mouth! (This includes writing on Facebook and twitter.) Make sure your business at home is what you focus your time and energy upon.

Your children will take a lot of your time since there is a lot that goes into raising, training, and disciplining children, especially when they are young. Teach your children to be quiet when they get older. Your modeling and using words of wisdom with them will have the greatest influence upon their lives. Do they hear you speaking words that are encouraging and uplifting? If we cut out all of the negative and critical words from coming out of your mouths, you would most likely become quieter. Never speak against your pastor on the way home from church, unless he has spoken something that was not true. Esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake (! Thessalonians 5:13). The more they hear you be optimistic and thinking the best of others, the more they will grow up to be the same. Let your words be wholesome and good words and in this way, you will learn to be quiet.

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 21

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How You Love Those Who Have Hurt You

The Lord tells us to “increase and abound in love one toward another” (1 Thessalonians 3:12). This includes deeply loving difficult husbands! Can you deeply love your disobedient, mean, and ornery husband? This includes that relative that completely rubs you the wrong way and may even be cruel to you. Do you treat them with patience and kindness, a large part of what love means?

We are also commanded to not worry? It’s so easy to worry about the state of our country and who will be the next President. It’s incessantly on the news, thus feeding our fears. Hollywood is getting more perverse. Pornography is easily available to all. It is definitely growing darker and more evil on planet earth, so do we worry?

If you are a child of the King, you can easily love those who are mean and even evil. This isn’t our home so we can trust in the One who died for us. Listen to what Charles Spurgeon has to say about all of this.

“Inasmuch as Jesus has gone before us, things do not remain as they would have been, had He never passed that way. He has conquered every foe that obstructed the way. Cheer up O faint-hearted warrior. Not only has Christ traveled the road but He has slain your enemies!

Do you dread sin? He has nailed it to His cross!

Do you fear death? He has been the death of death!

Whatever foes may be before the Christian - they are all overcome! There are lions but their teeth are broken! There are serpents but their fangs are extracted! There are flames but we wear that matchless garment which renders us invulnerable to fire!

The sword that has been forged against us is already blunted; the instruments of war which the enemy is preparing have already lost their point.

The Breaker, Christ, has taken away all the power that anything can have to hurt us. Well then, the army may safely march on, and you may go joyously along your journey, for all you enemies are conquered beforehand! Your victory shall be easy, and your treasure shall be beyond all count!”

Because of all this, we can easily increase and abound in love towards one another, even that husband of yours who has caused so much pain in your life, that mean relative, and all those who may even hate you! Because Christ has conquered, we can rest in Him about our future, about who will be President, and how bad our culture becomes. We can walk with our heads held high, a smile on our face, joy in our hearts, and kindness in our speech and actions. Yes, you can do all of these women, because your Savior died for you!

On Christ the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What are You Modeling for Your Children?

Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Be an example…in speech, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” Children are taught more by your example than your words. You can speak to them about the Word consistently but if you are not practicing what you teach, it won’t have an impact. You will have a greater influence upon your children’s lives than anyone or anything else. Take this seriously. You are molding eternal beings and your conduct will affect them until they die.

What is your speech like in front of your children? I hear mothers that call themselves “Christians” swear at their children and have no problem with using foul language. Their speech is not seasoned with salt but with rottenness. This should never be mothers! Your words should always be filled with kindness, encouragement, and never critical or demeaning others. Life and death are in the power of the tongue; to lift up or to tear down. Use your tongue to lift up the name of Jesus and build your children up.

What about the way you live? Are you careful to use your time wisely or do you spend it in frivolous pursuits? We should be known for good works; helping those around us in need and especially our families. Our times are short on this earth, therefore, we must use our time wisely and not fritter it away on the non-essentials.

Do you love others deeply? If you struggle with this, memorize 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 for this is the definition of love. If you aren’t being patient and kind towards your children, you are not truly loving them as the Lord has told you to love others. Yes, there will be difficult and hard times, but remember you are to believe the best, even of your children. Smother them with affection and kindness. It is the best gift you can give them.

What about faith? Do your children know you love the Lord deeply? If you asked them this question, how would they answer? Without faith, it is impossible to please the Lord or to raise godly children. Let your faith in the Risen Lord affect everything you do. Make sure church is a priority, regular times of prayer, and reading the Bible with them.

How about your purity? Are you careful what you read, watch, and listen to? If you tell your children they can only watch “proper” shows but you watch impure shows after they are you in bed, your hypocrisy will find you out. We must practice what we preach or it will all fall on deaf ears. Clean out your homes of any impurity. Teach your children about purity early and often. Pray they will yearn to be modest in the way they dress and pure with those of the opposite sex. Do everything in your power to keep them from impurity: Internet, TV shows, movies, and iPhones.

Finally, model integrity, honesty, kindness, and goodness to your children at all times, especially in the way you treat their father. Your respect and love towards him will have a greater influence on them than anything else you will do. Yes, all this may see overwhelming to you but remember, with God all things are possible.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Women Have a Tendency to Be Lazy and Gossip

Did you know it is human nature for women to be lazy and go from house to house? “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things they ought not” (1 Timothy 5:13). Women don’t want to stay at home but be out and about continually being away from the home and finding entertainment, a career and fulfillment instead of being where the Lord has called them to be. Do you see that the root of feminism is against God’s plan for women? Its entire mantra was to get women out of the home and it has accomplished what it set out to do.

This verse in Timothy was written long before cars were even invented so you can see how much easier it is for us to be away from the home than those in past generations. When the women left their homes, they could only go to their neighbor’s home. There they would gossip about others and tear their reputations apart. Now, with the advent of cars, Facebook, and twitter, it’s easy to leave our homes and spend it either pursuing careers, the malls, or wasting our time on the Internet.

What does God say about all of this? “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” This should be your goal in life, women. Godliness with contentment in the home is a beautiful, God-ordained role for us. How do you find contentment in the home while raising children all day when everything in our culture is screaming at you to find satisfaction outside of the home and be seekers of pleasure rather than seekers of God? It’s a decision you must make. Everything comes down to our thinking and controlling our thoughts: “I chose to find contentment in raising my children, being a help meet to my husband, and keeping a neat and tidy home.” If you are busy with all of these things, you won’t have time to continually seek pleasure and being entertained. “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

Make a conscious decision every day that your home and family is where you will spend your time and be content. You don’t need to be busy with all kinds of activities that keep you away from the home. If you decide that you do indeed want to be godly and content, you must make a commitment to knowing the Word of God to learn what godliness looks like and you will “learn” as Paul said he had to do (Philippians 4:11) in order to be content being busy in home.

I learned to be content at home many years ago because of my health. God uses our trials and suffering for good. Now that you know that these are exactly what the Lord wants from you, learn how to do this. All it takes is a desire and commitment to godliness and contentment. Limit your time on the Internet. Make sure the jobs the Lord has given you in the home are attended to first before seeking to be entertained.

What about “speaking about things they ought not?” Women are good at being critical and judgmental of others. There is one person in my life who I am close to and I have never heard them say a bad word about anyone. They don’t have judgmental thoughts, either. They simply accept people just the way they are. Everyone loves being around them. No one would ever have to worry about them gossiping or slandering them. It’s so easy to be critical and judgmental of others but instead, we must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and refuse to gossip and slander others. Love thinks the best of others which includes our husbands. As soon as a negative or critical thought comes into your head about someone, remind yourself that you are to dwell on the good and lovely about others and think more highly of them than you do yourself. Remember, love bears all things, hopes all things and endures all things.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

You Reap What You Sow

Written By Charles Spurgeon
We are here taught the great lesson, that to get, we must give; that to accumulate, we must scatter; that to make ourselves happy, we must make others happy; and that in order to become spiritually vigorous, we must seek the spiritual good of others. In watering others, we are ourselves watered. How? Our efforts to be useful, bring out our powers for usefulness.

We have latent talents and dormant faculties, which are brought to light by exercise. Our strength for labour is hidden even from ourselves, until we venture forth to fight the Lord's battles, or to climb the mountains of difficulty. We do not know what tender sympathies we possess until we try to dry the widow's tears, and soothe the orphan's grief. We often find in attempting to teach others, that we gain instruction for ourselves. Oh, what gracious lessons some of us have learned at sick beds!

We went to teach the Scriptures, we came away blushing that we knew so little of them. In our converse with poor saints, we are taught the way of God more perfectly for ourselves and get a deeper insight into divine truth. So that watering others makes us humble. We discover how much grace there is where we had not looked for it; and how much the poor saint may outstrip us in knowledge.

 Our own comfort is also increased by our working for others. We endeavour to cheer them, and the consolation gladdens our own heart. Like the two men in the snow; one chafed the other's limbs to keep him from dying, and in so doing kept his own blood in circulation, and saved his own life. The poor widow of Sarepta gave from her scanty store a supply for the prophet's wants, and from that day she never again knew what want was. Give then, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and running over.

He that watereth shall be watered also himself.
Proverbs 11:25

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Anything Worth Having Takes Work

Do you want a clean and tidy home? It takes hard work. It takes work to have well-disciplined children, nourishing and yummy meals, and a strong marriage. Everything that is worthwhile takes hard work and hard work provides a lasting reward in this life and the next.

Many in our nation has become quite lazy in the last several generation. Women would rather be on the Internet or watch TV than keep their homes clean and tidy. Many don't enjoy staying home with their children once they have them as it takes a lot of hard work to discipline and train them. Many decide to go out and get jobs, leaving their children to babysitters or daycare workers. I'd love it if they asked their children who they'd rather be raise by. They would all say their mamas.

It takes a lot of work to have strong, solid marriages. Most couples get married having a "get out of jail free" card in their back pocket, with divorce in case they want it. Throw the card away and make your marriage work out. Don't allow divorce to be in your vocabulary. If you are in a difficult marriage, find a godly, older woman to mentor you, be in the Word, read God-honoring blogs, books and articles. Fill you mind with Truth and then set yourself onto the hard work it takes to make your marriage great.

Marriage takes a lot of work, but even more so, a godly wife must set aside her natural inclination to get her needs met and instead go about meeting the needs and desires of others, especially her husband and children. This is the hardest thing for the newly wed wife to learn that she has given up self and take on a life of sacrificial love, just like her Savior did many years ago. Is this not the calling on all Christians' lives to empty ourselves of self and be filled back up with the servant life of Jesus? This is difficult, but after all, nothing that is rewarding in life comes without hard work and sacrifice.

Do you want to be happy in life and marriage? Then find the key in doing things God's ways and living out His values in your life. It is only when we joyfully accept our responsibilities head on without wavering or questioning that we find ourselves in love with what God says is most important for the here and now. This life of work and responsibility was intended to test our character and our faith so that we might be approved by God, "a workman who needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

Responsibility is our ability to choose our response, and in this case our response to God's Word, His will, and His ways. Happiness comes when we fully accept who we are in Christ and begin to live out our responsibilities as His children whose desire is to please Him in everything we do and say.  What joy there is in doing His will with the right attitudes and motives, knowing that it is Jesus who is living in and through us each and every moment of the day.

Do not look out for your own interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which is also in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 2:4-5

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Cost of Covenant Keeping Love

By Pastor John Piper
Pastor John, what hope would you offer a stressed wife, or a stressed husband, who is disappointed in their spouse, they are frustrated with their marriage, and they are now considering divorce as an escape out of the frustrations?

Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is that more pain is experienced in marriage and parenting than anywhere else in the world. This is the cost of covenant making and covenant keeping love. It cost Jesus his life to be in that kind of relationship. So I am not making light ever of the kind of pain that can be sustained in a parenting or a marriage relationship. And the first thing I would say to this woman is that the path to hope is not the path of divorce. God can rescue sinners from the disaster of a divorce, but he warns: Let us not sin that grace may abound. Planned sin is not accompanied by any promises of hope. Jesus said in Mark 10:9, What, therefore, God has joined together let not man separate. And the deepest reason for that prohibition of breaking a marriage is that marriage was created by God from the beginning as a picture or an expression of the covenant keeping love of Christ and his Church (Ephesians 5:22 and following).

So my word of hope begins with a plea. I have given it countless times to women and men. Put divorce out of your mind as a remedy. Don’t consider it. Say to yourself in the truth of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit: "This is not an option. I am not going to pursue this. It may be forced upon me, but I am not going to pursue it." Don’t want it. Pray and work in the other direction.

You might have sinned your way into this marriage. Lots of people say: "Well, I just blew it at the front end. I made all kinds of stupid judgments about this man. I wasn’t acting in a mature, biblical way." And I say: "That is true. You may have sinned your way into this relationship, but now that you are married, this man is God’s man for you. That is an amazing truth. He is God’s choice for you. Yes, he is. No matter how you may wish that you could do it all over again. Look to Jesus as the one who satisfies in measure now and immeasurably later. Believe that the path of lost dreams in this life is the path of greatest joy overall."

Know this; Maximizing your earthly happiness is not the goal of life or marriage. Maximizing your eternal happiness is, because God said — this is really crucial, I think, of marriage. Romans 5:3 and following; Rejoice in tribulation because tribulation works patience and patience works a provenness and a provenness works hope and this hope does not disappoint. In other words, marriage may disappoint with a thousand tribulations, but hope filled obedience to God will never, never disappoint us, God says so. Hope does not disappoint. But escaping tribulation, the tribulation that obedience calls for, escaping tribulation that is not hope promised, hope filled, it is not the path to greatest hope or greatest joy. It is good and it is right to want things to change now. Oh, yes, we all do. We want things about our spouses and ourselves to change now. And I think that is why Peter wrote 1 Peter 3:1-7 for wives in particular, because these words are meant to help a woman know how to think about changing her husband, in this case an unbelieving husband. And she should pray earnestly for him and for the whole situation. That is why those verses are there. I would recommend that she pray over them long and hard. But don’t stake your greatest happiness on his change. If you do that, you will probably become demanding and nagging and angry, all of which will be self-defeating. So focus your main heart energies not on fixing his failures, but on deepening your own godly responses to those failures. That is what God expects from you. God does not hold you accountable for your husband’s sins but he does hold you accountable for the godliness of your responses to those sins.

There will be a thousand acts of grace that your husband will not reward or perhaps not even notice. And you will feel so alone in your sorrow. But hold fast to this truth. God sees in secret (Matthew 6:3, 4). God sees every tiny expression of your patience and mercy and respect. He sees them all and he writes them all. Your quiet sorrows are never wasted. You will be repaid at the last day and, perhaps, in this life more than you could ever imagine. When the decades have gone by God might work a miracle in that man and you might end in a way that you never dreamed.

And let me close with one illustration. A woman came to me one Sunday about 30 years into my ministry. I remember it so clearly. It was at our south campus. And she reminded me that when she was about to leave her husband 20 years ago she came to me and I pleaded with her: Don’t do it. And she gave me all the reasons why he was just totally unresponsive, unaffectionate, traveled all the time, didn’t pay any attention, didn’t care for the kids, every reason that he was just not there. And she told me now at this point, 20 years after that, having stayed in the marriage she said: He is building a room on our house for my mother to stay with us in her final years, which is the most wonderful, sacrificial act of love he could possibly have done for me. He had become a kind and thoughtful and very different man. And she just thanked me and said: That is what I would have been missing today.

Therefore what God has joined together let no man separate.
Mark 10:9 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Treasuring Your Home More Than Christ

Do you treasure your home more than Christ? Are the things of this world more important to you than the things of Christ? When we had four small children, we moved from north of Los Angeles to the San Diego area. We bought a new home with the money we made from our small home in LA.

I met a woman in this neighborhood who had one child and decorated her home beautifully. She invested hours and hours and a lot of money into her home. She kept it perfectly clean. I wanted to have a home like hers so I went about creating my home as close to hers as possible.

It was during this time that Ken and I argued about money. I finally asked him to give me a budget and he did. However, instead of waiting patiently for the time I could buy something new, I would buy it on “credit” and have to wait a long time to be able to pay it off with the budget I had been given. I had fallen for the trap of having a gorgeously decorated home that cost a lot of money – the America dream.

During this time, Ken was gone from home traveling half of the year and my children needed my undivided attention but I was too busy painting, shopping for, and fixing up my home. Shortly after this, I got terribly sick and could no longer fix up my home like I wanted. About nine years later, we bought another bigger home that was bright and sunny.

A few years before this, my mother-in-law had given me a book called “Margins” by Richard Swenson. Right before we moved to our second new home, I decided to read this book and it convicted me of my mad dash to decorate my home perfectly. On the day we moved to my new home, I shared with my mother-in-law that I regretted encouraging Ken to buy this home and didn’t want to spend a ton of money on this home but wanted to live contently instead. She replied, “Live simply in this home” and I have.

This home is very comfortable but not extravagantly decorated. Most of the furniture is old from my childhood and some we bought on Craigslist. We have simple window shades and very little clutter. I learned to value the people in my home more than my home itself. I later learned about being a submissive wife and began practicing this.

I made the decision that I wanted to treasure what the Lord treasured and not what this culture treasured. His treasure would become my treasure. His treasures are those that live eternally – people. Don’t waste your time having the perfect home. Yes, keep it as clean and tidy as you can but remember that the people in your home are what make your house a home and not the home itself since it often changes and will one day be destroyed for good, along with all the other lifeless things on this planet.

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
Matthew 6:20

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What About Working Part Time?

Women frequently ask me if it is alright for them to work part time. It's not my decision to make. It is between them and their husband but I know I never wanted to be away from my children part time and I am sure if children had a say in it, they would vote to have their mother with them full time. I wanted to be the one nurturing, disciplining, and training my children. There are also women who desperately want to stay home but are not sure how to reason respectfully with their husbands about it. Holly made this comment on my blog the other day ~

I was recently introduced to your blog and I find myself here everyday! It is such an uplifting place to come when the world tries to beat me down! Thank you for teaching the truth. I noticed Anna's comments about not going to college. I must say she was wiser than me. I went to college because that was expected of me. I didn't know what I wanted and wasted thousands! I was stuck in a job that didn't acknowledge my "education." I married young and worked part time due to my husband's wishes. After having our first child, God granted me with wisdom on how to approach my husband to allow me to stay home as working just two days per week with a child was literally harming our family. I would love to share my story somehow to hopefully help or encourage other women. Now, being a wife and mother my life is fulfilled and not a waste. We are functioning as God intended and we are so blessed; not by riches, but by each other and our family has grown larger. You're teaching and I'm learning. Please keep going!

I wrote her back and told her I would love to hear her story so she sent it to me!

There was a time I was greatly mistaken and assumed the gospel could mix with what the world whispered in my ear. So many Christian women appeared successful following the "prosperity gospel." It was a mistake to expect the Lord to shower blessings and success upon me based on a false perception of my so-called goodness and deeds. After high school I unwisely set off, wasted money on college and had no choice but to settle on a job that paid well. My husband had been a blessing from the Lord since I met him as a young girl.

My husband and I agreed I would work part-time, which was okay until I became pregnant. Imagine the heartbreak when my husband stated he needed me to work part time "just in case" because we had a mortgage and two auto loans. I felt confused because he never asked for a dime to meet payments and he already provided well. In hindsight, he lacked confidence and viewed my little income as security because he grew up with a working mother. To work I went, but only two days per week, both days working ten plus hours.

My parents joyfully watched over our son the days I worked. I lied to myself hoping for comfort. I had the best of both worlds; I worked and stayed home, therefore nobody could criticize me because I was still classified as a working mom, absent from my son minimal days per week and he was spared from a horrid daycare. If only it were that simple.

I found myself thinking of my son while at work and thinking of work while home. I was in constant mental anguish as my mind could never rest. I became impatient with waiting and pleading for my husband's permission to stay home. Impatience turned into resentment, and resentment into disrespect. After each long day, I was met at the door with questions about dinner and it became too easy to waste money on unhealthy take-out meals.

Soon everything turned into a comparison: his money, my money, his time, my time, who worked harder, who survived the roughest day, who woke up earlier and who did the most around the house. We each spoke about our day but neither one listened. I avoided making our house a home as a subconscious retaliation. I hardheartedly cleaned but no love or service went into it. The mere thought of picking up my husband's clothes off the floor or throwing away an item left on the counter was infuriating enough. I wasn't getting may way and I let my husband know it!

When my son was about eighteen months old, I had a really hard day at work. While my son napped I broke down and cried. For the first time, I told God it wasn't in me to work anymore. I didn't like who I had become and knew I was not treating the man God blessed me with right. Unlike what the women of the world told me, I didn't have it all - I was missing it all! In that moment of desperation, I was quiet enough to know what God had been trying to tell me. It's difficult to describe. God didn't speak through my heart like I assumed he would. It was in the form of a gut feeling that never left. It had always been there, so quiet, so soft; it had been far too easy to ignore. I knew then what had to be done. I had to stop being so self-centered and prideful. I had to have faith and tend to my husband's needs first and foremost.

I stayed up late into the night crunching numbers. It was astounding to discover how much it cost me to work even without daycare; I earned pennies per hour. Within the week, my son and I visited several banks. I drained my hoarded savings and paid off both auto loans. I released the small remnant of money into our joint account and under my husband's care. For a moment a feeling of helplessness and dependency overwhelmed me, but looking at my son gave me strength. We went home to wrap the loan payoff receipts inside a small gift box. It was the longest afternoon of my life waiting for my husband's arrival home. I tried not to worry as thoughts of him appreciating the gesture but still requesting me to work flashed through my mind. What would I do then?

The time came and our son gave Daddy the box. My husband chuckled thinking it was a homemade gift. He ruffled our son’s hair and opened the box. His charming smile faded and a serious look crossed his face as he studied the papers. A brief look of confusion flashed in his eyes before he stared at me with a look of shock I'll never forget.

"Why would you do this?!" He asked. He probably thought I was crazy.
I answered simply, "That's how much it means for me to stay home."

Immediately he said, "Create a budget, let me see it, then you can stay home." I already had one prepared along with the grand total of what I actually brought home per month.

I couldn't sway my husband using female antics. The tears, the pleading, the nagging, sarcasm, the storming off and guilt trips all failed. He needed facts and logic. He works with mathematics daily and required persuasion using numerical proof; something he could relate to. I also found that I must put his happiness and needs ahead of my own. Paying off the loans released him from unnecessary burdens. Working only to obtain an illusion of wealth was not worth it. I praised how hard he worked and thanked him for providing. Slowly his confidence was built up. Immediately, I set to work around the house making sure my husband would never regret allowing me to stay home.

Since I've been home, we have been blessed with another son. My husband enjoys daily home-cooked meals, a packed breakfast and lunch for work. The house is neater and we function how God intends. We have a budget and agreed to never have another auto loan, save more money and, God willing, our twenty year mortgage will be paid off in less than half the time. Homeschooling is in the near future. My husband's confidence and leadership flourishes. His love and strong arms of protection embrace us. As for me, I've come to realize the truth of God's Word. I pray for wisdom daily to continuously grow into the wife and mother my family needs.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments;
 and His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:3