For When You’re Having One of “Those” Days…

When you’re having one of THOSE days…
When you’ve changed the kids’ clothes 5 times by noon…
When you’ve accidentally deleted the assignment you were working on all week…
When you burn the dinner you worked so hard on…
When everything you touch seems to explode…
When you’re throwing up, aching in pain, and you’ve gone through 3 boxes of tissues already…

Remember:
God has a plan for all of this. It might not be the ideal in your book, but His will is best. Sometimes, going through these things teaches us lessons the hard way, that we really need to learn – like depending on Him, letting other’s help us, and being patient.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 ESV

Remember:
None of the trials of this earth are anywhere near as agonizing as Hell, and if you’re a child of God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus through faith in Him, He has already saved you from that!
“And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:46 ESV

Remember:
One day, these things won’t exist for you! One day, you will have completed this race, and your reward will be amazing!
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 ESV

Remember:
To be thankful in all things – no matter how bad it seems at the time!
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV


Recommended Reading:

Men in the Women’s Bathrooms? Don’t Do It!

This will be a short post. I just want to bring attention to a concerning trend going on in major cities around the United States that could soon be a problem for us all if we do not speak up and pray about this now: the “right” for “transgendered” persons to use the bathrooms and locker rooms designated for the opposite sex.

Note: I do not hate people who identify as the opposite gender of what they were created to be, but I disagree with their lifestyle choices and sin. I love them and want them to come to a saving relationship with the Lord and savior Jesus Christ, but it is not love to accept sin for what it is and not speak up against it.

Note: I am by no means an expert on these cases or the issue as a whole. Some of these links may be outdated and there are probably many more cases than the ones presented here. This is an ongoing struggle and I simply want you to become more aware and help speak up with those who are fighting it in their cities! If you have something to add, please let me know and I will add your petition, etc. to the bunch!


“Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.”
Genesis 5:2 ESV
““A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 22:5 ESV


When I was in middle school and high school, I had to get changed for gym class in the girls locker room in front of other girls. We weren’t allowed to used the toilet stalls to get dressed – though I sometimes would! We had to get dressed around other girls and I was very self conscious, even though we kept our undergarments on – not only because they were skinnier and prettier than me – but because I was modest and shy, as I should have been!

When I was pregnant, my husband and I both said we did not want any male doctors. There was one male doctor in the practice and I only met with him once – not by choice, they told me it would be a female doctor or the midwife that day –  and I told him I wasn’t comfortable with him examining me. He completely understood. He was a complete gentleman! And he even said that on the day I delivered, if he was on duty, he would let the residents – all of whom were female! – take care of me entirely, unless a serious medical emergency arose. (He wasn’t on duty, but I wish he had been! The residents were awesome! My female doctor? Not so much! haha!)

I say all of this to point out that modesty is important. Feeling safe, especially for young girls, is important.

But our society no longer believes that!

And we, the Church, have stood by and allowed abortion to become legal. We’ve allowed homosexual marriage to become legal. We’ve allowed a lot of things! And now, if we don’t speak up, we’re going to allow any man who “identifies” as a woman to use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, putting our girls and ourselves into uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations, in a way that is not God honoring.

So, I am going to share some links below that I hope you will check out and consider praying and speaking up about this issue! Remember, feel free to reach out to me with further information, petitions etc. and I will add them to the list! God bless you and keep you!

Petition and information about the ordinance in Charlotte, to be voted on in a few days:
http://dontdoitcharlotte.com/

Links to multiple cases of sexual predators claiming to be “transgender” to use the woman’s bathroom, as well as other violent crimes by “transgender” men against women:
https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/sexual-predator-jailed-after-claiming-to-be-transgender-in-order-to-assault
Transwomen & Sexualized Violence

A few cases where the people won the right to keep the bathrooms as they are – I’m sure there are more!:
https://www.change.org/p/say-no-to-florida-s-anti-transgender-bathroom-bill
https://www.texastribune.org/2015/11/03/houston-anti-discrimination-ordinance-early-voting/

Current bill to make it illegal for “transgender” people to use the opposite sex’s bathroom:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-indiana-bill-bathroom-transgender-20151224-story.html

Cases where the battle has been lost – but not the war:
http://www.tristatehomepage.com/news/news-carousel/kentucky-transgender-restroom-bill-withdrawn-from-senate
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/02/17/transgender-rule-washington-state-man-undresses-locker-room/80501904/

A case where an entirely separate bathroom was set up that was “gender neutral” for those who choose to use it:
http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/12/rowans_labeling_of_gender_neutral_restrooms_a_step_that_fails_in_its_intent_editorial.html


Suggested Readings:


The “Female Vote” and the Christian Perspective (Part 2/2)

Last time, we talked about what I consider the two most important “women’s issues” for the 2016 Presidential Election here in the United States, and the Christian perspective on those issues. Click here to read about the Christian perspective on abortion and birth control.

In this second and last installment of this series, we will discuss what I consider to be more of secondary issues: wage equality, paid maternity leave, and drafting females for combat. We will take Scripture, common sense, and personal anecdotes into account, as we dissect these issues that we’re told we should care about as women if we want to be equal with men.

Please note that this is not a post about whether or not women should work outside the home – I will save that for another time – this is a post about the political and Spiritual consequences of the above mentioned topics, and what we as Christians should support.



Wage “Equality”

Many feminist organizations claim that it is unfair that, on average, female workers make about 80 cents for every dollar earned by men. While this statistic is true, is it unfair?

The truth is, that women earn less because they take jobs that pay less. They often don’t go for construction and business jobs, but rather they go for teaching and nursing jobs.

My husband builds elevators for a living. It is a lot of hard work that involves heavy lifting and somewhat dangerous situations. I have heard of very few women who would be physically capable or even interested in such work.

This is normal. God created us differently with different passions and skills. He created men and women to compliment each other, not to be the same.

Now, I understand that many would argue that what is paid for those jobs is unfair.

Look, I hear you.

I was a teacher. I went to college for 4 years and came out to a horrible economy. I couldn’t get a job in the public schools because history teachers weren’t in high demand, and the private schools paid a lot less. I had to supplement by teaching summer school and tutoring after school.

I hear you…but you know what? That was still my choice. I chose to go that path. And then, I chose to stay home with my son, instead. We all have choices to make, and those choices have consequences – positive or negative.
And, we can always make new choices that lead to higher or lower pay.

I don’t understand what the feminist movement wants the government to do about their perceived unequal pay. Do they want to redistribute wealth? That’s communism! Do they want to force employers to pay women more (for a position that may not deserve it) than their male counterparts, because other men in other positions or with more experience are being paid more? That’s sexism! That isn’t equality, it is special treatment!

Remember: God created us differently and He also cursed us differently because of the Fall. While God punished women to painful child births, He punished men with physical labor (Genesis 3:17.) It is natural, then, that women would be more drawn to positions involving children, nurturing, etc., while men would be more drawn to positions with physical labor, long hours, etc.

Remember: We are expected to work for a living in one way or another. Even if you, like myself, are a homemaker, you are contributing to society, and you will reap from it what you sow in it. No one should expect a hand out, a leveling of the playing field, etc. just because they demand it and cry “sexism” if they don’t get it (2 Thessalonians 3:10.)

This passage below speaks of Spiritual work, but I believe these are good words to conclude this topic, as well:

For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.For each will have to bear his own load.
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
Galatians 6:3-7 ESV


Paid Maternity Leave

I’ve only had one pregnancy so far, and I worked at a small Christian school for the first 5 months of pregnancy. There was no paid maternity leave, and even if I were to go back to work after birth (even if I took a few unpaid months off,) who would watch my baby while I was working? Not only could we not afford daycare, but we didn’t want to leave our baby alone with strangers and all of the other problems that come with putting little ones in daycare.

I knew getting into this job that it didn’t pay for maternity leave and that I wouldn’t be able to afford to send a child to daycare. Those are things that I took into account when I accepted the job.

Their job as employer was to lay out the rules and the position.

My role as employee was to understand and to accept or reject their offer.

Again, it’s all about choice.

If paid maternity leave is important to you – then seek employment at a company that offers that privilege. Don’t seek to take away the rights and money of the owner of the company you work for because they don’t offer something that you knew they didn’t offer when you accepted a position there.

 “To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified.” Galatians 3:15

Can we negotiate for the future? Yes. Can we choose to leave a job once we have completed our contract there (if there is one?) Yes.

Is the employer in sin if he or she does not offer maternity leave? No. Does not offering maternity leave mean that they do not care for women and children? No. It simply means that they offered a certain pay and stipulations – and you agreed to them.

Remember:

“Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14

Remember: It is sexist to demand that simply because you are a woman and your body functions as it should – pregnancy and giving birth – you deserve months of paid time off that your employer didn’t guarantee to you at the time of employment. It is untruthful and wrong to accuse others of waging a “war on women” if they do not believe that every employer should be forced to give paid time off to their female employees.

So what are the alternatives?

1. Staying home with your children until they are grown, or permanently, while your husband provides for the family.
2. Saving up money to take time off by making smart choices and financial sacrifices.
3. Ask your family, friends, and/or local church body for financial, emotional, and Spiritual support.
4. Find a way to work from home for a time, if possible.
5. For better or worse, there are government programs to help (that’s a whole other issue to discuss!)
6. Seek out a job that provides paid maternity leave. It may in fact become attractive to employers to offer it if they lose out on great candidates for the position by not offering it.


Female Draft

My father was in the Navy for 20 years. My grandfather and step-grandfather also served in the military. Many friends, family, and classmates were and are service men and women. There are even women in my local church who served in the military. I love and respect them for their services and sacrifices.

This isn’t about women serving in the military.

This is about women being forced to be in the military – especially if they were to be drafted into combat on the front lines.

As we discussed earlier, there are different roles for men and women. We aren’t exactly the same. There are plenty of jobs that women can do for the United States military, if they so choose to.

However, you have to consider that our bodies are designed very differently and women simply are not designed for war – especially against men.

My husband and I are almost the same height and build. He’s only a half inch taller than me. Even when I was working out and he wasn’t, he was still stronger than me. He has broad shoulders and a natural instinct for fighting. He finds wrestling to be fun and he appreciates a good opponent. I am not interested in wrestling and, frankly, it scares me. We were created equal – but different.

I am now going to defer to an excerpt from the Gospel Coalition for more Biblical reasons why women should not be drafted, especially for combat. I leave you with this to think about:

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood issued a resolution in 1997 that outlines some of the concerns:

The moral justification for military combat service is the duty to protect vital national interests, of which the most vital and most essential is the welfare, security and good order of families; and so moral justification for combat service is derived from, and is thus essentially linked to, the divinely assigned role and responsibilities of self-sacrificial male headship of the family (Eph. 5:23-24); and

WHEREAS, Intentional rejection of the connection between male headship in the family and the male protective role that defines and justifies service as a soldier in military combat necessarily strikes at the complementary nature of male and female relationships established in the order of creation, and unavoidably undermines the order, structure, strength and stability of families within any society that determines to ignore, deny or erase this gender-based distinction; and

WHEREAS, The pattern established by God throughout the Bible is that men, not women, bear responsibility to serve in combat if war is necessary (Gen. 14:14; Num. 31:3,21,49; Deut. 20:5-9,13-14;Josh. 1:14-18; 6:3,7,9; 8:3; 10:7; 1 Sam. 16:18; 18:5; 2 Sam. 11:1; 17:8; 23:8-39; Ps. 45:3-5; Song of Sol. 3:7-8; Isa. 42:13)


Suggested Readings:

Wisdom for our Children’s Education (Proverbs for Women)

While this proverb surely can and should be applied to our own lives as well, today I want to look at how Proverbs 4 can help us in raising and educating our children. If you’re not a mother, consider how this could help you raise any future children you may have, or children that you are sometimes responsible for, like nieces and nephews, and the children of friends and fellow believers.

Click here to read other posts in this series.


Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
for I give you good precepts;
do not forsake my teaching.
When I was a son with my father,
tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
keep my commandments, and live.
Get wisdom; get insight;
do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
love her, and she will guard you.”
Proverbs 4:1-6 ESV

Whether you send your children to public school or private school, or keep them with you and home school, you should have a big role in your child’s education. Learning shouldn’t just be something that happens in a classroom setting, but something that is ongoing in all areas of life. Every situation, location, and interaction can be an opportunity for learning a lesson and obtaining knowledge by.

It is important to remember not to forsake Biblical learning, in study and practice. Whenever a child asks “why,” it is a good opportunity to tell them about God’s commandments and design.

We can get so caught up in our busy lives, but remember, it is your responsibility to raise your children up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6.)

Let’s look at some points we can remember from the passage above to help us accomplish that goal:

  • Teach your children to listen and be attentive. Especially in this culture of smart phones, tablets, etc., we all need to remember to focus on those who are talking to us.
  • Instruct your children not to forsake their education. I have a degree and regret the debt that I incurred obtaining it, but although I am currently a stay-at-home mom, I am still able to put my teacher’s education to use in many ways. Teach them to hold fast to the knowledge they obtain.
  • Remind them to keep the commandments they are given – both God’s Word, and your instructions, so that they may love the Lord and honor their mother and father.
  • Teach them to love wisdom. Learning doesn’t have to be a chore. Make it fun. Make it a family thing. Don’t make your children feel alone or overburdened by education, that they may love wisdom and be guarded by it.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get insight.”
Proverbs 4:7 ESV

I think it is so profound and simple that the Word is written this way. How to do you get wisdom? By getting wisdom, of course! :) You have to start somewhere, right? Your child isn’t going to be a straight A student if they never crack open a book! They won’t grow up to preach the Word if they’ve never studied the Word! How do you get wisdom? By getting wisdom! And what should you do with the wisdom? Get Insight!

Google defines insight like this: “the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing.”

When my husband and I were courting he kept telling me he wanted to “dig deep” with me. He wanted to really learn about who I was. He wanted us to invest in a project or hobby together. He wanted our relationship to have meaningful substance.

If we want our children to love and court after wisdom, we need to show them how to “dig deep.” Shallow education is not wisdom.


Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
she will honor you if you embrace her.
She will place on your head a graceful garland;
she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”
Proverbs 4:8-9 ESV

Many today downplay the importance of knowing Scripture. Yes, it is true that even the unsaved can memorize the Bible. And it’s also true that there is more to a walk with Christ than just studying the Bible. But we are told over and over again in the Bible that Scripture is important – valuable – essential!

True wisdom comes for those who love the Lord. He gives it to us and tells us to cherish it. It is a prize, one that is not tangible, so as moth and dust may destroy it (Matthew 6:19,) but one that is intangible.

These things don’t always appeal to children. They want toys, friends, and the latest gadgets. We must show them that wisdom is something they should want.

Last year, I was teaching 3rd grade at a Christian school. Sometimes, the students would complain about their work and remark that they wished they lived in a country where it wasn’t required that they go to school. I tried my best to explain to them that children who can’t go to school wish that they could. Children who don’t know how to read long  and desire to read and write. I tried to paint a picture for them so that they could understand how awesome education would be to a child who didn’t have it. It is my hope that I helped them, even a little bit, to value their education.

I also tried to instill in them that the subject they should care the most about is Bible. I wanted them to put their memory verse before all of their other homework. I think many of them began to honor that, as their memory verse test grades began to reflect that. As they honored God, He blessed them in return.


Hear, my son, and accept my words,
that the years of your life may be many.
11  I have taught you the way of wisdom;
I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
12  When you walk, your step will not be hampered,
and if you run, you will not stumble.
13  Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
guard her, for she is your life.
14  Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of the evil.
15  Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.
16  For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
17  For they eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
18  But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
19  The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble.
Proverbs 4:10-19

Why should we value wisdom? Why should we instruct our children to hold wisdom in high regard, especially Biblical wisdom? This portion of Scripture gives us a few reasons:

  • The Old Testament often promises a long life due to wisdom and obedience. As New Testament believers, we know that our lives are not promised to be long nor comfortable, but our reward in Heaven is one of eternal life! We can also reasonably say that wisdom leads to wise decisions that may prolong our health and lives, Lord willing. For example – knowing not to run out into a busy road without looking!
  • Wisdom leads us onto the right path.
  • Wisdom keeps us from following the way of the wicked.
  • The path of the righteousness is where light is, while the way of the wicked is where darkness is – and we know there is no darkness in Jesus! (1 John 1:5)

My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
21  Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.
22  For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
23  Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
24  Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
25  Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26  Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27  Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.
Proverbs 4:20-27 ESV

This last portion of the chapter is a great summary. It again shows us how to instruct our children (and ourselves!) to seek wisdom, and why we should do so.

  • Be attentive.
  • Don’t put education on the “back burner” – wisdom should be something that you seek in all situations.
  • Stay focused on the things that are God honoring. (Philippians 4:8)
  • Stay on the right path, turn away from evil things!

I hope this examination of Proverbs 4 has encouraged you. God bless!

Suggested Reading:

Scriptures for When You’re Feeling Low


In this entry I am going to be silent and let the Word speak for itself on exhaustion, pain, and depression.


Exhaustion

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

“As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9


Pain

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5


Depression

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26

“To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.”
Psalm 40:1-3

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.”
Psalm 42:11

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8


Suggested Reading:


All Scriptures in this post are from the ESV Bible.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.

Keeping His Word Close to Your Heart and Acting Upon It (Proverbs for Women)

Click here to see previous posts from this series, “Proverbs for Women.” In this installment, we will study what God says about knowing and obeying His Word.


Proverbs 3

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.
Proverbs 3:1-4

 While we know that as New Testament believers, we are not promised a long, happy life on this Earth. After all, many of the disciples and apostles suffered much persecution and were martyred.  The apostle Paul lived a rough life of ship wrecks, stonings, imprisonment, and more for the sake of Christ. We are, however, promised an eternity of peace in Heaven if we have repented and believed in Jesus. The Bible also speaks often about reward in Heaven.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8 ESV

Let us heed God’s warnings and promises, and study, memorize, and apply His Word faithfully. We are to teach them to our children, as well! Reading the Word shouldn’t be something we do only when gathered together with other believers, but it should be a regular part of our personal and family lives.

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 ESV

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NIV


Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 3:5-8 ESV

This portion of Scripture hit home hard for me! Just a few short years ago, I leaned on my own understanding. I was saved, but living under false teaching and way too comfortable with the ways of the world.

To me, homosexuality was okay, even though the Bible clearly condemns it (Romans 1:27 and many others.) Female pastors were okay, even though the Bible clearly says they’re not (1 Timothy 2:12.) There were a lot of other things I ignored in the Bible. I was picking and choosing what to believe. I thought the Bible was outdated and just  the flawed thoughts of men.

That is… until I discovered the ministry Living Waters and read Save Yourself Some Pain.

I started to question how I could believe that Jesus died on the cross for me – which I got from the Bible! – but not everything else He taught.

I stopped leaning on my own understanding and surrendered my beliefs completely to the Word.

It was one of the most freeing moments of my life, and it continues to be freeing!

A few months ago my husband and I were discussing something that I was so very sure I was right about…until he showed me Scripture that proved that I was wrong. It wasn’t easy, and I didn’t understand it right away, but I submitted to my husband’s teaching and God’s Word.

It wasn’t just my husband that was right but God’s Word that was right. And it’s okay that I was wrong because I have the Bible to lean on!

It’s okay when our views don’t line up with that of the world. When they hate us and persecute us for what we believe in. It’s okay because we have an ultimate authority on controversial and hard topics! We don’t have to rely on our sinful, human, fleshy emotions!  We rely on the Word of God!

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV


Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
10  then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV

As New Testament believers, our wealth may not always come in monetary form, nor will our offering to God always be done in monetary form.

Give God what you have.

Use your time wisely. Raise up your children to follow the Lord. Use your talents and gifts to honor Him and serve for His kingdom. Bless the other saints in your local church. Help the needy. Share the Gospel. Give money when you can and feel led to, but also give time, prayers, and service.

If you do these things, He may not always prosper your financial wealth, but He will surely prosper your peace and and reward in Heaven.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Matthew 6:33 ESV


My son, do not despise the Lord‘s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
12  for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 3:11-12 ESV

God loves His children, therefore He disciplines them. Just like mothers and fathers discipline their children when they sin and disobey their parents. Children need direction to do what is safe and right, for their own good and the good of others.
We are God’s children. We need guidance. We need love. We need rebuke.
We don’t always like it when it comes – especially if it comes in the form of our husband, pastor, or friend correcting our theology or calling us out on our sin.
But it is good and right! Let us learn to gracefully and humbly accept correction when it is backed by Scripture.


Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
14  for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
15  She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16  Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17  Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
18  She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.
19  The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens;
20  by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew.
21  My son, do not lose sight of these—
keep sound wisdom and discretion,
22  and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck.
23  Then you will walk on your way securely,
and your foot will not stumble.
Proverbs 3:13-23 ESV

Aren’t God’s promises wonderful? We have so much to look forward to in Heaven! Nothing can compare! The perfect house, the nicest clothes – none of it comes anywhere close to God’s beauty and reward! And following Him faithfully on Earth can also produce blessings, protection, and peace as the Lord wills. Praise God!


  If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25  Do not be afraid of sudden terror
or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
26  for the Lord will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being caught.
Proverbs 3:24-26 ESV

We have no need to be afraid. Though things may not go our way, though man may threaten us, though people may let us down – God is in control. God sees all. He knows all. He has planned for all! And we are secure in our salvation. Let God be our confidence. Let us boast in Christ. Let us follow His wisdom!


Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it.
28  Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again,
tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.
29  Do not plan evil against your neighbor,
who dwells trustingly beside you.
30  Do not contend with a man for no reason,
when he has done you no harm.
31  Do not envy a man of violence
and do not choose any of his ways,
32  for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord,
but the upright are in his confidence.
33  The Lord‘s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
34  Toward the scorners he is scornful,
but to the humble he gives favor.
35  The wise will inherit honor,
but fools get disgrace.
Proverbs 3:27-35 ESV

We see here again, as we did in Proverbs 2, that we are not to go the way of the wicked and God’s promises of judgement for the wicked and reward for the saints. We are to do what is right and follow the right path. It is honoring to God to obey Him.

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:17 ESV

“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 1 John 3:17 ESV

“If you love me, obey my commandments.” John 14:15 NLT


This was a long Proverb, so let’s review:

  • Know the Word. Read it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it, write it down. Don’t let it go in one ear and out the other. Keep it close to your heart.
  • Share the Word. Teach it to your children. Discuss it with friends. Post it in public. Pass it on.
  • Listen to rebuke. You’re not always right. Lean on God’s Word as your moral compass. Submit to teaching from your husband and pastor, when it is backed by Scripture.
  • Obey the Word. Our salvation is by Christ alone, and not by keeping the commandments, but faith without works is dead (James 2:17.) Do what God has taught you to do. Be doers of the Word, not hears only!
  • He will reward those who heed His word, and punish those who do not!

I hope that this study encouraged, convicted, and blessed you! Praise God for His Word!

Seeking Wisdom and Fleeing Sexual Immorality (Proverbs for Women)

Last time, we studied Proverbs 1 and discussed seeking wisdom and fleeing from false teachers. This time, we will look at Proverbs 2 and discuss seeking wisdom and fleeing from sexual sin.


 

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV

We learned in Proverbs 1 that fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Here, we find how to go about that. We see that we first need to receive the word. How are we to learn if we are not regularly reading the Bible?

We are to treasure the commandments. Scripture isn’t something that should go in one ear and out the other.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

We need to be attentive. We cannot expect to learn if our minds aren’t on the Word but on what we’re cooking for dinner tonight, the plans we’re making this weekend, or the children’s school work. Find time to dedicate to the Word.

We need to incline our hearts to understanding. Don’t come to the Word with bitterness, preconceived notions from our own worldview, or halfheartedly. Let God’s Word in.

We need to call out, seek, and search. Pray for wisdom! Intentionally look up Scriptures! Start a conversation – with friends, a leader, or a family member – about something you don’t understand!

God will provide knowledge when you fear Him enough to want to understand Him.

For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
10  for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11  discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,
12  delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
13  who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
14  who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15  men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.
Proverbs 2:6-15 ESV

We see here if we fear the Lord and seek knowledge, that the Lord gives us wisdom. He teaches us understanding. He shields us. He watches over us.

He shows us which way to go, and which way not to go. Those who follow Him closely are protected from falling for deception and walking in darkness. We will still face troubles and persecution (1 Peter 4:12-14,) but if we are actively praying for and reading about God’s wisdom, we will not be duped by those who wish to lead us astray.

So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
17  who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;
18  for her house sinks down to death,
and her paths to the departed;
19  none who go to her come back,
nor do they regain the paths of life.
Proverbs 2:16-19 ESV

 In this portion we see a woman who in many ways is the exact opposite of the type of woman we’ll study later in Proverbs 31. We see an adulteress woman who is also unfaithful to God. We see a woman who entices, entraps,  and ensnares men from the right path, and drags them down.
This woman cheats on her husband. She turns her back on her covenant with God. Marriage is not pure and holy to her. God’s faithfulness, grace, and mercy mean nothing to her.
Ladies, we don’t want to be this woman! Seek wisdom to have a healthy, honorable marriage. Seek wisdom to honor your covenant with God!

Likewise, we do not want a man who acts like this woman! If you are single, be sure to seek wisdom on whom God would have you marry. You want a husband who will be faithful to both you and God, to lead you on the right path! Your husband will be the head of your family, and he should be the type of man who fears the Lord and seeks God’s wisdom in all things, lest it be in vain! (Psalm 127)

I leave you with the rest of the chapter and the comparison of how God treats those who follow Him verses those who remain in sin. Take these Scriptures to heart and continue to seek wisdom and flee sexual immorality! God bless!

So you will walk in the way of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21  For the upright will inhabit the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it,
22  but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.
Proverbs 2:20-22 ESV

The “Female Vote” and the Christian Perspective (Part 1/2)

This is going to be Graceful Devotion’s most controversial post to date. This is written in love, hopefully balancing grace and truth. Remember, never take what is written here or anywhere else at face value. Compare it to the Word and see for yourself! 1 John 1:4

Those of us in the United States know that the 2016 presidential election grows nearer, and we’re now constantly being surrounded by political advertisements and debates.

According to the U.S. Census, 52% of eligible American voters are women. While society likes to call us a “minority,” we are certainly equal in number to men, and politicians vie for our vote stronger than they do for men, because feminism has made “women’s issues” and “the female vote,” center stage for many.

Liberals claim that conservatives are waging a “war on women” by trying to “control their bodies,” and conservatives claim that liberals are doing the same with a horrible economy.

But what should we, modern American Christian women, care about most during an election season? How should we vote? Are our votes really any different from that of men?

We know that we were created equal but different from men. Naturally, we may have different concerns that reach the top of our lists. Most women naturally have a softer side to us than most men.  While men may be more concerned with matters related to war, economy, etc., women may be more concerned with things like education, healthcare, etc.

But when it comes to Christian women, should our top concerns be any different from that of Christian men? Shouldn’t we first and foremost care about what the Word of God says? Shouldn’t men and women of God alike step back from the usual circus of American politics and look at the bigger picture?

Nevertheless, we are constantly told that we need to vote for so-and-so because they support “women’s rights.”

So, in order to be more politically and Biblically aware, let us look at the two most talked about “women’s issues” and apply the Word of God to them.

This picture is from America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

Abortion:

Feminism tells us that we need to have “safe, rare, and legal” access to free abortions in order to be “free” and equal to men.
First, let me say that abortions are never safe – they kill a human baby and also cause complications and sometimes death for the mother. Nor are they rare, as over 58 million legal abortions have taken place in the U.S. since 1973. That’s 58 million of your neighbors created in the image of God murdered in the womb by their own parents at the hands of a “doctor.” This staggering number doesn’t even include legal abortions done at home via pills and implants (see the next topic.)
Well, here are just a few verses of what the Bible says on the issue…

“You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13 ESV

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3 ESV

In fact, the Christian is called to stand up for the unborn…

“Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.” Proverbs 24:11 ESV

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
 Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV

The Bible tells us that women would forsake the role of motherhood (Luke 23:29,) and we’ve certainly seen that in the last few decades. Christian, do not fall for this “liberty” that the world and the “sexual revolution” sells! Motherhood is a blessing and marriage should be pure (Hebrews 13:4.) Our freedom, hope, and fulfillment is in Christ!

If you have had an abortion and you have repented of it and believe in Jesus – remember that your sins have been forgiven! You are a child of God! He loves you and has died on the cross in your place!
If you have had an abortion and you have not repented of it – today is the day of salvation! Cry out to God to forgive you! He is merciful!

Click here to see where the candidates stand on this issue. Sadly, you won’t find too many politicians boldly standing against the murder of all babies in the womb. Instead, you’ll find mere regulation of abortion clinics and policies to stop late term abortions – even though 90% of abortions take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy – and regulating clinics only leads to nicer, friendly facilities that, in turn, lend to more abortions.

Access to Contraception:

Liberals argue that women should have free access to contraceptives. Conservatives argue that women should pay for their own contraceptives.
But, really, both sides don’t mean “contraceptives” at all. They’re rarely talking about condoms or abstinence and natural family planning programs.
They mean “birth control” and “abortifacients” – pills and implants designed to stop ovulation, but also to thin the lining of the uterus to prevent the implantation of a new human life if ovulation and fertilization (conception) does occur.
What does the Bible say about this? Well, refer back to the last topic! Abortion is murder no matter how early it happens.
I highly suggest reading “Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?” by Pastor Randy Alcorn. You can purchase it by clicking on the image below.

Again, if you have knowingly or ignorantly used these methods for family planning, know that there is forgiveness in Christ Jesus. His blood is powerful and it washes away every stain.

So when it comes to the 2016 election and picking a candidate, I want you to remember…

  • God knew us even before we were conceived on Earth. Abortion is murder and supporting it is sin.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” Jeremiah 1:5a ESV

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16 ESV

  • Very few politicians actually support the total and complete abolition of abortion. Like false teachers, they tell us what we want to hear, but they never really do anything to better society.

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,” 2 Timothy 4:3 ESV

  • Jesus considers the “lesser of two evils” to still be evil. I’m not saying you shouldn’t vote, but I’m asking you to be very careful about who you give your vote to and why.

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30 ESV

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

  • Don’t get caught up in sensationalized phrases like “the war on women.” Yes, you are a woman, but first and foremost you are a child of God. You should seek to honor Him in your actions, thoughts, and votes.

Next time, we will look at some secondary “women’s issues,” and what the Word says about them.
Until then, please be in prayer about this election, our country, and these issues! God bless!

Do Women Hate Wisdom? (Proverbs for Women)

Here we begin a new series to dig deeper into the book of Proverbs and examine how it applies specifically to women in today’s world. It is my hope that my words will be God honoring and true, but that you will also always test what you’re taught by anyone against Scripture to make sure that it is true.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 ESV


Proverbs 1

In the beginning, Eve wanted the knowledge of good and evil, so she gave into temptation and ate the fruit. She sought knowledge that wasn’t hers to know, and now all of humanity is born into sin.

In the present, many women seem not to seek knowledge that is freely given to them, and so they continue in sin.

There is something about our nature – we’re typically much more trusting and maybe even naive then most men. It often times gets us into trouble or breaks our hearts. Because of this nature, we’re also more likely to fall under false teaching than most men.

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
    to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
    in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
    and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 1:1-7 ESV

Ladies, are we being fools?

Women’s Bible studies are often written more like self-help, feel-good, prosperity gospel books than actually diving into the Word for all that it’s worth and seeking truth.

Women are more likely to pull the “don’t judge” card when someone lovingly confronts them about the false teacher that they’re following, instead of looking into the claim.

Believe me, I’ve been there.

I was the fool who despised instruction.

A brother in Christ messaged me privately on Facebook a few years back to let me know that I had shared a status from a famous false teacher – a wolf in sheep’s clothing – who produces rotten fruits. I wasn’t exactly graceful in my response to him, and told him that if this teacher was good enough for my pastor’s wife, then she was good enough for me.

Well, long story short, my eyes were eventually opened to the truth. I no longer attend the church I did (for many reasons.) I call out that false teacher that I had shared from. And I apologized to that brother who warned me!

I hated wisdom. I liked the easy road. I didn’t fear the Lord enough.

Oh, but God is good, and He has opened my eyes! If He hasn’t already done that for you, it is my hope that examining His Word will convict you to test every spirit and long for the true knowledge that He has given us in His Word.

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
    and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
    and pendants for your neck.”
Proverbs 1:8-9 ESV

That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? A graceful garland and pendants – like a winner in the Olympic games. Only this prize is much more valuable! It is much more beautiful!

My son, if sinners entice you,
    do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
    let us ambush the innocent without reason;
12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
    and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we shall find all precious goods,
    we shall fill our houses with plunder;
14 throw in your lot among us;
    we will all have one purse”—
15 my son, do not walk in the way with them;
    hold back your foot from their paths,
16 for their feet run to evil,
    and they make haste to shed blood.
17 For in vain is a net spread
    in the sight of any bird,
18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood;
    they set an ambush for their own lives.
19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
    it takes away the life of its possessors.”
Proverbs 1:10-19 ESV

Wow, that’s a really strong visual!

There are certainly many situations in life that can be discussed with this passage, but let us see how it can help us understand this particular topic better.

Imagine that scammers wanted to sell study books to your children. Education is probably very important to you – whether you home school or send your children to a day school. A woman comes to your door and wants to sell you books that she says will help your child excel at school work. For only a few short installments of $19.99, you can own the whole collection.

What do you do?

Do you dig into your wallet and write a check right away? After all, she said that it would help your child, so it must be true!

Or, do you take time to talk it over with your husband, pray about it, and research the company? Money is tight and education is indeed important. You want to make sure you’re making the right decision.

I hope you’d be wise enough to go with the second plan of action – and I hope you’d be wise enough to do that when it comes to false teachers as well – men and women who will sell you any idea that your ears want to hear, as long as you’re willing to buy their books, sermon CDs, and study guides.

They make promises that you, too, can be successful if only you have enough faith. They tell you to “name it and claim it.” They say that God promises wealth, success, popularity, and comfort to his people.

They tell you outright lies, but the lies seem better to you than the truth of what God really promises and what the Disciples and Apostles endured.

They are greedy for unjust gains.

Don’t let sinners entice you. Don’t be like Eve.

Isn’t your soul worth more than the education in the scenario above? Isn’t obeying God a duty imperative above all others?

Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
    in the markets she raises her voice;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
    at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
    and fools hate knowledge?”
Proverbs 1:20-22 ESV

Just because we are women and we cannot be pastors or elders does not mean that we shouldn’t know Scripture and long to have a deeper relationship with God. Why do women’s studies always need to be so shallow and simple? I encourage you, sisters, to want sustenance.

I leave you with the rest of the the chapter and beseech you to love wisdom and fear God. Watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15.) Guard your minds against those who would deceive you (Romans 12:2.) Search the Scriptures and present yourselves as one approved (2 Timothy 2:15.)

If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused to listen,
    have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
25 because you have ignored all my counsel
    and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
    I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
    and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
    when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
    they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
    and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 would have none of my counsel
    and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
    and have their fill of their own devices.
32 For the simple are killed by their turning away,
    and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
    and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
Proverbs 1:23-33 ESV