Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How the Joy Filled Wife Deals with Temptation

It's a fact of life that we can't ultimately avoid the things that tempt us 100%, unless we become a hermit and live in fear. We can easily give into fear and paranoia about coming into contact with the things that tempt us, if we are not careful. That's where I was with my husband's addiction in the beginning. I was absolutely paranoid that we would be somewhere and would walk past scantily clad women {which we did...CONSTANTLY, because that's the norm for most women nowadays}. That fear not only made the healing process take longer, but it caused strain on our relationship, it tempted me to judge the women instead of seeing them as valuable in God's eyes, and it provoked a hundred million sinful thoughts to go round and round inside my head. Fear is a nasty wildfire that grows quickly once a spark is kindled. 

Trying to avoid the things that spur on temptation are usually wise in the beginning as the Lord works on our hearts, but we must be extremely careful not to allow ourselves to give into the fear of ever coming across those things that tempt us. Getting rid of that fear can sometimes be harder than overcoming the initial temptation we were struggling with because we may think that our fear of giving into sin is healthy. In reality, any kind of fear {except reverent fear of the Lord} is sinful. We are not trusting God when we are fearful. 

Let's face the facts that the enemy is going to be very vigilant about making sure he presents as many opportunities for you to become tempted where you're most vulnerable, in hopes that you'll give into sin. You need to be aware of this, but not allow it to cause paranoia. That's really, really important. What I had to do {and I still do this!} is to say Scripture out loud right away when you feel temptation coming on. Look up Scriptures that tell you the Truth about the subject of contentment and the sin of envy and say them out loud {quietly, if you must} the second you start feeling tempted to become discontent with what you have or do not have. 

Don't purposely walk around malls or electronic stores if they provoke you, but be aware that you probably can't avoid it entirely and it's important that you enact the plan to recite the Truth of Scripture whenever those moments of dissatisfaction arise {and that could happen when you're no t even a round those things!}. I am a big advocate of being very cautious about social media as well. I closed down my Facebook over 2 years ago and, after seeing how much more grateful and content I was by not being on there, I wish I had never started one in the first place. It's the same thing with Instagram or Pinterest or Twitter and such. If you find that something is constantly provoking temptation toward dissatisfaction, you don't need it in your life. We are tempted enough without anything adding to the problem. 

I gave up almost every single thing in my life when my husband was living in sin and I did without some of the most basic, basic necessities of life while God was trying to get my husband's attention. My husband commented to me two nights ago after he had just finished spending time in prayer that he was so humbled and grateful that I was willing to give up everything to go along with the Lord's plan. 

There was a time when we were literally days away from having to live out of the car and I told my husband, with a smile, that I would do so with joy, if the Lord so called us to do that. I lived with only a handful of articles of clothing {all which BADLY needed replacing}, one pair of shoes, and having only a half a cup of rice to be found in our home for food. There were many days when we didn't know where our next meal would come from or if we would end up homeless. The Lord took His hand of blessing off of everything we did, no matter how hard we worked, because He knew it would take something that drastic to finally get my husband's attention. There were times when I badly needed to replace my phone because it wasn't receiving or sending calls or texts and I needed it for appointments for my husband's company. We simply didn't have money to replace it. 

It's was not my favorite thing to live void of some of the basic necessities of life {or some of the luxuries}, but I learned the valuable lesson of obedience to God and holding things very, very loosely. I told the Lord in my quiet times that I would gladly give up every luxury, and even basic necessities, if it would help point my husband back to the cross. I truly, truly, do know what it's like to have plenty and what it's like to be in want. I have learned the secret to being content in all situations. Remember, dear sister, that God desires to use the things you lack in order to cultivate in you complete satisfaction and contentment in Him. After all, what would you truly have if you had everything you wanted, but you didn't have Jesus? What in this life could mean any more than true contentment in Him? 

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
I Corinthians 10:13

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Without Men, We'd All Be Vegetarians

While we were in Wisconsin, I took Emma to an organic farm. There were two baby calves and we enjoyed just watching them. They were so adorable and I could tell that we would get very attached to those two calves as they grew, if we were around. As we were leaving, a big, burly guy was driving a huge truck filled with large cows, probably taking them to be slaughtered.

This got me to thinking. If there were no men in the world, we would all be vegetarians. Women have a hard time not having an emotional attachment to animals and would hate having to slaughter them. When I mentioned this to Erin {my daughter-in-law}, she told me that when her grandmother was a child during the depression, they had a victory garden and raised rabbits for food.

When it was time to slaughter them, her dad would go down the street and change rabbits with their neighbor so they wouldn't have to eat their pet rabbit. When she grew up, she found out that her dad simply went down the street, shook his neighbor's hand, then slaughtered their rabbit. They were eating their pet rabbits all that time! He knew his daughter would never be able to handle the fact that they were eating their pet.

This was just another example to me of the differences between the sexes even though our society likes to blur the lines so much that there is hardly a noticeable difference between the two. From the beginning of time, men have been the hunters and providers while women bore children and took care of the home.

The blurring of the lines between the sexes has caused havoc in our world. Men look like women and women look like men. Men are becoming feminized and homosexuality is becoming more common. Women are becoming more masculine {even fighting in wars} and no longer think they need men. Sexuality is becoming undefined, therefore, children are growing up very sexually confused. Women go off to work and men leave their families. Women have children without husbands and expect the government to take care of them. Children are growing up without fathers. Society is lost and suffering without clearly defined male and female roles.

God established these roles from the very beginning. In fact, they have always existed. God the Father was the authority and the Son submitted to the Father. God made Adam the authority and Eve was to be his help meet, submitting to his authority; clearly defined roles.

Woman's curse was ~ thy desire {to control} shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee {Genesis 3:16}. God's prescription to overcome the curse is ~ Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them {Colossians 3:18,19}.

It is that simple, women. God created clearly defined roles for a reason. There is peace and harmony in the home when they are followed. Therefore, begin submitting to your husband in everything. Allow him to be the leader of the home, then go eat a piece of meat and thank the good Lord for creating men!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Most Stressed Out in Society

The most stressed out people in our society are women between the ages of 45 and 64 years old. They also have the lowest well-being of any age group or gender. Here is one example of one woman who proves this to be true ~

She wakes up with the sun, her kids still live at home, she works a full-time job and she spends her lunch breaks visiting her mother, who recently suffered a stroke. On top of that, Watkins is married and attempting to stay healthy.

"It's 'Oh, wow. I'm not spending enough time with Mom. I'm not giving her enough support,'" she told ABC News. "But then I go over and spend more time with her and then I'm thinking: 'Wow. My kids are needing more of my time. My husband needs more of my time or my job.'"

"It's the constant feeling that you're never doing enough for any particular group that needs your time. Most definitely, I think that comes with the female territory," she said. "I want to find a corner and curl myself up and get away from everybody and everything, but that doesn't happen."

THIS is what feminism fought so hard for??!! Women living stressed out and overworked lives even when they are older?? Nobody wins. Nobody. Husbands, children, and parents are neglected. Now women are getting all the diseases that are related to stress that mostly men use to get like heart disease and high blood pressure. 

I frequently read or see these interviews given my moms who are movie stars and they admit that they are all having a difficult time "having it all." Having it all is a lie. We were never meant to be able to have it all by the world's definition. If you are a believer, you are meant to walk in the ways of God and do those things which have eternal value like raising godly offspring, loving and pleasing your husbands, and making your homes a haven for your families.

These responsibilities don't change much as you get older. Teenagers still need mothers at home. Even grown children need help with babysitting and help with the grandchildren. Husbands will always need their wives. The homes still need to be cleaned and maintained with nourishing food shopped for and prepared. Then there are the elderly parents that start needing help. Finally, older women are suppose to be teaching the younger women. How are they supposed to do that when they can hardly take care of their own families?

This is God's role for you older women..."The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women...
Titus 2:3, 4

HERE is the link to the article I quoted above.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Our Amazing New Reality!

We have been looking at our New Life in Christ found in Romans 6 the last two Sundays and discovering that this new life is the answer to the nagging question, “Why not continue in sin that grace may abound?” Today, let’s look at a few more verses that bolster the idea that we died to sin when we were placed into the death of Christ through baptism, and we rose to newness of life. Therefore, we are no longer sinners, but saints! Our disposition was set towards death, dying and sin, but God in His infinite wisdom and grace transferred our record to Jesus’ account and gives us the record of the life of Christ. Now that is the good news of the gospel!

The apostle Paul writes in Romans 6 ~
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The concept of having to “die daily to self” is clearly taught against in this passage. Think of the absurdity of having to go to God each day and ask him for your old man back so you can place him again on the cross.  Paul shouts to us “NO!”  There is no need to die again, for God has accomplished all we need for life and godliness already.  But then how do I get righteousness living into my life?

That answer is so simple that I cannot fathom why it took me 30 years of walking with Christ to finally understand how to walk in righteousness and holiness.  The same faith that affords me eternal life also gives me righteousness, here and now each and every moment I walk in faith and believe that I am holy, set apart to God and freed from sin.  It is not that God does not give us all we need to walk in holiness; He does, and He will. What is often missing is my faith to believe that I am indeed in Christ and He is in me.

So why does the Christian sin?  Sin by its very nature is a lack of belief that what God will supply and do in our lives is enough.  We want to play God, be self-sustaining and have things our way.  Yet, when we understand what God has done with us “in Christ” and realize that we are sitting at this moment on the right hand of God, this belief compels us to walk in holiness.

Oh, you mean positionally, right?  Yes I do!  To be positionally in Christ simply means that is our position.  A positional doctrine does not mean that it is not also ACTUALLY true. Why is it that I can believe that I am actually saved, but when the scriptures clearly teach that I am dead, and buried in Christ and have risen to a new life, I consider that to be a positional doctrine worthy of reflection, but not worthy of actually being true?  Paul, Peter and John do not tell us that they are talking about these things by way of reflection, or illustration.  They tell us that these things are actually true for all who believe in Christ.

Romans 6 is but one chapter of God's hundreds and hundreds of promises that points us to God's realities and truths. But will we reckon them to be true? Will we believe them?

I am ~
baptized into the death of Christ
buried with him by baptism into death
was raised up with Christ from the dead by 
the glory of the Father
have been planted together in the likeness
 of his death and resurrection
my old man is crucified with him,
 that the body of sin might be destroyed
I am dead so I am freed from sin.

What should be our response to these truths?
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, 
but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. {Romans 6:11}

When God says "reckon" He is asking the Bible to "count it as if it were so." The same “reckon” that God uses to make us righteous, He asks us to use in believing that we are indeed dead to sin and alive to Him. We have a most marvelous God who, when we believe Him, grants us unconditional grace. Yes, unconditional so that all our sins are forgiven: past, present and future. The work of Christ in our lives is not simply to pardon us, but to actually allow us to walk in righteousness, as we believe on His promises and walk in them. 

It is believing God that stops sin dead in its tracks. For we will always act out what we really believe and what we focus upon.

Think about this with me for a moment. If you are a golfer, you know the last thing you want to do when you stand over the ball to strike it is to be thinking, “Don’t slice, don’t slice.” Your chances of slicing go up dramatically when you are thinking about slicing, even if it is thinking about not slicing. Instead, you should be imagining the ball floating perfectly straight through the air to the hole. You might still slice, but if your focus is on being straight, you will hit it straight far more often. The entire body follows the mind to help produce the results we focus upon.

You get what you focus upon in life, and if your focus is on “Don’t sin, Don’t sin,” what you are looking at is sin and you soon will find yourself either falling into the mud of sin, or finding that what you accomplish for righteousness is under your own power.  Far too many Christians show the lies they believe when they say things like ~

"I am just a sinner saved by grace."
"There is nothing good in me, except for Jesus."
"I am so unworthy!"

When we hear this talk Lori and I want to scream, "Stop it!" Stop saying, "Don't slice, Don't Slice!" Instead, focus on righteousness, and specifically focus on the fact that we are in Christ and He is in us. We are saints of the most High, children of God, joint heirs with Christ to the Kingdom God, alive in Christ, freed from sin, and sitting with Christ on the right hand of God! This is our new realty, and this must be our focus!  How many times does God's Word speak of a Believer as a sinner? Zero!  We were sinners, but now we are saints of the God most High. Believe and focus on these truths and sin quickly gives way to obedience, not under our own power, but under the power of the Spirit.

Is this not what God intends for the Christian?  Not that we should walk in obedience struggling against our fleshly desires each moment of the day, but instead to believe God that the “body of sin” is destroyed with Christ.  My focus must be on my new life, not the old.  No more dying daily, no more crucifying the flesh, simply walking by faith, like Abraham and entering into all of the promises of God.  Only then can we begin to catch a glimpse at what God means when He says that He calls those things which be not as though they were {Romans 4:17}.

Are you “in Christ?” Is Christ in you?  Just as the pardon must be accepted by believing in God's saving grace to be fulfilled, so too must a New Life be accepted before it can be lived out.  If we are focused on the old man with its sins, and unable to believe God in our new man, we are doomed to patiently wait for God to take the slow grinding years of life and circumstances to train us with progressive sanctification.  

But what if, just by chance, or better yet by God’s Word, one could simple believe God and obtain the promised new life in an instant?  What if all old sins could instantly fade away and each and every time they tried to come back the believer could say, “God Forbid!   How shall I who am dead to sin do these things anymore?”  Now all we have to do is to reckon it to be true and we will find that our faith becomes the substance of reality in our lives, and that indeed, all of God’s promises do come true.  Don’t trust me on this… trust God at His Word.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
1 Corinthians 5:16-17