Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Do Careers for Women Give Men an Easy Way Out?

With wives getting education and careers, do they really need a husband to provide for them? How has women leaving the home in droves to pursue careers affected marriage? This was enlightening comment on one of my posts recently and I thought I would share it ~

My parents divorced and my mother had her own career and was able to fully support herself.  My husband's parents had many years of a difficult marriage, with a bout of infidelity thrown in for good measure, and as much as my mother-in-law wanted to leave and be done with it, she couldn't leave because she had nowhere to go because she was an at-home mom. As much as my father-in-law wanted to be done, he couldn't because they had four children to raise and where would his wife go?  All the kids are grown now and they've been together 40 years! They simply had to learn to work together and they did. 

In my mom's case, the career meant she wasn't able to be present for my dad. She worked days, he worked nights. She was stressed, he was stressed. My dad got tired of it and wanted out. He knew my mom could take care of herself. If she didn't have the career, would the decision to divorce have weighed on his conscience more? Possibly, yes. If she didn't have the career, would she have put more energy into the family and relationship with with dad? Possibly, yes. My point is that which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did divorce happen because of women working? Or did working women happen because of divorce? I think we're TOLD it's the latter...but I wonder if really it's the former.

I completely believe it is the former. Before women left the home and pursued careers, divorce was much less. In the late 1800's, the divorce was between 3-5% and the article states, "One factor that influenced divorce statistics at this time was the fact that women, outside of marriage, had very few economic opportunities." Before you get all riled up, I am not saying we should go back to the time when women didn't haven't any economic opportunities. In my opinion, if a wife wants to add to her family's income or has some extra time, she should figure out a way to make some money from home where she could still manage the home and family, yet be her own boss and not some other man. She could care for a few extra children, run an etsy shop, cook for others, get into photography, or find something that uses her talents and that she enjoys. With the Internet, there are many ways a woman could find a way to bring in some extra cash. I know many women help their husbands with their business. Just make sure you keep your marriage and family as your top priority!

Pastor Jack Graham wrote this recently ~ "The number one question asked by teenagers of their fathers today isn't, 'Dad, can I have the car key? It's not, 'Can you raise my allowance?' No, the number one question kids ask today is, 'Dad, do you love mom?'" So many of our children today live in fear. They have a constant nightmare that somehow their family is going to break down. And for far, far too many of these precious boys and girls, that nightmare becomes a reality when either dad or mom checks out of the marital relationship."

It's just TOO much to ask women with children to hold down a career, keep a strong marriage by being a help meet to her husband, train her children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord, and keep a clean and tidy home. Be wise in the decisions you make, women. Our decisions have far-reaching consequences for our children and society.

Marriage should be honored by all.
Hebrews 13:4

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Her "Wants" and "Feelings" are Destroying Her Marriage

Ever since I have known her, she has been mad at her husband, even before she married him! I asked her to ponder why she is always mad at him and she responded {notice how many times she says "I want" or "I feel"} ~

"I can't explain why I stay mad at him. I thought about it. I WANT to live in harmony with my husband BUT I want it to be mutual. When I don't feel like he is being a great husband or if he does things that I don't like {like going out whenever he wants while I'm stuck at home with the kids} then it is easier for me to get upset with him because I'm not getting what I want. Many times, I feel like I've been given the short end of the stick and don't enjoy life and feel like I'm missing out on a lot. Many friends my age are out enjoying life freely. I feel way older than I am and feel trapped in a box just surviving while my husband is living the life he wants to live; he leaves when he pleases, he does what he wants and seems to enjoy his life much more than I enjoy mine. I'm mad because I wish we could enjoy life together and enjoy each other but it doesn't seem like I'm a priority to him. I envy other couples who genuinely love each other's company and spend lots of time doing things they enjoy together. He and I don't know how to do that."

First of all, you have been angry with him long before you were married. He never did live up to your expectations. You never have enjoyed him. Nothing changes after you marry. Have you ever thought that maybe he doesn't enjoy being with you because he knows you disapprove of him and he can never live up to your expectations?

No man has ever crawled out from under his wife's criticism to become a better man {Debi Pearl}. I remember asking you if you ever smiled at him. This was before you got married and I was mentoring you. You told me you never did because you were always angry with him. You knew exactly what you were getting when you married him. 

We need to take your finger from pointing at him and point it at you. I KNOW he is not perfect and has faults but it is NOT your responsibility to convict and change him. You have shared your disappointments and hurts with him. He knows but as long as you stay mad at him, you will never win him and have the type of relationship you want.

Both of you come from difficult backgrounds. You both brought in a lot of baggage into the marriage. You weren't raised with any godly role models. However, you are both new creatures in Christ. Your past died and is forgiven through the precious blood of our Savior. Now, begin living the new life that He died to give you. Forgive him for all of his sins and mistakes. Yes, it is easier to hold onto anger and unforgiveness, but you are just giving Satan a foothold into your life and home. God wants you to forgive him as He has forgiven you.

Many women, like you, are not experiencing marriage the way they thought they would. Reality rarely lives up to our expectations. God never promises us happy marriages but He does tell us that godliness with contentment is GREAT gain. Therefore, you need to work on becoming godly. Spend daily time in His Word. Are you doing this? Fill your mind with good things. Stop filling it with garbage from the world. Work on becoming thankful and filled with gratitude for all the good things the Lord has done for you and how He provides for you.

Maybe your friends aren't having that good of a time. Going shopping and to movies and just hanging out gets old too. They may appear to be happy but are they really? We should never compare our lives to others. We are to measure our lives with Jesus. Are we becoming more like Him? This is all that matters; not if life is going the way you planned. 

I bet your husband would be enjoying his life a whole lot more if you loved him just the way that he was. He would take that over his "freedom" any day and besides, then he would probably want to be home with you more if he actually enjoyed being with you. You never enjoy someone who doesn't accept you the way that you are, NEVER. You will never have the marriage you envision if you continue to stay mad and disappointed in him.

He works hard so you can be at home with the children. He is talented and good looking. He is easy to talk to. He has many good qualities. You are beautiful. Your smile lights up the room when you use it! You are also easy to talk to. You are both wonderful people. There is NO reason you can't have a great marriage. The only way you will ever get that, however, is to accept him just the way that he is and shower love upon him.

Stay focused upon his good qualities and throw away his bad. Let the Lord deal with him in his sins and faults. He does a good job at that. Begin thanking the Lord for him and all the things you love about him. Your ministry right now is to your husband, your children and your home. This is a HIGH calling from the Lord. You are raising godly offspring! There is nothing more important than that.

We love both of you and want the best for you. We would love to see you happily married to each other and we know you can accomplish this but you must give up all of your expectations and allow the Lord to build your marriage His way. He commands you love, respect, please, serve and obey your husband. Do marriage on His terms and you WILL reap beautiful fruit!

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, 
forbearing one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

***This is what she just sent me, "Your email was good for me to read. It's the truth. Taking it day by day and learning to rely on the Lord and His Word." Made my day!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Why Do You Want to Stay Mad at Your Husband?

Do you know that if you are continually angry with your husband, you are living in sin? The majority of women I have mentored are continually mad at their husbands. If you are one of them, honestly ask yourself why this is so. "Why am I always angry with my husband?" I have a few theories, since I was a pro at it for MANY years! 

It was a manipulation tactic I used to try and get Ken to do what I wanted him to do. It was used as a way to CONTROL him. Sometimes I used it because I wanted him to apologize and tell me he was sorry since arguments were always his fault, in my prideful mind. Still, it was just another way to try and control him. When he forgets your birthday, says the wrong thing, doesn't pick up after himself, watches too much television, isn't sensitive enough to your feelings, etc. and you get angry with him, you are using your anger to try and get him to behave the way you think he should behave. You gain NOTHING good by staying angry with him and only lose any relationship you hope to have with him. The only thing you gain is a foothold by Satan into your life. Your life will never experience God's blessings if you continue to live in sin by being angry with your husband.

Anger is NOT good. There are numerous Bible verses against being angry ~ 

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, 
blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Colossians 3:8

A fool gives full vent to his anger, 
but a wise man keeps himself under control. 
Proverbs 29:11

Instead of being angry, we are called to forgive freely, not be easily offended and love earnestly. This includes our husbands. Being upset and angry with him all the time IS sin, even if what you are angry about is his sin but it will NEVER lead to a better marriage. Anger towards your husband pushes him away from you and will never draw him to you. It builds a huge wall between the two of you that just gets wider and wider as anger and bitterness takes root.

You will NEVER win your husband by being angry at him. You win him without a word by godly behavior and freely forgiving him which is much harder to do than holding onto your anger. Always being angry is completely opposite of being godly. We are not suppose to try to control our husbands through any manipulation tactics. Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us to do this. It tells us to love, submit to, obey, please, and respect our husbands, NOT be angry with them. Yes, confront them in their sin but then let go of the anger.

Admit your sin to your husband. Ask him for forgiveness. We are called to forgive 70 X 7 times, regardless of his sin since Jesus forgave us for every sin we ever committed or ever will commit. Win him with your forgiving and forbearing spirit. In this way, you are preaching the Gospel to a lost generation. "Oh my, how she loves her husband, even in spite of his sin!"

Besides, a huge part of "loving your children" is providing a peaceful home for them. Tension and conflict produce fear in children. "Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and turmoil with it." Do everything in YOUR power to be at peace with your husband and stop living in sin.

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference {a grievance or complaint} against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has freely forgiven you, so must you also forgive. 
Colossians 3:13

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Choose Life! A Walk in the Spirit

It seems that the wisdom of Solomon is so true, that nothing really changes except for the seasons and the times.  The call to Israel to choose God over idols is the same call we are faced with today. Will we choose life or will we choose death? Will we choose to walk in the Spirit or walk in the flesh? Our study of Romans 6-8 continues as we have moved from our freedom from sin {Romans 6} to discover that just like the children of Israel we can can go back into bondage of our flesh {Romans 7} if we choose death over life, if we choose our own reality of a walk in the flesh over a walk in the Spirit. Now in Romans 8 we discover God's reality that "you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of Christ dwells in you." {Romans 8:9}. 

Really Lord? You are telling me to believe something that goes completely against what I can see, touch, feel, and experience. My flesh sure seems like it is alive and kicking, yet you want me to believe that "I died with Christ" that my "body of sin might be destroyed" and I am now alive in Christ Jesus as a New Creature who can walk in the Spirit and say "NO" to sin?

God said to the children of Israel, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live." {Deuteronomy 30:1} Fast forward 2000 years later and find that same Promise coming true in Jesus as the “Word, became flesh and dwelt among us.” The Promise that was given to Adam, was refined through Abraham, now was coming to fruition in Christ Jesus. The fact that the seed of Abraham would produce a Messiah that would deliver mankind from sin was a remarkable proposition. It was a simple spoken Word, a Promise of God, now fulfilled when God Himself becomes a man and dies with thieves on a cross. 

What does it mean that “the Word became flesh,” except that God Himself cannot be separated from His Word as they are one and the same. Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together {Colossians 1:16,17}.  Christ and the Word of God are inseparable, as Christ is the Word in the flesh, the Promise who became a man.

All believers know that the cross on which Christ suffered was intended for each and every one of us, yet what God promises is that anyone who looks upon the cross of Christ and believes in Him shall be saved. Through a promise from God, we are spared eternal damnation as Christ took on the penalty and pain, not only for my sins, but the sins of the whole world; That whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life {John 3:16}.  The promise that God made, has been kept, and all men who call upon the name of Jesus and who believe that God raised Him from the dead are saved {Romans 10:19}.

The children of Israel who wandered the desert would have understood the cross and its promised salvation quite clearly. Not only had they sprinkled the blood of the lamb on the wooden doorposts, in the manner of a cross, they also found salvation in the desert from the stings of the vipers by looking at a brazen snake held high on a post. The illustrations from history are remarkably clear that salvation comes from a promise of God, to those who by faith believe His promises. Such faith always results in actions and bears fruit in the lives of those who believe. 

The outstanding Bible teacher, Michael Pearl in his Romans series, tells the story of the research scientist who raised snakes in the California desert and milked their venom for sale to the manufacturers of antivenom. His wife called him one afternoon and frantically told him to get to the local hospital as his seven year old son had been bitten by one of his most deadly snakes. He rushed to the hospital only to be greeted by the doctor who said that there was nothing he could do to save the little boy. No anti-venom could arrive in less than 2-3 hours, even by plane, and by that time his son would be dead.

“Why not me,” cried out the father, “why not me?”

The doctor tried to comfort him by saying, “God needs you to be here to be strong for your family and to provide for them.”

“No, No… you don’t understand. I have been bitten by so many deadly snakes that the venom cannot kill me.  I might have terrible pain but I cannot die because of a snake bite.”

Within minutes the doctor had the father’s blood typed, and as it was a match, he was placed in a bed beside his son and the blood from his veins was coursing through his dying son’s body. The son lived because the father had been stung countless times before and he was willing to share his immune rich blood with his dying son who was saved.

The promised One, the Word of God, the hope of all Israel and the whole world, hung on a cross and received all of the stings of sin Satan could give Him. He took it all. Now He simply asks us to look upon Him, to place our faith in Him and at that moment His blood will instantly be coursing through our veins. The sure antidote for sin is the blood of one who has been stung with sin a myriad of times, yet could not be kept in a grave.  Is it not a wonderful irony that the serpent of old, the snake himself, would now provide us with the perfect antidote? That just as the venom of the snake can kill, it also will bring life to those who are bitten if they take the anti-venom, purified through the blood of a lamb.  {Yes, the preferred animal used to make antivenom is now a lamb}.  

Sin will kill life, kill relationships, and destroys our bodies unless we tap into the antidote of a new Spirit that only Christ can give by dwelling within is. Every believer has Jesus, the blood of the true Lamb of God and His life flowing in us. And that very life will flow through us to others, each and every moment we believe in God’s promises.

One might have expected history to be kinder to the children of Israel as the receivers of the promise, yet it is replete with one sad story after another of unbelief, and a falling away from what they knew to be true. Had not God kept his promise to deliver Israel through Moses?  Had he not brought them to a land of promise overflowing with milk and honey? Yet, as the seasons changed and time marched on, one generation after another fell into unbelief. The history of God’s mighty work and His Promise was quickly discounted for trusting what one could see, touch, feel and experience. 

Perhaps the children of Israel are excused far more than the Christian can be for their unbelief, for they did not partake of the Spirit of Christ the way that we are given it today. Their resource to keep God’s commands was limited, yet we have within us the unlimited power of God's Spirit, the very life of Jesus within us, to walk in obedience, and in newness of life, so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit {Romans 8:4}.

It is so easy to believe the material world instead of the promises of God. There is nothing new in Joshua’s cry to “choose you this day whom you will serve” whether the gods which your fathers served, or the Lord God of Israel. The choice to serve God or serve some other god, especially the god of our own fleshly desires, remains to be chosen each and every moment of our lives. We choose God when we believe Him.

Most of us as believers stumble into the same pattern as the children of Israel, and we forget that we were purged from our sins {2 Peter 1:9}. Our blindness quickly overtakes the reality of the Promise. Mankind is so conditioned by the world, and the influences of the world to trust only what we can experience. Our “reality” becomes what can be proven with hypothesis and repetition in order to be believed. This is the lie of Satan, yes, the serpent of old, who went to Eve and then Adam and said, “Don’t trust God; trust what you can touch and see; trust your inward desires; trust me instead.”

For the Christian, when we believe in the Promise of God, we instantly receive the eternal life in Christ Jesus and are guaranteed no damnation for our sins: past, present or future.  The antidote is complete in Christ {Colossians 2:10}.  The promise of God to Abraham now becomes a multitude of promises made by God to His Son, and all those who are in Christ Jesus. Those who taste eternal life by entering into the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, become inextricably fused into His body. Our old lives are dead and we are raised with Christ, and made alive again, that we might walk in newness of life {Romans 6:4}.

It seems that from one end of the Word of God to the other there is a battle raging between what man can see vs. what God calls the reality of His Promise. I believe God wants it this way.  He wants a world where everything around us looks so real. A delicious apple glowing from the one tree we are not to eat from with our desires and our feelings so strong. Yet deep in the soul of all men God has placed a whisper that says, “Will you trust me?”  “Will you believe me?” “Will you walk by faith and not by sight” “Will you walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh?” "For when you do you prove your love for your Creator."

Will you choose this day life or death? Will you believe God that you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that Spirit of God dwells in you? {Romans 8:9} Will you approach the Christian life not as a huge effort to be a better person, or sin less, but instead to simply believe and trust in each and every one of God’s promises?  For when we believe God is when we find true life, abundant and free. Christ breathes His Spirit into our souls each and every moment we trust in His promises. Choose Life!

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins {Colossians 1:13}, and you are not of this world {John 18:36}.