Friday, April 17, 2015

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See!

Are you careful with what you see? Do you carefully avoid immoral and ungodly movies and television shows? "Many mothers who have never worked outside the home do very little in the home to strengthen their families: gossiping, watching ungodly and immoral soap operas and a host of other things can be as destructive as a working mother" {John MacArthur}

God commands that we dwell on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise {Philippians 4:8} and He doesn't command this to us to keep us from having fun. He commands this for our good.

When you fill your mind with ungodly and immoral images, they give Satan a foothold in your life. It begins a slippery slope down into more and more sin. "Oh, that won't happen to me," you may think but the God who made you knows other wise and commands that you deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age {Titus 2:12}.

None of God's commands are intended to harm us but to protect us just as what you teach your children is intended to protect them and not harm them. God love us MORE than you love your children. He created us and knows what is best.

Casting Crowns has a song called Fade Away. I encourage you to listen to it. Here are some of the lyrics ~ 

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

We MUST not be like frogs in the pot that slowly get cooked to death because they don't know the fire is under them causing the water to come to a boil. We don't want to be that lukewarm church that God will spit out of His mouth. We must hate what is evil and cling to what is good. Teach your children to love purity and holiness. Teach them to love God's good ways and walk on His narrow path to life. Satan's broad path leads to destruction but God's path leads to eternal life.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Do You Love Your Husband More Than Your Children?

Ayelet Waldman caused quite a stir among women ten years when she said, "I love my husband more than my children!" She went on to say they enjoyed a passionate sex life  "If you focus all of your emotional passion on your children and you neglect the relationship that brought that family into existence...eventually, things can go really, really wrong...So many women today have become so focused on their children, they've developed these romantic entanglements with their children's lives and the husbands are secondary. They're left out." She went on to say that they have raised happy, contented, successful children.

It is so much easier to love our children than our husbands but let me tell you, those children grow up and leave and then you are left alone with your husband. I have seen couples who didn't raise their children with much discipline but the wives LOVED their husbands. Those children have grown up to be great adults!

I always have told women the greatest gift you can give your children is to love their daddy deeply. It discourages me when I see all pictures mothers are posting about their children on Facebook and them with their children but none with their husbands. Then I LOVE seeing mothers posting romantic pictures of themselves with their husbands! Far too many women prefer their children over their husbands, yet they were the ones who chose their husbands to make their babies!

Many mothers make their children the center of their universe. All of their energy and time goes into taking care of them. When children see their mothers making their fathers a priority, the children love it. Their greatest sense of security lies in the healthy relationship between mother and father. I have read blogs where the wives are always serve their husbands, first at dinner to show the children how much they honor and respect their husband, then throughout the day with joy, laughter and smiles. Children feel a sense of deep dread when they sense their parent's relationship deteriorating.

We must always remember that we were first created to be our husband's help meet. This is our primary role when we marry. I failed in this area. I thought Ken was a big boy and could take care of himself, and he did, which removed far too many connections between us. I listened to all the lies of society and around me instead of what God's Word plainly spells out. For some reason, all those verses about headship, submission, obedience, pleasing, etc. were hidden to me. Blindness comes when doing things the world's ways. Don't make the same mistake I made, and if you have, begin with me to make your husband your first priority. 

I have many a woman come to me in tears of despair crying out for an answer to restoring their relationship with their husband that is on the rocks, or going no where. The answers are always the same; get in God's Word daily and do what it calls you to do, and to be. Then go to your husband and ask him if he will forgive you for the years of  famine you have helped to create in your relationship. Ask him to gently coach you in all areas of what God calls you to be; a submissive, godly and chaste wife who puts her husband first and your household second, knowing that this is what pleases the Lord, and will restore your heart and marriage.

And the LORD God said, 
It is not good that the man should be alone; 
I will make him an help meet for him.
Genesis 2:18

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Following in the Footsteps of Our Great-Grandmothers

Our grandmothers and great grandmothers lived in a time when it was socially acceptable and even encouraged to be keepers at home; devoted to their husbands and families. Nobody questioned their honorable vocation and they did not have to apologize or try to rationalize their reasons for wanting to be at home. It was definitely politically correct for them to be stay-at-home wives and mothers raising their own children. They would have never thought about letting someone else raise their children! Being steadfast at home was their important position in society. 

Everything has dramatically changed in the last 70 years. Now, when women decide they want to leave their careers to be home full-time, they have to have a well-thought out defense ready and deliver it with precision to the many objections of family, friends, neighbors and stranger. They will even get ridiculed for wanting to be "just" a housewife, when they could be spending their time doing something so much more "worthwhile."

Knowing that we follow in the footsteps of millions of women who have been keepers at home from the beginning of time should bring us much comfort and the fact that God commands young women to be keepers at home. We are NOT an aberration! This upside down society that we presently live in is the exception to the rules which have, up until now, held fast since God created Adam and Eve in the garden.

The most tragic thing to me is the fact that this current thinking has even invaded the church. We are not allowed to teach women to be keepers at home for fear of offending those who work. Since when are we not allowed to teach Truth in the church for fear of offending? Truth usually offends since it is contrary to the ways of the world.

We must always remember that we are strangers and aliens down here. Our purpose in life isn't to get rich and famous. It is to raise up a godly generation and to be salt and light to the world around us. God tells women how they can do this: be keepers at home. When we obey His Word, we adorn it and when we disobey it, we blaspheme it.

Dear women, hold FAST to that which is true and good and real. Carry on this time-honored way of life to the next generation. We may not change the world, but we can have a big influence on future generations through our own families and by being keepers at home.

Thus says the LORD, "Stand by the ways and see and 
ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; 
And you will find rest for your souls."
Jeremiah 6:16

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Gaining Self-Control

I {written by Ken} didn’t realize until recently how much God’s Word emphasizes self-control as a vital godly discipline. Sure I knew that self-discipline was important, but this was the first time I went through and tried to find every verse in the Bible as it related to this vital personal discipline. I am in most respects a very disciplined person when it comes to my work and my goals, but in other areas of life I do not keep my flesh under control as well as I should. Is that not what self-control is really all about? Telling one’s flesh “no” when what it wants to do, say, see or eat is not the best for us? How many of you are like me and find yourselves at times settling for “short term gain with long term pain” or “short term pleasure with long term destruction?” Is this not a lack of self-control?

My three greatest weaknesses with self-control are wanting to eat too much junk, wanting to watch too much junk, and at times saying things that I should not have said, or in a way I should not have said it. The reality is that each of these things is simply the feeding of my flesh and fleshly desires. Don’t misunderstand as I am not some zealot for perfection, nor do I want to sensor everything a Christian eats or watches on TV. Each of us are at a different point in our journey with the Lord and you are most welcome to your Big Mac and ice cream without feeling an ounce of guilt if you can eat them in moderation and your main diet is healthy, natural whole foods. If you saw what I eat with my protein shakes and huge organic salads almost every day at home you might laugh that I am even concerned about self-control in my eating. I am not a total slob when it comes to self-control, but I do at times lack it, and need to do a better job of saying “no” to self.

My greatest struggle with self-control comes when I am traveling. I just got back from three weeks working in Europe and if there is one thing I love it is French bread and pastries. To be honest, I love almost everything about French food except for the various innards they like to eat as delicacies. But give me a French hotel breakfast buffet and the baked goods will be my undoing. One, two or three croissants and "pain au chocolate" is not quite enough. Have you ever had one of those snail pastries or one loaded with almond paste? If the flesh is not completely satisfied, you can always make your own designer pastry with ten different jams and my favorite, Nutella.  And of course you have to get your monies worth, and finish it all with a little discipline of eating some prunes.

Then there is the French bread that is bar none the best in the world. I can’t tell you how many different varieties I experienced but why is it that the French can make bread taste so much better than we do? Maybe it is because it is made fresh daily? So the first evening with a client and friend we decided to have pizza, and of course in Europe you each get your own. When it came out I exclaimed that it was huge and we should have gotten one and not two, but when it was all over, only a few pieces of crust remained. Wow it was good because it was on that French dough. So the next night, we decided to display some self-control by not going out to eat. Instead we bought one very long French baguette along with some toppings and watched France lose to Brazil in soccer. The sausage slices turned to great cheeses and then I finished up with the Nutella… one, slice, two slices, four slices of bread covered with chocolate frosting. I am glad I do not live in France as I might be the fattest Frenchman ever. 

You get the point. I lack a certain amount of self-control in my eating, and this same lack of self-control shows up in some other areas of my life. Yet God tells me: Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified{I Corinthians 9:25-27}. And 2 Peter 1:5 tells us we are to supplement our faith with self-control. It seems that as a mature believer I have all the fruit of the Spirit in my life, but at times, what is missing is self-control and the ability to say “no” to the flesh, and "yes" to godliness.

It seems to me that the church too often gives a free ride to the sin of a lack of self-control. It’s tough for a pastor to preach on the subject when he knows that what he is eating and watching are things he should not and he is snapping at his spouse from time to time when stressed out. Think about the areas you lack self-control and many times you cannot even see how often you give in to the flesh because it is now a bad set of habits. If you want to really see how often your flesh speaks for you instead of your spirit, ask your spouse to catch you each time they see it and call you on it. Maybe in your toughest areas of a lack of self-control, ask your spouse to hold you accountable.

I am on a thirty day challenge to say “no” to the flesh and I have asked my spouse to help me do so. If she sees my flesh speaking or acting in any way that is not with self-control, I want her to catch me on it so I like Paul can discipline myself and learn greater self-control. This may be a lifelong project, or it may be learned in a month, or year, but regardless it is what God calls each of us to be: Self-controlled in all areas of our lives, even the hidden areas of what we eat, what we think and what we see in private.

In some ways, most of us are addicted to certain fleshly desires even as our struggles may be different. We think we can regularly get away with a lack of self-control, but eventually it shows up in pain and destruction. A husband’s struggle with what he looks at becomes an unfulfilling marriage bed. A wife’s struggle with a lack of respect or control over her tongue results in pushing her husband away and closing down any possibility of real intimacy. A father’s snaps and angry outbursts results in angry and rebellious teenagers, and a mom’s unwillingness to cook healthy and nutritious foods can lead to a myriad of health problems and perhaps a whole family gradually becoming overweight. There is no free lunch in life and most often “we reap what we sow.” So let’s sow the seeds of self-control and self-discipline realizing that this is God’s call on our lives to be at our best in all areas of life and godliness. Is this not what He means when he calls us toput on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” {Romans 13:14}. Ask your spouse to hold you accountable and let us honor the Spirit that is within us, knowing that this is what pleases the Lord.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear,
 but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7