Monday, March 30, 2015

A Safe Home is a Non-Toxic Home

Cancer is running rampant. Auto-immune diseases are sky-rocketing. No, we can't protect our families from all the falleness of this world, but we can certainly do our best and then leave the rest in God's hands. Our world is very polluted. Man is good at ruining what God created. However, there is so much good in the world also. We must keep our focus upon these things and make our homes as healthy as possible.

Many toxic chemicals cause cancer. It has been proven that we all have cancer cells in our body but a healthy immune system can keep the cancer cells from getting out of control. Another way is to try and prevent your family from being exposed to toxic chemicals. It has also been proven that the most toxic air is inside the home from all the toxic cleaning chemicals, furniture, carpet, etc. There is a lot we can do to make the air in our homes cleaner. Keep your windows open whenever the weather permits. Use non-toxic products for your home, organic food, safe hair care and body products, buying used things that have had time to air out, wood flooring or tile, and green plants around your home to clean up the air.

We must go back to the ways God created things to be, as much as possible. Use 100% cotton clothing. Eat food exactly the way He created it to be. Cows were meant to eat grass and hay, not grains. The same goes for chicken. Fish were meant to swim free in the ocean, not farm raised where they get all kinds of parasites and diseases. Pets are getting cancer now too from eating dead, processed food instead of food they were created to eat. Cats and dogs were meant to be meat eaters, not grain eaters. 

Be more concerned with toxic chemicals over germs and viruses. A healthy body can fight most germs and viruses, but doesn't do as good of a job with toxic chemicals. I've never used any anti-bacterial soap! I don't use regular sunscreen since it is full of chemicals. I make my own deodorant. When my children were sick, I'd research natural ways to help their bodies heal, never depending upon drugs with all of their side effects.

Am I an environmentalist? Not if it includes saving eagles' eggs over saving unborn babies and preaching against having babies, I'm sure not! I do believe in caring for the creation the Lord has blessed us with, including our own bodies and doing what I can in my power and wisdom to keep them as unpolluted as possible!

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Romans 1:20

More posts in my Home Series.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Is an Egalitarian Marriage the Truth?

For the Christian, nothing is more important than the truth. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me" {John 14:16}. Not only do we understand this to be the fundamental truth of our faith, that only through Jesus can we be saved, we also understand how important it is to live our lives according the the Truth of God's Word, in all areas of life and godliness. Apart from the truth, we have nothing but guesses, wishes, desires and a man-made relationship with a make-believe God.

For many, the truth takes a back seat to what "works for me" as the Creator's plans for life and marriage are set aside for utilitarianism. All egocentric relationships focus on what is best for me with little regard for what is already defined as "best" by God's perfect will and Word. "Hey what we do works for us, so what's the problem?"

Anyone who teaches God's Word knows how vital it is to try to teach "the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God." This doesn't mean we always get it right when we interpret the Bible, but certainly we must try our best to drill down to the bedrock truth of what the original writers intended to tell his readers to discover what God means to tell us about who He is and what He desires for our lives. 

Many who teach Truth often get the label of being arrogant. Pastor David Jeremiah has an excellent sermon on truth and said, "Many say if you are Christians and you know the Truth, isn't that arrogant on your part? It's not arrogant to believe what the Bible teaches. In fact, it's the opposite. Arrogance is when we try to tailor Truth to our preference."

Many don't like what the Bible teaches, even Christians. They try to justify their beliefs through the lens of their experiences, feelings, or emotions instead of by what the Word of God actually says. Pastor Jeremiah admonishes us to refuse to let our experiences, feelings, emotions, or the world and its way squeeze us into it's mold. Whether it's things like our personality, decisions, habits, work ethic, marriage, spending patterns, morals, parenting skills, giving amounts, sexual appetite, choices, actions, all of it needs to be subjected and found in God's Word and His Truth. Measure everything in your life by the Bible, nothing else!

Here is where we have the biggest concern about Christians who choose to model their marriages after an egalitarian model instead of a truly Biblical model of a husband's loving leadership and a wife's respect and submission. We hear much talk about how well egalitarianism worked for their parents, or works in their marriage, and we think, "That's great!" It is always fun to find a marriage that is loving and working. But the Christian misses the point of what God is trying to do in this world if they are determining their choice of marriage model based on what works as opposed to what God calls His best. 

Consider for a moment your relationship with God. There are many levels that such a relationship can be lived. God asks that we obey his commands, and the believer who obeys God has a certain level of relationship like a boss to an employee. Boss says, "Do it my way," and you do it without questioning then the boss is pleased. A deeper level of relationship comes when God asks for our love and we give it by showing our love to Him by loving others and spending time with Him in prayer and in the Word. God becomes our Father and we are his beloved child. Now which one of these two relationships with God does He prefer? A loving relationship, of course!

There is an even deeper level of relationship that the Christian is called to. Jesus refers to it in His great "abide in in me and I in you" passage of scripture John 15. The apostle Paul refers to it regularly as we are "in Christ" and Christ is in us {Ephesians 1, Colossians 3:3}.  The highest level of relationship the believer must seek is to connect with God "in Christ" by allowing the Spirit of God to flow in and through us that we may be, as Peter says, "partakers of the Divine nature" {2 Peter 1:4}. It is here where true intimacy and connection with God takes place when we surrender our lives, we submit our wills, and we allow the life of Jesus to flow in and through us.

Similarly, levels of relationship apply to a Christian marriage, and an egalitarian marriage demands no deep connections, no vulnerability, no intimacy, but rather a set of relationship rules that seem equitable and fair towards one another. To treat each other with respect and with love and equality, but such a marriage is second best to what God has designed for us. 

God's design for marriage models the Godhead where the Father, the Son and the Spirit are all equals, yet the Son voluntarily lays down his rights and privileges as the Son of God to become a man and to not only save the world from it's sins, but to unite an entire family of God into one body, His body, the body of Christ. This union moves beyond obedience, beyond love, to a place where spirits are united as one; where the world may look at Christians and see a deep and abiding connection with God that makes them naturally model the attributes of their Creator and Savior.

When God asks His children to believe His truth about a husband's headship and a wife's submission, He is encouraging us to move beyond the normal marriage to a place of true connections. Just as the Godhead is One, so too is the husband and wife and the Spirit of Christ living in and through them. This is a true union for the world to see how God can and does unite us to Himself. 

If life is about what we can get out of it, maybe even obey God in most things, and love God, then an egalitarian marriage may work just fine for those who make it work. But if life is about seeking the deepest of connections between God and His children, then we must trust Him fully at His Word and step out in faith to be a part of His body and His marriage. An egalitarian marriage is all about "our marriage," but a one flesh marriage is where the husband is head and the wife his loving complement united as one with Christ, obedient to His truths, and experiencing the very Spirit of God flowing in and through their marriage. The trust and vulnerability of wifely submission is picked up by her faithful, loving husband who is willing, like Christ, to lay down his life for her.  A one flesh marriage is about "His marriage," and the desire to do marriage exactly how God prescribes it for the betterment of His body, and His precious married children.

Lori and I have been through a marriage of a wife's control, to an egalitarian partnership, and now to a Biblical one flesh marriage where Lori has everything to gain from her husband's complete devotion and selfless love for his God-given compliment in life. Lori is exactly who God knew I needed to grow up in Christ and become one with Him, not as an individual, but as a loving, united and fully connected couple.

Is this not God's will and His truths? Is this not God's heart for us all to give up self and unite ourselves in willing submission to His Spirit that we may be One with Him in our one flesh marriage?

That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us... And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  I in them and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved me, and have loved them, as you have loved me. 
John 17:21-23

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Teaching Children to be Kind

As a former teacher, a common question I {TheJoyFilledWife} am often asked by other parents is how early I think children should be enrolled in preschool in order to have an academic and social advantage in the years to come. In almost every instance, parents are dumbfounded when I tell them that attending preschool is not the preparatory step that will launch their children into educational and social success. Most children, whether they attend preschool or not, are on academically similar levels once they enter Kindergarten age. To be honest, the children I’ve seen with the academic and social advantages over the years are the those who spend the most quality time with their parents and family members reading books, using their imaginations, learning to serve, and having meaningful conversations. These experiences build confidence, impart wisdom, and increase a child’s mental and emotional capacity. Emphasize Bible teaching, listen to lots of music, and incorporate plenty of physical play time, and you will almost assuredly see a marked difference in a child’s capacity and performance.

For those of you who are pondering ways to provide your children with meaningful social interactions that will help build confidence and social skills, it should bring you a sigh of relief to know that there doesn’t have to be any formality to your child’s training in order for it to be effective. When I’m out with my children and other adults ask me how my kids are so friendly and able to carry on intelligent conversations with adults, it’s not because they have naturally social personalities or because they’ve taken any courses in conversing. It’s simply the byproduct of intentionally using our day to day errands and interactions to engage with others, ask questions, have meaningful conversations, and make an effort to brighten the day of whomever we come into contact with. Our children know that each of us is a walking example of Christ’s forgiveness and love and we strive to emulate that to each person God puts in our path throughout the day.

My husband and I do not allow our children to act shy, ignore, or be unresponsive to those around them.  Each person we come into contact with is deserving of a pleasant smile, a thoughtful answer, or a sincere compliment. Just like any habit we develop, it doesn’t always come easy at first, but we soon find it enjoyable as we see how even the smallest acts of kindness can make a big difference to a world full of hurting people who long to know that their life truly matters to someone. What an opportunity we have as parents and believers in Christ to help our precious children cultivate a heart for others and come to see the value in each and every person we meet!

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12
picture source

Friday, March 27, 2015

Difficulty of Being an Older Woman

It's not easy being an older woman trying to teach young women in this day and age. Submission is a dirty word. Keepers at home doesn't really mean being at home. Modesty doesn't include bikinis since everyone wears bikinis and children should be able to rule the home. Firm discipline is a no-no.

I teach things so contrary to even Christian women. All of the excuses I mentioned above have been thrown at me by Christian women. If you want to be an older woman who teaches young women, you must develop a tough outer shell and be confident in what you teach. Many older women just don't feel they can do it. It's difficult but knowing I teach the Truth of God's unchanging Word, having Ken's support, along with my Mom and Dad and many others, helps tremendously!

Satan has so manipulated the word submission that it is barely recognizable today. Most Christian marriages don't want to say there is one leader in the home. Both spouses are the leader. Little do they realize that a submissive wife is a strong woman. It takes strength to give up your will and trust your husband to lead. It takes strength to honor and resepect his wishes knowing that when you obey your husband, you are obeying God.

Many older women have a difficult time teaching young women to be keepers at home since they have careers and are hardly ever home. God commands older women to teach young women and I know this is a ministry that is badly needed in our churches today. Yes, I realize some women have no choice but to work. I am addressing those older women who want to work so they can have more money and stuff, instead of ministering to the young women around them in any way they can.

Modesty means different things to different peoples and cultures. The best way to find out what modesty is is to ask a godly man his honest opinion. He will most likely tell you the more flesh, the more difficult it is to not lust. Bikinis are NOT modest.

Concerning children; no, parents are to rule the roost. When children rule, chaos reigns. It isn't easy to discipline your children but it is something that needs to be done. 

If God commands that older women teach young women, it only makes sense that young women should have teachable hearts, willing to listen to older women who have good marriages and raised godly children. If you can't listen to them and trust their wisdom and experience, who can you listen to?

I just received this comment from a woman who I shared these thoughts with, "I agree, we need more women not repackaging the Word, as to not offend modern Christian women. Modern? God is timeless and His Word transcends the ages. Modern is an excuse to continue living from a position of "self," packaged as new and improved. How quickly we forget how appealing deception is; one of the empty promises of sin. Continue boldly speaking and teaching Truth. What a mighty ministry you have been entrusted to carry out. As Pastor Bob often reminds us, 'If the Truth is not acceptable to you, you are welcome to leave.'" ;-)

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; 
but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, 
having itching ears.
2 Timothy 4:3