Can We Keep It? Covid 19, and Our Willingness to Throw Away Liberty for Safety.

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This Covid 19 epidemic has shown me just how many people in this country are willing to give up some liberties for ‘safety’. Many of our governors have overstepped their boundaries, passing edicts that are completely unconditional. In some places it sounds like a story right out of World War Two’s Nazi Germany, with local governments requiring papers in order to leave your house; proving you are an ‘essential worker’. The use of drones to spy on citizens, encouraging neighbors to call the authorities on one another. Public shaming of people who refuse to wear a mask. And, the sad part, very few citizens are doing anything about it. Some, think these edicts are a good thing, either out of fear, ignorance or because they don’t like what America stands for and align themselves more with this agenda; globalists, communists, socialists, etc. Others, out of ignorance of our constitutional rights, for they really don’t know what rights we have. And worse yet, are those who DO know the constitution, and are staying quiet; happy to conform and obey for a since of peace and security.

I have seen so many posts on social media, and many news stories, where people are upset over armed citizens who are protesting at court houses against the various decrees governors have placed on us during this epidemic. And yet, the second amendment was given to us for just that reason! When our government infringes on our rights as a citizen, then we have the right to remove them, and by any means necessary.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent to the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principals and organizing powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.  (Excerpt from Declaration of Independence. July 4th 1776)

We have the right to work, we cannot be forced to wear a mask, we cannot be forced to stay at home and we don’t have to show papers when we do go out. We have the right to gather together in our churches for worship, to gather else ware, and we have the right to free, uncensored speech. (Many social media platforms are censoring; removing videos and articles they don’t agree with.) These rights have been stripped from us during this epidemic, and nowhere in the Bill of Rights, or in the Constitution, is there a clause allowing the loss of our freedoms, even temporarily, for ANY reason; to include a virus. Even a virus of epidemic proportion! We can protect the vulnerable without giving up our rights! (Like Sweden). Our elected officials work for us! They are not our superiors, they are not to be dictators, they are not to give edicts that go against our rights, and when they do, we have the right to remove them from office!

If you want to stay at home, fine. If you want to wear a mask, do it. If you want forgo church for a season, and other social functions, then do so. If you don’t agree with something you read, OK. BUT DON’T INFRINGE ON MY RIGHTS to work, wear what I choose or don’t choose, to socialize, to speak, and to worship! I want my immune system to stay strong! Ever heard of heard immunity? Look it up. Fresh air, sun, dirt, sand, water and germs; yes germs are GOOD for us! There is no such thing as essential and non-essential! The small business owner has the same right to be open, (to feed their family), as the big corporations and box stores. Churches nationwide should be allowed to meet without fear of arrest. We have the right to gather!

There are those, even confessing Christians, who argue… “Christians are to obey government, or Jesus was peaceful, so one should only object peacefully.” I have to ask, what Bible are you reading? Yes, we are told to be subjected to the authorities that God placed over us. ‘To give to Caesar what is Caesars’; pay taxes. (Matthew 22:21) HOWEVER, if, and when, those authorities come against our God given rights, we are to obey God, not government. (Acts, 5:29) And Jesus, he was peaceful? Jesus was all the time questioning authority, coming against the Pharisees and Sadducee’s. Jesus was not peaceful when he drove out the money changers in the temple! Jesus fashioned a whip of cords and drove out the people and the animals; He overturned tables! Peaceful? I think not, but righteous, yes! (Mark 11:15, Matthew 21:12, John 12:13-16). Jesus himself said he did not come to bring peace, but rather division. (Luke 12:51-53) So, while I do represent Christ, and I need to show love, compassion, and grace, I do NOT have to allow the government to trample my rights. I am not to turn a blind eye, to keep silent. In fact, if I see an injustice taking place, I should speak up, I should fight to defend my rights and the rights of others. Righteous anger is not a sin!

And the whole mask thing! Now the left is comparing those of us who are pushing back against mandated mask wearing, as to them pushing back against their rights to an abortion. It is not even the same thing! Abortion is murder! It goes against every Christian principal this nation was founded on. One of our unalienable rights is life! Not only is mask wearing unhealthy, (you can research that), in most cases it does nothing to prevent the catching or spreading of covid. If you look at this mandate through a spiritual lens, a mask is a symbol of fear. Are you trusting God for protection? Or, are you going to follow the world; those who are lost and fearful? Because you can live in a bubble, and if God wants you to perish from Covid, or any other virus…you can’t do anything about it!

Fear! What this all comes down to is fear. And we are commanded NOT to have fear. The Bible mentions fear in over eighty passages. Fear is sin, for we are NOT trusting God when we are living in fear. It is sad how far our country has swayed from a Christian foundation and belief in God. Our forefathers never would have allowed the government to infringe on their rights during an epidemic (or any other time) for safety! Life is NOT safe! We are all going to DIE! YOU ARE GOING TO DIE, I AM GOING TO DIE! Virus are always out there! Yes, some are easier caught than others, some more deadly. We cannot give up our freedoms and hide in our homes each time a new virus is discovered. This is not the first pandemic, and will not be the last. If God is going to take you using Covid, there is nothing you can do to prevent it! That is why having a relationship with Jesus, knowing that your soul is eternally secure is so important! It may not be Covid that gets us, it could be a car accident, a disease, etc. We don’t know how or when we are going to die! Only God knows, and we need to be ready.  Jesus is the only way! Jesus died on the cross, taking our sins upon him, reconciling us to God. And he rose, defeating death once and for all! We are eternal beings, this life is temporary. Where are you going to spend eternity?

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27 KJV)

We are made in the image of God, no wonder the enemy wants us to cover our faces! We are to be a light shining in this dark world. If we are hiding in our homes, and when we do venture out, acting fearful like the world, how are we standing out? How are we setting an example? How are we saying to a lost and frightened world, “Yes, look at me, I am different. NO, I am not going to conform. NO, I am not willing to give up my rights for peace and safety, because life is NOT SAFE. However, I am NOT fearful! I am full of joy, hope and peace…WHY? Because I know Jesus! And if it is my time, then God will take me. And if it is not, then no matter what I do, I will not die today. And you…you can have this peace too, let me tell you about my Jesus.”

“There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” Psalm 91:10

1/3 of the population during the Revolutionary War, fought for the freedoms we now have. 1/3…not much different than we are seeing today. You may not agree with what I am saying. You may label me as a conspiracy theorist, an idiot, or old fashioned; clinging to my religion. But know this, the reason you are free to speak your mind, to have an opinion…is because a few brave men (and the women who supported them), risked all to write the Declaration of Independence, to fight for our freedom from a tyrannical government. They carefully crafted our constitution, knowing that man’s heart is ultimately evil. (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 2:14-16) It is now our job to keep our freedoms, not just for us, but for generations to come. And if you think once our rights are striped, (the conservative christian), that the powers that be will not come after you; because your beliefs, your lifestyle is closer in alignment to theirs… you are so very wrong. Man will never be satisfied; he always wants more. Left unchecked, those in power will always want more control. You may not agree with the method of the protesters, with those of us who are pushing back against the unconstitutional government mandates, but you should be concerned. You should be willing to fight alongside us, for your right to believe and live the way in which you choose. So, mock all you want, but at least I can say, (if our country recovers from this crisis that we have allowed during Covid -19), that I was one of the few who refused to conform and refused to blindly follow worldly authorities. That I choose to believe the Word of God over man, choose to stand out, letting my light shine brightly for all to see, and choose to fight for our God ordained freedoms.

I pray you can say the same, that you are going through this epidemic without compromise, without fear; fully trusting God each and every day. For the only being we should fear, is God. God did say that broad is the road that leads to destruction, and narrow is the road that leads to life. (Matthew 7:13-14). I don’t want to follow the masses, not if doing so leads to destruction. Following God may not be the easy path, but I would rather follow Him and find eternal life, than follow man and find eternal death. And I do wonder? With most of our population so willing to give up liberty for a false sense of safety, how long will we be able to keep what our forefathers paid for with their blood, sweat and tears?

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:31-39 (KJV)

 

The Awesome Mystery of the Cross

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Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread). And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.  Acts 12:1-4 KJV

Let me point out, that unless you read this scripture in the King James, you will miss this point completely, for the King James is the ONLY translation that uses the word Easter, all other translations use Passover. (King James is translated by the Textus Receptus, or in Latin, ‘the received text.’ In the 19th century, it came under mainstream criticism; men not being content with the word of God, when the word began to be translated using the Majority, or Alexandrian text; out of Egypt. Note: The name majority, Satan is slick…gives it a name that makes one believe it is good, because it is majority. Yet, when has the word of God ever been a majority vote? NOT GOOD! Remember Egypt in the word represents sin, bondage…God brought his people OUT of Egypt, they were not to turn back…they were to stay out of Egypt. (Deut. 6:12, Jer. 44:13, etc.) Why should it be any different for us? So, when God says he will preserve his word (Psalm 6:12-7), he did, and he did so through the Textus Receptus.)

Focusing back on the scripture above, many will argue that the translation of Easter was mistranslated. (Again, those are the men who subscribe to the Majority text.) That it is really speaking of Passover. Yet, without having to interpret, (again, another thing we should never do), we have just read in parentheses that ‘these were the days of unleavened bread.’  Herod had James, John’s brother killed during Passover, the days of unleavened bread. When that happened and Herod saw the reaction from the Jews, how it pleased them, THEN, he decided to kill John.

Herod, was a Politician, and like many politicians today, he was corrupt, and did things to please those in high places, to further his career. He was not a Jew; this is also a subject that many people get confused on. His family history shows that he was an Edomite, not a Jew. Somewhere in his family history, a member(s) converted to Judaism. This is how he finally came into his position. You see, like most politicians, he could ‘talk’ the talk and ‘walk’ the walk for he heard the truth, but Herod himself was not a true believer, or convert. For if Herod was a devout believer of the Jewish faith, he would not celebrate Easter, a pagan holiday that was celebrated long before Christ was crucified on the cross. If he was a true believer of the Jewish faith, he never would have carried out the execution of James during the Passover, just as the scripture says he did. Remember the rush to execute Jesus and get him in the grave BEFORE the Passover began? Yet, Herod has James killed during Passover. And, as we read, Herod’s plan was to wait until AFTER Easter to kill John. Why wait? Because Easter was a Holy day for Herod; he celebrated Easter.

So, this brings into question, why do many people today, who confess to be followers of Christ celebrate Easter? Many are ignorant, they either do not read the scriptures as we are told to do.

Study to shew thyself approves unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)

Or they study, but are not using the true word of God. Or, sadly, many DO know that Easter is a pagan holiday, but they don’t want to be different, they don’t want to go against the masses, for life then would be a bit harder. Some even go as far as to justify the use of pagan symbols, like the Bunny and egg, saying they can change the meaning to represent Christ. When did God ever allow that? When did God ever tell His people to become one with pagans? To adopt pagan holidays, and rituals, only change the meaning so that it represents His word? HE DOES NOT, and HE NEVER WILL. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever! (Hebrews 13:8). In fact, God tells us to not be conformed to the world!

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2 KJV)

1 John 2:15-17 tells us not to love the world or the things of the world. And there are many more versus that speak of us not conforming to the ways of the world, but rather to put our minds on the heavenly.

If we are following Christ, we are supposed to be different! We are supposed to stand out, be the light in this dark world. Does it make life a bit more difficult? YES! It sure does. Our family rarely goes to church on Resurrection Sunday, for we have found it difficult over the years to find a church that refuses to celebrate Easter, instead of the resurrection. We don’t participate in egg hunts, may poles or the other pagan rituals, so we are often turning down invites. (And sadly, many churches endorse these activities in their children’s ministries, which is another reason we will opt out.) However, on the rare occasion we do find a church that celebrates Resurrection Sunday, what a blessing! Those churches, while few, are out there, a beacon of light! You are blessed if you have that!

Why does this matter? One, if we look and act just like the world, we will not stand out. No wonder many unbelievers look at the church today, as a whole, and see nothing but a bunch of Hypocrites! Yes, none of us are perfect, and we will continue to sin until we receive our new bodies. However, we should attempt to live our lives as best as we can according to the scriptures, even if we don’t agree with what the word says. Who are we to question God? Romans (9:19-23)

Two…all of us will stand before God someday. 2 Timothy 2:15 is a commandment…we are told to study the word. Sadly, many Christian’s don’t do this. They hear a sermon or read something and believe what they hear. They don’t go home and get into the scripture themselves. It is amazing the discernment God gives, when you are in His word. Just how many false teachings are out there. Often, when I am listening to someone preach, or listening to a program on the radio or TV, the number of false teachings I have come across. If I were not really well read, and I mean the entire Bible, not just the New Testament, how easily I would be led astray! While I am still learning, and not perfect in my knowledge, when I stand someday before God, I do not want to be found ashamed, only because I did not study the word myself as I was commanded to do. Think about all the people who will stand before God ashamed…ashamed because they choose not to study the word, which for most of us today is so easily accessible. Ashamed because they did not want to stand out, to be different, so they choose to follow the world and not the Word.

Third, Is Jesus not enough? Why do men see the need to add candy, bunnies and eggs to the amazing Resurrection of Jesus? How confusing the mixing of pagan and Holy is to our children. How sad, that as a whole, the Christian church has diminished the power of the cross! What a gift we have in Jesus, and we take it for granted. We read in the scriptures that Jesus came to save the lost sheep of Israel. (Matthew 15:22-28). Contrary to what many believe today, Jesus was NOT sent to us. Study the old testament, and you will discover the same…a messiah was foretold, a messiah for the Jewish people. However, there is a mystery that Paul speaks of often in his writings. An amazing mystery!

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:5-8 KJV)

That at the time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; (Ephesians 2:12-14, though I encourage you to read through to 20.)

You see, no man knew what God had planned. The prophesies and scriptures all pointed to the fact that God was sending a savior for HIS people. When Paul wrote that we were alienated, strangers, having no hope…that is exactly where we stood before Jesus died on the cross. We, as gentiles, had no access to God, no hope…we were doomed. But…God, so loved the world, (John 3:16), that He had a secret plan, a mystery, that according to the scriptures had God revealed His plan, Jesus would not have been crucified.

Just think about this, let it sink in for a moment…this is the amazing gift of salvation we have through Jesus Christ! We were cut off from God, without hope, but because of Christs crucifixion on the cross we now have direct access to God! We are NO LONGER WITHOUT HOPE! Isn’t that enough? Our reason for celebrating Christ resurrection without diluting it with pagan rituals? Think how God feels when he looks down at earth, his creation, mixing false Gods with the sacrifice His only begotten son Jesus made on the cross. Are we really stupid enough to believe that when we stand before God someday, we will not be held accountable for this, and all our actions? That God will overlook our sin? Yes, our sins are forgiven…but by choosing to disobey God, we are telling God we don’t want Him, we don’t need Him…that is a scary thought.

Where do you stand today?

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, of the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the  LORD.”  (Joshua 24:15)

Are you willing and ready to forsake all to follow Christ? It may not be the popular or cool thing to do, but in the end, you will not regret it. This life if but a vapor…eternity is just that, eternal. And Christ IS COMING SOON! Are you looking forward to his return, or clinging to the things of this world?

 

Should a Christian be Vegan?

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving head to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
1 Timothy 4:1-5  

Wow! How relevant this verse is for us today, as we are surrounded by these very activities on a daily basis. Turn on the news, and it does not take long to hear a story that supports one or more of the issues mentioned above. Politicians speaking lies in hypocrisy. Pastors, bishops, popes, and others, confessing to know Christ, but who clearly have departed from the faith; speaking lies, giving in to those seducing spirits. Look how many people, even in the church, are refusing to marry, but are living with their boyfriend/girlfriend as if they were married. And then…suddenly, the verse seems to switch gears, and begins to speaks about those abstaining from meat. It might seem out of place, but it’s not.
All of these issues tie together. It starts when one departs from the truth, and begins to listening to the world (those seducing spirits, and doctrines of the devil.) Over time, just as we believers are changed and sanctified in Christ, those following the world are changed and conformed to the ways of the world. It should not surprise us when non-believers fight to kill the unborn. Worry about climate change. Vote for Politician’s who stand for things which clearly go against the word of God. That is is common practice to live with another person, but refuse to marry. Refusing also, to use or eat animal products. (Many protesting against others doing so as well.)
So, how does eating animals, link together with the other issues? The more a person refuses to acknowledge God, the farther and more depraved he will become, straying from the things of God. Remember, God gives us a free will, and with that free will, he eventually gives us over to our sin; having a seared conscience. That is why you see women, who were created to birth children, to be caregivers and comforters, so angrily defend ‘their right to kill’. God has given them over to their sin.
Focusing on the food part, is it wrong for a Christian to be Vegan? According to God’s word, YES!

Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (1 Tim.)

Refusing to receive a gift from God, is sin! We are to be grateful and thankful for what God has provided for us. That is why being a vegan for worldly reasons, (not due to food allergies), is a sin. A person choosing to be vegan, is refusing God’s blessing. They are believing the lie that the world has spoken and choosing to follow the doctrines of the devil. Veganism is NOT a new thing! It goes back, way, way back as a form of worship to a false god.
Wait! Adam and Eve were vegans… actually, they were vegetarians, not vegans. They also lived in a different dispensation that we do today. After Noah’s flood, God gave us the right to eat meat.
Wait! What about the Daniel diet? He was under the law, but choose to be vegan…
Many people read Daniel 1:12, and interpret, (which we are not to do), that passage to mean that Daniel became a vegan. That could not be farther from the truth! For a time, yes… Daniel was fasting animal products. However, when you continue to read on, one easily can see, it was temporary.

In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. Daniel 10:2-3

If Daniel was a vegan after Daniel 1, then Daniel 10 would make no since! So, in reading the scriptures, we see we cannot use Daniel as a means to support veganism.
Wait! We can eat meat, but not any meat… actually we can. We are not under the law. When you read Acts and Romans, you will see that this was an issue for the early church. However, you will also discover when reading, that because Christ fulfilled the law, we are no longer bound to the law. In fact, if we put law before grace, we are NOT fully trusting that what Christ did for us on the cross is complete.

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. Galatians 5:4

One thing to remember when reading God’s word, is that we need to be aware of what dispensation we are reading about.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

By rightly dividing the truth, we will know if we are reading something written FOR us, or TO us. OK, let me explain, (quickly). There are seven different dispensations within the word of God. The dispensation of innocence, conscience, human government, promise, Law, grace, and yet to come, the millennial kingdom of Christ. Take Exodus, for example, this book was written for us, not too us. Take the four gospels…believe or not, the gospels were written for us, not to us! The new testament, or the age of grace, which we are in today, did not actually start until after the stoning of Steven. Just as Moses was the man God choose to speak through, during the dispensation of the law, the apostle Paul, is who we are to follow today. Yes, we can learn and gain a lot from the other books of the Bible, as the entire book is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, etc. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Knowing the different dispensations, and whose writings we are to follow today, make a huge difference when reading and understanding God’s word.

So back to the food issue… How awesome it is, that God gave us a verse we can use to defend our rights to eating meat! If fact, if we believers follow vegan ways, we are actually refusing God’s blessing to us!
Another important part of the verse is this.

For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (1 Tim. 5)

This shows us just how important it is for us to give thanks to God for our food before every meal. It is not just a ritual; our prayers have power! When we thank God for the foods he provides, our food becomes sanctified. Remember, we live in a fallen world. That means even our best foods are ‘trash’ compared to what God had originally intended for us. We need all the foods we consume to be sanctified in order for it to do any good in our bodies.
Versus like this are also a good reminder that nothing we do is secular. There is no such thing as secular and holy; another lie that the world would have us believe. Everything we do, eat, sleep, work, play…all should be done with the mindset of holiness.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
2 Corinthians 10:5

How important it really is to take every thought, every idea, captive; and compare it to what the Bible says, so that we don’t become entangled in an idea or a concept that goes against God’s word! This is exactly what has happened to those who oppose the word of God, they are exulting themselves against the knowledge of God. How careful we have to be as believers…how easily we can be lured away from the word, finding ourselves following after the worlds ways. We need to daily ask God to reveal the areas in our lives in which we have gone astray. Be daily in the word, so that when confronted with a lie, your spirit stirs, and you can rightly divide the word of truth.

There are certain truths;
There is only one true God. Genesis 1:1, Revelation 22:13
Humans and animals are not equal! Genesis 1:26-28
Marriage is God ordained, and ONLY between one man and one woman. Genesis 2:18, 2:22-24, 1 Corinthians 7:2 and Ephesians 5:31
There are only two genders, male and female. Genesis 1:27
Abortion is murder! Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:5, Job 31:15. The argument that ‘It is my body, I should decide, even fails. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

While we need to be good stewards of the resources God gave us, we don’t need to worry about climate change or other natural disasters that the world worries about; for we know how the world is going to end. (Read Revelation).
We do not need to fear the world, give in, or compromise. We are to love the sinner, not the sin. And we do so without apologizing or compromising. We are to be set apart, different from the world. We are to be attractive, because we are different. Attractive, because despite the craziness of the times in which we live, we have a peace that those of the world do not have. We can boldly go out into the world, knowing that God will hold us in his protective hands. It is OK to be different; we should be different! So, enjoy that cheeseburger. And don’t fear being confronted with today’s issues, for God has already given us the answers, we just need to seek them out in His word.

As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. Psalm 18:30

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Our Itchy Ears…and the Link to False Religion

 

 

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Have you ever wondered when the first false religion(s) began…and why? It began much earlier than most realize, the first false religion began with Cain.

And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought the fruit of the ground an offering to the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect for Cain and to his offering: But unto Cain and his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shall thou not be accepted? and if thou does not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Genesis 4:3-7 KJV

The verse just before this one tells us that Abel was a keeper of sheep and Cain was a tiller of the ground. Cain brought his prized fruit of the ground, something he had labored over and was proud of, and offered it to the LORD, only to be rejected. No wonder he got angry, and then his countenance fell. However, if we examine this closer, during this dispensation, men were to offer animal sacrifice for a blood atonement. Cain brought a plant sacrifice, not an animal sacrifice, which is why God did not accept it.

Look at God’s response. He did not get upset, he did not yell…like a loving father he explained to Cain, ‘look if you do as I asked, your sacrifice will be accepted. If you choose not to obey, be careful, because I will give you over to your sins and they will rule over you.’ We all know in the end Cain decided to do things his way and not God’s. Even in his punishment (Genesis 4:12), Cain was told he was going to be a vagabond, a wanderer, and yet he settles down and builds a city. (Genesis 4:16-17)

Usually when we think of the beginning of false religions we think of Sodom and Gomorrah…yet pre flood, the city Cain built, is where the god of Balaam originates from.

Woe unto them! for they have gone the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

Jude 1:11 KJV

You see just like many of our forefathers in the church, Cain decided he did not like what God said, that his way was better. Are we not the same today? No wonder we have so many different religions in the world today, so many different denominations in the ‘Christian Church’ alone, so many different translations of the Bible. Why is this so?

Itchy ears…we, (as humans), have re written God’s word, and reformatted out churches to fit into OUR lives, just like Cain chose to do. We have to be very careful as believers not to follow in Cain’s footsteps. We may not agree with everything in God’s word, and that is OK! As long as we chose to follow God’s word, despite our feelings. From beginning to end, God’s word is final! He is God, and we are his creation, we have no right to change His word to fit into our lives and then complain to Him when life is not going well. Just as Cain had free will, we do as well. God will let us chose to follow him, or follow the world. Depending on the route we choose, we either reap the benefit’s of following God, or suffer the consequences of doing things on our terms.

It might not be the popular thing today to say, ‘I believe life is sacred, all life, even the unborn.’ That marriage is between one man and one woman ONLY. That there is only ONE way into heaven, and that is through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. That Hell is a real place…and so on. However, I would rather follow God, and be mocked, ridiculed, possibly even persecuted, than hear God say ‘Woe unto them who follow the way of Cain.’ (Jude 1:11). Or even worse, have a feel good religion, believing I am ‘doing well’, only to face God someday and be told ‘depart, I do not know you.’ (Matthew 7:21-23) I would much rather follow God’s word, even if I don’t always understand or agree with what it says, knowing that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than mine. (Isaiah 55: 8-9). That when I do meet Him face to face I will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of the Lord.” (Matthew 25:23)

This is not easy…not today, and I can guarantee it will only get harder as the days go on and our world continues to depart farther and farther from God’s truths. We are close to the end my friend…very close. Just think how much closer we are than the apostles and the early church who were daily looking for the return of Christ. Even Christ himself told us in Revelation ‘…Surely I come quickly.’ (Revelation 22:20) We are living in the last days, a day and age where we can no longer be lukewarm. (Revelation 3:16). We need to  either be hot or cold, salt and light. If our lives do not look drastically different from those of the world, or if unbelievers, who are around us for any significant amount of time, cannot see something different in us, then it just might be that we have compromised too much, and are living just as those who are of the world. Remember we are to be IN the world, not OF the world! (Romans 2:2, John 15:19, 1 John 4:5), just to name a few. We need to daily be reading the word of God, otherwise we can easily be mislead. While no church is perfect, we need to make sure we are a member of a Bible believing church and surrounding ourselves with other like minded believers. We need to look and function differently from the world now more than ever…remember, on a daily basis, you might be the only representative of Christ to those around you, people who right now are heading for an eternity separated from God.

Boldly take a stand today and everyday for Christ…after all he deserves our full devotion after what he did for us on the cross. Besides, if we belong to Christ, whom shall we fear?

The LORD is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumble and fell. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this I will be confident. One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou sadist, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O GOD of my salvation. When my father and mother forsake me, then then the LORD will take me up. Teach my thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over to the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

PSALM 27 KJV

 

Yes, Mother’s Might Just Be A Bit Insane!

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Motherhood. What is the first thing you think of when you think of that word? The big one, obviously, is having a child/children. From there the thoughts spread out to a various number of things. For new moms it may be thoughts of those precious times holding an infant. The sweet baby coo’s and smells. For moms of toddlers, the daily adventure of watching their child discover the world around them. For mom’s of young children, the joy of watching their child(ren) discover their God given talents and abilities. Then watching in amazement as their children discover how they are going to use their talents to influence the world around them. The mom’s of the young adults, thoughts of joy (yes a bit of sadness too), as their children take that first step into the big, scary world on their own. Grandmothers, the joy of getting to relive those moments all over again through their grandchildren.

Most of the time when we think of motherhood it is synonymous with good thoughts. And YES it is good! It is a wonderful thing. However when we think honestly about the actual process in how we became mothers…it is a bit scary. One could easily say we are insane!

From the time I was a small girl. I mean really, really small; a toddler, I knew I wanted to be a mother. I wanted babies and lots of them. Not just one or two, but six children. (I am halfway there!) In my mind I would grow up, marry and have babies. Three boys and three girls to be specific. And yes, I had their names all picked out. I did not care what my future husband thought of the names, for the only reason I was going to do the marriage part was because I knew a daddy was required to be a mommy. I did not know the details, other than if I wanted to be a mommy, there had to be a daddy involved. Of course over the years much has changed. As I got older I wanted a husband, not just to be a sperm donor. While I was able to use some of the names I choose, some my husband vetoed. For example, Wolfgang Armond – but I can still hope!

Most of us get excited when we hear that a new baby is on the way. We ooh and aah over all the cute baby items. We can’t wait to meet the new little one. We share our pregnancy stories. All the joy, anticipation and excitement is such a good thing. A baby is a wonderful, amazing creation of God. But with the excitement of finding out we are pregnant comes the thought that labor is inevitable and there is going to be pain involved. I naively figured I could handle the pain. I mean after all we women were created for the purpose of having children. Our bodies were specifically designed to bring life into this world. I got this right! How I wish someone would have sat me down and told me how it was, really was. Not just the birth, but the entire pregnancy. So here it is…the cold hard facts.

The first trimester. The joy of finding out a life is growing inside you is such an amazing experience. Unfortunately it is also just about that time or not long after that you start to feel the symptoms of being pregnant. Tired all the time. You wake up in the morning feeling rested, but within thirty minutes you want go back to bed. The act of getting dressed and ready for the day will wipe out all your energy. A nap is a must, at least one during the day. With the first baby this is not too big of a challenge, unless you work outside the home. However with toddlers or other young children in the house, this makes the nap a bit more challenging. Besides the reality is that no matter how much sleep you do manage, you are tired all the time! Then there is the morning sickness. And who by the way named it morning sickness, a man??? Some one who never has experienced a pregnancy first hand? Because there is nothing ‘morning’ about it. While all women are different, I have talked to many, who like me suffered from horrible ‘morning sickness’ that really lasts all day. ALL DAY! You have to plan your days around easy access to a toilet. And the nausea. Yes, there are medications that help. That make it possible to keep your food and drink down 80% of the time, however you are still nauseous ALL DAY! And the medicines, they sure have their fun side effects. Like constipation. So as your body is spewing things out the top end, your bottom end no longer wants to function as it should. Now you add fiber, prune juice and laxatives to your already upset stomach. And as if it could not get any worse…the smells. You develop a super human ability to smell. You think you want superpowers? Nope, you don’t want this one. You quickly learn the art of holding your breathe in crowds of people, around trash dumpsters and cans, in bathrooms and always, always around food. Let’s talk about food. The sudden cravings for foods you might never have eaten or preferred in the past, while things you normally would have eaten you will not touch. Even if someone offered you a million dollars you will not dare put it in your mouth. Some foods are so bad that just seeing them, or the thought of them can send you running to the bathroom to empty the contents of your stomach.

The second trimester, known as the honey moon period. While yes, out of all three trimesters this is the one where most women feel their best, the only thing ‘honey moon’ about this trimester is the thousands off dollars you are going to spend on a maternity wardrobe and items for the baby. I am thankful that our maternity clothes are stylish nowadays compared to past generations. It is the only time in our lives we are trying to show off our bellies not hide them! Paying about a thousand dollars for a new wardrobe that you only wear for a few months is crazy! OK, so you can save the clothes for the future pregnancies, buy really nice used baby gear that you can also pass down. Still you will spend thousands initially. The good news is you have a bit more energy and the morning sickness and nausea are mostly gone. The bad new is you trade those symptoms in for a lot of new ones. Super strong cravings. Now that you have an appetite again your body can crave some crazy stuff. However its not so much what you are craving, but the overwhelming control these craving can have. You cannot ignore these cravings, they will not go away with time. You have to have it and have it now! And woe to whomever gets your order wrong, your husband and or the wait staff at the restaurant. Your pregnancy hormones are crazy at this point. You may get angry or you might cry, your emotions are all over the place. And it is not just food that will make you cry. I was watching a Pampers commercial once and began to cry. I also found myself on several occasions crying for no other reason than I felt like crying. So the need for extra tissues around the house is a must. Not just for the crying mind you. Oh no, your mucus membranes are overproducing while you are pregnant so you are a blubbering, slobbering fool. And when I say mucus…it is not just your nose! You might not be getting your monthly period anymore, but you will still need those pads! And is that all…NO, NOT EVEN CLOSE. As the trimester goes on you can add heartburn. Thanks to the heartburn you add more over the counter medications to your daily intake. Hemorrhoids (thanks to all the constipation and weight gain), stretch marks, back pain, aching feet, muscle spasms. Various skin conditions that range from a blush tone to acne, (though for some the skin will actually be clear). Gas, yes I said that gas! Lots of gas. Plus frequent runs to the bath room as your bladder is getting squeezed. And there can even be more lovely surprises. With my first pregnancy I woke up one morning to find my gums on the bottom row of teeth had peeled back. This totally freaked me out. So of course I get an emergency appointment with my dentist. Come to find out that my pregnancy hormones were the cause of my gums pulling back. It would stop doing so and go back to normal once my pregnancy ended. I also found out this condition was not that uncommon. Not uncommon??? I had never heard of such a strange thing before. And the list goes on and on. The idea of a pregnant glow? I don’t know where that came from. Maybe to make us feel better perhaps? For I am not sure I would say that a big, blubbering, snot nosed, constipated, aching, moody, gassy woman is ‘glowing’.

The third trimester. Unfortunately during this trimester you don’t ‘loose’ any side effects of being pregnant, but you do gain a few more. Plus the side effects you already have now get magnified as the pregnancy continues on. The tiredness that you felt during the first trimester returns. You will be tired all the time, only now you are so big that sleep is almost impossible. You can buy all the expensive fancy pregnancy pillows you wish. Try sleeping more upright in a comfy chair. But no matter what you do, you will not be able to get comfortable for long. And if you do manage to get into a temporary comfortable position, it is not long lived. You will have to pee. You will be running to the bathroom all the time. You will begin to plan your outings around bathrooms as you did during the first trimester. Worse you might even have to wear incontinence pads. (Save any extras for after baby is born, because you’ll need them!) You have no more room for your bladder as the baby is taking up a lot of room now. Laughing, sneezing, coughing or even trying to hold your bladder may cause you to leak. Coughing and sneezing at this stage often causes you to see stars…yes, just like in the old cartoons. Breathing also becomes more difficult. You easily fall out of breath. You feel like you have just run a marathon walking from one room to another. Heart burn gets worse (though once baby drops you do get a bit of relief there). However when that baby drops, you know you are getting near the end so apprehension of your current condition can start to mess with your mind. At the end of my second pregnancy I began to recall what labor was like and decided to change my mind. I was done. I was not going to do it. LOL…like we have a choice. That baby is coming whether we like it or not! The constipation that was with us most of the pregnancy goes away only to be replaced by diarrhea. The bodies way of preparing for birth. The vomiting and nausea that we experience during the first trimester can return. Not nearly as bad, but still not pleasant! And then the big moment arrives. The labor. While different for each woman and with each pregnancy, its still labor. And the pain??? OH NO! No, no, no! I have heard it described as a ‘bit worse’ than period cramps. LIE’S, ALL LIES! At first labor is not bad…but just wait. If I were not having a baby, I would have thought I was dying! You also hear, ‘oh you forget about the pain’. MORE LIES! You don’t, at least I didn’t and I doubt I ever will. When my teen daughter, who witnessed both my labors (and the birth of my second), asked me how bad the pain was. I told her its the worse pain you can ever imagine. EVER! Like truly your body feels like it is going to explode, rip open (which it does in certain areas). However in that same statement I also told her it was the most wonderful experience I had and that I would do it over and over and over again.

I am now only three months out from my last delivery and already I am looking forward to being pregnant again. Crazy??? Maybe. We Mother’s go through all this and more each time we bring a sweet little one into this world. (And its just the beginning of parenthood.) Yes, one could say we are definitely insane, crazy as we willingly put ourselves through this process over and over again. However despite all the crazy, horrible, difficult things that our bodies go though during a pregnancy, it is so worth it! That moment when you get to meet and hold the baby you have been carrying inside for all those months; it is indescribable. Words cannot explain the miracle of birth and do it justice. So while we do have lots of sorrows;

To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children;… Genesis 3:16

The blessings of motherhood truly outweigh the sorrows. So happy Mother’s Day to mother’s everywhere! Whether you physically gave birth to your children, or opened your home and heart in the adoption prices (which is no less amazing, and painful at times!), what an amazing role we have as mothers! We might just be a little crazy, but at the end of the day, nothing beats the snuggles, hugs, and kisses of our precious little ones!

Calling All Husbands! (And the wife who supports him!)

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This father’s day I wanted to take the time to write about the roles of a father in the Christian household. Society would have us believe that the father is no longer a necessary part of the family. That children can be raised just fine without a male role model. In fact, if you really pay attention to the message being portrayed in the media today, it appears as if fathers are complete idiots, incompetent, only good for comic relief. In some cases a harmful hindrance. That the true child rearing and running of the household comes from the capable smart liberated women who does it all. I am NOT stating that women are not capable, or smart. We are, but God’s plan is not for us to be the leaders of the house. His plan is that our husbands are the leaders, the head of our household.

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Ephesians (5:23 ESV)

It amazes me that even in Christian households many people today don’t prescribe to this. I have heard multiple reasons. From, ‘That was how society used to run, we women are no longer seen as second class citizens.’ To, ‘Well I am not against the whole submitting thing. It works for some, but not our family. I can’t let my husband lead because he is an idiot.’

First off God has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8-9) His word is just as relevant today as it was in the past. Second, don’t believe the lie that a submissive wife is a second class citizen, or that she is somehow not equal to man. We were created equal. God created man and woman, we are co heirs in heaven. However our positions in the family, here on earth, are not equal; though each are equally important! Third, I would say regardless of whether of not you married an idiot or not, you are to submit to your husband as the head of the household. THIS IS WHY WHO WE MARRY IS SUCH A HUGE DECISION!Now, I really doubt most of us are married to idiots. But if you are, then you still have to submit to his authority. God did not command us wives to submit to our husbands only under certain condition, we are commanded to submit period! This is why we need to talk to our daughters and single women in our lives, preferably from an early age, stressing the need for them to wait for a Boaz to come along BEFORE they say ‘I do.’

Living in a society where the roles of men and women have been drastically bastardized what exactly is the role of a husband?

The first role of the husband is to be the spiritual leader. This is a big responsibility! While each of us have to choose whether we accept Jesus’ gift of salvation, it is the role of the husband and father to take charge. Make sure the family regularly attends a Bible believing church. Leads his family in worship. Encourages prayer and the reading of the word. Can you imagine having this great responsibility placed on you? Can you imagine what it would be like if you did not take this role seriously, knowing that someday you will stand before God, giving an account of your life, having to explain why as a husband and father you did not take this role seriously??? Yes, we all will someday stand in front of our creator giving an account of our lives, but as women, we don’t have the title of spiritual leader placed on us. While I know that God equips men to fulfill the task he has given them, still I am glad I don’t have this responsibility. This is huge! This is definitely one area men should not be lax on! Have you noticed that often times when you observe families today, the wives are in this role. This happens for several reasons. One being the husband is not a believer, and the two are unequally yoked. This is very frustrating, trying to raise godly children in an unequally yoked environment. And while I know many women are doing their best to be the spiritual leader, it will never work as well as if the man is in that role. If this is the case in your home, don’t lose hope and don’t forget you are still to submit to your husband! (As long as what he asks of you does not go against God’s word.)

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviors of their wives, (1 Peter 31:1 NIV)

Another reason many men today don’t know how to lead is they were not shown. Perhaps your husband grew up in single family household, or in a household where the ‘woman wore the pants.’ This too can be challenge. It can be frustrating when you want your man to lead, but he does not for lack of knowledge. First, bring this concern to the Lord. Second I would advise you to find a group of Christian men, who are strong in their faith and are willing to mentor and help your husband grow in his walk with the Lord. We all need a Paul, Timothy and Barnabas in our lives. (Paul’s to guide, Timothy’s to mature and Barnabas’ to challenge.)

The number one reason that will ALWAYS prevent a man from taking the lead on the Spiritual development of his family is his lack of relationship with the Lord. We all need daily quite time with the Lord. If your husband is not daily spending time in prayer and the word, he will not be able to lead your family properly. There are lots of ways you can come alongside your husband and help him to accomplish this. One way is to encourage him by offering to wake up an hour earlier and spend time with the Lord together. What a great way to begin each day!

The second role of a man is to nurture and love his wife (family). In fact your husband is commanded to love you as Christ loves the church. (Ephesians 5:25). On that verse alone I am glad I am not a man! Another huge responsibility. The liberated women would have us believe that being a submissive wife is degrading, old-fashioned. That we serve our husbands day in and day out, while they sit in front of the television after a long day at work. That our days filled with housecleaning and child rearing are awful and unrewarding. They would have us believe that we are not truly happy unless we are living for ourselves. First, being a stay at home wife and mother is not old fashioned and degrading. It truly is the most rewarding role we as women will ever experience in this life.

And so train the young woman to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:4-5 (ESV)

As you just read above, being a homemaker is the role God created us women for. If God’s will is for us to be homemakers, then we will definitely NOT be unhappy in that position. In fact the opposite is quite true. If we are living a life in accordance to His will, then we will be filled with joy and contentment.

If our husbands follow their commandment to love us as Christ loves the church, not only will they too be filled with joy and contentment, but outsiders looking in will see the sacrifices they make daily serving wife and family. People will not look at us and think ‘that poor woman,’ instead they will be envious of us!

Now when I say our husbands are serving us, I don’t mean that we women now have a pass to sit on our rear watching television all day. We still need to pull our weight in order for our families to run proficiently. That is the beauty of it…husband and wife both have to be willing to fulfill their roles to the best of their abilities. When that happens, marriage and family life runs like a well-oiled machine. I don’t have to ask my husband to take care of the house, to mow the lawn, make repairs, and keep the vehicles in running condition. He does these things because this is his responsibility. Above and beyond that he shows his love for me by keeping my gas tank filled. (It may seem like a little thing, but in the five years we have been married I have only once had to pump gas. And that one time was only because he was overseas for two weeks.) Nine out of ten times when we eat out, he allows me to choose the restaurant. When he arrives home after a long day at work, he often does an activity with the kids, so I can have thirty minutes to an hour to myself. When our son was a baby, I never had to ask for help. He changed diapers at all hours, bathed him, put him to sleep, entertained him. In fact there were times I was thankful I was nursing or I might never have had a moment to bond with my son! I could go on and on about the things my husband does to show his love and devotion to me. I am not bragging, my husband is far from perfect…but he is amazing! I am so thankful he takes his role as a husband and father seriously.

Another role of the husband is to be loyal. (Hebrews 13:4) Now this being said, we too are commanded to be loyal to our husbands. When we said ‘I do’ we promised to forsake all others. Don’t believe the enemy when he whispers that ‘the grass is greener on the other side’. Or that men and women cannot be faithful for any of the numerous reasons society would have us believe.

And He answered them and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God had joined together, let no man separate.” Matthew 19:4-6 (NKLV)

We are not animals, we are a separate creation. We did not evolve and we ARE meant to mate with ONE partner for life. We also need to be very careful what we allow into our homes, our minds involving the marriage bed. There is no right or wrong was to make love. That being said, we DO NOT need the aid of objects and/or graphic videos. Contrary to what society would have you believe, sex with the same person does not get old. In fact over time it gets better and better. The only reason we have so many problems is this area of our marriages today is because we have abused God’s creation! Many of us go into marriage already having sexual relations with one or more partners. We think it’s ok to look or  fanticize about being with others, or we allow our husbands to do so thinking it’s innocent. That could not be farther from the truth.

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28 (NIV)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)

For from within, out or the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, Mark 7:21 (ESV)

Just looking at another is considered adultery! And as we can also see here, we cannot trust our heart!

So then how do we do this? How do we stay faithful in our marriages? One is to be in correct relation with God. If our vertical relationship (God) is in proper alignment, then our horizontal relationships, (others) will also be in proper alignment. Another is to daily choose to love our spouses. Love is an action not a feeling. We have to daily choose to love our spouses despite their flaws. (And we all have them!) We also have to invest in one another. One way my husband and I do this is to have regular date nights. We need our children to see that our marriage is a top priority. A date does not have to be expensive. Get creative. Pack a picnic and have a romantic dinner at a park somewhere. If you cannot afford a sitter, or are not in a season where you can get away. (Like right after a new baby comes). Then have a date night on the back patio after the kids are asleep, or in front of the fire-place on a cold winter’s night. Don’t put this off…your marriage relationship is more important than any other, aside from your relationship with God. Be intimate! God is the creator of sex. It is a beautiful thing! Make love as often as possible. If you are making love, you are not fighting and you are sure not thinking about another! If you struggle with intimacy, pray about it. Open up, and talk about it with your husband. This is not uncommon in today’s world! Remember I mentioned above that many of us come into a marriage with ‘baggage’? We need to confess our baggage to our partners and to God, asking God for healing. If we do this, God will break off the soul ties we created by not following his guidelines. Pray often; before sex, during sex, after sex. This sounds wired, I know! But God is already there with us! Our marriage really is a three-way covenant; God, husband, wife. If you try the above steps for healing, despite the awkwardness, the shame you might feel, I guarantee you it will work. There should be no secrets kept from your spouse, just as they should not have any secretes they are keeping from you. While this is hard to do, to share our past with others, who better than your partner, your best friend on this earth? If you do this, open up, be completely honest with one another. (I am not saying give names and dates, but reveal your past sins. If you come to God in prayer as a couple, asking for healing over your marriages intimacy, you will experience a new level of intimacy with your husband you never thought possible!

Another role of the husband is to care for his family. Thankfully most men do this, they work hard to provide for their family’s needs. Even those who don’t perform well in the other areas of a godly man’s role. Single women beware…it is becoming more and more common these days for men to mooch of a woman. Don’t attach yourself to a man like this…run, run and don’t look back! Look for a man who is first and foremost godly, one who loves Jesus! Look for a man who is not just willing to do the minimum, but who goes above and beyond what is expected of him. A man like this is going to be much more likely to find good employment and provide for a family’s needs.

On this same note…there is a part of this caring for the family role where many men today do fail. Not so much the older generation, here I am talking about many of the men who were born mid-seventies to early eighties and beyond. Caring for a family does not only mean that a man provides a roof over their heads and food on the table then call it quits. That once home he check outs playing video games or watching movies for hours upon hours. Not only have I experienced this myself in my past marriage, but I have spoken with countless women who struggle with this. Their husbands come home from work only to check out mentally, disappear into the man cave, perhaps come out when dinner is ready, and then retreat back into the man cave until bed. (Which often is in the wee hours of the morning). This is not a healthy habit! (I will also mention here, that while this is not always the case…many times it is not just video games and movies that our men are engaging in while segregated, they are involved in porn. This is VERY common! My husband has led many men’s small groups over the last several years and a very high number of men struggle with this.) As a whole, we are too connected to our electronics these days. I know this may sound drastic, but I would say in order to have a healthy marriage…get rid of the man cave, get rid of the video games and only watch television/movies on special occasions. There is too much at stake to have it any other way! Just do a little research on the harmful effects of video games. There are several harmful side effects! Side effects not only harmful to adults but to children as well. Which leads me into the other role of a husband.

He is to be a living example. If dad is sequestered in a man cave, then who is being the role model for your children? Who is teaching the children how to do basic home repairs? Basic car maintenance? How to do yard work? This may sound trivial, but there are so many men today who don’t even know how to change a flat tire on their vehicle. On those rare occasions that a flat does occur, they have to depend on others to bail them out. Some would argue that men don’t need to know these basic skills, especially if they have the money to hire these things done. It’s not about the money. My husband could easily afford to hire lawn care service, pay to have someone do all our household repairs, and to our car maintenance. There is something to say about men (and women) having these skills. Once when moving cross-country we had three flat tires, two on our camper and another on our truck. I was so glad to know my man could fix it! There was something so comforting about knowing that he was taking care of us, that he did not have to pick up the phone and call another man to ‘rescue us’. My husband does not come home after a long day’s work and sit on the couch watching television. He is working in the yard, on the vehicles, repairing stuff around the house. Doing projects I request of him, spending time with the kids; passing these skills onto the next generation. He takes us to church events, small groups and Bible studies. Go’s to our children’s extracurricular events. On the weekends we often go on day trips exploring the world around us. It is a rare occasion that he actually gets any ‘him time.’ He sacrifices so that we are fulfilled. Which goes back to the first commandment he has. (Ephesians 5:25). He is to love us as Christ loved the church.

Our society wants us to believe that our husbands not only have it easier, but are not capable. This could not be farther from the truth. While our roles as defined by God’s word are different, I do not think for one moment that my role is harder than that of my husbands. I don’t want his role…I was not made for his role. Just as you were not made for your husband’s role as head of the house. If you are the one who ‘wears the pants’ in your household I challenge you to release your control and allow your husband to take his place as head. Many women are afraid to do this, for fear that their husbands will make a mistake. Guess what…they will! Are you perfect? Have you never made mistakes in the past? Unless he fails, how will he learn? Unless you let go of your control, how will you learn to fully trust God? God will not allow our families to come to harm, over a mistake our husbands made, IF WE ARE OBEDIENT in our roles. Sure it might be uncomfortable, but true harm will not come to us. In fact, the opposite will happen. If we allow our husbands to be the leaders of the home, God will bless us! This is hard…I know, especially those times we know, just know that our husbands are making a mistake. But if we gracefully allow him to do so, (don’t nag, don’t rub it in his face), then we are going to be blessed in the long run. And the truth of the matter, while yes, our husbands will make mistakes, just as we do, more times than not they will make the correct decision for our families; especially if they are seeking God’s council! If you let go, and let him lead, you will find that you were not made to be the leader…the head. That your days will be filled with much more joy and peace than when you were trying to ‘kick against the goads’ and do things your way. (Acts 26:14)

We may not be in the lead, but our role as helpmeet is no less important! Our husband’s success is tied to us, and our position as wives. Without our support, our husbands could not succeed. So don’t ever believe that you are just a wife, mother, and homemaker. You are so much more! That being said, without fathers in the house, (this includes fathers who are physically around, but mentally checked out), look at these statistics.

Fatherless Home Statistics

63% youth suicides come from fatherless homes

85% of children with behavior disorder come from fatherless homes

80% of our rapist come from fatherless homes

71% of all high school drop-outs come from…yes you guessed it fatherless homes

70% of youth institutions are filled with children from fatherless homes

90% homeless and runaway come from fatherless homes

75% of people in chemical abuse centers (to include adolescents) – fatherless homes

85% of youth in the juvenile system come from a fatherless home

27% higher chance of child abuse in a fatherless home

53% chance that girls from a fatherless home will marry as teens with a 92% divorce rate

71% chance to have teen births

Instead of degrading our men, talking down about them and to them, we should be lifting them up, encouraging them with words of praise! Helping to equip them to fill this role that only they as men can fill! Don’t believe the lies that society would have you to, that fathers are old-fashioned and not a capable or necessary part of the family unit. As we can see from the statistics, fathers are so very, very important!

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)

Let your husband know how much you appreciate him and all he does for you and your family; not just today, on Father’s day, but every day!

 

 

Pause to Remember

Memorial-Day[1] 

“When you get settled somewhere, you write me,” Mary said as we sat in her truck just out font of the bus depot. “Promise me you’ll write. I want to know you’re ok. And if things don’t work out, you let me know, and we’ll get you home.”

“I promise I’ll write,” I replied. “Thank you for the ride and for everything, Mary. The truth is, I don’t know how I would have survived all these years without your friendship.”

She smiled, and I could tell she was holding back tears. “Good luck, Anne.”

I nodded then opened the door. I stepped out and, quickly closing the door, I ran for cover. I was glad Mary had offered to give me a ride because she was right, it had begun to rain on our drive into town, and it was not pouring. Once under cover, I turned around. She waived as she drove off, and I waived back. When I could no longer see her truck, I entered the bus station. An older man was sitting in a chair nearest the door. His head was back, and his eyes were closed-most likely sleeping. Three young boys in uniform were waiting for a bus as well. They looked to be sixteen, maybe seventeen years old. They were all talking and laughing, having a good time. I wondered if they had any idea what they were about to experience. Would they return home alive or in a box like Eric? I took a deep breath and held in my tears at the thought of Eric. I hadn’t said goodbye to him or Mama. I hadn’t thought to ask Mary to take me by the graveyard. Of course, in this rain, it wouldn’t have been a good idea. I would most likely get sick…. (Excerpt from Box of Treasures.)

 

Thank you to all the ‘Eric’s’ who sacrificed your lives for our freedom!

While we are swimming, barbecuing, and enjoying all the other Memorial Day festivities this weekend with our friends and families, let is puase to remember the greatest sacrifice of all; Jesus Christ. Without His sacrifice on the cross for our sins and His resurrection three days later, we would have no hope! Nor would we know his love, joy and peace. He was the ultimate sacrifice! It’s only because of Jesus that we in turn can learn to live our lives sacrificially.

Animal Sacrificed Insufficient

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrificed, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

Christ’s Death Fulfills God’s Will

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come-In the volume of the book it is written of Me-to do Your will, O God.’”

Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.

Christ’s Death Perfects the Sanctified

And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrificed, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He has offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He has said before. This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Hold Fast Your Confession

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

The Just Live by Faith

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But recall the former days in which, after you were Illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but it anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”

But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

Hebrews 10 (NKJV)