I Have a Prior Commitment (Conclusion)

Rewards

images-1Of course, the big reward is heaven. If we can just make it to the throne…if we can sit around the throne of God with our spouses and our children in the New Jerusalem, singing praises to the Lamb…our marriages will have rendered the ultimate reward. But there are more immediate rewards of honoring the Christian commitment in our marriages.

Our prayers are not hindered when we do marriage God’s way (I Pet. 3:7). Have you ever tried to talk to God when you have argued in anger with your husband or failed to abide by His decision? You will find that you cannot approach the Highest Authority until you have submitted to His delegated authority. If you find yourself in that awkward place, go apologize to your husband and then come back and talk to your Father.

Our daughters receive invaluable training for submission in their own future marriages. This is training that they will rarely receive in other venues in our world of feminism. In fact, their guidance counselors at school will, almost always, scoff at girls who would like to marry and bear children in lieu of having a career. Their role models in secular society mock at the rare woman of God who openly speaks of submitting in marriage. So this gift of a godly mother’s example is crucial. We must be constantly aware that we are countering a very convincing culture when our children watch us interact with our husbands. Our window of opportunity to indelibly etch this vision of what God wants and rewards in the hearts of our sons and daughters is extremely limited.

Our husbands will be better able to slay the dragons in their hectic and often godless worlds as they go about leading and providing for our families. A warm and loving haven where there is respect and admiration for a man enables him to do the tough stuff for his family in a culture of disrespect. He can take almost any courageous action for his wife and children if there is peace, harmony and respect around the dinner table.

But the biggest reason is the one listed beneath the admonition to be obedient to husbands in Titus 2:5. It is this: “…that the word of God be not blasphemed.” If we knew nothing else about the rewards of doing marriage God’s way, this would be enough. I have seen this blasphemy in the words and demeanor of teen girls and young wives who wear the name of Christ, but whose moms failed to teach them the principles of respect in marriage. One teenage girl in class responded to a lesson on submission in marriage by asking “Are you telling me, Mrs. Cindy, that I will one day have to obey the man I marry?”

I responded “No, Heather. I am not saying that. God said that.”

…To which Heather responded with folded arms and a steely resolve in her voice…“Well, I’m not doing that!”

This was a harbinger of disaster in Heather’s future marriage. It was blasphemy. It most certainly would, one day, represent a breach in some promises she had made when she had taken His name. Heather had decided not to be a daughter of Sarah. She had decided not to do well.  May you and I do well and may God help us to teach our daughters to do well.

 

This is Controversial. But Why?

Sometimes we just get in our own way. Sometimes we would just be so much better off as God’s women if we could just submit to His will, willingly and wholly, instead of trying to be His, in name, and yet play the world’s feministic game. We decided a few decades ago that we could do just as well chasing careers as we could chasing children. And so, by and large, our children got away from us. We’re losing them to the world in huge numbers. We can recklessly blame lots of things: inept youth ministers, school influences, weak church leaders, television–a litany of evils. But really, the buck stops at home. We can’t turn out Timothys if we have failed to be Loises and Eunices. If we fail to spend time with our kids we can’t put the Word in them in the Deuteronomy 6 way. And if they don’t get the Word in them according to Deuteronomy six, then why should we expect the result of Deuteronomy six teaching: that they should walk in the ways of the Lord all of the days of their lives. It really doesn’t take a village to raise a child. In fact, I am convinced that it’s our villages–the culture of materialism around us–that has most dangerously influenced our homes. It’s the village to which we sometimes leave our children that draws them from God.

That’s the ultimate price that we often pay for feminism. But there are other lesser prices, too. We wanted to find fulfillment outside the home forty years ago. So we left the challenging and very rewarding (and very Biblical) arena of raising our children, being keepers at home and being helpers to our husbands for desk jobs and corporate partnerships, teaching positions and medical careers. Some women traded the home-keeping business for less lucrative positions as underlings to more successful men and women. But many, if not most, did so, not to put food on the table, but, instead, to take the family out to eat more often. They were not keeping a roof over their heads, but were rather making sure there was lots of square footage under that roof along with tasteful decorations, multiple bathrooms and a well-stocked entertainment center. The casualties are sometimes the little people living in that very square footage we’ve worked so hard to provide.

But what are some of the other prices we pay (besides our inability to maximize the hours of faith-injection in our kids)? I’ve noticed several price tags in recent weeks. One is that the more we work outside the home, the more we are expected to work outside the home. Case in point: Several young ministers applying for jobs in churches recently have told me that the elders were unwilling or unable to pay the young families enough to adequately support them, so they indicated that the young preachers’ wives could “get a job to supply the rest of the needed income.” Something is wrong with that picture. Have we really come to the point in our churches in which elders believe it’s the minister’s wife’s responsibility to provide basic monetary support for the pulpits in our churches? That’s not the idea, for sure, In I Corinthians 9.

Secondly, there are those men in some of our churches today who are fearful of implementing programs which facilitate our older women teaching our girls how to be keepers at home. The reasons being given include a fear that women will get the idea that we think they should be staying at home and raising their own children. Or perhaps women will resent the study….It might portray housework as not really being an “equally shared responsibility” in the home. Or perhaps women might feel denigrated if we emphasize domestic skills like sewing and cooking, cleaning and ironing. Have we come to the point that Titus 2:3-5 is actually offensive to women in our pews today? Are some church leaders even afraid of the ire of feministic women in congregations? The phrase “keeper at home” is still there in Titus 2 and it still means “one who looks after the home; a domestic.” Is the Word so old-fashioned that we can prohibit its teachings in our churches?

Thirdly, I believe women in the workplace, many times, lose the precious commodity of a heart that hates sin. I have been amazed, recently, as I have learned of “Christian” women reading pornographic novels, being comfortable with vulgarity of language, dressing more and more immodestly, even undergoing abortions, and freezing multiple fetuses fertilized in test tubes–babies that they produced, but never planned to raise. I hear of more and more of my sisters who have become involved in adultery and have even left their children for these relationships. There’s a litany of sins of which we are becoming ever more accepting and tolerant. Now, do not get me wrong. I do not think women’s jobs are always the culprit, or even the catalyst. But I know that in many of the cases with which I am personally familiar, the associations at the office or school or hospital, combined with little time for Bible study and prayer make for an easy exit from the narrow path to the broad way that leads to destruction. When we are around the world and away from the little innocent hearts that constantly remind us of a higher calling, it just becomes easy for us to lose the heavenward focus and be sucked into the mentality that pivots on the here and now. The more we say “yes” to promotions and career climbing, the less time we have for prayer and family devotions. Furthermore, if we don’t have time to think about spiritual things, our consciences become less and less potent and we become more and more accepting of the world.

Did I say it’s always wrong for any woman to work outside the home? No. Did I say there are no situations in which women can make supplemental incomes and still “be there” for family? No. Do I think every woman can possibly have the luxury to be at home with her kids every day? No. Does it even matter what I say? No.

But God’s Word still calls us to be “keepers at home.” Whatever I am, I must be sure that I am that. But even aside from the clear statement in Titus 2, I think I could figure out that there’s often a big price for following a career path that takes me away from home and children. I’m going to keep pointing this out because 1) I’ve known women who figured this out in the nick of time and saved a lot of heartache, 2) I’ve known several women who figured this out when it was too late–eternally too late–for their children, 3) I’ve known several divorces which would most likely have not occurred had a woman chosen to stay home and raise her children and 4) I personally can attest to the fact that being a keeper at home is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding ventures of this life for God’s women. I want to share the wealth.

Finally, I know this is the most controversial thing I urge women to do. I will likely be unable to answer all of the mail and messages I will receive as a result of this post. They will not all be pleasant. I can hardly believe that we’ve come to the point in the body of God that the teaching we hate most, as women, is that we really should optimally stay home with our babies and raise them ourselves…for God. But we are there. May God help us to realize that the needs of babies have not changed in the last half-century. It is a deep and threatening desire to be like the culture around us that endangers our faithfulness and that of our children. May He help us to be transformed by a renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2) as we turn our hearts toward home.

Digital Beauty

In the last few weeks, I’ve tried to help several different female friends through some bumps in the road. One friend is a precious college-aged girl who is anorexic. Another is a young teen who is cutting herself, and yet another is a married friend who has discovered pornography on her husband’s computer.
Fifty years ago their foremothers in America were making some decisions. They decided it was demeaning to be “just wives and moms”” and, thus, in large numbers, they left the daily routine of cooking, cleaning, packing lunches and helping kids with homework, to be office workers, law partners, executives, doctors, nurses and workers in all levels of industry. They used words like liberation, emancipation, power career, and even self descriptive “feel-good” words like fulfillment, esteem and success a lot more.
And about that time, Hollywood, whether a cause or a reflection of this movement of American women from home to the workplace, iconified the Barbie doll look as the model for all American teen girls. She came along with specific measurements, flowing hair, straight teeth, olive skin and she was on commercials advertising everything from make-up to beer. She was always the center of attention in these ads and there was always fun music playing wherever she went and she was laughing and loving it all…and women all over America wanted to be her.
But not all American women would or could be exactly…her. Some women had inherited thighs that, no matter how many miles they ran each day, would always look like their mother’s…not like Barbie’s. This woman had her father’s Italian nose and that one had Aunt Jeanie’s propensity for large and awkward feet (not those teeny tiny little Barbie feet that never come down on their heels). And some of the dimensions were right, but just not in the right order–on some women. And there were women whose skin was more orange than olive and, even worse, had freckles. And everyone knew that a beauty mark was not that. And then personal trainers, cosmetologists, plastic surgery, tanning beds and cazoodles and oodles of beauty products that cost out the wazoo became part of the daily lives of American women.
And, by this time, there was no excuse to be anything BUT Barbie. And, sadly, with this excuse, there was no time to be anything BUT Barbie, either. There certainly was precious little time left to be mom.
But that was okay, too, because there were plenty of “experts” to go around too. Someone behind every microphone and every psychologist’s desk, it seems, was telling Mrs. Modern America, that it was okay–even healthy–for your kids to learn early to “make it” in the real world of “communities” of children rather than at home where a mom was nurturing, disciplining and, in short, being there for the children she brought into the “real world.” Worst of all, some of the Mrs. Moderns began to realize that there really might not be a way to “have it all” and, since the marriage had already pretty much crumbled by then,anyway, it was one of the first things to go.
And so the day care babies have grown up. Many have beat the odds, because that’s another thing psychologists will tell you…”Kids are resilient.” But sadly, many of them are not THAT resilient. Some of them, for all the self-esteem lessons, the psychologists’ doctrines of resilience, the tolerance training at school, and the “you- can- have- it- all” mentality did not end up with a very good self image, have not bounced back yet, and don’t think they have anywhere near gotten “it all.” They are becoming less and less tolerant and more and more angry at the expectations and at their own shortcomings and the absence of a family support system. They mutilate themselves in response to their feelings of worthlessness. To sum it up, they feel a bit left behind in our “no-child-left-behind” world that is anything but. They skip meals for months, but still don’t think they look thin enough. Perfection is always illusive and no amount of money can sustain superficial goodness or beauty forever.
If I sound a bit angry this morning as I write, it’s because I am. I am inundated with messages from girls who are the victims of this society. They cannot remember a time when being a keeper of the home was exalted as the high calling that our maker intended it to be. It’s way past time for mothers, especially those of us who claim allegiance to the Word, to stop the selfishness. It’s time to be what we claim to be. Calvary was all about sacrifice. It calls us from living profligately for the consumption of the lusts of the flesh and to the agape kind of love that bears all, believes all, hopes all and endures all. That’s the kind of sacrificial love that holds marriages together, chooses spiritual riches over material things, reserves time for the eternally important rather than the fleeting and urgent matters, and values good character more than athletic prowess, outward beauty, academic success or financial profit. I think we need to raise the bar for our girls. As you will notice in the video below, any girl can be billboard beautiful for a moment. It takes a lot more time and effort and time and love and time and teaching and time to make a girl beautiful with the kind of “pretty” that needs no digital enhancement…ever. What if you and I just decide that our homes are going to be blissfully independent of the cultural norms that call women to plastic perfection and determine to put real wholeness: goodness, virtue and the calling to care for others in the hearts of our children? If that’s the goal they get in their sights, they can be real achievers.
Please watch. Please also note that my inclusion of this film does not imply endorsement of everything the Dove Foundation may promote.

Finally, for today, the women in my congregation recently hosted a seminar to promote women of real achievement and the protection of our homes from the devil’s deceit. The program was entitled “This is War” and we have just a few t-shirts remaining from the day. Does anyone who attended (or who just wants to show support) still need a t-shirt? If you want one of these, please email me at byhcontest@gmail.org and let me know what you need. I will be sure you get the shirt, and upon receiving it, you can send a check. There is no profit for anyone involved. We’re just attempting to end up in the black. Thanks!
This price is cost plus shipping. The following shirts are available:

Large – $8.00
X-Large – $8.00
3XL – $12.00

Godly Women: Are You Up to the Challenge?

Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control (I Tim. 2:15).

 Scholars have had varying views about what “she will be saved in childbearing” means.  Some believe that it means women are saved because it was a woman who gave birth to the Messiah. They reason that it was through that miraculous “childbearing” in Bethlehem, that we are all saved. Of course there’s a sense in which that’s true, but I believe the passage more directly applies to the practical roles of Christian women. Let me explain.

Throughout New Testament writings there is an obvious emphasis on the role of Christian women in the home. There is great wisdom in this emphasis. Can you imagine how large our churches would be today if every Christian mother since the day of Pentecost had successfully raised her children to be faithful to the Lord? It staggers the imagination!

I believe the Holy Spirit in verses 11-14 teaches what women cannot do in service to the Lord. I believe in verse 15, He gives us the flip side of the coin. I believe He is teaching women what we can best do if we want to build the church. We can bear children and raise them to be faithful, full of love, holy and self-controlled.  I believe He is teaching us that when we, as Christian women, do this most important of all women’s jobs successfully, we will necessarily be mothers who are walking in a saved condition.  Children can grow up and learn faith from other sources besides Mom. But if they do learn faith from Mom—a faith that calls them to be set apart from the world; holy—then Mom necessarily had to have a strong faith to transfer. If the Mom was privileged to teach them to love the Lord with all of their hearts, souls, strength, and minds, then that says a lot about the fervor of Mom’s love.  If they got a self control from Mom that’s big enough to keep them from that roaring lion who seeks to devour them, then Mom had to have a serious spiritual focus. Simply put, if I am the one who gives my children a faith that will take them to heaven, I must be on the road to heaven myself.

The devil is busy. The world is enticing. The culture is challenging. But my place is here. My time is now. Whether I am the woman striving to be godly on the inside and out, or the man who is trying to grow into the spiritual leader of a righteous home, God can use me when I examine his Word, find my role and fill it. But I must also look for others who are finding their life’s direction in the same great Book. I must look to these people for my influences, my encouragement, and my best friends. It is from this circle that I will one day find my spouse. Husbands can be great leaders when they choose women who are true to their profession of godliness. Women, likewise, find their greatest potential filled when they are willing to be molded into God’s women, even when it means going against the grain of a culture of feminism. May we help each other be submissive to His will as we find our places in the body of Christ.

Taken from Pearls, Article by Glenn and Cindy Colley, Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes, Montgomery, AL

Me?!…Be Quiet?…

In the last post, we looked at I Peter 3; its meek and quiet spirit that can revolutionize our worlds and dramatically increase our happiness quotas if we have enough faith to let it. But faith without works is dead. (I read that somewhere.) What are some things I can do to let that spirit of meekness find a home in me?

Tranquility doesn’t come to dwell in my spirit accidentally.  It takes a conscious decision and deliberate effort.  It takes a mind renewal (Romans 12:2).  Begin by praying for God’s help in this renewal.  Pray short prayers in the midst of those chaotic times and pray long prayers in those times of quiet reflection and Bible study.  Pray specifically for those issues that bring stress to your life. Pray for wisdom in eliminating unnecessary schedule eaters.  Pray for unity in your marriage as you work toward tranquility in your home.  Pray that material concerns will always take a back seat to spiritual priorities. Pray every morning. Pray every night. Pray all day. With God’s help, you can ironically shout to His glory with a gentle spirit in the midst of a feministic culture.

Fabric Softeners…for the fabric of your soul.

Although every woman must stop and take a good hard look at her life, determining what measures can be taken to make life more peaceful and quieten her spirit, there a few spirit softeners to which I can attest in my personal life. These are certainly not Biblical injunctions, but they are a few things for which my husband has learned to be grateful.

1.  Soft background music playing in the house through our days.

2. Fragrant candles burning when the husband/kids come home.

3. The family all present around a dinner table without the TV on.

4. Bickering banished.  Children are separated and punished consistently for this infraction.

5. Time invested in home keeping. (organization, cleanliness, warmth, nurturing foods, kind notes in lunches, hot cocoa on cold days, etc…)

6. Regularity in bedtime, getting up time, family Bible time, etc…  RITUALS!

7.  Traditions at holidays that uniquely belong to your little family unit.

8.  Refraining from discussing important decisions or issues during PMS

9.  Regular husband duty for children. (Once a week or every two weeks, the husband takes the kids and Mom gets to have just two hours at the park, the mall, antiquing, or with a friend.)

10. An occasional night with the phone off the hook or letting the answer machine take all calls.  No computer or TV on these nights.

11. The schoolwork rule:  All school assignments must be completed before children are allowed to watch any TV or be on the computer at all.

12. Playing the Quiet Game.  If all else fails, this works for at least a few minutes.  It works especially well in the car.  The driver is the judge and everybody else must remain as silent as possible for thirty minutes.  The winner get a quiet prize, like a puzzle, a word search book, or even a drink at the next drive through restaurant.

13. The goodbye rule.  When someone is leaving the house, everybody else gets a  personal, look-in-the-eyes goodbye.  This promotes harmony and reduces the possibility that someone may tragically leave this life in the midst of a situation of unresolved conflict.

Written by Cindy Colley. Originally printed in Christian Woman Magazine, Gospel Advocate, Nashville, TN.

About Tebow’s Mom…

Feminists are the most inconsistent people I know. So a woman wants to be heard, pays a gajillion dollars to tell her story…a story of a woman who allowed her own convictions to trump the advice of the (at the time) male-dominated medical community, and lived to see victory because she refused to cave to the pressure. She took control of her “own body” and destiny. Who could more firmly and publicly exhibit the power of personal “choice”? So why shouldn’t feminists find a hero in this woman? Because the agenda is not respect for women. The agenda is disrespect for life and the God who created it.