Spiritually Blonde Moms

As I travel around and speak for various ladies seminars, I am extremely blessed to meet moms of all ages who share with me nuggets of wisdom gleaned from years of experience combined with time in the Word. My home and children have been richer as a result of this fellowship and sharing. There have been a few memorable occasions, though, when women have opened their mouths and something really senseless has issued forth. I think these ridiculous observations from mothers have helped me as much or more than the statements of wisdom. When people fail to study His word and make practical applications in their families, spiritual stupidity ensues. In the presence of women who seem to be clueless about spiritual priorities and biblical motherhood, the wisdom of my God and the peace that is mine when I apply his truth in my family is glaring. I am immediately humbled in this situation and thankful that I do not have to rely on my own resourcefulness or wisdom in motherhood. This parent is grateful to have a Parent who is infinitely resourceful and wise and who has revealed His plan for my home. And it’s all in a book I can carry in my purse. What a blessing! I’ve chosen a few real “gems” from my list of The Most Stupid Mom Statements I’ve Ever Heard to share below. Read them and weep!

“Well, there is that one thing…”
I was speaking at a ladies seminar one afternoon on the topic of Keeping our Families from Worldliness. After my presentation, a sixty-something lady came up to the front of the room, expressed her appreciation for the lecture, and then went on to say how very blessed she and her husband had been in their family. Her children had all reached adult-hood and they had never caused a single minute’s problem for her and her husband. They were now raising beautiful children of their own, maintaining a close relationship with the grandparents and actively leading in their careers and communities. I told her how proud I was for her and just sort of incidentally asked where those young families live and worship. She told me the communities in which they live and then I pursued the second question, since I had some knowledge of one of those communities. “Which congregation do they attend?” I asked.

“Well, there is that one thing,” she responded. “None of my children are faithful to the Lord.”

So many responses would have been appropriate at this juncture, but I was speechless. I was so amazed at the casual way she interjected that tragic statement about the spiritual depravity of her family that I was at a loss for words. The dropping of my jaw and an “I’m so sorry,” was about all I could manage. I wanted to say, “Lady, that is the only one thing that matters,” or “Ma’am, did you realize that all of your children are living their lives in utter and complete failure?!” Paul talked about one thing that was important. He said “…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind me and reaching forward to those things that are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13,14).”

Jesus told Martha that one thing was needful and that Mary had chosen that one thing (Luke 10:42). Perhaps He said it best, though, when He said, “What doth it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

I wish I didn’t have to work…
I drove up to a fabulous house in a high-end neighborhood where I would be staying while speaking in the area. I walked through beautifully decorated rooms, past an entertainment center and shelves of videos. I said hello to two well-dressed young children and went upstairs to the beautiful guest room where I would be sleeping. The next morning when I awoke, I peered out the window at a fenced, park-like backyard complete with a full-scale playground. I went downstairs for some orange juice and began to converse at the kitchen bar with my hostess. Somehow in the conversation we got on the subject of stressed and busy lifestyles. In this context came the unbelievable statement I hear so often: “I wish I didn’t have to work, so I could stay home and raise my children.”

Now I’ve heard many variations of this statement. Kids have said it to me like this: “My mom would like to stay home with me, but she says if she stays home, we can’t have our pool…or new house…or whatever goes in the blank.”

There is a way to get past this amazingly materialistic mentality. Go on a mission trip to Zambia or Argentina. Listen to children talk about digging in fields for rats to eat or spend a couple of weeks where there are no adequate sewage systems, no hot water and goat head is listed on the entrée list at eating establishments. I could go on, but the point is all too obvious. We are so rich in America that we’ve come to include the “posh” in our lists of basic necessities. Our children are often bringing us shame, because they have grown up in worlds of instant gratification; worlds void of guidance and nurture. “A child left to himself brings his mother shame (Prov.29:15).” We, like that rich young ruler, will continue to reap sorrow when we allow our possessions to own us rather than the other way around.

“He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Matt. 19:22)

“We like to save our ‘no’s.”
I was sitting in a close friend’s kitchen when I decided to ask her if she was concerned about some of the entertainment choices her thirteen year old was making. The media choices of this kid were definitely uncharacteristic of the godly values of his parents. The answer: “We don’t like these choices, but we like to save our ‘no’s for the big things. We feel if we say no all the time, then our prohibitions will be less effective when it comes to some big issue like sex or drugs.”

Practicing the ‘no’s with seemingly small matters is the way kids catch on to the fact that “no” means “no”. It’s the way they assimilate the information that Mom and Dad care enough about them to monitor, direct and guard them, even when it requires time and attention to detail. In short, keeping a watch over the small things and demanding compliance in them is the only way to insure respect when it matters most. Saving our ‘no’s as parents will yield a big bunch of saved-up ‘no’s when our kids need them most, but saved-up ‘no’s, like old kitchen spices, have lost their potency. Kids need practice with restrictions. They have to listen when you say “Stay on the sidewalk,” so later they will listen when you say, “Stay away from drugs.” This constant listening practice is essential for ultimate spiritual success. “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 19:27).

The list goes on. I’d love to have space to comment on the absurdity of statements like “ I wish my thirteen year old would ______________, but I have asked her and she just says ‘no’.” (Is she sleeping under your roof and eating at your table?! ) Another unbelievable one is “Okay, so she is having sex. Let’s get some birth control,” or the frequent “We let our kids go to the dances,” or “see all the movies with their friends,” or “wear the current fashions” (or whatever compromising activity it may be). “After all, we don’t want them to grow up thinking Christianity is a burden.” (Never mind the fact that Jesus called discipleship a yoke and a burden [Matt.11:29,30]).

Parenting is not for the weak. Giving birth, changing diapers, feeding and clothing are all the easy parts. The real challenge is to consistently place the ammunition of respect for the Will of God into the hearts of little people who will soon face the Goliaths of worldliness and corruption that plague our society. We cannot raise our children on permissive fences in which we give the nod to Christianity while we let them enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Heb.11:25). They will inevitably fall on the wrong side of that fence and the short season of pleasure will turn to years of the wretched heartache of sin. God empowers us through His Providence and His Word. But we must be diligent parents (Deut.6:6,7), attending to the details of the day to day obstacles the devil places in our paths. Successful parenting is never an accident.

Guest Writer: Caleb Colley – Profane and Vain Babblings, Part 6

Gossip 
Jesus said “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). Colley and Webster commented on Jesus’ statement: “What Jesus is saying, of course, is that we will be judged by what we say…which means that God is listening to all 450 million words” we say during our lifetimes.i We will be judged for the “idle” words—those words we say when we’re not thinking. This destroys the excuse “I didn’t mean to say it—I just said it without thinking.” Gossip often is a large part of our idle talk. No person, young or old, may gossip and follow the golden rule (Matthew 7:12).
You may be thinking “Quit blowing things out of proportion. Gossip is not that big a deal.” Gossip may seem insignificant when we gossip about others. But when we find out that others have been gossiping about us, then we see gossip for the terrible evil it is. Of course, if we’re reading our Bibles, we are well-informed about the problem of gossip. “You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people…” (Leviticus 19:16). “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter” (Proverb 11:13). “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends” (16:28). “The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body” (18:8; cf. 26:22). “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips” (20:19). “The north wind brings forth rain, and a backbiting tongue an angry countenance” (25:23). “Where there is no wood, the first goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife…. He who hates, disguises it with his lips, and lays up deceit within himself” (26:20-21, 24). 
Some may say “We have to talk about people when we fellowship as Christians.” Of course, Christian fellowship is extremely important (Galatians 6:1-2,10; Philippians 2:1-2; Colossians 3:12-13, etc.), but we can talk about people in positive, constructive ways. In the first letter to Timothy, among Paul’s instructions about care for widows, we find this injunction: “But refuse the younger widows…. [T]hey learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not” (5:11,13; cf. 1 Peter 2:1). Many of us have some free time, but we must not use that free time for purposes of gossiping.

i Colley, Glenn, and Chuck Webster (2005), GET REAL: A Teenage Class Book for Now (Huntsville, AL: Colley Publications). p. 8.

Guest Writer: Caleb Colley – Profane and Vain Babblings, Part 5


Gutter Talk

I will refrain from specifying most of the words we all know fall into the category of “gutter talk.” These words are embarrassing, inappropriate, and unchristian. Consider the following passages, and ask yourself whether God is pleased with those who choose “gutter” words: “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints, neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:3-5). What constitutes “foolish talking” and “coarse jesting”? The kinds of words we commonly categorize as “gutter talk.”

I am astonished at how often Christian young people use words that Christians never should use. I realize that each generation of teens develops its own gutter vocabulary. My generation has the dubious distinction of adding “That sucks” to the high school/college lexicon. If we use phrases such as this, how will the lost world perceive the distinctive nature of Christianity? Will they notice that we’re different? A “special people”? A “holy nation”? “Sojourners and pilgrims” (1 Peter 2:9-11). Will they understand that we are not conformed to this world (Romans 12:1-2)?

Some teenager may say “People at school will like me less if I don’t use at least a little gutter talk.” Perhaps this objection is true, but it is an invalid excuse in God’s eyes. In fact, Jesus promised His disciples that people would hate them: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you…. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you….. But all these things they will do to you because they do not know Him who sent me” (John 5:19,20-21). If we feel excluded from certain circles of people who use gutter talk, we would do well to remember John’s observation: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them” (1 John 4:5).

Guest Writer: Caleb Colley

Profane and Vain Babblings: Part 4
Cursing
David’s description of the “wicked” person includes this pertinent observation: “His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression” (Psalm 10:7). David probably could remember how Shemei cursed as he attempted to stone the king (2 Samuel 16:7). The deceitful person “clothed himself with cursing as with his garment” (Psalm 119:18). James wrote: “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh” (3:10-12). Christians have no business pronouncing curses. We cannot presume to condemn someone to eternal punishment—that’s not our business. After people die, they will approach the judgment seat of Christ, not the judgment seat of Caleb (see Hebrews 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Furthermore, lost people will disbelieve that we are Christians if they hear us cursing. “Do not curse the king, even in your thought; do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; for a bird of the air may carry your voice, and a bird in flight may tell the matter” (Ecclesiastes 10:20). It will be difficult (nearly impossible!) to teach someone the truth about Christ if he heard you curse just moments before.
Someone may say “I don’t mean to curse. It’s just a habit. I can’t help it.” Who is foolish enough to believe that a sinful action becomes righteous when it becomes habitual? Simply because you do an action often does not make it less offensive to the Lord (see Hebrews 10:25). Furthermore, habits can be broken. Interestingly, many teens who are in the habit of cursing are able, somehow, to summon the strength to refrain from cursing while in the presence of their preachers and elders. We must delete any curse words from our vocabulary. We can refrain from cursing for so long that it no longer even occurs to us to say such words. Quite frankly we can make it a habit not to curse.
One of the most precious biblical portraits of repentance is the occasion on which Peter left the house of the high priest to weep bitterly, having denied the Lord three times (Matthew 26:69-75; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18). There were many reasons for Peter’s tears, but undoubtedly one of the reasons he cried was because of the curses he uttered just moments before. We can be certain that Peter gave up cursing—he became one of the great leaders of the early church (see Acts 2, 10-11)! We cannot be spiritual leaders if we are unwilling to forsake sinful “habits” such as cursing. Let’s develop godly habits (Ezra 3:4; Daniel 6:5-10; Malachi 3:16; Luke 4:16).

Guest Writer: Caleb Colley

Profane And Vain Babbling—Part Three
   
(Are you lying on facebook? The following article gives us pause to reflect on our social network pages and the integrity with which we post information about ourselves and others. CC)
   
Lying. The “empty talk” of 2 Timothy 2:16 definitely includes those words that have no basis in truth—they’re empty.i Empty words are, by their very nature, deceptive: “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them” (Ephesians 5:6-7). 
“There’s nothing wrong with a little white lie.” If you want to read about a sin that God has thoroughly, repeatedly condemned in Scripture, try studying about lying. The Mosaic law was very specific: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). Of the evil, mighty man, the psalmist wrote: “Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking righteousness” (Psalm 52:2-3). “Whoever is a partner with a thief…. swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing” (Proverb 29:24). The apostle Paul strongly emphasized honesty: “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25, emp. added). “But we urge you…that you may walk properly (“honestly,” KJV) toward those who are outside” (1 Thessalonians 4:12). “But we know that the law is…for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine…” (1 Timothy 1:8,9-10, emp. added). John perfectly summarized New Testament teaching on the subject: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8, emp. added; cf. Psalm 10:7; 55:9-11). Lying is sinful. A little lying is sinful. We must avoid it entirely.
A person may speak a lie, but he also may communicate falsehoods in other ways. I am troubled by the amount of lying that Christian teens do when they post information on-line. Lying? Absolutely. Often, on personal pages such as www.facebook.com and www.MySpace.com Christian teens post their religious preference (“Christian” is a typical entry). Then, they proceed to represent themselves as being anything but Christians. Many young men I know seem to think that language they never would speak to my face, or pictures they would never leave sitting on the youth minister’s desk, is justified if it’s typed electronically and posted where no elders, preachers, or other “old” people ever will see it. Do Christian teenage girls think they communicate the authenticity of true religion when they post pictures of themselves or others wearing very little clothing? What are these teens thinking? They’re telling the world, “World, here’s what Christianity looks like,” and presenting an extremely skewed picture—a false picture, in fact (the same principle that forbids ungodly talk applies to all communication).
    If this misappropriation of God’s word doesn’t constitute profane and vain babblings, I’m at a profound loss as to what might fit Paul’s description. Here’s what one Christian woman wrote soon after creating her Facebook page:

I am sad because some beautiful Christian girls have posted photos of themselves in revealing clothes or swimsuits for hundreds of people to see. Many times these photos are on the same page in which she tells everyone that she is a Christian or that her favorite book is the Bible. Sometimes I am sad because a young guy has posted photos of himself at a drinking party or a bar. Sometimes I am sad because of the vulgar language that I read on pages belonging to people who say they are His. It made me sad recently to read about a friend’s favorite movies and television shows. Most of them were shows that should have been offensive to people of God. Looking at tattoos on body parts that should never be shown in public or reading quotes containing sexual innuendo is sad to me.ii

Bottom line: Our responsibility to uphold truth and avoid empty talk extends beyond the church facility’s walls into Facebook, MySpace, and the rest of cyberspace.iii It certainly is not wrong to participate in on-line communication—I have a Facebook account myself—but we must not pervert blessing of electronic communication and damn our souls.
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i Spain, Carl (1970), The Letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus (Austin, TX: R.B. Sweet). p. 130.
ii Colley, Cindy (2006), “Facebook and Christ,” Facebook note, [On-line], URL: http://fhu.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=2213737380&id=502291383&ref=share.
iii Colley, Caleb (2006), GUARD: Guys Understanding Authority and Real Discipleship (Montgomery, AL: Colley Publications). p. 102.

Guest Writer: Caleb Colley

(This second installment in a discussion of profane and idle babblings is a powerful indictment against the casual and irreverent use of God’s name that we see in our society. I tremble when I think about the statement in Exodus 20 that says God will “not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.” There will be a time of reckoning for those who type the letters OMG prior to proclaiming some exciting news on facebook or in a text message. I have also recently seen on the facebook walls of some who profess Christianity the letters OMFG. I cannot fathom the irreverent boldness of one who would knowingly type this exclamation. I hope we can think about the seriousness of this guilt being recognized by deity as we read from Caleb again today. CC)
PROFANE AND IDLE BABBLING
Ungodly Words
The word translated “profane” means unholy, and in contrast to godliness. The word translated “idle babblings” refers to “empty” or worthless talk or “empty discussion…of vain and useless matters.” We know little about what constituted the profane, idle babblings of Hymenaeus and Philetus, other than the fact that it included false doctrine about the resurrection of the saints (2:18). We do know that Paul condemned two things: (1) ungodly speech and (2) vain, useless speech. He also noted that this kind of speech breeds more sin (2:17). Any speech that God has not authorized is ungodly and therefore, in a real sense, vain profanity (Colossians 3:17; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:6). By studying the Bible, we can know the kinds of speech that please God (see 2 Timothy 2:15; cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:13). Fortunately, we don’t have to wonder about the kinds of speech that displease the Lord, because the Bible writers dealt with the issue. This list of sinful communication isn’t complete, but it’s a good start. Let’s think critically about these concepts, keeping in mind that any support of any ungodly or vain speech is destructive (see Psalm 52:1-4). This is about “laying aside…all evil speaking” (1 Peter 2:1).
Taking the Lord’s name in vain. Modern society treats this as a light matter. Older folks, who remember a cleaner, less perverse mass media, express shock at the amount of times “Oh my God,” or “Jesus Christ” occur as exclamations in new television shows. Despite the frequency with which we hear God’s name tossed around as a joke or offhand interjection, taking the Lord’s name in vain indicates a lack of respect for the Almighty. If we take God’s name in vain, our problem isn’t a lack of words or phrases from which to choose. Our problem is a lack of appreciation for the holiness of God.
When God appeared to Moses from the burning bush to call him to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, He said to him: “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground…. I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:5,6). In commenting on this passage, Mack Lyon observed: “Holy and reverend is He. Don’t get too close. Don’t be too familiar. Don’t be too casual. God is God. He only is God. ‘Holy and reverend is His name’.” Furthermore,

There is a part of the nature of God that is revealed in the Scriptures that modern man just doesn’t care to know—or to think about. He would much prefer to perceive God as a loving grandpa-type gift-giver, a pal, someone you don’t have to dress up for—you can just go casual—someone who is a jovial good ole boy you can joke with or joke about, someone that just gives you a good feeling about yourself, someone you can kind of treat just about any ole way and he’ll forgive and forget, and it will be all right.

Perhaps this kind of feeling is the reason we forget passages such as these: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7; the passage clearly states that the kind of speech under consideration is vain). “And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:12). “For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name” (Luke 1:49). From Jesus: “But I say unto you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne” (Matthew 5:34). Every time we utter the names of God, we should do so with the utmost respect, ensuring that our words are meaningful rather than useless; righteous rather than vain.
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i Spain, Carl (1970), The Letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus (Austin, TX: R.B. Sweet). p. 175; cf. p. 131.
ii Thayer, Joseph Henry (1962), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), p. 100.
iii Earl, Ralph (1981), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan). 11:402.
iv Thayer, Joseph Henry (1962), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan). p. 343.
v Coffman, Burton (1986), Commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus & Philemon (Abilene, TX: ACU Press). p. 255.
vi Lipscomb, David and J.W. Shepherd (1942), A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate). 5:218.
vii Lyon, Mack (2000), Holy and Reverend is His Name (Huntsville, AL: Publishing Designs). p. 17.
viii Lyon. p. 13.