Matters of the heart
By Julie Hobschaidt
(member of Bethlehem PA church of Christ)
"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful."
Colossians 3:12-15 NASB
"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders."
Matthew 15:18-19 NASB
A grieving mother on the news is tearfully calling on the community to speak out and "stop the violence in the streets". How exactly do we do that? Sounds like a reasonable and much needed request. Who could possibly be against that? Perhaps we have not considered the matters of the heart and overlook the simple truth. Jesus said in Matt 22:39, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself". How do we love our neighbor, if our heart is full of evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slander. etc (Matt15:19)
Is this an over simplified solution? Not really. If I love my neighbor, I won’t murder, slander, or steal from them.
But what is at the very "heart of the matter" is that my heart is filled with the evil thoughts to begin with. So it’s not the community that is going to make the necessary change. We as individuals must "put on love which is the perfect bond of unity" (Col. 3:14). But it can't stop there. We as parents must teach our children to "put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; (Col 3:12) and model these behaviors ourselves.
"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." 1 Timothy 1:5
These matters of the heart are the very things needed to help us truly love our neighbor. Only then will the tide begin to turn to "stop the violence"
"Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart."
1 Peter 1:22
"Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life."
Let Us Increase Our Faith in the Lord
3 Ways to Encourage Someone Struggling with Infertility By April Motl
Infertility affects at least eight percent of the population1, with some studies claiming it is closer to eighteen percent.2 That means that it is highly likely you or someone you know will deal with this struggle.
My husband and I could not conceive for almost a decade. Then we were joyously surprised with our son! We were delighted to be pregnant again a couple of years later, only to lose that baby in a miscarriage that permanently altered my health.
Whether you struggle to get pregnant or stay pregnant, the journey is intensely private and public all at the same time. We “collected” (for lack of a better term) a lot of commentary from people along the way. While most of it was a lesson in what not to say to someone struggling with infertility, there were some shining gems that blessed our journey.
Those words of encouragement were just like Scripture says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” Proverbs 25:11. Ephesians 4:29 admonishes us to speak only words that will build others up. But sometimes, it can be hard to know just how and what to say to a loved one in need of encouragement.
What sort of sweet, golden words can we say to someone struggling with infertility? Here are three ideas to encourage your friend or family member who is on this journey.
1. Remind them of God’s goodness.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14
When you are waiting to see if infertility is a permanent part of your life or just a long season, you can get so fixated on looking for that positive pregnancy answer that you can’t see much of anything else. This particularly applies to being able to experience God’s goodness. When the eyes of your heart are wholly focused on waiting to see His hand open with your long-awaited answer, you can lose sight of His heart.
Pertaining to another long season of waiting, while I was leaking with frustrations over this long wait, a friend told me, “You have SO many good gifts from God right now! Everything is going really wonderfully in your life!” And it was true. I was just waiting for another burden to lift; I was losing touch with how profoundly good God had been to me in so many other areas of my life!
I needed that reminder! And just to make sure I heard it, about a week later, God sent another person to say nearly the exact same set of words!
Waiting can sort of warp our perspective until our view of our life and God’s goodness gets slightly twisted out of shape.
2. Remind them this season of waiting doesn’t define who they are.
It will no longer be said to you, “ Forsaken,”
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”;
But you will be called, “My delight is in her,”
And your land, “ Married”;
For the LORD delights in you,
And to Him, your land will be married. Isaiah 62:4
There are terribly ugly words that hang over our heads and creep into our sense of who we are because of a season in our lives. “Unemployed” hangs over one person’s heart. “Single” over another. For those struggling with infertility, the words “barren” and “infertile” hang around like grey clouds. But unspoken words can also whisper throughout the hallways of the heart, like “Maybe you don’t have kids because you’d be a terrible parent.” Self-doubts of all kinds lean into this infertility pain, compounding the wound.
I remember one woman lectured me on how I must have unconfessed sin in my life that was keeping me from getting pregnant. I ran into a few people who held similar beliefs about how God worked. I also listened rather speechlessly as another woman made fun of me in front of a handful of ladies about how I couldn’t get pregnant.
How awful it felt to walk into a room and feel doubly judged - apparently spiritually and physically broken for all to comment on.
Yet another woman’s words offered sweet encouragement one day. I was sharing a prayer request about some upcoming life changes. She thought perhaps I was inferring that our long-held prayer request for a baby might be answered. My face fell about a foot, and I told her more details about the far less exciting but still impactful changes that were coming. I felt sheepish and a bit sad to have to say once again to another inquiring person that, no, we weren’t pregnant. I felt like such a broken record! She grabbed my hand and said, “Well! Guess what?! I’m not either!” She smiled and then remarked that God was still on His throne, still good, and life was still blessed. She had some health concerns that made pregnancy too risky for her or a potential baby, so she had also not had children. It was the first time I felt so encouraged by letting someone into that private, long waiting room hallway in my heart.
I was becoming so accustomed to people making assertions about my life because of our empty cradle I was starting to allow those things to define me. Her words reminded me that who I was (blessed!) was not dependent on a yes, no, or a wait from God! She also reminded me I wasn’t alone. And that waiting for God didn’t make Him one less bit in control or good. This brings us to the next point!
Why do You hide Your face and forget our affliction and our oppression?
For our soul has sunk down into the dust; Our body cleaves to the earth.
Rise up, help, and redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness. Psalm 42:22-26
When we really want something and are “stuck” waiting for it, the wait can be so all-consuming that it can creep into the defining role in many of our relationships, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
Infertility is a pressure for married couples that can easily take over the joy and closeness God intends for marriage. The wait can leak into defining our relationship with God. We can feel as if the disappointment in the long wait has hidden God from us. It can also press into friendships and relationships with extended family.
If you want to encourage a loved one struggling with infertility, be sensitive to their needs to talk, cry, or vent. But love them by not making it a centerpiece of your relationship with them.
We were in God’s waiting room with our empty cradle for almost a decade, and in the space of that time, I watched it affect my relationships with those around me. Truly, I don’t think it needed to be that way, and I deeply cherished the friendships with people who didn’t make a giant deal out of it but also allowed me the space to share my heart when I needed to. Some women who had passed the childbearing season without having biological children no longer wanted to be friends when I got pregnant. And before we were pregnant, we watched friends decide they didn’t want to be friends with a couple who didn’t also have kids. It sounds kind of strange for someone to respond to another person that way, but I’ve seen other struggles define relationships that same way, too; relationships that start in addiction recovery or while people wait for employment - all kinds of life circumstances can overreach and define valuable friendships in ways that aren’t necessary.
Be the kind of friend/family member that loves the person struggling with infertility apart from their struggle. Love them by helping them remember this facet of life doesn’t define every other relationship either! Their relationship with God and their relationship with their spouse is much bigger than this journey - regardless of how their story culminates. This is a chapter in their life, not the whole story. Be the friend that helps them remember to keep on living and writing the rest of the story!
Make Me a Woman of Your Word
by Rachel Jankovic
I underestimated the word of God. Over the last several years, studying the Bible with other women, I realized I was not alone. Many have had the same experience I have.
We valued it, we talked about it, we contemplated it, we applied it, and we meant to read it more than we did. The more time I spend in the word, however, and the more time I spend with other women who are in the word, the more God has shown me how lame my estimation of his word really was. I read the Bible like someone standing at an overlook over the Grand Canyon, trying to estimate how much water it could hold: “Up to 23 or 24 cups, I imagine! It’s just so huge and amazing!”
What changed my perspective? I started reading more of the Bible, at a faster pace, with many other women. A group of us began reading the word at a fast (but not furious) pace — about six chapters a day, and thousands of women have joined the challenge. Reading more, faster, and with others has shifted our perspective in some significant ways. We want to become women of the word, not women who dabble in God’s word occasionally.
Needs Met in Unexpected WaysFirst of all, reading larger portions of Scripture at a faster pace shifts our gaze. If we select passages that only appeal to us in the moment, our Bible reading will be (necessarily) self-focused. Our application of the Bible will be self-centered, because we’re so fixated on our hearts, our desires, our feelings. It’s easy to treat the word like a vending machine for particular kinds of encouragement rather than letting the word shape and change us. When we commit to reading the whole Bible, many of our days will be unexpectedly shaped by Old Testament battles, prophetic visions, architectural details, and stories of tender mercy. Our gaze is now settled on our God, on his story, on his plans. The word takes our eyes off of our emotions and our days, and lifts them up to high hills and the things of God. If we read more of the Bible alongside other women, it also inspires more conversation about God and his word. When something jumps out in the text, and we mention it to someone who has been reading the same text, we experience a lovely (and unusual) blessing. I remember a flurry of conversations from last fall over the beauty of David asking God to spare the people from punishment for his sin and to let it fall instead on him and his household.
“We want to become women of the word, not women who dabble in God’s word occasionally.”
David has sinned grievously by taking a census (2 Samuel 24:1–2), and deserved the judgment of God. It was the only time I could remember someone in Scripture asking for the wrath of God to be poured out on him (2 Samuel 24:17). And the angel stopped the plague (2 Samuel 24:16). Despite what he had done, David was a man after God’s own heart. And not only was God’s wrath over this sin averted, but his wrath over all sin was eventually poured out on David’s household. Christ himself was born into David’s family to die for God’s people — the Son of God, the Son of David.
I don’t think anyone would have looked at a group of busy women — carpooling, shopping for groceries, working, running out to lunch, overwhelmed with various responsibilities — and thought, You know what will really bless these women today? The plague God brought on Israel because of David’s census. Let’s get them all to see Jesus in 2 Samuel 24, and find encouragement for their busy afternoon there. And yet that is what God did.
Living and Active in ExperienceWhen our gaze shifts this way, we begin seeing our life through the lens of the glorious story God is telling. Often, we read something that does not seem to connect with us at that moment, so we simply read it and move on. Later, sometimes weeks later, it comes burning to the front of our minds with relevance. Now we know why God had us read about complaining in the wilderness last week. Now we know why he wanted us shaped by laments in the Psalms. Now we realize he was strengthening us with some real hope that we barely even noticed while we read. The more the word connects directly to our lives, the more we see how living and active it is. The more we see our friends strengthened in the Lord for their everyday responsibilities and burdens, the more we see the wonder in what God has given us in his word — not because we affirm a confession that says the word is invaluable, but because we know its preciousness from personal experience. We have felt it piercing to joint and marrow, encouraging, convicting, and strengthening our souls (Hebrews 4:12). We have seen the tender hand of our God in what we have read, and how that word has equipped us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17). We know firsthand that this word from God revives the soul, makes wise the simple, rejoices the heart, enlightens the eyes, and rewards the faithful hearer (Psalm 19:7–11).
God’s Great Portrait of GodReading more Bible also has the effect of strengthening our spiritual immune systems. When someone offers us an untruth, we know! Many women I have been reading with, for instance, have come face to face with a Jesus they do not feel like they know. “The Bible is a sketch of God made by the hand of God.” Our discussions have sounded eerily similar to the mob that followed Jesus around in the Gospels. “Did he really just say that?” “That was rude!” “How could he talk like this?” “Why can’t I understand his parables?” How could a Christian not recognize Christ? It happens when we have not been listening to how he reveals himself to us, depending instead on others to tell us who our God is, what he cares about, what he is like, and what all of that means for us.
The Bible you have on your shelf is not some kind of police sketch made by some observer off in the distance. The Bible is how God himself has chosen to reveal himself to us. It is a sketch of God made by the hand of God. This well is beyond any of our capacities to drink in fully. God must grow our ability to see him while we read, and continually make us new with what we read. He must, by his word, renew our minds, enlarge our hearts, strengthen our faith, and equip his saints.
Women of the WordWhen we faithfully read the word, not dabbling about but really reading it all, it will change us. We’ll be changed in the laws, and in the prophets. We’ll be changed in the mercies, and in the judgments. We’ll be changed by the passages that don’t sit right with us at first, and by those that immediately make our hearts glad. If God has given us this incredible gift, and we stand every day on the edge of its vastness, why do we so often try to talk each other into smaller and smaller portions? Why do we stick to the passages that look good on a mountainy background? Does the size of this canyon make you sick? some ask. Try the verse of the day! That is enough! Meditate on one word, maybe ‘forgiveness,’ or ‘compassion!’ Listen to a praise song! We settle for less because we are afraid of what this canyon’s vastness says about us. It shows us our littleness in making God bigger, our brokenness in making us whole, and our weakness in making us strong.
When the size of the canyon makes you feel like you aren’t enough, the answer is not to run away, but to throw yourself into it with a prayer:
Lord, make me more like you. Let me understand more of you. Show me my weakness that I might hold on to your strength. Lord, make me into a woman of your word, and in doing so make me part of your glorious kingdom work here on earth. Equip me to see more of you every day until I am in your presence.
Destroy her with discontent which is Satan’s aim for every woman
By Rebekah Merkle of Moscow Idaho
My dear Lilith,
It’s lovely to hear from you, darling! I’m very glad you wrote to me. Screwtape, poor thing,
does his best — but he doesn’t understand the feminine perspective. Of course, that doesn’t
stop him from acting as if he knows everything, and if I’ve told him once, I’ve told him a thousand times. I’m persuaded that we will fare much more comfortably if we keep this just between us girls.
My understanding is that you have been assigned several perplexing cases to handle simultaneously. You must be exhausted. Those ridiculous secretaries at headquarters haven’t the least notion of how to manage job assignments, and I have no idea how they came to be allowed to run anything.
I’m writing to you today to discuss discontent. Now it doesn’t matter what particular topic the discontent fastens to. Just look for any little nook or cranny in their souls where you can insert the seeds of discontent, making sure that they take root. With some women, it may be best to plant the seeds of discontent somewhere around the topic of their looks: their face, their weight, their figure.
If, in the off chance, that doesn’t seem to take, latch onto the topic of relationships. Discontent with the husband, discontent with the lack of a husband, discontent with the children, discontent with the lack of children — the seeds of discontent can grow in any kind of soil, which is what makes it so effective. It can really be anything: missed opportunities, wrongs done to them in their past, failed ambitions. All of these are good options for where to start.
The first step with each of your girls is to find just a cozy little something to make them unhappy — and then tend it. Tending it means that you need to keep them concentrated on the thing itself, while keeping them from noticing the state of their own soul. Keep them looking at their husband’s failings (“he just doesn’t seem to even care about my needs”) and not their own heart. Keep them looking “in the mirror,” if you will.
Obviously, this means you need to keep them away from the Enemy’s book. If it happens that you can’t keep them from the book completely, you can effectively turn it to your advantage by simply making sure to keep all their thoughts focused on how their husband isn’t living up to the instructions the book contains. That can serve your purpose very well.
And it’s not at all a bad thing if you can get them to talk about their discontent with their friends — provided, of course, that they are the right friends. You want to encourage friendships that will feed and pet the discontent, rather than uproot it. Even prayer groups and mentorships are fabulous places for this to happen, if you manage it correctly.
Once you have the discontent well established and flourishing, you have a perfectly easy job ahead of you. You can take discontent any number of directions, and it only requires a little bit of creativity. Think of discontent as a small spark. You just need to get it planted into a welcoming little pile of shavings somewhere, and soon enough it spreads.
Let’s say you get one of your subjects solidly discontent with the state of her marriage. It will take little effort on your part to direct her attention to other marriages that seem better than hers. From there, you can easily fan that into full-blown envy of her friend or sister. And if you can’t turn that into a ruined friendship, then I wash my hands of you. Lies, backbiting, cheating, refusals to forgive, all are easily attainable once you have the discontent well established.
One of my favorite places to go, however, is bitterness. It’s so deliciously long-term, and it’s very gratifying to watch a subject get more and more shriveled with it. It lacks the spectacular showiness of adultery, of course, but it’s often more rewarding in the long run. If you overplay your hand and steer your subject into something obvious like adultery, then it’s all too easy for them to suddenly repent — and then all your hard work is undone. But bitterness achieves all the same results, but far more dependably.
Make her discontent, convince her that she’s not worth anything, and then drive her into all kinds of self-destructive tendencies. Enslave her to beauty, leaving her discontent to hold the whip that makes her run. And if you can drive her into a profound self-absorption and pride, then you will be able to sit back and feel satisfied with your work. The irony is that the silly women never seem to notice that whether they obsess over their own beauty or intentionally harm themselves, it’s all the same to us. We win either way.
As always, give my love to that old busybody Screwtape.
Your affectionate auntie,
Worldly people who can be toxic to a Christian, If they aren't aware of their evil
by Annette Wright-Warmington
(member of mt airy church Christ)
Most people who intentionally harm others don't think of themselves as evil, tending to minimize or justify their actions--in crime and in war.
Exodus 32:12-- Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people.
From genocide to malware and everything in between, it’s easy to feel demoralized about the moral fiber and caring of our fellow human beings. It can certainly seem that malice and evil are an endemic when it comes to human beings.
No matter if, they are worldly people or Christian people. Evil has no age, race or gender, it is what it is when it comes to another human being, you would think life seems worthless, when it comes to evil people; seems like who lives or who dies.
Judges 2:19-- But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
Why is there evil?’ But after reviewing what is known about the causes of aggression, violence, oppression, and other forms of evil, one is led to the opposite question: Why is there more evil than there is good?" A lot of the evil comes from their ancestors and up bringing as a child, the evil they have lived and seen for 18 years or longer. Some being brutally assaulted and molested as a child, things no child should never experience, the things not even grownups will talk about. Mental abuse is the worse when it comes to a human life, this is another reason why wordily people become evil.
These corrupted and evil people will most likely die violently, because that is all they know. They are so angry with the world for how their life turned out. These evil people do have stubborn ways, selfish only thinks of themselves. And no regards for human life.
“The myth of pure evil,” making the point that the factors driving people to do bad things to each other are highly complex. The notion of evil is a simplistic one. Let me express this as a factor;
"There are four major root causes of evil or reasons that people act in ways that others will perceive as evil.
1.The simple desire for material gain:
Take an inventory of your life. What do you own right now? Whatever possessions you have are no accident, and not a product of mere happenstance. Worldly people put materialistic thing before GOD, examples: (lottery, gambling, robbery, and drugs) they will commit evil acts at any cost to keep their habits.
1st Timothy 6:7 -- After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can't take anything with us when we leave it. vs.7--For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out.
1 Samuel 2:7-- All of our possessions are his, and he gives (and takes away) as he sees fit. God makes the poor and he makes the rich.
2. Threatened Egotism:
People who do evil things generally don’t consider themselves evil, Low self-esteem has long been asserted to be one of the most important determinants of violent behavior.
We support the notion that individuals with inflated self-opinions may be prone to violent or aggressive behavior, while committing evil deeds to another individual (s).
Also, Narcissists people are pre-occupied with their own self; with plotting to do harm to a person vs Christian people.
Romans 12:19-21-- Dearly beloved, avenge not yourself, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written; Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire in his head
Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy.
Conclusion: Bottom line is we live in a world where our lives are not worth much to the worldly and evil doers out here. As Christians we are bless to have God shield of protection over us. Human beings are motivated solely by the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. The pursuit of pleasure, claim objectors, encourages individuals to commit unrighteous deeds, bring distress, carelessness, levity and suffering later in life to oneself or innocent people.
John 10:11--" I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."
Jeremiah 23:4--" And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD,"
"I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them."
Last: The power of the Flock is that we can create magic by working towards a common goal. We can all be powerful but we are even more powerful together. We are like a flock of birds: flying towards the same goal. GOD.
By Kimberly M. Chastain
I have received many heartfelt emails from women asking me, “Where in the Bible does it say,
a woman cannot work outside the home?” Another comment, where are scriptural articles that
do not condemn? I often quickly reply the Bible does not say a woman cannot work outside the home. Many of the women in the Bible were leaders among women and men. Deborah was basically a military commander.
Let’s look at the Proverbs 31 woman. This woman is often held up as the prime example of
a Godly woman. Here is a list of the many tasks the Proverbs 31 women completes:
Selects wool and flax and works with eager hands
She brings her food from afar
She gets up while it is dark and provides food for her families and servant girls
Buys a field and out of earnings plants a vineyard
Arms are strong for tasks
Her trading is profitable; lamp does not go out at night
Grasps the spindle with her fingers
Opens her arms to the poor and needy
Keeps children clothed
Makes clothes for herself
Makes linen garments and sells them
Faithful instruction is on her tongue
Watches over affairs of the household
When I look at all this woman did, frankly I get exhausted. This woman is definitely a working Mom. She is an administrator, overseeing her servants. She is selling goods she has made herself and the scripture says she is profitable.
Also, she buys a field out of her own earnings. Thus, this woman is making money in order to purchase the field. One verse I think we all can relate to is the phrase, “her lamp does not go out at night”. Certainly, we all have stayed up late trying to complete various projects.
Let me make another observation as well. This woman’s work was outside of the home. From the description in this chapter it infers that her work is often at the front gates or in another field. So, she often had to leave home in order to work. I would imagine she took her children with her to work or maybe she and another woman watched each other’s children. I think that is hard to know for sure.
There were women in the Bible who were successful businesswomen. Remember, Lydia in the New Testament, she was a seller of purple cloth. One commentary I read said she had considerable wealth, because she was able to give a home to Paul and his companions. Now, I don’t know if Lydia had children or not, but she obviously was a successful businesswoman.
Many women in the Old and New Testament were very good at managing their homes. Women in the Old Testament would keep the home fires burning while their husband was off to war. Women even in the Bible were multi-tasking and had many roles to fill. Also, probably most of them were teaching their children as well. So, we could say some women in the Bible were Working Moms and home schooling as well. You think we have it tough!!!
When you look at the Proverbs 31 woman see what the writer has to say about her. Proverbs 31:28-31, “Her children arise and call her blessed: her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” The woman was praised for all her roles, not just mother or wife, but her role as a worker as well.
There are several verses that are often used to say women cannot work outside the home. The first is 1 Timothy 5:14, “So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.” The part of the verse used is to manage their home. Ask any CWM if they are managing their home. They will tell you all the many things they manage. You can manage your home whether you stay at home or not. You can also delegate specific tasks, i.e. childcare, etc. This verse does not specify how to manage your home, just that it is managed. The second verse that is often used to say women cannot work outside the home is Titus 2:4-5, “Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” The part of the verse that is used to encourage women to stay at home is to be busy at home. Moms whether they work outside the home or not are busy at home. Also, women who work outside the home can still be submissive to their husbands. I also see the busy at home relating back to the Timothy verse about managing the home. Ultimately, it is the women’s responsibility to manage the workings of the home. Does that mean she has to do everything in the home? No. It is her responsibility to manage the home and delegate chores to people in the home or people that work for her. Look again at the Proverbs 31 women she had servants that she managed. I imagine those servants were doing chores for the home.
Sister Christian Working Moms I cannot find any verse in the Bible that says a woman cannot work outside the home. If you can find one, please let me know.
The idea of a mother not working outside the home is a relatively new concept. Actually, it is considered a luxury in most parts of the world. Often women in the history of the United States have worked outside the home. During World War II many Moms were working outside the home. So, the idea that generations of children are being harmed my mothers working outside the home, is just not true. Moms have been working very hard at home and outside the home for many years and centuries, for that matter.
Please do not here me criticize stay at home Moms. There has been so much hurt on both sides of the working Mom battle. In fact, I think Satan has used this issue to divide women in the church. If you will carefully read the Bible God worked in many people’s lives in many different ways. We see Deborah as a military commander, Lydia – a seller of purple cloth, Ruth and Naomi as widows, Esther – a rescuer of the Jewish nation and the list goes on. I think each family has to make a choice for themselves as what is best for them with direction from God. There is not a Biblical mandate to stay at home or work. Sometimes there is no choice and women must work outside the home and they should not be made to feel guilty for helping support their families. The Bible’s message is timeless and covers all cultures. So, I think it would be wrong to tell a Mom with children starving in a third world country that she should not work outside the home and find food for her child. You may think that argument is ridiculous, but if no Mom should work outside the home then that should apply to all Moms. Closely related to this point is the millions of single Christian Working Moms who are working to support their children and do not receive child support. Are they not to work outside the home? Each family has to make the choice that is best for them and one size does not fit all. If a family chooses to make the choice for a Mom to work outside the home they should take comfort in the knowledge that the Bible does not say a Mom cannot work outside the home.
In conclusion, you may all know deep down that scripture does not prevent a Mom from working outside the home. Yet, how do you handle the pressure from people at church or others who “make” you feel guilty. Ultimately, all Christians are to serve God and not man. I would challenge you to ask people to show you the Bible verses that say you cannot work outside the home. The Bible is where we get our answers from and our guidance. Secondly, I would encourage you to pray about your decision and ask for clear direction and peace for your decision. Third, once you have made your decision do not spend time worrying and fretting about your decision. We are told to cast all our anxiety on Him for he cares for us. Give your worry to God and leave it there. Fourthly, a caution to men as well as women our priorities always have to be in order. God is first, family second, and then work is much farther down the priority list. No one should put their career ahead of God. In 1 Timothy he talked about managing the home. We all need to keep our priorities straight.
My ultimate prayer is women whether working or not would come together and agree we all want to raise Godly children who worship and glorify our God. That is something we can agree on whether we stay at home or work outside the home. God wants us to come together as sisters in Christ to teach our children to be worshippers of God. The ground is level at the cross and there is not a separate section for working Moms and stay at home Moms. God loves us all the same. Please hear that last point, God loves us all the same. I had one Christian Working Mom write me to say sometimes it just feels that God loves the stay at home Moms more. I heard her painful comment and wept when I read it. God loves you dear sister and what he wants most is for all of us to glorify him in everything we do, whether we work outside the home or not.
After giving thanks to my God for allowing me to see another day, one of the first things I do is turn on the news. My reason for doing this is to hear the weather forecast for the day. Although the forecast seems favorable for the day, I still open the door & peek my head outside to get an idea what I should wear for the day. I know I am not alone in my morning routine, but it had me thinking, “How often do we check our temperature in service to God?” Are we hot? Are we cold? Are we warm? Are we cool? Are we on fire for the Lord? OR have our souls grown cold with apathy & freezing indifference?
In Christ’s words to the Ephesian Christians in Revelation 3:16, it appears that God does take notice of our spiritual temperature in His service. “Be not deceived! God is not mocked” (Galatians 6:7). God knows where we always stand with Him. Are we enthusiastic about the Father’s business? OR have we become frustrated & stagnated in the work of saving souls? The LORD expects us to choose activity that leads to productivity. So, what are we to do to affect change in ourselves, which will ultimately bring change in the body of Christ?
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell the work of hospitality (1 Peter 4:9), generosity to the poor (Proverbs 19:17), & doing good to orphans & widows (James 1:27). There is no shortage of opportunities to do God’s will. God has equipped us with His word & ability to be effective in our service to Him. Remember, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Humans have mastered the art of hauling hateful words at the masses: the person who cut us off in traffic, the stranger who blew up our comment section, the ex-boyfriend we shouldn't have dated, the in-law who is far too nosey, the doctor who was snippy and calloused, the–
You get the point.
Often, the words that fall out of the mouth are a direct reflection of the heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences." Our mind, body, and spirit are rooted together so much so that when the mind is infuriated, downcast, or vengeful, the body will reflect those emotions. Thus, we clench our fists, and our faces turn red as we shout unthinkable things through tears of anger or pure sadness.
As Christians, we know this isn't how we should treat others, but what if this is the way we shouldn't treat ourselves too?
If you are like me, believing for ages that God called us to walk an impossibly tight rope, perhaps you dispel anger, frustration, and sadness on yourself. You keep a tally list of your rights and wrongs and simply wait for the day God hurls lightning bolts your way. But in the meantime, you settle for verbally abusing yourself. After all, you deserve some sort of punishment, right? Maybe self-inflicted torment stings harder, boils hotter, and purifies quicker, right?
Wrong. Heartbreakingly wrong.
No matter our motives, our actions, our deepest thoughts, or the darkest secrets we fear to tell anyone, God rescues his people, his beloved, from all mistakes and terrors.
1 John 4:16 says, "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."
To be in God's presence, sin and all, means you aren't in the presence of lightning bolts but the presence of love. God adores a repentant heart not because he craves control but because nothing bolsters his joy more than when we are free of sin and shame. And often, that shame is self-inflicted. Christ never called us to punish ourselves. That's the very reason he took on the cross, so you and I would never have to say to ourselves:
1. Of Course, I Don’t Look Good in _________ When we relentlessly believe we never look just right in those jeans, that dress, this blazer, etc. we are leaving room for the enemy to continue fueling lies. The one thing Satan wants us to doubt the most is that God calls us his beloved. If we forget we are beloved, we forget the inherent beauty that we wake up with each day.
Yes, take care of your body. Exercise and eat healthy foods, but never allow one negative thought to permeate your soul.
Being vulnerable with you, I am a tiny creature. This seems glamorous, barely weighing 110 pounds, but let me remind you, this also means I have no curves, no butt, no breasts, nothing. As my grandmother says, "[I'm] all breath and britches." Sure, I don't mind being small, but because I'm small, I do mind that you can't quite tell which gender I am from behind. I have no distinct feminine features, no sexual appeal for men. I'm simply a skinny, pale body that could be tossed away with the wind.
I internalized this insecurity for the first several years of my marriage, afraid my husband would meet a curvier woman and leave me behind. But may I let you in on two secrets: 1. My husband never left. 2. Once my mind prioritized seeking ways to be kind to others, I stopped comparing myself to others. And do you know what happened? My husband made the round-about comment that I was happier, more joyful... more fun to be around now. (Even more attractive.)
Joy is beautiful. The beautiful are beloved. The beloved is you.
2. I'll Never Be HerI mean, you're not wrong. You aren't her. Or the other her. Or the other 3.5 billion hers on the planet because you were hand-fashioned by God to be you. Isn't it strange how often we love to quote Psalm 139:13-14 to back our anti-abortion beliefs, yet we allow such a striking, beautiful truth to fall by the wayside after a baby is born? Once the wears and tears of life creep up disguised as crows' feet and gray hairs, we forget that we are still the very creatures handmade by God.
I'll be honest. You won't walk through life without wishing you had someone else's hair color, skin, curves, etc., but you can put a stop to that thought becoming a broken-record chisel that continues chipping away at your God-given worth.
When I notice this devious comparison game the enemy likes to launch in my mind, I have a subtly different tactic than simply wishing the thought away:
I wish I had her curly hair, Satan curates in my mind.
Yeah, I respond, that would be nice... except if I had her curly hair, I wouldn't have my straight hair that lets me crimp and curl however I please.
I acknowledge that it would be nice to have that other thing, but I reinforce the good thing God gave me.
Give it a try!
3. I Blew It AgainAnd you'll blow it again tomorrow; such is the nature of living in a fallen body, trapped in a fallen world. Yet, what I love so much about Christ's character is that our imperfections were the very catalyst that brought him to earth. He loves us despite our flaws, and rescuing us from our habitual sins is a purpose and pleasure he volunteered to carry out until the end of time.
This doesn't mean we sin for fun because, hey, God loves forgiving us, but it does mean he strives with a repentant heart that seeks refinement through love.
4. I’m Good at NothingWell, if I can be frank, you are good at putting yourself down, and that's something, but this something is detonating your source of life and light.
1 Corinthians 12:31 says, "eagerly desire the greater gifts." And guess what's greater than putting yourself down? Being generous with your time and volunteering at a soup kitchen, clothes closet, or another trustworthy charity. Taking on a music class to join the worship team at church. Leading others to the Truth.
Take a few moments to complete this spiritual gifts test. We are all given good gifts by the Father, so perhaps it's time you stop putting yourself down and discover the supernatural blessings God instilled within you. Talk with your church leaders and accountability partners to see how you can nurture these gifts to better serve God and others.
5. There’s No Point in Trying One More TimeIf each person adopted this concept, I'm not sure people would be here today, quite literally. I know if my parents had given up after two years of trying to conceive, I wouldn't be here. If they had given up after another three years of trying to conceive, my little sister wouldn't be here.
Eden was meant for perfect people, but this world isn't designed to offer perfection. Because this is undeniably true, God, through Christ, has paved the way for us to still be successful, accomplished, thrilled, and (righteously) proud even amid our failures.
If you are waiting for the day that you will navigate any area of your life without flaw, you will never accomplish anything that holds merit in light of eternity. So yes, there is always a point in trying one more time to get that book published, make that baby, or launch that Etsy shop.
God called us to thrive despite our faults, not cave to the lie that because of our faults, we can't thrive.
6. I Don’t Deserve Good ThingsTechnically, we all deserve hell. So if we adopt this idea that we don't deserve good things, we allow Christ's sacrifice to fall by the wayside. It's as if we say, "Mmm, yeah. Jesus, I see what you did there, but I'm pretty sure my sins are still too big for forgiveness. I'm not certain your blood is a match for my tainted ways."
Of course, we don't deserve heaven, but Jesus also doesn't deserve for us to live out this false, disrespectful notion that his sacrifice wasn't enough for us to step into forgiveness, love, and the good things he has in store for us.
Jesus deserves better, friends.
7. No One Will Ever Love MeWhen I was in high school, there was one guy who was handsome, musically gifted, smart, a true artist, and genuinely God-fearing, yet, it was so obvious he didn't see his own worth. I heard countless girls say that he was kind and such a great guy, but they wouldn't want to be with someone who talked down to themselves so much.
Of course, you know God loves you. I won't cram that down your throat. But what I will remind you of is that humans crave hope, light, laughter, and joy, and so long as you allow yourself to constantly believe no one will want you, that gloomy cloud of self-hate will be obvious.
Simply respond to the thought with, that's not true. God loves me. I'm proud of who God's making me. And one day, when the time is right, a great person will love me too.
Halting those negative thoughts will allow a healthier headspace that will naturally put an extra pep in your step and add a bit brighter shine to your smile. I promise.
8. I Can’t Move ForwardLikely, the past haunts you, but with the present at hand, where else can you go? Which direction will you take? So long as you have breath in your lungs, you can choose what you do with your life. This doesn't mean life will be flawless, that you won't have roadblocks, hurdles, and tough challenges, but your decision to move forward is how you regain confidence in yourself, in others, and more importantly, in God. Moving forward looks like adopting a positive attitude, seeking ways to implement change in your routine, filtering out harmful relationships, etc.
God wants to shower us with good things, but if we never leave our houses, never put down our phones, never step out of our comfort zones and push life onward, how will we reach those blessings?
9. I Hate MyselfI've said this to myself at least twice this week. Casually, sure. But deep down, your soul takes these words captive, and the moment they flippantly spill out of your mouth, they have the power to root themselves into your heart to grow seeds of self-loathing, self-doubt, and self-destruction.
Perhaps you truly feel as though you hate yourself, that looking in the mirror fills you with disgust. But let me remind you of one simple truth: God's grace is inescapable. No matter why you can't stand to be in a room alone with yourself, God occupies that space. And if his grace is ever-present, so is his love. So long as his love is present, hate is dispelled.
You can attempt to hate yourself as much as you want, you can continue torturing yourself, but the very breath you breathe is filled with God's love. The very room you sit in is saturated with his grace. The very steps you take are guided by his mercy. Thus, for the child of God, hate can't survive, let alone thrive.
10. There’s No Way God is Still with MeExcept, well, there is.
God can't not forgive, he can't not love, he can't not protect, nurture, encourage, heal... stay.
He is so gracious–so in love with you–that his loyalty has chosen to know no end. He quite literally refuses to separate himself from his steadfast nature.
He hasn't gone anywhere because he won't. His nature is too pure.
After all, he loves you too much to do any less.
When You Think” “I Just Can’t” or “I Can’t…Remember Who Can! By Anita Spencer (member of the Broadway street church of Christ Louisville KY)
Hello to my faithful Sister wherever you are,This is your letter in the mail (today) that is not a bill😊.
But I heard something that was just too good not to share. Rather than take a chance on you not answering, or not returning a call, I decided to just mail/email it to you.One of my Brothers from Dallas preached in Longview during our Lectureship the week of June 9th.
I won’t kid you; June was a rough month for me, But, not too rough.. I had recently shared this comment with Mel regarding a situation: “That’s it. I cannot take it anymore…” ☹
And, then the Brother from Dallas preached. He has been really ill, and it seems that every October, he hears (from the doctors) that he is at death’s door. And then, the joke (for lack of a better word) was: He is still living. But…it is October again….
He recently asked the church to stop praying for him to get better. He said: God has already answered that prayer and the answer is no. He told the congregation: If you want to pray for me, pray that I am strengthened to endure to the end.
He shared that the Bible says in Jeremiah 1:5, God knows us better than we know ourselves and has know us longer than we have known ourselves. And, in I Corinthians 1:25, God is wiser than we are. And the bible tells us that God won’t let us be tempted beyond what we can bear, 1 Cor. 10:13.
Then he said: So, that tells me that I don’t have the right to say: I can’t handle it or I can’t handle this. God knows what I can handle. Is it more than I can bear? Yes, all the time. More than I can bear with God? Never. So, therefore, if I am in the situation, I must be able to handle it because I am a faithful Christian. Jeremiah 1:5. Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born
I consecrated you. I Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But, when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raised the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us.
Look at the book of Job. He bore it all through his faith. He may have gotten mad at God for all the stuff He sent his way, but never doubted God’s power.
I was like, wow! OK. So, I do not have the right to say I can’t handle it. Got it.
What a change in my week when considering my life’s issues, struggles, weight, circumstances, afflictions, situations, hardships, trials, and tribulations from the standpoint of “I can do anything thru Christ who strengthens me”. Then I thought: I knew this already. But, sometimes, I just forget. We must remember!
I love you. Take care. Still loving and enjoying every moment of this life,