Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Glorious Role of Woman

I have been itching to get my thoughts down about this subject ever since that quilting retreat I went to. A girls weekend full of crafting, drinking lots of coffee, and talking about God is a good inspiration. Real life and home school and a farm often get in the way, tho, of having 5 straight minutes to put coherent thoughts down on paper. My journey through the minor prophets (plus that convicting bathroom book) has reminded me again of this glorious role of woman, some of the pitfalls, and the opportunities it holds to glorify God.
In this day of women's lib, equal rights for women, and throw in some post-modernism for an extra boost, our culture seems to have created the kind of women that God was talking about in Amos 4:1. Women who are so busy climbing the corporate ladder that they oppress the poor and crush the needy (their own children? hurting neighbors?their husbands?) in their greed to get to the top of the proverbial hill in a futile attempt to gain all this world claims to offer. Women who have belittled men and their positions along the way, including their own husbands and their positions as men. It is pretty hard to ignore a verse where God calls these women "cows" and not take a serious look at what He was trying to make clear to them. I know from experience. Once buying into the lie that women can and should have it all- a job, children, thinking that fancy cars and clothes and houses will make us happy, and not having to submit to a man's authority along the way to get there. Throw in a new baby, a home in disorder because of my rebellion, and a sovereign God, and I realized a little of what God was saying.
We as women long to rule. It was a curse handed down long ago in the Garden of Eden. It runs deep, and even after salvation is a temptation that continually needs to be bridled. Our generations' role models in society have not been primarily of Godly women caring for their homes, but more of scantly dressed females in positions of power on the stage, in politics, and particularly over men. Am I wrong in my assessment? To take a good, hard look at ourselves is the first step in seeing just who we are. Knowing our weaknesses helps us to be aware of them. Breaking free from what the world calls a successful woman and what the Lord calls a successful woman is a long, hard journey. One led by the Holy Spirit, and one worth pursuing. We, as Christian women, owe it to our daughters to leave a legacy and a role model for them to follow.
God's first role for woman was to be a help mate for her husband. Primarily, after our relationship to God, our first concern should be for the well being of our husbands. As a prayer warrior, encourager, and homemaker we can assist our husbands with the duties that God has given him, which (in Genesis) God says is to bear the image of God, subdue the land and provide for his family. God has set man up as the head of the household, and called women to respect him as such.
I find the verse in Amos 4:1 to clearly reveal some of the women of our times. Women who have bought into "equal" roles of men and women. We are all equal in God's sight, but He has given us different roles. Not better, not worse, just different. God does not call the husband to be the helpmate to his wife, but the other way around. Yes, the man out of simple love for his wife helps her with duties, but the Godly wife will not request consistently that her husband steal her joy in serving him and their home by completing her tasks. He should not have to come home after a long day and take over her home-making jobs as well. He has enough work to do on his own without having to come home and think about what is for supper. A Godly wife handles those sometimes mundane, behind the scene jobs with joy so that her husband can focus on his work (primarily leading the family spiritually, providing for them, advancing the kingdom). Scientifically God has created women to be much better at multitasking and handling those little details than men. Do we despise this role that God has given us? I admit, I often times buy into the attitude that he should just cook supper sometimes, or sweep the floor, or pick up the dirty clothes. But why would I deny myself the joy of fulfilling my God given role, bringing great happiness to my husband, and simply honoring scripture by complaining?
A submissive wife also allows her husband to protect her. I have found that by placing myself physically in my Godly role of serving my husband, it is easier to place myself spiritually under his Godly headship. Women have an overwhelming tendency to let their emotions control them. Our poor husbands have to face women who have been taught to belittle men and their positions in the first place, then have their wives try every emotional tactic to control them (tears, anger, etc.), and then they have the hard job of trying to shape these wild tigresses into submissive, God honoring women who are raising the next generation. Outside of an act of God they have a huge job on their hands. As Christian mothers we owe it to our daughters to set a better example to follow so that our daughters can immediately enter marriage as help mates to their husbands, rather than potential home destroyers because they insist on their own ways. And, we owe it to our boys to raise strong Godly men who can handle leading a Godly home.
God's next role to woman was to be a mother. This precious gift of bearing children and nurturing was given to her alone. Again, a great distinction in the roles of men and women and how God created them. To the woman he gave the overwhelming maternal instinct to love and protect her child. He gave her only a few short years to nurture these little lives and shape and mold them into adults who will go out to make their own decisions. What a tremendous opportunity we have been given!
Women are called to be keepers of the home in Titus 2:4-5. In our day and age a full-time, working mother is the norm. Our God given role is to take care of the home first. Understanding that some women have no choice but to work, others do have a choice. The choice may be giving up a lifestyle, but it is still a choice. God is glorified when moms stay home and be moms. It is the way He designed it. Think back to your childhood. I cannot think of hardly one time when I came home and my Mom wasn't there. Often with good food to eat, or a project she was working on, or just simply being there. There is a great sense of comfort in knowing that Mom will be there.
Mothers play a huge role of training their children in righteousness in the home as well. Are we setting an example for our daughters to follow in marriage? In our dress, talk, actions, attitudes? How about for our sons? Would you want your son to marry a woman like you? That is exactly the kind of woman he will be seeking in just a few short years. She will be the kind of woman that is raising your grandchildren. Do our children see us following and honoring God in all we do? Do they see us in the Word? Do they see us serving? Do they see our hearts?
The last, and final thought, is in women in leadership, primarily in the church. I have been accused of having too high of opinions and even being judgemental on a few certain topics that I feel the Bible is clear on. Women in ministry is one of them. I see clearly in scripture that God has called men to be the leaders in the home and in the church. It does not mean that women don't hold specific roles as well, or that they cannot minister or teach in other ways. 1st Timothy 2:12-14 clearly states that a woman should not be in a teaching position in authority over a man. He goes on to clearly explain that it is because the woman is easily deceived. Ouch! How can we glorify God even in this? By accepting what He has said, understanding that His way is the only way, trusting and praying that God would rise up Godly men who will stand up and teach. If you have followed any of the falling away of the church, then you are clearly aware of the movement to accept women as pastors and leaders in the church. How many other "little" things have we denied in scripture to get to this point? Are we willing as women to accept even this, without calling it denying our rights as women, and trust God to again glorify His name as we honor it? Has he really withheld anything from us in putting men into this position? I often tell my girls when they try that tactic that that is just a "woman's excuse". Remember Eve in the garden? Satan deceived her by tricking her that God was withholding something from her by not allowing her to eat from the tree.
Stand up Christian woman and rise to the mighty calling that God has for you! It is a time in history, a pivotal time, to decide just who you are in Christ. Go to the word. Cling to it, and obey it. It will cost you your life, all your preconceived ideas of what will make you happy, and bring eternal rewards. God created woman, and He called it good!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Words of the Wise

God gives us pain because it is the only way we can see the times He catches us when we stumble. God gives us hardship and suffering because it helps us understand His true love.
~Alexis, age 13

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Delving into the Minor Prophets

After finishing reading Revelation I contemplated just where to start reading next. Several years ago I decided to read through the Bible chronologically, starting with the New Testament. My intention was to read straight through, each book of the Bible, and wound up taking a 4 year journey into the Word of God. What I thought would be a quick process turned into a lot of soul searching and spiritual growth that has made me love the word of God even more. So, now that the kids and I are working through Genesis I really wanted to start somewhere else in the Old Testament. The Lord led me to study the Minor Prophets, starting with Joel. Here we go...

The first thing I realized was how much of John's Revelation was being spoken of through Joel, as well. We serve a God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. A God who has this all planned out from the beginning, so it is reassuring to us nearsighted sheep to be reminded of this again. The other thing I realized was that there was no opening to the book. It is as if the urgency of the message was so heavy to Joel that he just delves into the prophesy without much introduction or explanation. I often wonder about how, when, and where these prophecies took place in these men's lives. I wonder if anyone believed them. Or if people just thought "There he goes again", "Why does he think God is talking to him?", "Crazy guy!".

But Joel found this worthy to tell not just his listeners, but the coming generations of the great and mighty deeds of God.The land appears to be under attack by locust. I think of how God uses locust elsewhere in scripture as a judgement after warning his children to repent. I think of the "locust" in our culture that are destroying our land. Joel warns these people to "Wake up, you drunkard, and weep!". It is as if these people are oblivious to what is happening right under their noses. But as they ignore it, God makes it unavoidably obvious to them. Causing the locust to be so great in number that they destroy all that is before them; the crops of wheat and barley, the fruit trees and crops of the field. They are so many in number that they are compared to charging warriors, scaling the walls like soldiers, rushing upon the city, climbing into the houses like thieves through the windows. And it is the Lord that thunders at the head of his army. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?

But what is the Lord's intent with this attack? It is to turn His people, His called and chosen people, back to Him. To rend their hearts, and not their garments. His desire is that they would return to God with all their hearts, with fasting and weeping and mourning over their sins. For God is gracious, and slow to anger and abounding in love for His people. For it is not God's desire to harm His people, but neither will He contend with being made a mockery of. His righteousness and justice go before Him.

When the people do repent, God will once again be jealous for His land and take pity on His people. He will open the floodgates and pour out on them Himself and His blessings. God will make all things right through His judgement. And the people of God will praise His name, for He has worked wonders. He will be a refuge and a stronghold for His people.

Multitudes, multitudes are in the valley of decision! Choose this day whom you will serve. Being indifferent is a choice. Either be hot or cold. For the day of the Lord is near.

Just a Nuggett

Just a nugget from God's word that really encouraged me this morning:

Psalm 89:14Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.

As I have been contemplating just how the two go together (love and doctrine) God has shown me how he combines them.