Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Marianne!!

Today is my brother Jeff's wife Marianne's birthday!
One of my favourite pictures of J & M!
The whole family - taken Christmas morning
Their 3 sweeties - Gracia (4.5), Lucas (2) and Jared (7)

I am thankful that our families (in-laws included) are also counted among our dear friends. I am well aware that this is not often the case - with One family, let alone Two, so this is something I appreciate very much! Marianne and I have been friends for a looooooong time now (Has it really only been 13 years?), =) and she has been such a blessing to me in so many aspects of my life.
"In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (1 John 4:10-11)
Marianne, thank you for having shared, and continuing to share the love God has shared with you with others. May you, despite the crazy-busyness of New Year's Revolution this coming weekend, enjoy a truly blessed and wonderful birthday! Love you lots, and am sending you a big hug!

Happy Birthday, with lots of love from all the Woodheads!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Good news, Bad news, Other news...

Bad news first - best to get that out of the way!  Our Vivi fell today just after we got home from meeting, and somehow hit her head against the bumpy concrete wall outside our house.  There was blood everywhere, but I was thankful that it came to mind immediately that there is Always lots of blood with head wounds.  The gash looked deep, and since I 'got' to accompany Kyla two years ago for her stitches, I sure was thankful that Tim said he would go with her this time.  He left at 230pm, and Vivi was home and in bed by 430pm.  When they got to the hospital, they told them that, since the cut is on her forehead (for those who are interested, it is the muscle that raises the eyebrow that got cut), they recommend a plastic surgeon.  Tim is pretty sure they heard her scream throughout the whole hospital - poor little girl!  The cut was deep - he sewed 3 stitches inside, and 4 outside, and although it is covered with a bandaid right now, and I haven't seen it yet - Tim says it looks really good, and is quite small.

Good news - this is the best kind of news, but I'll give you a little history first!!  There are two couples, Aurelio and Alma, and Noé and Carmen, who live in West Phoenix, and who have family who live down in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico – which is located a little less than half way from Mexico City to Acapulco. They have been praying for their family since they themselves got saved, but up until recently, no one had been able to go down to visit them. These two couples have shared the gospel with their families over the last several years, but had never heard of any interest. They were getting more and more concerned for them – especially a 90 year old grandfather. Finally, on November 23, Duncan and Shad finally had the opportunity to go down and spend one week there. While there, they held house meetings each night where several family members attended (up to 20 a night), as well as some neighbours and friends. During that one week, eight people professed to be saved, and are showing new life!! They have since gone back (December 14th), and they were happy to see them and hear of the happiness and assurance of salvation. They have been continuing with the house meetings, and there are many attending - family members, friends, neighbours, and have heard of more who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour! They will be continuing there until Wednesday (21st), when they will return home. Please pray for the new believers. Please pray for those who are attending the meetings and hearing the good news of the gospel. Please pray for many more to be saved. Please pray against those fiery darts of the Evil One who is out only to destroy. Please pray for Shad and Duncan – for their safety, that they would present the gospel clearly, and for them teaching the new believers. I love Good News!!!

Other news - Our Alisa turned 9 months old yesterday!  Hard to believe so much time has passed already!  I meant to have a picture of her on here, but somehow it didn't work out - I'll have to have one of her next time.  Her first tooth is just about to pop through (finally), and although she isn't crawling yet, she definitely wiggles her way around.  And....she has said her first word!  Can you guess what it is??  Mama, Dada?  Nope.  It's Kitty (more pronounced Kiki)!!  I started noticing a couple of days ago that she made this different sound, and got really excited when she saw one of the kitties, and then I made the connection.  Whenever someone asks, "Where's the kitty?", she gets all wound up - waving her arms and legs and saying, "Kiki, kiki!"  It's so cute!

I was making breakfast the other day, and since I hadn't gone grocery shopping for several days, we didn't have any bread to make toast, and I decided to make some scrambled eggs.  Shaelyn usually likes that, but that morning, she didn't seem to.  For interest sake, I asked her, "What would you like for breakfast then?"  Without hesitation, she answered, "How about broccoli soup!?" =)  She was serious too - that girl loves her broccoli soup!

Tim was teasing Vivian the other day, and was pretending to take something off of her plate.  She pulled herself up, and said to him, "Actually, No!"  We really laughed over that one.  She adds extra syllables into her words as well, or extra "pieces" at the ends, which makes everything sound so much funnier.  "Hotch" for hot, etc.

I had totally planned to continue school this next week, and then have off the next week while we are in Phoenix seedsowers.  Then I thought of all the presents still to wrap, and baking we want to get done, and the extra time we'll likely have while people are out seedsowing, and thought it best to make a switch!  Even if they do an hour or so a day, it will be time saved for later.  Mika, Shaelyn and Kyla are all doing quite well continuing in their school work, and I'm pleased with the progress they're making.

Looking forward to seeing my dad in less than two weeks, and my mom in less than three!  Plus friends we only get to see at seedsowers distribution.  The plan is to leave on the 26th to head up to Phoenix, and then return early on the 31st.

We sure are looking forward to Christmas coming up.  We plan to open stockings and presents on Saturday, and then we'll have turkey dinner with the Cains and Kleins, and spend the afternoon with them!

This pregancy is going quite well. I feel like I/the baby is going through a growth spurt right now, as I'm always feeling hungry and sleepy! Have been feeling sweet little flutters inside, but no hard kicks yet. I'm 20 weeks now - unbelievably!

Think that's it for now, except to share some pictures!
Kyla is finally on a "big girl" bike with training wheels - I love Shaelyn's face in this.
This is getting a little tedious - but it's really my own fault.  These poor penguins are still not completed - they need at least one more coat of white, and then their eyes, etc, put on.  Getting there...
This picture is so hilarious.  Eleo was trying to teach Shaelyn how to roll her r's.  Shaelyn was taking a good look to see how it's done!!  =)
Alisa was very interested too!  ;)
Once again this year we were blessed by someone giving us treat bags to give out - this time they also supplied a piñata!  Saturday was our last children's meeting in Tirocapes for the year, and there were over 40 children out to listen, and then enjoy the fun afterwards.  I forgot to take my camera, so this is the only picture I have.
We got started with Christmas baking!  With 5 girls to help, I decided to try to save my sanity a little, and divide them up.  Eva and Mika helped do the gingersnap dough...
...while the 3 littler girls read books in the other room.
Then these three got a turn at making Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies...
...while the older ones read books!
Everyone got to help roll the Gingersnaps into balls and coat them with sugar - they were Really sugary (for some reason)!! =)
All my sweet helpers!
I actually didn't have time to cut out the cookies with them that night, so this past Friday night, I was out, and Tim - my beloved, patient, kind husband, rolled out the cookie dough, helped the girls cut out the cookies, baked the cookies, made icing, and let the girls ice and decorate them!!!!!  Is he not completely amazing!!!!  =)
So pretty!
Our neighbours have a new pet.  He is an adorable little Siamese sweetie - however, he thinks he owns the world, including out house!  The first time we met him, we didn't know where he had come from, and he chased out two adult cats around, scaring them to pieces while Tim and I laughed at them!  If our door is open, and he is about, you can be sure he'll come in and make himself at home - even eating the kitty food.  Our cats are a little better about it now though, and are showing him his place a little.  =)
Here he was tormenting Holly!
Okay, time to hit the hay for tonight! I just finished reading Hebrews, so I'll leave a couple verses with you that I appreciated this morning:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted."
(Hebrews 12:1-3)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Moriah!!

Today is Tim's sister Joia and Philip's daughter Moriah's 3rd birthday!  This little cutie is full of spunk and fun and mischief (must get that from the Woodford side...?!)  =) and is as sweet as anything.  We were blessed to have Moriah, her big brother Keenan, and Mommy come and stay with us in June for a visit, while her Daddy was overseas.  We're so thankful he is back home now!  They have welcomed a new baby - Caleb, to the family since then, and Moriah is a pretty happy big sister!
Happy 3rd Birthday, Moriah!!
Moriah (3), Caleb (less than one month), Keenan (4.5)
The whole family!
Moriah, wow, you're getting so big!!  We were so thankful to be able to see you Twice this year - that was really special for all of us!  Here's a verse I hope you will always remember by hiding in your heart: "But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him""  (1 Corinthians 2:9)  God has a very special plan for you and your life!  We pray often for you and for your salvation, and that you will follow that special plan the Lord has for you!  Hope you have a wonderful day today!

Happy Birthday, Moriah - we love you!!

All pictures stolen from Joia!  Thank you!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

For Married Ladies Only

NOTE: This is a very long post.  Please grab a cuppa something, and sit down for a bit!  I considered dividing it into a couple different "Parts", but decided it's maybe easier to have it all together. 

I have had this subject on my heart for some time now - I started writing this post in September.  John D was just here in Hermosillo last weekend for a mini-conference on marriage, and I wanted to add to what I had already written, as his ministry was so very helpful - however, this post is specifically towards married women, and more in-depth.

I am hesitant to actually post this.  I feel a little vulnerable, but pray that it will be more of a blessing a help to people than anything else.  I would ask that before you read this, though, that you would pray that the Lord would give you an open heart to receive what His Word says. Not my opinions or what I say, or anyone else - they really don't count for much - but what He has to say to you.

The first time I ever remember hearing of a marriage split up, I was pretty young. It was a close relative, and I took it pretty hard. I was terribly afraid that my parents would divorce as well, even though I had no good reason for thinking so.

Since then, I've known lots more marriages that have broken up, and even when I was away from the Lord as a teenager, I remember it grieving me, and knowing that it just wasn't right. I kind of felt though, that even though "statistics" say that just as many Christians break up as non-Christians, that Christians in general were kind of 'protected' or something from divorce and break up. We know better, right!?!

So why am I talking about marriage break ups, and why is this post addressed to women? I hope that my thoughts will all come together, and you'll see how everything fits soon.  Please read the following verses from Titus 2:3-5 (KJV):
"The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

That is what the Bible says for older women to do (teach the younger women), and for the younger women to learn to do.  Do you believe what the Bible says?  If you are an older woman, or are a younger married woman, or will be a married woman, I have a few questions for you.  Have you done this?  Are you doing this?  Are you going to do this?  Do you understand what each of the bolded words mean?  Do you know how to put these things into practice in your personal circumstances?  Are you aware of the other verses in the Bible that talk about our responsibilities as a wife?  Are you happy in your marriage relationship?  Is your husband happy in your marriage relationship?  Do either of you wish it could be better?  Is there anything you (the woman) can do to make your marriage better?  Do you feel like it is too late for your marriage? 

While I can't hear any of the answers you may be giving as you read this, the verses above are the basis of this post, and are what I'll mainly be talking about.  *Note that I will not be talking about what God's plan for married men is.*

The reality is, I have recently seen the marriages of friends disintegrate before my eyes, and I had no idea that there was even a problem.  Not one idea.  Even looking back, there was nothing that I remember seeing that made me wonder if there even was a problem.  The thing is, marriages don't just break up in a week or two, its "breaking down" is a much longer process.  So why in the world am I sharing these intimate things with you?  Because I believe there are other marriages out there that are close to breaking up, other marriages that perhaps there seems to be no hope for, other marriages that could be MUCH better!  Perhaps there is even someone reading this who isn't married yet, and you could be preserved from some difficulties others have gone through.

Although I am only 34 (which I don't think of as very old!!), I have been put into the shoes of the 'older woman' (by Christian experience and present circumstances) teaching the younger (in years, and/or in the faith) women recently, and rediscovered a book that I had read over five years ago that talks about many, if not all of these issues.  It has been a huge help to me, and I would like to share some of the wisdom from the (real) "older woman" who wrote the book, with you.  I will reference the book and its author at the end of the post - but all indented parts are quotes taken from it.

Here are some more verses in the New Testament (ESV) that talk about God's plan for the wife.  Please read them carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully.

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands... "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
(Ephesians 5:22-24, 31-33)

"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." (Colossians 3:18)

"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives-- when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing-- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."  (1 Peter 3:1-6)

There is, of course, Proverbs 31 as well, where you can find all the qualities of a "virtuous" or an "excellent wife" (vs. 10).  The book of Proverbs has much advice for wives, and I would encourage you to read through it on a regular basis.

Perhaps all of this bores you, and you already have heard, and know all this.  Please hold on a little longer, as I really want to delve into things a little more practically. 

I have, and likely you have as well,  heard lots about the words submit and obey.  Are these words cultural?  Do they apply to me today in 2011?  It totally sounds like something out of the 50's! 

What kind of effort do you think each person needs to put into a marriage relationship?  50%?  Less?  More?  Does it depend on circumstances, culture or personality type?  Is it even normal to think that a person should put, *gasp*, 100% into a marriage relationship?  While John was speaking, he said he wanted to teach us some math.  1 + 1 = ...?   1!  "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24)  Next math lesson:  100% + 100% = ...?  100%!  When a husband and wife only put 50% into their marriage, that's 50% left for a whole lot of other things!  No!  God intended us to EACH put in 100% into our marriage to make it right!

Okay, let's go back to Titus 2:3-5, and go through the words, so we can get past them just being words, and put them into practice!  Why is it so important to look at these next 8 things?  The answer is at the end of them - in KJV, "...that the word of God be not blasphemed." and in ESV, "...that the word of God may not be reviled."  I'm sure not a single woman among us wants the Word of God to be blasphemed or reviled, so this should be a priority for us in our marriage!
   To be sober:
To do one's duty, be moderate, self-controlled, thoughtful, and to learn to make wise decisions and judgements.
A sober wife is one who faces the fact that she is no longer a freewheeling individual, with time to do as she pleases.  She know that marriage is a joyous, but also a grave responsibility.  She cannot be flighty and frivolous.  She makes a commitment to be the best wife, mother, and manager of the home that anyone could be. She becomes the acting CEO of a great enterprise of which her husband is the owner.

  To love their husbands:
Loving him means putting his needs before your own.  I am a minister.  If you are a wife, you, too, are a minister.  Our ministry is directed toward our husbands and then our children.  We were, and are, created to be help meets. 
This section is definitely more delicate than the others.  I do not want to offend anyone, but I also believe that often we as women have no idea about some of the struggles our husbands face.  If we are to truly love him, we need to face these struggles with them, and help in whatever way we can.  I would just like to share some verses in 1 Corinthians, before going on:
"...each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.
For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does.  Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."  (1 Corinthians 7:2-5)

What I want to mainly focus on here is the part about "Do not deprive one another..."  Just to make sure we're all on the same page - do you know what this means?  I'll be very clear, and tell you that it means to not 'make excuses' (I am not talking about legitimate reasons) for not having marital relations with your husband, or worse, outright refusing.  Some women either don't know, or don't want to know, that men are wired differently than women are.  Their appetite for physical intimacy is not a perverted one - but a very normal and God-given one.  Some women already know this, but choose their own way anyway - but for sure there are others who are completely, or at least partially ignorant, and this information could save and/or better your marriage!  Two books that helped me understand (a little better) how men think are, Every Man's Battle, by Stephen Arterburn, and For Women Only, by Shaunti Feldhahn.

While I am thankful that many Christian men would never cheat on their wife or leave them, some do.  We need to be on the offensive in working to save our marriages.  Men are visual-oriented.  The media is constantly his enemy in trying to direct their eyes, thoughts and desires towards illicit sex (whether it is physically or in the mind ).  Their eyes are constantly bombarded (billboards, women walking down the street, women at church, TV, magazines, Internet, etc...) by things God has no intention for their eyes to see.  Men cannot help most times to look once, however they are responsible before God whether they look again, and what they do with their thoughts.  His sexual desire is given to him by God, and the fulfillment of that need is to be realized within the marriage relationship.  Re-read that again, please.  Need. As in, a necessity.  Not just some desired behaviour.  As I said earlier, I realize that there are special circumstances involving people with serious medical problems, etc. and I am definitely not talking about cases where someone is being abused - that is completely different.  But to normal wives - young or old - who just feel like they no longer have any sexual desire, or are "too tired", and so why should I "give in" to his feelings when I just really don't feel like it?  I believe we can see that this attitude is actually sin.  I am sharing this with you so you can hopefully understand the pain our men endure sometimes at our selfishness. 
*Remember here that I am not talking in this post about the responsibilities of men in the marriage relationship - they are responsible before God for their attitudes and actions - but I am talking in this post about responsibilities that the Lord places on women in the marriage relationship.
Man ... needs a wife, a help meet, a helper who will meet the need God put in him.  If a wife does not meet his intimacy and sexual needs, she is a help-not-meet, a helper not suitable to the task for which God created her.
No woman really loves her husband if she does not seek to please him in this most important area.  ...  If you are not loving your man, you are in danger of blaspheming the word of God - "to love their husbands."

We ladies all have basically the same hormones.  Over the last 50-plus years, my hormones have fluctuated some, but I have still been fully a female during all that time.  Amazing, isn't it? Through adolescence, marriage, pregnancies, births, periods, menopause, you name it, our hormones were always there, maintaining us as a female. 
For a woman, sexual expression starts in her mind and heart.  Love is giving up your center, your self-interest.  It is choosing another's needs above your own.  A woman chooses to be interested or not interested in her husband's needs. ... That is the way God meant it to be.  The principle is universal.  Compare our Christian duties.  We don't minister to others because we are blessed - we minister to others because we want to bless them.  It is completely incidental that the by-product of selflessly blessing others should result in our being blessed also.  Eve was created to be Adam's helper. It is not in seeking personal fulfillment that she is fulfilled, rather, it is in doing her duty to bless him, that a blessing is returned upon her.
             To love their children:
The most important thing a mother will do for her children is to create an atmosphere of peace and joy by deeply loving their Daddy and being satisfied with life.
God has honored mothers with the blessed privilege of being the daily trainer of their young children.  He did not place this responsibility in Grandma's hands or with good friends, teachers or baby-sitters.  All of us mothers will stand before God one day and given an account of how we trained our children.  To love our children is to devote ourselves fully to their training.  If we fail here, we fail as a help meet.  Husbands go away to work and leave their young children in our care.  They trust us to train them up to be all that they can be.  If we fail our children, we fail our husband, and we fail God.  ...  The Hebrew word translated "train up" appears only four other times, and each time it is translated "dedicate."  Parents train up their children by dedicating their time, and their children to that which God desires for them to become as an adult. ... For a mother who loves her children, training is not a chore, it is a full-time, all-consuming passion.  They are worth every minute of time and trouble to ever "dedicated" mother.
Some mothers treat their children as I treat my cows.  I make sure they have good things to eat, clean water, and a place to exercise.  If they show any signs of sickness, I attend to them immediately.  This is good for cows, but if you raise kids like that, you're going to have a little brood of dummies.  Unlike your care of the cows, the training of your children is the deepest expression of your love for them.

  To be discreet:
Prudent; wise in avoiding error and in selecting the best means to accomplish a purpose; circumspect; courteous, polite, honest dealings.

We learned the practical side of marriage when we studied the word sober, the sexual side when we studied to love our husband, and that our job is to be instant in season and out of season when we learned how to love our children.  The next word on God's list is discreet.  ..., having good tastes, good judgment, useful, to be of good understanding.  God says that a woman who lacks discretion is like a jewel in a pig's nose.  She is ridiculous, out of place, embarrassing, a joke.  ... 
As I studied the word discreet, I realized how easy it is for us women to miss having the character trait of discretion, and I marveled that so many of us so often have been guilty of its lack in our character.  Think about it.  Let's carefully examine discretion in all its many aspects.

Seek to be Courteous (Consideration of others)
... Consideration is just another way of saying, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." A child learns how to be considerate by watching his parent being considerate...

Seek to be Honest (Discretion is Good Judgment
A woman without discretion is without honor.  Remember the jewel in the pig's nose? "As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion" (Proverbs 11:22).  If a woman uses her friends by asking unnecessary favors or by borrowing and not returning, she is showing a lack of basic courtesy, which is an important element of discretion.  When a woman manipulates people or situations, leaving others feeling used, all the while smiling in triumph at getting her ways, she is the one actually losing.
Women who want the best food, clothes, chair, jewelry, car, etc., are fodder for Satan. "...envy slayeth the silly one" (Job 5:2).  (Silly one: rude, simple contemptuous of character.)  Silly women are so easy to deceive into believing a lie.  ...
The woman without discretion...will use other's resources and think she is "cool" for pulling it off and then will brag to her "friends."  Those who hear her might laugh, and she interprets it as admiration, but they go away knowing that there is something disgusting about their "friend."  She is not considerate, courteous, or thoughtful.  She uses others with no thought to the hurt I might cause.  You can see why God calls her a jewel on the end of a pig's nose. ...

We aged women are to teach the younger women to be chaste: pure in thought, word, and act, and to be modest and honorable in all things.

"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement." (1 Peter 3:1-6)

A chaste woman is a modest woman.   God speaks of a woman maintaining her chastity and purity by the clothes she wears. "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." (1 Timothy 2:9-10).  God says that a woman's apparel should profess godliness. ...  Our Heavenly Father has dress standards!  Would you employ the standard argument and dismiss God as "legalistic" when He tells us that there is a proper way to dress and there an improper way?  Clothes speak to all who see us.  Clothes make a constant profession.  That is, they declare out loud - drowning out our words - our true heart condition and our attitude toward ourselves and toward those who see us.  ...
It is impossible for a woman to understand a man's visual drive.  She can only believe what an honest and candid man tells her, but few men are willing to admit to their weakness.  A woman's body, moving within visual range of a man, unless it is modestly covered in a way that says to the man that you have no interest in him taking pleasure in your appearance, can be as stimulation to him as disrobing completely.  He may be a better man than the woman who is dressing immodestly and may have the fortitude to deny his eyes the stimulation you offer, but it makes you a source of temptation to sin, rather that someone to whom he can relate. ...

Your life is not your own.  You are bought with a price, the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We will all stand before God for acts of the flesh, even the ones we are responsible for in a careless way. ...

   Keepers at home:
Keepers: Being on guard, watching, caretaker
Home: seat of domestic life
... It is not a suggestion; it is God's will for wives. ... A young mother's place is in the home, keeping, it guarding it, watching over those entrusted to her. ...

Leaving home by phone, e-mail and chat rooms ...
Modern inventions have provided a way for a woman to stay at home and still not be a keeper at home.  We can sit a home in body while traveling in spirit by means of the telephone and the computer.  You cannot keep your home and everybody else's at the same time. ...
"Keeping the home" is more than staying at home; it is having a heart that is fixed on the home.  A help meet will be engaged in creative enterprises that challenge and inspire the children.  She will guard the home against outside influences and she will always be on watch to protect the children from their own inventions of evil.  She will not be idle and neither will her children.  She will ease her husband's load by painting the hall and cutting the grass.  She will be frugal in all her endeavors, and she will teach the children to love serving Daddy.  She will keep the home so that when Daddy comes home, it is to be a sanctuary of peace, love, and order.
A real help meet will make herself useful to her man instead of wasting her time.

A good woman is genuine, joyful, virtuous, valuable, competent, ready, kind, benevolent, merciful, hardworking, agreeable, pleasant, congenial, honorable, faithful, gracious, and wise.

Good is as Good Does
James Hamilton described goodness like this, "Goodness is love in action, love with its hand to the plow, love with burden on its back.  Goodness is love carrying medicine to the sick, food for the famished. Goodness is love reading the Bible to the blind and explaining the gospel to the felon in his cell. Goodness is love to the Sunday School Class, or in the school, or on the away-from-home mission assignment - whenever and whatever, still the same love, following His footsteps who went about (continually) doing good." Hamilton's words are formed around the admonition found in Titus 3:14: "And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful."  A person is what he does.
A Good Woman is Prudent
Consider this:
- A prudent wife is not dumb
- A prudent wife is not lazy
- A prudent wife does not waste her time
- A prudent wife is a learner
A Good Woman is Crowned with Knowledge
A Good Woman is Virtuous
A Good Woman is a Doing Woman
  All the key words in Proverbs 31 are action words.
A Good Woman is Not a Fool

  Obedient to their own husbands:
Obedient: Yielding, willing and eager to accomplish injunctions or desire, abstaining from that which is forbidden.

By now you should be fully aware of what the text means when it says that aged women should "teach the young women to be obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
However, a quick review of some of these Scriptures is in order.
"Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee" (Genesis 3:16)
According to God's very words, apart from any cultural context, it is a woman's nature to place her full attention and interest upon her husband, and she is to be under her husband's rule.
"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God" (1 Corinthians 11:3)
There can be no cultural context that nullifies this verse, for it says that the basis of a man's headship is rooted in the very essence of the woman's created nature.  Just as God is the head of Christ and Christ is the head of the man, so the man is the head of the woman (his wife).  My husband does not lose any dignity by being in subjection to Christ, nor do I lose any dignity by being in subjection to my husband.  And, just as my husband finds security and meaning in submission to his head, so I become the person God created me to be in submitting to my head - my husband.
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing" (Ephesians 5:22-24)
Here again - a second witness in Scripture - we wives are informed that our submission to our husband should be viewed with the same love and fervency as our submission and love for Christ.  The text says that we submit "as unto the Lord," as if we were submitting to the Lord.  Since my husband's authority is delegated by God, when I submit to my husband, I am recognizing God's authority, and I am indeed submitting to God.
"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives" (1 Peter 3:1)
This is the third time that God has emphasized that our subjection to our own husband is not rooted in the superiority of the male over the female.  God is not setting up one gender to be superior to the other.  It is only in the context of a marriage union that a woman is to be in subjection to her man.  It is her God-appointed office that renders her second in command in the family.
A man will resist with all his might those who come against him.  Most women spend their whole married lives in conflict with their husbands, trying to change them.  It is a battle of the wills that no woman has ever rightly won, for even if she gets his compliance, she loses his heart, and he loses his self-respect.
While we women tend to reduce everything to the issues of "who is right and what is just," God authoritatively points us to the real issue - "Whom did I place in charge, and whom did I create to be a help meet?"
When a woman resists or tries to change a man, she makes him more stubborn, and her own heart will be filled with bitterness.  If a woman obeys God, a man does not have anything to come against, to resist, to dominate, to conquer, or to beat down.  A woman's greatest power is in obeying God through obeying and honoring her husband.  When she departs from God's order, she is setting herself up to create a life of turmoil, bitterness, and defeat - for both of them.
Children Need an Example
You are not your own.  You are bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus.  We are lights to this world, and this world desperately needs to see heavenly marriages.  Our kids need to see heavenly marriages, marriages where they can see that God is making a real different in the lives of their parents.  If your children don't see it lived out in the daily reality of the home, no amount of preaching will make them believe.  If God cannot provoke you to honor your man and cause your marriage to be full of love, then how can your children believe that God is anything more than all the other "make-believe" characters they read about?
I could go on much longer, but hopefully this gives you a little help in working (yes, it's work!) towards a great marriage.  To finish up.  Marriages are under attack.  My marriage is.  Your marriage is.  Why?  Because God made marriage - it's a beautiful picture (and a whole lot more) to Him of His Son and His Bride - and Satan hates God, and anything that God loves.  God wants us to be selfless, Satan wants us, and our flesh prompts us, to be selfish.  God wants us to follow His plan for wives, no matter how anti-modern, unnatural, against the grain, or whatever it may seem.  Satan wants us to think how ridiculous following God's plan would be, and my flesh assures me that my interests should be of top-priority.  If you are interested, two books in regards to marriage that I could recommend are: Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs - this one is good for engaged or married couples, and Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman - this is a really good book about intimacy for married couples.  I also just read an article put out by the University of Missouri.  It is not Christian-based, but I was impressed by its solid principles.  It is called Creating a Strong and Satisfying Marriage, and to read it, just click here

In general, marriages are taken for granted.  I know I have done so.  I never used to pray daily for our marriage, but I do now.  I never used to pray for the marriages of our families and friends, but I do now.  Please pray for marriages.  Pray for your marriage.  Pray for the marriages of family and people that you know.  Please pray for my marriage.  Many people who read this blog are on by prayer list, and I pray for you and your marriage.  If I don't know you, or only know you a little, and you would like to privately send me a message, I will pray for you, too.

"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding," (Colossians 1:9)

"Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way." (1 Samuel 12:23)

**All indented quotes were taken from Created To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl, taken from chapters 15-22.**
Used with Permission.
Published by No Greater Joy Ministries Inc.
1000 Pearl Road, Pleasantville, TN, 37033 USA 1-866-292-9936 (
**This does not serve as an endorsement of all that they publish, but rather a citation of some of the material which I have found to be sound and helpful.

There were a lot of very helpful things in this book that have assisted me relative to a woman's responsibilities in her marriage.  As with all things, please check anything that you read, including any original or cited content mentioned in this post according to what the Bible says.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Marriage Conference

I have a post I am writing right now that is specifically for ladies, that will go with this well, I think.  I'll try to get it done quickly, so they actually "go" together!!  =)

John D has been here since Thursday, and the meetings ended yesterday at noon, for our mini-conference on Marriage.  It was super!   Marriages here, as I'm sure they do in every place, struggle so much with the way the culture is. He talked about the Dignity of Marriage, Responsiblity of the Wife, Responsibility of the Husband, Intimacy in Marriage, and Tranquility in Marriage. Almost all the couples in the assembly were out to each meeting, as well as a few visitors, which was really encouraging. 

He had handouts for each meeting, as well as "homework".  Some of the questions for the first session were:
-How important is marriage to you, and how important do you think marriage is for your spouse? 
-Is there anything in your/ your spouses life that is more important than marriage? 
-What is your model to follow in your marriage? 
-This week, how have you shown your spouse that your marriage is important to you? 
-Have you been affected for good or for bad by the example of your parents? 
-How many minutes have you spent in prayer for your marriage this week? 
-Are you truly willing to make changes to make your marriage better? 
-What do you like about your marriage?

The homework was:
-Promise to spend 10 minutes more in prayer for your marriage every week.
-If you want to make your marriage better, put aside this sheet and tell the Lord so in prayer.
-Take 5 minutes to tell the Lord the positive things in your marriage.

Just a little example of what we heard.  And of course, I always like to share things that are important to me!!  John also spoke about cultural lies about marriage:
-"This is the way things have always been, and always will be!" 
-"It's old-fashioned to think that people should be virgins when they get married." 
-"If you don't live with the person before you're married, how will you know you're compatible?"

He read many times in Genesis 2 and 3, Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, Titus 2, and 1 Peter 3.  Some things that helped me, and I appreciated:
-John drew a big circle on a white board, with a dotted line going down the middle.  On the left was Husbands, on the right, Wives.  While he spoke specifically to the men and the women, he made it clear that the Bible never talks about our rights. That dotted line down the middle is a fence, and I am never to cross that fence to tell Tim he is to love me, and he is never to cross that line telling me to respect and submit to him.  I am responsible for doing my part, not making sure he does his!

-In Genesis 2, Adam was formed first.  Before he was ever married, he had a relationship with God.  That was his first, and most important relationship.

-Also in Genesis 2, while Adam was sleeping, Eve was created.  Then God brought her to Adam.  Who did Eve know first?  Her first, and most important relationship, was with the Lord.

-The original word of woman means, 'a man with a womb'!  Men and women are equal before God, and they have different roles.  He made each with a unique and special purpose.  Many problems in marriages arise when one spouse tries to take on the role that God has given the other.

-The Bible speaks later in the New Testament about wives submitting to their husbands, as well as believers submitting themselves one to another.  John also mentioned the first time submission is mentioned in the Bible.  When?  Luke 2:51 "And he (the Lord Jesus, as a boy of 12 years old) went down with them (his earthly, sinful parents) and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them."  Of all the people who should never have to submit, the Lord Jesus is the Ultimate!  He's the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Creator of the universe, part of the God-head!  Yet He chose to yield His will to another.  How could I ever say that I can't?!

-When speaking of love in the New Testament between spouses, it is not speaking about an emotional love.  It is speaking of a decision.

I wish I could remember it all, but with a baby on my knees, I couldn't really take notes!!  ;)  Hope these few thoughts are a help to you.  May we commit to "deciding" to love our spouse, praying for our marriage and our spouse, and praying for all marriages that we know.  Satan hates, and is against all that is of God, and clearly it was God who instituted marriage (read Genesis 2,3)!  We are against a great foe, but I am thankful that, "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) 

Some things I pray for in our own marriage are:
-help for Tim to be the spiritual leader
-help for me to respect him, submit to him, and love him
-the preservation of our marriage
-that we will grow closer together as we grow closer to the Lord
-wisdom, patience and love in dealing with our children
-that the Lord would direct us in the path He has for us, and help to be obedient in following His will

After the marriage sessions and lunch on Sunday, John did a meeting just for the young people, although all were invited and it was applicable for everyone.  He called it: Temptation and Triumph
He wrote on the white board, so I was able to copy down the notes afterward, and wanted to share them with you.  He read in Matthew 4 of the temptation of the Lord Jesus in the wilderness - John applied it so well to our own lives and how we are tempted.  He used some excellent illustrations.  The first question he asked was,
Who?  Who tempted the Lord?  The Spirit led Him to the wilderness, so was it the Holy Spirit or Satan who tempted Him?  We read in James 1:13-15, "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."  So then obviously, it was Satan who tempted.
<<This illustration was used: John was pretending to be a teacher in a classroom "teaching" some people on one side of the hall.  He poured himself some Coke from a can into a cup (I don't think real teachers do this during class! =)  ) and he told one of the boys on the other side to pretend to go up while the teacher wasn't looking, and take a big gulp since he was so thirsty.  He did, and promptly spit it back into the cup!  It had chile powder in it!  What was the point?  The teacher saw the boy going, and could have said, "No!  Don't take that, it's mine!", but decided instead to allow him to continue, and learn that it's wrong to steal other people's things.  While we are never tempted unless the Lord permits it, it is never the Lord who tempts us to sin.>>

Where?  Where was the Lord Jesus tempted? 
1. The Wilderness - A solitary place.  We need to be careful when we are by ourselves, whether physically, emotionally, etc.
<<Illustration: a teenaged boy went into a near by door and stood and waited as a young 10 year old boy walked around the hall and passed the door.  As he passed by, the teenager grabbed him, and dragged him in the door.  Then the door was shut with the teenager inside.  The young boy walked around again, but this time, with two adult men walking with him closely behind.  He wasn't grabbed that time!>>
2. The Temple - A holy place.  Sometimes we think we are "safe" when we are doing, or appear to be doing all the right things, and being in the right places.
3. The Mountain top - A significant, or successful place.  How easy it is for us to fall when we're feeling high up - spiritually or otherwise.

How? How was He tempted?
1. Appetite - He was tempted to change stones to bread - it was a natural and proper need He had.  We have natural, and God-given needs as well, but need to wait on His timing, not go with our own ideas, or ideas of the world.
<<Illustration: John pulled out a clear container with a goldfish in it.  He began to say, "Look, poor thing, it's stuck in this bucket - he's all closed in, and needs to get out - breath some real air!"  He scooped it out, and as it lay there, gasping (for water!), we saw that that's not what God intends for that poor fish, and will only lead to death.>>
2. Authority - Satan tempted the Lord Jesus, actually quoting Scripture to Him! This must be Biblical and right then!?!  Not every person who comes to our door quoting Scripture is of God.  Daily, continual time spent in God's Word will help us to understand the context of what the Bible teaches, so we can be aware of Satan's schemes.
3. Ambition - Satan tempted the Lord showing Him all that would eventually be His - it was a logical argument.  Why go to the cross when You can have all this now?  The Lord Jesus knew His Father's perfect will, and never desired anything other than that!

So how did Christ triumph over these temptations from Satan?  Each time, He quoted Scripture to him.  How important (again) to know what the Word of God says and teaches in its context, that we may actually speak out verses during temptation, as well as using precepts and principles from the Bible against Satan's wiles.  We are not strong enough in ourselves to fight against him, but, "Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

A quote I read this morning, and also wanted to share:
"Repentance is more than just running FROM sin. It Must be necessity include running TO Christ. By definition therefore my whole Christian life MUST be a life of repentance!"
Jim McMaster - December 5, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Work Schedule of a Missionary

Here is another post that I 'stole' from a Baptist missionary's blog in Ukraine.

One of the challenges of living on the mission field is keeping one’s perspectives in order, never losing sight of what the priorities should be. A possible pitfall for the missionary is that, in contrast to a staff member back in the States, he is his own on-site boss. Though there should be a system of accountability, often this is not the case.
Understanding this dynamic, the missionary would be wise to follow a few principles to ensure that he is being effective on the mission field:
  1. Have a constant appreciation for the sacrificial giving by hard-working church members back home. The Apostle Paul, the great hero of missions, concluded his letter to the Philippian Church by remembering their sacrifice in that “ye did communicate with my affliction….concerning giving and receiving…ye sent once and again unto my necessity” (Philippians 4:14-16). I enjoyed staying in homes when we travelled on deputation, because it etched in my mind the sacrifice of those dear families who work 40, 50, 60 hours a week, and give a great percentage of their income to support ministries like ours. It is good for me to be mindful of the fact that they work diligently in order for me to fulfill God’s calling on my life.
    When I remember these men who leave for work before daylight, and return at dusk, it convicts me that I must be busy about my Father’s business, the business I was sent by these hard-working men to accomplish here.
    But all too often, the missionary gets into a rut of casualness. He assimilates into the casual, laidback way of life on the field. He justifies his lack of busyness by telling himself two things: a) “I’ve already sacrificed by giving up my way of life back home,” and b) “It takes so much of my time to just live here and take care of the mundane needs of the family.”
    One way to overcome this temptation is for the missionary to live his life by a schedule. Because the missionary no longer has a boss, such as he had at his place of employment during college; and because he doesn’t have a pastor to whom he daily gives account, then he must make his schedule his boss. He must get up early and schedule a few hours each morning to spend in his Bible and in prayer. He must schedule office time to study and prepare lessons and messages, stay current on communicating with his pastors back home, and keep his finances and administrative duties of the ministry in order. He should have scheduled time to do manual labor at the church house. He needs to have scheduled time of ministering to his people each day during which he goes soul winning, visits his members, has activities with the church people, visits in the orphanages, nursing homes, and hospitals, and many other such ministry activities. He has to have a schedule, and that schedule has to become his boss.
  2. Never lose sight of the reason you were sent. When Paul and Barnabas were chosen by the Holy Spirit to be sent out from the Church at Antioch, we read that they were separated “for the work whereunto I have called them” (Acts 13:2). The philosophy of twenty-first century missions should be no different from that of first-century missions: the purpose is to establish local churches, and teach them to go and do likewise. On each of Paul’s missionary journeys, he worked hard preaching the gospel and establishing local churches. And he taught them to go and do likewise. He was so devoted to this cause that he instructed his protégé to do the same in II Timothy 2:2: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
    It was of these great churches on the mission field that he later wrote to the Corinthians, and this passage has become the challenge for our churches today to give to missions. He wrote that the churches in Macedonia [Paul’s mission field] had sacrificed beyond their power to give, though they were in a great trial of affliction. He wrote that the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality (II Corinthians 8:1-3).
    This is a church that was started on the bank of a river, and whose charter members included the Philippian jailor and his family (Acts 16)! And yet the Apostle Paul worked, taught, trained and organized this church into one of the model examples of a missions-sending and missions-giving church in church history!
    I hate to be blunt, but biblical missions is not going to a mission field and planting a garden and spending long hours canning or raising livestock. Biblical missions is not spending your days building a house on the mission field. Nor is biblical missions going to a remote village and teaching the people how to better grow their crops and how to more efficiently raise their livestock. If the only way to stay in a country is by humanitarian endeavors or teaching English, etc. then that is justifiable and fine and well. However, when this is the case, the priority and goal should still be to evangelize that community and to establish a local church.
    The reason you will have a hard time finding anything left from a “missions society” from ages past, is that their goal was not to establish churches, but to establish schools and orphanages and clinics and teach the people how to make a better life for themselves. The church is the only institution you can establish on the mission field that will endure for the ages. Biblical missions is church-planting missions.The missionary should never lose sight of the purpose for which God has moved him to the mission field. He was not sent to the field to have a relaxed life and sit around the house and watch television. He was sent to reach the lost, and he should spend his time doing just that!
  3. A lazy missionary can become a hindrance to the ministry. When a missionary’s weekly schedule is relaxed and allows for laziness, he becomes a hindrance to those who serve in the church on the mission field. The prospective preacher or Sunday school teacher begins to reason that, because they do as much work as the missionary, they should be on salary as well. Here are some interesting statements I’ve heard from prospective full-time Christian servants on the mission field:
    • “You are paid to come here and reach these people with the gospel. Therefore, because I’m helping you do that, I should get a cut of your income.”
    • “Why do you say I should visit ten hours a week when that missionary is only going out on Saturdays?”
    • “If he is paid to come over here and start a church and he has such a relaxed schedule, why should I be expected to teach a Sunday school class without being paid?”
    It’s difficult to exhort a new Christian to give his life to the Lord and sacrifice to serve the Lord when he sees a lazy missionary who spends most of his time at home and not busy working in the ministry. The young Christian on the mission field can conclude that he should also be allowed to work just a few hours a day and still consider himself to be a ‘full-time Christian servant.’ The only models of Christian service for the young Christian on the mission field are the missionaries he is led by. And when he perceives that the missionary is slothful in his work, this encourages him to be lazy as well.
In John 9:4, Jesus became our example in our labors for Him when He said,
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
May we be busy about our Master’s business to reach this world while the Lord gives us daylight!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Please pray

Dear Friends,

I would like to ask you to pray for a dear family in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.

David and Debbie Y. celebrated 21 years of marriage this past spring. In February, 2010, they had 5 daughters, and were happily expecting their sixth child in a couple months when Debbie received the news she had cancer.  Baby boy was born shortly afterward.  She fought the cancer battle until this morning, when she passed away into the presence of her King.

Please pray for comfort and peace for Dave, for each of their precious children, their families, friends, etc, during this difficult time.

Thank you.
The Y. Family

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words."
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)