Posted in abuse, Anna Wood, Authentic Christianity, discernment

Tamar Weeps: God’s heart on domestic abuse

cryingGod’s Word teaches us that He comforts us in order to make us comforters (2 Corinthians 1: 4). As a victim of abuse, I have received the great comfort of the Lord so many times. As my heart has broken, time and again, over mistreatment by those who should have loved me but either didn’t or weren’t capable of it, He has taken me up and comforted me. It is my desire to share His comfort with others  who walk the terrible and lonely road of domestic abuse. I know this road too well. From birth onward, I’ve walked its craggy passages.

Domestic abuse is alive and sickeningly well and, too often, it makes its presence known in the church of God. The love of Christ can overcome it. Through His love, through His truth, we can help the victims in our midst. I’ve started a new blog, Tamar Weeps https://tamarweeps.wordpress.com/ (see 2 Samuel 13) to do just that. Let’s learn together, so that we too can become comforters for those that need it so much. Come on over, share your thoughts, your stories, your hope. I hope to see you there.

Posted in Anna Wood, Authentic Christianity, discernment

Are we just another Judas?

You’d have to have your head buried in the sand to not realize that our country has gone totally insane. Actually, we’ve been heading in that direction for a long time now, but recently we’ve gone full steam ahead on insanity. We can argue the whys and wherefores, but the truth of the matter is simple: Our nation has forgotten God. They can’t, and don’t, love Him or His ways because it’s impossible for an unsaved person to care about the things of God. They just know that they want to do what they want to do and what they want seems pretty insane to those who do love God and His Word. Those two opposing forces produces conflict. Because of that conflict, we will be hated. We will be persecuted in one way or another. We will be made to care that our culture hates God with a venomous passion because hating Him will make them hate us. We shouldn’t be surprised at this because Jesus warned us that if the world hated Him, it would also hate us.

Sadly, there’s a high percentage of Americans who claim to be Christians who aren’t really Christian at all. With the insanity heating up as it is, we will find that they will hate us just as much as the culture itself because we will remind them that they aren’t what they claim to be. Followers of Christ should always follow after Christ–He is our head, we are His body–and fake Christians don’t do that. If a body is healthy, it does what the head commands it to do. So should it be with Christians. We cannot get our directions from culture, from friends, from public schools, from politicians, from what’s popular in Hollywood or from any other place; if we’re serious about our faith, our directions can only come from God alone. For many this will not be true; for us, it must be true.

It’s time for those of us who love Christ to examine ourselves according to the commands of God. Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey Him. My question for you, and for me, is this: Do we really love Him? If so, we must be obedient to Him. We cannot be obedient to our own desires, we cannot turn away when obedience gets tough, we cannot falter when we’re being laughed at or persecuted because of our faith. Jesus alone is everything. If we live for Him here, if we are faithful to Him, He will be faithful to us. But if we do what so many who claim to be Christians have done–deny Him by our words, choices, and actions–we are proving ourselves to be just another Judas. There’s many ways that the church hasn’t been fully obedient to God’s Word. We’ve loved our entertainment too much, cared too much what others have thought of us and too little what God thinks of us, we’ve given ourselves over to lust and immodesty, and so many, many, many other ways. Our culture is hedonistic in nature so it is in these ways that so many of us have failed. We’ve been more concerned about ourselves than we have been for His glory. Now we’re paying for that. Join me in seeking our country’s repentance. Join me in repenting for ourselves, our families, and our churches. If we as Christians had stood up all along and said “Here I stand” and meant it, we wouldn’t find ourselves in the spiritual morass we’re in today. We have no time to waste. The time to repent, the time to rise up for His glory, is now.

Soli Deo gloria!

Posted in Authentic Christianity, Christianity, discernment

Brothers, get serious about being a Husband and Father by Gene Long

Husbands, the chief purpose of your life is no longer for you to love God and glorify Him forever. Oh brothers it is so much deeper than that. Your chief purpose is to ensure that you and your household, your wife, your children, along with yourself, would love God and glorify Him forever. When your wife stands before the judgment seat of God she will answer for her sin. When your children stand before the throne they will answer for their sin. But when you, brother, stand before the judgment seat of God, you will answer for your sins, your wives sins, and your children’s sins. Do any of us even slightly fathom the responsibility that is upon us as husbands?

Scripture speaks nowhere of being one flesh with your children, nor with your neighbor or with God. You are pronounced to be one flesh with your wife. And you are commanded to lay down your life for your wife alone. This is your ultimate ministry.

What greater privilege could a man have? Would you dare go through your day without taking the time to study God’s Word and pray as a couple and family? Will you lazily sit watching American Idol while your children are left to find their own way? Anything in your life that displaces your role and duty to your family is an idol and it is sin. Football, hunting, cars, boats, television, politics. Do these take from the sanctification of your children and wife? What example are you setting for your sons and daughters?

Brothers, do you wake up in the morning to serve your family? To teach them, admonish them, encourage them? Do you lie down at night in prayer for the souls of your loved ones? Praying for wisdom and strength and diligence that you might be the man that God has called you to be. Think on these things. What can you do to make your home a place of sanctification?

*Perhaps you would bring your family together around the table for meals.
*Stay at the table after supper and have devotions together. Bathe your family in the Word of God. Write it on your doorposts.
*Cut the cable to the TV.
*Get you budget in order and give more to the Lord so that you may bring your wife home from work.
*Homeschool your children. Build a hedge around them as you train them to be soldiers in God’s army.
*Commit your family to gather weekly with the saints in corporate assembly and do not allow excuse.
*Honor the Lord’s Day in your home.

Deeply contemplate your commission as head of your home and cry out to God for help. Quit you like Men! Lead, provide and protect your family with authority from God, but let that authority be exercised with gentleness, grace and love.

Procreate! God tells us to be fruitful and multiply and proclaims the man blessed who has his quiver full. Give your wife children for which she can nurture and care. Pursue zealously the opportunity to create God honoring men and women from your home.

Brothers, get serious about being a husband and father. Nothing… NOTHING, in life outweighs your call to lead your home in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord. May your motto be,
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

Posted in Christianity, discernment

A Call For Godly Men

A few months back, in response to my article “The Christian Life Is Like…a Box Of Chocolates?” I received the following reply. It touched me and I contacted the writer, Al Hartman, and asked permission to quote him. He  graciously granted it.

“Perhaps (judging by the described table conversation) the ladies got what they expected, which would be very sad. But the root problem lies not with the ladies themselves, but with the men of the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, who both teach and display the example of faithful living for all the people of God. Generally speaking, when professing Christian men congregate in a manner similar to that Anna describes, they talk is sports, cars, careers, kids in college, etc. Ministry in such gatherings is weak at best and too often farcical. Men who ought to be leading their homes in discipleship have settled for regarding the church as a social club.

Now this abdication by men shouldn’t keep women from being godly, but without God-ordained leadership from husbands and fathers women aren’t rightly instructed in godliness.

We men look to the leaders of the church for our living examples of Christian thought, speech and behavior. Sadly, there is scarcely anything exemplary to be found in todays pulpits– not none, but far too little. We have the Scriptures of course, and the biographies and writings of men of God through church history, but few alive today are instructing us in what and how to read and study.

We need preachers and teachers who so trust God for their livelihoods that they are unafraid to call sin by its name and to instruct, exhort and admonish the faithful, without concern for loss of attendance numbers or income. The “church building fund” should be comprised of Scriptures, not dollars, for the church is made up of God’s children, not of construction materials.”

Men of God, it is time to bow down to pray and then rise up to lead God’s people in the ways of godliness. We have been without an abundance of godly leadership for so long. Much of what has poured forth from our pulpits and from our homes has been a strange mix of feminism, gnosticism and paganistic self-help and has led us on the pathways of death. It is time for a change. Now is the moment for action; it is now that God’s Truth must be proclaimed. Bury yourself in the Word and teach us from the over-flow. Spend the night watches alone with God. You only lead well when you lead from your knees.

Whether in the pulpit or at home, your sisters in Christ need you to take a stand for the Truth of God’s Word. We need to hear it boldly proclaimed. Teach us that God takes His holiness serious; help us to do the same. Be an example of pious living. Teach us to be faithful to our Lord so that we might hate sin. Show us how to pray continuously. Help us to love God’s holy Word and to rightly divide it by comparing Scripture with Scripture. Reintroduce expository preaching. Let us know that each verse of Scripture has a meaning; help us to find it and understand it. Remind us that when we get away from the Word of God, we get away from God Himself.

Teach us to pray. Help us to hunger for the presence of God. Explain to us that prayer isn’t just intercession and that it is much, much more involved than an acronym could ever cover. Show us how to carry everything to the throne of God and then, trusting Him, leave it there. Show us how to praise Him, love Him, hunger for Him. Teach us to just be with Him. Show us that praying continuously is not only possible but wonderful. Teach us to wait before God.

We need to hear that you care about being the husbands and fathers God has commanded you to be. Our young men need a guide; it can be you. Teach them to pursue God before they pursue anything else. Teach them to be men of God, to be godly husbands and fathers, to be leaders of God’s people. Teach them to boldly take a stand for righteousness. Encourage the older men to do the same; encourage them to be teachers whom the younger men can respect. Don’t be afraid to speak out just because no one else does so. Every movement of God had a beginning; let it start with you. Without you, we will continue to fail.

Satan has lied about womanhood and we have listened. We are listening no longer. We hear the Voice of our Shepherd and we are following. We need your prayers for us as we seek to become godly women and embrace the life that was meant to be ours. We need you to preach, to teach, to guide us in the area of biblical womanhood. The world that hates us for being what God has called us to be; we need to hear that our efforts at rediscovering godly femininity are appreciated. Teach us the worthiness of our roles. Teach us that modesty must flow from a heart that is set aside for God. Teach us to take a stand for truth. Show us that virtuous womanhood means much to you and even more to God. Don’t be afraid to be strong.

O brothers, we are counting on you. We cannot do this alone. We can take back our homes and our churches one man, one woman, one family at a time. Women can be the examples to their families and to other women but if we seek to take the leadership in their families or in the churches we will once more be sinning. The onus to lead is on you–the man of God. Please, I beg you, take it seriously.

 

Posted in Authentic Christianity, Christianity

By The Way Of The Cross

All of our life must be grounded in Scripture. What do we think about? How do we dress? What do we watch? How are we entertained? How do we spend our time? How do we relate to others? This and so much more, must be held up and examined in light of God’s Word.

There is no room for “I know…but…” or “It’s just that…” in the life of a Christian. We cannot justify our sin when we stand before the cross. God’s Word alone is to be our guide. Not our emotions. Not what others say. Not what some preacher or teacher who is not ground in the Word has said. God alone. God alone. God alone…He is all that matters. He alone is everything. We ought to know that but, so often, we don’t.

Too many preachers, too many who profess themselves to be teachers, too many husbands have failed to bury themselves in the Word of God so that they might lead their people, their families. This is sin.

A husband must guide his wife and his children to God. He does that by way of the cross. A pastor, a teacher, must guide those under them, those listening to them, to the cross. It is there that we see our great sin and God’s great grace.

Without a full understanding of our sin, we will never understand God’s love. He sacrificed His Son for us. Because we are so vile, we would have had no hope otherwise. Outside of the cross there is no hope.

Why then has the message of the cross been reduced and replaced? It is because we have put ourselves front and center. It isn’t Christ that many professing Christians are worshipping. It is themselves.

We must get back to the cross and see ourselves for what we are. We must see our sin in light of His glorious holiness. He has called us to holiness. We are content with the gutter.

It is time for a change. When we come to the place where we see every single sin (even the “little” ones or the culturally acceptable ones) as an affront to our holy God, we will begin to grow in holiness, godliness and righteousness. Then and only then will we impact our families, our churches and our culture.

The place to begin is the only safe place there is: go to the cross and stay by it. See yourself as a sinner and unworthy; see Christ as perfect and completely worthy.

Many have long been misled by those who claim to be guiding them in the study of the Word of God. These teachers will be held accountable for their failures. Those who know, who see the problem, must repent and set things right. The time is now. The place to start is the cross.

 

Posted in Christianity

Dads Standing In The Gap

I think you’re making a big deal over nothing,” Landon said. “Sarah is going to feel uncomfortable if you make her dress different from the other girls. A regular swimsuit is fine! She is going to be swimming, Sarah, she isn’t meant to be fully dressed. Why do you have to make such a big deal out of everything?”

Marcie started to respond but was halted by the searching eyes of her 15-year-old daughter. Part of Sarah wanted to please her mother and part of her wanted to be like everyone else. Marcie could see the struggle written on her face.

Marcie wilted inside. She knew that, due to Landon’s stance, she had a battle looming before her. Being like everyone else would, in the end, simply prove irresistible to Sarah.

When men aren’t led by biblical commands, they become followers of the culture that surrounds them. When a man bows to the whims of the world rather than to the Word of God, he is at the mercy of a populace gone mad. This is bad enough if he is single, it is devastating if he is the head of a family.

Man was designed by God Himself to be the spiritual head of his family. He is responsible before God to lead them well. For the generations grown up on popular entertainment and modern mores, the dedication to the truth of God’s Word is sometimes nebulous. When one hasn’t been taught that the Bible is the foundation of all truth and, as such, ought to be the guide for all that we do, it is easy to be swayed. It then becomes normal to view the Word of God through the lens of modern culture rather than the culture through the lens of God’s Word. Christian piety is then sacrificed on the altar of modernity. “Hath God said?” becomes “But He didn’t really mean….”

Little girls depend on their fathers to help define them. If he treats her as worthy, she will one day seek a man who treats her as worthy. A Dad who encourages his daughter to dress immodestly in order that she might “fit in” is doing his daughter no favor. He is encouraging her to esteem herself, and more importantly, God, too little. Giving her few, if any, boundaries on her clothing makes it easy for her to make the wrong choices. When she then dates the kind of boys such clothing will attract, many dads are shocked and wonder what happened. He cannot see it was his lack of godly leadership that led his daughter to make poor choices.

Dads have long been asleep. A walk into the doors of the local church will reveal much about the integration of culture into a group meant to be set-apart for God. The shedding of clothing among those who claim to be Christian, shows that, while the lamb of God is proclaimed, however weakly, it is another god that is truly served. That god, whether it be the god of popularity or the god of self, cannot save. Dads had an obligation to prevent this kind of mutiny against a holy God. They failed.

A girl attired in sexy clothes will begin to see herself as sexy. So will those around her. This will have a devastating impact on how she is treated throughout her life. A good man wants a certain type of woman. A boy of questionable quality wants another type altogether. It is a dad’s obligation to actively prepare his daughter to be a good woman who is worthy of a good man. One way to do this is to be actively involved in helping her choose clothing that glorifies God. Dads should never buy into the lie that fashion is neutral. It isn’t. There is no neutrality anywhere in this world. What is not of God or for God is against God. Fashion that glorifies the body isn’t glorifying the Creator.

It is the father’s job to know the Word of God and to actively proclaim it to his family. He is responsible before God to make sure that his standards for his family are pleasing in God’s sight. It is so easy to fail in this. Dads often look around and give up. Other men who ought to be fighting, aren’t. The church doesn’t take a stand. Fashion is blatantly sexual. His daughter is pulled by the drifting tide of worldliness. What is a man to do? He is created by God to lead his family according to God’s standards. He is to do this even if no one else does. Too often he looks the other way and leaves the guidance of his daughters to his wife. This is sin. He compounds it when he then interferes with her efforts to guide her daughter in dressing decently.

Dads have a God-given responsibility to stand in the gap for their family. Are you standing in the gap for yours?