Monday, September 16, 2013

Titus 2 Series: Being a Keeper At Home

                                         

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.                                                                                          Titus 2:4-5

I know you all probably think I gave up on this blog months ago, and to tell you the truth, I thought I had as well.

You see, I was confused as to the next part in the Titus 2 Series. It was supposed to be on “Being keepers at home”. But the only thing I could figure out that it meant was that women shouldn't work outside the home, they should be at home schooling the children, women shouldn't be career minded, etc, etc. But the Lord has since shown me that for some women, it is necessary for them to work outside the home to provide for their children because the husband is absent. So that couldn't be what it meant.  So I gave up, and decided I can't write about something I don't understand.

The Lord, in His graciousness, has opened my eyes, and shown me what being a keeper at home looks like for a stay at home daughter like me. And now I am happy to finally be able to share that with you all.

Home is not exactly a place. Home can be anywhere you place your heart. We all know the famous quote, “Home is where the heart is.” That statement holds more truth than people realize.

In Matthew 6:19-21, Christ, who is preaching the famous “sermon on the mount”, says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Whatever you set your heart on, that will become your treasure. It will become your focus, your reason to live on during the hard times, and what spurs you on to greater things. For some people, it is money. Others, jobs. I am not implying by any means that money is bad, or that we shouldn't have jobs. We need to provide for our families and be responsible. But it should not be our focus.

I cannot think of a better illustration of this than in the life of my Dad. He recently switched to a new job, and is home much earlier than he was at his old job. He is usually home around 4-5 now, whereas he would get home around 7:30-9.

Now you have to understand something about my Daddy: he is the type of guy that could work at the same job all his life, and be fine with it. He doesn't like change. He had worked at his past job for a number of years, but it was an hour away. We had been praying for a while that the Lord would provide him a job closer to home, because we really missed him.

Here is the clincher; at his old job, my Dad had a prestigious position. Men looked up to him. He had his own cell phone. He had a desk, and his own forklift. It wasn't very strenuous job. But he didn't see much of his family, and everybody was suffering for it.

My Daddy left all that, trusting God had provided this job, and started working with chickens. Dirty, filthy, loud chickens. It is a very nasty job. More than I care to elaborate.

He had a really hard time this past weekend and actually had it all set up to go back to his old job. But God convicted him, and made him realize where his heart really lies. And my Daddy went back today, and worked with those foul (fowl) birds, because he realized that he wants his heart to be home. (If it sounds like I am bragging on him, or just a little proud, it is because I am!J)

But your heart can be drawn away by other things inside your home, whether it is the computer, novels, iPod, or phone. Satan can use any number of things to steal and draw our hearts away. Things that in essence aren't bad, but if they keep your heart away from what’s best, then for you, they are bad.

But it can go even deeper than that. “Little” sins you enjoy that you don’t think hurt anybody else, like fantasizing about situations or people, lust, plotting revenge, thinking angry or hateful thoughts toward someone, or worrying about things are sins that will affect you, and will steal your heart away from God and your family. Believe me, I have been there. I’m sorry if I am stepping on a few toes.

So, after all that I have observed and learned in the past couple of months, I have come to the conclusion that God is where the heart should be. Family is where the heart should be. Because God and our family are eternal, but nothing else is.

So what is a keeper? A keeper is a guard, caretaker, or a custodian of something or someone. That means that God is calling us to guard our homes, go beyond taking care of our man and children, but rather, help guard where their home is. God has placed in our hands a very tender, fragile, demanding, and tough at times, but yet it is very rewarding. Scripture says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 4) I think that verse speaks for most parents.

The greatest lesson the Lord has taught me is, I cannot be a keeper at home, until I am a keeper of my heart.

Emily 


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Friday, December 21, 2012

Titus 2 Series: To Be Chaste Part 1

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.                                                                                          Titus 2:4-5


                                                                       Photo credit
So far, we have covered soberness, loving husbands and children, and discretion. We are about halfway through! :)

When I began looking up "chaste", I thought, "Oh boy! This ought to be good!" But as I dug deeper into the word meaning and origin, it became a bit more applicable to me. 

We are all aware of the fact that we are supposed to save physical intimacy for marriage; it's something we just know is right. So why would the women need to be "taught" to be chaste, if they were already honoring this in biblical times?

I was a bit confused, but when I looked up the definition, one of them was "The words 'chaste' and 'chastity' stem from the Latin adjective castus meaning 'pure'." (Wikipedia).  As I explored further, I found that it also meant "Pure in thought and act: modest." (Merriam-webster dictionary). Other definitions also alluded to dressing and acting modestly and  in a pure way. We touched on dressing modesty in the post To Be Sober, but not really on modest behavior. 

I will be the first person to raise my hand when asked if my behavior has ever been flirtatious or suggestive at times. I have by no means "arrived" in this area. So let us (together :)) discover what God has to say about the way we should conduct ourselves.

I would like to direct your attention to a woman who is commonly referred to in our house as, "The Proverbs 7 woman". Let us see how her behavior characterizes her as a harlot.

Verse 9: She does her work in the black of night. Or when no one is looking.
Verse 10: She dresses in a way so as to attract young men.
Verse 11: She laughs loudly, thinks she is right all the time, is prideful, and would rather be out partying than being home.
Verse 12: You never know what to expect of her next.
Verse 13: With an innocent face, she lures him into her trap, and catches him.
Verse 14: She is religious, and this would explain why she does this in secret. She goes to church, perhaps helps out in ministry, and her religious friends don't suspect a thing!
Verse 15: She appears"needy ". Men have a natural desire to protect females, and she is appealing to that.
Verse 16-17: I think she is telling him here that she has really made it romantic, and everything is pleasing to the eye, as we know that goods from Egypt was expensive.
 Verse 18: I can just imagine her cuddling up to him and looking up at him with puppy dog eyes as she says, "Let us have fun together!" (Insert seductive smile).
Verse 19-20: My man isn't home, so no one will know!
Verse 21: She strokes his ego, she flatters him in a way that he likes, making him feel like A MAN, and she leads him away like a ox to the slaughter. She has done her dirty work, and only destruction can come of it. 

"But wait! I am not a harlot!" I can just hear you saying. Well, at first glance, we wouldn't place ourselves at such a low standard. 

Here is my version of a Modern Day Christian Harlot.

"Cindy" is a Christian woman whom everybody adores. She is single, popular, young, still living at home, and seems to attract quite a few men. 

Cindy loves parties, and is commonly referred to as "the life of the party". 

One day, one of her good friends has a party. Cindy carefully gets herself ready, fixing her hair in a flattering way, dabs some makeup on, especially on the eyes, puts on nice earrings, not gaudy, but just the right "flare". A nice "modest" shirt with a slight v neck, belt tight around the waist, short skirt with tight leggings underneath, and high heels complete the look, not to mention the bright red nail polish on her long fingernails and toes, as well as a long necklace down the front. With a satisfied look in the mirror, she marches off, ready for action.

Upon arriving, she quickly looks around for any new men she hasn't yet met. As she spots a handsome young man, the following scenario unfolds.

Action 1: Get his attention.
She greets her friends with peals of delight, and laughs loudly. She doesn't want her friends to know that she has eyes for that man, but she wants to know who he is, how old he is, and if he is available. She will drop hints or questions, and they will eventually lead to the answers she is looking for. She tries to stay in the same room, or at least in his view. Continually being loud, or constantly drawing attention pays off, and she sees him glance her way, and she looks into his eyes. It may look innocent enough, so as her friends don't suspect, but she allows just enough of a sparkle in her eyes as to attract him and draw him in. After meeting eyes for a while, and moving in ways to get his attention, she is finally introduced to him.

Have you found yourself in here so far? Next week I will finish this story, and share a bit more.


Blessings,
Emily Long


Friday, December 14, 2012

Titus 2 Series: To Be Chaste Part 2


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.

Titus 2:4-5

And we continue our story of a Modern Day Christian Harlot. To read part 1 of this post, click here.
Action 2: She flatters him.
 Upon being introduced, she flatters his shirt, and how much she likes it, and how it looks good on him. They chat about life for a little, and she talks about herself and stands in a way so it is slightly seductive.She tells him all about her ministries, and lets him know how godly she is. She rubs her hands on her thighs, runs her hand through her hair, plays with strands of her hair, laughs at all his jokes, and looks at him so as to make him feel like she really admires him. They come up with little jokes, and then later when they are with everybody, he will say something and she will laugh and smack his arm lightly, but doesn't remove her hand immediately. She will lean down to get something, and her shirt may come down, and her skirt comes up in the back. It looks innocent enough to her friends, but she knows it is luring him in. 

Action 3: Makes herself look humble, and sort of pitiful.
She will talk to him, and perhaps say with a sigh, "My family is better at everything than me! They are so much prettier, etc., etc." in which he will reply how pretty she is, and how talented she is, etc. She may have a slight ailment, and will capitalize on it, so as to incite his sympathy, and make him want to help her. He feels like the hero, but she knows he if falling. She continues to flatter him, and give compliments about this or that. 

Action 4: She goes in for the kill. 
Cindy knows she has him. They stay late talking, and when it's time to leave, he helps her to the car and as they are standing in the dark, so close together, she looks up into his face, and with a seductive smile, she slowly puts her arms around his neck and draws him in...

Now, I know most of you haven't gotten to step 4, but in your hearts perhaps, that may be the case. I know I have been guilty of several of these things, including some of her dress and actions. I don't know if you were able to find yourself anywhere in here, and I genuinely hope you didn't. I have met many Cindy's, and they may go to your church, your homeschool group, your musical groups, or you like to hang around them. It is easy to want to be like them, because they are popular.

 I guarantee you that she will not be luring in good guys. "Guys know who the players are." A friend once told me. Are we even slightly imitating her? 

I encourage you to really take a look at your life. Your clothing standards, your jewelry, your shoes, your appearance, your actions, your heart, and your motives. The Bible says that when a man looks on a woman to lust after her, he has committed adultery WITH her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28). So many times I hear women say, "Well, he just needs to control his thoughts!". But God says that he committed adultery WITH her, not against her! Something in her behavior and looks trapped him, and they are both guilty. 

If a man is staring at you, don't automatically think, "He likes me! He keeps staring at me!". Is there something in your behavior or apparel that is drawing unwanted attention to you? Perhaps you should have a heart check up. 

Now, I am not suggesting we all dress like rag bags, and wear no make up or jewelry, and become Amish, but I am suggesting that we check our heart attitudes. What is your motive for wearing that? Is it so you can get attention? Then perhaps it would be wise not to wear it. 

It is the heart attitude that is important. "...for the Lord seeth not as man seeth;  for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7b) Our hearts should desire God's opinion, not our friends or family. But you don't just wake up one day and your heart is desiring God. It comes by reading and obeying the Word of God, and praying that the Lord would make your heart bend to His will. 

Please take a humble look at your life, and see "if there be some wicked way" in you (Psalm 139:24). We don't want to be stealing from other women's husbands. And that is exactly what we are doing when we act or dress like Cindy. 

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8.

Blessings until next time,
Emily Long

Friday, November 16, 2012

Titus 2 Series: To Be Discreet

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.

Titus 2:4-5 


Discretion can be a hard thing, especially for women, as we love to talk! The Bible says "In a multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise." (Proverbs 10:19) That's how gossip starts. And slander. And friendships get cut off, and people get hurt. Not a fun cycle, but because women of this day and age have no discretion, that is exactly what happens.

Can we as Christian women set an example to the world, or have we also been sucked into this?  Let us take a closer look at discretion, shall we?

 The Dictionary describes it as "Careful and circumspect in one's speech or actions, esp. to avoid causing offense or to gain an advantage; curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate." Some synonyms are, maturity, prudence, carefulness, thoughtfulness, and wisdom. Okay, so we get a general idea of what it is. Now what does the Bible have to say about it?
Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. – Proverbs 2:11
As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion. Proverbs 11:22 
 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. Proverbs 14:15
 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he. Proverbs 16:20
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. Proverbs 18:13 
 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. Proverbs 19:11
Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2 
These are just a few verses that talk about discretion, or some form of it. So we know what it is, and what God has to say about it, so what does it look like in our lives?

Have you ever heard the saying, "Input, output."? What you put into something is what you will ultimately will get out of it. If you put a pizza in the oven, you will pull a pizza out. Same concept with your mind and heart. If you are constantly talking or thinking about what so and so said about so and so, guess what you are going to be talking about?

If you have ever noticed the headlines on the magazine racks at the grocery store, you already know that the world is all about getting the inside scoop or digging up dirt on people because that is what we are naturally drawn to. We enjoy talking about people, and getting in all those little details that are "important", because God has made us naturally curious, but with that curiosity, there must be wisdom to know what not to explore, or what not to look at.

Ever catch yourself telling a story that may be true, but you feel this check in your spirit about sharing it? That  is your conscience telling you that what you are about to share isn't the best thing to say, or isn't the most encouraging thing you could say to this person, or will probably cause an offense with the person you are talking about. It is always best to listen to that little voice and not share it. Even if you are in the middle of the story, you could simply stop and apologize for sharing that and explain that you don't think you need to share this story. Not only will you feel better, but the person you are talking to will respect you, and will know they can trust you.

Think about this for a minute; if the person you are talking to is gossiping about someone, what makes you think that they won't turn around to someone else and talk about YOU? You have to guard who you talk to, and what you talk about.

Now, what I am about to say next may be hard, but it is necessary. Daughters, do not, I repeat, DO NOT speak evil or wrongly about your Dad, Mom, or your siblings. This may seem like it is obvious, but we tend to do this, and it could really ruin the very relationships that you are trying to build! Also, wives, Don't talk bad about your husbands or share your marital problems to everybody. Share your heart with only a trustworthy friend or two who will point you back to Christ, but no gossiping. This could really tear your marriage down.

Discretion is a huge issue in our society, and we as Christian women really need to be setting an example in our church, community, and world. You never know who is listening!

Blessings!
Emily Long

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Titus 2 Series: To Love Their Children

Hi everybody, I am sorry it has taken me so long to get the next post up. I like to meditate on what I am going to say, and this one really got me thinking. Also, my life is busy!

           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. Titus 2:4-5


How do I love my children? I don't have any to love! Or do I...

I am surrounded by children! They are not mine, but I can still set an example for them, and practice being a role model for my own children someday. I would like to have many!

There are different aspects of loving your children. One is preparing your body to bear children. Getting on a healthy steady diet, keeping your body in shape, and helping your body be fit and ready. I need to work hard on this myself.

Another way we can prepare is mentally. Think ahead on everything. Someday, your children will hear stories of when you were growing up. How you met Daddy, things you said, things you did, and do you really want the things you are saying and doing now to get passed on to future generations? I have just recently realized this, and it made me take a second look at my life.

And lastly, to prepare by watching, listening, and talking to godly older women who have children and see what methods they used, what worked, what didn't, and ask for any tips they have to share. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare. It is interesting seeing how things affected their children when the parents did this or that. Be open and humble, and soak it up.

These are just a few of the ways as single ladies, we can prepare to one day love our children

Until next time,
Emily

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Titus 2 Series:To Love Their Husbands



When I told my Mom what my next blog post would be on, I casually said, "That will be easy to do!" I meant that I already knew what I would say. But she teased me and told me she would remind me of that comment the day I call her and tell her I am having some struggles in my marriage! We laughed really hard.

But seriously, why would a young unmarried woman be talking about loving husbands? And how does this pertain to young women-in-training?

Let's take a peek at Proverbs 31:12. "She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life." Did you catch that? She is honoring him all of her life! But how does she accomplish this?

If you look at the list of things this virtuous women does, you have to stop and wonder, how did she get to be doing all these things? Feeding the poor, making clothes for her children and husband, having a business head on her shoulders, and making meals for her household. I can assure you, she didn't start honing her skills when she was married. No, she started when she was young, before it was anywhere near the time she could be thinking about having a husband.

She also guarded her heart. She was pure, loving her husband enough to save her whole heart for him. I think this is the hardest thing for me to do. In this culture where you are considered weird if you aren't hanging on a guys' arm, or talking about the cute boy you just met in the store who was staring at you. Someone once told me, "You are so limited on your choice of men. My daughter can marry anyone, but you can only choose Christian men." To which I replied, "You have no idea how limited I am! I have only 1 man!". They didn't know how to answer that.

But, if you are like me, you need suggestions on how to live out the sermon! :) Well, I think the number 1 thing that has helped me tremendously throughout the years is to memorize scripture and meditate on it instead of thinking of boys and guys all the time. I know how we girls think. And it can be so hard to control our thoughts some times. One minute you are thinking about something, and suddenly a young man's name pops in your mind, and before you know it, you are dreaming about him! It is very frustrating! But it isn't our battle. It is Christ's. If you are filling your mind with truth, there will be no room for anything else.

Second, I have made a commitment not to read anything romantic. It only encourages those wrong emotions and thoughts. Not to say you can't read any fiction book, but make sure it is clean and wholesome. If it doesn't match up with Philippians 4:8, then you shouldn't read it. I know, that knocks practically every book out, but if we must think on truth, so we will be living truth.

Lastly, I would encourage you to start learning skills that will be beneficial for you later life. Don't sit around drumming your fingers on the window sill dreaming about Prince Charming, but rather fill your time wisely. Perhaps you could make encouraging cards and pass them out in nursing homes. Or, if you like to sew or crochet, consider making baby blankets or hats for expecting mothers you may know. Babysit for a family so the parents can go out on a date night (age allowing).

I have learned to pray this prayer. Some call it the prayer of Jabez. Every time I pray it, the Lord adds to my life. Actually, He adds to my ministry. He opens my eyes to the needs around me. This prayer is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10. "And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep [me] from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested." It isn't a secret remedy for a life of boredom, but if God answered for Jabez, He will do the same for you!

A good book I recommend is "Before You Meet Prince Charming" by Sarah Mally. It is one of the best books I have found on the subject, and is great for any age.

I hope I have encouraged you to love your husband all the days of your life!

Blessings,
Emily Long 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Titus 2 Series; To Be Sober


This past week, I have been doing an in-depth study on Titus 2:4-5. It has been incredible, rewarding, and eye opening. I plan to share some lessons I learned in a series of articles focusing on each quality God commands older women to teach the younger women, and hopefully encourage young ladies to follow these guidelines that God has set for us.

"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."     
Titus 2:4-5

The first quality we will examine is soberness. When I think of being sober, I picture a person that is not drunk. Or perhaps my second choice of thought would be to think that we are to be docile, quiet, and not allowed to speak. Would you be surprised if I told you the word actually means the total opposite?

The dictionary definition is, "Possessing or characterized by properly controlled faculties." Faculties is also another word for power. We are to use self control to bring our power under control. 

"What power?" you may ask. May I speak frankly to all the young ladies out there?

We have power over men that we may not realize we have. We have the power to tear down a man, or build him up. We have the power to encourage a man in the Lord, or we can cause him to stumble. Very simply put, we have a choice, and what we chose to do with our words and actions can impact a man greatly.


Some women have realized the power they have, and they abuse it. They tear down men's masculinity, and defeminize him until he know feels like a man. I have been guilty of this very thing, to my shame. Being sarcastic, meaning to be funny, but all it accomplished was to make the man look stupid. That is the worst thing we could ever do to any man, whether he is our father, brother, or a brother in Christ. To make the opposite sex look like a fool is indeed a horrible habit that our society has fallen into. It is easier to think of something funny to say at someone else's expense, than it is to think of something humorous that is in concordance with Philippians 4:8:  "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." We want to be popular! We want people to like us, to think we are witty, and funny, and be the life of our party. But at someone else's expense? That is pretty cheap humor. Nobody likes to be the butt of jokes. It is better not to say anything than to hurt someone, or to make a fool of someone.You don't appreciate it, and nobody else does either.

We also have the power to cause a man to stumble by dressing and acting a certain way and causing him to lust. Please do not get lusting and thinking someone is beautiful mixed up. They are two completely different things. Appreciating someone's beauty or thinking a man handsome is not wrong in itself. I myself know quite a few beautiful women and handsome men. But lusting is on the opposite side of the spectrum. The dictionary definition defines lust as a strong desire or craving to have something you know you cannot or should not have. Do we really want guys to lust after us?

If we look closely at the wording in Matthew 5:28. "But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." He isn't lusting against her, but with her. That can only mean one thing; she is doing something to cause him to lust!

From what I have observed, I think the main reason that men lust after women is because of our modesty issue. As this world continues it's downward trek, so do the necklines of many females, while their skirts or pants go farther up than is respectable.

The Harris twins at The Rebelution did a modesty survey, and the answers the guys gave from all around the world, all different age groups, were very helpful. You can view it here.

Let's face it; We (referring to young ladies) don't have a clue. We have no idea what is going through the mind of a man when they look at us. We haven't the slightest clue what battle may be raging in his thought life. That is why we must be very careful what we say, how we dress, and how we conduct ourselves.

So, after having said all that, did I happen to change your view of being sober?  It goes beyond being docile and not being drunk. No, far from it. We have power, young ladies. Let us use it in a properly controlled way.

Blessings until next time,
Emily