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!

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,


Monday, September 3, 2012

Stinkin' Thinkin'

"My sisters will be married before me because they are so much prettier!"
"Oh, you are just as beautiful as they are. I think you will get married before them!"

"I am so fat."
"You are not fat! How could you think that?"

"I am such a klutz! I can't do anything right!"
"Yes you can! You do things way better than I ever could!"

Have you ever said anything like this and gotten a similar response to it? I have. Many times.

Why do we say things like this? Is it because we actually think we are ugly, or fat, or stupid, or a klutz? Or do we have another motive?

Photo Credit

Allow me to share with you what I have learned from saying things like this for years.

  • A false sense of humility

 I thought I was being humble. Well, to put it more accurately, I wanted to believe I was being humble. But in actuality, it is pride. Have you ever had a conversation with someone, where it is centered around them? Didn't talking to them get old after a while? That is what we are doing when we say these things. You are looking for compliments, so you can feel good about yourself, but in all truth, you are focusing on yourself. 
  • Goin' fishin'
Like I mentioned in #1, I think another reason is that we are fishing for praise, so we can feel better about ourselves. Everybody likes praise, but when it doesn't come all the time, we sometimes feel like we need to "help" people see our good qualities. "I can't do anything right" could be translated, "Notice everything I have done right!" Again, it boils down to pride.
  • Insecurity 
We need to know people like us, think we are pretty, or, plainly put, worship us. But I find when friends answer me like I expect them to, I become even more insecure. It never works.
  • Rejecting God
You are rejecting the way God made you. God made you for a special purpose, and He made you just the way you are. So by criticising yourself, you are blaming God. Now, don't get me wrong, this is not an excuse to not lose weight, or make yourself look nice. God wants us to take care of ourselves, and neglecting ourselves is irresponsibility.

Though these are only four reasons, they are, in my opinion, the four main reasons why I personally put myself down all the time.

Finally, I came to realize why it was so wrong. Yes, pride is a horrible sin that God abhors, and we should find our security in Christ, but that was not the reason, I believe, that made it so inerrant.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are brought with a price: therefore glorify God, in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

Also, God said we are made in His image. You know what that means? Every time someone rejects themselves, they are rejecting God. They are also condemning God's temple. The place wherein God dwells. We are not our own to reject or glorify. We are God's. Everything about us is centered on God. You have no right to criticize or reject God's body.

Perhaps you don't say things like this. But maybe when you started reading this, a name or two came to mind. Here is some advice to say when someone says this to you.

1. Tell them the truth. Let them know they are not criticizing themselves, but rather God. Don't allow them to say things like that about themselves.

2. If they are not Christians, don't say anything. If you don't respond to it, they will realize that their "game" doesn't work, and they will stop saying it around you.

3. DON'T TELL THEM WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR! That is the most important thing. You may think you are helping them, but you are actually making them feel even more insecure. If you can't tell them the truth, don't say anything. But for pity sake, don't tell them they aren't fat, or they are beautiful, or they are really good at things. Correct them and guide them into a better way of thinking. Because, where this ultimately leads is that they say these lies long enough, they will start to believe them. And then it turns into self pity. They will think that people are justifying the way they feel, which feeds the pattern, and they get so caught up in it, that that is all they can think about. Then it controls more and more areas of their life, until nothing but the mighty grace of God can save them. Believe me, I was there. And since then, I have been able to see it in other people's lives, and pin point exactly where their thinking is in error.

I thank God for allowing me to go through this, and it breaks my heart to see others head into this terrible pit. Please search your own heart to see whether this is true in your life, and and change your stinkin' thinkin' before it becomes a way of life.