Blended Families Part 1: “The Losses and the Gains”
Blended families—they’re everywhere. Maybe your family is a blended or step-family. If so, you know blended families face unique challenges and issues. They also face the everyday problems of living with other sinners in a world that’s been damaged by sin.
When couples remarry after death or divorce, one or both may bring children from previous marriages into their new family unit. Sometimes there are children from multiple marriages and, even, other relationships outside of marriage.
They also bring different parenting styles, different traditions, different levels of spiritual maturity, and different expectations. Sometimes, those expectations can be unclear, even unrealistic.
Many of us grew up watching TV shows like The Brady Bunch and Step by Step where blended family issues could be handled during a 30-minute TV show. And engaged couples who’ve been struggling with single-parent issues like loneliness, financial difficulties, and the hazards of the dating scene can view remarriage as the answer to all their problems and be blind-sided by the reality of blending a family. Continue reading →
Life has been a little hectic for me. We just finished getting the flooring redone in our whole house (a huge blessing, the carpeted areas were in terrible shape), but for all of you who have done major redo’s you know it’s a lot of work to get ready for it, and lots more to get everything back in place. Along the way you find all kinds of things that need to be updated or redone just to get things back to normal … lots of painting and patching.
Getting ready for it was a little like moving with no place to go. We packed everything we could and moved it to our garage (along with our bed). Even thought it’s finished and has air conditioning, it’s a little like sleeping in a warehouse. About as close to camping out as I like (sorry all you campers).
Now we’re cleaning up from all the tile demolition and waiting to put things back in place until the new baseboards are in.
I said all that to say … I don’t have a book review for this week. I need to spend what time I have preparing to teach DivorceCare on Sundays at my church and starting a new ladies Bible study this Thursday. So for the next few Mondays I’m rerunning a series I did a couple of years ago on “Blended Families.” Continue reading →
The Bible has a great deal to say about wisdom and its flip side, foolishness. In this series we’re looking at what it means to be wise and, by comparison, what it means to be foolish and how to recognize the difference.
Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 3
Money & Stuff
As I said in the first post (read it here), while I’m specifically addressing this to us as women, these truths are for everyone: young and old, men, women, and children.
Our foundational Scripture is Proverbs 14.1 which says:
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
Our working definition of wisdom is, “wisdom is the right application of truth.” It’s not only knowing the truth, but applying it to the everyday situations of our lives!
Money & Stuff
In the last post I talked about the tongue and the ears. God has a great deal to say about the words we speak and how well we listen.
In this post we’ll take a look at what God says about about our attitudes toward money and possessions.
If you mention money in a Christian context, often, one of two thoughts will come to mind.
Money is the root of all evil and those who have it are somehow unspiritual. Or …
God is just waiting to make me rich. He wants me to have the desires of my heart.
In reality, both are distortions of what God has to say about money. And He has a LOT to say about money.
Not the Root of All Evil
The Bible doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil. 1 Timothy 6.10 actually says:
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
Sin is the root of all evil (Matt. 15.19; Rom. 5.12; Jas. 1.15) and the love of money is sin. Sinful attitudes toward money will get us into all kinds of trouble.
Money itself is neither good or evil, but it can be used for both. It can be used to help us care for our families as God instructed us to do (1 Tim. 5.8), it can allow us to help others (Prov. 22.9, 28.27), and can be used to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ (Phil. 4.15-17). But it can also be used for all kinds of evil.
Money can be something we control or something that controls us. We control it by using it wisely and allowing God to bless others through us. Or we can demand it, hoard it, and be miserable when we don’t have it. You don’t have to have money to be controlled by it.
The love of money causes some to pervert justice in the civil realm (Prov. 17.23) and use unfair business practices in the marketplace (Prov. 11.1, 13.11). It has led people to lie, cheat, steal, extort, even gamble away everything they have. Continue reading →
So … what is wrong with living together? Everyone is doing it! Sadly, even couples who consider themselves Christians.
Is a marriage license just a piece of paper and marriage something people created? What if we’re really committed to each other or are planning to get married eventually?
In 37 easily readable pages, Jeffrey Miller presents the loving biblical answer to those questions and many more. And he does so without being judgmental or condemning.
In chapter 2 he says:
The Bible does not explicitly say “Living together is a sin.” Despite a popular misconception, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, containing endless lists of everything God says is okay and everything God says is not okay. Though we do see passages of clear “do’s and don’ts” (like the Ten Commandments in Exodus chapter 20), the Bible often gives principles concerning our conduct.
He goes on:
Throughout the Bible, God gives clear principles on His design and intentions for sexuality and marriage. We could list all the things God is against when it comes to sexual relationships, such as homosexuality, bestiality, polygamy, etc. (and in fact the Bible does mention God’s feelings toward such things).
But, as the author points out, we love loopholes.
And when we come to the Bible, we have a tendency to do the same. Have you ever said (or thought):
“I know what the Bible says, but technically …”
“The Bible may say that, but what that really means is …”
“I know ________ is wrong, but the Bible doesn’t say anything about _________.”
When Satan tempted Eve in the Garden, he started by questioning God’s Word. Nothing much has changed.
… in God’s infinite wisdom, He did something better (and easier) for us. Instead of giving us list after list of what He doesn’t want for us concerning sexuality and marriage, God instead gives us His blueprint for how he intended sexuality and marriage to be in the first place.
Mr. Miller goes on to explain God’s plan for marriage beginning in Genesis 2 and how He intends for it to be an “exclusive, inseparable relationship between the man and the woman.” He goes on:
We must also notice that God didn’t create one man, take twelve of his ribs to make twelve women, telling Adam, “Hey, try them out, sow your oats, see which one you like, or maybe you’ll decide on more than one.” Nor did God create twelve men for Eve to “play the field” until she decided which man would make her the happiest. God made one man–for one woman–for one lifetime. At creation, God deliberately set this pattern for marriage commitment with the very first couple.
The author then goes on to talk about Jesus’ teaching on marriage, beginning with his condemnation of the Pharisees and their low view of marriage (Matt. 19.3-9) and then walking us through His encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (Jn. 4.5-26).
… Jesus was reaching out to her and offering her the better way, the first thing He pointed out to her was the fact that her life was caught up in one bad relationship after another, husband after husband, and the man she was currently living with was not her husband.
… we discover in the Bible that Jesus Christ Himself actually encountered someone who was living in that situation. And … He didn’t affirm it as a good alternative to marriage.
Jesus is proclaiming that people are missing God’s plan (and blessing) for marriage when they don’t view divorce, relationships, and cohabitation as God Himself does.
In chapter 5 the author addresses the common responses to criticism of living together:
“But we love each other…”
“We will end up getting married eventually anyways …”
“We are committed to each other …”
“We are married in God’s eyes, why does it matter if we have the license? It’s just a piece of paper! And why do we have to have a ceremony?”
“We have to do it for financial reasons …”
“Everybody is doing it these days …”
“You wouldn’t buy a care without test driving it, would you? Isn’t living together before you get married like test driving a car? You know, try it out, make sure it works …”
If you’ve been reading my blog for any time at all, you probably know that I’m a firm believer in reading through the Bible on a regular basis.
So why am I talking about reading through the Bible in August? Why not December or January? Because for most of us as moms, we are geared to think of the “back to school” season as the beginning of a new year.
Whether you homeschool or are getting kids ready to go back to the classroom, you’re establishing new habits and routines. Why not start a new one personally?
For some of you, the idea of starting a daily Bible half way through seems foreign, but all of God’s Word is profitable. It doesn’t matter where you start. In fact, most of us read isolated passages all the time as part of sermons and Bible studies. And if you start now, by the time January 1 comes around you can have a well-established routine already in place.
What will happen if you make that commitment?
First, let me tell you what won’t happen:
God won’t love you any more than He already does.
It won’t be easy. Your flesh won’t like it at times and the devil will be sure you have plenty of distractions.
You won’t instantly know everything the Bible has to say.