“Responding to an Unreasonable Spouse” November 27

 

Responding to an Unreasonable Spouse - Do you have an unreasonable or harsh spouse? Does God's Word have anything to say about how you should respond? What about other difficult relationships? How should you respond to mistreatment, harshness or a lack of loving behavior? Do you have an unreasonable or harsh spouse? Does God’s Word have anything to say about how you should respond? What about other difficult relationships? How should you respond to mistreatment, harshness or a lack of loving behavior?  Continue reading

“Are You Under God’s Umbrella of Protection?” October 28

 

Are you under God's umbrella of protection? - What is God’s "umbrella of protection" and how do we stay under it? How, also, do we put ourselves outside His protective authority? And how does the Church itself act as an umbrella of protection for its members?What is God’s “umbrella of protection” and how do we stay under it in the home, in the workplace, and in other areas of life? How, also, do we put ourselves outside His protective authority? And how does the Church itself act as an umbrella of protection for its members?  Continue reading

“Chafing Against the Bible’s Teaching on Women?” October 23

 

Chafing Against the Bible's Teaching on Women? - "If you've got it, flaunt it!" We've all heard that saying, but this time it came from a sister in Christ sitting in my counseling office. As we continued to talk about the role of women, this time about submission, she said, "I'm an educated woman! Why should I submit to him?" Since then I've heard many such comments, but I've never forgotten how saddened I was by her statement and the awareness of how much feminism has infiltrated the church of the Living God. But the truth is, many of us, though we want to live godly lives, chafe against some of the Bible's teaching on women or passages on modesty or authority. We're too often tempted to think, "That's not fair!" or question why God would give us certain commands. So how are we to understand these things? “If you’ve got it, flaunt it!” We’ve all heard that saying, but this time it came from a sister in Christ sitting in my counseling office. As we continued to talk about the role of women, this time about submission, she said, “I’m an educated woman! Why should I submit to him?” Since then I’ve heard many such comments, but I’ve never forgotten how saddened I was by her statement and the awareness of how much feminism has infiltrated the church of the Living God.

But the truth is, many of us, though we want to live godly lives, chafe against some of the Bible’s teaching on women or passages on modesty or authority. We’re too often tempted to think, “That’s not fair!” or question why God would give us certain commands. So how are we to understand these things?  Continue reading

“Let Your Women Keep Silent? … Me?!” September 5

 

Let your women keep silent? ... Me?! - "Let your women keep silent in the churches ... they are to be submissive ..." Are you kidding? Me ... keep silent? This is not first century Jerusalem! Is that really what the Bible means?“Let your women keep silent in the churches … they are to be submissive …” Are you kidding? Me … keep silent? This is not first century Jerusalem! Is that really what the Bible means?

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 1 & 2
Psalm 105.1-6
Proverbs 24.23-25
1 Corinthians 14.21-40

 

Let Your Women Keep Silent? … Me?!

 

1 Corinthians 14.21-40:

Me … Keep Silent?!

 

Verses 34, “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.”

Not a popular thought in today’s world! So what does it mean? Does it mean, we don’t have spiritual gifts or that we should not use them in church?

God has called women to a role of submission in the church, as well as, in the home. That doesn’t mean that women can’t teach and use their gifts, but Scripture does forbid us from being in authority over men in the church. In part, that means women should not be elders and pastors.

In our culture, we view submission as a lesser role, but Scripture does not back that up. Galatians 3.28 says:

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The role of submission whether in the family, in the church, or in civil society does not reflect the value or importance of the person in submission. In fact, while all three members of the Trinity are co-equal, there is submission within the Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all equally God, all eternal, all omniscient, all omnipotent, and more. But the Son willingly submitted to the Father:

“I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (Jn. 5.30).

 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”  (Lk. 22.41-42).

And the Holy Spirit submits to and glorifies the Son. John 16.13-14:

13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

Submission is a matter of function, not worth.

Submission is something we are all, men and women, called to in various ways and in various circumstances.

Within the family, while the husband is to be the leader, he is not to be a harsh, self-serving one, but a servant-leader, laying down his rights and preferences for the good of his wife and children.  Continue reading

“Bored with the Things of God?” April 3

 

Bored with the Things of God? - Could it be that God is at work all around us in incredible ways, yet we're no longer excited about what He is doing? No longer seeking Him? Have we become "ho-hum" about God and His Word? What could our attitude be costing us?Could it be that God is at work all around us in incredible ways, yet we’re no longer excited about what He is doing? No longer seeking Him? Have we become “ho-hum” about God and His Word? What could our attitude be costing us?

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 29 & 30
Psalm 40.1-5
Proverbs 13.9-10
Luke 7.1-30

 

Bored with the Things of God?

 

Deuteronomy 29 & 30:

When We Fail to Seek Understanding

 

In chapter 29.2-9 Moses was recounting what God did for them those 40 years in the desert:

“You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land—the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.”

In his Daily Bible, John MacArthur says, “The Lord had not given them an understanding heart, simply because the people had not penitently sought it.”

Perhaps, they took God’s work in their lives for granted. Perhaps, they found trying to understand and know Him too difficult or too much trouble. Perhaps they were bored with the things of God and found life in the pagan nations around them more exciting.

Marilee Bible study Scripture memory cardWhat have you not “seen” because you have not sought it? God desires to show us more and more, to take us deeper and deeper into His truth, for us to know Him better and better, but we must want it, seek it, and ask Him for it. Do you study God’s Word with that attitude?

In Matthew 7.7-8 Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

But on the other hand verse 29.29 reminds us that there are things God has not yet revealed to us and, while we can pray for answers and understanding, we’re not to seek to know things apart from the Him. You can read my post from a few days ago about fortune telling and witchcraftContinue reading

“Vows, Authority & Soul Winning” March 16

 

What does God say about our vows?

How does the ancient “Law of Vows” apply to us today? And what does it have to do with a right view of authority?

 

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 29 & 30
Psalm 34.15-22
Proverbs 11.30-31
Mark 14.27-54

 

Vows, Authority & Soul Winning

 

Numbers 29 & 30:

The “Law of Vows” & a Right View of Authority

 

Chapter 30 covers the “Law of Vows.” God takes truth and honoring our word seriously. Jesus said, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” (Matt. 5.37a”]).

God not only takes truth seriously, but He also takes authority seriously. Part of the “Law of Vows” addressed that fact. It said if a woman still lived in her father’s house or if she was married, her father or husband could overrule what she vowed.

Authority is still very important to God whether in our marriages, in the workplace, or in other areas of life.

We need to teach our children the importance of respect for authority, too. That means teaching them to respect their teachers, the police and other civil authorities, and even the other parent where divorce has taken place.

We should teach them both by instruction and by example. That means we must show respect to our spouses (& ex-spouses), their teachers and school officials, civil authorities, and our bosses.

Authority, however, stops when the other person asks us to sin. Sin would include Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 9 “Decision Making & 4-Way Stops” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 9 "Decision Making & 4-Way Stops" - What can a 4-way stop intersection teach us about submission, biblical authority, and decision making within marriage?What can a 4-way stop intersection teach us about submission, biblical authority, and decision making within marriage?

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Decision Making & 4-Way Stops”

 

In the first few weeks of this study we talked about some of the key components of marriage, then the wife’s role, and last week we looked a little deeper at submission, what it is and what it isn’t.

If you missed the last two and you’re struggling with the idea of submission or not even sure if it’s biblical or fair, I encourage you to go back and read them.

Today I want to look at a practical explanation of what submission should look like and how it ties in with the husband’s role as leader (Eph. 5.25).

My husband does a great job of explaining what I want to share, so I’m going to let him do just that. This little video is an illustration he uses in the counseling room and when he teaches on the subject.

 

 

Some of you might be thinking, I would submit if my husband preferred me like that! We need to remember that our job is to trust God and allow Him to work in our husbands.

But we also need to understand that, in the same way, that a husband’s love for his wife is purifying and causes her to want to love him back, a wife’s respect and willingness to honor him and follow his leadership, softens his heart both toward her and toward God (1 Pet. 3.1-4).  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 8 “Submission, the S-Word” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 8 "Submission, the S-Word" - Submission, it's the "S-word" that raises our blood pressure and, sometimes, makes us wonder about God's idea of fairness. What is submission, anyway? Is it unfair to women? Is it unrealistic? Did men come up with the idea as a way to keep women down? Or is it really a biblical concept? If so, what should it look like?Submission, it’s the “S-word” that raises our blood pressure and, sometimes, makes us wonder about God’s idea of fairness. What is submission, anyway? Is it unfair to women? Is it unrealistic? Did men come up with the idea as a way to keep women down? Or is it really a biblical concept? If so, what should it look like?

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Submission: the S-Word”

 

Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about the key components of marriage that God laid out in Genesis 2.24: leaving, cleaving, and weaving. Last week I began talking about the wife’s role in a biblical marriage and today I want to go a little deeper on the subject of submission.

Epesians 5 says:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

We’re to submit to our husbands in everything with one exception. I talked about that and some of the common objections last week. I also discussed the fall and its effect on the relationship between husbands and wives, especially when it comes to submission.

After Adam and Eve sinned, God said to the woman …

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
    and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
    but he will rule over you” (Gen. 3.16).

Our desire would be to control or rule over our husbands and their desire would be to maintain control.

As women the list of ways we try to take control in our marriages is not very flattering. Among them are words, anger, tears, put-downs, nagging, criticizing, withholding sex, and all kinds of manipulation. And the list of ways we justify taking control is just as bad:

“He’s not a believer.”

“What if he’s wrong?”

“This is not the first century!”

“Men wrote to Bible to keep women down!”

“I have more education.”

“I make more money, so I should decide how it’s spent.”

We might not, actually, say some of these things, but they are often in our hearts and minds.

As I said last week, we women use what we’re good at to take control, often our words (nagging, criticizing) and emotions (anger, tears, bad moods).

Men’s sinful responses aren’t any better. They, often, either withdraw (sometimes with another woman, sometimes by becoming passive and uninvolved) or attack (with their fists or by trying to rule with an iron hand.)

And it’s certainly true that passages like Ephesians 5.22-24 have been used in sinful, unbiblical ways to try to control women.

But we can’t throw out submission because it’s been abused or misunderstood any more than we can throw out other passages of Scripture because they’re hard to understand or obey.

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures (2 Pet. 3.14-16).

 

So, what should submission look like?

 

You might be surprised. First, let’s talk about what it’s not.  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 7 “The Wife’s Role” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 7 "The Wife's Role" - The Wife's Role: If there is one aspect of marriage that is often turned upside-down in today's culture, it's the roles of husbands and wives. If there's one issue that is usually part and parcel of marriage conflict, it's the roles of husbands and wives. If there is one subject that is most often misunderstood, it's this one.The Wife’s Role: If there is one aspect of marriage that is often turned upside-down in today’s culture, it’s the roles of husbands and wives. If there’s one issue that is usually part and parcel of marriage conflict, it’s the roles of husbands and wives. If there is one subject that is most often misunderstood, it’s this one.

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “The Wife’s Role”

 

Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about the key components of marriage that God laid out in Genesis 2.24: leaving, cleaving, and weaving. Last week we focused on how to weave our lives into the one-flesh relationship God’s wants us to have.

Today we’re going to talk about the wife’s role in a God-honoring marriage. Epesians 5 says:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Wives are to submit to the leadership of their husbands, according to verse 24, “in everything.” There is one exception and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but the commandment is plain.

For many of you reading this, that statement is not a surprise. It’s “old news,” if you will. You’ve heard it taught many times and you’re seeking to live it out. You, probably, even accept it as a good thing.

But for our culture as a whole, “them’s fightin’ words”!

Besides hundreds of hours of counseling, my husband and I taught our church’s “Preparing for Marriage” course for many years. I’ve seen so many prospective wives start the class excited to be there, until this subject rolled around. The more outspoken ones challenged the idea.

If you’ve ever talked to a new Christian or an unbeliever about submission, you’ve likely heard many of the same arguments:

“I believe in mutual submission.”

“That was for a different culture.”

“This isn’t the first century!”

“Paul wrote that and he was not even married (or a woman hater)!”

“Men wrote that and were just trying to keep women down.”

“You can’t take the Bible literally.”

“We’re not going to have THAT kind of marriage!”

“We talk about everything and decide together.”

You can probably come up with a few more. Some just reject it out of hand without even trying to understand what the Bible says.

 

Mutual Submission

 

imperfect authorityThere is mutual submission (Eph. 5.21). All of us are prefer others as more important to ourselves (Phil. 2.3-4). We’re to die to our own selfish desires (Lk. 9.23-24). Husbands are to be willing to die for their wives, not just literally, but in how they live out the command to love their wives as Christ does the church (Eph. 5.25). Wives are to die to their selfish desires to have things their way. Even parents must learn to die to self as they choose to do things for the good of the family as a whole and their children, in particular.

But just as Ephesians 5.25 has a specific command to husbands (more about that in the weeks to come), verses 22-24 above have a specific command for wives.  Continue reading

Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 4: Friendships & Counselors

 

Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 4: Friends & Counselors - In this post we're going to talk about our associations, especially our friendships and who we listen to when we seek advice, either formally or informally. Often we learn too late that going our own way or listening to the wisdom of fools leads to disaster and heartache. Could you be listening to advice that may sound good, but could take you farther from God and His purposes for your life? Could it even endanger you, your marriage, your other relationships, or even your relationship with God?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 4

Friendships & Counselors

 

woman of God

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.

 

wise woman

Our foundational Scripture is Proverbs 14.1 which says:

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

 

wisdom

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!


Friendships & Counselors


In previous posts we talked about our tongues along with wise listening and in the last post we talked about wise attitudes toward money and “stuff.”

In this post we’re going to talk about our associations, especially our friendships and who we listen to when we seek advice, either formally or informally.

Often we learn too late that going our own way or listening to the advice of fools leads to disaster and heartache. Could you be listening to advice that may sound good, but could take you farther from God and His purposes for your life? Could it endanger you, your marriage, your other relationships, or even your relationship with God?


Good or Bad Advice 


The Bible has a lot to say about the person who tries to go it alone and never listens to anyone.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice (Prov. 12.15 ESV).

Wise advice is a great blessing, but bad advice can lead us over a cliff. It’s tempting to surround ourselves with people who think like us, rather than people who challenge us to change and grow. We like friends who will listen to “our side of the story” and sympathize with us … people who will tell us what we want to hear instead of what we may need to hear.  Continue reading