Feminism

They Called Me Pastor…

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When pronouncing Judgment against Judah for gross idolatry, their pronouncement of judgment included that “Childish leaders oppress my people, and women rule over them.” (Isaiah 3:12)  This was not a thing to be celebrated, but greatly mourned as a sure sign of the Lord’s anger with his people.  Never more have I personally seen the fulfillment of this than in the church. 
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I have thought long and hard about writing this post, and actually have several drafts saved awaiting my big finish on this topic.  What took me so long? Well, as I recently shared with my friend April over at Peaceful Wife, I have no idea why it is so difficult for me to answer questions in fewer than 10,000 words… but that is what I decided to do this time…I hope! 😛  April asked me a couple of questions about experiences I had and observations I made while functioning as a pastor alongside my husband, and her questions made it easier to formulate answers (after 3 weeks of working on a response :-P). My response had grown out of control and was beginning to resemble a small book!!! I decided to take a more direct route to answering her questions and I want to share this information with you.  Let me say that these are my experiences and observations. You are free to agree or disagree with the conclusions I have drawn from my own personal experiences.  I welcome feedback, and would appreciate it if negative feedback or opinions are supported by Scripture when shared 😀
A little background first 😀
My Story

I was groomed to expect, pursue, and occupy a senior leadership role in the church since I was 16 years old. I ‘preached’ my first message from the Lord (one of anguish, disappointment and impending judgement) the morning after wholly committing my heart, mind and soul to the Lord.  My pastor, and elderly man, saw nothing wrong with the Lord speaking through a 16 year-old young girl.  He communicated with me that the Lord will always use willing, available vessels to do His work. So I spent years making myself willing and available. I soon began to believe that Deborah, one of Israels Judges, was not the exception but the rule.  As I got older most of the women I knew in the church served faithfully there, but spent little time serving at home.  I never saw or attended a class or workshop on Biblical submission, though I heard it talked about or referred to from the pulpit occasionally. In truth, I rarely saw it lived out, and as I grew up, I had no working model to look to.  It seemed that women believed they were honoring God and obeying His word by serving in the church, and going through the motions of service at home.  Men were not truly respected, and I have learned that we can ‘submit and serve’ on the surface, but still communicate the lack of submission in our hearts. The women I had been raised to look to as examples were strong, like me…good orators, like me…not afraid to speak in front of people, like me…bold for Christ, like me…and they all had a title; minister, evangelist, and as I got older, pastor…unlike me. So the eventual progression for me was an obvious one, right?

When I got married, though I loved my husband, I was not submitted to him at heart. The vows had been genuine, but not entered into with a clear Biblically based understanding.  I was a definite product of the feminist culture of the generation that preceded me. I was a woman. I was not only capable, but more capable than most men. I would easily accept the help of men, as long as it was understood that I did not need it. I was headstrong, manipulative, angry at times, petulant, could be over bearing, and fully admired and accepted in church circles as ‘anointed’…without a heart of submission.  I was advised by a couple of older women (literally 2) whom I respected, that I needed to go home and submit to my husband (this was said when I attended church without him because he did not agree with me on the church we should attend). Funny, I submitted to their instructions but not his.

Years later, when Ukali began to pastor a small, local church. I served alongside him as I had tried to do for years in life, business and ministry. I wrestled for a while with the ‘normal progression’ of my life. Surely when God took over and  began to dismantle my dreams he did not intend to take all of them? So where I was no longer pursuing a career in the judicial system, I was pursuing leadership in the church.

I was ordained as a pastor in 2005…and as confident as I was that this was a part of my destiny (prior to the actual ordination), after it was official I was even more confident that something was wrong….Where I had been instructed for the duration of my life to use my gifts and talents to lead in the church and in the community and in the government and secular market place, I had never been instructed or trained in how to use those same gifts and talents to serve in my home…. I plan to share more later, but for now I will let these questions and answers complete this post.

The following questions were posed by my friend, and I will share them and the answers with you as part of this post :-D.

Question #1
Can you share some of the problems you experienced with women being in authority over men for men in the congregation?
Answer #1
In my experience, the men definitely seemed to struggle with my being a pastor, but interestingly enough, the women seemed to struggle more. Men in general, but specifically in the black community, historically and culturally have been emasculated on an entirely different level. This can definitely be seen in the home, but is also visible in the church.
Question #2
Outside of the obvious issues, why is this a problem?
Answer #2
This is a problem of epic proportions because the church is one of the few places where we still see men in respected and holding positions of authority.
Question #3
Why do you think this was more of an issue for women than it was for men?
I believe wholeheartedly that this was more of a problem for women than it was for the men in the congregation for a couple of reasons. 
1.) The heart of a woman, ultimately, genuinely wants to see Adam in authority!!! In our heart of hearts we are still the daughters of Eve, and we carry the full awareness within us of the impact our non-submitted leadership had on the world.  Though we resist, we actually take great joy in seeing our man lead the way that God ordained him to!
 
2.)Displaced Jealousy would be the second reason.  We have been taught not only to refuse to submit to male authority, but to despise the authority of other women.  Our lack of submission is a double-edged sword! We give the appearance of celebrating another woman’s ‘progress’, but before long, we want her gone. Hidden deep in our hearts, right next to our desire to truly see men elevated to their rightful position of authority, is another unrecognized longing to see women occupy their God-given domain BESIDE their men, serving as the co-laborer in the leading of the family, which includes the training of the children and the management of the first Fortune 500 Company; The Home. 
Don’t misunderstand me, the men struggled as well. The black church was one of the few domains they had left. Their authority in the home had already been usurped by the impact of the feminist movement, and the positive spin being put on this horror by the modern church. In the church, the few men there, wanted to feel as if they still maintained a level of respect. So my being installed as a pastor alongside my husband, while celebrated on the surface, caused many a ripple beneath that same surface.  The men, who had largely been raised by single mothers, were accustomed to a woman in authority, but it did not mean they liked it. I believe some also feared it would be a bad example for their wives, who many were struggling with at home. On the other hand, some men were genuinely happy, I believe simply because they did not know any better, and had been conditioned by the secular society that this is how things are supposed to be.  😦
Question #4
And how did you being a pastor affect your faith and marriage?
Answer #4
Out of all of the people most impacted by my ordination, none were as greatly impacted by it as I was. My life had travelled towards this expectation since I was 16 years old, but now that it was realized at the age of 32 it felt hollow. My husband celebrated because he had been conditioned to by the church culture we were a part of, but it just didn’t feel right.  My marriage, I don’t believe, suffered because we had always worked in ministry together as a team. Nothing changed where that was concerned. But something in me changed. Upon achieving this accomplishment, I realized I did not want it. During this time, my kids suffered.  They will say that they did not, but I know in my heart they did. We were BOTH so busy with the church. We were BOTH so busy fixing the lives of other families and making sure they were ok. We were BOTH so focused on building a strong healthy church. Although we grieved mightily when the church that we pastored closed, we knew it was a blessing undisguised.  We were following a faulty church model that pursued success and numbers and acclaim over the genuine conversion of souls. There was a spirit of competition like I had not seen in the world.  There was a pride in the circles of church leadership…a lack of humility and transparency.  Where the angels rejoiced over 1 if all you had was that one genuine one, you were looked down on. It was a true numbers game and I witnessed the same trends in the church as in the world..the slow but sure emasculation of men and the rise of women.
Question #5
What pitfalls do you see?
Answer #5
The pitfalls personally witnessed and observed by me were numerous, but the primary one was within the home
The slow death of the family is the most obvious one. The more authority in the church women were given the less stable the homes were and the more unruly the kids became. The advancement of women within the church very closely resembled, in scope and loss of influence, the migration of women into the workplace during the industrial revolution.  This was not just observed in the cases of women in leadership, but women who spent LARGE amounts of time ‘serving’ inside of the church building while refusing, neglecting, or failing to serve at home. The position of pastor was a coveted position because it had been denied women for so long, but today many women were and are encouraged to ‘seek’ that ‘office’. Now we are in classes and can’t cook for our husbands and children. Not only were many working outside the home, but now had taken on a full-time position within the church that was on a volunteer  basis.
I believe that the question being asked in relation to women being ordained as a pastor in the silent hearts of most men is , “Is there nothing sacred?” Is there no domain where men are provided the space to rule??? To be and to become the men that God created them to be??? Restoring and maintaining authority in Gods house as well as in his own house is a Kingdom mandate that women have wrestled men for since the beginning. We were created equally influential in our specified areas of influence, but in our (the woman) efforts to occupy the sphere of influence delegated by God to our men, we have whittled them down to miniscule twigs, instead of using that same influence to build them up into the mighty Oaks they were created to be…This is not only in the world, but it permeates the church.
Although I have owned and operated a traditional business and currently own and operate a home based business with my sweetie, with the exception of my volunteer service in the church serving as a staff pastor, I have been a SAHM.  With my varied experience with business and church let me say clearly that I have NO IDEA how women SUCCESSFULLY balance occupying leadership positions at home (marriage and children), work, and church! I have concluded that it is IMPOSSIBLE!!! Something WILL suffer…and most times it is our family. We look at church and work as things we HAVE to do..obligations we cannot break, while our family ‘knows that we love them’, and ‘understands’ that we have things to do. I have learned that they DO NOT understand the way we think they do, or would like them to! They understand that other things are more important than they are and we reap the fruit of communicating that for a long time.
This is a subject…a part of my past that it has been very easy to avoid now that we have removed ourselves from those circles… I cringe inside whenever we cross paths with those who called me Pastor Selena… My responsibilities included preaching on occasion to the entire congregation, as well as instructing the New Beginnings Class for all who were newly committed to Christ, male and female. I oversaw Children’s Ministry (which I no longer agree with the existence of), as well as Women’s Ministry (where I taught ‘Submission’ but from a skewed lens looking from the present day interpretation as opposed to the Biblical model)…
My prayer is that this gives you some insight from this side into this issue. This is difficult to talk about…that time in my life I believe I did more harm than good…and in my celebrated pride wounded many 😦 The church has no idea…we are soo influenced by the cultural trends of the world and don’t even realize that following that influence leads to death… 😦 We look at ourselves as ‘progressive’, but in all actuality, we are losing major ground every day…
A final word to any woman who believes in her heart that God has gifted her to shepherd…YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!! HE HAS…IN YOUR OWN HOME FIRST, THEN IN THE LIVES OF THE MANY YOUNG WOMEN HE WILL BRING YOUR WAY WHO ARE IN NEED OF BIBLICAL EXAMPLES IN A WORLD THAT HAS WORKED TO DESTROY US FROM THE BEGINNING. LIVE THE LIFE GOD CREATED YOU TO LIVE , AND LIVE IT FULLY WITH ALL OF THE INFLUENCE THAT COMES WITH BEING THE DAUGHTER OF THE KING. NEVER FORGET THAT THERE IS AN ADAM WHO NEEDS YOUR HELP ❤

Roe v. Wade Turns 40; Where Do We Go From Here?

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On Tuesday, January 23rd, many in our nation celebrated the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, that legalized abortion. While the celebrations were ensuing, there were many who grieved.  As my family continues to research the true history of Planned Parenthood, and the 40 year impact of a decision that told a nation that a life deemed unfit or unwanted was no longer a life, my heart breaks even more.  As we learn of the companies that use fetal tissue (the tissue of aborted babies that are overwhelmingly African Amarican) my grief turns to anguish.  Boundaries have long been crossed on this issue, and lines drawn in the sand long erased.  The following artcle was shared by Vision Forum Ministries and is being re-shared here in the hopes that its plea will be heard loud and clear…It is not too late to repent…

ROE-V-WADE1

Past Failures and Future Resolves 
in the Battle for Human Life

By Wesley Strackbein

America’s holocaust continues.

Today more than 3,000 children will be murdered in the womb through surgical abortion. These dead children will be heaped on the more than 54 million others who have preceded them since the darkest day in American legal history which occurred when the Roe v. Wade decision was rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court. Forty years ago today, our nation’s highest court legally sanctioned the killing of the unborn.

As we consider this bloody slaughter, it behooves us to ask three key questions: How did Roe v. Wade come about? What has been the Church’s response over the last forty years? And, where do we go from here?

The Legal Backdrop for Roe: 
The Abandonment of Original Intent

In examining America’s legal history, it is clear that Roe v. Wade did not arise out of a vacuum. The decision flowed from a legal trend that had been in motion for more a hundred years in which the meaning of the U.S. Constitution was being increasingly redefined based on the view that it was an “evolving document.” Rather than defending its original intent as envisioned by the drafters of the Constitution, the black robed judges who presided over our nation’s courts were interpreting it to suit their own personal notions of what they deemed best for society.

This trend is pointedly illustrated in a seminal case that the Supreme Court handed down in 1965, eight years before Roe was decided — Griswold v. Connecticut.

Doug Phillips, a constitutional attorney and the founder of Vision Forum Ministries, notes the significance of this earlier landmark decision: “You cannot understand Roe unless you understand Griswold, and you cannot understand Griswold unless you understand the changing nature of judicial interpretation.”

In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court struck down a law which forbade contraception use on the basis of “the right to privacy,” a doctrine found nowhere in the Constitution, yet one the justices derived from the “penumbras” and “emanations” of the document.

Phillips explains the Court’s strategy in invoking these terms in Griswold:

[The court] is speaking of little glowing halos around the broad-sweeping principles that are somehow emitted from the Constitution. In point of fact, they are telling us there is nothing in the Constitution that grants ‘the right to privacy,’ but it sure seems like it should be there. . . . What happened in Griswold laid the groundwork for Roe and the murder of unborn children.

The Hammer Falls: 
“Unborn Children are Not Persons”

The case of Roe v. Wade involved a suit made on behalf of Norma McCorvey (under the alias of “Jane Roe ”) who was unable to secure an abortion in Texas based on the state’s law at the time. While she had already given birth to her child by the time the case was heard, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of McCorvey on appeal in a 7-2 decision, invoking the “right of privacy” rationale that had been invented in Griswold.

While the Court was less than confident in defending the “right of privacy” doctrine from the Constitution itself, it nonetheless expanded it to include the right of a mother to murder her unborn child. In writing the majority opinion for the court, Justice Harry Blackmun stated:

[The] right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or . . . in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.

Even as the justices in the majority invoked the Fourteenth Amendment as a purported “source” for the so-called “right to privacy,” the Supreme Court did an in-run around the Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause — which stipulates that “no state shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” — by denying the personhood of children in the womb.

Blackmun wrote: “the word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.”

Justice Byron White and William Rehnquist — the two judges who opposed the decision — took the majority’s reasoning to task in their dissent:

I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant women and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes.

The Cultural Landscape: 
A Weak and Abdicated Church

Though the legal trends that lead to Roe v. Wade are important to examine, even more important is where the Church was during this time.

Dan Becker, President of Georgia Right to Life and Field Director of Personhood USA, puts the matter bluntly: “How did [Roe] come about? It came about because of the absence of the Church.”

Doug Phillips agrees:

The Church completely abdicated from speaking to the legal, ethical, and biblical principles that apply to culture and to law. When Roe was ultimately declared by the Court, many Evangelical Christians had nothing to say to it, because they didn’t have a biblical worldview. For more than a century, the Church had increasingly resorted to a form of religious pietism which had no practical application to life and important cultural issues. The result was lamentable — the withdraw of the Church from every area of society meant the demise of our culture and our law system.

Dr. George Grant, a pro-life advocate who has written prolifically in defense of the unborn, offers a similar view.

As the Church, Grant states, “we were not preaching the Word of God, we were not training and equipping disciples, we were not reinforcing and strengthening the family and the other spheres.”

This led, argues Grant, to “a Church that had so marginalized itself intellectually and culturally that it was constitutionally incapable of speaking to the problems [of the day] articulately. That set up Roe v. Wade.”

Delving deeper, Phillips points to the blights of social Darwinism, utilitarianism, and radical feminism as key cultural forces that paved the way for Roe.

While the Church, for example, has historically embraced the sanctity of life from conception to death and welcomed children as a blessing, American Evangelicals in the twentieth century forsook these roots for a selfish course rooted in humanistic, evolutionary theory. Phillips observes:

The Church embraced the basic tenets of Margaret Sanger’s vision for the eugenic age which said that some people life is not worth living; that men can lawfully manipulate their reproduction; and that some babies shouldn’t be brought into this world.

One result attending this shift was that, by the middle decades of the twentieth century, mainline evangelical churches had embraced contraceptive use as a legitimate practice. In 1960, the Church accepted use of the Pill, which is known to act as an abortifacient. This occurred despite the fact that, prior to the last century, the orthodox Church has universally condemned contraceptive use as a selfish perversion of God’s design for human intimacy between husband and wife.

To paraphrase Hosea’s indictment: We sowed the wind — and when Roe was handed down on January 22, 1973 — we reaped the worldwind.

The Church Awakes: 
Whatever Happened to the Human Race?

Though the pall of death loomed over America’s unborn with the Roedecision, the Evangelical Church was not quick to wake from its slumber. While Roman Catholics were faster on point in the battle over the sanctity of human life, Protestants throughout the ’70s largely stayed on the sidelines.

Many longstanding leaders in the pro-life movement who are still active today credit Francis Schaeffer as a key prod who prompted Protestants to enter the fight. Dr. George Grant notes the significance of Schaeffer’s 1979 book and accompanying video, Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, which confronted the issues of abortion, euthanasia, and infanticide; as well as Schaeffer’s best-selling book, A Christian Manifesto, released in 1981, as works that spurred many Evangelicals to engage the arena in defense of life.

Dan Becker of Georgia Right to Life offers these comments:

“Francis Schaeffer was the one who brought most of the evangelical church to the pro-life movement itself back in the early ’80s. It was totally absent from the culture completely, prior to anything having to do with the sanctity of life. It wasn’t on the radar of [most] churches” until Schaeffer brought it to their attention.

Jim Zes, a Reformed Baptist who has been fighting for the sanctity of life for many years in the St. Louis area, remembers a billboard Schaeffer took out in a major Florida city that said, in essence, “Abortions clinics are open with permission by the Church of Jesus Christ.”

Schaeffer’s salvo on the Church’s lethargy is a theme that has motivated Zes to remain engaged in this battle for the long haul.

The Roaring ’80s: 
Progress and Compromise

As the ’80s progressed, pro-life Evangelicals gained more traction, notoriety, and influence. 1988 was a particularly noteworthy year for the movement on several fronts. On the fifteenth anniversary of Roe, Dr. George Grant published Grand Illusions, an earth-shattering expose of the legacy of Planned Parenthood that became a best-seller which has since been reissued in numerous languages and editions.

Also that year, Operation Rescue, under Randall Terry’s leadership, staged a series of controversial abortion clinic blockades in Atlanta, Georgia, surrounding the Democratic National Convention which resulting in more than 1,200 arrests.

Yet while the pro-life movement gained remarkable ascendancy and public awareness at this time, it was during this same general period that the movement on the whole took a turn for the worse, in terms of its core commitments.

The derailment occurred in conjunction with proposed changes to the Hyde Amendment, which since 1976 had banned federal Medicaid funding for abortion. In 1981, pro-lifers strenuously fought for rape, incest, and health of the mother exceptions of the mother to be dropped from the Hyde Amendment and won. Throughout the ’80s, the advocacy of such exceptions was deemed unacceptable by the major pro-life organizations, both Catholic and Protestant.

However, as the ’80s were coming to a close, the debate over the Hyde Amendment was reopened on Capitol Hill, and the exceptions of rape and incest came to the fore of the discussion.

“This led to a debate within the [pro-life] movement about whether or not it would damage the underlying presupposition that all life is sacred and should be protected as an inalienable right,” notes Dan Becker.

In a radical departure, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Right to Life Committee, and other leading pro-life organizations signed off on the changes and created a “new normal” of what it means to be pro-life — that a politician or other operative in the political arena can support the murder of one category of children and still be deemed “pro-life.”

Looking back on this titanic sea-change, Becker notes the fall-out that resulted: “By abandoning the basic Christian premise of imago Dei, we invited a pragmatism based on natural law. We compromised and capitulated to the point in the pro-life movement where it became ineffectual—both politically and as a preservative agent as salt.”

Becker explains the folly of the rape and incest exception according to God’s law, a principle long recognized in English common law:

Deuteronomy 24:16 says that a child shall not be put to death for the crimes of its father. That means that if a rapist commits an act of violence against a woman, and she conceives, we [must] protect that child, and we [must] advocate that that child should not pay the penalty for its father’s sin.

In assenting to the Hyde Amendment exceptions, a Pandora’s box of compromise was opened. From it came a broader unbiblical strategy that included support of parental notification laws, 24-hour waiting periods, and various other legislation that conceded the premise of the debate.

Pro-lifers were now supporting bills which said in so many words, “You can kill your child, so long as your parents approve; you can kill your child, so long as you wait 24 hours before the knife falls.”

Incrementalism: The Good and the Bad

Many critical of such compromises don’t suggest that incrementalism in the fight for of life is wrong in all cases, but that incrementalism should only be pursued when the core principles of the sanctity of all human life are maintained, not undermined.

Doug Phillips remarks: “If we can pass pro-life laws that don’t ratify the foundation of abortion’s ‘lawfulness,’ or reinforce the wickedness of abortion as a practice, this is something worth pursuing.”

Dan Becker notes that creating tension over competing legal precedents has warrant when done on the right terms: “You can identify a class of human life that you can protect, as long as you don’t name a physical class that you won’t protect, and therefore become complicit.”

In considering positive examples of incrementalism, Dr. Grant commends William Wilberforce for consideration: “When you look at the incrementalism strategies of someone like a Wilberforce . . . the incrementalism reforms were never couched in such a way as to concede the original premise.”

Grant also highlights the wrong approach to incrementalism that officials in Amsterdam took in response to prostitution, “They said we are not going to be able to ban prostitution, so we’ll isolate it and stigmatize it. So what happens then is that it becomes a tourist attraction. You can’t concede the premise of an opponent’s argument.”

Phillips warns of the danger of so-called “victories” that concede the foundation:

The idea that we are accomplishing a victory by ratifying the execution of children on the condition that the mother or father of the baby have sort of warning of the emotional or psychological effect that may occur if they murder their child, or that a cancerous effect may result — that it’s okay to kill as long as we “notify” — is simply horrific. It’s an ethical nightmare which reinforces the very thing we are fighting against.

Score-Card Gamesmanship: 
Pro-Death is the New Pro-Life

A prominent feature of the compromised political strategy employed by Evangelical pro-life groups is how they have score-carded candidates on the issues.

The National Right to Life Committee has been particularly notorious in this regard. The NRLC, for example, endorsed Republican presidential candidates Sen. John McCain and Gov. Mitt Romney as “pro-life” when their past track records as well as contemporary statements provided no defensible basis for such recognition. Both McCain and Romney have consistently supported the murder of children conceived by rape and incest, and have vocally advocated weakening the Republican Party Platform on abortion, among other troubling actions on their part that have threatened the sanctity of life.

But it’s not just presidential races where National Right to Life has gone askew. Last year, the NRLC got well-deserved blowback from the Boston Globe when they spent $45,000 sending out mailers in support of Sen. Scott Brown, who openly supports legalized abortion.

Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham leveled the boom on NRLC: “Even though Brown has been loudly proclaiming that he favors abortion rights, the antiabortion group gave him a 100 percent rating in his first year as a senator, and an 80 percent rating in his second. And it continues to shower him with paper roses.”[1]

The flier that the NRLC mailed in support of Sen. Brown showed a picture of a fetus, a little baby, and an older woman. The flier’s headline was hardly subtle: “It’s time to take America back. . . for LIFE!”[2]

When confronted on this hypocrisy, David O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life, admitted that the NRLC sometime supports candidates who favor legalized abortion.

“He is pro-choice,” O’Steen stated. But “if you look at the two candidates, Elizabeth Warren’s position is very extreme. She can only be characterized as pro-abortion.”[3]

Dr. George Grant comments on this trend which he has observed for more than two decades.

The reality is that Al Gore was never pro-life. When he was a [U.S.] rep and then a Senator [from Tennessee], he was never the pro-life, southern Conservative he was made out to be,” who then “converted” to become pro-choice when he was tagged to run as Bill Clinton’s running mate in 1992.

“It was the silly scorecards that took such a shallow representations of [Gore’s] voting record and declared him to be pro-life,” remarks Grant. “But he was always . . . rooted in Bismarkian, Nietzschean, real politick.”

The way a policy group scores candidates reveals their priorities, Grant maintains.

“Most scorecards emerge from institutions that have agendas, and the scorecards usually say more about the agenda of the organization than the candidates themselves,” he notes. “The onus is on pastors to inform their congregations that this is the case.”

This said, Grant does see some value in scorecards, but encourages them to be used only as a first to step getting an education about a particular candidate or candidates, as they have inherent limitations.“There are always hazards to any kind of shorthand, any kind of abbreviated declaration.”

Doug Phillips argues that policy groups should stop misleading others about candidates’ positions when life is at stake and simply tell the truth. “What we need to be saying is not, ‘This candidate is pro-life with exceptions; but this candidate is pro-death with exceptions. This person believes that it’s okay to kill some babies, but not all of them.’”

Appealing to the fundamentals, Phillips offers this as the benchmark in endorsing candidates for public office:

We should never support a candidate who supports the murder of any children through abortion. And until our candidates know that, they are going to keep saying and doing only as much as they have to in order to appease us.

Back on Track: 
Saving the 100, Not Just the 99

Despite negative trends among various leading pro-life groups, the leadership of a number of state organizations has openly repented of past compromise and purposed to return to biblical foundations and definitions in the battle for human life.

Among them is Georgia Right to Life who, in the year 2000, jettisoned the “rape and incest exception” as an acceptable “pro-life” position and has self-consciously sought to return the national debate back to the foundational argument of “personhood” that was a main focus of the pro-life movement prior to the Hyde Amendment compromise.

Tennessee and Alabama’s pro-life groups have followed suit in rejecting “rape and incest exception” in their candidate endorsement policy.

Dan Becker, who is the current president of Georgia Right to Life, notes the blessing that has occurred since GRL made this change twelve years ago.

“Georgia is the only state in the nation where all nine statewide offices that are elected by the voters statewide are pro-life without exception,” he observes. “We have gone from the 50th most protected state in the nation to the 9th.”

Becker adds this salvo: “No longer do we say, ‘We’re going to save the 99 and pray for the 1.’ We’re going to save all 100.”

While GRL’s position is not without major detractors in the movement, Becker is positive about the opportunities that their stand for principle has opened up for them.

“We are impacting the movement in ways that are exciting, new, and effective,” he remarks. “I’ve [now] been tasked to implement the Georgia model in other states. The [fight for personhood] is the new paradigm of pro-life activity for the 21st Century.”

Personhood Is the Battle: 
The Challenges that Lie Ahead

Becker’s insistence that “personhood” return to the center of the debate is based squarely on principle — yet it also anticipates the future horrors on the horizon that will come if this standard is not thoroughly defended and upheld. And the battleground, Becker maintains, is far broader than simply abortion.

“Because we’ve only been anti-abortion — instead of thoroughly defending the doctrine of imago Dei [in all that it entails] — we are only operating on one cylinder, while the culture is running on twelve cylinders,” Becker notes.

He then explains the implications:

We have ceded a lot of battleground in the emerging technologies and on the issue of personhood for the elderly. Because of the burgeoning [aging Baby Boomers], we will see the fight for personhood become increasing important for the elderly, as their personhood is denied through rationed healthcare decisions that define who is protected under the law and who is not.

Great challenges already exist in the field of genetics, as arguments for trans-humanism are being advanced by medical practitioners and ethicists who deny that man is created in God’s image with certain inherent limitations that he, as a creature, is not free to manipulate.

“’When are we human?’ is being debated — what is a human being? — the definition is up for grabs right now,” remarks Becker. “What if we’re okay with trans-genic animal/human hybrids, and we start tinkering with that in our law to allow for it?”

He also comments on the popularity of Spiderman, the Hulk, Ironman, etc. and states that the genetic-manipulation and “enhancements” of these Comic Book icons so popular on the big screen reflect part of a real, raging debate in academia that is hardly fiction.

As complicated and thorny as all of this is, Becker argues that the answer at its core is really quite simple.

“It’s the doctrine of imago Dei,” he says. “As a culture and as a political system . . . [we must call on all] to recognize what God has already granted — an inalienable right to life based on the doctrinal teaching we have understood that has shaped Western history two or three times over the last two thousand years.”

A Blueprint for Victory: 
Humble Repentance for Our Sins

The last forty years have been one of horror and bloodshed for the unborn.

The question now is: Where do we go from here?

Dr. George Grant asserts that the Evangelical Church must begin by getting its priorities straight.

Commenting on the recent Newtown massacre, he laments, “More Christians are concerned that their Second Amendment gun rights are being taken away than seeing the inconsistencies in this rhetoric, given the murder today of 3,300 children, and tomorrow of 3,300 children, and the next day of 3,300 children.”

Jim Zes emphasizes the need for the Church to not only focus on missions of mercy, such as crisis pregnancies centers and adoption — both of which play an important role in Christian outreach — but for the Church to reclaim its prophetic voice and, once again, call good, “good” and evil “evil” and to confront the culture courageously.

Zes says we must affirm God’s law as the standard as part of a clear Gospel message of repentance and hope.

Dr. Grant agrees with this assessment, but says our voice of confrontation to the culture should only sound once we as the Church confess our own sins and repent. “The need in our day is to not so much practice Jeremiads, but Nehemiads.”

He then explains the quandary. “There’s much to lament; there’s much to critique in our culture,” he confesses. “[Y]et the Church is in no position to give our culture Jeremiads because we are so compromised. We can’t give Jeremiads of substance because we are guilty of virtually anything we might lament.”

Our first step, Grant asserts, is for Christians “to come to the ruin and cry out to Almighty God in all humility, as Nehemiah does in Nehemiah 1, and get busy with the hard work of cleaning up the rubble.”

Grant’s main point is this: We can’t take our axe to the culture’s idols until we’ve cleaned up our own house.

Doug Phillips offers these sobering words in closing the discussion: “How can we possibly expect to win the battle for life when we are killing our own children in the womb through abortifacient contraception-when we’re refusing to take an uncompromising stand for all of life?”

Hosea’s pointed words are timely for today’s wayward Church:

Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. . . . Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3)

As we battle for the sanctity of all human life, we as the Church must forsake our wickedness, fall on our face in humility, and repent.

Only then should we expect God’s favor on our land.

 
[1] Yvonne Abraham, “Senator Brown trying to have it both ways,” Boston Globe, October 28, 2012.
[2] Noah Bierman, “Antiabortion group sends out mailers for Scott Brown, who favors legalized abortion,” Boston Globe, October 25, 2012.
[3] Ibid.

Perspective Post Feminism (Poem of Gratitude)

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I am a wife

I am married to an amazing man

Who loves me

Selflessly, unconditionally, undeniably

I am blessed among women

To have been created for, and chosen by him

 

I am a mother

There are many who call me Mom

Some, born of my body

Some, eternally grafted to my heart

I am blessed among women to have been trusted by God

To leave His fingerprint branded in the threads of their lives

 

I am my father’s daughter

I witnessed the strength of God in his commitment

To provide for and protect our family

He did his best,  he stayed…breaking generational cycles

14 years after he passed on

It remains a blessing to have loved and been loved by him

 

 

I am my mother’s child

I see more and more of her in the mirror every day

No matter what I do I seem to hear and see

More of her in me as time goes by

Her smile, her laugh, her facial expressions…

Her dreams, her grief all passed on to me

The older I get, the more I appreciate an value this woman.

The more things I understand  

 

I am a woman who loves the Lord

The greatest joys in my life are wrapped in my obedience to Him

In my relationship to Him, in my response to his grace towards me

Adopted by him, but his before time began

His will is what my heart cries out for

It is his presence that my very soul adores

It is only Him the I live and breath for

 

I am a wife, I am a mother

I am a daughter

I am a woman who loves the Lord

What more do I need to become, prove, or do

It’s over! I’m free! I will never sacrifice any one of these

Just to win the approval of you?

Should Christians use Birth Control?

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In response to yesterdays post, This Issue of Birth Control, I received a message this morning that I want to share with all of you.                                                                                              

“Good morning. I thought of sharing this with you on yesterday’s topic of birth control. My sister-n-law is in the hospital in th psych ward right now. Admitted yesterday. She’s hallucinating, seeing people, talking to them, they are talking back, etc. She recognized something was happening weeks ago and yet the doctors were clueless. We pulled up her b.c. (birth control) on the internet and everything [she is experiencing] is a result of the depo shot.  Gods plan was to procreate, man’s is to destroy. It has been an emotional road for us because things have been happening to her body for a while now. Her husband pulled up the side effects yesterday and is taking them to her doctor today. She has EVERY single side effect listed, including euphoria. Please add her to your prayers today if you don’t mind.” So, not only did I pray and will I continue to pray, but I will solicit your prayers as well.

After receiving this message my heart was definitely grieved. I personally know many women who have believed the lies and used birth control for years, only to decide that they were finally ready to have children, and then discover that they were unable to conceive.  The birth control had worked so well to prevent their bodies from functioning the way that God designed for so long, that now eggs were not releasing from their ovaries even though they stopped taking the b.c..  

The issue of birth control is not a minor issue, but a MAJOR one, and one where believers are, once again, divided.  Though we read verses in the Bible like Psalm 127 :3-5 which says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!”, many of us prefer to maintain our right to choose when to fill our quivers.  This issue is a hot topic for Christians, and many feel that what they do and what they choose is none of anyone else’s business. We live in the ‘don’t judge me’ era, where some believe they can live any kind of way and choose to not line their lives up with Gods Word and still be considered Christians…and don’t you dare say anything about it!  Some even go to church faithfully on Sundays, but Monday through Saturday choose to live, think and act like those who have never been introduced to the Lord, or who have the same level of awareness of Him that the devil does.  I am so strongly convinced that the area of birth control is one of the areas where we choose to only know Christ as a casual acquaintance instead of Lord of ALL.  When it comes to this subject, all of a sudden rather than the voice of the Lord being the only one we follow, we fall in line with the voice of the world…the voice of the culture… and we exercise our free will, not to follow the leading of the Lord, but our right to choose. After all, it’s my body, and I can do what I want…right? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says it this way; “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,  for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 

So let me get this straight…

1. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit

2. I do not belong to myself

3. Because God bought me with a HIGH price (the blood of His only Son) I MUST honor God with my body

So, even though the passage where these verses are found is dealing with fornication, these verses still apply to the whole life of the believer.  Our bodies DO NOT belong to us after we have committed the WHOLE of our lives to the Lord and entrusted our hearts, our lives, our minds, as well as our choices, to HIS LORDSHIP.

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 An old article by liveadvocate.org said it this way; 

Christians Use Birth Control?by Randall Terry

Have you ever stopped to think why Christian couples use birth control?

“We just got married and we are not ready for kids. “

“We want to give quality time to the children we already have.”

‘We simply cannot afford another child.”

“I’d go crazy if we had any more kids.”

Do any of these excuses sound familiar to you? Or better yet, are you using any of these excuses?

When I discuss the notion that we should trust God with how many children we should have, I hear the above excuses again and again, plus a multitude more.

I have heard these excuses before — on the doorstep of an abortion mill.

The dreadful truth is that most of the excuses that women give for having their children killed through abortion are the exact same reasons we give for not having children.

At its core, birth control is anti-child. And I am not only speaking about abortifacients such as the pill or I.U.D., but any drug or device that prevents us from having children. When we use birth control we are saying, “No, I do not want children.”

Is it any wonder that the church cannot stop child-killing? How do we expect to defeat child-killing in the world when we cannot defeat child-rejection in our own midst? Jeremiah said if we run with footmen and grow weary, what will we do with horses?

I cannot be too hard on Christians who use birth control. My wife and I fell into the same trap when we were first married. We were told by all of our peers and spiritual leaders that it was the “wise” thing to do. Frankly, we would much rather have a nine year old son or daughter than such wisdom.

In an age of Christianity when we constantly talk about faith, trusting God, God supplying our needs, etc., why can’t we simply trust God for how many children we have?

When we use birth control, we are cutting short our heritage; we are perhaps short-circuiting entire generations of humanity. Consider this: Mrs. Wesley’s thirteenth child, Charles, wrote hundreds of glorious hymns; Mrs. Whitefield’s seventh child, George, was the most prominent preacher in the Great Awakening in America; Mrs. Washington’s fifth child (fifth out of ten) was our beloved first President. If Mrs. Washington had been in some of our churches today, after her third or fourth child half of the women in the church would have told her to get a diaphragm or have her tubes tied! What a tragic loss that would be for all of us.

What do you think when you see a woman with five children? Are you happy or embarrassed? Do you approach her with congratulations or condolences? Do you happily exclaim, “Are these all yours?! What a blessing!” Or do you somberly question,” Are these all yours? You poor thing. How do you do it? I would go crazy.”

The horrible reality is that much of the Church today in America is anti-child. We view children as a burden, a nuisance, an interruption in our lives, a drain on our finances, a sapping of our strength, and on and on.

Many Christians can’t get righteously indignant about child-killing when in their hearts they sympathize with why some women have abortions.

So what do we do? Hopefully, nobody reading this is on the pill or using an I.U.D. If you are, stop immediately. They are abortifacients. If you know someone who is using them be a friend to them and tell them the truth. But furthermore, if you are using any kind of birth control—stop. Leave the number of children you have in God’s hands.

“Oh, but I’ll have 10 kids!” I hear someone exclaiming. With all due respect, you don’t know how many children you will have. Leah had six, Rachel had two, Sarah and Rebekah had one. The truth is, you simply don’t know how many children you will have.

If you have been “sterilized,” seek a medical reversal. I recently met a pastor in Oregon who sold his baseball card collection in order to pay for his wife’s tubal ligation to be reversed. They are rejoicing in the Lord as she enters her seventh month of pregnancy with a child they almost never had.

One final thought; consider the origins of the birth control movement—Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood. Margaret Sanger wanted Christians (among others) to use birth control. She despised our God, and loathed large Christian families. If someone could laugh in hell, she would surely laugh at us. I would like to quote one of the least popular Psalms of our day, Psalm 127:3-5.

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They shall

not be ashamed, When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

These verses clearly proclaim how we should view our children they are our heritage, our reward. In fact our children are the only eternal possession we have except for our own souls.

God restore to us a respect, a love and a desire for our most precious possessions — the fruit of the womb.

~~~

After receiving the above message this morning I began to look into the side effects of the Depo-Provera Shot, which is what the  woman referred to in the message is suffering from. According to Planned Parenthood website;

The birth control shot is an injection of a hormone that prevents pregnancy. Each shot prevents pregnancy for three months.

The shot is also known by the brand name Depo-Provera, or by the name of the medicine in the shot, DMPA.

~~

Like other methods of birth control, the birth control shot releases a hormone — progestin — into the body. Hormones are chemicals made in our bodies. They control how different parts of our bodies work.

The progestin in the shot works by keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join the sperm.

Making cervical mucus thicker. This keeps sperm from getting to the eggs

~~

Birth Control Shot at a Glance;

A shot in the arm that prevents pregnancy

Safe, effective, and convenient

Easy to get with a prescription

Lasts for three months

Costs $35–$75 per injection, plus any exam fees

~~

Did you read that? Safe, effective, convenient.  The side effects are also listed on the site, but they are minimized. After listing all of the side effects, inquirers are reassured that this form of birth control as well as ALL forms of birth control are safe, effective and convenient.  Do you know what else wears the same tags as birth control? Abortion. They are both described as safe, effective and convenient. For those of us who are believers…who have committed our lives to living to honor the Lord, Jesus Christ…who have chosen to lay our will down at His feet and live out His will for our lives instead…for us, choosing to go against Gods will and His Word is never, has never been, and will never be safe, effective and convenient. Obedience to God’s Word is the only way to live.

“So God created human beings in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.”  Genesis 1:27-28

This Issue of Birth Control

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While I have several new posts waiting to be proofed and shared, this information crossed my path today and moved itself to the top of the list. I have had quite a few conversations with younger wives/moms recently surrounding this exact topic, so I was elated to see some trusted men of God involved in helping the Body of Christ embrace a biblical worldview in the area of birth control.  I am reminded of ALL of the feminist ideologies that were personally embraced by me and my generations counterparts concerning this.  I can recall girls in the 8th grade whose moms put them on the pill to lessen the discomfort of their periods, or to deal with acne, or to prevent pregnancy.  This is a topic where, once again, I believe wholeheartedly that the church has followed the leading of the world and the influence of a pagan culture, as opposed to the leading and influence of the Holy Spirit and Gods inspired Word.

When I was 25 years old, I listened to my physician, and my mother and my mother-in-law, as well as all of the other women in my life at the time, and  I had my tubes tied to prevent further pregnancy.  By that time we had been married 4 years and had 3 children.  Our circle of family and friends were pleasantly surprised when, two months after we said “I do”, we were expecting baby #1 (Kayla).  Then they were a little shocked and found it a little humorous when six months after baby #1 I was expecting baby #2 (Isaiah).  They were not the only ones beginning to struggle. While my heart rejoiced in my babies, I was still held tightly in the clutches of a Christian commitment of the heart that was wrapped tightly in a feminist mindset.  I was not even fighting to break free yet.  When Isaiah was born, Ukali and I agreed that we would not use the birth control pill anymore. I had gotten pregnant with Kayla while switching birth control pills, and I became pregnant with Isaiah while believing that I was immune to pregnancy while nursing :D. After Isaiah was born, and we turned away from the pill, there were still other options used. In our minds though, we could not justify the use of birth control in any form, so we said no to all forms of it and trusted the Lord.  I prayed to God that he would simply allow me two years between births before he blessed us with another baby.  And that’s exactly what He did.  Isaiah turned 2 and Jordan was born 2 weeks later.  And then I had my tubes tied!!! It was actually strongly encouraged and scheduled DURING my pregnancy!!!  It was what everyone around me said I should do. And my heart has been filled with regret since I left the hospital that day.  You see, I knew immediately AFTER that I had made a mistake.  Difficult pregnancies or not…poor, young couple or not…at the moment when I realized that I had consented to something that was irreversible, and that I could never have another child again, I was devastated…and a part of me has been since that day. I was only 25 years old. My heart breaks even now as I look back and remember that I took counsel from everyone except the Lord.  I never asked Him what He wanted from me, or how many children did He intended for me to have.  I knew from Scripture that God is the one who opens and shuts the womb (Sarah/Hannah), but I had not been taught to trust Him to do that for me.  I had been taught to WORRY (kids are so expensive/you guys only have one income, how are you going to pay for everything/your pregnancies are so difficult, you want to consider your life too…you guys are worse than rabbits!…you do know how that KEEPS happening don’t you?, if you stop now you can get your figure back and not put the weight back on again…), and I had been taught to take matters into my own hands, because after all, the Lord might do something I did not agree to or sign up for…”You don’t want to end up with 100 kids do you?”, “God has given us all wisdom, and it is just wise to stop having babies when you don’t have a lot of money.”…So, I fell for the feminist agenda, and listened to, not only the women, but the men who has inhaled its smoke and were under its influence, and I made a decision that I could not undo.  You see, we had been taught that the pill and condoms etc were birth control, not a vasectomy or a tubal ligation.  That was just you choosing not to have anyMORE, not stopping you from having ANY.  But birth CONTROL in any from is still us taking CONTROL  😦  Do we, as believers, have the right to determine when ‘we’re finished’ having children, or are we to trust in the providence of God? As a poor, young couple, our trust was in ourselves even though our butts were in a pew EVERY Sunday and Wednesday.  Do we trust God with some things, but feel we have to dictate the rest? Have we made Him Lord over most instead of Lord over ALL.  These are touchy subjects, but Truth is Truth.  We have believed so many of the enemies lies, and the intent of ‘birth CONTROL’ is yet another one.  Do we trust the Lord to provide our needs whether we ave 2 or 20 children? Our ‘opinions’ must be held to the light of Gods word and our worldview shaped and sharpened by His Sword. Please watch this trailer, and support this movie.  It will challenge you…your worldview.  If you have never confronted this issue, it will make you uncomfortable…but it will also impact you and win more of your heart back to the Lord, if you let it.

 

We are linking up @ Women Living Well for Link Up Wednesdays!!!
We are linking up @ Women Living Well for Link Up Wednesdays!!!

Is It Possible to be Godly Without Being Content? Thoughts inspired by looking back on a Sunday afternoon

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“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that…. But you,… flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”  Timothy 6:6-11

We Want More

I never thought of myself as a greedy, selfish or materialistic person. But recently I realized that while I may not have been all of those things, I was not a content one either.

Dictionary.com defines content as;

“satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.”

Not only did that definiton fail to describe me, I couldn’t think of anyone I knew that it did describe. I mean really, who doesn’t want more? Who is really satisfied with what they have? Who do you know that looks at their life and can honestly say that they don’t want anything else…absolutely nothing? We live in a country where wanting more is the norm. And debt is how we achieve it.  Take a look at some recent statistics that were posted on Creditcards.com.

  • Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $15,799*
  • 609.8 million credit cards held by U.S. consumers. (Source: “The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • Average number of credit cards held by cardholders: 3.5, as of yearend 2008 (Source: “The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
  • Average APR on new credit card offer: 14.89 percent (Source: CreditCards.com Weekly Rate Report, July 20, 2011.)
  • Average APR on credit card with a balance on it: 13.10 percent, as of May 2011 (Source: Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, released July 2011)
  • Total U.S. revolving debt (98 percent of which is made up of credit card debt): $793.1 billion, as of May 2011 (Source: Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, released July 2011)
  • Total U.S. consumer debt: $2.43 trillion, as of May 2011 (Source: Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, released July 2011)
  • U.S. credit card 30-day delinquency rate: 3.3 percent. (Source: Moody’s, May 2011)

With the mortgage and debt crisis that hit our nations economy in recent years, and has so greatly impacted the American people I truly believe that the bell that calls us all to contentment is ringing loud and clear.  There is nothing like losing ‘everything’ to cause you to be thankful for anything.

The year we almost lost everything…

In 2002, my family found themselves on the wrong side of a foreclosure. Barely 30 years old, four children, a mortgage, 2 vehicles, and a rental property to boot, it appeared we were finally living the American Dream. But there were things going on that we couldn’t see; we were unaware of predatory lending practices and in 2002 there were no laws against them.  We had been allowed to gain a mortgage that had an adjustable rate attached to it and from one month to the next we saw the interest jump 10% and our payment followed. At that point we couldn’t figure out why this was happening to us.  We weren’t just products of the American culture, we were victims of a lot of the false teachings in the American church. We had done everything right, hadn’t we? We were faithful in fellowship with other believers and in our giving. So according to the church world, God promised to take give us everything we wanted…the cars, the dream house, the ‘life’ that others envied…right?

But it wasn’t right. We, like so many others had believed the lie of the world.  We were christians…my husband was a senior pastor at the time…and we taught the congregation the importance of being/becoming debt-free, but we were not living it.  Oh, we had cut up our credit cards and paid them off, but credit card debt is not the only debt. And for quite a few of us (not all) we have accepted the world’s definition of what’s acceptable over the Word’s definition.  And we pursue stuff and don’t even realize it…I know I didn’t.

“Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another.” Romans 13:8 

When our home was foreclosed on, and the car that was not paid off was repossessed, we were devastated! But why? Why did the loss of these material things matter so much.  Why did we experience grief, and tears and what was perceived as public humiliation over the loss of stuff? Why were we ostracised by certain people as if foreclosure and loss were contagious? Because in America it’s more than just stuff. Those things have come to be symbols of blessings, and symbols of God’s favor on our lives. But really? Things obtained largely through debt are a symbol, or the symbol of God’s favor or His approval on our lives? So then, the loss of these things meant what? That God was no longer with us…that we had somehow fallen out of His good graces.  This is so well believed in our communities that we have spawned an entire generation that will steal and murder just to get someone elses stuff.  We just want more…

Now am I saying that every person that buys a new house or a new car is greedy? Absolutely not. But I am saying that if you remove the false indoctrination that we have been exposed to in this culture, most of us would agree that our needs are more than met. So when does contentment enter in? Contentment enters in when we realize that while this stuff amounts to everything in the world’s economy, it amounts to nothing in God’s economy.  It’s just stuff. It carries no eternal value. but our souls do, and we have been taught to sell our souls to this world in exchange for the stuff the world offers. We are trying to gain it all. This is particularly evident with feminist personalities.  Women are encouraged to resist marriage and children for the pursuit of a career (Genesis 1:28), the dream car, the travel, the stuff (“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3).  We have been taught to place greater value on things than on people.  We are taught that the life of the unborn is worthless when that life puts the attainment of our worldly pursuits at risk. Who needs a baby when you have a job? Our desire for more, in essence, is our refusal to be content.  We have yard sales, and give aways, and we give so much away to charities and drives…we waste so much of what we pay for…but then we go buy more stuff.

Even after we lost our home and our car, I still didn’t get it. (I also didn’t get that those things were not ours…they were owned by the bank!! Which was evidenced by their willingness to claim their property when we could no longer pay the ‘rental’ fee)…My motives were so wrong.  Rather than simply appreciating the fact that my family had a roof over our heads and food and heat and water and clothing and shoes …. I was still focused on more… I wanted the bigger house and another car…these were not needs. God had met my needs. But my pursuit of more was me telling God that his provision was sadly not enough.  And my pressuring my husband to work harder…to be away from us more and for longer periods of time…and then being angry because he wasn’t around more…simply communicated to him that his provision was not enough, and that I valued the things he provided more than I valued him!! I wanted what the world offered, and I wanted God to provide miraculously while I ‘encouraged’ my husband to work for more of it, and even got into more debt to gain it.  So many of my faulty views and misunderstandings of God and His will for His children break my heart when I think about them, not just for me, but because I know that there are still so many people who are still victims of a faulty ideology…so many women who are still slaves to a mindset that promised an illusive freedom…and stole their souls in return.

Today we live in the first home we ever owned.  All but one of our four children were born while we lived here, and there are a million and one memories…and endless repairs.   It is not the house of my dreams…I don’t have my dream kitchen with the island in the middle…there are six of us and ONE bathroom… and it’s home. We have one car, one house, fewer bills, less debt…and so much more time together.  My husband asked me last year if I wanted him to put in more hours at work so that we could afford to move to a bigger house and nicer neighborhood. I didn’t even have to think about my answer! ABSOLUTELY NOT!! I quickly told him that having time with him as well as him being able to spend time with the kids was so much more valuable to me than any big house or another car. Not that I don’t want those things, but I don’t value them more than I value time with him.  Where are your priorities? Would you be willing to consider a simpler life if it meant having more time with the ones you love? If money troubles are a key factor in most divorces, isn’t that a sign that our priorities are out of order?

Tomorrow we’ll be back to focusing on Submission…I just wanted to share what was on my heart today….