When My Husband has a Sin Problem, part 3

Many of the suggestions we’ve already looked at in this study have had to do with attitude.  Not your husband’s attitude, but yours.  You can’t make your husband repent.  You can’t make him start doing the right thing.  But you can control every bit of your attitude.  Compassion, humility, and goodness are powerful traits.  Your constancy in those areas will have a better chance of penetrating your husband’s heart than any rant or “punishment.”  As we conclude this series of what to do when your husband has a sin problem, remember that the goal is to make sure you’re doing your part to make it easier for him to go to Heaven.

9.  Rebuke gently.

If you’re like most people, you don’t enjoy confrontation, especially when it involves a friend.  When you do have to resolve an issue, you probably go out of your way to be careful and gentle.  You put a lot of thought into it.  You don’t want there to be any misunderstandings or hurt feelings and will treat it as tenderly as possible.  Make sure you’re no less gentle with your own husband.  Put as much forethought into it.

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1).  Gentleness goes far in reaching any heart.

10.  Keep Your Convictions

Perhaps your husband has quit attending worship.  Keep going anyway no matter how inconvenient and even if you have to go alone for years.  If your husband has engaged in a particular sin for any length of time, resist the temptation to accept it.  Never give in and engage in it with your husband.  You will demonstrate true faithfulness by putting God’s will first no matter what.  In She Hath Done What She Could, Jane McWhorter writes, “Your husband may test your convictions, but he will respect you for them if you are sincere and consistent.”

11.  Know the Difference Between Shaming and Humiliating

When God’s people no longer blushed at their sin it was because they were no longer ashamed of it (Jer. 6:15).  Shame is good because it can lead to repentance (2 Cor. 7:10,11).  It can turn a tender heart.  Humiliation is different.  A wife who humiliates her husband is trying to embarrass him and attack his dignity.  Look up the various definitions of what it means to humiliate someone.  It’s not pretty or Christlike.

12.  Dissolve Your Anger

A certain amount of anger is natural and righteous indignation is good.  But be careful about feeding your anger by brooding or repeating your husband’s offense(s) over and over in your mind.  You will only lead yourself to the boiling point.  In her book, Loving Your Husband, Patsy Loden writes, “Anger robs you of reason.  Without reasoning ability, you are not responsive to seeking a solution.  Anger enslaves.  You cannot act in a loving way when you are angry.  Anger dictates how you act, and it is always in a negative way.”

How can you dissolve your anger?

  • Don’t focus on your rights (“That’s not fair. This isn’t what I deserve.”).
  • Don’t start keeping score.
  • Stay away from angry people–it’s contagious.
  • Pray for release from the feelings of anger.

13.  Focus on His Good Qualities

If your husband picks up a sinful habit, it doesn’t mean he’s a bad man.  Paul said the evil he didn’t want to do was what he kept on doing because of the sin in him (Rom. 7:15-20).  His struggle with his flesh was ongoing.  A husband with a sin problem is battling the flesh and failing.

To help your husband strengthen his godly traits, focus on them.  Point them out.  Open your eyes to the good that your husband does or tried to do.  Acknowledge the good in a non-patronizing way.  I love what Ruth Hazel said in The Challenge of Being a Wife.  “You will find that the more you focus on the good qualities of others the farther their weaknesses will recede.  Anyone can do better when he believes he can do better, and this assurance may be based on the faith and confidence someone else has in us.”

14.  Turn Him Over to God

God is the One in the heart-changing business.  You know you can safely leave your husband in God’s hands.  You don’t have to carry the burden all alone.  You can turn your husband over to the One who died for him.

You can’t force your husband to repent but you can choose to still love him.  Love can motivate you to make sure your attitude and your example make it easier for your husband to be convicted to give up the sinful habit.

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Photo Credit: Traci Sproule

When My Husband has a Sin Problem, part 2

“My husband views pornography.”

“My husband loses his temper.”

“My husband has a drinking problem.”

“My husband lies.”

Perhaps you’ve not only heard Christian women make these statements but you could say one of them yourself.   What can you do when your husband has a sin problem?  What should you do?  If you missed part one of this study, you can check out the first five suggestions here.

6.  Seek Outside Help If Needed

If the sin problem is some kind of addiction (like pornography or alcohol), it would be wise to get help from those who have experience helping others overcome these types of struggles.  Sometimes bringing in a third party adds an accountability factor that makes it easier for your husband to put away the addiction.

Just remember to check your motives before involving others.  If you want to publicly shame your husband because you’re angry, you’ll surely make matters worse.  If you truly have your husband’s best interests at heart, you can prayerfully seek help or counsel from a godly source.

7.  Study the Word

This can’t be neglected.  The world has their own opinions about marriage and much of it is not biblical.  Some friends or co-workers may encourage you to get revenge or to look out for yourself first.  Some, because of their indignation on your behalf, may suggest actions that just aren’t right.  The world promotes pride and selfishness.  The Word commands humility, selflessness, and putting the needs of others first (Phil. 2).  The world says you can give up on your marriage whenever you want.  The Word teaches that marriage is for life, with the exception of adultery (Matt. 19:3-9).

Without Bible study, there is confusion and that can be dangerous.  For example, some have decided that pornography is grounds for scriptural divorce.  “You have heard that it was said of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:23,24).  This verse is the reason some believe that viewing pornography equals adultery.  In Matt. 19:9, Jesus gives one valid reason for divorce.  The word He uses is porneia, which means “sexual immorality.”  This is unfaithfulness in marriage by having sexual intercourse with someone who is not one’s spouse.  While the adultery of the heart mentioned in Matt. 5:24 may eventually lead to the physical act of adultery, it does not carry the same immediate consequences as the physical act.

Pornography is still a sin and anyone guilty of it will give an account on the Day of Judgment, but it is not a scriptural reason for divorce.  In Matt. 5, Jesus was teaching that adultery begins in the heart, just as murder begins in the heart (v. 21,22).  But that doesn’t mean we can cart someone off to jail for being very angry with someone (even though it could lead to the physical act of murder if left unchecked).  Furthermore, there is the practical matter of determining how much pornography a husband must view in order to be guilty of adultery.  Just once?  Once a month?  For years?  With physical adultery, there is no guessing game.  A husband who has sexual intercourse one time wth someone who is not his wife is guilty of adultery, and the wife has the scriptural right to put him away if she so chooses.

Bible study is essential in knowing how to handle a sin problem in a way that pleases God.  Feelings can be strong but unreliable.  It’s important to see what God has to say about it.

8.  Continue to Be a Good Wife

It can be hard to respect your husband if you don’t feel he deserves it.  It can be hard to submit to your husband if you don’t respect him.  When your husband disappoints you, you may recognize that you must still take care of him but feel you don’t have to cherish him or treat him special.  You may even go so far as to let the house go or let yourself go and feel justified.  These types of thoughts fall under the category of “wisdom of the world” (James 3:13-17).  They may be natural feelings but they’re not biblical.  The Bible teaches that one’s good behavior is not dependent on another’s worthiness (as we saw in last week’s post).

You’re accountable for your own actions so you must continue to be godly, pleasant, and sweet.  You can’t refuse to obey God just because your husband has.   Continue to love and respect your husband because you hope for his repentance, no matter how long it takes (Gal. 6:9).  If you disrespect your husband, you will make it easier for him to justify his sinful habit.  And you will one day look back and regret your attitude.  If you continue to be loving and committed to a gentle, Christ-like sweetness, you will have no reason to look back with regret.  You will know you did the right thing (1 Pet. 3:1,2).

The final part of this series next week will deal with rebuking, shaming, anger, and convictions.

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Photo Credit: Traci Sproule

 

 

 

 

 

When My Husband has a Sin Problem

WHEN MY HUSBAND HAS A SIN PROBLEM

Part One of a 3-part Series

A couple of years ago I was assigned this topic for a lecture.  I thought I’d share with you some of the things I learned when preparing for the class.

There are some expectations from a Christian husband:

  • He’s to be the spiritual leader in the home (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-24).
  • He’s to love his wife wholeheartedly (Eph. 5:25-33).
  • He’s to provide for his family (1 Tim. 5:8).
  • He’s to be Christlike in his attitude and behavior toward his wife (1 Pet. 3:7).

Some husbands try to live up to these expectations but fall short.  Some don’t care to try at all.  Some are really good in one area but weak in another.  Husbands are going to mess up and sin, as we all do (Rom. 3:23).  But what do you do when your husband is dealing with a sin problem?

  1.  Don’t Seek Revenge

Some sins are hard not to take personally.   When your husband’s sin hurts your heart, you may be tempted to hurt him back.  There’s more than one way to seek revenge.  You could say hurtful, cutting things.  You know where your husband’s insecurities are so you know where to strike verbally.  You could bring up sins from the past.  You could retaliate by engaging in your own sinful activity and then say, “Now you know how it feels!”  In your effort to make him pay, you become guilty of sin yourself.

For the Christian, revenge is not an option.  “Never take your own revenge.  Never pay back evil for evil to anyone” (Rom. 12:9,17).  “Do not say, ‘Thus I shall do to him as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work'” (Prov. 24:29).  The gratification of vengeance is short-lived.  If you give your husband a taste of his own medicine, you will soon taste the bitterness of guilt.  Spiteful words or behavior will not make your husband want to quit sinning.  God says the way to overcome evil is with goodness (Rom. 12:21; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Pet. 3:9).

2.  Don’t Give Ultimatums

In desperation, you may hope to threaten your husband into behaving.  “If you don’t give up the sinful habit, I will never sleep with you again.”  “Get your act together or I’m leaving you.”  But what’s the saying about “two wrongs”?  When you give ultimatums, you are promising punishment.  That’s not your role.  You are not your husband’s parent or savior.  You are his helper and lover.

3.  Don’t Air His Dirty Laundry

We all want sympathy when we’ve been hurt or mistreated.  But if you desire your husband’s repentance, you will protect his reputation by keeping the matter private (Prov. 11:13; 17:9).  No one deserves to have their private struggles made public.  Instead, practice the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12).  Do you want every sin struggle of yours shared with others?  Do you want your weaknesses to be the topic of conversation when your husband gets together with his pals or his parents?  Use wisdom in determining when/ if to disclose anything and with whom.

4.  Pray for Him

It’s true that you can’t make anyone do the right thing.  Praying fervently for someone doesn’t mean they will repent.  However, it’s important to remember that God loves your husband even more than you do.  You can pray for wisdom (James 1:2-4), patience (1 Cor. 13:4), compassion (Col. 3:12), and strength (Phil. 4:13).  Prayer brings peace (Phil. 4:6,7).

5.  Remember Your Own Shortcomings

Do you ever feel like your sin list is a lot shorter than your husband’s?  The Bible says that anyone who transgresses in one area has become guilty of all the law (James 2:10).  Make sure you’re not holding your husband up to a higher standard than you hold yourself.  Grace and compassion go a long way toward reaching the heart of a struggling husband.

(Part Two will cover when to seek help, how to continue being a good wife, and how to maintain your convictions.)

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Photo Credit: Traci Sproule

A Daughter in the Family!

One month from today our oldest son Gary will get married, Lord willing.  From the time he was born, Neal and I have been praying for the woman Gary would choose to marry.  The most important thing to us is that he would marry someone who will help him go to Heaven, but naturally we wondered what she would be like.  Would she really like us?  Would we be able to have a close relationship with her?  Would we click?  Only recently has it truly dawned on me…we’re getting a daughter!  Please indulge me while I tell you a little about her.

She has a great name.  Chelsea is her name and it suits her completely.  She is just as beautiful, sweet, and strong as her name sounds.  Her name means “a port” or “a landing place.”  I’m thrilled to know that she is exactly that for Gary.  She will be a wonderful woman for him to come home to each day.  She will be his “port in the storm.”

She is willing to take on a new name.  Chelsea’s family name is important to her, but she will be taking on Gary’s family name.  That simple change is symbolic of her willingness to love, honor, and submit to him (Eph. 5:22-24).  It means she will be in his care and under his protection (Eph. 5:25-31).  I have no doubt that she will honor her new name.

She already wears the most important name.  Chelsea is a Christian.  She wears the name of Christ faithfully.  She is kind, giving, and loving.  Chelsea truly shines.  All who know her can’t help but see the spirit of Christ.  We love her radiant soul.

We couldn’t be more proud!  Chelsea is so dear to us already.  We are grateful to God for blessing Gary with such a treasure, and we look forward to having her as our very first daughter.

Chelsea & Gary

Chelsea & Gary

 

Out of Control

I just watched my youngest son almost get into an accident.  It is an overcast, rainy afternoon and Carl was driving behind me.  I glanced in the rearview mirror to check on him and, to my horror, he was no longer on the road.  Carl hydroplaned while pulling out onto the street and lost control of the car.  When I saw him, he was on the sidewalk on the far side of the road about to hit a pole.  He swerved out of the way which threw him back into the street.  For the longest half minute of my life, I watched Carl try to right the car as he jerkily swerved back and forth from one lane to the other.  There was traffic both ways and I thought, “My baby is going to die.”  I heard myself screaming, “Caaaaarl!”

My hands are still shaking as I type this.  I apologize for the drama of this post, but I wanted to write while the feelings are still fresh.  Thankfully, all traffic was able to move off the road to avoid hitting Carl.  Thankfully, he was able to finally gain control and pull over into a parking lot.  I have never felt more helpless than I did as I watched my “baby” fight for his life.

So now I’m overwhelmed with fear.  I never ever, never ever (NEVER) want Carl to drive again.  How am I supposed to keep from replaying that scene in my mind the next time he gets behind the wheel?

Somehow my guys aren’t nearly as shaken up.  I drove straight to Neal’s office and sobbed on his shoulder.  I said, “Carl could’ve been killed!”  Neal said, “But he wasn’t.”  I told Carl I had just finished praying for God to keep him safe when I saw him lose control of the car.  He said, “And He did.”  While I was shaking from head to toe and imagining what could have happened, Carl said, “I’m glad Dad’s car is okay!”

The truth of the matter is that it was probably a good thing ultimately.  Carl just gained some valuable experience with driving, rain, hydroplaning, and overcorrecting.  He’ll be better prepared if he’s ever in that kind of situation again.  My mind knows that but my heart is protesting.

Honestly, this has been the hardest part of parenting for me.  Losing control.  My sons are grown and nearly grown.  I’m watching them make decisions, make mistakes, sin, or flounder around as they try to figure out their own lives.  What I want to do is have complete control again. They could get hurt!  But I know they’re growing and gaining valuable experience.  I know that they are capable and good.  I also know that while they will never stop being my sons, they really belong to their heavenly Father.  And He is always in perfect control.

“I know that You can do everything,

and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (Job 42:2).

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Photo cred: Carl Pollard (I look like my grandpa in this pic)

Boys to Men

I know I am not the first mom to face an empty nest, so why does it feel like I am?  I knew my sons would grow up, but it’s as if I’ve discovered a surprising and disconcerting fact– Time does not listen to me!  It won’t slow down.  I can’t put it on “pause” until I’m ready for it to move on.  I can’t go back in time to redo some things I’m just now figuring out.

Okay, so I know I haven’t discovered anything new.  I know I was even warned of this by other moms who had already experienced it.  They made comments to me when my boys were babies and toddlers.  “Enjoy it while you can!”  “This will all go by so fast!”  But I don’t recall them telling me that mixed in with the pride and joy would be this unnerving sense of fear and doubt.  I know I made mistakes as a mom.  I can look back and see inadequacies and laziness.  And I don’t recall them telling me that my heart would begin constantly replaying mental videos of rocking my small boys, reading to them, and listening to their childish prayers.  Why didn’t one of those moms grab me by the shoulders, look me in the eyes and say, “Make the MOST of every single day.  I’m serious!”

This past Sunday I watched our firstborn son, Gary, participate in the graduation ceremony of the Bear Valley Bible Institute.  I think I kept shaking my head as he walked down the aisle.  Didn’t I just have him?  Then Sunday night I watched our youngest son, Carl, preach a sermon.  He didn’t need the little step stool to see over the pulpit.  He looked and sounded like a grown man.  When did that happen?  How is it possible that my baby will be a senior this fall?  And this very afternoon we will take our middle son, Dale, to the airport.  He is going to Alaska to begin a summer internship with a church in Anchorage.  Did you know it’s over 3,000 miles from here?  I don’t think a state that’s one of ours should be allowed to be that far away.  With all of these events, I just want to grab each of them, pull them close, and hug them fiercely.  I have one continual prayer, “God, please! Be with them.  Help them always put you first!

For years I’ve been meaning to write each of my boys a letter to read in the event of my death.  I’ve been putting it off because I knew it would be an emotional undertaking.  I finally did it a couple of weeks ago.  It took me five hours to write three letters.  I gave it to them on my birthday since it’s possible they could be senior citizens before I die, and I want them to know my hopes for them before then.  None of them wanted to read their letter.  Carl finally opened his a few days later.  Then Gary was next.  Dale still hasn’t read his.  He has only gone as far as opening the corner of the envelope.

And that brings me to the point of this post (finally).  As I wrote those letters and thought about what I wanted to impress the most upon my children, it amazed me how easily it was to figure out.  It all boils down to the past, present, and future.

  • Past:  I have loved them with all my heart from the very beginning.  God has loved them even longer than that.
  • Present:  My only desire is that they will love God with all their heart and serve Him with all their might.
  • Future:  I want to see them in Heaven.

With their whole upbringing condensed to these truths, it seems that parenting has never had to be overly complicated.  It’s really all about taking the time to focus on what truly matters.

Gary, Dale, and Carl May 31, 2015

Gary, Dale, and Carl
May 31, 2015

 

 

 

Wordschooling

You’re already familiar with the options of homeschooling or public schooling.  I recently ran across the term worldschooling.  I imagine it comes from all that can be learned from traveling to different countries.

There are some strong opinions when it comes to how we choose to educate our children.  Some feel that with the worldly philosophies and agendas being pushed in the public school system, homeschooling is the only way to go for Christians.  Others feel that homeschooling can be exclusive and prevents Christians from shining the Light and making a difference in the world.  Still others will opt to send their children to private Christian schools.

My opinion?  Every home and situation is unique.  Just because one choice works best for one family doesn’t mean it will be the wisest choice for another.  Every community and school environment is different.  There are still many that promote wholesome living, true learning, and have teachers that care about integrity and discipline.

We chose homeschooling and I’m glad.  It’s been great to have complete control over curriculum choices, to spend quality time with our sons, and to have the flexibility to travel together on mission trips and to seminars.  But homeschooling is not the perfect safety net in and of itself.  Just because we have chosen to homeschool does not guarantee our children will go to Heaven (I cringe to even type those words).

Homeschoolers can neglect the most important foundation of any education and that is a substantial knowledge of the Word of God.  Homeschoolers can allow worldliness (like materialism, unguarded speech, rebellion, and immoral vices) to creep into the home and influence their children.

Whether public, private, or home, the emphasis of every child’s education needs to be the Word.  And parents, that responsibility solely belongs to us.

Living in the Word and by the Word.  Teaching, memorizing, and sharing the Word.  Learning to love the Word.  Exemplifying the Word.  THIS is what will give our children the very best start on their road to Heaven.  Wordschooling is the only way to go.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16,17

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10 Things I Want My Sons to Have When They Leave Home

Our sons are almost 21, almost 19, and 16 years old.  I want them to be happy and healthy, but more than anything, I want them to have their own genuine relationship with God.  Here are 10 things I pray they will have when they leave home:

I.  HONESTY

God is love, so when I hear that He hates something, it catches my attention.  Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven things God hates, and lying is mentioned twice!  Honesty tops my list of Ten Things because of what honesty prevents:

  • Deceiving self.  Self-honesty is crucial to personal Christianity.  How will my sons know if they’re in a right relationship with God if they’re deceiving themselves in their self-evaluation (1 Cor. 11:28)?  The Bibles says, “Test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5).  The very word test implies honesty.
  • Making excuses.  Excuses are cover-ups for short-comings.  They’re what we come up with when we try to remove the blame or responsibility for something.  ”Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.”  I want my sons to build their houses on the rock.  According to Jesus, that means they will hear His words and DO them, not make excuses for what they’re not doing (Matt. 7:24).
  • Moral Dilemmas.  Dishonesty leads to moral dilemmas in so many areas of life– business relations, taxes, academics, moral ethics.  Dishonesty produces a life of double standards.
  • Distrust.  One lie can destroy years of trust, trust that will take a long time to be restored.  A dishonest person won’t have good relationships with coworkers, with elders, with his wife & children, or with his church family.

II.  PURITY OF HEART

As a mother of three boys, I’ve felt many moments of indignation at all the sexual impurity bombarding us from all sides.  Purity of heart made my list of Ten Things because if my sons don’t have pure hearts:

  • They won’t see God (Matt. 5:8).
  • They will be in a war waging against their soul (1 Pet. 2:11).
  • They will be instruments of unrighteousness (Rom. 6:13).
  • They will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21).

With our sex-saturated society, the idea of raising pure-hearted boys may seem to be an uphill battle against overwhelming odds.  But our young men need to know that God’s promise still holds true:  “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

III.  COMPASSION

My sons will be guilty of hypocrisy if they’re big on keeping the law but lack compassion (Matt. 23:23).  Some do what they’re supposed to do and say what they’re supposed to say, but they’re hard on others.  They speak harshly of the shortcomings of others and act morally superior.  This is a heart problem.

Compassion will motivate my sons to see the good in others, to look for ways to build up and encourage, to see souls as the Savior does (Mark 6:34).

IV.  HUMILITY

If my boys leave home without humility, they leave home without having the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5-8).  Humility had to make my list of Ten Things because without it, my sons will head for destruction and dishonor (Prov. 18:12).  Humility affects their very relationship with God:

  • How close they’ll be to Him (Psa. 138:6,7)
  • Whether or not they’ll be guided & taught by Him (Psa. 25:9)
  • Whether or not they receive His grace (James 4:6)
  • Whether or not they’ll be exalted by Him (2 Pet. 5:6)

V.  SELF-MOTIVATION

Laziness can become a lifestyle.  In my [humble] opinion, there are a few habits that prevent men from really making a difference:

  • Dressing sloppily because they’re too lazy to tidy up
  • Keeping a disorganized office or work space
  • Being late to work or appointments; missing deadlines
  • Needing someone else to prod them along in order to complete assignments or commitments

Self-motivation, on the other hand, promotes:

  • The ability to tackle hard things instead of avoiding them
  • Discipline in areas of time-management, healthy eating, and exercise
  • The internal drive to always do their best
  • The desire to look for ways to serve and be involved, instead of waiting to be asked or waiting for someone else to take care of it
  • The wisdom to know when to ask for help instead of making excuses

VI.  GRATITUDE

Gratitude is the opposite of self-pity.  I don’t want every conversation my sons have to revolve around how hard things are for them.  I don’t want them to be needy for attention and sympathy.  I don’t want them to have a difficult time being happy and content.  They can’t be grateful and feel sorry for themselves at the same time!

Gratitude sees the blessings in life and sees problems as opportunities for growth.  Self-pity thinks, “Woe is me,” while gratitude quietly waits for God to fulfill His purpose in difficult situations.

My sons are going to face difficulties.  They’re going to be treated unfairly.  They’re going to be disillusioned at times.  Their mindset will determine how they handle it.  They can wallow in self-pity and complain about their circumstances, or they can be grateful for what they have, Who provides for them, and where they are going (1 Thess. 5:18; Phil. 4:11).

VII.  RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY

If my sons are allowed to disrespect authority in the home, they will carry that disrespect into the rest of their lives.  God commands His people to show respect for authority:

  • Children to parents (Eph. 6:1,2)
  • Wife to husband (Eph. 5:22-24)
  • Members to elders (Heb. 13:17)
  • Citizens to government (1 Pet. 2:13-17)
  • Servants to master (Eph. 6:5-8)

When rebellious men in the Lord’s church disagree with a decision made by the elders, they’ll say, “I don’t care what they say; I’m going to do it the way I want.”  Obviously these men were never taught to respect authority.  I want my sons to understand the importance of respecting authority even in times when they think those in authority are being unreasonable.  Those in authority who abuse their position will one day answer to God.  My sons need to make sure their own actions glorify God.

VIII.  FRIENDLINESS

Concerning friendliness, someone wrote, “It’s amazing what a warming influence it can have on an otherwise dreary world.”

Whether they’re going off to college, visiting a new congregation, or greeting their future in-laws, I want my sons to be able to initiate warmth and friendliness.  I want them to be quick to smile, greet, and assume the best in others.  I don’t want them to sit back and wait for others to approach them.

IX.  COMMITMENT

A lack of commitment will make my sons give up when their marriage relationship gets rocky.  It will make them neglect evangelism after only a few rejections.

Commitment will keep my sons from giving up or giving in.  It will be what keeps them going back to a job they dislike so they can pay the bills.  It will keep them knocking on doors to set up Bible studies.  It will motivate them to make the right choices and say the right things regardless of how they feel.  It is 1 Corinthians 15:58 lived out on a daily basis.
X.  FAITH
When my sons leave home, I want them to have a real, personal, genuine faith.
  • When my sons hear something different from what they’ve always been taught, where will they turn for answers?  My prayer is that they’ll always turn to God’s Word to define and secure their faith (Rom. 10:17).
  • When my sons feel discouraged, who will they lean on?  My prayer is that they’ll lean on the Lord (1 Pet. 5:7).
  • When they feel like they’re all alone in terms of moral convictions, what will they do?  My prayer is that they’ll have the courage to stand for what’s right even if no one stands with them.

For the faith of my sons to be real and enduring, it must be built on Scripture.  Not on family traditions or feelings.  Not on the level of love we have for them.  Not on our level of good works, or theirs.  For their faith to be living & powerful, it must be rooted in the Word of God (Heb. 4:16).

My sons may be in a new environment, but God’s Word will remain the same.  They may be surrounded by new people, but God’s Word will still hold true.  They may be tested in ways they’ve never been tested before, but God’s Word will always carry them through.  IF it’s the foundation of their faith.

Prayer for Today:  Lord, you know my daily prayer is that my sons will always put You first.

*This post can now also be found at A Wise Woman Builds.

Do I Help Others Thank God?

We are spending time together as a family, all five of us, and I am soaking it all in.  I am mindful of the many reasons to thank God for family, for love, for commitment, and for memories.  I am thanking God for the reminder to treasure the here and now and to embrace His gifts.  Even when facing difficulties or experiencing hardships, God showers us with reasons to enjoy the pleasurable sensation of gratitude.  Because of that, I want to be more diligent in showering others with reasons to look up and praise God.

  • With my husband, may I daily give him reasons to thank God for our marriage.  This means each morning I must renew the commitment to love unconditionally.
  • With my sons, may I help them see God’s forgiveness, patience, and tenderness by offering those consistently as their parent.  My love for them should make it easier for them to understand God’s love for them.
  • With my fellow Christians, may I give them reasons to praise God for companionship, encouragement, and sincere interest.  What a unique blessing the Lord’s church is!  May I do my part to help others remember that.
  • With those in my community, may I look for ways to cause them to pause and look up, to see God as the source of all good.  This means I must look like His Son as much as possible by being friendly, by being unselfish.  I can’t live unto myself but must look around with interest in the souls around me.

Today is always the beginning of our future.  I pray that I will do so much better in showering others with reasons to thank God.  Nothing is more important than making sure my life (my actions and my attitude) makes it easier for others to see God.

Prayer for Today:  Thank You, Lord, for showering me with reasons to praise You.  Please help me do better at intentionally helping others see You.

Pretty Side Up

Most of my tablecloths have a pretty side and a not so pretty side.  If I sit down to eat with my family and notice that I put the tablecloth on wrong side up, I think, “Oops.  Oh well, it’s just my family.”  I’m a lot more careful when we have guests.  I make sure they only see the pretty side.  Shame on me.  Of course I’m not really talking about tablecloths.  I’m talking about those times when I act prettier for others than I do for my own dear family.

Shame on me when I snap in irritation at my husband or children.  I would never dream of snapping at a neighbor or church member lest they think I’m unpleasant to be around.

Shame on me when I make my impatience obvious to my family but with everyone else I cover it up with a smile.

Shame on me when I use harsher words with my family to make a point but choose my words more carefully and tenderly with friends.

Shame on me when I roll my eyes when my husband asks me to do something for him but act all eager to please when others do the same.

My family deserves my prettier side.  I do have one and I know how to display it when I think it matters.  Why would I rob the ones who matter most of sweetness but go to great lengths to brighten up for everyone else?   I prove my love for my family when I care enough to give them the best side of me.

Prayer for Today:  May I daily cherish my family, Lord, by showing them the same grace and honor I extend to others.