Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

Enslaved

Just one more, please???!!!

One more what?

That’s what I want you to answer! What do you need just one more of to make it through this day? What is it that will make your hardship easier to handle?

  • Coffee?
  • Chocolate?
  • Pain pill?
  • Anxiety med?
  • Drink of alcohol?
  • Hour of social media?

If our answer isn’t “CHRIST!” we may be looking at a stronghold in our life. For many women in Paul’s day, their answer was

I need more wine!

He told Titus to tell the older women to teach the younger women that they were not to be given or controlled by wine. Titus 2:3 The reference of wine includes the enslavement to anything that takes the place of our utter dependence on Christ.

It’s easy for us as we age to swallow the lie that, “I have earned the right to a little pleasure! One more ______________ won’t hurt.” We become slaves to it and then believe the lie that we could walk away from it if we wanted to.

 Titus 2:3 the ESV says, slaves to much wine. And it means to be held and controlled against one’s own will. “This is what happens when we become enslaved to certain substances or habits or activities – anything that we deem essential to our happiness, sanity or survival.”

That slavery can be called many things – addiction, compulsion, stronghold, or dependency.

In her book, Adorned, Nancy listed some of the other common compulsions that enslave many women – even Christian women today. They might include:

  • Food – binge eating as a way to numb feelings. 1 in 4 women in churches struggle here.
  • Diet and exercise – Hooked on being healthy – it’s all they talk about.  Exercise, carbs, scales, etc., consume their world and conversation.
  • Shopping –  What starts out as a way to meet needs, ends up spending and overspending, hiding receipts and purchases in order to relieve pent up pressure.
  • TV, Media – Panic sets in when the Internet is down and you’re not able to check in, scan Facebook or Instagram.
  • Prescription medications – At one time needed for one thing, now relied upon just to get us out of bed or “give a little more energy.”

If you’re still not sure if you have something in your life you’re enslaved to, try going without it for 30 days.

If you find you can’t, then ask yourself,

Who’s the master, and who’s the servant?

 

There is hope for you, if you do find yourself a slave to something!
Jesus said, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, Luke 4:18-19

How does it happen?

Not by willing ourselves to do so, but by yielding ourselves to our Master. It won’t necessarily happen in a moment, but in each moment as we yield ourselves to Christ. 
Now…and now…and now. 
We can live in victory over sin’s pull by appropriating His strength to worship Him, rather than that other god.

Reach out if you need help. Ask a strong believer to make you accountable. Keep yourself constantly yielded to Christ.

He is enough!

You can hear more on this chapter by listening to the Adorned (7) podcast here.

You can be free!

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

The Damage Of Diabolical Words

Continuation of the book, Adorned, Lesson #6

What would you say is the easiest way to determine a person’s character?

Listen to them talk.

Our Savior said that what is in our heart will come out of our mouth.

As we continue through Titus 2, we read,  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers .

Our last lesson spoke about  being reverent in our behavior.  Could a woman have behavior that is reverent – realizing that God is present and acting in a way that reveals His character – and also be a false accuser?  No, of course not.  Another type of speech a false accuser uses is slander.  To slander someone is to simply spread harmful information or lies about another person. 

Slander is so harmful.  It hurts the one we’re speaking about, and it will also harm or discredit our testimony as a woman who should be adorning the Gospel.

Often we run another person down, perhaps sharing something we perceive about them, but don’t know to be true.  We might also share something that is true about them, with an intent to make ourselves look better, or to discredit their reputation.    

If you’ve ever been the one talked about, you know the pain involved, yet we must admit that we are guilty. Where does this come from anyway?

The word “malicious gossips” or “false accusers” is the Greek word diabolos, from which we derive our English word diabolical.  This word refers to Satan.  In other words,

Slander is devilish.

The first time we meet Satan in Scripture is in Genesis when he is speaking to Eve, and what kind of speech is he using?  Slander.  Against Whom?  God.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

So, Satan slanders God to humans.  It’s one of his tactics.  Have you ever had him tell you things like, “If God loved you, this wouldn’t be happening!”  Or “Why didn’t that happen?  God is not on your side!”

Satan also slanders believers to God. In Rev. 12:10 John called Satan the accuser of the brethren. He constantly brings slanderous accusations about us before the throne of God.

Here are three questions to ask ourselves before we share information:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it kind?
  • Does it need to be said now?

All three questions need to be answered affirmatively before you should speak it, and even then it might be best not to let it from your lips.

Wow, slander is easy to speak, but its damage is widespread, both to ourselves and the precious Gospel. Let’s ask the Lord to set a watch before the door of our lips so that our words adorn the Gospel and speak of our much of our Savior .

You can listen to the full broadcast on this lesson on my podcast by going here. You will also find all the posts in our study of the book, Adorned, by Nancy Wolgemuth.

Ask the Lord to refresh your speech so it will run from slander in any form.

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

What Does a Reverent Woman Look Like?

Lesson 5 in the Adorned Study

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If you know a woman who
~is godly in her conduct,
~wears clothes that are tasteful and appropriate,
~uses speech that is gracious,
~and shows that she loves the Lord by the way she speaks and acts,
then you know a woman who is reverent in her behavior.

If you go out shopping, walk the streets in a city, or go to a public event, you are likely not going to see these kind of actions present in excess, or even being applauded. But that’s to be expected in the world, right? Why? Because sinners sin.

But let’s think about the behavior of women in your church, and more specifically the woman who sits in your pew…in your seat. Do you and I typify the command Paul gives to women in Titus 2?

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, 

Reverent behavior isn’t something we put on and take off. It isn’t wearing long robes and walking around with our hands folded. It’s showing that our relationship with Christ has an effect on every single day and every single thing we do. 

It will show in the way we carry ourselves, in the way we respond to people in public, the way we go about our daily responsibilities.  We will consistently realize each moment of our day is a high and holy calling.

In her book, Adorned, Nancy Wolgemuth references Anna in Luke 2, who was daily in the temple. It seems she lived there because she loved God and His people. She was there when Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus.
And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
She realized this child was God’s Son, the promised Savior! She recognized God’s work in her midst! If we are reverent in our behavior, it will be because of what’s in our hearts. That means that we, too, will be aware of God’s work around us! She used her words to express her joy in the Christ child and then she told everyone who would listen! What a beautiful example of a reverent life

Nancy asks: Does this kind of woman appeal to you? Would she fit in well among your circle of friends?  Would they admire her brand of perpetual reverence and want to be like her?  Or would she be the object of condescending comments and rolled eyes – just a bit too serious about her faith?

Maybe we wish we could be “cool” as we age and be able to relate to the younger women by doing so, but Nancy reminds us that,

They don’t need your relevance; they need to see your reverence.

That’s stinging, isn’t it? How will younger women see our reverence? Like Anna, it will be through

  1. Our appearance
  2. Our attitude
  3. Our lifestyle

This happens when we spend quality time with Jesus. We will show the radiance of a life who daily lives in the presence of a holy God.

May there be a revival of reverence in our hearts so we can show our Savior and adorn the Gospel and may it affect the woman who sits in each of our pews…in each of our seats!

As you consider being “reverent in behavior,” what attitudes and actions come to your mind? Does it seem out of the question to live in the way Paul admonishes here?

Refresh reverence!

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Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Women's roles

Your Modeling Career

(Lesson 4 in the Adorned Study)

Being only 4’9″, I never had any aspirations that I would ever be a model, but now that I’m an older woman, I’ve learned that a modeling career is indeed a part of my life! Unlike those who walk the runways, my modeling has absolutely nothing to do with physical beauty. Sound impossible? That’s what our God is all about – doing the impossible!

Paul wrote in Titus in chapter 2 –

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

When older women model the beautiful, winsome spirit of a woman who is filled with the Spirit of God, we also know that this did not happen overnight. This has come as a result of years of walking with the Lord.

What kind of things will we be modeling if we’re this kind of woman? What kind of woman will we be? Paul gives us six characteristics here in Titus 2.

Is this what you think of when you think of a woman who is “grave?”
  1. Sober – The first literal application that comes to our minds is being free from the intoxicating influence of alcohol.  But being sober-minded in a biblical sense is broader.  It involves not becoming drunk on any of the many excesses available to us in the world.This woman has learned what really matters and leans her heart in the eternal satisfactions instead.
  2. Grave – This means to be discreet and reminds us to be honorable and appropriately serious about life. Sounds boring, right? A woman like Katherine Brooks in Anne of Green Gables comes to my mind (see picture above). But this doesn’t mean we live life without joy, because joy is a fruit of the Spirit.  It means we see the seriousness of living with an awareness of eternity.  We realize that heaven is nearer, that our days to live for Christ are shorter and that gives us an appropriate seriousness about how we live out our days. We live out our life with dignity and that is always a lovely thing to behold!
  3. Temperate – This comes from sophron, two Greek words, one meaning saved or sound and the other, meaning a mind. Being temperate is to live out life with a sound mind. Phron is related to the modern Greek word for brakes.  The self-controlled person knows when to stop.  The Holy Spirit controls her.
    What do we need Him to stop?  
    Our words.
    The poor use of our time.
    A relationship headed in the wrong direction.
    Anything we might want to do in excess. A temperate woman will put on the brakes.
  4. Sound in (the) faith – The word sound implies health.  This is so encouraging when it is applied to our lives as older women who are experiencing declining health and strength!  Even as our bodies are slowing down, we should be (and can be!) in the best shape of our lives, spiritually speaking!
  5. Sound in charity – Love – This is having a great capacity for love.  We don’t just have this head knowledge of God and His Word.  We demonstrate it with His love.  This will show itself in how we live out the Gospel.  We will show kindness, sacrifice, and forgiveness. 
  6. Sound in patience – steadfastness

I’ve heard so many older people say, “The golden years are not golden!”  Their reason for saying that is because they are experiencing hardship.  Scripture doesn’t say we won’t have any trouble as we age – as a matter of fact, Psalm 90:10 says, The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away.
To be patient is to abide under this heavy load.  We’re not going to cave in under this hardship that might be coming.  We won’t just be gritting our teeth and squeezing by, we will bear up and glorify the God we love and trust.

Sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, charity and patience – what a beautiful model for younger women to watch and imitate. Who comes to your mind when you read those characteristics? Would YOU come to another woman’s mind? These attributes can be a part of our lives as we walk with God, study His Word, and learn His character.

You will become like the One with whom you spend time!

Walk the walk. You are the model younger women need to see in this upside down world.

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Women's roles

What Do We Teach a Younger Woman?

This is the second in a series, Adorned. We are highlighting the book, Adorned, by Nancy Wolgemuth.

Did you go to church last Sunday?  Did you read your Bible today?  Did you treat your neighbors kindly or go out of your way to make things right after you and
your spouse were at odds?  Why did you do those things?  Because of the soil in which you are planted.  Let me explain ~ 

I love having raised beds in my backyard.  In them I grow a variety of herbs and vegetables.  When we first added the beds to our backyard, my husband made sure to get the right kind of potting soil so that the plants would grow.  We know that all plants have to have some kind of dirt to grow in, and while I don’t know all the scientific facts about my garden, I do know that my plants need good soil that is full of rich nutrients.  A pile of dirt, or a ton full of sand won’t work.  Having a good harvest starts with good soil.

When we talk about being a mentor or a discipler of a younger woman, we understand the “what” of our task.  The Lord has told us to teach – that’s what we are to do.  However, the next question is What are we to teach?  Usually older women ask that with a fearful look on their face, because they don’t think they have anything to tell a younger woman, but be relieved, Paul gives clear direction in Titus 2 – 

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.

We are to teach sound doctrine.

You may ask, “Woah!  Wait!  Doctrine?  Isn’t that some deep, theological word preachers use?  What does that have to do with teaching a younger woman?”

Let’s start by defining the word.  Doctrine is simply What we believe.  Everyone lives by some sort of doctrine.  Even an unbeliever in Christ has doctrine that they live by.  In her book, Adorned, Nancy Wolgemuth quotes a man who said,

“At our church, we don’t preach doctrine.  We just love Jesus.”

Perhaps this man’s church doesn’t teach doctrine, but they do have some, and they are living it out, as each of us is.
Nancy says,

“Doctrine is the soil that provides the context for growing character.” 

Just like the soil in my raised beds enables my herbs and vegetables to grow and be beautiful, right doctrine will enable us to adorn the Gospel that saved us.  We will be able to show a watching world how wonderful it is to know Christ’s character and to live a life following His Word. 

It’s important to remember that Paul says we need not just any doctrine, but sound doctrine. We must be planted in the Truth.  That Truth is found in God’s Word and it must be the foundation that gives us deep roots as a believer. 

If the doctrine is bad, what kind of fruit will it produce?  Bad fruit.

Let’s answer two big questions in this post ~ Let’s answer the “Why?” and “How?”

#1 Why do we have to teach doctrine? What’s the big deal about teaching sound doctrine?
Why is it important?  Can’t we just jump to how I’m supposed to love my husband? Can’t we just talk about how to be a Christian woman?
Doctrine is important because all the things we think and do are connected to what we believe about our God.

Wrong thinking and behavior all stem from wrong thoughts about God. That means if we can help a woman have the RIGHT thoughts about her God, her thinking and her behavior will both change!

Our feelings aren’t the boss of us; our Bible doctrines are!

  • If a woman believes that after she’s saved she’s on Easy Street, how will she survive when hardships come?
  • If a woman believes that she needs to work to stay saved, she’ll come close to dying an early death trying to do enough to please God.
  • If a woman fails to understand that Christ lives in her after salvation, she will fail to see that she can have His victory over the sin to which she feels in bondage.
  • If a woman doesn’t know that she’s secure in Christ, she will live a life of fear and insecurity.
  • If a wife doesn’t feel in love with her husband any more, she will think the best thing is to leave the relationship.

However, when women learn Bible doctrine that applies to their lives and to their roles as women, they live lives that show the beauty of the Gospel!  When we do this, we will be living lives that are radically different from the unsaved world.  

Question #2 – How will we learn Bible doctrine?  We learn it as we read God’s Word. We learn it as we sit in a church that teaches sound doctrine.  This is the watering of the soil.  We must put ourselves in places where we will learn the solid meat of what the Bible says, rather than the fluff that sounds good but has no substance.  

When we don’t act on the Bible’s solid foundation, it’s  because we have either not been taught it, or we know it and are not living accordingly.  When either one of those are true, we will have wrong thinking and wrong actions.  However,

Right doctrine is so freeing! 
Right doctrine is applicational to our everyday lives!
Right doctrine is beautiful because it reflects the nature of our God.

Nancy says, “Our ultimate purpose is to make much of God.  We do that as we experience, enjoy and reflect the loveliness of Christ, making Him known to a world that is starved for true beauty.”

Do you know Bible doctrine?  Do you know what the Bible teaches about salvation?  Eternal security?  Forgiveness of sin after salvation? A short study of four essential doctrines of salvation is The Exchange.  This would be a great place to start!

Friends…

  1. We need to know sound doctrine so we can grow.
  2. We need to know sound doctrine so we can think and react biblically!
  3. We need to know sound doctrine so we can teach it to another woman.

If you want to go a little deeper in this study…

  • Start keeping a notebook: What I know about My God. 
    Every time you read a verse that tells about God’s character, write down the character trait and its reference.  For example, God chooses not to remember my sin.  Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.
  • Memorize Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;