Discipleship · Marriage · Mentoring

An Unexpected Blessing

Adorned lesson #12

We had just left a social gathering and were driving home when my husband said to me, “So many women will not let their husband lead.” He didn’t mention what/who he was referencing, but just the observation he had made while we were at this gathering of people.

I let my mind think back to our recent gathering and
I heard a wife answering for her husband. 
I heard another one talking over top of her man. 
Was it that the men didn’t know what to say, or was it that he wasn’t given the chance to say it?  I’m pretty sure the latter is the answer.

I know how easy it is to do both of those things! If I don’t use the brakes of self control! What is required in these situations is a word that causes most women great distress. The word is submission. The definition of this word that I love is, To lean your husband’s direction. But what does God’s Word say about this word?

Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Nancy Wolgemuth says,

To our finite, fallen minds, the whole idea sound unfair, even preposterous.  The wisdom of God, however, is infinitely higher than human wisdom. If we only could grasp His eternal purposes, we would be enthralled with the perfection and splendor of His ways. So when it comes to this topic, we need to earnestly seek His wisdom rather than relying on our own limited, flawed perspectives.

Let me briefly share seven things that submission is not…

  1. A wife’s submission to her husband is not submission to men in general.
  2. Submission does not subject a wife to a life of forced compliance.
  3. Submission does not amount to slavish, subservience. 
  4. Submission does not minimize a wife into mindlessness.
  5. Submission does not mean the husband is always right.
  6. Submission never requires a wife to follow her husband into sin.
  7. Submission never gives a husband license to abuse his wife.

Look at the beauty in true, biblical submission:

When a woman denies the natural urge to resent her husband or retaliate against him, when she runs to the cross instead of running her mouth, when she maintains a gentle and quiet spirit and steadfastly hopes in God, regardless of her husband’s behavior – that is no spineless, mousy, whimpering puddle of dominated femininity.  That is a woman of power. ~Nancy

Are you a Woman of that kind of power? Remember that our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ submitted to the will of His Father, so when we submit to our husband, we are adorning the beauty of the Gospel. It was a love so great that Jesus was willing to lay down His own life to obey the will of the Father.

Wives, when we submit in this way, our homes will operate the way God planned. That means there is only one head, instead of a two-headed monster. Then the unexpected blessing is that we portray Calvary love!

Is it easy? No because we have an old sin nature. Then how can we do this?
In the power of the Holy Spirit. Yield to Him. Give the Lord the grievance or disagreement in your heart towards your husband. Let the Lord deal with him. You just love him. How will you show your love?

By submitting. Then watch the unexpected blessing that will come!

What is your question regarding submission? Leave them here, please!

Here’s another perspective on submission. If your marriage seems hopeless, I pray this post will encourage you.

Discipleship · home · Mentoring

Keepers At Home

Adorned Study #10

Isn’t it a comfort to know that God cares about what happens in our houses?  He created the family, and He has a plan for how we care for this ministry! Listen what He specifically says about the home in the Titus 2 passage…

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home,

I love how the KJV translates it; as “keepers at home.” This is a woman who is devoted to her home, who has a heart for it.  She’s actively engaged and makes it a high priority in her life.

But all too often, home is a place where we come in to get ready to go out to the next event.  Not much is really happening at home.  There’s little investment in one another’s lives.  Rather than it being the hub of life, it is too often just the spare tire.  

In her book, Adorned, Nancy reminds us that teaching young women God’s Word includes teaching them that working at home is in the core curriculum.

When I talk to women and they lament and say they “are only a homemaker”  I always say, “That is a high calling!”  There’s no shame in being in the home so that you can make it your priority.  But there’s also no need to feel ashamed that you work outside the home.  Sometimes it is necessary.  You may have to be more creative in how you make time for caring for the needs and the people in your home, but with the Lord’s help and wisdom, you can still be a keeper at home.

When my oldest daughter was four, we were so strapped financially.  Then a teaching opportunity was opened to me and it seemed like this would be the best way to help our situation.  However, the added stress it brought hardly justified my time away from our home!  Those are nine months that taught me that my heart was in my home and that is where I belonged

Later I had another time in my life when extra funds were needed because we had one daughter in college! Do you feel my pain?! I wasn’t free to go out and look for part time job, because the other daughter was in homeschool, and I also remembered the hard lesson I had learned years before. 

I prayed about it and the Lord brought to my mind a way I could work from home and bring in a little extra income.  I began a home-baking business.  While my daughter did her school work, I baked.  One day a week, I took my goods and sold them at the local banks, hair salons and medical offices.  God provided and I got to stay where my heart was – at home.

If your finances are tight, I’d encourage you to pray and ask God for the best way to prioritize your home.  There are lots of creative ways to earn money from home!

I’m reminded that it isn’t just young women who are needed to be keepers at home.  Nancy says in her book, 

No matter what our circumstances or season of life, home still matters for us women.  And we will diminish the impact of our ministry as believers if we allow home to become an afterthought or resist God’s call to be workers/keepers at home.

I think it’s easy for us to brush aside the truth that our ministry impact is affected if our home is an afterthought.  How can we use our homes to adorn the Gospel if we’re not watching over it? It’s doubtful that we will.

So if we’re keepers at home, what are we to “keep?”

  • Our heart for the Person of Christ. Make sure He is at the center of every part of our home.  Honor Him in your choices of your time, your free time, the way you use your finances, your relationships, people you encounter at the store, etc.  
  • Our heart for the purpose of the home – to display the Gospel.  Live out the Gospel as you love, forgive, show mercy and kindness. Apply that sound Doctrine to every area of family life.  Share the Gospel with your children. Open your home to share the Gospel with any that enter your doors.  
  • Our priority for the people of our home – Husband, children, those outside the home
    • Time with our husband
    • Pouring into our children
    • Reaching out with the Gospel to others
  • Our heart for the plans for  accomplishing the necessary tasks 
    • Meals are prepared – Groceries purchased
    • The home is clean and inviting (not necessarily Pinterest worthy, but managed and clean)
    • Finances – wisely using what God has provided

If this sounds like a lot…or maybe just too much, let me remind you that you have help in doing all of this!  It isn’t Merry Maids or your 7 children or your husband, (though the people there can certainly be helpers), but it’s the third person of the Godhead – the Holy Spirit of God. 

We have a Savior Who is preparing a home for us, and He is able to help you and me to make our homes a place that will comfort those who live there and point each one to the Gospel!

Do you have a heart for your home? With what areas do you need help in being a “Keeper at home?” Ask the Lord these questions and then watch how He directs, how He changes your desires, and how He brings in wisdom to help you be the Keeper of your home.

Here are a few posts about homemaking that might encourage you.

Biblical Womanhood · Mentoring

If Your Thoughts Are All Over the Map

Adorned Study 8

One spring day in my East Tennessee backyard, I took my grandsons out on our acre of property, with both excitement and kites in tow!  We were going to fly their new kites for the first time!  They were ecstatic!  It had been many years since I had done this and I wondered if I could remember how to get this piece of plastic and string soaring into the air!  

I held it up with the current, let out a little string and watched the kite lift for a minute, and then it began to jerk, bob and then take a dive downward where it crashed to the ground.  I tried it all again, this time letting out more string so the wind could carry it upward.  It soared.  I handed the string over to my grandson.  As he held it in his small hands, the string began to unwind further and further until it was totally unwound.  The kite had lifted to the its full extent and was happily steady and flying smoothly!  It stayed up there until we were ready to go inside!

Just a couple weeks after that fun event, I went through some typical struggles that all women experience in life.  I was walking and praying one morning and the Lord brought to my mind the picture of that kite when it was bobbing and crashing to the ground.  As my emotions engaged, this is  exactly what I had allowed my mind to do. Rather than them being tethered to the string of truth, my thoughts were all over the place.

We’re all tempted to fall into that same kind of reaction when the winds of adversity blow or when a storm is descending upon us.  But I’m thankful to know and learn that we don’t have to bob and crash! There is hope for us and we find it in God’s Word. 

As we have been going through the Book, Adorned, we’ve learned through the study of Titus 2 that we are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, under control of our desires, teachers of sound doctrine.  We’re to be using our lives to teach younger women.  None of this can happen if we are out of control, if our lives reflect someone who looks like my out of control kite – happy one minute, depressed the next.  Content and peaceful one day, screaming at God and everyone around us the next. 

Titus 2 goes on to instruct us…

The older women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things,
that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,5 to be discreet,

In many modern translations, “be discreet” is translated, “self-controlled or sensible.” The Greek word is Sophron. It comes from two other Greek words – soos, meaning either sound or saved and phorn meaning outlook or mind. When we put the two together, it means to have a “sound mind.” 

In chapter 3 of this study we learned about sophron – and we referenced it keeping us in control so we can be modeling for a younger woman a godly life, controlled by the Spirit of God. Sophron means “to be able to put on the brakes.”  We are led by the Spirit to stop our words – to stop our attitude, to stop our wrong response. We put on the brakes.

Nancy says that a sophron lifestyle begins with a sophron state of mind – a way of thinking that affects everything about the way we live.  We are what we think, so a sensile, sound, self-controlled mindset will result with a a sensible, sound, self-controlled life.

God’s Word is so practical for our everyday lives and this word shows us how to live out this sophron life – We must ask ourselves moment by moment, Is my thinking sophron?  Were my words sophron?  Is my response sophron?

There’s a spillover from not thinking sophron – our responses and appetites will lend themselves to excesses and addiction, as we talked about in the last lesson of this book.  

How do we acquire this kind of sound thinking?  Do we will it to happen?  Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Remember my kite story?  I had to let the wind have control over the kite.  This is a beautiful picture of God’s Spirit controlling us when we just surrender to the Christ who lives in us.  The Christ in us will always respond correctly. 

Surrender – let Him have complete control. Be a woman with a sophron lifestyle – sound thinking that will control you, your thoughts and your responses.  Your testimony as a godly woman will soar!

What do you struggle with most in regards to reining in your thoughts? You can go here to listen to the podcast on this chapter.

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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