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Posts Tagged ‘deception’

How odd, observed G.K. Chesterton, that many women consider it slavery to be the master of their own home, but working under a man in a place of business to be freedom.

Deception is a foul thing. But it is necessary for the destruction of the family. And so the world uses words like trivial, drudgery, and slavery to describe the work of a homemaker. With one question, the hissing serpent tempts women to doubt the goodness of domestic privilege. “Did God really say that you must be confined?”

Leaving home for a while can be the most wonderful adventure, but not necessarily freeing. Volunteering or working for pay can be rewarding, but not necessarily freeing. Being given a title may be flattering, but not necessarily freeing.

When I leave home to accept a job or assume a public position, I am obliged to work under the expectations and ideologies of someone else who sets the conditions for my labor. My talents and abilities are metered to the tune of an employer or board of directors. In my home, however, I labor not to grow a business or a corporation but to grow hearts and minds.

Never once did I think of my father’s mother or my own mother as being confined to the drudgery of their homes. My grandmother and mom were not free from day-to-day difficulties, but neither were they captive to slavery. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, they were blessed to find contentment in doing their best work from and for their households. They did their husbands good, not harm; they looked to the ways of their children; their lamps burned at night. They made time for hobbies and served in the church and community. Their tables welcomed family and friends. Relationships were strengthened. Neighborhoods were richer for it.

Within my home I am free not to compete with men or other women, but with myself. I am free to create, design, rearrange, make use of culinary skills, practice hospitality, organize, correspond, buy and sell, study, teach, train, mentor, read books, write books, engage through websites and blogs, supplement family finances, welcome neighbors, keep my lamp burning at night, and tell children and grandchildren what God has done.

The home where men and women complement one another in their roles as fathers and mothers is the foundation of a thriving society. A man may build and protect the house, but the woman makes and keeps the home. When chaos threatens, a woman can nurture a calming environment. By way of her quiet and gentle spirit, a woman can win an unbelieving husband for Christ. With grandchildren in mind, a mother in the home sets the moral compass for her children.

The way of the world makes no sense to me. Nor to Anthony Esolen who writes, “We must rid ourselves of the feminist spite that pretends to despise the woman of many talents and many tasks in the home, preferring the specialist who … does one thing well.” Esolen continues:

To do fifty things in one day for which you alone are responsible, for the immediate good of the people you love, is deemed easy, trivial, beneath the dignity of a rational person, but to push memoranda written in legal patois from one bureaucratic office to another, at great public expense and for no clear benefit to the common good, now that is the life. Chesterton put it well when he said that the work of a mother is not small but vast. A teacher would bring to fifty children the arithmetical rule of three, and though that is an interesting thing, it is but small and limited. The mother brings to one child the whole universe. That is no sentimentality. It is exactly true.

It is true that a woman may be needed by her family to temporarily leave the home to help provide for the home. But, writes Esolen, the “home is not a flophouse where we stay and recuperate so that we can go back out and earn money, much of which we burn in the very earning of it.” There is a difference between “money you make for yourself” and money made for the health and well-being of the family.

The world asks: Shouldn’t we save women from the drudgery of home and family? A civilization with eyes on the future asks: Shouldn’t we save home and family by holding in high esteem the home-making vocation of women?

There is hope! There is always hope! The Proverbs 31 woman, wrote St Bernard of Clairvaux, was not praised because she was so magnificent. She was praised for “not being deceived” by the world.

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Robin Williams with maskIn searching among the many photos of Robin Williams, I’m surprised by my emotion.  I’m in awe of this creature of countless expressions and I believe that God mourns his apparent suicide.  The Potter of William’s life took such care to shape a vessel for esteemed use.  Surely, Williams brought laughter, posed questions and made us think.  But what did he think of himself?  Could he no longer laugh or find joy because his identity was so precariously unsure?

Williams was somebody.  And while we can no longer help him recognize his true identity, we can help ourselves and our children.

Our identity is not actor or senator or founder and CEO of Microsoft.  Our identity is not Victoria’s Secret model or teacher of the year or Supreme Court justice.  All of these are types of vocations or things we chose to do that affect the world around us.  Our identity is not heterosexual or homosexual.  These are behaviors and ways to grow–or not grow–the family tree.  Our identity is what God says we are.  To the baptized Christian, He says,  “You are my adopted child in Jesus Christ.  You are my heir.”  Nothing–no, not one thing save our own rejection of this identity–can change who we are in God’s eyes.

Our value comes not from anything we do, but from what Jesus Christ did for us.  The Savior of our lives has covered us with His Robe of Righteousness.  Now, when God looks at us–even when we’re suffering sin and depression–He sees the treasures for whom Jesus gave all He had.  Did anyone tell this to Williams?  Are we sharing this truth with family members, neighbors and friends?  Or are we reluctant to speak this truth because we, too, are deceived about who we really are?

In her post “Murderous Mendacity of Depression,” Elizabeth Scalia wrote,

Depression is a hissing false witness. It lies and tells someone there is no hope; it lies and declares, “you’re a fraud”; it lies when it warns you to hide your feelings, because people won’t love you if they know how terrified and alone and desperate you feel; it lies and sneers that you’re weak — that you can just snap out of it, anytime, if you really want to; it croons the lie that love is not real, and hope is for suckers; it whispers the most insidious of lies: that your pain will never ebb, cannot be transcended, and has no value at all.

After a while, the pain begins to feel like all you are and all there is: a worthless, pointless void. And when your life becomes just pain-without-end, suffering-without-meaning, tomorrow seems like less a promise than a prison.

When depression wins, it is such a damned tragedy, no matter whether it has carried off a big rich somebody, or an ordinary nobody, because it is the victory of an incessant liar.*

Jesus knows the liar.

He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44 ESV).

We all hear the hiss of satan.  The evil one tempts: “Did God really say . . . ?”  The question stirs doubt.  In doubt, we put ourselves in God’s place and assume control.  After we do what we want and suffer the consequences, the tempter becomes our accuser: “Did God really say He can forgive you?”

Both questions are intended to separate us from the one who knows us better than we know ourselves.  The one who calls us by name.  The one who promises a future of hope.

It is right to mourn the loss of people who, in darkness or desperation, take their own lives.  Then we must ask: In light of my true identity, how shall I live?

Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or  nakedness, or danger, or sword?  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-38 ESV).

 * I am appreciative to Sheila Liaugminas
who quoted Scalia in her Mercatornet article of 8-13-14

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woman reading bibleThere is a lot of opposition to God’s Word and to the way He wants us to pass on the truth: generation to generation.  With that in mind, let’s consider one more opportunity —

#7: Mentor in the Midst of Opposition
One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts . . . They shall speak of the might of Your awesome deeds, and I will declare Your greatness (Psalm 145:4, 6).

Let’s stop fooling ourselves. Everything is not okay with young women today. Girls are coming of age in a society in which institutions of marriage, family and church have been badly weakened putting them at risk in ways their grandmothers and great-grandmothers were not. Everything that is naturally womanly—especially anything having to do with motherhood and children—is regarded by feminists as something that has to be overcome rather than embraced. Providers of contraceptive and abortion services have replaced mothers as the main source of authority on sexual matters. A growing number of young women who are in and out of relationships experience chronic depression. But, there is hope! A young woman whose parents set boundaries for their daughter’s sake, remain involved, and help her see the bigger picture of her life seem to make healthier choices.

Be aware of the opposition. Our “adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). As mothers and grandmothers, we need to be “sober-minded” and “watchful”. We do not “wrestle against” Victoria’s Secret or Planned Parenthood, but against the spiritual forces of evil that use sexual immorality, sensuality, idolatry, jealousy and rivalries (Galatians 5:19-20) to shape the minds of young women and lead them away from Jesus Christ. View for yourself Planned Parenthood’s website for teens (www.teenwire.org). The knowledge offered by the opposition holds no promise for this life or the one to come. It is for this reason that God’s Word instructs the believer in 1 Timothy 4:7-10 to train for godliness; “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it hold promise for the present life and also for the life to come”. Take heart! In spite of the opposition, God remains in control. His Word is true. Jesus is victorious. The Spirit is at work.

Don’t be afraid; be equipped. We are engaged in a battle for young hearts and minds, but God has equipped us with armor and sword (Ephesians 6:14-18). Stand where you have been placed by God—as a wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend—and engage the world on behalf of your children, grandchildren, and neighborhood of children. When we practice the same faithfulness as Christian women before us we will mentor a new generation of biblically-courageous women.

Build a bridge between generations. Each generation wants to be a little different from the one before. Young women have always believed that they were more progressive than their mothers. But a younger generation needs an older generation to warn away from pitfalls and precipices. The babyboomers have much to apologize for, but parents who’ve taken their sins to the Cross can testify to children that “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Break out of your peer group. A friend of mine explained what happened after she married and moved far away from her mom and church family. “In a strange new place, I was anonymous. My husband was not a believer, so we did not join a church. I really had no one to be accountable to; no one to talk to about the things in life that troubled me. When my daughter was born, I wanted to be the kind of mom my mother was to me, but she was too far away and I didn’t have the benefit of older, wiser women. I assumed that ‘experts’ in child care would be better for my child than me. Actually, I was looking for love, affirmation and encouragement… but in all the wrong places. I became involved with someone other than my husband. I had an abortion and a divorce soon followed.” My friend didn’t need the advice of her peers who were in circumstances similar to her own. She needed an older woman who had learned to trust pure wisdom, Jesus Christ (Proverbs 8).  She needed an older Christian woman who could help her resist the deception of a sinful world and flee youthful passions.

Opportunity #8 (Mentor Purity) and #9 (Mentor and Encourage Biblical Manhood) coming soon!

Ezer’s Handbook is a resource developed by
Linda Bartlett and presented at Titus 2 Retreats

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Bill O'ReillyMany people attempt to speak for God.  But it is a dangerous thing to play fast and loose with God’s Word.  Bill O’Reilly, who consistently reminds his listeners that he attended Catholic school, is one example.  He recently told his guest, a priest, that the whole homosexual thing doesn’t trouble him.  Really?  And, I wonder, why might that be?

Two thoughts come to mind.  O’Reilly is a deceived creature who has raised himself above the Creator. He dangerously follows the example of Eve who, after putting herself in God’s place, spoke for Him.  When Satan asked, “Did God really say . . . ?” Eve responded, adding words that God never spoke (compare Genesis 3:2-3 with 2:16-17). Does O’Reilly doubt that Jesus Christ is The Word (John 1:1-5, 14)?  Jesus, who is God, calls homosexuality a sin in both the Old and New Testaments.

Second, it’s quite possible that O’Reilly has no difficulty with two men or two women living a gay or lesbian lifestyle because of another deception.  It is much easier to accept homosexuality as just a personal form of sexual expression when we are deceived by false identity.  That false identity is sexuality.

Identifying humans as primarily sexual beings is what motivates women to aggressively support “reproductive rights” and an American president who blesses Planned Parenthood.  But with little or no fear of God, men and women worship the created rather than the Creator.

Once we have been deceived to see ourselves as “sexual from birth,” our thinking, speech, clothing and behavior soon reflect the lie.  When we celebrate our sexuality — rather than the God who made us — we are more easily captive to the flesh.  We may, indeed, proclaim: This is who God made me to be!

Homosexuality is accepted when we believe the lie: “my body, my choice.”  At the core of all issues of life — abortion, marriage, homosexuality and euthanasia – is identity.   We will most certainly have an identity problem when we deny or doubt the Word of God.

God identifies us not as sexual beings, but as holy beings.  God is holy.  He calls us to be holy.  Holiness means seeking after the things of God, not the things of the flesh.  It means denying self and, instead, being a vessel for noble purpose.  This goes against the grain of the world’s thinking.  “Express yourself,” we’re told.  “Satisfy your natural desires.”  And, in this present culture, what could be more natural than expression of our sexuality which appears to be the sum total of who we are.

O’Reilly (and the rest of us who call upon the name of Christ) should take care.  It is a dangerous thing to play fast and loose with things of God.  Our identity – and with it, our behavior – is defined by God.

To everyone who is called by God’s name, who has been created for His glory, He says, “. . . I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1, 7).

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two women talkingAnother Titus 2 for Life Retreat has concluded.  I am tired, but encouraged.  In a culture such as ours, the need for mentoring grows daily.  This was affirmed most especially this past weekend by the younger women who attended.   Perhaps it will be helpful to share a few quotes from their evaluations.

  • I wasn’t sure what to expect . . . considering the topics, I thought it might all be too judgmental . . . but it was not.  You see, I spent my childhood and good part of my young adult life wishing I was a boy because no one had ever pointed out the joy and biblical blessing of being a woman.
  • I will be getting married soon and this was a great springboard and encouragement for helping me understand my role in our new family.
  • It’s o.k. to be a woman!  This retreat really laid to rest a lot of the horrible post-modern and feminist myths that were always a part of my life but were causing such pain and discontent.  Thank you for being such a real person and addressing the foolish women in all of us with forgiveness.
  • As I approach motherhood, I wanted to attend this retreat again . . . I love how you share with us God’s purpose and esteem for women and womanly traits . . . there is no indignity in God’s design of the woman as ‘helper’ . . . it helps to remember that Christ was submissive and that the Holy Spirit is a helper.
  • Many of my friends are unhappy, kind of restless and certainly discontent.  They hear so many voices of the world which seem in conflict with their own heart.  This retreat was like ten years of godly mentoring in just a few hours!
  • I was afraid this retreat might be hours of anti-abortion rhetoric.   Instead, it affirmed my value to God, reminded me that my Christian upbringing is not a lie, and why my faith makes me so weird to the world . . . I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that God made women not to compete with men but complete them.  I’m very competitive . . . high school girls need to know about biblical womanhood.
  • The discussion on sex education and our mistaken identity was so important . . . I have had abstinence education for years but, no different from the culture, it was a constant focus on sex.

And what do I say to these young women?

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

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We are baptized, not in the water of sexuality, but in the water of pure Word and Holy Spirit.  We are called, not to ways of weak flesh, but to holy and noble purpose.  We are encouraged, not to glorify self, but to glorify Jesus Christ who makes us children of God.

Baptism “is an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).  Baptism cleanses and raises us to new life.   Our Baptism sets us apart from the world and our own fickle desires.

So here is why I’m so deeply disappointed following the election.  Far too many of my fellow Christian sisters let their sensuality have its way.  They voted in favor of “my body, my choice” rather than in remembrance of their baptism.  They feared they might be denied something, something that should rightfully be theirs.

Back to the Garden we go.  God appealed to Eve’s whole being, her true identity as His wondrous creation.  But, Satan appealed to her pride and desires, taunting with the apple of “my rights” and “my control.”  Today – right here and right now, God appeals to the whole being and true identity of His daughters in Christ.  But, Satan (until he’s banished to hell) lingers around, tantalizing our desires.  Whispering sweet nothings in our ears.

Admittedly, I can’t say how many baptized women were influenced by the childish ad of the Obama campaign.  You know the one I’m talking about.   Actress Lena Dunham appears on a video making an appeal to young women to imagine their first time voting for Obama as being akin to losing their virginity.  References in the ad were explicit and low standard.

The sexual innuendo of the ad was unmistakable: “Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody.  You want to do it with a great guy,” says actress Dunham.  “It should be with a guy . . . who really cares about and understands women.”  Then, on behalf of the sitting president of the United States, Dunham makes her political appeal.  She says, you want to do it with “a guy who cares whether you get birth control.  The consequences are huge.  You want to do it with the guy who brought the troops out of Iraq . . ..”

Actress Dunham quickly references “gay marriage,” then says, “It’s also super-uncool to be out and about and someone says, ‘did you vote?’ and [you] reply, ‘No, I didn’t feel – I wasn’t ready.’”  The ad wraps up when Dunham describes her first time voting as “amazing.”  It was like crossing that “line in the sand” to vote for Barack Obama.  “Before I was a girl; now I was a woman.”

This campaign ad was endorsed by the President of the United States.  The father of two daughters.  The man who, true to his vocation, should protect and defend the virtue of every American woman.

But, how many baptized American women – more or less youthful – voted for the man who appealed to their pride?  Sexual rights?  Desire for control?  Did any of us think about the irony of it all?  Modern feminists abhor Biblical patriarchy, yet here are women asking “Big Daddy” – a patriarchal government – to provide their birth control pills, abortion-causing drugs, and sterilization procedures at no cost.  Why?

Is it because they are deceived by a wrong identity?  Or because they have forgotten their baptism in the Word of holiness and purity?  Or because they are captive to pride and sensuality?  Or, because they live in fear?

Trusting our baptism, we need not fear the known or the unknown.  Baptism in the waters of new life encourages us to virtue.  Self-restraint.  Trust in our Creator and Redeemer instead of our own weak flesh.

Baptism gives us new identity in Christ.  We are not sensual beings, but holy beings.  We are not captive to sin, but redeemed from sin.  We are not left in the despair of wrong choices, but set free to start new.  To see our life from God’s perspective.  All this… because we have been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Do we believe it?

Amen.  God said it.  It is so.

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Labeling sex education “child abuse” is a strong statement.  No one wants to be accused of abusing a child.   I would not easily call someone a “child abuser.”  All of us, however, are deceived by theories and techniques of the world.  Education built on false teaching is sure to do harm.

If we blend false teaching or worldly ideas with God’s Word, we will most certainly compromise our best intentions.  We will weaken the protective boundaries of God’s commands.  It is never a good thing to tamper with things of God, especially the instructions He gives us about children.

God’s Word never tells us to educate children in sex.  It tells us to instruct children in purity.  To guard their innocence.  To do nothing that might lead a child astray.

Here are some reasons why sex education – in or out of the church – is “child abuse.”

  1. “. . . [S]ex education is child abuse because it is ill-planned and poorly thought out, thus adding to the very problem it is trying to address and eroding the structure of a healthy family.”  (Douglas Gresham, step-son of C.S. Lewis and founder of Rathvinden Ministries, a ministry to post-abortive and abused women in Dublin, Ireland, in an e-mail to ezerwoman.)
  2. Early, explicit, and boy/girl sex education classes can steal the innocence of children and create mind absorbing images, conflicts, and preoccupations.  Boy/girl classes in sex education or “human sexuality” can be a form of desensitization that eventually strips away defenses and induces acceptance of alternative values.
  3. Sex education is taught in the “cool condition” of a classroom where children can say, “Yes, I’ll be smart,” but things change in “hot conditions.”  Children may be informed in the classroom but, because their pre-frontal cortex is not fully developed, they possess neither the reasoning skills nor good judgment necessary to take command over feelings or peer pressure in the heat of the moment.  (Dr. Miriam Grossman defines “cool” and “hot” conditions in her book, You’re Teaching My Child What?)
  4. Sex education removes the natural and protective covering of modesty.  After their sin, God covered Adam and Eve’s embarrassment with far more than a bikini.  He covered their shame with the promise of Christ’s Robe of Righteousness.  Putting boys and girls together in a classroom for an intimate discussion of “human sexuality” makes children vulnerable by stripping away modesty and stirring up self-awareness and curiosity.
  5. A goal of sex education is to get young people “comfortable with their bodies” or their “sexuality,” therefore, it should come as no surprise when scantily-clad girls approach the Lord’s Table much to the discomfort of pastors offering the Sacrament (or other gentlemen present).  Too many girls are no longer embarrassed but, indeed, “comfortable” with drawing attention to themselves at the mall, on the beach, socializing, or even in church.  In what way does this help a boy or man maintain chaste thoughts?  (A helpful resource is the Bible study Dressing for Life: Secrets of the Great Cover-up available from CPH Publishing.)
  6. Sex education is a utopian lie.  Secular sex education is built on the foundation of evolution and a worldview that opposes the Biblical worldview.  Instruction in purity is built on the Word of the Creator and Redeemer.  Christian educators may want children to grow comfortable with the beauty of God’s creation; to recover the Garden experience, but we’re not in the Garden anymore.  Sin changed our hearts and the way we look at one another.  Jesus says, “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19).  Do we better equip children to fight the battle with sexual immorality by telling them they are “sexual beings” – or immortal souls?  Captive to their sensual nature – or able to “control [their] own body in holiness and honor” (1 Thessalonians 4:4)?
  7. Christian sex education, most specifically, tantalizes the child; in other words, it presents something desirable to the view, but continually keeps it out of reach It gives children much information about sex and “sexuality,” but then tells them to wait for marriage until after college and an established career.  Does this seem cruel?
  8. Sex education may tempt into idolatry or self-worship.  It’s “my identity.”  It’s “my need.”  It’s “my right.”
  9. Sex education may, unintentionally, get adolescents “hooked,” but then leave them “unprotected.”  (Hooked by Joe McIlhaney, M.D. & Freda McKissic Bush, M.D.; Unprotected by Miriam Grossman, M.D.)
  10. Sex education might change a child’s attitude toward God.  No matter what our sin, God is always our Father; we are always His children in Christ.  But, if a child is given all manner of sexual information before he or she can make wise use of it in its proper time, then might the child ask, “What kind of loving God would create me with all these sexual desires and then tell me not to fulfill them?”  Have we set the child up for frustration and anger toward God?  Might the child ask, “What does it matter what I do if I am assured of Jesus’ love and forgiveness?”  Might a child re-define God according to his or her perspective of what is “right” or “wrong” depending upon the situation?

What words of hope are there for the Christian who has been deceived?  Who may have trusted sex education as something helpful for children?  If we have built on wrong foundation or passed on a half-truth or lie, there is hope!  King David sinned against God and hurt other people.  But, with broken and contrite heart, David acknowledged his sins to the Lord (Psalm 32:3-5).  He received God’s free grace and forgiveness.  Leaving sinful ways behind, we become a “vessel for honorable use” (2 Timothy 2:23).

In Christ, we are “vessels for honorable use.”  Wow!  This identity does indeed raise us above that of just a “sexual being.”  Imagine the change in thought.  Word.  Behavior.

(Excerpted from Faithfulness: One Child at a Time,
a work nearing completion by Linda Bartlett.
A PDF file is available at Issues. Etc., or Titus 2 for Life.)

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