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Posts Tagged ‘promise’

woman reading bibleA young friend of mine is excitedly planning her wedding.  She confesses, “I’m so happy but, at the same time, so impatient.  I just want the day to come.”

It’s a fact of life that we must often wait for the good things that our hearts desire.  But impatience while we wait is such a waste of time.

So here is a challenge to my young friend and to myself.  Let us turn our impatience into anticipation.  Let us use today as an opportunity to anticipate every good and perfect gift that God holds for tomorrow.

Let us open our eyes to the wonder of God.  He not only gives us good things worth waiting for, He gives us hours and days to prepare and dream.

And long after the good things have come, He gives us memories to ponder.

For my young friend, however, God has even more than memories in store.  He has new days to be lived as the wife of her husband.  As his partner.  His friend.  His helper, encourager and advocate.  Together, they will dream more dreams.  Make plans.  Build.  They will frustrate and disappoint one another.  But together, every moment of impatience can be transformed into a time of anticipation.

Anticipation is hope.  Hope for goodness, mercy and positive change.  And hope in the God of life never fails.

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The word “male” (Genesis 1:27), from the Hebrew word zakar, could be translated: “the remembering one.  Isn’t this a strange description for the male?   What is it that God wants man to remember?

God’s wants man to remember His Story (history).  His instructions for life.  His warnings away from death.  Just as Adam passed on God’s Word to Eve, so is man to pass on God’s Word to his family today — sons, daughters, grandsons, and granddaughters.  Whoa.  Stop.  Adam passed on God’s Word to Eve?

Based on Genesis 1:27, I used to assume that God made man and woman at the same time.  That God instructed them both not to eat of the one tree.  That in choosing to do so, they would know good and evil… and die.  I was ignorant of God’s Word.  I was guilty of reading one passage, but not another.  God uses the first part of Genesis, chapter 2, to give more detail on His creation.  God didn’t create man and woman at the same time — or in the same way or for the same purpose.  Eve had not yet come to be when God gave the man His instructions for life and warnings against death.  She learned of God’s Word from man.  And, in God’s order of things, she would be privileged to help him remember it.  Trust it.  Use it.

One day, Satan slithered right past the man to deceive the woman.  The twister of Truth knew that Adam was entrusted with the responsibility of remembering God’s Word so he flattered the woman.  Put her in the role of leader.  Perhaps intoxicated by this attention, she disobeyed God and doubted His Word.  In doubt, she was foolishly emboldened to not only speak for God but add her own words as if they were His.  Eve’s words should have been to her husband.  She should have beseeched him to remember God’s Word and use it to engage the enemy.  Instead, she chose to tempt man to also eat of forbidden fruit.   Adam could have resisted.  Turned Satan on his tail.  But, failing to remember God’s Word and use it, the man was ill-equipped to cover his wife.  Lead away from danger.  God held man responsible because he failed to remember.  To act.  To engage the liar with Truth.  To bring order out of chaos.

It all could have ended there.  But, God’s love for His creation endures forever.  He promised that another Man would come.   The Man who would remember the Word and use it to cover every sinful man, woman, and child.  That Man is the Word.  The Word sent from the Father to be the Savior from sin.  In Jesus Christ, man has new opportunity to remember the Word and use it.  And woman remains privileged to help man remember.

How does she do this?

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tear it down (Proverbs 12:1).

She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life . . . she opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue . . . the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Proverbs 31).  (Note: She deserves to be praised not because she is so amazing, but because she is not deceived by the world.*)

She is reverent in behavior, not a slanderer or slave to much wine.  She teaches what is good, and so trains the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands [as to God], that the word of God may not be reviled (Titus 2:3-5).

Even if her husband doesn’t obey the Word, she may win him by her behavior when he sees her respectful and pure conduct . . . when she lets her adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious . . . likewise, her husband lives with her in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since she is an heir with him of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:1-7).  (No offense here!  God expresses care, not disrespect, for women because physically, women are typically smaller in size and weaker in strength which could make them vulnerable to abuse.  Husbands are not to exploit their size and strength in unkind ways.*)

A husband needs a wife who will patiently help him remember God’s Word.  Use it and pass it on.  On this earth, there is no more powerful union — for the benefit of children.  Society.  A future of hope.

*With appreciation for commentaries
from The Lutheran Study Bible

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Experts in New Zealand praise the healthy habit of self-control.  Those with common sense respond, “Well, duh!”

New scientific research shows that if adults cultivate the practice of self-control — starting early — in children, a great many could be saved from addictions, poverty, and crime.  Isn’t that just like scientific evidence?  Always lagging behind but, when pure, testifying to God’s order of creation.

This ezerwoman is a better helper — of men, children, and society — when I practice self-control.  Lest I forget (or resist), God consistently reminds me to be “self-controlled.”  The books of 1 and 2 Timothy refer to the virtue of “self-control” at least four times.  At least five times, the book of Titus instructs older men and women to practice and mentor “self-control.”  There’s good reason.  Self-control glorifies God.  It can result in more hopeful consequences.  It can even reduce depression

Self-control is the opposite of living our lives however we please.  Doing whatever makes us “happy.”  Insisting that our “needs” be met.  Serving self over others.   Perhaps this is what happens when times are good.  We give ourselves license… for whatever, whenever.   We have (in my American lifetime) “lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence” (James 5:5).  For sure, it is what happens when women are encouraged to let their emotions rule.

But, encouraging girls and young women to let their emotions rule has not made them happy.  It is widely reported, writes Dennis Prager, that women suffer depression at twice the rate of men.  If the clinical assumptions are true, Prager suggests that we consider the following:

“Wise cultures have learned that happiness is attained only when we conquer our nature.  This is true for male and female.  With modern feminism, however, came a belief in the superiority of the female nature.  The result?  Society was urged to suppress both the negative and positive aspects of the male nature with little or no suppression of the female nature.  Historically, societies and parents have always known it’s a good thing to teach boys to control two aspects of their male nature — their sexual desires and their predilection for violence.  Decent men were taught from youth to touch a woman sexually only with her permission and to channel physical aggression into sports or into helping fight evil by joining the police force or military.  Men who didn’t learn to control these aspects of male nature not only became bad men, but unhappy men.”

He continues, “Societies and parents also knew it was important to help girls control their natures — in particular, their predilection to be ruled by their emotions.  Women who allowed their emotions to rule them not only became destructive (to members of their families first and foremost), they became unhappy women.  But, while modern society continued to teach boys to control themselves, it stopped teaching girls to do so.  Girls’ emotions and feelings were treated as inherently valuable.  In fact, to repress a girl’s emotions or feelings was labeled ‘sexist’ and showed a ‘hatred of women.’ ”  (Excerpted from “Wanted by women: A few good old-fashioned men” by Dennis Prager, The Washington Times, 6-30-08)

Hmmm.  I’m reminded of the woman who showed up at an abortion clinic.  Why?  “He kissed me and I melted.  I was filled with passion and couldn’t help myself.  Now, I’m pregnant and must take control of my body.”

Lack of self control + unhappy woman = desperation and hopelessness.  Ugh.

There is another choice.   Mature men and women can be examples of self-control and mentor younger ones to do the same.  There is promise in such practice: Hope for living out our lives in anticipation of Jesus’ return (Titus 2).

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Last year, in Arizona, I was asked by a friend from Canada to have lunch with the daughter of her friend.  My Canadian friend knew about my involvement in Lutherans For Life and Word of Hope.  She knew a little bit of why Titus 2 for Life grew out of my experiences with women grieving after an abortion.  She also knew that her friend’s daughter was interested in starting some sort of caring ministry for women in her area who were affected by their abortions.

So, under a canopy of blue sky, two older and two younger women gathered around an informal table.  We were there to imagine:  What could be done to welcome, encourage, and heal with the amazing love of Jesus?  It was easy to see the passion in Tessie, the woman who desired to begin a post abortion group.  She wore a genuine heart on her sleeve.  But, more than the passion and heart was her conviction and the courage to speak the Truth  For, you see, without the truth, the passion and heart would not bring hope.

I offered my assistance and prayers to Tessie.  We parted ways, but promised to stay in touch by e-mail.  We have.  Tessie is accountable with her “reports” to me and a few trusted others.

In the spring, Tessie started her first group for post abortive women.    By the end of September, she had led three groups.  All of this was done by word of mouth and little posters in area churches.

I asked Tessie about the diversity of the women.  She replied,

“There have been 18 women from the three groups that I’ve led.  They range in ages from 28 to 60+.  The women are mostly Caucasian, with one Hispanic and two African Americans.  Seven are single.  Three are divorced.  Eight are married.  All of the women claim to be Christians.  Three of the women married the father of their aborted child, but one [of those] divorced years later.  Five have had multiple abortions.  Two were late term.”

The eighteen women that Tessie has encircled remind me of the women God has placed in my life.

At last count, 24 of my friends, relatives, or acquaintances have shared their abortion experience with me.  Many of these are women who came up to me after I had finished speaking about Biblical manhood and womanhood.  One woman admitted that was the only reason she could attend the event.  She said, “If you had come to speak about abortion, I wouldn’t have showed up.  But, I was curious about living as a Biblical woman.”  She went on to explain, “When you shared the story of your friend who had an abortion, how did you know?  You were speaking to me.  That was my story.”

Of the 24 women in my “circle” who have suffered an abortion, 18 are Lutheran.  Two are the wives of Lutheran pastors.  At least three have had more than one abortion.

One of the women is someone I’ve known a long time.  We’ve traveled different paths and, because of that, our experiences have resulted in very different consequences.  One day, quite unexpected, she shared a receipt from Planned Parenthood that she keeps in her billfold.  She also shared a cut-out picture of a little girl that, she explained, may have looked like her daughter.  God has done a healing work on this woman.  She will live with the regret the rest of her life but, every morning, she looks in the mirror to see the Robe of Jesus’ Righteousness wrapped securely around her.

Another woman and I nearly lost our friendship after her abortion.  I think it was the first time I realized how divisive the double-edged Sword of God’s Word really is.  She knew she was living on the wrong side of the Sword, but had to defend herself.  In time, that Sword pierced through the denial to change the heart and mind of a beautiful and forgiven woman.  This friend has motivated me to make myself available to women everywhere — through speaking, writing, and the Titus 2 for Life ministry.

To all of these women, God has Words of promise:

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.  I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound . . . to comfort all who mourn . . . to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes.

(Psalm30:5b; 32:3-5; Isaiah 61:1-3)

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