Archive for May, 2014

How to Deal With Idols of Our Hearts

What a joy it is to have a personal relationship with our wonderful Lord, but sometimes we allow idols of our hearts to break our fellowship with Him, and He refuses to listen to our prayers.

Read Ezekiel 14:1-8. What an enlightening portion of Scripture. A group of elders went to Ezekiel to ask God for something. These elders seem to be questioning Ezekiel’s authority with God. Ezekiel sees deep into their hearts and sees their idols of self-will and unsubmissiveness and tells them that God will not listen to their requests because of these idols.

Ladies, the same thing can happen to us. When we allow idols to develop in our hearts, God will not hear our prayers. What are some of the idols that can develop in our hearts?

Pride: Isaiah 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

Pride can manifest itself in many different ways. Disobedience to authority is often a matter of pride. We don’t want anyone to tell us how to live or how to run our lives. We have our rights.

Physical Idols: Exodus 20:3-5a “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:…”

You may be inclined to say, “Oh, we don’t have any graven images in our homes.” Are you sure? A physical idol is anything that distracts you from focusing on God. A television can become a physical idol. You spend more time watching television than you do thinking about God. Other idols could be your job, your home, your telephone, your social networking,  your car…anything you put between you and God becomes an idol.

Self: Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [food, shelter and clothing] shall be added unto you.”

When a person places his own needs and desires ahead of what the Lord wants, those needs and desires becomes idols. The major cause of conflict is when one person feels his desire has not been met. When other people fail to meet his desire, he fights harder to get his way. If he doesn’t get his desire met, that desire begins to control him, and it becomes an idol.

Entertainment: Colossians 3:17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Is all your entertainment God-honoring? Does it take all your time and money? Do you place things above serving and obeying God? You think nothing of spending $20.00 on a new DVD or CD, yet you refuse to put $20.00 in the offering when your Pastor asks for a special offering. You think nothing about spending your time doing what you want to do, but you don’t have time to send a card, check on a shut-in, or invite a lonely member to share a holiday with you.

Personal Opinions: Mark 7:8, 9, 13 “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

The Pharisees made their own standards (opinions) into idols. They valued their own traditions above God’s laws. Many Christians allow their personal opinions dictate the way they interpret the Bible. They will not allow God or any Christian leader tell them anything.

Hatred and Bitterness: Ephesians 4:26, 27 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”

There are some people who must constantly be mad at someone or something. When a person harbors bitterness, it destroys him. If you are a person who struggles with the idol of bitterness, try sincerely praying for the other person that you are bitter against.

Fear and Worry: Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Fear is a type of pride. People hold onto their fears, because fear gives them comfort over what they can control. Fear keeps people from refusing to step out in faith and follow the Lord. Fear makes a person want to control his own life and not allow the Lord to be in control.

The following are two ways you can choose to deal with idols:

First Way:
Trust God and seek fulfillment in Him.
Psalms 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. (This is my life verse)

Ask the Lord to help you and continue to grow spiritually no matter what anybody else does.
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Continue to love and pray for the other person.
1 John 4:19-21 We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Seek the things of God. Place your desires and affections on things that will last for eternity. Live for Him and not for yourself.
Colossians 3:1-3 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

Second Way:
Dwell on your disappointment.
• Allow your desires and disappointments to control your life.
• Allow self-pity and bitterness rule in your heart.
• Destroy your relationship with the people who disappointed you.
• Break fellowship with others and God.

The choice is up to you!

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

We confess our faults to God for forgiveness, and we confess our faults to each other for healing. So Ladies, here it goes…

A few weeks ago, while my husband was teaching a Sunday school lesson, he lost his place and began reading in the wrong chapter. Because of my pride and not wanting him to look bad (because that would make me look bad), I blurted out the place where he should be. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, the Holy Spirit smote my heart, “Who do you think you are? You not only publicly embarrassed your husband and usurped authority over him, but you usurped authority over your pastor.” After services and being under deep conviction for what I had done, I  went to my husband and asked him to forgive me.

In most of the churches that we have attended or ministered during our Christian life, women have been allowed to speak their voice in church and business meetings. After the Holy Spirit convicted me of my error that day, I began to study about women speaking out in the early church, and should women be allowed to speak out in church business meetings. After studying many Scriptures, and the Lord leading me to different writings of Godly men, I have come to a strong conviction that the business of the church should be handled by the elders  and pastors of the church.

As a woman, I am very aware of my emotional makeup. During previous years of ministry, I am so glad that my husband did not always listen to me when I gave him my “unasked for advice” about church matters. If he had listened to my emotional opinions and not listened to the Lord, the church would have suffered serious consequences.

One morning my husband and I were visiting with a well-known evangelist. He began sharing with us about different church problems he faced in his travels. He made a statement that astounded me, “Judy, I have noticed that almost all church problems begin with a woman.” Men will go home and share a new direction for the church with their wives. One wife will disagree with the decision—watch out—soon   there will be full blown problems in the church!

In 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul says, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man.”

One writer said, “A bossy woman is as much a monstrosity as an effeminate man.”

I came across this article, and it is very thought provoking.

Should Women in the Church Attend Business Meetings? Written by W.R. Jones  Conroe, Texas

As the Women’s Movement grows in the world about us it is having its effect on some ladies in the church. I was recently confronted with this question by a Christian who worships with a congregation where sisters attending business meetings is a fairly common practice. I am told they attend and speak out concerning their views. The first thing this practice tells me is that sisters who attend and so exercise themselves do not properly understand their role in the kingdom, or they have no respect for God’s and vine arrangement. The second thing this practice tells me is that brethren who allow it are either poorly informed of women’s role in the New Testament, or they have lost their courage to speak against such conduct. In either case, it is an indicator of spiritual decline.

On the basis of what I see and hear, I fear some ladies in the church think the Women’s Movement as seen in the world has liberated them from the role assigned by our Lord in the New Testament. We must not judge the church by the standards of the world. I freely admit that faithful sisters in the congregation have a right to know what the church is trying to accomplish. I would readily listen to and respect their sound counsel. But this can be effectively accomplished without women pushing themselves into a “leadership” position in church decisions.

I do not question the “value” of faithful women in Christ Jesus. Dorcas assisted the needy (Acts 9:36). Priscilla and her husband taught a young preacher in the right way (Acts 18:18). Phebe and Mary were commended for their assistance to Paul in the gospel (Rom. 16:1,6). Women were waiting in prayer following the ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:14). In Philippians 4:3 Paul said, “Help those women who labored with me in the gospel.”

As a young preacher, I kept preaching appointments where there would have been no congregation, except for the faithful sisters. I have won battles for truth on some occasions only because faithful women backed me. Godly women have done much to encourage, mold, and shape me, for a half-century of effective preaching, Don’t try to tell me they are not valuable. But the truth remains, the Lord did not put them in places of leadership. Men and women are equal in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28), but they are not equal in their role assignments. Women were not assigned leadership responsibilities in kingdom matters.

What Can a Woman Do in the Worship?

She can do anything a man can do – except take the lead. She can sing, pray, commune, contribute, and study-anything but take the lead. Women’s rights to equality in worship is not to be questioned. But dominion over and teaching men publicly is forbidden. Why is this so?

1. God so commanded (1 Cor. 14:23-35)

2. Adam was first created, then Eve (1 Tim. 2:13). There was no woman among the apostles, the seventy, elders, deacons, preachers and evangelists in the New Testament. But, women must not feel badly about this. They have been vindicated by the Lord. The word “mother” has elevated her above all in another role (v. 15).

Yet, a sister may ask, “Is there nothing else for me? Can I do nothing but quietly sit in the assembly and praise God?” If this were all, it would still be an honor, but God has not limited your duties to simply that.

Woman and Her Work in the Church Daily

Women are commanded to teach. But, what about 1 Timothy 2:12? Of course, she is not to usurp authority. She is not to push her way into the lead. Older women are to teach the younger. They are to teach the younger women to be good wives (Tit. 2:3-5). They are permitted to teach privately (Acts 18:26). Sisters can teach classes of children or other women. They can teach their neighbors. Many individuals, male and female, have been converted by women. Women would do the church a great service if they would teach our young ladies to be proper wives for elders, deacons, and preachers. You can’t believe how many elders, deacons, and especially preachers I have known whose labor was greatly hindered by a wife whose heart and conduct was not in his work. Sisters, you can visit the sick and shut-ins at home or in the hospital, help the needy, and like Dorcas, you could even make a garment.

Female Christians, ask yourselves these questions.

1. Am I an asset or a liability in the church?
2. Am I a help or a hindrance to the work?
3. Do I add strength and character to the church?
4. Is my daily life an influence for good?
5. Am I daily growing in grace and knowledge?
6. Have I led anyone to Christ? Am I even trying?
7. By my attendance and interest, am I giving encouragement to the young converts and the unsaved?

Let me proudly say, “God bless our righteous women!”

Guardian of Truth XXXV: 9, p. 265   May 2, 1991

 

 

Ways Fathers Can Inspire Their Children 

• Set an example for them. Rather than teaching children with words alone, show your children what needs to be done by setting an example. If you are hardworking and responsible, this teaches your children to be hard working. They will look up to you and will want to emulate you.

• Treat their mother with kindness and respect. Children become very attached to their mothers as they grow up. If you do not treat their mothers with respect, they probably will not respect you or be inspired by you.

• Spend time with them. Fathers who are absent most of the time from their children’s lives do not make much of an impact on them. Spend time with them by helping them with their homework, playing games with them, driving them to their activities, getting to know what they like,  and finding out who their friends are.

• Encourage them with praise. Go easy on the criticism.  When you push your children to do more than they are able to do and criticize them because they do not live up to your expectations, it will dampen their enthusiasm.

• Teach them right from wrong: When children see that you don’t lie, cheat or treat people badly, they will pick up these traits. Be an inspiration to them by showing them how they should want to live their lives and treat their children someday.

What Will Be Your Legacy?

Max Jukes lived in the state of New York. He did not believe in Christian training. He married a girl with his same convictions.  From this union there were 1,026 descendants.  Out of this family, 300 died prematurely, 100 were sent to the penitentiary for an average of 13 years each, 190 were public prostitutes, 100 drunkards and the family cost the state $1,200,000.00. They made no contribution to society.

On the other hand…

Jonathan Edwards lived in the same state.  He believed in Christian training.  He married a girl with his same convictions. From this union there were 729 descendants. Out of this family, there were 300  preachers, 65 college professors, 13 university presidents, 60 authors of good books, 3 United States congressmen and 1 vice-president of the United States, (except for Aaron Burr, a grandson of Edwards who married a woman of questionable character), the family has not cost the state a single dollar.

What was the difference in the two families?  Christian training in youth and heart conversions.