Saturday, October 30, 2010

Submission or Rebellion

This scrapbook page was done for Valentine's Day, Feb. 2007.

A few days ago, I was in a conversation with a couple women about submission, and its difficulty to respect our husbands’ decisions when we believe these decisions could cause problems in the near future. This led me to think about how Sarah (Genesis 12) must have felt when Abraham asked her to lie to the king that Abraham was her brother. In Genesis 20, this happened again, when Abraham was confronted with almost the same situation, and he lied to King Abimelech about his relationship with Sarah being his sister. At first, it baffled me that Scripture didn’t note Sarah’s response to Abraham’s lie. I can conclude that Sarah didn’t confront Abraham in front of the king, but I wondered if she may have gently and privately confronted Abraham’s actions and lie, especially before they came up with the plan. Abraham had a conversation with Sarah that since they were traveling on dangerous grounds, they can protect themselves by saying they are siblings. He admitted to telling Sarah, “This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, He is my brother. (Genesis 20: 13).

I am sure Abraham was fearful for their lives, and had forgotten that God was with him, and He was in control. Despite Abraham’s lack of faith, Sarah didn’t disobey her husband’s request, nor do I believe she confronted Abraham of this misleading. Abraham’s responsibility as a husband was to protect his family, and Sarah allowed him to lead and guide her. Sarah’s story is lesson for all women, because so many times, we find ourselves in judgement of our husbands’ spiritual downfall. Some of us express our displeasure with words, while some may show with their actions and expressions while being silent. Our husbands always sense these passive-aggressive ways, after all, we are created for them. In the case of Sarah, the Word tells us that Sarah was reproved, which means ‘set right’. Sarah was “set right” by Abimelech’s rebuke, and I believe she was “found to be right” because of her humble submission.

God was protecting Abraham and Sarah both times. Abraham didn’t need to tell lies, but Abraham needed to learn his lesson from God, not Sarah. We can be glad that Sarah didn’t take matters into her own hands, because she could have hindered God’s teachable lessons for Abraham. Perhaps this could all be training for the crucial moment when God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. (Genesis 22:2, Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.") God was able to refine him through these life lessons, and God must have been pleased that Sarah didn’t take matters into her own hands. (These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. I Peter 1:7)

Ken is a great leader for our family. I am forever grateful for a godly husband who takes his commission seriously, provide and protect his family. I may not see eye-to-eye in everything, but I am grateful that God gives grace to me when I fall short, and that grace is given more often than less.

Wives have the power to build and bless her home or pluck it down. (The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1) As Christian women, we are called to submit to our husbands, whether they are believers or not. It just seems, that no matter how aged we are, we all have to deal with dying to ourselves to one degree or another . (Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39). Do we want to be rebellious and unwanting to be subjected to our husbands like the world, or do we desire to be submissive, meek-spirited women that the Bible says we should be? It is much harder to strive to be the latter, but yet the world thinks the latter are the weaker women - the door mat. Hardly so!

I Peter 3:7, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” The goal of the marriage says it all here, becoming heirs together of the grace of life. The difficult, but attainable task will be to achieve it and then maintain it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Conversion Experience

Over a week ago, Ken and I were sitting in the living room while all our children were sitting at the dinning room table having a snack before bedtime. The conversation they were having caught my attention. Joshua, Aimee and Caleb were telling our youngest daughter, Rachel that she needed to accept Jesus to be saved and be able to go to heaven when she dies. As I was listening to the conversation, I was able to see Rachel’s face from the living room. I then heard her say, “I know Jesus.” But, I also saw some confusion.

I chose to not act on this conversation, but to wait and figure out what was God's best to handle this situation. Throughout the week, I wondered what Rachel must have thought. Ken and I have taught all of our children at home, biblically and academically. They have Bible as a subject that they study. We open our Bibles during devotion and reading times. During the day, I may even have Bible songs playing softly, or we may have a short worship time together. From birth, we have taught Rachel that Jesus loves her, and we believe she loves Him. She is receptive to our corrections, and has a desire obey Jesus. The 3 older children have all accepted and prayed to accept the Lord as their Savior at an early age.

It made me wonder if children born into a Christian home, where the Word of God is read and studied daily, would naturally accept the biblical teaching from their parents. Therefore, they'd accept the Lord as their Savior.

I'd like to pause here to note that Ken and I do not believe that children of Christian parents are automatically grandfathered into the Book of Life. There is no guarantee that children of Christian parents won’t fall away, nor does the promise of salvation guarantee a person not to fall away. But when we teach and train our children at home, we are taking and applying God’s commands and promises by faith (Deuteronomy 6:5-9, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”, Proverbs 2:26, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”), which in this case means faithful covenantal parenting, just as the promises of salvation assume that one is applying scripture’s promises by faithful living. Of course, believing parents can fail to pass on the covenantal blessings, like the generation that followed Joshua (Judges 2:10, “Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and said, "Because this nation has violated the covenant that I laid down for their forefathers and has not listened to me”), and they can raise their children to worship idols (Ezekiel 16:20, “And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough?” ). From the Word, God wants believing parents to be faithful in parenting their children. That is why a qualification for church leaders is to have faithful children. (I Timothy 3:4-5, “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?”)

Ken and I discussed over this issue Saturday night. On Sunday morning, the church had a baby dedication (I call it parents’ dedication), where we took an oath to faithfully teach and train our 2 year-old in the admonition of the Lord. After the parents’ dedication, the church had a deacon in-training of the church share his testimony. His testimony was only a few minutes long, but it was revealing to me. He grew up in a Christian home where he always knew the Lord. He vaguely recalled giving his life to Christ around the age of 5 or 6, but he had always loved the Lord and served Him all his life. I know this man and his wife a little because they attend the same Sunday School class. They have struggled much financially this past year or two. He has lost his job and is still waiting for God’s provision for another job. In the meantime, he and his wife work part time as it becomes available. They also have grown sons who are faithfully serving the Lord. The couple have not turned their backs from their faith, but they are living it out on a daily basis.

A friend of mine shared this with me: Jack Hayford said in one of his Bible studies many years ago, that he had two young ladies that came to the Lord around the same time. One girl had many baggage to overcome, while another didn’t have as much, the girl with less baggage God was able to use her in the ministry sooner, while the other had to sort through her struggles before she was able to be used by God. So children that grew up knowing the Lord early is an advantage for the kingdom of God. I am in no way saying that my children will be without baggage and sin to deal with, they will indeed, and are struggling with their sin nature now, lying, stealing, disobedience, impatience, etc. My children are still in training, and even though by imperfect parents, with God’s help and parental commitment, the children can be used mightily and powerfully when they are grown.

I took the time this morning to talk with Rachel about Jesus' love for her and asked her if she would like to ask the Lord to personally live in her heart and help her live her life for Him. She right away wanted us to pray for her. I consider it pure joy and an honor to be able to celebrate this moment with her. Her conversion experience was sweet and peaceful.

My prayer is that our children will not only have the knowledge and wisdom of God’s Word and His promises, but they will experience a faith that is true, beautiful, and fulfilling so they will never want to depart for the worldly idols.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Here I Go

I've been contemplating on starting a blog about my life for a couple of years now. I wanted a place where I can journal my thoughts and experiences so close friends and family can read and be updated. I had even started a simple web site with the name, Lessons By Grace over a year ago, but it was very simple and I still needed to learn how to do many other things. After Ken helped me with the building of this site, I was still hesitant. I do not expect hundreds to be reading my blog, only just a couple of handfuls, the ones closest to me that desire to know what is going on in my life, but I still considered this undertaking seriously. I realized that a blog is more than just writing in a notebook everyday. My writing will be on the world wide web and anyone can read my entries. I knew what I write in this blog, I am accountable to the Lord for it. Words are important and once published and read by others, it cannot be taken away. Someday, I'd like to share this blog with my children, in hopes they will appreciate the effort. So with the approval of Ken, some nervousness and excitement, I will begin this new adventure.