WOULD YOU BE THIS LADY?

I have been thinking for some time about mentors in the ministry. As I thought about my life, I have hoped that I have been a help to some young ladies along the way. I have been thankful for those who have asked for advice and hoped they have used the advice they were given. After many years of experience in ministry as a pastor’s wife and counselor, I am humbled when I have an opportunity to help a younger pastor’s wife. I feel that so many pastor’s wives do not take the opportunity to help a younger woman get through some situations that would help her grow in the ministry.

Titus 2:3-5 says, “That the aged 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 younger women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

God instructs us as “aged women” to be a help to the “younger women.” God established these words to be heeded. As seasoned pastor’s wives, we need to learn to take the young ladies, mothers and young pastor’s wives under our wings and try to be a help to them. I know I was privileged, years ago when we first arrived on the mission field, that a seasoned pastor’s wife was willing to take me “under her wing” to help me learn how to follow God in obedience to the scripture. Many young ladies will not ask for help but we are certainly expected by God to help them whenever the opportunity comes our way. It would be great if we would be looking for opportunities of service to God in this area. Mentoring to these young ladies would certainly give them confidence in helping their husbands in ministry. Our daily experiences and what we have learned from the Word of God can be such a help to the younger pastor’s wives. Not only the younger pastor’s wives, but the Bible says, “the younger women.” This would certainly help the young couples in our churches to grow together in building strong homes as a testimony for the Lord.

Our lives should show a conduct of holy living to be the example to younger women who are believers. This example should be through wives of the “aged women” of deacons or leaders in the church. We are admonished to be careful with our tongues, not to be false in our conversation concerning fellow believers or even concerning unbelievers. Everything we say and do should come from holy living.

The phrase “Not given to much wine” refers to the same as Titus1:7, “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine…” Oliver B. Greene says, “There is no excuse for any spiritually minded person being confused over total abstinence from alcoholic beverages.” All of our lives should be blameless as we strive to live holy and honoring lives for God.
 
The young women are to be “sober” or wise. The main thought throughout these verses is to live a holy life before these “younger women,” teaching them to “love their husbands.” When women are taking care of their husbands and their children in their homes there is not much time for other things to occupy their lives.

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

To be discreet is to be sober or using wisdom. Making the right choices as we walk in the Christian life would be a great example for the “younger women” although the world has not made it very easy for our choices to be pure and holy. Most everything is made too small and clings to your body to show the curves that were meant for your husband’s eyes only. The words that come from our mouths should be said with kindness and with a bit of thought.

The word chaste means to be pure. I would like to write this quote from my friend, Francie Taylor, who wrote, Teachers of Good Things. She says, “A woman who is “chaste” has placed a high priority on living a holy life in order to bring honor and glory to the Lord. This means that she is determined to live a life of purity, one that is unpolluted and virtuous. She realizes that eventually, she will give an account of how she has lived and what she has chosen to do with her life. We are not able in and of ourselves to be holy, just as we are not able to save ourselves from sin. The Lord desires this quality to be woven into the fabric of our lives, thus the Holy Spirit enables us to become chaste. Some would find it easier to live an impure lifestyle, but just as sin can cripple or even destroy us, willful exposure to unholy living will always carry a very high price tag.”

As we are encouraged to be “keepers at home,” let us think for a moment on this. This does not mean that we are not to go out of the house, but we need to make sure that things are in order in our homes when we want to be participating in things outside of our homes. My husband was one that wanted a nice and neat home. This always made me feel good when I kept things orderly in our home. Everyone was happy! The wife that is said to be “good” is a great compliment in character. Ephesians 5:22-33 explains why it is important to be “obedient to their own husbands,” as they obey the scripture. We can never go wrong when we obey and surrender to the Holy Scriptures!

Let us all be challenged to look around us and see if there is someone who needs encouragement. God can use the “seasoned” Christian lady to help someone along the journey of life. Would you be that lady?  I have been thinking for some time about mentors in the ministry. As I thought about my life, I have hoped that I have been a help to some young ladies along the way. I have been thankful for those who have asked for advice and hoped they have used the advice they were given. After many years of experience in ministry as a pastor’s wife and counselor, I am humbled when I have an opportunity to help a younger pastor’s wife. I feel that so many pastor’s wives do not take the opportunity to help a younger woman get through some situations that would help her grow in the ministry.

Titus 2:3-5 says, “That the aged 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 younger women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

God instructs us as “aged women” to be a help to the “younger women.” God established these words to be heeded. As seasoned pastor’s wives, we need to learn to take the young ladies, mothers and young pastor’s wives under our wings and try to be a help to them. I know I was privileged, years ago when we first arrived on the mission field, that a seasoned pastor’s wife was willing to take me “under her wing” to help me learn how to follow God in obedience to the scripture. Many young ladies will not ask for help but we are certainly expected by God to help them whenever the opportunity comes our way. It would be great if we would be looking for opportunities of service to God in this area. Mentoring to these young ladies would certainly give them confidence in helping their husbands in ministry. Our daily experiences and what we have learned from the Word of God can be such a help to the younger pastor’s wives. Not only the younger pastor’s wives, but the Bible says the”younger women.” This would certainly help the young couples in our churches to grow together in building strong homes as a testimony for the Lord.

Our lives should show a conduct of holy living to be the example to younger women who are believers. This example should be through wives of the “aged women” of deacons or leaders in the church. We are admonished to be careful with our tongues, not to be false in our conversation concerning fellow believers or even concerning unbelievers. Everything we say and do should come from holy living.

The phrase “Not given to much wine” refers to the same as Titus1:7, “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine…” Oliver B. Greene says, “There is no excuse for any spiritually minded person being confused over total abstinence from alcoholic beverages.” All of our lives should be blameless as we strive to live holy and honoring lives for God.

The young women are to be “sober” or wise. The main thought throughout these verses is to live a holy life before these “younger women,” teaching them to “love their husbands.” When women are taking care of their husbands and their children in their homes there is not much time for other things to occupy their lives.

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

To be discreet is to be sober or using wisdom. Making the right choices as we walk in the Christian life would be a great example for the “younger women” although the world has not made it very easy for our choices to be pure and holy. Most everything is made too small and clings to your body to show the curves that were meant for your husband’s eyes only. The words that come from our mouths should be said with kindness and with a bit of thought.

The word chaste means to be pure. I would like to write this quote from my friend, Francie Taylor, who wrote, Teachers of Good Things. She says, “A woman who is “chaste” has placed a high priority on living a holy life in order to bring honor and glory to the Lord. This means that she is determined to live a life of purity, one that is unpolluted and virtuous. She realizes that eventually she will give an account for how she has lived and what she has chosen to do with her life. We are not able in and of ourselves to be holy, just as we are not able to save ourselves from sin. The Lord desires this quality to be woven into the fabric of our lives, thus the Holy Spirit enables us to become chaste. Some would find it easier to live an impure lifestyle, but just as sin can cripple or even destroy us, willful exposure to unholy living will alway carry a very high price tag.”

As we are encouraged to be “keepers at home,” let us think for a moment on this. This does not mean that we are not to go out of the house, but we need to make sure that things are in order in our homes when we want to be participating in things outside of our homes. My husband was one that wanted a nice and neat home. This always made me feel good when I kept things orderly in our home. Everyone was happy! The wife that is said to be “good” is a great compliment in character. Ephesians 5:22-33 explains why it is important to be “obedient to their own husbands,” as they obey the scripture. We can never go wrong when we obey and surrender to the Holy Scriptures!

Let us all be challenged to look around us and see if there is someone who needs encouragement. God can use the “seasoned” Christian lady to help someone along the journey of life. Would you be that lady?  


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THE SECOND TIME AROUND

If you have been around church planting for any length of time you have heard the phrase, “You have begun a work that only God can finish.” We have learned from many past experiences in church planting that there is a whole list of things that can go wrong if it is not being done God’s way. That is why this time whenever we were asked “Aren’t you excited?” we asked ourselves, “How come everyone else is so excited, and we are scared stiff?”

Actually, our fears were unfounded. We had learned a lot (and I mean a LOT) of lessons. The experience and knowledge that accompanies it proved to be a really nice asset. But knowledge and experience are not everything in church planting. In fact, without the Holy Spirit’s leading, they are nothing. That leads to the first lesson I learned; not just knew, but truly learned. It is this: I cannot help start a church. This is the number one most stress-relieving lesson I have learned. Even when performing at the top of my game, I fall far, far short of what it takes to help get a church off the ground. So I have stopped worrying if I have said just the right thing and done everything everyone thinks a pastor’s wife should do. What I do concern myself with is my daily walk with God. Am I bringing pleasure to Him? According to Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleaseure they are and were created.” THIS is the purpose for my existence. In turn, am I enjoying His presence? John 15:5 comes to life in church planting: without Him I can do nothing, but when I abide with Him I can do everything, including help plant a church. Why? Because when I abide in Him, in spite of all my weaknesses, I become a clean and useable vessel through which He can work.

Another lesson I found about church planting the second time around is that we are a lot older. With age comes a plethora of advantages. We have experience and with that comes some victories. We have a few failures too, but we have chosen to acknowledge them, learn from them, and go on with life. Truthfully, it is like being an incumbent with a good track record; people like knowing you are not a novice. Trust comes easier; respect comes sooner. There is a freedom to move ahead with the work that might not come for a while to a younger family.

We have also found mishaps do not bother us as much. We have seen it all or at least heard about it. For example, in our second week, we could not rent the hotel room that week so we were scheduled to meet in the senior center, which would have worked out great had someone shown up to unlock the doors and let us in! People started arriving. We greeted them and told them we were going to plan B: Church-in-the- Park pavilion, which also would have worked out all right had the group that reserved the pavilion not arrived to set up for a birthday party! Finally, about five minutes before church was to start a very apologetic man arrived with the keys and let us in. People were flying in every direction setting up. My husband recruited a “regular” (a.k.a. “a man who was there the first week”) to hand out bulletins while he set up the projector and arranged chairs. As it turned out, the nursery met in the wrong room, but, all in all, everyone remained perfectly calm, and we had a great day with several visitors that returned in the following weeks.

Lastly, the second time around we had time to learn from experiences—our experiences and those of others. We have learned what works and what does not—what is easy and effective (and by “easy” I mean it is always easier to do it right the first time) and what is hard and frustrating. We have learned that the key is to learn and never stop learning. We continue to learn. We have learned from experiences and learned from people. Sometimes those people have been much older than us. Sometimes they have been the age of our children. (Sometimes they have been our children!!)

Overall, we are glad to be starting all over again. We want to “occupy ‘til He comes” and we know of no better way to do that than to be instrumental in God’s “Hope for America” which is church planting.


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THE MIRROR OF GOD’S WORD

In November of 1213, our son Joel and his wife they were thankful for and one particular item made me think. On November 8th, Hudson (their five years old) said, “I am thankful that God gave us mirrors…. because if we didn’t have mirrors, we wouldn’t be able to see our faces to see the dirt and wash that.” I thought, “Out of the mouths of babes,” as the old saying goes! More importantly, I thought of the mirror of God’s Word. How do we see ourselves in the most important mirror? We should think every day about the reflection that we see in God’s Word. We need to be concerned with how God sees us.

Our pastor has been teaching in the book of James, and he said, “James 1:23 and 24 teaches us that the Bible is a pure book. It is perfect, and it only shows forth accurate images. It can show us what we are and then how to clean up to make us what we ought to be.” I am afraid that in this world in which we live, we often do not take to heart what the Bible is teaching us. When I was growing up, I was taught to obey the Bible. The Bible is a treasure that should not be neglected. It is a privilege to own God’s Word and to be able to open it freely every day. When we look in His Word, we should recognize the sin in our lives, although sometimes there is sin in our heart, that is not so easily recognized because it is something like the backsplash of a kitchen sink. If we are in our kitchen all day preparing a meal or baking for a special party, we sometimes overlook what might have been splattered around the sink area until we begin to put things away. Often, we might think…. Where did that come from? Sometimes sin is like this in our lives. We need to wash our “faces” often as Hudson said, “to get the dirt off.

I have been thinking more recently about the way Satan has been allowed to blind our eyes in so many ways. It has been a long time since I have heard the expression “worldly” used. It used to be that we could easily recognize the Godly things from the worldly things around us. As Christian ladies, I believe we need to keep our focus on how God looks at the things that we “want” to do or “are” doing. Have you taken a really good look at yourself lately? Does what you wear or how you act please God or do you overlook things because you like the way you feel about yourself?

The definition of a sanctuary is a “dwelling place.” Not long ago, I noticed a product from a well known cosmetic company called “Self-Sanctuary.” Our inside selves are the main concern for our spiritual well being. When I think of “self-sanctuary,” it immediately reminds me of my heart. Don’t get me wrong! Anyone who knows me knows I am all for looking our best at all times. But more importantly, we need to work on the inside. 1 Samuel 16:7b says, “…for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” This is a serious matter. I know some ladies that have changed their appearance to seemingly suit their friends instead of their Lord. What is happening? Did we have a conscience years ago as we were growing up with principles to live by and now it doesn’t matter? Something is desperately wrong here!! God looks on the heart and that is where our focus should be. If our heart is right, and we live as close to the principles we have learned from God’s Word as we can, then there would be no need for changing. I was talking to someone very dear to me not too long ago, and she said, “We are responsible to God for our actions!” I know that!! I also know that God’s Word does not change! I do not understand how ladies who have lived by the Word of God can change to live as the world and think they are _ne!!! Romans 14:13b says, “…that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s  way.” Each of our lives should be a testimony of the transformation in our lives through Christ.

So what mirror are we looking in? Are we looking to please God or man? Are we living the testimony of a consecrated life before others? As wives and mothers, let us please God to the best of our ability and live consecrated lives to bring glory to Him. When we do stand at the judgment seat of Christ, let us not be ashamed of how we lived before others, but let us be satisfied that we did all we could to please our Heavenly Father. Let us choose to look into the mirror of God’s Word every day and make our focus to count for Christ before God and man!

“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” James 1:23-24


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CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE

In God’s Word, we have a great example of a lady who had influence with several people. Have you ever thought of those you influence? The Proverbs 31 lady influenced one of the most important people in her life, her husband. In verse 11 and 12, this virtuous woman had great influence with her husband. “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” I do not think most of us wives realize how much we influence our husbands. I have heard my husband say, “I am a better Christian when my wife is with me.” My husband and I have always tried to do things together as much as possible. Most of our visitation is done together. Even with five children growing up in our home, we got a babysitter or traded off with another couple in our church to go visiting at different times. We do not have “date nights” because we are out quite a lot together. We find in verses 12 through 14 and verse 16 that this lady wanted to buy the very best for her family. Whether it was purchasing the finest fabric for clothing or “food from afar,” she wanted to know her family was getting the best attention she could give them. In verse 15 we find her getting up early to feed and care for her family and also taking care of her maidens. She surely had a significant influence on those who worked for her in her home.

This lady took excellent care of herself in verse 17. We notice that she was conscious of how she felt. She had to keep herself fit in order to take care of all those around her. We all know how it is; we are usually the first one up in the morning and the last to get into bed at night. And after all this time, we are as tired as can be and wonder how much longer we can keep going and the next morning the same thing happens again. I remember those days doing my part to help train our five children. It truly is a lot of hard work. As we see this lady doing so much for her family, we also see her passion for helping the poor. “Yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy…” (v. 20) She found time in all her busy life to make a meal or make a piece of clothing or who knows how much she did for others, but her influence covered a lot of people. My daughter was just saying to me that she is involved in so much at her church that she was going to have to give up something. She told her friend about this, and her friend said, “Oh, please don’t tell my daughters! They think you are marvelous with all that you do.” She said that really made her realize her influence on these young girls that they thought so much of her involvement at the church. Whom are we influencing?
 

In verse 21, “She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.” I have heard of this referring to the salvation of her household. She did not worry because she trusted the Lord for the care of her family. They are “clothed with scarlet,” with the blood of Jesus Christ. She did not need to worry. When I was in college, I heard a speaker say, “Safety is not the absence of danger, but the presence of God.” The Proverbs 31 This lady walked with God daily! She is found in verse 22 as a woman who always looked her very best! Again, in the next verse, she has taken good care of her husband, and he is “known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.” “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” She did not have to worry about how she looked to others. She was confident that she was doing her best as she served the Lord, her family, and others. This is followed by verse 26 which speaks of her wisdom. It seems that she was careful of how she spoke to others. “And in her tongue was the law of kindness.” She thought before she spoke. Whom are we influencing with our tongue? As we come to the end of this chapter in Proverbs, we can clearly see that she used her time wisely and there was no time for idleness in her life. Each of us can certainly learn a lot from this chapter in God’s Word. She influenced her children; they called her “blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” In verse 29, King Lemuel gave her a wonderful compliment, which I am sure she was not expecting. “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.” God is looking for servants with love and the ability to work hard to try to do their best for Him with an influence that will help family, friends or others. We can all do our best to be a good influence. A Sunday school teacher, bus worker, deacon’s wife, pastor’s wife, a mother or whoever we are, realize we influence someone! We never know who is watching us. Let us do our very best every day God gives us!! “Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” Proverbs 31:30-31


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