Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wise up! Don't be a Scoffer!

Proverbs 9:7-9 "He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.  Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will be still wiser;  Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning."

My natural tendency when reading this passage of scripture is to focus on the obvious;  knowing who to offer correction to and who to leave alone.  But, that seems fairly self explanatory here.  Instead, I'd like to ask a question;  Are you a scoffer or are you wise?  How do you take correction?  Let's look at this from both standpoints.

The scoffer (also called "wicked man") - The scoffer or "scorner" is one who mocks, scorns, derides, or boasts so as to express utter contempt.  When the "scorner" is confronted by godly counsel for correction, instruction, or pleading to turn back from sin, she will fly off the handle and is too rebellious to listen.  She may lash out with anger, hurtful words, and sometimes will even resort to physical force.  Or maybe she outwardly smiles and nods, but inside she is fuming.  She often knows the truth, but refuses to listen to it.  She has set in her mind her own "form" of the truth and nothing will sway her from her faulty thinking.  The scoffer will not receive correction, therefore cannot gain wisdom and understanding and will not have spiritual growth.   According to Proverbs 24:9, the scornful is condemned as an abomination and Psalm 1:1 shows that this activity is absolutely against the law of the Lord.  We are told to not even sit in the seat of the scornful, let alone practice such behavior.  This is no laughing matter. We are hurting ourselves, and all those we love when we do not listen to godly counsel.  This passage isn't talking about criticism from just anybody, it is referring to correction that comes from the Word of God, often through the mouth of a godly person.  When someone urges you to turn from sin, do you fight it?  Do you lash out in anger and frustration?  Do you put up your rebellious walls even further around your heart?  Then you, my friend, are in the category of the scoffer.  I've been there, and it's not a pretty place.  It is truly an abomination and will affect not just you, but everyone around you.  It brings shame upon any who attempt to help you.  Before long, they will realize that you are in this category and that they can no longer bring correction before you.  They will quit reaching out.   Don't be a scoffer!

The wise (or just) - A wise person is one who is skilled or experienced in living.  She is one who learns as she goes and allows her experience to grow her instead of inhibit her.  She loves learning, knowing that it is the only way to gain understanding.  She sees the blessing of godly counsel, and is not easily lied to.  When a person confronts her with godly counsel, she is eager to hear them out.  This person craves instruction and guidance and will take the time to hear what has been said and weigh it seriously against God's Word.  This is the place I have learned to reside.  I need godly women in my life that are not afraid to confront me if I'm heading out to left field.  I have also learned that not all counsel is accurate against God's Word, but that does not mean I make a scene or scoff at the one bringing it to me.  Instead, I take it to heart and search the scriptures for the truth to see what I am missing.  It is an opportunity to step out of my box, take off the blinders, and search for the truth.  Proverbs 11:14 says "Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety."  If you only listen to one voice, and then fail to check it against the scriptures, and scoff at everyone else, then you are in grave danger.  However, when we listen to a multitude of counselors, take what they say and hold it up to the light of the WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, then we will be in the safety of wisdom.

So, which one will you choose to be?  Scoffer or Wise?  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

How Far Will You Go?

Why do we run from God?  Why is it that we know what we are supposed to do, but we do the exact opposite instead?  Jonah was a highly regarded prophet of God among the Hebrews in the Old Testament.  God told him to go Nineveh and tell them of their sin and that God wanted to show mercy to them.  He was to share God and urge this city to repent of their wickedness.  Instead, Jonah runs in the other direction, beginning a downward spiral into rebellion against God.

First, he goes DOWN to Joppa and found a ship getting ready to sail out to Tarshish.  Then, he went DOWN into the boat. (1:3)  His purpose in fleeing to Tarshish was to escape from the presence of the Lord according to the end of verse 3.  Then in verse 5 of chapter 1, we see that he goes DOWN to the lowest part of the ship to go to sleep.  When a huge storm rages and the mariners discover that it is because of Jonah, he tells them to throw him DOWN into the sea.  They do and Jonah sinks DOWN into the depths of the sea as the waters billow over him.  DOWN, DOWN, DOWN he goes, sure that his life is over.  Isn't that exactly the way we run from God?  One step at a time, each one taking us farther and farther away from God.  At any time along this path, Jonah could have stopped, repented, and turned back to God's task for him.  But each step of the way he gets deeper and deeper into his rebellion until it seems there is no hope of return.  Chapter 2 verse 2 tells us that Jonah was literally "deep in the world of the dead" (Sheol) in his attempt to flee from God's presence.  

According to Psalm 139:8, however, even in the depths of Hell you cannot escape the presence of God.  God sent the protection of a fish to swallow Jonah up from the depths.  After 3 days go by, and Jonah realizes that he's not dead yet, finally he prays to God and says that he will turn back to Him.  We could spend an entire blog analyzing his prayer, but that's not what I want to focus on today.  I want us to take a look at our life, our marriages, our families, our ministries, our walk with God.  Are you at the beginning of a downward spiral, or are you deep in the pits of Sheol?  Do you spend time feeding yourself with the Word of God every day?  Do you talk to Him on a regular basis?  Are you choosing to love your husband even when you don't feel loved?  Are you spending time nurturing your children?  Do you share God's love with that person that you think is too far gone?  Do you obey God in every area of your life, or are you living life for yourself?  IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO TURN AROUND!  

Don't be a Jonah.  Don't wait until "your soul faints" before calling out to God. (2:7) How much heartache Jonah could have avoided had he simply turned back the ship.  Open God's word right now and start reading!  Talk to God, repent for whatever sins have you spiraling down into the depths.  GET OFF THE SHIP!  God wants to work through you, He has a perfect plan for your life.  You just have to be willing to get off the boat, and turn back to Him!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Are You Trustworthy?

Proverbs 31 tells of the lifelong journey of the virtuous wife.  This passage is one that so many Christian women, including myself, look to for guidance on how to be the wife she is called to be.  Today, I want to look at just one aspect of being a godly wife.

"The heart of her husband safely trusts her;" Proverbs 31:11. 

So let me ask you, are you trustworthy?  Can your husband safely trust you?  
You may say, "Of course he can trust me!  I've never cheated on him!"

Being trustworthy in your marriage is a whole lot more than just remaining physically faithful to your husband.  

Be trustworthy in your finances:  Do you go shopping and hide the total from your husband?  Are you careful to find deals, or do you just buy whatever you want, regardless of the cost?  Do you respect his leadership enough to talk to him before you make a large purchase, or even a small one?  People have often scoffed at the fact that I ask "permission" from my husband to spend money, especially when I run a business and make my "own" money.  It's not at all that I have to get permission, but I desire that my husband can safely trust me and this requires me to not keep secrets from him in our finances.  He knows that when I do go shopping, I am extremely frugal whether they are needs or wants. And there is no "our own" money.  We are one, and every penny goes to the unit, not one individual.  

Be trustworthy with his emotions:  Can your husband share how he really feels about something without worrying about you criticizing him?  Even worse, is he afraid that you'll complain about him to you parents or your friends?  One of the greatest things you can do as a wife is to create a safe environment for your husband to vent out his deepest emotions.  When you allow him the freedom to speak his heart to you with complete assurance that you will think no less of him, that you won't nag him, and that it's not going to create a huge argument, then his heart can safely trust you.

Be trustworthy in your relationships:  Most women lump trust and jealousy together and view it only in light of physical infidelity.  "I don't know why he's so jealous, I've never cheated on him? He can trust me!"  Here's the thing, you don't have to physically cheat on your man to break his trust.  Do you flirt with other men?  Do you dress provocatively?  Do you allow other men to meet needs that you think you should be getting from your husband? Allow me to give an example.  If there is another man who sings your praises and tells you how great you are all the time, RUN!  Be careful in your relationships with other men.  Make sure that your relationships are above reproach.

So, how trustworthy are you?  Are you a woman whose husband can safely trust?  If not, stop what you are doing right now and talk to your husband.  Ask him for forgiveness, and go to God together to repent and seek His help to heal the broken trust.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

"You Complete Me"

What does it mean when God said He would make a "help meet" or "helper" for Adam?  Does it imply that women are less important or insignificant?  Does it mean that man is weak and can't make it without a woman?  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  In Genesis 2 we see a glimpse of perfect life in the garden. God placed Adam in the garden, told him to tend to it, and put him in charge of naming the animals.  As he is going about this job, God decides that man needs a "help meet".  These words in the Hebrew are "ezer" and "neged" and involve the wife being a perfect opposite or counterpart to her husband in a helping role that is absolutely necessary.  A counterpart is something that closely resembles something else, it fits with or completes the function of the other item.  This is how I visualize this day in my romanticized imagination.  As Adam begins to name the animals, he notices a trend, as two by two they walk by for their turn to receive a title.  Male and female, male and female, walking together in beautiful fellowship.  As Adam watches this, he starts to see a pattern.  All these animals have a partner, someone to share their specific life with. Next, we see God say,  "It is not good that man should be alone.  I will create a helper and counterpart for him."  He sends Adam into a deep sleep, takes a rib from the side of man, and begins to work.  As Eve emerges from the perfectly skilled hands of her Creator, Adam utters the three words that every woman dreams of hearing..."you complete me".  Ladies, do you fully understand the magnitude of your creation?  Do you fully comprehend the purpose you have in your marriage?  Quit trying to make your husband be like you.  Quit trying to form him into something he's not.  You are SUPPOSED to be different, you are SUPPOSED to be opposites.  It is in this part opposite roles that you complete one another the way God originally intended it.  Instead of working to change your husband, work on loving him more for who he is.  Work on celebrating the counterpart God gave you, and experience a depth of your marriage that you don't even know exists yet.  Complete each other!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Anointed Beauty

I am often asked how I came up with the name for my salon, Anointed Beauty.  As a Christian woman in the beauty industry, it is very important to me that I don't get wrapped up in the vanity of the beauty world.  I keep Proverbs 31:30 in front of me always. "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."  There's nothing wrong with coloring our hair, wanting to have a cute style, taking care of our skin and nails, or wearing makeup.  There is, however, an inner beauty that is eternally more important than our outward appearance.  So, the question is, how do we attain this true inner beauty?  Let's start first in Isaiah 64:6a, "But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;" and Psalm 14:3, "they have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one."  These verses show us that every single person, even on their best day, is filled with an ugliness called sin.  Romans 3:23 says that "All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God."  There are a lot of people who do a lot of good things, but God's perfect standard doesn't allow for "good".  Only perfect is acceptable to a perfect God.  So, what do we do about it?  If we can't meet God's standard by doing enough good in the world, how do we meet it?  How do we turn that ugliness inside into something clean and beautiful?  There's only one way, and we find the answer in John 14:6.  "Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me."  Jesus is the ONLY way of restoring a right relationship with God.  That sin we are born with and that we choose to commit has made us ugly and has separated us from God.  The good news of the gospel is that God loves us so much, and He desires a relationship with us so deeply that He made a way for us to be forgiven and return to Him.   (John 3:16)  He sent His son, Jesus Christ into this world to die for our sins in our place.  We have a death sentence because of our sin, but Jesus took our punishment so that we wouldn't have to!  He did all the work, He provided the way, all we have to do is turn from our sins and admit that we need His salvation.  We have to admit that we're ugly inside before we can let Him make us beautiful.  Once we realize our need, Romans 10:9 tells us "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."  When you repent from your sin, and turn to Jesus, something amazing happens.  You are immediately filled with the Holy Spirit, who is God! He takes up residence and abides in you to teach you God's word, to convict you of sin in your life, and to seal you for eternal life in Heaven.  The greek word "chrisma" means "a special endowment of the Holy Spirit" or "anointing" and is found in two passages.  I John 2:20, "but you have an anointing from the Holy One..." and I John 2:27, The anointing you received from Him abides in you."  The verb form of this word is "chrio" or "anointed".  This word is used in four passages referring to Jesus as the anointed one, but it is also used in 2 Corinthians 1:21 referring to Christians.  "Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee."  Acts 2:38 says "... Repent, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."  There are a lot of people that claim to be "anointed" by God, but the Bible is very clear in Matthew 24:24 that we need to beware of false prophets, those who claim to be "anointed ones".  There is only one anointing, and it happens when you repent of your sins and turn to Jesus Christ as your only hope for salvation.  When you have this anointing, your ugly sin turns into true beauty in an instant!  Isaiah 1:18 says "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."  There is nothing more important in this life than to make the decision to accept Jesus as your savior.  If you are still trying to get to Heaven on your own, I beg you to look at the truth and accept God's gift to you.  If you are among the anointed, I challenge you to share God's gift with those around you!