Saturday, April 20, 2013

Seeing with Long Term Vision

How good is your long-term vision?

I find it interesting that psychologist studies have found immediate rewards and long-term consequences are the best way to motivate people, and I wonder how the findings line up with the Bible. Though God does propose long-term consequences to wicked thoughts and deeds, He also mentions that they seem to prosper in the short-term. On the other hand, there appears (in the short studies I have done) to be more eternal and future-tense rewards than immediate rewards to good deeds.

Let's take a look at one example from our study of Proverbs 31. Most of the verses in this chapter have stood alone, but this set seems to be a single paragraph (albeit, still poetry in the Hebrew) speaking of the virtuous woman's reward.

"Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor 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." (vs 28-31)

I am in frequent contact with school-age children, many of them in public schools, and I often get the privilege of discussing (their) ethics with them. A typical response in dealing with them is "why should I do right?" Today's world advocates financial gain at all costs, good grades, and pleasure. Doing right takes effort and is often criticized by their peers and even teachers.

God doesn't say doing right is instantly gratifying or that "the more you do it, the easier it becomes." Instead, He points to the end to ask which is better.

"But what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and loose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36)

The reward of a virtuous woman is praise from her own family as well as political leaders, a good life, satisfaction of a job well done, and pleasing the Lord. These do not come overnight express, but they are worth the work and wait! Many times the reward- the positive consequences for well doing- does not come until late in life, and some, I imagine, not until heaven. Question is, do you value earthly success or heavenly favor?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Inward Beauty

"Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

We've all heard the verse; but what does it mean? Amy Vest shares practical insights on becoming beautiful to God from the inside out.  Here is session number three of the Beautiful to God conference. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Calling of a Homemaker

The feminist movement has reached its way into the belief systems of the church. It has taught us that being a mother and working outside the home (when it is not unavoidable through single parenthood) is admirable. Continuing in this thinking, many think that being a homemaker is a "lesser" task and an inferior career. However, this is not what the Bible teaches!

"She looketh well to the ways of her household, 
and eateth not the bread of idleness."
Proverbs 31:27

To borrow from my research paper on the difference between men and women:

In theory, feminism (the equality of the sexes) seems philosophically beneficial to a society entrenched in a quasi gender caste system. The power to do or to be anything carries an intoxicating scent of freedom to the undiscerning mind. However, the subtle danger in feminism is in the foundational idea of “equality.” What, or who, defines equality? Is it based on intelligence? Competence? Genetics? If a woman is essentially the same as a man, then a nuclear family (heterosexual marriage with children) would be neither necessary nor “normal.” Put simply, feminism un-defined womanhood, opening the door to gender confusion.
The feminist movement “empowered” women from perceived dungeons of the home, highlighting “gender role bias” instead of specialization of the sexes. Women are designed to be nurturing, sensitive, and communicating. They are meant to both be strong and to give strength to a provider. Somehow, women think that their role is insignificant or inferior to that of the men. Who said that being a mother is less influential than the president? William Ross Wallace noted in his poem, “…The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” The influence of a woman upon her husband and her children is unprecedented and powerful. Yet this nation has ignored women’s special gifts by treating them the same as man, devaluing women and disintegrating the foundation of the nation’s power, the family. 
The homemaker has a noble calling. Difficult? Yes. But noble all the same. A woman does not need a business, a government position, or some other kind of power to supplement her God given power of influence. Many people today know who Susannah Wesley is, and she was not a "leader of the feminist movement" or a governor, or even a big blogger. ;) She was a mother, a  homemaker, who reared her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. When her sons grew, they rocked the world for Christ in what is now known as the Great Awakening.

Proverbs 31 tells that a virtuous woman keeps her home, her given jurisdiction, well. She is not idle, or lazy, but is always alert to squelch little fires before they become large ones. She is an emissary of God to her children and serves as to the Lord, and not as to man (or children, as the case may be). (Colossians 3:23)

my family worked to build this fence
before the sun went down
Lately, the Lord has had me on a Sword search of the word "all." For such a small word, it has a big meaning. God never endorses half-hearted work, and a grey area is not mentioned in the Bible. It is "all or nothing." And for that matter, nothing is not really a choice for the Believer, either. (John 15)

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
Ecclesiastes 9:10

Careers, businesses, money, power; all these must be left behind when death calls, but the souls of children are eternal. Invest in the hearts of your children. Treasure your husband and family. Look well to the ways of your home. For, "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21) If you put time into your home, and pour yourself into it, God will give you a love for what you do, a fulfillment, that is unattainable any other way.