25 Tough Questions (1-7) About Women and the Church
25 Tough Question About Women and the Church (Part 1, Questions 1-7)
Welcome to our new Hub. In this Hub I will be making a book report on another outstanding book by J. Lee Grady. The Title of this book is "25 Tough Questions About Women And The Church." This book is a sequel to J. Lee Grady's other mind challenging book for Christian women and men, "Ten Lies the Church Tells Women." I will be giving you a look at each question one by one. I will probably have to divide this book into several Hubs to compensate for the length of the 25 questions.. So bear with me I am sure you will find this inspired book by J. Lee Grady very profound and informative..
When you read this book you will not only find it informative; but you will also hear God defend the rights of women to preach and teach without being intimidated. Surely God has raised up Lee Grady as an international voice for women. He writes biblical truth with vigor and boldness. This is one book every woman should read. It is also a book that men should read to see the Bible as God's Word in a perspective about how our gender relationships are supposedi to work in the church and marriage.
Before I begin making a report on this book you should know that J. Lee Grady is a radical proponent of equality for woman even as I am. His book is not a "safe" Christian book that tells women to sit quietly and obediently in the back of the church. Our sisters in Christ have been told too long to shut up and take a back seat. Its time for a reformation. Just like the daughters of Zelophehad's,(Numbers 27:1-11) its time for women to seek their rights to preach the Gospel in power and stop listening to men who follow the false doctrines of the Greeks: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle; and Gnostics, Jewish Kabbalah, Arians and Semi-Arians and just plain old pagan philosophers under the leadership of the Devil.
J. Lee Grady's book is written in response to the many questions he has received from women that read his first book, "Ten Lies the Church Tells Women," or heard him speak at a conference. He offers this book as a comprehensive guide to help address the many issues women face, in marriage and the Christian ministry. These questions can no longer be swept under the rug and must be answered directly so you ladies can get back to the work of spreading the Gospel, as Jesus Christ's return looms closer than ever in our day.
The Holy Spirit has used woman in powerful ways since the Day of Pentecost, from the growing brave women martyr's of the first century to the growing army of females church planters like Lotti Moon and the many more Chinese women in China. Thanks to Christians for Biblical Equality you can be trained to carry on in faith and be an inspiration from Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. For too long men have misinterpreted and mistranslated verses in the Bible to bolster their prejudices against women out of ignorance and bondage to religious mind sets. Now is the time for women to participate with all their might.
It is in the Spirit of Galatians 3:28 that this book is offered for women to throw of the restraints placed on them by Satan and carnal minded religious men since Genesis 3:16. A woman's best friend has always been Jesus Christ, He needs you now! So follow his lead and the Holy Spirit will fire you up with the zeal to finish His work, John 14:6. Its time to awaken and reactivate the buried spiritual gifts of our sisters for the benefit of Christ's coming Kingdom. Now lets see what J. Lee Grady has to say in his 25 Tough Questions about Women and the Church? In this Hub we will be going over questions 1-7.
Question #1 - Forgiving Men in Your Life
If you have experienced emotional, sexual and even physical abuse from men in the past, and struggled with anger and unforgiveness toward men as a result. Is there a way to find total freedom from the resentment you feel?
As he has traveled around the country speaking at conferences on the subject of domestic abuse and related topics, Lee has been apalled at the level of cruelty that is occurring in Christian homes. In 2001 he spoke at a men's event on the subject of "How to Break Free From Male Pride." When he made his final point, he asked the guys in the audience to bow their heads. Then he asked those men to stand who were willing to admit that they were currently involved in some form of physical abuse aimed at their wives.
"Now when he said physical abuse, he was not talking about cruel words or angry shouting,' He told the men, all of whom were professing born-again believers and active churchgoers. "I am talking about hitting your wives, throwing objects at them, shoving them against a wall or some other form of physical cruelty." Then he askd the men to stand." It got very quiet in the room. This was a moment of truth. He wondered if pride or fear of exposure would prevent these guys from becoming transparent about sin that is so embarrasing. But to his amazement, more than twenty men stood in a room of about one hundred and fifty. And that number only represented those who were willing to admit there problem.
A few months later He addressed a similarly sized gathering of women on the same subject. At the end of his message. he asked the women to approach the altar if their husbands were beating them or subjecting them to any other form of physical cruelty. At least one-fourth of the women in the room came to the stage, many of them sobbing uncontrollably. Another huge group joined them at the altar when he asked for those who were experiencing emotional cruelty in their marriages. So lets face it he says: There is an epidemic of domestic abuse spreading through the church, and most Christian leaders are not addressing the problem. It is usually swept under the rug because pastors feel helplessly untrained in how to counsel abusers (or in some tragic cases because the pastors themselves are abusing their wives). And sadly, in some cases, pastors actually use Bible verses about wifely submission to fuel this epidemic of abuse.
According to Dr. John Kie Vining, a Tennessee- based expert in trauma counceling, a woman in the United States is beaten every 7.4 seconds. Domestic abuse is the single greatest cause of injury to women in this country, happening more often then rapes, auto accidents and muggings.
I will give you one more example of abuses against women than we will find out why J.Lee Grady says forgiveness is a very important solution to this question.
When he spoke at a conference in Mexico in late 2002, He learned how serious domestic violence is in Latin American countries where Machismo or male dominance, is the cultural norm. Some of the woman in his meetings were physically stooped over because their husbands regularly beat them into submission. They had very little self esteem left. Some of them were living in a prison of depression. Others entertained thoughts of suicide because they saw no hope for escape from the violence they endured in their own homes. Some had developed physical illnesses due to stress caused by cronic abuse.
One pastor's wife, whose husband had once been physically abusive to her but had repented and found deliverance from this behavior, told Lee how prevalent domestic violence is in ministers homes in Mexico. "It is not uncommon for me to receive a call from the hospital, from a pastor's wife," she told me. "She is there because her husband has beaten her. But no one in their church knows about what goes on in their home."
He was shocked when he gave his first altar call at the conference in Mexico. He felt overwhelmed when more than a hundred women rushed to the front of the auditorium to receive prayer for healing from the effects of domestic and cultural abuse. When he prayed for them, He would often begin to sob, as if he was feeling some of their pain.
He also gathered a group of men at the altar, and we knelt on the stage in front of the women. Several of us then repented to the Lord,in front of our sisters, for the way men have treated women, both in our homes and in our churches. The Mexican women wailed as the watched these men repent publicly. Many of the women could not believe their eyes, because they had never seen a man repent openly for anything, much less for cruelty to women. A powerful wave of healing was released to the crowd as the men humbled themselves. and the women found a new grace in that moment to forgive the men in their lives who hurt them.
The women in Mexico are not the only ones abused by their husbands. Far to many countries put up with this abuse because to them it is normal for the attitude of male pride to treat them so. This is all wrong and it will contiue until Jesus Christ returns and puts a final stop to abuse to women by their husbands and male leaders.
The most importnt step for women to take is forgiveness , plain and simple. There is no option about this. No matter what was done to you, and no matter how many times you have been abused you must forgive from the heart.
This doesn't mean that you must tolerate the behavior, or that you should stay in an abusive situation, get out of it as soon as possible. Forgiving a man who abused you sexually does not mean he should not be turned in to the police. Forgiving a man who beat you regularly does not mean you should hide his actions.
Forgiveness is a key to our emotional freedom. No matter what your father said to you, you must forgive. No matter how uncaring boy friend violated you when you were a teenager, you must forgive. No matter how the boss treated you on the job, you must forgive . No matter how that pastor devalued your spiritual gifts because of your gender and went out of the way to deny ministry opportunities to you. You must forgive .
So, why is forgiveness so important to us? Author John Bevere, in his book, "The Bait of Satan," reminds us that the Greek word for "offense ," which is skandalon, refers to the part of the trap where the bait is attached. This shows us that hurts and offenses become a spiritual trap that the devil uses to ensnare us. Satan knows that if he can lure us to become angry or bitter toward someone, he can hold us in a prison of unforgiveness. And that is where the Devil wants us, because hatefulness is the very nature of the devil.
Lee Grady goes on to say,"God does not want you to be ensnared in this way. His Word to us no matter how unjustly we have been treated is always' "If you have anything against anyone, forgive . If we hold on to our hurts, we choose to live inside a prison of emotional torment. But forgiveness opens the prison door and sets us free.
In the excellant book authored by R.T. Kendall, Total Forgiveness, he list several ways to tell whether a person has truly forgiven someone from the heart. According to Kendall's observations, you might want to ask yourself these question: 1. Have you stopped keeping a mentallist of the wrong this person committed against you?2. Do you still want to get even with this person? Do you fantasize about seeing this person punished so he or she "gets what he or she deserves"? 3. Do you still tell others about the sins of this person so that you can constantly hurt his or her reputation? Or are you now able to speak of this person in a gracious manor?
If you struggle to forgive a man who hurt you in the past or who is still hurting you now, than remember the cruelty and abuse Jesus Christ faced when he was on the earth. He was the Son of God, and He deserved to be treated like the King of kings. Yet he was misunderstood and criticized by His own family members, castigated by the religious leaders of His day and mocked by the crowds. The Pharisees scoffed at him and told Him he had a demon. The barbaric Romans guards spat on Him, tore His flesh off with whips and then executed Him like a common criminal. And the people Jesus came to save stood by his cross and cheered as He was Crucified.
So what did Jesus do in the face of all this injustice and mistreatment? He said; "Father, forgive them; for they kow not what they do," (Luke 23:34). When we go to the Father in prayer we most also remember those that hurt us and abuse us and forgive them just as Jesus did for us and our sins. Jesus by forgiving us our sins, (for we have all sinned,Romans 3:23, and come short of the glory of God), can intercede for us and can ask God the Father to forgive the sins of those that hurt us, Romans 8:27.
Here, we see that we must forgive and not let anger and resentment and bitterness ruin our lives. For no matter how unjustly we were treated we have no right to hold any person in judgment. Many women have been hurt by some male but they are not to let their bitterness cause God to turn away from you. We are to be forgiving always just as God the Father and Jesus Christ are to us. So we need to let go of our hurts now, and let the Holy Spirit give you a merciful, forgiving heart that is resistant to offenses. This is a major step towards receiving salvation.
Question #2 - Who's the Boss?
My Christian husband often cites biblical passages about being the spiritual head of our house. Does the Bible really say that a husband is the ultimate "boss" in the family? If so, I don't see how my marriage can survive.
Well, here we go again. This boss question is certainly controversial among Christian churches. But should it be "if" the shepherds of these flocks listen to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit or do they? I have other Hubs that have been addressing this subject of "boss or chief,"so lets see what J. Lee Grady has to say on this subject.
J. Lee Grady as a proponant of Biblical equality will be giving us more insight from his point of view as taught to him by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, 2 Timothy 3:1-7, 15-17. He keeps his mind on God's Word continually studying to be approved by God to take on this challenge to biblical equalitly to make sure women are given their right to preach and teach for Jesus CHrist.
He says: "It is tragic when a Christian man and woman cannot learn to live in harmony as marriage partners. Both of them have the in dwelling Holy Spirit along with accesss to Her infinite reservoir of peace and love. Yet, husbands and wives who claim to love God and believe the Bible are divorcing today at an alarming rate." Why?
We all bring our sinful natures into a marriage. But just because two people are Christians does not man that they don't bring all kinds of emotional baggage, sinful habits, addictions, an unbiblical teachings and generations of false concepts into their new family. J. Lee Grady believes that another major reason for marital problems is that we have misused and misinterpreted passages in the Bible that refer to a husband's authority.
The churches have not been listening to the Holy Spirit or following Jesus Christ personal examples in the new Testament about our gender relationships but have encouraged a hierarchy in marriages where God wants us to have intimacy and partnership through harmoney and mutuality. There is no way this warped view of hierarchy can be allowed in the family or churches. They can only lead to strife, mistrust and abuse both emotional and physical.
One example given in this question on how the bible teachings on marriage have been twisted to bring tremendus oppression and emotional pain into women's lives. in this case a young woman wanted to have a baby but could not but she rfused to give up trying. She would not go along with adopting a child because she was so set on having her own baby. Her husband in stead of being kind and caring became impatient with her. He demanded since he was "head of the house" he decided to adopt a child and demanded that his wife agree. She protested and he went to the elders of his church to complain that his wife was being unsubmissive. The church leaders sided with the husband.
When the wife still refused she was repremanded for being unsubmissive and rebellious since her husband is the leader of the home. This is so sad and thankfully this should not happen to often in a Christian household. She was not yet emotionally ready to adopt a child and the heavy handed manner of the church elders and her husband and the false teaching of male headship that has become common in conservative evangelical churches today. They believe that God called men to be in charge of the house. They usually quote Ephesians 5:23. But this does not give them the right to become the "boss."
Lee asked the men he knew to tell him what they think headship means. Here are a few of their ideas: 1. Being head of my home means I have responsibility to lead my wife and children in spiritual things like prayer, devotions and Bible study. 2. Being the head of my home means I have priestly responsibility to pray for my wife and children, because God holds men responsible for their spiritual well being. 3. Being the head of my home means the buck stops with me. I'm the boss, and I make the rules. 4. Being the head of my home means that when my wife and I can't agree on a issue, I "break the tie."
Some of these responses have a biblical responsibility to pray for the wife and family. But on the flip side, the wife is also to share that responsibility. The husband should provide leadership but he also is to share his leadership with the wife and not devalue his wife's counsel. There is no Scripture that gives the husband autocratic control in his marriage or that says he is enthroned in some kind of elevated position over the wife as her superior. Jesus said no to any type of dictorial control in the church or the family, (Matthew 20:25-28). This means that if a husband is bossing his wife around in a rigid, authoritarian manner, he has adopted a pagan leadership style!
God's design for marriage is is not a hierarchy, but a loving nurturing, equal partnership that is charcterized by physical intimacy, spiritual onenss and mutual submission. This concept is taught in Ephesians 5:21-33.
Biblical Submission in marriage Reguires Mutual Submission
This is a fact, it takes two people. One male and one female living a marriage equalty submissive to each other. But when religious leaders mention submission in marraige they often refer to Ephesians 5:22: "Wives be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord." Traditionalist always define submission as a responsibility of the wife to the husband, but we should not forget what it says in verse 21; "and be subject to one another in fear of Christ Jesus."
Verse 21 sets the tone for verse 22, and actuallly defines the verb used. The verb in verb in verse 22, suibmit ,is not there, it is understood according to its context, and for this reason many Bible translations italicize the verb sudmit in verse 22. This verse should be translated, "Submit to one another in the fear of Christ, wives to the husbands, husbands to the wives."
In other words submission should be done in the spirit of mutual submission. It is not a one-way street. Paul stressd this this mutuality when he addressed the subject of sex in marraige in, 1 Corinthians 7:4, which says; "The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and like wise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does."
The reason that this verse is not stressed in marraige today is because we have not left any room for mutual submission. Only the man seems to have authority over the woman. Just the same the good book the Bible says otherwise that husband and wife have equal authority in Christ in not only sex and other family matters of parenting or disagreements in every day decisions.
Headship Does Not Mean "Boss "
Once again J. Lee Grady stresses the point that a serious error in Bible interpretations are made when we assume that the word head in Ephesians 5; 23 means "boss" or "ruler." Paul taught that the male was the head of the woman because she was made from his rib. The man at creation shared his life with the woman from part of his body a "rib", not his head. He became her source of life. Christ as our head of the church shared his life for us when he died for us but now is alive as one of its servant leaders. He is the Savior of the Body, verses 23-24..
Here again as in my other Hubs the Apostle Paul use the word "kephale" or source of life instead of the Greek word "archon" which would mean boss or chief. Paul used the word "kephale" though it is a more obscured word to point out source of life. Like the source of a river, where the river comes from the headwaters.
The Genesis of the woman was truly a great miracle , for she was made from the essence of the man, taken from his side, yet fashioned into a complementary companion with her own personality and God given dignity. Now because she came from him they would enjoy a unique bond that no other human or animal could experience. They were seperate but, yet they were in a mystical union of One. This is why Paul mentioned the creation story in Ephesians 5:31, when he quoted a passage from Genesis 2:24; "For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife: and the two shall become one flesh.
Another interesting point made by Lee Grady is the fact that life in the first century culture was so much different then what we have here in the USA today. Scholars will tell us that in that time period, unmarried women were under protection and rule of their patriarchal fathers. When a young man wanted to take a woman in marriage, he had to seek permission from her father, and pay a dowry of some kind for her. Marrying a girl in those days was more like buying property.
And even if they were married, the girl's father often wanted to exercise his control over them. He wanted to be the "boss" of this new marriage. Imagine how difficult it would be to have your father-in-law involved in every decision. In Roman times, the bond of marriage was called "marriage without hand," In some places, the law actually stated that if a married woman spent three nights in her father's home over the course of a year, the father could claim ownership of all the couples belongings.
What Paul was defining the Christian family. Ancient Middle Eastern culture of that day said that the patriarchal father was the "boss" of the family, including the daughter and the husband.. Paul disagreed with this law and said that when a man and a woman married the authority of their parents is nullified.. A man and a woman begin a new life together as a new unit, enjoying a God-given Oneness. The husband is the wife's "head" because woman came from man, and therfore the two enjoy a God-ordained oneness.
Husbands and Wives Are Equals
J. Lee Grady points out points out that women were basically the property of their husbands. They had no civil rights and were typically dragged around like domestic animals. They were rarely given any education opportunities and were -viewed simple as servants, sex objects and child bearers. We should not forget also that many men in that time period had multiple wives. Polygamy is still practiced in many culture or religious system that views women as inferior beings.
Paul stood up for the Word of God and contradicted the pagan view of woman.and announced that the Gospel had brought them new dignity. He told the men in Ephesus; "So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies," Ephsians 5:28. He also said to them; "Husbands, love your wives, just as Jesus also loved the church and gave Himself up for her," verse 25.
This was certainly a very radical message in Paul's day! Greeks in this time period believed that women were created from animal matter, while they believd men were created from divine matter. To say, "Husbands, love your wives "was" revoluntionary in a culture that did not view women as deserving any dignity.
Peter also warned those Greek men in that day, 1 Peter 5:7,, as he does even today in these words to us men, that God would not hear their prayers if hey were mistreating their wives. The apostle Peter wrote: "You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."
In the Kingdom of God, the strong must learn to be meek. according to this passage, men who honor their wives as equal partners, esteeming them as fellow heirs of God's grace, will enjoy true spiritual power and authority..
So in this Question #2: Lee Grady points out the lliberating truth for any woman who is currently living with an overbearing husband who thinks he has an innate right to boss her around. If you are in this predicament, your marriage will be healed when husband and wife come to embrace a truly Christlike understanding of mutual submission and loving oneness. God help you tocome together as One.
Question #3 - Men Behaving Badly
My Husband claims he is a Christian, but he has hit me several times, and he is verbally abusive, too. To be honest with you. I am afraid of him. When I have asked a few Christian friends about his behavior, they tell me I should pray for him and learn to submit, What can I do?
Men Behaving Badly, Now that's a good point to ask. Now for nealy 6,000 years men have been behaving badly since Satan decieved Eve and Adam sinned with his eyes wide open in direct rebellion to what the Word told him not to do. Sin is sin and its results have played havoc with humanities attempts to bring peace on earth under the leadership of their pagan god Satan the devil. And for all this time men have tried to cover up Adam's sin and blame it all on mother Eve and all women made in her image.
Along with all their sins men have continual behaved nasty towards most women. One of Satan's other big lies is the pagan idea that women are less than human as a species part animal and less than human. At least this is why men have coveniently dominated women for their own selfish greed and power over one half of the human race. Truly men have not improved their bad behavior and are looking for other ways to create artificial life to replace themselves and especial the God givenly right to produce children through sex, Genesis 1:28.
So what are women to do to protect themselves from some very nasty men including those that profess Jesus Christ as their leader whom they mistakingly think favors their right to be nasty and cruel towards women.
J. Lee Grady's advice is; 'First of all, you need to refute the bad counsel you have received from your Christian "friends." I am sure they care about you, but they are sincerly misguided. There is absolutely no place in the Bible that justifies bad behavior. Neither is there any Scripture in the Bible that calls a woman to submit to physical or emotional abuse from her husband.
J. Lee Grady has heard horror stories about abuse women who sought counseling and were told by pastors to "go home and submit' - even when the husbands were throwing objects at their wives, raping them or sending them to the hospital with broken bones. What irresponsible advice! If any church leader has given you counsel like that, he should be confronted and called into account for putting you in danger and for suggesting that God would expect you to tolerate abuse. (It might happen if bad advice is given to tolerate an unconverted spouse but from an converted Christian it should never happen but it does.)
It is important that we should look closely at what the Bible really means when it entreats women to submit to their husbands. Does this passage about submission in Ephesians 5:22-23, say that women must do whatever their husbands tell them, even if it is an unreasonable demand? Does it mean that godly husbands are supposed to give their wives orders each day, and that men should expect to be obeyed? Does it mean that women are in a subordinate state compared to their spouses?
Many conservative Christians (including many women) would answer yes to all these questions, but this is not what the Bible requires. Today, even some conservative pastors, wrongly have taught that the apostle Paul's words in Ephesians 5:22 -- "Wives, submit to your husbands..."- reguire wives to tolerate cruel behavior . Many women also have been wrongly taught that the Bible says men are superior (and thus should be obeyed) or that men have better spiritual judgment or are less prone to deception. (Oh, does this mean men are still sinning with their eyes wide open and do it willfully?) This is not the spirit of any Biblical Text. For we have all sinned and (some deceived and some willfully) fall short of the glory of God, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:23,
Paul's words about wifely submission in Ephesians 5:22-23 must be read in context and with help of the Holy Spirit's revelation. We cannot not read our prejudices or preconceived ideas into the passage, nor can we read our twenty-first century cultural ideas into it. We must take into consideration the culture Paul was addressing in ancient Ephesus.
In these verses there are more directives given to husbands than to wives. The husbands are told to: 1. Love their wives as Christ loved the Church in a selfless and sacrificial way. 2. Love their wives as they love their bodies in an nurturing manner. 3. Love their wives as they love themselves with equal respect and mutual concern.
When Paul addresses married couples here, he does not speak to women only or to men only; rather, he speaks both to husbands and wives because thy are partners and team players. He calls them to a place of mutuality, equality and tender devotion.
Are you beginnig to see the right picture here? True love was missing for there wives in that century because of a culture that was void of compassion for women. Paul did not write; "Wives submit to whatever your husband asks you to do, because as a man he is in charge." He did not write "Wives even if your husband yells at you and makes unresonable demands and threats, you must keep silent and do what he asks." He did not write; "Wives, even if your husband slaps you across the face and breaks your jaw, you will prove your Christian character by submitting to his behavior and by not saying anything to criticize him." Sadly J. Lee Grady says he has met women who viewed this passage of Scripture as if it should be interpreted in these perverted ways.
Lee Grady writes from the heart and gets to the point of why men should treat their wives with kindness. He writes: A husband should treasure his wife as a gift, love her tenderly, take into consideration her weaknesses and offer protection, provision, concern and affirmation. If any man is hitting his wife, treating her in a demeaning or degrading way or making harsh demands of her in an authoratarian manner, then obviously he is not loving her as Christ loves the church. He has already violated the spirit of Ephesians 5. And a woman does not have to accept such behavior. In fact, she is putting her own life and the lives of her children at risk if she does not leave the relationship. She has a right and a responsibility to leave.
We also need to consider the cultural context of this passage. One of Paul's main concerns her was not the authority of the husband over his wife, but the order of the family and the unique spiritual unity that married people are supposed to enjoy. And as Paul discusses the issue of a married woman's relationship with her husband, notice that the passage culminates by a reference to Genesis 2:24, which states that a man and woman must leave their parents in order to form a new family unit. Why is there a reference to parents of a married couple in a passage about submission? This is key to interpreting the passage.
Wow, Now he is really getting to the point of why Christ brought and egalitarian type of leadership to the church and families. In the ancient world of Greece and Rome, which was typically ruled by a patriarchs. Who sometimes had multiple wives, a father considered his daughter to be his property. When that daughter decided to marry, the father sometimes struggled with releasing control of her. This presented a challenge for the young woman's new husband after the wedding, which also was arranged by the parents.
Paul pointed out in answering this question in Ephesians 5 that the woman should "submit" to her husband. Now, the wife would no longer answer to her father because she is now attached to her husband. And the now she must leave their parents control to start a new life together. This is the foundation for a Christian marriage.The Apostle Peter also called on husbands to love their wives and respect them. This passage is found in 1 Peter 3:7, which says: You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Peter also commanded the husbands to show respect and a nurturing protective love to their wives. And he indicated if you did not treat your wife lovingly that God would oppose you. God takes it seriously when men mistreat their wives in a cruel manner. The man will not get away with it. Neither will ministers that reject women as preachers get away with it, Matthew 7:21-24.
My Husband Is Abusing Me?
Now here is where you can take action towards abusive husbands or men that think they can dominate you. Read closely J. Lee Grady's encouragements to take the steps to protect yourself and your little ones. This advice should be taken if you have suffered physical abuse like bruises , broken bones, black eyes, miscarriages or other physical injuries. There are 5 steps that you can take:
1. FACE REALITY, AND ADMIT THAT YOU ARE A BATTERD WOMAN. Most woman think they are the blame for the fact that they are abused. Do not submit to the spirit of fear, guilt, or man-ipulations any longer. You need to say to yourself, "This abuse is not right, and I do not have to accept it." You deserve to be treated with respect. Don't believe the lie that says your husband or boy friend is justified to act this way, or that God wants to punish you by making you suffer in an abusive marriage. God Hates Abuse, and he does not require you to endure it.
Christian Women often endure abuse because many have inherited certain herectical religious beliefs or mind sets. Says: Christian psychothrapist Carolyn Holderread Heggen, who points out why women tend to tolerate abuse from false ideas they embrace from a religious teaching. She gives us three of these beliefs:
. God intends men to dominate while woman are required to submit .
. Women are morally inferior to men and cannot trust their own judgment .
. Women, in particular, are called to "suffer" in life as the servants of men .
If you have embraced these ideas you must continually break free from there control. You must renounce false doctrine that cause you to accept this abuse. God did not intend for your husband to dominate you. Neither did He create you as inferior to your husband or any other man. God did not place you in an abusive relationship in order to punish you or to teach you to suffer. Do not believe this lie.
2. Immediately find a support network.
Share your secret with a pastor you can trust, a counselor or strong Christian friends. Tell them exactly what is going on. Ask them to help you find a place where you can relocate without you spouse's knowledge. This could be a battered women's shelter or the home of a friend or relative.
3. Move out of the house.
If things are bad they can get worse so follow J. Lee Grady's advice here. Its time to get out of the house and take your children with you. It may seem drastic but its the only way to ensure your safety and to begin the process of confrontation with your husband. Professional counselor John Kie Vining, in his book When Home Is Where The Hurt Is, advises women to take your children and some cash, car keys and other important papers. You may also want to take evidence of past injuries, such as medical records. These will come in handy in the event you must file a police report.
Most women that have been abused over a long period of time do not want to leave their husbands. This is because they fear their husbands will kill them or inflict serious injury or their children. This is why you should not attempt to confront your husband's problem yourself. This may provoke him to more violence. Studies show that if you confront him yourself, you more than likely will get killed. So leave without telling him.
4. Ask some men to confront your husband.
Having a number of trusted men confront your husband for you is very wise. This will be a moment of truth to see how he will react when he finds that others know the truth about his abusive ways. This way he will be more open to counsel and correction. It depends on a number of things that may be causing him to be abusive like drugs, alcohol, or he may be a manic depressive. He may have to attend accountability classes at church, go on medication or even go to jail. If he gets violent you should ask the police to intervene.The only way for him to find complete restoration is if he is confronted with the reality of his crime. This is best done by other men. Abusive men do not respect woman pastors, and they are least likely to become violent when they are around their peers.
5. Find personal healing.
Whether or not you are united with your husband after a seperation period, you must reclaim your personal worth and overcome the negative emotions that plagued you during the time you were abused. You must recover how much God loves you, because the devil used abuse to convince you that you are ugly, unimportant, repulsive or worthless. Don't believe these lies any longer. Then find a healthy church, and ask people there to pray with you for a complete healing of your emotions and memories. And if you have children , make sure they also are finding support and regular counseling.
You must get people to help you for you will not do it alone. Find a support group of Spirit-filled Christians to support you as you walk through this time of restoration. Seek to forgive your husband and ask for prayer often.. It takes time to heal so praying for his healing will help guard your heart from bitterness. It is possible your husband may heal, but it is also possible that you marriage may end in divorce. Remember if your husband abuses you, he has already ruined your marriage covenant. You are no longer bound to live with him if he has harmed you in any way. So don't let guilt force you back into a marriage of abuse.
Again this wise counsel from J. Lee Grady tells you not to listen to any bad advice from Christians that want to put a guilt trip on you by using Malachi 2:16 - "For I hate divorce,' says the Lord." So read this passage carefully and you will see that God doesn't like abusive husbands either. Read the next sentence were it says ; "And I hate a man's covering his wife with violence."
Adultery is not the only grounds for divorce here in the USA but any kind of violence against you spouse is a good reason. Even though the Bible doesn't address abuse as a reason for divorce, God would not want you to live in danger from a violent male. Churches should never expect women to endure beatings. Carolyn Holderread Heggen says we need to care more for the abused person than about divorce statistics.
The importance of marital permanence must not be elevated above the sanctity of individual personhood or safety. So the Christian church and society must not dare to overlook nor minimize the destructive evils of battery and abuse because of what should be a high regard for the permanence of marriage.
So to sum this question up it may be in your best interest to end this marriage to avoid any further injury or abuse from a man who no doubt has a unrepentant attitude. God doe not want to punish you because it was not your fault. So do not listen to negative voices of shame. Meditate on God's Word and stay in close fellowship with other Christians. Get more counseling from Bible based Christians. And remind yourself ever day that your heavenly Father loves you. Trust in God and he can free you.
Question #4- Married... With Children
I am a stay-at home mother, and I am content to raise my children and focus on my family. I don't sense any kind of special calling to preach or pastor. Don't you think it is unhealthy to push women to leave the home and pursue ministry?
We must remember here that Jesus Christ has a priesthood of all believers and we are all called to minister the Word of God in some way. Though all are not called to have a specific church ministry God expects us to be ready to preach the word in what ever situation we are presently in, such as just being house wives, deaconesses in your local church or and elder, evangelist, apostle. This is a special time in history were when most of us can be prophets and warn our friends or nations before Jesus Christ returns.There is no need to worry about your lack of experience because the Holy Spirit will fire you up with Her different gifts and callings, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28-31.
Now, J. Lee Grady is not pushing any woman to abandon their marriages for a regular ministry. We must realize that the family was God's idea and those with children have a big responsibility and must furnish their physical needs to them. Being a parent is a ministry and can be on of the most rewarding when you see your children grow up knowing the Lord. Being a full time mother may be your full time calling for now..
But let's also remember that not every woman feel's the same way. and we must leave room for those that feel inspired to seek a full time ministry to follow the Holy Spirit. The traditional roles is where most men would like to find you. But the Holy Spirit knows you better than you know yourself and may want to use your talents to lead. There are several types of women. 1. Some are single women who may not ever get married and have children. Single people in fact, are the fastest-growing demographic segment in evangelical churches today.
2. Many women are divorced, widowed or are living in single-parent situations because of out of wedlock pregnancy. For them, "Staying at home" and raising a family in the traditional sense is not an option because of financial problems.
3. Some women that have children feel a calling from God to be in the the work place, and they and their husbands have worked out arrangements for child care that fits their needs. In the past, churches have done a poor job of ministering to working women, either because they felt they were abandonig their familes or perhaps because we were intimidated by their educational or professional achievements. 4. Some women with children do, in fact, feel a call to full-time ministry, and we should do everything we can to help them as they seek to discern God's plan for their lives. It is not the norm for women with small children to be called into the ministry, but why not? God can certainly do whatever He pleases.
In the bible you will find several places were God used an enslaved concubine named Esther, a barren wife named Hannah, an elderly widow named Anna, a teenage girl named Mary, an immoral divorcee from Samaria and even a harlot named Rahab to accomplish His will. Why then should be surprised of if God wants to use woman in His ministry. The most important thing to remember is that whether we are single or married, working in an office or caring for small children at home, you are called to be a minister of the gospel. We are all ministers "of reconcilliation" (2 Corinthians 5:18) and we all carry within us the treasure of the Holy Spirit in our earthly jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7).
Just be cause you are responsible for children in the home does not mean that is your only duty to God. Don't fall into the trap of limiting yourself to your role as a wife and a mother. you cannot say to God "Now that I am a stay at home mother, I'll just fulfill my role as a mother for the next eighteen years, and then after that I'll serve You in some other way." If you are seeking the Lord dilligently, you will be surprised at the ways He may call you to minister from the seemingly insignificant corner of your domestic world. If you have chosen to "seek first the kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:33), then you can expect that He will give you a kingdom assignment while you are in the season of life.
One primary example is Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley. In her day in the 1700's most women stayed at home. Her children consumed her life and she had no desire for a public ministry. But her spiritual impact on he community was remarkable, and her revivalist passion that burned in her heart eventually helped ignite the First Great Awakening.
Her husband actually questioned Susanna's spiritual activities, probably out of annoyance that his congregation did not respond as enthusiastically to his own preaching. She told her husband Samuel that she sensed a spiritual duty to save souls: " I doubt if it is proper for me to present the prayers of the people to God. Last Sunday I would fain have dimissed them before prayers; but they begged so earnestly to stay, I durst not deny them."
Though Susanna had reservations about her ministry activities because of her gender, she rarely felt supported by her husband, But her son John referred to her later in his life as a "preacher of righteusness." And it is more than likely her godly influence on John that opened to him the idea of using women preachers in his revival campaigns. As he grew older he openly encouraged women to enlist in public ministry, and some of his best circuit-riding evangelist were woman. One of them Sarah Crosby, typically preached four times a day beginning at 5 A.M.. One year she traveled over nearly 1,000 miles on horse back, held 120 public services and led 600 private meetings.
Along with her was another famous lady, Catherine Booth who set the standard by breaking all religious rules of her day. She and her revivalist husband, William, brought their children along with them as they planted churches, established rescue missions and turned England upside down for Christ in the 1880's. All their children grew up to serve in The Salvation Army as adults.
One of Amrica's most notable revivalist was not only a mother, but also a mother whose heart had been broken by tragedy. Maria Woodworth Etter felt a calling to ministry early in life, but The Disciples of Christ, her church, did not allow women to preach. And though she married and had six childern and five died in childhood. She somehow was able to overcome her grief and become an itierant evangelist with a wide following. As many twenty-five thousand people attended her holiness meetings held in Indiana, Massachusetts and Illinois in the early 1900's, and people prayed for her testified miracles and healings. How amazing that God would use a brokenhearted mother to pour out upon America the first Pentcostal revival marked by divine healing.
You may not be called to be another Mary Woodworth Etter to preach publicly but God does want to share with you His burden for lost souls. He wants to use your mother's heart to touch a broken world. Caring for your own youngsters may be your first priority, but don't close your heart to Him.
God may visit you in the night while you are nursing an infant to sleep and call you to pray for a city or an nation. He may want you to reach the childern in your apartment complex or the other mothers in you neighborhood. He may call you to take your children with you as you minister to the elderly or to a shelter for battered women. He may ask you to volunteer at a crisis pregnancy clinic where you can mentor young girls who have never known a mother's love. He may have an spiritual adventure waiting for you, but you must step outside the security of your domestic world to see His plan.
J. Lee Grady wants you to remember that in the Old Testament, when God's people were called to assemble before Him to hear the prophet's word or to repent corporately for national sins, even the mothers with nursing babies were required to be in attendance. (Joel 2:16). Women are not excused so don't let your role as a mother stop you from sharing faith or from seeking God for revival in this critical hour. God wants his church to meet the need to participate in the Holy Spirit's plan to reach the world.
Question #5 Diapers and Day Care
I have small children, and I am getting conflicting advice. Some Christians say I am disobeying God if I work outside the home. Others say it's okay. What should I do?
Here again J. Lee Grady has some very good advice for you. He says this is probably one of the most common struggles Christian women face today, yet the church has not always offered compassion or practical solutions. In fact the church is notorious for giving women simplistic pat answers laced with mean-spirited judgments. Often the issue of working can become so divisive that it can split churches.
Mr. Grady and his wife had this decision to make with their first daughter whether to stay home or take a job to help their income. If his wife Deborah went to work who would mind Margaret their baby daughter? There are questions to ask such is institutional day care safe or harmful to children? Would it keep her from bonding with her daughter? Should they become a two income family. These are question every couple's must ask themselves. Children are a precious gift and a huge responsibility and we only get one chance to raise them. But our culture does not applaud any selflessness and sacrifice that successful parenting needs.
They chose the one income and the wife stayed at home at this time. Especially since they had three more children. His wife was not forced to stay at home because it was a "woman's role." They tried to practice submission in their marriage because they believe that is the biblical model. They learned to difer to each other and to consider each other's preferences. They prayed a lot about making this important decision. They also worked things out when there were disagreements.
The traditional model worked for them but this may not work for everyone. Sometimes because of economic reasons this may not be the one option but there may be a need for a second income. Not all people are finacially well off. Christians make a mistake that the only biblical family model is the stay at home mother. Although this is certainly ideal for the child to have continuous parental attention during th first few years of his life, this is not always possible for many families, nor is it what all women feel called to do. Single mothers certainly cannot not stay at home all day, even if their children are toddlers. And many married couples cannot pay their bills with one income. These people are not helped when the church requires all mothers to stay at home and do common household chores that think only woman are to do because they think that God requires them too.
Parenting Guidelines for Consideration
Here are some helpful quide lines to follow. Alway pray for directions from God for He sees your needs and may inspire a way to increase you income that will help you meet financial needs.
1. Parenting is not just a mother's responsibility.
Gretchen Gaebelein Hull tells the story of a missionary whose board objected to his wife attending college classes in the evening. When asked why this would be wrong, the board explained that when the wife was away from home, the man would have to change the infant's diapers, this was viewed as a "role revesal". Says Hull: "The critics failed to see that changing diapers is not just a wife's role but can be a man's role also out of simple compassion for the helpless child. For a man to refuse to assume the responsibility when necesaary or appropriate is to show callous insensitivity."
There is no verse in the Bible that says women are to shoulder the majority of child care. it does not say that only mothers change diapers, sing babies to sleep, entertain toddlers or give them baths. To assume that child care is only a "woman's work" is chauvanistic and rooted in pagan ideas that women are slaves who do nothing but provide sex and do housework. Now, psychologist are just now realizing the importance of a father's influence in the early years of a child's life. Fathers who refuse to cuddle with their kids, play games with them or get involved in other nurturing activities are actually harming their children emotionally.
So we need to remember that the stay-at-home model of child raising is a relatively new phenomenon. In biblical times both mother and fathers worked from the home, and the mother was often in the fields all day while older siblings or relatives watched the children. In those days, fathers had much more opportunities to interact with their children than modern day dads that work outside the home, that drive a half hour or more to a job in an office or factory and sometimes only see their children on weekends. The absentee-father scenario is certainly not healthy for the children invoved, but the church today seems to ignore it (and sometimes even applaud it) while at the same time heaping guilt on women who feel called to the workplace.
2. Safe, healthy child care alternatives are available.
J. Lee Grady says he has a friend, Valerie, who is a single mother, Economic realities made it impossible for her to stay at home all day and care for her daughter.(And so far no church has volunteered to pay all her bills and cover her mortgage each month so she could stay at home.) Yet Valerie was able to enroll her child in as top-rated Christian school that has regularly awarded a scholarship to help with tuition cost. Today Valerie's daughter makes the honor role, she is active in her church youth group, she won a national public speaking contest, and she competed in the national Junior Miss Young Woman of Excellence pageant and won.
The importance here is to find one that is creditable so that your children will not be ruined by some scam to take advantage of you. But one that has a wholesome Christian enviroment where the spiritual as well as the physical needs of your child is met. This can be in a home of your relatives or a friend or in a professional childcare facility. You will have to check references and ask for referrals from other parents. Certainly praying for direction for your decision. Don't let false guilt or the criticism of others (especially in the church) stop you from choosing a daycare if this is the path you must take.
So if you are a single parent, you must remember that God will go out of his way to provide for you. Psalm 68:5 says that he will be a Father to the fatherless. He also promises to set "the solitary in the families" (Psalm 68:6) If you trust Him, He will provide a means for you to find affordable childcare that is not only healthy for your child but spiritually rewarding.
3. Women who choose to stay home with young children can start careers later.
A good example of woman that started a career later is Golda Meir who served in political positions for forty five yars after her childen where grown up. She even became Prime Minister of Israel in 1969. She was respected by world leaders and affctionately callled "Mother Courage" by her own people. This champion of freedom faced the same struggles millions of women have faced ever since they were given the right to own property and earn wages. She had to balance career and family.
She stayed home with her two young children while living in a Kibbutzes in Palestine. She did other peoples laundry to help meet family expenses. she once said of a mother's conflict: "At work you think of your children you left home. At home you think of the work you left unfinished. Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself, Your heart is rent.
Its a tough choice. If you are wrestling with whether to work outside the home or not, you and your husband must decide that together. Never be motivated by guilt, fear or religious judgments. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. But you must knjow that God might ask you to place your career ambitions on hold while your children are young, and if He requires this, you should embrace God's perfect will and trust that he will honor your sacrifice.
Another good example of waiting is Iverna Tompkins who entered the ministry after their children grew up..After her son was seventeen she began accepting speaking engagements that required her to travel.Today, at a time when many women are thinking of retirement, Iverna is more active than most women half her age.
The there is Thetus Tenny, mother of best selling author Tommy Tenny, travels the world today preaching in churches and conferences. She admits that when God required her to stay home when her children were small she had to fight resentment. But this conflict was solved for her when she realized that God had a special plan for her during those years of tending little ones: She relates to us that before going to bed each night, I would set the house in order for the next day. then I would wake up very early the next morning and have several hours of undisturbed prayer and study before my motherly duties demanded my attention. I read books, I even read Bible commentaries. This was a season which in retrospect passed much more quickly than it seemed at the time. Little did iIrealize, while taking care of my primary responsibility as a young mother, that I had also been given an opportunity that would develop my future ministry of teaching and writing. Those years of study became the foundation for my life's work.
If God calls you to put some of your dreams on hold because of your family, it will not be time wasted. Embrace those years as a time for character building and refining. The lessons you will learn while serving others in the hiddenness of your home will prepare you for God's next assignment.
Question. #6 - The Working Woman's Dilemma
Women in my church have criticized me because I am a professional businesswoman.. They told me I am out of God's will because I am not allowing my husband to be the true head of my home by providing for our needs. How should I respond to them?
It seems the so called Orthodox Christian church has some very weird ideas about women in ministry. If you have been reading my Hubs for awhile you can see that I address their ignorance of Jesus Christ teachings quite often, since He showed up to reform this teaching of equality in His Egalitarian ministry nearly two thousand years ago..
J.Lee Grady has this to say about the mis-understand of Christ's teachings. I am sorry you have been misjudged because of your choice to pursue a career. I realize that this criticism came from "Christians," but you must recognize that if they condemned you, they were not reflecting the true heart of God. The Bible does not say that all women must stay at home and spend their lives in the kitchen. But this is what a lot of conservative religious people believe. Don't let their criticism offend you. And don't let it stop you from fulfilling your God given dream.
Since the fall of humanity, women have suffered oppression and subjection, and for centuries men expected their wives to live sequestered lives. They were forced to be household slaves whose only jobs in life involved cooking meals, cleaning house, performing backbreaking tasks in the fields and bearing and raising children. This harsh view of women is still the norm in many developing countries where Islam, Buddism, Hinduism shapes the culture.
Jesus came to set women free from this oppression. He elevated woman to a place of dignity and equality with men. That's why women are always lifted to a higher place in society when the Gospel is preached. Only in predominantly Christian nations have women gained civil rights, along with the right to vote, own property, hold political office, own busineses and pursue higher education.
We see this view of women elevated in Proverbs 31:10-11, a classic passage that eloquently portrays the "vertuous wife." This woman was far ahead of her time. She was by no means the "traditional woman" of her day. During the Old Testament period when Provers 31 was written most woman were uneducated. They spent the majority of their time gathering water, cooking meals, and performing strenuous agricultural tasks while they labored to raise several children at the same time. Some also had to share their homes with other wives of their one husband.
Yet the woman described in this Bible passage , Proverbs 31, is actually what would be called a "working woman." She is involved in a home business involving textile manufactoring (v.13). She employs other women to help her (v.15), and she sells her wares on the open market (v. 34). she is also involved in buying and selling real estate and in agricultural development (v.16). And in her spare time she devotes herself to charitable projects, most likely funding them through her own profitable ventures (v.20).
This woman is praised not only for her kindness and her godly character. She is honored because of her entrepreneurial skills, her diligence at work, her resourcefulnesss and her business acumen. And notice these verses in the passage: The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of his life... She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard... She senses that her gain is good, Proverbs 31:11-12, 16,18.
This chapter does not focus on the woman's cooking or her child raising skills, although it is implied that she is invoved in these activities. the passage focuses on her business involvement.. She is a merchant and a successful one. So much so that she becomes wealthy, and her contribution to the family income brings notoriety and respect to her husband, which he passes along to her by saying, "Give her the reward she has earned (v.31)."
Conservative Christians imply that women should make home and motherhood their first and only priority. Some times motherhood is praised as a "woman's highest calling." It sounds so family friendly, but such a mind set is insenstive, especially to woman who are either unmarried or childless, and it can be harmful to women who are infertile. If motherhood is God's highesy callling, does that mean unmarried women will never attain to God's plan for their lives? And for that matter, who said that a woman with children should not pursue other interest or goals that fall outside of her maternal duties?
In the early 1900's many Christian leaders rejected the woman's sufffrage movement and vigorously opposed the idea of woman becoming involved in the public process. Some traditionalist feared that if woman voted the family would be destroyed. Others felt the nation would become "feminized" by the sudden influx of woman into public life. (I find this laughable since for all these years most wars have been inspired by men. Sometimes they were caused by fighting over a woman like in the Greek, war at Troy.LW) In order to protect their traditional world religious people began to emphasize the importance of home and motherhood. ( Again these religious people are really blind to reality.
It was from the years 1880 to about the 1930's that women had been sent out into the world as preachers. They were expected to fail by their male peers. Contrary to this more people were won to Christ by a army of single white females who went all over the world and converted people in China, Korea, and all over Asia plus the North Africa and South African Continent. The religious men who saw all this done before their eyes were very much alarmed that a small army of females could accomplish so much). Though even the Victorian - style art of the day , showing tender scenes of mothers and children reading, playing and embracing bolstered the old notion that society could be perserved if the woman stayed at home and stayed out of public life. These beautiful images were actually a form of propaganda to take the work of faithful woman mnister out of the limelight. (You will need a copy of Janet Hassey's eye opening book "No Time for Silence" and read for yourselves how productive these woman were. Check out our link to Christians for Biblical Equality and get a copy).
Woman of the Victorian age would have made a more powerful impact on their society If they had been a part of it, rather than hiding in the parlors. If people in the church are imposing this narrow mind-set on you suggesting that it is wrong for a Christian woman to enter the business world then stand your ground and maintain your liberty in Christ.
Serving the Lord as a Working Woman
Here are some other helpful steps that will enable you to serve the Lord in your profession .
1. Discover your calling as Christ's witness in the market place.
The task of evangelizing your nation is not going to be accomplished by full time preachers alone. In fact, most people discover faith as a result of a one on one encounter with a friend, often at their job. God wants to use you in your place of business to influence others for Him.
In the United States in the early years of the twenty-first century the fastest growing segment of the economy was fueled by new businesses started by women entrepreneures . Imagine what could happen if many of these business owners were all Bible believing Christians who understood the need for integrity, honesty and faithfullness in all business transactions. How would this transform what we know of as the "good ol boys club" in corporate America, a club that has been known for back room deals, bribery, extortion and Enron Scandals? Could it be that God could use the female corporate executives to lead the United States back to righteousness.
Many church leaders today believe that the greatest evangelism opportunities in this new century will occur in the market place, led not by full-time (male) ministers but by what they call "market place ministers," or Christian business people who carry their faith into the working world. Many of these business owners will be females.
2. Use your resources for Christ's kingdom.
The proverbs 31 woman would never have been able to "open her arms to the poor" or extend her hands to the needy" (v.20, niv) if she had not first made a profit from her business. God blessed her and made her a blessing. If God has called you into the business world, it is possible that He wants to channel wealth through you that will build his kingdom. Be open to creative ideas that will enable you to achieve financial succss for the cause of Christ. (Hmmm this makes you wonder how come men are not doing this? Are they still going right on with their eyes wide open, sinning even in the business world? LW)
We need woman today who are free to think big. ( this would be nice if Oprah was a Christian and not turned of to the New Age movement. HMMM a billionaire who loves to help others, even men). So don't allow the restrictions of the past box you in. God's businesswomen must be free to do expoits for Him (It is very possible through a woman's serving motherly heart). As a working woman, you may be called to channel money into the Kingdom projects that feed the poor, eradicate disease, build hospitals and orphanages, fund missionairies and Christian publishing projects and transform nations. Your business in fact, might actually be used in a developing nation to bring jobs and economic prosperity and perhaps lift other women out of poverty. Don't limit God in how he could use your entrepreneural skills.
And don't limit God's creativity in you. God has used women inventors in the past to bless the world. Women invented windshield wipers, modern eyeglasss, emergency flares, bobbinless sewing machines, the paper bag, several cancer drugs, including ATZ (The drug that slows the progress of the AIDS virus), and a feeding apparatus for disabled people. What further advances will be made in medicine, technology and science when more women feel released to be inventive?
3. Seek to influence society as a reformer.
In Nigeria, a nation J.Lee Grady visited twice in recent years, women still suffer from harsh cultural oppression. Although they won the right to vote in the 1960's, they still lack many basic human rights, including the right to protection from domestic abuse (which is quite common even in Christian homes). Only recently have women emerged on the political scene, but that is beginning to change.
One bright spot on Nigeria's horizon is Dora Akunyili, a Christian woman who was appointed to head Nigeria's National agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control. Immediatly she went on a crusade to stop the problem of fraud in the pharmceutical industry. Before her reform campaign began, drug companies were manufacturing uselss medicines and selling them in order to make an illegal profit. The problem had become so prevalent that Nigeria developed an international reputaton for being deceptive in business dealings. But Mrs. Akunyili decided to put a stop to it, and she led numerous raids on labs that were producing fake drugs.
Her campaign has been waged at great personal cost, but she has remained fearless. She must travel with a body guards because her life has beeen treatened so often by the corrupt pharmaceutical bosses. Yet she told a Nigerian Christian magazine in 2002 that she feels God is protecting her and empowering her to bring morality and the rule of law back to Nigerian society. She said,"To me a criminal can never be big. A criminal has no power."
Similar voices of reform have emerged in nearby Uganda. After a rivival of Christianity began to sweep through that African country in the 1990's many brave women of faith have been appointed to oversee a new department that is focused on improving morality.in the nation. As director of the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity, she is calling for as exual purity, marital faithfulness and an end to corruption in a nation that has been devastated by the AIDS epidemic.
J. Lee Grady's question is this: Where are the female reformers today? Why do we not see more woman crying out for justice, righteousness and social transformation? Does God want you to step into the role.
We have already looked at the Proverbs 31 woman and discussed her ability to bless the poor because of her wealth and her business savvy. But we also need to pay attention to another woman in Proverbs, the brave herald of Proverbs 8. This Woman who is the personification of God's wisdom (Is the Holy Spirit Mother wisdom - my comments, LW), Is portrayed as a bold reformer who cries out from the central city square. She is stationed at "the gates leading to the city" which denotes the seat of government in the Bible times. Her message is one of repentance: To you, O Men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. You who are simple, gain prudence; You who are foolish, gain understanding. Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right, Proverbs 8:4-6.
Where are the Proverbs 8 women of our day? We need more voices like hers in the city square. We need Christian woman in every field, medicine, education, government, law, science, business and the arts, who will call out to society, blow the whistle on corruption and bring the principles of honesty, justice, mercy and integrity to bear on all institutions.
We saw a great number of female Christian reformers arise in the previous generation. The abolitioness movment, which brought an end to slavery in the United States, was led for the most part by Spirit-powered women who knew that the Bible did not justify oppression. A few years later, women like Francis Willard of the Women's Temperance Movement Union led a national revolt against the vices associated with alcohol. ( it seems men are forever going the way of Adam, that is sinning with their eyes wide open with all their vices that only lead to death, Proverbs 14:12, and they do it in their own man made so called "Christian churches" which are really only updated paganized religions - my thoughts LW)
Yet today, many Christian women seem out of touch with the problems of society. They have been sequestered inside their homes (some what like the Greeks in the early Christian Church era)., focused only on their families, seemingly powerless to offer a relevant message to our troubled culture. I believe ( says J. Lee Grady), That it is partly because we have encouraged women to be silent when we need them on the front lines.
I challenge you to break the mold. I hope you will seek God for the courage to transform your community, city, and nation, and that He will empower you to be a voice for righteousness.
Question #7 - Dragging Your Husband along
My Husband attends church, but he has no prayer life and struggles in his relationship with God. I feel guilty because I am more spiritual than he is. After all, isn't he supposted to function as the "priest" of my home?
Once again one of the major causes of this is the home is to much like the local church with its "priesthood of men" which is mostly dominated by arrogant men who put down women. Thankfully not all men think this way.
Here J. Lee Grady says, First of all let's deal directly with the idea that your husband is "priest of the home." When anyone ever mentions that phrase in conversation with me, I immediately ask: "Can you show me that verse in the Bible? Guess what It's is not there!
There is no Scripture verse that says, "The husband is the priest of the home.". Yet there are countless Women who believe it is a Bible concept, and the phrase is repeated continually in American Pulpits as if it were Scripture. It is in fact a very unbiblical view point, because God's Word never indicates that a husband is supposed to hear God for his wife (as if she cannot hear God herself) or represent himself for the wife to God (as if she cannot approach His presence herself). To suggest that a woman needs her husband to be her priest or mediator would be to imply that the blood of our true Mediator, Jesus Christ, is not enough to grant a woman the free gift of righteousness.
For this reason that anyone who teaches that a wife must go to God "through" her husband's priestly ministry is teaching heresy. The Bible says that all believers, whether single or married, are priests to God (1 Peter 2:9). a woman whose husband is not a Christian still has her own relationship with God. She is, in fact, the priest of the home! This applies to you, even though your husband is not spiritual as you wish he were at this time. You can enjoy your own relationship with God regardless of where your husband is spiritually, and you have access to all of the Lord's covenant benefits.
You say your husband is not as spiritual as you are? Welcome to the real world. There are many women today in your situation. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that your life must measure up to some kind of artificial standard before you can truly be an effective Christian. God can work through you now, even if your husband is a backslider or an unbeliever.
Some Christian women have impossible idealistic expectations about marriage and family. They were told by a friend, a parent. a pastor or a church leader that in the perfect Christian home, the man is the spiritual leader. He goes up on the mountain of God, like Moses, and hears the word of the Lord. Then he comes down from the glory of that encounter, with his face shining, and tells his wife and children how they should live.
The wife of course, kneels down at her husbands feet each night and washes them while he instructs her. The children sit quietly by the fireplace in their matching pajamas and listen to their father's wisdom. When he finishes with his devotional message, they say their prayers, recite their memorized Bible verses and then quietly march in single file to their bedrooms for the night.
Excuse me? I don't have to tell you that such a scene is not normal. When most Christian father's return home from work each night, they have not been basking in a cloud of God's glory. Whether the wife was home preparing dinner or just arriving home from her own job, she is most likely not in the mood to sit at her husbands feet and listen to his lecture. and whoever said little children can sit through a thirty minute sermon without figeting never had any kids of their own.
This scenario is not realistic. Real marriages don't work that way, and we should not up hold this ideal as standard. Husbands often come home from work tired; wives are often frazzeled from their own day at the office or from the frenzsy of childcare; and children get into trouble break things,track mud, through the house and sometimes have to be spanked because of bad attitudes. Real life happens, and it gets even more challenging when the youngsteters hit their teen years. Many Christian women are married to husbands who are not as spiritual as they are. This is how life is. I wish I could promise you that if you follow four easy steps, your husband will become a spiritual giant over night, or he will start praying with you every night, or he will even begin prophesying during church services. But that may not happen. And it does not have to happen in order for you to experience God for yourself. Your husbands lack of spirituality cannot prevent you from achieving spiritual maturity.
I hope you don't think I am making light of your situation. I know it can be very frustrating, and painful as well to feel disconnected spiritually with your spouse. but you cannot allow your own passion for God to make you feel guilty. and you certainly cannot blame yourself for your husband's lukewarm faith.
Many Christians have unrealistic standards, and expectations about how life is supposed to be. They assume that a victorious Christian life means freedom from struggles, scandals, pain and suffering. There is no room in their world for sickness, miscarriage, rape, lawsuits, bankruptcy, car accidents, delinquent children , learning disabilities, cancer, racism, secret addictions, eating disorders or premature death of a friend or relative. Yet I know many, many Christians who have to deal with these and other traumatic problems at some point in their lives. Those who are crushed by these circumstances are always the ones that did not look at their problems realistically. They never read the Book of Job. They never embraced the fact that our spiritual journey would include trials, affliction and hardship.
Those that overcome and experience true victory, on the other hand, are the ones who trusted God to give them special grace to handle whatever circumstances they faced,
Helping Your Husband Grow Spiritually
Wives need to encourage their husbands to have a better realationship with God. To consider taking four steps as you face life with a husband who does not know the Lord or who lacks spiritual passion.
1. Thank God for your husband.
He may not be a spiritual firebrand, but you can surely think of several positive qualities you see in him. Perhaps he is a good listener. Maybe he is an excellent handyman. When is the last time you thought about his unique skills, abilities, and character traits? Or have you been fretting constantly about the fact that he doesn't measure up to your expectations?
Learn to focus your attention on his strengths so that you do not develop a bitter attitude toward him. If you allow yourself to become critical, you will actually hinder him from growing in his relationship with the Lord and put your marriage at risk, too.
The Bible often speaks about the power of a wife's words. You can be constructive or destructive, depending on whether you allow the Holy Spirit to temper your conversation and attitudes. Proverbs 14:1, says, "the wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands."
Soloman wrote, "The contentions of a wife are a constant dripping" (Proverbs 19:13). He also said that is was better for a husband to live "in a corner of a roof" or "in a desert land" than in a house shared " with a contentious and vexing woman" (Proverb 21:9,19). He did not say this because he was a woman hater. No husband enjoys being criticised by his wife if she offers constant complaining. A man's reaction to this negativity will always be to withdraw, to become passive or to seek intimacy and solace outside of the home. A wife can actually drive her husband away if she insists on constant fault finding.
Learn to thank God for your husband, and then offer regular compliments and encouragement. and if you can think of any thing positive to say, learn to bite your lip and say nothing. There is a time and place for correction, but that time does not roll around as frequently as we think.
2. Ask God for a prayer strategy, and then pray for your husband consistantly.
The Holy Spirit holds the answer to your husbands problems and challenges. Rather than striving in your own flesh to change his attitudes or to fuel his spiritual passion, let God do it. All you need to do is to ask Him. Then simply believe that He is at work.
Your husband may struggle Spiritually from some tramatic experience he never told you about. He may have disqualified himself from ever being what he considers "a good Christian" because of something he did twenty years ago. Guilt and condemnation always cause a person to withdraw from God.
I have counseled with many men who face serious emotional and psychological problems. Because of the pressures from society (and the church) to appear strong, men tend to bury their hurts because to talk about them openly would be to admit failure. If they have been sexually abused or struggle with embarrassing sins like masturbation, pornography, adultery, homosexual desires or complusive addictions such as gambling or alcoholism, they may simply bury their pain and lose touch with their emotions.
This invariably will take its toll on a man's spiritual life. The guilt and shame associated with on resolved problems will prevent him from enjoying a healthy relationship with God. When you pray for your husband, ask God to break through any shame or guilt that has created a wall of separation.
3. Encourage your husband to be in fellowship with other Christian men.
I hope you are not threatened by the fact that men do not necessarily want to tell you everything. In fact, you do not want to know everything that goes on inside your husbands mind. He can find a great deal of encouragement, healing and spiritual development by spending time with other men, especially men who are more spiritually mature.
How many men carry a great deal of emmotional baggage because they did not have fathers or because their fathers were distant, uninvolved or abusive. This can create deep insecurities, fears or voids that can lead to depression, workaholism, alcoholism , sexual addictions and other problems. One of the best ways to overcome this is to link needy men with strong, emotionally mature men who can mentor and disciple them.
Your husband may not be ready to get into a Christian men's group or a one-on-one mentoring relationship.. But you can make this a priority in prayer. Ask God to bring a man into your husband's life who can provide friendship and encouragement, and then wait and see what God does. Don't push your husband too fast. If there is announcement at your church about a men's group forming, don't poke him in the ribs or manipulate him to go. Let God do the work in him.
If you feel prompted by the Holy Spirit, you might want to mention to a mature man in your church that your husband needs encouragement. But be low key and discreet about this. Men do not enjoy being ganged up on.. And if your husband feels you are conspiring to "fix" his problems, he will most likely retaliate by retreating deeper inside his shell. One of the greater obstacles men face is the challenge to swallow their pride. and become transparent about failures and weaknesses. If they are pushed into an uncomfortable place that requires them to confess their sins, they may bolt and run in the other direction.
4. Don't let your husband hold you back from fulfilling your own spiritual calling.
You need to dismiss the idea that you cannot be more spiritual than your husband. There are plenty of women mentioned in the Bible who seemed to far outshine their husbands in character and godly wisdom. One of them, Abigail, was married to a wicked, self centered man named Nabal, whom she herself described as a "fool" (1 Samuel 25:25). Instead of submitting to her husband's plans, she went behind his back and did the right thing and God blessed her. She honored God, interceded on behalf of her husband and won King David's favor with her spiritual insight and godly character. Her huband died when he learned of her righteous actions, and David ended up taking her as his own wife.
Abigail certainly breaks the mold of the "submissive wife' that we tend to elevate as a standard in our modern evangelical subculture. Conservative Bible teachers who twist Scripture to suggest that women should always submit to their husbands' wishes might as well cut 1 Samuel 25 out of the Bible. God, in fact, blessed Abigail for her lack of submission to Nabal (a fool), who showed no respect for the reign of David in God's plan for Israel. Abigail, meanwhile, was brought into the palace of David because she embraced God's agenda. Abigail's story proves that women that are married to fools can enjoy an intimate place of fellowship with God!
So, whether you are married to a Nabal or to a spiritually inmature man who needs encouragement and nurturing discipleship, you do not have to wait for your husband to catch up with you as you pursue God on your own. If you make your relationship with God a priority and learn to chase after Him with passion and diligence, you will be better equiped to inspire others to run with you. Hopefull you are married to a spiritually mature man, who loves you and wants to share in Biblical Equality with you for the Kingdom of God's sake.
I hope that you will read and re-read these questions answered for you by J. Lee Grady. If you would like a copy of his outstanding book be sure to visit our link to Christians for Biblical Equality. There are more inspiring books and articles that can help you to stay on the narrow road of salvation through Biblical Equality. I will be going over the other 18 questions in future Hubs.
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