If Mama Ain’t Happy…

I truly despise this saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Women who aren’t happy are women who want to get their way in the home through fault-finding, criticizing, whining…nagging. It’s the behavior of someone in a subordinate position who wants to rule the roost by making the rooster very, very unhappy.

King Solomon had a lot of women in his life. Perhaps he experienced and learned from some of his experiences. Maybe this is why Proverbs has several verses on being with an unhappy wife:

Proverbs 19:13 “…the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping.”

Proverbs 21:9 “Better to dwell in the corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”

Proverbs 21:19 “Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.” 

Proverbs 25:24 “It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”

Proverbs 27:15-16 “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a contentious woman are alike; whoever restrains her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand.”

To be contentious means to be argumentative, quarrelsome, controversial, contending and generating strife.

I believe God’s word that the husband is the authority over the wife, and I believe the order was established when God told Eve after her rebellion, “Your husband will rule over you.” Some struggle with the idea of authority given in a marriage based on gender, but the truth is, anytime you get two people together, at some point there will be a disagreement. In order to avoid chaos, one of those partners will need to have the final decision. I understand there are many dysfunctional relationships, even abusive ones, but in God’s plan, the marriage relationship is a partnership of two leaders, the husband being the head leader and the wife being the assistant leader. Submission is a beautiful thing when there is respect for each other, trust in each other, and crazy love for each other.

I’ve been married over 30 years, and as a strong woman, God has worked hard and long to see His characteristic of meekness, or controlled strength, be developed in me. When the nature is transformed, the behavior, the conversation, and the attitudes will follow. Every day is a choice to follow God’s heart. Sometimes I miss it, but the Holy Spirit is working in me and my husband. It is part of the journey of life, and with God, life gets better and better as we become more like Him.

There are reasons why some struggle with submission, whether a wife to a husband, a husband to the Lord, and employee to an employer, a team member to a leader, a citizen to a country, etc. Why some women want control over their husband:

  1. They have a desire to be successful, but instead of trusting and yielding to their husband, they want to run things, change things, control things. The desire to succeed isn’t what is unhealthy; it’s the refusal to bring herself under the authority of her husband. She can attempt to control with a quiet, passive aggressive behavior or she might try to power over her spouse with a strong, bold, large and in change mannerism.
  2. She wants to control what her husband controls. If she can’t have direct influence in something outside of her position, then she will nag her husband until he becomes her puppet in his position. She tells him what to say, what to do, what to think, what to feel. He might be the head, but she sees herself as the neck, turning her husband this way and that.
  3. She has been hurt by her husband’s choices and she wants to prevent further hurt, so she keeps him under her thumb. Unforgiveness isn’t always as simple as holding someone to their offense; it can also be a form of self-preservation. If you don’t expect change, then you won’t be disappointed again.
  4. She struggles with her self-worth. Feelings of rejection, betrayal, and abandonment are familiar to her, so she works hard to prove herself, gain approval, and get results by pushing her way through. She is more than competitive with herself to be her best, she is competitive with others to be the best, or at least to be part of what she considers better than something else.
  5. She is familiar with shame, guilt and fear. She works hard to overcome these feelings in her own insufficiency by proving herself or paying a price to compensate for her failure or the failure of those near to her.
  6. She is carnal or immature spiritually. Humility is a God-like quality that often needs to be developed as we become more like Christ. Humility is a heart issue, a characteristic that comes from knowing God.

Let me add, if controlling the husband isn’t enough, a nagging wife will also extend that control to her children. The result will most likely either be children who resent her, resist her, or comply with her. Some will adopt and carry on her behavior into their own lives, marriages, and families.

Control and manipulation is an authority issue. Before going any farther, I want to mention that I understand there can also be an unhealthy dominance of the husband over the wife. I’m not advocating unhealthy submission to an unhealthy or abusive husband.

To overcome the unhappiness that comes from control issues, whether a wife or anyone else, here are a few Bible answers:

  1. Admit it. See the problem.
  2. Go to God and ask Him to reveal the why. Is it one of the reasons mentioned above?
  3. Ask God to make you whole, align and fill those spaces that are lacking or misaligned.
  4. Repent to God and to your husband and/or family.
  5. The Bible says to humble yourself. You make the choice to position yourself under your husband’s authority.
  6. Begin a journey of transformation. Each day spend time with God and allow Him to correct and strengthen. If you stumble, go to God again as part of the process of change. If there is a cycle of behavior between the husband failing and then the wife controlling and then the husband failing, and then the wife controlling, ask God to help that pattern to stop. It may take awhile.
  7. Do something to demonstrate humility and love. Assist him. Help him. Build your husband up with your words and in your actions. Helping one another should go both ways because of trust and love, not control or manipulation. We don’t withhold household responsibilities to motivate one another to do what we want. We don’t secretly spend or make money to get what we want. We don’t try to pull our children in on our side to get what we want. Proverbs 31 says the heart of her husband trusts in her. He is confident she is on his side.
  8. Similarly, make love with your husband, and do it often. Don’t withhold sex to manipulate and don’t give it to reward. Sex is often an indicator of the health of a marriage relationship. When you are healthy, you will enjoy and love each other.

The opposite of a nagging, contentious wife is a wife who will:

  • Compliment instead of compete or criticize
  • Show kindness instead of meanness
  • Show temperance instead of control
  • Show trust instead of manipulation
  • Be happy

In conclusion, this is a quality that God finds precious in a wife or a subordinate – a gentle and quiet (peaceable) spirit (see I Peter 3:1-7). If you are a leader, having a partner who will work with you instead of against you is a quality you will cherish, nurture and respect. God’s ways are higher! God’s ways are better! Let’s all yield to Him and allow His peace to rule our hearts and our relationships.

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Bloom Where You’re Planted

 

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There is a saying “bloom where you are planted.” The definition of the verb “plant” is, “To intentionally establish in a healthy environment so that growth can occur and life is reproduced.”

Just like a tree that has been planted, the longer it remains in place, the more developed the root system becomes. The better the root system, the stronger the tree and the more fruit it can produce.

Psalm 92:13 “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.”

A local church isn’t just a place you decide to go; it’s a place God plants you.  When you are planted, you are firmly established, committed, and loyal. The same is true of any commitment – marriage, friendships, family, business, community service, and the like.

“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:3

How often do you see a tree uproot itself and move from one location to another location? What would the health of that tree be like? The root system would be severely damaged. So it is with Christians that have a history of going from church to church. Even for those with a traveling ministry, it is important to have a home church to base out of.

When someone decides not to commit (it is a decision), he or she struggles with being rooted or grounded with a home church, submitting to church authority, and sticking around to find solutions to problems with their brothers and sisters in Christ.

There can be several reasons for someone’s unfaithfulness. It is often the sinful condition of the human nature that leans towards self-sufficiency and pride. A religious spirit is often connected with the desire to be in control instead of submitted.

Other reasons include a fear of being hurt, failing, or being exposed. It could also be withdrawal due to feelings of guilt or shame. It could be a dysfunctional trigger to distance or leave due to damage from the past. It could be because someone has taken up an offense or feels restless. Some find themselves bound in addictive behavior that controls them.

No person is perfect, no church is perfect, no leader is perfect, and you are not perfect. The Bible is filled with scriptures on faithfulness, endurance, and patience. The Word repeatedly mentions loyalty, honor, and integrity. These are principles that apply to all areas of our lives, including our commitment to a church home.

Unfaithfulness is opposite of the character of God.
Unfaithfulness is starting something, but not following through.
Unfaithfulness is holding back, not surrendering the whole heart.
Unfaithfulness is quitting, betraying, abandoning.

God doesn’t leave you.
God doesn’t reject you based on your faults, mistakes or wrong decisions.
God doesn’t change His mind about you.
God doesn’t quit on you or leave you for another.

God is faithful because God is complete in Himself. He is whole. God is also faithful because God is love. God wants to work those things in us.

A committed, planted believer will cherish the leading of the Lord, the love of a church family, and the care of a pastor. If a person is led to leave their home church, he or she will focus on the good of the people they are leaving behind, rather than on themselves. They will leave in a way where they don’t influence others to leave or invite them away from their home church. They don’t start a new church of their own in the same community and take away from the church family they were once a part of. Also, they know the value of a church home, so they don’t stay out of church all together.

Ezekiel 17:8 “It was planted in good soil by many waters to bring forth branches, bear fruit…”

Jeremiah 17:8 “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”[1]

So be humble. Let God heal and make whole, and be planted in a home church. Get into covenant relationships. Weather a few storms. Ride out a few decisions. Be led by the Holy Spirit and be faithful to the house God has planted you in. Then you will flourish – you will be healthy through teaching, strong through some challenges, upright with some correction, and you will bear fruit – in other words, you will see the results of maturity, humility, and growth in favor, in anointing, and in the development of gifting. Stay on the wheel, and let the Potter reveal the design for you that He has in mind.

[1] II Samuel 7:10; Numbers 24:5-7; Psalm 80:15; Ezekiel 17:5; Ezekiel 36:36; I Corinthians 3:6

 

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Check It Out

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When you hear someone teach, it is always a good idea to check it out by searching the scriptures for yourself. It doesn’t matter who the teacher, author, pastor, evangelist, pastor, or apostle is… compare it with the Word before you accept it as truth.

Acts 17:11 “…they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

If a teaching is in error, remember no minister or ministry is perfect. Some things you can overlook, however, there are some ministries where the teaching or the teacher could cause serious error, open the door to sin or spirits, make provisions for abuse, and cause a reproach on the cause for Christ. I John 4:1-6

Here are some tips to make sure what you take in is something right and true:

  1.   Is the teaching mentioned in the Word?
  2.   Is it in the Word at least two or three times?
  3.   Is any part of the teaching outside of the Word?
  4.   Does the teaching line up with the context surrounding it in the Word?
  5.   Does the teaching line up with other Scripture?
  6.   Is the Holy Spirit giving you the okay in your heart?
  7.   Does the teaching lift up God or does the teaching lift up the teacher?
  8.   Is the teaching straight-forward or does it require excessive explanation?
  9.   Does the teaching make sense literally? If so, is it being explained away?
  10.   Would the teacher mind if you search the Scripture to corroborate the teaching?

If there is a teaching that does not line up with the Bible, it doesn’t matter if the teacher is educated, well-known, well-spoken, charismatic, has signs and wonders in demonstration, or quotes other Scripture, if there is a portion of teaching that is not in the Word or does not agree with other Scripture, don’t swallow that portion. Error is often wrapped up in truth to disguise it, deceiving even the most educated. It has been said, “Eat the fish, leave the bones.” Not every teacher teaches perfectly, everyone is subject to missing it here or there, so learn what to take in and what not to take in.

It’s also important to major on the majors and minor on the minors. When you understand the major points in the Word of God, you are doing well. If something is minor, and you’re not sure what to believe, it’s okay not to know everything. People have gotten into error and arguments when putting too much focus on trying to understand something minor that isn’t supported by scripture. It often leads to speculations and opinions, which are not beneficial or edifying. Once going down a wrong road, a believer can open himself or herself up to further deception or even devilish influence. Stick to the Word!

I Timothy 6:3-5  “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.” 

You can be better equipped from deception, error, and the trickery of the enemy when you:

  1. Honor the Lord more than you honor a person or a ministry.
  2. Honor the Word more than you honor a person or a ministry.
  3. Honor the Holy Spirit more than you honor a person or a ministry.
  4. Show respect, but be careful not to put any person on a pedestal.
  5. Search for the value of humility in your authority.
  6. Ask the Lord for discernment, not suspicion, for truth and for motive.
  7. Study the Scripture so you recognize a counterfeit.
  8. Recognize a deal to sell-out your integrity when you get behind closed doors
  9. Find a humble pastor and church leadership that teach truth
  10. Find mature Christians to give you counsel.

The Lord will guide you when it’s Him that you truly want to know. Seek to know the truth about the Lord, and He will reveal Himself to you.

II Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

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Number 10: Demonstrate Respect for Yourself

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In demonstrating respect for our own self, children can also learn about honor by learning to respect themselves. Let your children learn how to respect themselves by watching you respect yourself. You can teach them by setting boundaries on how you use your time, your money, and your energy.

We also teach children to respect themselves by showing them honor. Here are some ways we can honor our kids:

  • Talk to children respectfully. I’ve been in shopping malls and heard moms yelling at their children in a way that most people wouldn’t treat a dog. Just because they’re young doesn’t mean they don’t have intelligence or emotions.
  • Listen to them. Get on their level, and look into their eyes. Repeat what they have said so they know that you heard them.
  • Give them our time. They need both quality and We will give our time to what we value. Our time means more to children than having the nicest of things.
  • Tell them that we love them. We should never assume that they ought to know we love them. Both sons and daughters need to hear the words, “I love you.”
  • Show them that we love them. They need to see in our actions that we love them. We should provide their needs. We can’t neglect them. Sometimes they need a hug or a pat on the back.
  • Give them responsibility. Children need to know that they have purpose. Give them an amount of responsibility that they can handle. If they prove themselves dependable, add to their responsibilities.
  • Protect them. Children that have no rules feel their parents don’t care about their well being. Teach them the principles of the Word so that they will be happy and successful. Teach them how to guard their hearts.

In addition, with easy access on the internet, children can see pictures that could not only awakening their curiosity for sexual behavior, but could easily distort their perspective on sex and damage their ability to relate to others. First, but use a system that blocks certain web pages from opening and keep the computer in a family community area. Second, talk to your children about the dangers of the internet. When they are away from home, you want to make sure they have a better chance at making good choices.

Also, in a world that has increased in child pornography and sex trafficking, it is important to teach your children what is appropriate and inappropriate when they are approached by others. Without passing on fear, teach your children what to do when assaulted.

Above all, pray over your children. Involve God in the training and admonition of your kids. He will help shape and mold your children into what He has intended for them – His character, His attitudes, and His behavior.

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Demonstrate Respect For Children and Their Friends

830674963-primary-school-pupil-attention-looking-away-classroomI Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one despise your youth.” When something is despised, it is not being appreciated or valued.

Ephesians 6:1-3 instructs children to honor and obey their parents. In verse 4 it says, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” As parents, if we want our children to honor us, then we need to show them that we highly value their lives, and they need to know that they are of worth treating with respect.

One reason why young people have chosen to disrespect authority is because people in authority haven’t shown respect to them. Matthew 10:42 says, “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of  cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”  When a child or youth acts out, we might take a moment to question if this child feels like he or she has worth. Perhaps the child has been mistreated, devalued, or even abused. Teach them, feed them, protect them, clothe them – show them their value and their worth through action and through attitude.

The way children view themselves is largely affected by their perception of what their parents or other adults think of them. They are looking to us as parents to help them understand who they are. They learn by watching how we react to them. They are sensitive to our facial expressions, the tone in our voices, our comments, and our actions. We affect their self-esteem, whether positively or negatively. They can feel the pain of rejection and failure, or they can know the fulfillment of approval and acceptance.

The way we honor our children is seen in the way we discipline our children. Every child needs to be corrected when they do wrong, but discipline can be administered in a positive or negative way. When children are disciplined improperly, it shows disrespect. Discipline should not be viewed as parents controlling their children, but rather, teaching children to control themselves. We also should make sure we are following up discipline with love, encouragement, and support. When they know we believe in their ability to make right choices, children tend to aim towards a more honorable behavior.

Children also need to be taught to see themselves the way God sees them. We are the ones who put value on what we do; God puts value on who we are. Our society puts value on people for how much money they make, how famous they are, or how good-looking they are. The world values people according to their age, their gender, or their race. That is not God. He made us all different, and He loves each one of us the way that He made us. We need to see children with the same appreciation and significance that God sees them with.

If we value our children and their friends, they will learn to value themselves. Here are some practical ways to show our children that we value them:

  • Talk to children respectfully. I’ve been in shopping malls and heard moms yelling at their children in a way that most people wouldn’t treat a dog. Just because they’re young doesn’t mean they don’t have intelligence or emotions.
  • Listen to them. Get on their level, and look into their eyes. Repeat what they have said so they know that you heard them.
  • Give them our time. They need both quality and We will give our time to what we value. Our time means more to children than having the nicest of things.
  • Tell them that we love them. We should never assume that they ought to know we love them. Both sons and daughters need to hear the words, “I love you.”
  • Show them that we love them. They need to see in our actions that we love them. We should provide their needs. We can’t neglect them. Sometimes they need a hug or a pat on the back.
  • Give them responsibility. Children need to know that they have purpose. Give them an amount of responsibility that they can handle. If they prove themselves dependable, add to their responsibilities.
  • Protect them. Children that have no rules feel their parents don’t care about their well being. Teach them the principles of the Word so that they will be happy and successful. Teach them how to guard their hearts.

Proverbs says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Many times children will act out the way they are feeling about themselves.   Let’s be careful to show our children and other children in our community the honor they should have for themselves.

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