9/29/10

Conversation with a Taxi Driver

He was from a tiny country in East Africa—an immigrant, divorced long ago, with children he dearly loved. My friend Lynette and I slipped into Kintura's taxi cab at our hotel after the final session of the True Woman conference.

“Indianapolis Airport,” I said. He joked that he could take us to Chicago or even Cleveland instead. I looked at the meter and shook my head. “Indianapolis Airport,” I repeated.

Kintura saw our bright green conference bags and as he started to drive, he immediately asked a question. (Later, I surmised that other “True Women” had graced his taxi, and he was overcome with curiosity.) “What is this True conference?” Kintura said. “There are many ladies here.”

I explained the basic concepts, and he asked, “So, you believe then that the man is to lead and the woman is to obey, yes?”

“We believe in the biblical model of manhood and womanhood,” I said.

“Then you believe that a man and woman are not equals,” he said.

“Oh no,” I said. “The Bible teaches that men and women were created in the image of God, both with dignity and value, and we are equal in God’s sight—but we have different roles.” (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 5:22-33)

“So, a man and a woman are only half fulfilled until they get married,” Kintura said, “and then they are whole, correct?”

“No, that’s not right,” I said. “Otherwise, a man or woman who are not married could never be fulfilled. What we believe the Bible teaches is that a man or woman who trusts in Christ for salvation is complete in Him. But in the marriage relationship, a man and woman's roles are complementary. Women are supposed to encourage men to be masculine, godly leaders in their homes and society." (Mark 9:35; 10:42-45; Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:12-3:7)

“Yes, yes,” he said. “Men and women fit together and are complete in marriage. I understand.” He took both hands off the steering wheel momentarily, meshing his fingers together.

To be honest, that scared me a bit, and I kept wishing that he wouldn’t turn around so many times, afraid that he might run into another car! I leaned forward so he wouldn’t need to turn so far. Lynette tightened her seat belt. We both prayed for safety.

As I asked Kintura questions about his own life, I found that he is of the Orthodox faith—something like the Coptics in Egypt—a believer who is seeking God for direction, happily serving the Lord as he teaches a class of young boys. He also would like a godly wife, which is why he was so intrigued by all of the True Women he saw.

“So many women try to dress and act like men,” he said. “They don’t know what it is to be feminine.”

“Yes, a woman needs to leave no doubt that she’s a woman,” I agreed. (1 Timothy 2:9-13)

“But so many women [in America], they don’t act like women," Kintura said. "They are leading men wrong. And I think this nation is not going well. I am afraid for this nation. It is becoming like other nations that did not follow what God says.”

Lynette and I agreed. I told the taxi driver that we True Women want to be part of the movement to change hearts and lives. True Women want to live holy lives that please God, follow God’s design for their womanhood, manage their homes, honor the sanctity of marriage, and reach and nurture the next generation. (Proverbs 31:10-31; Psalm 127:3; Proverbs 4:1-23; 22:6)

As we traveled to the airport, I asked Kintura if I could pray for him, and he welcomed that. As Lynette and I bowed our heads, we prayed that if it is God’s will (not knowing the circumstances of his divorce), God would lead him to a godly True Woman who embraces the beauty of her womanhood and desires God’s will and ways. We prayed for God to bless this man as he continues to seek the Lord and live for him.

When we parted, he thanked us for being women of faith ~ True Women ~ and he honored us with many kind words. Moments later, as Lynette and I turned to enter the airport, I said, “What a strange conversation, but wasn’t it wonderful?”

What gripped me most about my dialogue with Kintura was his deep concern for his adopted home, the United States. He envisions a nightmare in America’s future because he's watched other countries slip into depravity and ruin. He knows the signs ~ the consequences of ignoring the Sovereign God's words. I left the conference determined to live out the True Woman Manifesto, and Kintura gave me yet another reason why it’s so important. Our families, our country are at stake!

The last True Woman Conference for 2010 will be held in Ft. Worth, Texas,

on October 14-16.

I encourage you to give yourself an early Christmas present and go ~ and to allow God to change your life, your home, and your relationship with Him.

Now is the time for women to stand for Christ, to embrace the biblical design for their womanhood, and use their influence to call a wayward nation back to God!

9/22/10

Focus God-ward for a Stronger Marriage!

Dave Veerman, Christian humorist, got it right in so many ways concerning marriage in his "Before and After the Marriage Vows."*

Before: He was attracted to her sparkling, outgoing personality ~ the life of the party.
After: He is frustrated that she's the last one to leave ... church, a social, a committee meeting, an unexpected conversation with a stranger at the store....

Before: He was fiscally responsible, financially secure.
After: What a miser and cheapskate!....

Before: She was attracted to him because he was the strong, silent type ~ rock solid and steady.
After: He's so quiet ... and boring!

Before: What a great figure!
After: Can't we eat something besides tofu and sprouts?....

Before: What a free spirit she was ~ exciting and uninhibited.
After: The house is a mess!

Marriage quickly re-adjusts our rose-colored glasses. Before long, if we're not careful, we take the wedding vows lightly, and forget marriage takes hard work and patience.

One of the powerful lessons I learned as a young wife was that my husband and I would tend to have problems if we kept gazing at each other ~ because we'd be sure to find some problems as the honeymoon ended and the newness of marital bliss wore off.

A wise man taught my husband and I to always see our marriage as an equilateral triangle. My husband is at one corner of the triangle's base, and I am at the other corner. Then, we both look up to the top of the triangle, which represents God. The beauty of this illustration is that the closer each of us gets in our relationship with God ~ when we fix our eyes on the Him ~ the closer we are to each other as a couple.

It's true! Whenever we feel tension in our marriage, it's always been because we've shifted our focus to our partner in a self-serving or critical way. The more my husband and I focus on the Lord as individuals, the more unified we find our marriage.

Have you who are married found this to be true, as well?

* Excerpt from Happily Ever Laughter, edited by Ken Davis
Focus on the Family/Tyndale, 2010, pp. 87-89.

9/15/10

Coming Alongside

My dad, a Navy man who spent most of his career on ships (destroyers), used to tell me stories about supply ships that came alongside larger vessels to supply whatever they needed at sea. The supply ships were always a welcome sight, enabling carriers and other large ships the ability to press forward. I like that concept of help to move forward.

That is what a good counselor or life coach does, too ~ comes alongside to provide the counsel, encouragement, wisdom ... whatever is needed so a person can move forward with successful attitudes for life.

One of the names of the Holy Spirit that describes a function of the Spirit in the believer's life is Paraclete. The word has many translations, including, "an advocate or helper; one who consoles and intercedes; counselor; one who is called to another person's side." The concept in scripture is of a holy Comforter or Counselor that believers need in the struggles of life.

1 John 2:1 describes the paraclete-like advocacy of intercession Jesus offers for believers. Jesus is able to advocate for and comfort us because He was tempted as we are (Heb. 2:14-18; 4:14-16). He totally understands! And then, only a few hours before Jesus went to the cross ~ as He sensed His disciples' concern for the His coming death and departure (Matt. 16:21; John 16:7-16) ~ He explained that "another paraclete" would come. This third person of the Trinity would provide faithful support and help to God's people in the Savior's absence. Just imagine how the disciples were comforted by this promise, even if they couldn't fully understand what Jesus meant at the time.

The Holy Spirit comforts us because we need comforting! God wants His children to have joy and inner comfort in spite of earth's trials (John 14:17, 27; 16:33; Rom. 14:17b; James 1:2). The fruit of the Spirit in us includes "joy and peace" (Gal. 5:22); and it also includes love. The Spirit loves us as Christ loves us (Rom. 15:30a).

The challenge to me is to allow the work of the Holy Spirit to become so powerful in my life that I can come along-side others to encourage, comfort, and counsel them in their time of need. I, too, can become paraclete-like! The God of All Comfort designed this wondrous plan! (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

It has been said, "He who has suffered much speaks many languages" (anon). The reason this is true is, we all will endure various afflictions and trials, and it helps to know that we are not alone in our struggles. Sometimes, the best way to minister to others is to empathize with them, saying, "I know exactly what you're going through!" ~ but only if we indeed have suffered what they are suffering.

Have you found this true?

  • Have you struggled with a sin and found victory, and directed others to the Lord so they can find victory, too?
  • Have you endured some tough circumstance, and because of your pain, you understand the pain of others?
I'd love to hear how God has enabled you ~ because of how He has come alongside you ~ to be a comforter or counselor to bless people's lives.

9/8/10

Preparing for the Next Crisis

I walked out of the office on September 11, 2001, to watch a television in a nearby room. I worked full-time, at the time, for Christian Examiner. Everyone in the office sat on a couch, glued to the horrible sights that unfolded minute-by-minute.

It was our generation's Pearl Harbor, and we sat in shock that anyone would dare attack our nation.

We couldn't fully take it in. As events unfolded ~ the Twin World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, the downed plane in Pennsylvania ~ we knew we'd never be the same. How could we? America seemed so impenetrable before 9-11.

In the weeks following, as the government tried to grapple with what happened, many turned to God. Some were sincere and made decisions they had long put off. Others were simply scared, and instinctively turned to God. They looked for hope in events that made no sense.

God is still America's only hope
, not because "In God We Trust" ~ because we really don't trust in God as a nation, anymore ~ but because the Word of God makes it clear that hope is only found in the God of the Bible.

Nearly a decade later, most Americans have returned to business as usual, church as usual, and life as usual without even token fear of God. There are some whose lives were changed forever, but how many are playing games today? The scriptures command us to seek God while He may be found (Is. 55:6). It's foolish to wait for another crisis. We need to humble our hearts and thoughts, and seek Him with the intent to do what He says. As a nation and as individuals, we need to repent of our sinful ways (2 Chron. 7:14; Ps. 27:8; Jer. 29:13; Heb. 11:6).

If we will make the choices and do the works of a faithful Christ-follower, we will not only please God, we will show people who He is and how He can change their lives.

Some make practical preparations for potential crises ~ storing food and supplies, or making emergency plans; but every Christian needs a prepared life, because we will one day stand before the Judge of all the earth. One of the tools I am using these days is "Hope for Uncertain Times," produced by the revival ministry Revive Our Hearts. I'm also studying "When Do We Need Revival?" Materials like these ~ and there are many at the Revive Our Hearts' website under Printable Downloads ~ encourage us to make sure our hearts are pure before God.

We are not bound by legalism; we are under grace ~ but we do need to be careful that we are taking our walk with God seriously. There is much at stake for our own lives, and for the lives of those the Lord will allow us to influence.

What are your memories of 9-11?
Did you turn to God in a more significant way? Have you slipped a bit from that walk of intimacy, faith, or obedience? How can we keep our walk with God fresh?

9/1/10

A Little Lesson from Beanie Babies

On September 1st in 1999, Ty Warner toys announced that they would stop making stuffed Beanie Babies in December of that year. They even produced a little black bear called “The End” to help make that announcement. But consumers urged Ty Warner to change his mind, and Warner did. Beanie Babies are still created to this day. Warner donates huge amounts of money to charities. In fact, on September 13, 2001, he announced a series of charity bears to raise funds for those affected by the terrorist events of 9/11, including signing an "America Bear" that was put up for auction on Ebay.com ~ it sold for $24,000!

The Beanie Babies announcement reminded me that I should never be afraid to change my mind when I realize I'm wrong. But on the flip side, I learned: Never give up when you know you've got a good thing. You've got a good thing when you know it is true and valuable.

I have a "good thing" in my relationship with God. I want to continue to grow, and to spread the Good News of salvation and the truth of God's Word. I want to strengthen my stand for the Lord, my stand of faith (1 Cor. 2:5; 15:1; 1 Thess. 3:8; Eph. 6:10-17) especially as our culture turns from the spiritual moorings of the Founding Fathers.

I have a "good thing" in my country. America is still the best country on earth with the most opportunities, in spite of its serious cultural and political flaws. I want to promote America and protect it by voting in people who believe in our Constitution, and "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" ~ America's Declaration of Independence. I want to make sure America's dearest values are embraced by the next generation.

I have a "good thing" in my family. I am so blessed. I know that. I have people who care about me, and I love them, too. But if a person does not have that history of family, that does not mean that he/she can't create a powerful family going forward! If there is no marriage, or if there are no children, Christians can still pour their lives into the Family of God ~ the family for eternity. We all need to protect the sanctity of marriage, the biblical roles of men and women, and wise care for children. [Here is a study on scriptures concerning the family.]

This is a simple blog post. God, country, family. These are my "good things" ~ worth preserving, protecting, and promoting.

How about you? What do you value? What are the ties you would stand for in tough times ~ even die for, if necessary? It's a good idea to make proactive choices to strengthen those ties before the tough times come.