Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Woman's Dilemma

Hello readers. Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

We're stepping into the Garden of Eden again.  And I love the opening scene in the Bible, it's so rich in drama and tragedy and humor and explanations of why we act the way we act. So right after Adam and Eve sin, and God is dishing out their punishments.  To the woman He says this,

To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”Genesis 3:16

Now, I remember the first time I read that, I chuckled and said oh, this is why women are ALWAYS thinking about getting married one day.  But, further study exposed a hidden truth in this text, or a hidden translation.  This term, which is actually often debated "desire for your husband" actually means "dominate or rule" over your husband.  This text is embarrassing for some women because they don't like to think that part of their design is this. Of course, completely understandable.  Who would want to know that women have a natural tendency to war against men. that apparent in the 21st century?  Let's investigate.

Maybe it can be seen in the feminist movement?  When women wanted to be treated as equals. Now, rightfully so, you all have an argument.  Men have been abusive and inconsiderate and disrespectful for years, this I know, I'm not letting us off the hook---- but it seems to me instead of allowing God to handle us, you all took it upon yourselves.  "We want to be equals".  Which actually, thinking as I type this sentence, this may have actually been a cry for ,"We just want to be appreciated."  Hmmm..I'm going to chew on that one for later.  

Anyways, I've also had the privilege of being around a lot of strong independent women growing up.  I've experienced first hand a woman HAVING to play both roles in the household. And again, rightfully so, she had no choice in the matter because of men.  But what has happened and my reasons for this blog is that I've started to see women take pride in this brokenness.  It's like they have actually taken on the male role in the household in seeking to find value in their ability to lead or their accomplishments.  And it's carried over into raising up daughters to do the same thing.  And I continue to watch women try to flex their strength and power by how they behave, whether it's afraid to be vulnerable or heavy sarcasm, bad attitudes, or constantly reminding people how strong and independent they are--which are all responses of brokenness. 

And it breaks my heart, honestly, to even watch it.  And I continue to play it over in my mind, why do women like to date bad boys.  And my mom has always told me that women like projects.  And I think she had something there. They like to get a guy and change him to fit their ideal.  Perhaps is that Genesis 3:16 working itself out?  Maybe I can get this guy and mold and shape him into the man I, I mean God, is calling for him to be.  Right ladies?  No, you're not actually thinking this.

But it's how you're acting.

Oh, but the typical excuses I get.  "There just aren't any good men anymore."  "He's a nice guy, he just needs to be pushed."  "He's only that way around his friends."  "Maybe I can draw him to loving God."  So what happens, you again take matters into your own hands again and jump into a relationship with a guy you have already admitted you're unequally yoked with.    

Ladies, here's a hint.  You actually don't want a man you have motivate to do anything this important.  And, it makes me laugh because you think this works. 

"Let me tell men to man up and lead my family."  "Let me tell men to man up and pursue women."  "Let me tell men to be better men."  "Let me tell men to honor and protect me."

If you're having to do this, I'm sorry.  But it's not a good thing.  You don't want a guy that you have to spark a fire under for him to do anything this important for you.  There's a hidden issue that's there, and it can be missed if you, we, or whoever just focuses on what he's NOT doing.   

You never want to devalue a man.

And that's what you're doing when you do that.  You're basically telling him, SINCE YOU'RE NOT A MAN, SINCE YOU'RE NOT MAN ENOUGH, A WOMAN HAS TO COME IN HERE AND KICK YOU IN YOUR BUTT AND FIRE YOU UP.  And men's secret desire is that we want to be valued. Read the brother of this article, The Male Dilemma, for more about that.  But instead of insulting---or as you call it, encouragement, throw some praise his way.  Hey, again, if our desire is to be valued, then we will continue to do it OR do more to get that value up and more praise.  We're men.  We're the crazy species that plays golf one time and wants to go buy the best clubs we can find!  We want to be valued and be the best at whatever it is.  That's why we swap old football stories because that's when we were valued.  That's why we do these things.  Hey, calling us dogs isn't too far fetched if you ask me.  If a dog wants to continue to get a treat, it'll continue to do what caused him to get that treat.  ;)

That's a joke by the way.  Don't be walking around petting every guy you see, that's not okay.  

 Now, here again is where the first part kicks in.  I'm sure the 21st century new age woman is thinking, pshh, I don't want their heads to get big.  I don't want to do that.  So, you're rather rule over them and muscle them into behaving and devalue him and risk getting a guy that you have to remind that its your birthday and you want something nice.  Or the guys you have to remind to send flowers just because.  Or the guys you have to remind to love you unconditionally even when you're having a bad day and just want to be mean.  (Oh, sorry, you all don't do that do you? ;) Hahaha)   So, yeah, trust me on this one, you really don't want a guy like that.  So if you're having to do any fixing up to get him to where you want him, just get ready to continue working until the day you two wed and die.

"Your desire will be for your husband." 

Hmmm....interesting isn't it?  Now, as your brother, shall I encourage?  I suggest learning to love.  Stop reading books about being the perfect wife and mother, no more Steve Harvey books, no more Twilight and Bachelor TV shows, and no more pinning your dream wedding on Pinterest--- all these things do to you is give you this dream of love and what love is.  Did you not know that you are already dearly loved?  You don't have to dream about it, you can experience it.  So, just learn to love.  Learn what your Savior has done for you.  Experience it fully and truly.  Because it is in HIM when you find the kind of man you deserve.  And no, I'm not saying be the Christian girls that think wanting a husband is somehow showing God you're discontent with being single, all I'm saying is right now, learn to love.  Experience love.  Right now. And tomorrow too. Learn how to serve as the wife of Christ before ever being a wife.  Learn how to nurture and show compassion before having children.  All these are fruits of women who have learned how to love.And not the Lil Wayne version. 

Again, did you not know that you are dearly loved?

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" Colossians 3:12

The Proof of Our Guilt

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

The title says it all right?  I heard this idea in a message by one of my new favorite pastors Matt Chandler.  How many of us ever think about Hell?  "Yeah?  Not where we're headed right? So why bother thinking about it."

Oh, because scripture tells us to.  It tells us its real and people not knowing God will go there.

Pshh..come on Claude.  Oh I know God.  I love God. 

The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 John 2:4

This is love for God: to obey his commands. 1 John 5:3

So? Still think you know and love God.  See here's the thing.  If we're not doctrinally understanding what it means to know God and to love God then we're missing out on the fullness of God, and could very well be headed to this place we try not to think about AND will argue that we're not going there.  Here's the illustration.

Ever wonder why everybody in jail claims they're innocent?  Or ever watched a trial and the convict is sitting in his chair with this head in his lap, waiting to hear the final verdict.  And the judge slams down his gavel and screams out GUILTY AS CHARGED!  Does the convict jump up with joy?  Does he boast and brag?  High five the judge?

Of course not.  Just like the inmate and just like the convict, when we're feeling guilty, all we want is MERCY.

So, naturally...and of course...we're going to want to believe things like, "Well God is a loving God, He wouldn't send me to Hell." Or, "If He is a loving God, why would He create Hell?"  Or my favorite that people say, "I feel like God loves me to much to send me to Hell."

This is only a result of our culture's lack of awareness of sin.  "Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God" Romans 11:22.  Kindness of God, yeah, I can get that.  Peace, joy, love, happiness, purpose, hope, yes.  Well, the same mouth also said all those other things we want to ignore.  And since our culture doesn't have an understanding of how doctrine explains sin and how God feels about it, we flaunt it.  We'll tweet it, we'll blog it, we'll rap about it, we'll sing about it, we'll protest about it, we'll mock it, we'll write books about it, we'll go on Oprah and agree about it........

But we all desire heaven.

Why?  What is heaven?  Can we seriously think we can ignore God here AND ignore Him in His home?  Hey God, nice crib, I'll just hang out on the porch.

That's like if I could, right now as you're reading this, reach through the computer and punch you in face, and then tweet I just did it, but oh, can you loan me $20, I need some gas. 

I think our grasp of eternity is off, or we don't even have one.  Imagine it for a second.  And what cracks me up about us, we'll try to experience God in our fullness rather than in His fullness.  We don't even know the people driving on the streets outside of our apartments or homes but we think we have the understanding of God.

I'm learning that we have to be careful with ministering to our generation.  We're wired to think about ourselves first.  We've even corrupted hearing Jesus loves you.  Like, of course He does, I love me some me.  Don't we say stuff like that?  Or rather, we act like that.

Here's the wrap up.

Don't fret my dear, this story always end good, for the ones who take heed.  Because it takes you truly understanding the wrath of God and the sin that's attached to your body right now to understand how much God loves you.  You can't understand the weight of Christ's love on the cross without understanding the weight of God's anger with you for sinning.

And we're all operating in free will right now, aren't we?  You do know free will will eventually end.  We may have a choice now of what we do and where we go, but that choice ends on sentencing day.  You're either in, or you're out.  God doesn't want you out, and neither do I.  This blog is for your joy, not your happiness.

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance"  2 Peter 3:9

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

god's Grace

Hello readers, welcome to my heart.  Let's begin. 

The title was intentional.  It is not a typo.  I wanted to talk about this illustration that's been running over in my mind about how we try to grace ourselves outside of grace.  So for the sake of having to explain everything, here's a key to follow.   

Upper case G, is for God and His Grace. 
Lower case g, is for us and our grace. Ready? Let's work.  

So I had this idea one time about why do we always try to grace ourselves outside of Grace?  Here's the illustration. 

So, you're driving down the interstate one night and your car breaks down.  You pull over to the side of the road and immediately pop the hood of the trunk.  Now, even though you have NO IDEA what you're looking at or looking for, you still look.  Or even if you do have an idea, WE STILL LOOK.  We think, "Hmm, maybe I can fix it. Maybe I can save the mechanic or tow truck some trouble if I can fix it myself?"

We do this exact same thing with God. 

We try to grace ourselves outside of God's Grace.  We try to fix things ourselves.  We try to "save God the trouble" and won't pray about everything and seek God for it.  Here's where this is stemming from. 

I remember a season of my life where I was trying to deal with some issues I had.  And for some reason, I was trying to do it on my own.  This literally was my thought, "God I know better than this.  I shouldn't be feeling this way.  I shouldn't be desiring to do this."  And honestly what I was doing was pushing God away and telling Him, no, I'll fix it, I can handle it.  And now I know why.

We're always looking for our own glory.  We, the little god's, are running around so desperatly to be praised ourselves.  What joy it would have brought me that "I CONQUERED THIS DEFEAT!  I CONQUERED THESE ISSUES!  And besides, I have a reputation to maintain, I can't let people know I struggle with this.  I'm supposed to be a man of God, I can't let people know I have this problem."  Right there, wanting glory for myself.  Trying to operate in my own grace, the little that I have and it's temporary.  I think back to Adam and Eve.  Part of their motivation to eat from the tree was because they wanted to be like God. (Genesis 3:5)  And the funny thing, ------we're still trying to do that.  Let me give you a hint.  WE'RE LOUSY GODS.  Horrible. Terrible. 

We couldn't keep ourselves in the garden.  We couldn't save ourselves from our sins.  We couldn't provide ourselves a healthy birth.  We couldn't decide who our families were.  We couldn't decide how we looked, what happened to us, how tall we got, how short we are, how our facial features turned out.  Hahaha, we can't even create a government that works flawlessly.  Man, we can barely chew food without swallowing down the wrong pipe!  We can't even stop ourselves from dying!  And, this is funny.  We'll continue to try to create our own word.  Hey, every time we disobey God that's exactly what we're doing.

"The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so".Romans 8:7 says that we're hostile to God.  Because in our attempt to create our own word with our little god efforts we're rebelling against His word, telling Him that I disagree with it so I'm going to do my own thing.  I can't imagine the slap in the face.  Think of an expert cook.  Cooks a meal for friends and family.  And as soon as he serves it to them, people start adding salt to it. 

"But you haven't even tried it yet." 

"Well, it needs salt." Or they start to add barbeque sauce to it. 

"You haven't even tried it yet."

"Well, I love barbeque sauce."  LOL...funny illustration but I hope it makes sense.  We're hostile to God when we're operating in this flesh get what flesh wants mindset.  And flesh wants its own glory.  Flesh wants to be elevated.  And to even show how sickening our sinful nature is, flesh even wants to be elevated with God's name on it---the Pharisees for example. 

So focused on BEING MEN OF THE GOD, that they forgot the very essence of what that means.  Being men and women of God means knowing you're weak and worthless and incapable, that God has to grant us grace for us to even approach His throne.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Hebrews 4:16.  

Be vulnerable and transparent.  Remind people that you are weak.  Because strong men and women of God are weak and dependent.  Crazy right?  Check what Paul says.  

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10