Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. Where should we look for answers? Who is there to help us decide? How will we know right from wrong? We have to draw near to God.
At times I find it hard to make a choice. What should I wear to church on Sunday? Do I pack the peanut butter and jelly sandwich or the cheese sandwich for lunch? What will I make for dinner tonight? Is there enough milk left for tomorrow, or do I have to make an extra trip to the store to buy more?
How about you? Do you find it hard to make decisions?
It doesn't end here, does it? Sometimes there is money involved. Should I buy the cheaper shoes that I can afford right now, or should I wait and spend more money to buy the branded leather ones? Do I really need a new car or will the one I drive last another two years? How much should I save each month?
And, what about the life-changing decisions? Should I go out with this guy or not? When is it okay to get married? How many children do I want to have? Should I seek a college degree or not? Where should I go to work? Do I accept a full-time job or not after getting married?
Questions after questions, and we are longing for the LORD to answer them, don't we? God is probably not telling us which of the two sandwiches we should pack into our lunchboxes. Concerning a sale, He might not give us the answer right away, and we will need to wait a little bit longer to find out whether we should buy a more expensive item or not. One of the ways God is leading us in our decisions is by sending people into our lives who will give us wise counsel. He can use a friend or sister to guide us (back) onto the right path. The best advice for us to make the right choices in life is found in God's Word. To seek it, we have to pick up our Bibles and read.
We must be aware, though, that the devil is crafty and a deceiver from the beginning. It's no mistake that he is called the father of lies. He always questions God's commands and asks us, "Has God indeed said?" If we give in and reason with the devil then the foundation on which we stand on is shaken. We have to be careful not to fall for the devil's lie. Many times the forbidden food looks so good, so ideal, so pleasant to our eyes that we desire it, reach out, take it, and eat it. The consequences are often devastating and always lead to some sort of death, e.g. death of our marriage, not necessarily death of our bodies but of our health, or the death of an important contract. (see also Genesis 3:1-6)
Yes, God's Word is still relevant today no matter if Satan continues to question it. Sad but true, we need to be aware that the original lie, Has God indeed said?, can even be found in churches at times. Its wording will be different, e.g.
Before any major decision: Pray. Read your Bible. Wait and expect the LORD to answer.
God is never done working in our lives. No matter if we are in our 40s, 50s, 60s or 70s, we need wise counsel from other Christian women who are mature in their faith.
My mom's birthday is coming up in a few days. If she hadn't died eight years ago she would have turned 78 this year. I still miss her so much, and sometimes I wonder how different our lives and our relationship would have been if both of us would have been raised in a Christian home.
I started this website, The Christian Homemaker, with the goal in mind to teach young women about homemaking in the light of God's Word. Likewise I wanted to exchange thoughts with the older women on how we can reach the next generation.
How will the young women know if they are going in the right direction? We need to help our daughters in how to make decisions because if we don't somebody else will. The world will more than miss the mark in teaching young women about true love, hope, and faith in the LORD Jesus. A worldly oriented society pushes our daughters unto wrong paths, but it will bail out when things get tough or advice them to give into extreme actions.
To be continued...
Who are your friends?
1 If I wanted to know which friend you trust the most what would your answer be?
2 If I would ask you, “Who is your best friend?” what would you say?
3 If I tell you that you have won a two-weeks trip to a lonely island for two people. Which one of your friends would you take with you?
Depending on our relationship with the LORD Jesus we probably mention Him in our answers of questions one and two. Or else, if we are married, we might say that it is our husband. I wonder, though, how many of us would take our husbands on a two weeks trip to the isle?
For now, I would like for you to put aside options Jesus and husband, and think of your girlfriends. Who would you be most comfortable with spending a whole two weeks together?
Once you arrived at the destination, how would you spend your time together? What would you expect to find out about your friend? Would there be something you are afraid of that might annoy you while being so close to her for two weeks?
True, most of us don't spend that amount of time with our girlfriends. Even if we do go on vacation together we enjoy a good deal of hours on our own. Nevertheless, throughout the years we meet a lot with our friends, and so they have a more or less bigger influence on our lives.
What does God's Word say about friendships? Find out in one of my future posts. So please stay tuned.
Are there laws for the Christian on what foods are okay and what are to be avoided in his diet?
"Law" sounds so restrictive to some people, and they will avoid any discussion about it. Reminds me of a conversation we had with one of our neighbors. We were talking about the necessity of laws — in keeping order — to which he replied:
I only keep the laws that I have to keep.
But how, by whose standard, does he decide which laws he has to keep and which ones he can ignore?
One of the best books I read about healthy eating is called What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell, M.D. Most of my friends and family act surprised whenever I mention the title of this book. I emphasize that Rex Russell explains what food we should and shouldn't eat. They usually want to know if he refers to dietary laws found in the Old Testament. As soon as I tell them that he does they are no longer with me. Do we still have to follow Old Testament laws about what to eat or not to eat?
In his book Rex Russell does not only argue from the laws found in the book of Leviticus, but he uses the whole Bible as his book of reference. First, he tells us what went wrong after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Then, he gives us reasons for a Health with Obedience (chapter 2). Next, he explains The Three Principles:
In the last part he lists foods and drinks that should be on our menu. Reading the book from beginning to end the careful reader will notice that Russell uses the whole counsel of God and not only the book of Leviticus as a foundation for his arguments. He reminds his readers:
Remember, I am not calling for a return to the old law for spiritual benefit; but I am asking that we recognize the health benefits in these ancient commands.
Go ahead and give it a try. Read it. You will be amazed about the common sense and the medical advice found in there. Yours and your family's health will greatly benefit from it.
You never pay attention to what I'm saying.
We have to watch our words. Unkind words can tear people apart, and they can break a marriage. As Christian women we should practice using words that are constructive rather than destructive. We need to focus on building up instead of tearing down.
It's so easy to give out, but it's hard to accept censure, isn't it? At times, we can really dish it out, can't we? But if we are attacked by harsh words we are deeply offended. Both times the problem lies in the way we handle the situation.
We often go wrong by targeting the person and not the problem. We will say something like, "You never..." or "You always..." do this or that. Think of it from the other's point of view, if someone tells you that you never or you always do this or that, aren't you offended?
A well-meaning friend threw me out of balance a while ago. She criticized one of my habits. First I was offended and went into defence mode. Then I decided to tackle the problem. I made some progress but only with baby steps. No, I'm far from avoiding this particular habit. Honestly? Each time I sense that someone shows the slightest attempt to mention it I'm thrown back to the beginning again. Did I need to hear the criticism? Perhaps. Was it okay for her to attack me and not my problem? No. Did she intentionally use hurtful words? I don't think so.
Unkind and destructive words can come out in a flash. In some cases the offended person will eventually get over it. In other cases unfit words leave deep cuts behind. By all means we need to target the problem itself and not the person. Sometimes that isn't quite as easy to do, I know. Here are just two ideas how to attack the problem and not the person:
The toothpaste problem: Are you annoyed because the tube of toothpaste in your bathroom looks the way it does - all but nice and neatly squeezed? >> Don't get annoyed at the people using it. Get a toothpast roller (also called squeezer) to tackle the problem.
The laundry problem: Tired of having to collect all the socks and shirts off the floors and out of each room? Buy a few extra popup or foldable laundry hampers. They are available in many nice colors. Put one in each bedroom. Tell each family member that only the clothes that are in the hampers will be taken to the laundry room to be washed, dried, folded, and brought back to the rooms.
A full-time homemaker doesn't leave her home to make money, but she is out to save the family some money each month. The family's finances will not increase, but they will decrease slower than usual. In other words, less money spend will make the regular income last longer.
Following are few ideas on how to stretch your monthly resources:
What does God's Word tell us about our finances? If we would do a topic search about money we would bump into keywords and phrases like:
Don't love money. Love God instead.
God owns everything. It's all His. In 1 Chronicles we read:
11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory,
See, we don't own our money. We are stewards of it. God gives us the resources freely, but He also asks us to be wise in the way we handle them. As full-time Christian homemakers we are given the opportunity to praise and honor Him in the way we are handling "our" monthly income.
I was looking for a good recipe for making strawberry jam today. The recipes I found online were not good enough. They asked for too much sugar, water, and gelling agents. An old recipe book came into my mind. So I knelt in front of the kitchen cupboard and, after taking out most of the things, I found the old Weck® book all the way in the back. I scanned through it and found some recipes I liked. I noticed that many of these 1950s recipes were quite different than the ones we find in today's cookbooks.
The jam recipes in my old book called for less sugar, no water, and no gelling agents. I tried one of them today. As hubby walked into the kitchen he said: "It sure smells good in here." He got to taste fresh, homemade strawberry jam. He didn't miss any sugar in it. In fact, he mentioned that the jam was quite sweet. This means that next time I could use even less sugar. I'm delighted about that. There will be homemade jam on our breakfast table from now on.
Processed food contains a lot more than the original ingredient/s. It will have additives and preservatives inside. Many of these add on products are more or less unhealthy for us. If you look at the product packaging label you will discover ingredients you probably never heard of before. The question is: Are they necessary, healthy, filling?
I give you three reasons why you should consider to make food from scratch:
Now, I have to admit that baking and cooking does take time. Sometimes we will have to invest a lot of time to get the right results. Today's jam recipes will take only 3-5 minutes to complete. Making jam according to a recipe of the good ol' fashion days requires 20-25 minutes. The tasty outcome proves, though, that the right ingredients and the extra time spent are well worth it.
In Exodus 18 we find a story about Moses judging the people. Some of the issues brought before him were minor while others were major problems that needed to be solved. From morning until evening the people came to Moses asking him to settle their issues. At some point the workload became too heavy for Moses. He was not able to carry it out on his own. Jethro, his father-in-law, said to him:
Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.
Just like Moses we tend to think we can and have to do everything on our own. We wash, hang up, take down, iron, and fold the clothes. We prepare, cook, and serve the food. We clear the table, rinse the dishes, load and unload the dishwasher. When we are running out of our own strength we try to push ourselves just a little bit further.
Just like Moses we have to listen and admit that we have our limits. We are not able to perform all tasks on our own. And we are certainly not able to do the impossible. We can't change others and we can't fix their problems for them. In fact, we ourselves are in desperate need of help so that we can and are willing to change. We have to face our hardships, and while we are going through them we are in need of someone who can not only do the possible but who is also able to do the impossible.
When the death of a loved one, divorce, drug addiction, abuse, sickness, mobbing, or any other worldy lions attack us then we are in desperate need for someone who can carry us through and make the impossible possible.
And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
What lions are you facing right now? Do you believe in the One who is able to deliver you from them?
In my last post, Tough Decisions, I shared with you a story about one of my saddest times in my life. After reading a tract about marriage, divorce, and remarriage my husband and I had to face the question of whether we could stay married or if we would have to get a divorce. This is a follow up to Friday's post.
We prayed. We asked, no, we begged, we pleaded with the LORD for our marriage.
What are you supposed to do in a situation like that? Search for articles, read books, go online for help? How about asking your pastor, friend, or members of your family what they would do? For us the dilemma started after reading what a particular denomination says about remarriage.
I will not mention the tract in details nor tell you more about that denomination. This post is not intended to refute their arguments nor to belittle their denomination.
The whole point I want you to get out of this post is: Search the Scriptures for answers. I don't mean for you to pick and choose as you please (oh, I'm very much guilty of having done that before) but to diligently search for answers in the Bible.
Searching for answers in God's Word means to be ready:
Our marriage could have ended right there. To move forward we had to accept to do whatever He would require us to do. We had to lay our marriage on the Altar of God. All glory to Him, He had plans for us to remain married.
No matter what you are facing, in all you do, seek God's will first.
This had been one of the saddest times of my life. I had read a tract about marriage, divorce, and remarriage, handed it over to my husband, and eagerly waited for him to share his thoughts about it with me.
“Let's pray. Let's ask God to reveal to us, through His Word, what He wants us to do.”
We prayed. We asked, we begged, we pleaded with the LORD for our marriage.
This particular tract argued that a person who remarried, after having been married and divorced before, must get a divorce and go back to the first spouse and marry that spouse again. The second marriage, or any that follows after the first one, except after the death of the first spouse, is sinful in God's eyes.
In a situation like this one we tend to find out all we can by...
reading articles and books about it
searching the internet for answers
asking our pastor, friends, or members of our close family what they suggest we should do
However, this kind of situation calls for a serious digging into the Bible!
Pray for wisdom and understanding from God.
Read your Bible. Trust in God's Word.
Wait upon the LORD to reveal His answer to you.
We prayed, we searched the Scriptures, and we asked God for direction. The hardest part was to admit and be ready that, if the LORD says and requires us to get a divorce, we will have to do as God tells us to do. It felt like something is tearing my heart apart...
It's hard to come to a point where your heart longs to go this way but God seems to be leading you unto another way. When faced with tough decisions, what will you do? Will you choose God's ways over man's ways? How far will you go?