Choices Affect Our Attitude Toward God

1900s girlsHere are more pearls from my grandmother’s book.  (Once again, truth has a way of deflating the progressive thinker’s much inflated balloon.)

In What a Young Woman Ought to Know, Mrs. Mary Wood-Allen, M.D., writes that we are not only body and mind, but spirit (or soul).  Whether we’ve thought about this or not, the fact remains.  “No failure to recognize God as your Father changes His relationship to you.  No conduct of yours can make you any less His child.”

“Well,” you may say, “if that is so, what does it matter, then, what I do?  If disobedience or sin cannot make me less God’s child, why should I be good and obedient?”  Because… “your conduct changes your attitude toward Him.”

“The most worthy and dignified thing we can do,” wrote Dr. Wood-Allen, “is to recognize ourselves as God’s children and be obedient.  It is a wonderful glory to be a child of God . . . even the most ignorant or degraded have . . . divine possibilities.”

My grandmother’s choices and behavior evidenced that she was in a merciful relationship with her Heavenly Father.  And, no matter what anyone else thought of her, she knew she had “divine possibilities” because she was a child of God.

This woman physician from the late 1800s continues, “Being children of God puts on us certain obligations towards Him, but it also puts on God certain obligations towards us.  ‘What!’ you say: ‘God the Infinite under obligations to man, the finite?  The Creator under obligations to the created?’  Oh, yes.”

Human parents are under obligation to care for, protect, educate and give opportunities to their children.  In a similar way, God is obligated to do the same for His children.  The difference is, He fulfills these obligations perfectly.  All our earthly blessings are from Him.  Every good thing we have is a gift of love from our Creator and Heavenly Father.

Our life matters to God.  And, why wouldn’t it?  He created it!  He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for it!  And, as Dr. Mary Wood-Allen observes, “God takes such minute care of us that if for one second of time He would forget us, we should be annihilated.”  What does that say to you?  I know what it says to me.  And it pulls me down on my knees in humble, speechless gratitude.

But, if God is truly taking care of us, why does He allow failures, hardships and worries?  Sometimes, the things we call hard and cruel are actually little tumbles on our way to learning to walk.  A trial or difficulty in the school of life may be God’s way of opening our eyes to see that we need Him and can trust Him.

Our choices affect our attitude toward God.  The most dignified thing we can do is to recognize ourselves as God’s children and try to do those things that bring glory to Him.

It is a wondrous thing to be called a child of God.  It means we are heirs of God’s wisdom, strength, and glory.  It means that when we fail to trust and obey Him, we are still God’s child because of what Jesus did for us (Galatians 4:4-7).   Only a personal question remains:

As a child of God, how shall I choose to live?

First posted 2-9-2011 in Ezerwoman

The Body Is Our House

body is houseYour body, wrote Mary Wood-Allen, M.D., is not you.  It is your dwelling, but not you.  It does, however, express you.

She explains: A man builds a house and, through it, expresses himself.  As someone else looks at the house and then walks through it, they will learn a great deal about the man.  The outside will give evidence of neatness, orderliness, and artistry or it may show that he cares nothing for elements of beauty and neatness.  His library will reveal the character of his mind.  Care of his house — preservation of its health — speaks of respect and value.

The author of the book found among my grandmother’s treasures notes that  many young people just want to have a “good time.”  Dr. Allen wrote that she heard many young people remark that it’s o.k. for the “old folks” to take care of their bodies and health, but “I don’t want to be so fussy . . . I’d rather die ten years sooner and have some fun while I do live.”

But, what serious pianist would neglect the care of his piano because it’s too “fussy” and then add, “I’ll treat it more kindly when it’s old”?  Dr. Allen observed that, too often, we prize the body far more after its use for us is at an end than while it is ours to use.   We don’t neglect the dead; we dress them in beautiful garments, we adorn them with flowers, we follow them to the grave with religious ceremonies, we build costly monuments to place over their graves, and then we go to weep over their last resting-place.”  I wonder: Do we treat our living, breathing bodies with such respect?  Do we treat the living, breathing bodies of others with such care?

There are those among us who consider themselves “progressive.”  A “progressive” would find no value in “going back” to a book from their grandmother’s collection.  But, in reading What A Young Woman Ought to Know by a woman physician published in 1898, I am more deeply committed to the Titus 2 style of mentoring.  Yes, there are trends.  There are new styles.  Technology changes, even improves.   But, care of our bodies is a truth that does not change with time.  What we do to and with our bodies, what we put in them, how we dress them, what environment we allow them to be in, and how we expect others to treat them matters today as much as it did yesterday.

Does it matter how we treat our bodies?  The answer to that question depends on what we believe about our origin.  Are we here by chance, just accidents of nature?  Or, are we “knit together in our mother’s wombs” by God Himself (Psalm 139)?  Is the value of our bodies determined by how we or others see them, or by the price that Jesus Christ paid for them?

Dr. Allen asks:

Is it not life that we should value?  Life here and hereafter, not death, is the real thing for which we should prepare . . . Life should increase in beauty and usefulness, in ability and joyousness, as the years bring us a wider experience, and this will be the case if we in youth have been wise enough to lay the foundation of health by a wise, thoughtful, prudent care of our bodies and our minds.

First posted 1-24-2011 in Ezerwoman

1898

1900s girlsMy Grandmother Barhite died when I was 13.  I spent a lot of time with her.  She was a teacher, listener, encourager, friend, and faithful helper.  I learned about the gift of hospitality and service from both my mom and my dad’s mom.  Both taught me to serve others rather than self.  Sleep-overs with Grandma were more than fun, they were lessons in womanhood, family life and growing in faith.  When Grandma died, I lost a mentor.

Or did I?  In a box of Grandma’s photos, I discovered one of her girlhood books.  It is a keepsake.  Often, I quote from it during Titus 2 Retreats.  The book was published in 1898 by author Mary Wood-Allen, M.D.  Notable women of Dr. Allen’s day recommend the book.  They include Mrs. Lillian M.N. Stevens, President of National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union; Mrs. Helen Campbell, Dean of the Department of Household Economics in the Kansas State Agricultural College, and Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, noted Woman Suffragist, Lecturer, and Author.  The book is titled What a Young Woman Ought to Know from the “Purity and Truth: Self and Sex Series.”  In reading this book, I realize that Grandma is still mentoring me.  I also realize that Biblical womanhood (and  manhood) has been foundational for the benefit of society for a long, long time.

From time to time, I hope to share a few quotes from my grandma’s book.  Consider the Preface:

During a number of years it has been my privilege to be the confidante and counselor of a large number of young women of various stations in life and in all parts of the United States.

Hmmm.  I’m not a physician like Dr. Mary Wood-Allen, but I have been privileged to be taken into the confidence of a number of young women both far away and close to home.

These girls have talked freely with me concerning their plans, aspirations, fears and personal problems.  It has been a great revelation to me to note with what unanimity they ask certain questions concerning conduct — queries which perhaps might astonish the mothers of these same girls, as they, doubtless, take it for granted that their daughters intuitively understand these fundamental laws of propriety.

Hmmm.  Girls have also shared with me their hopes, dreams, and personal problems.  They ask many of the same questions about behavior and choices.  They express frustration about their identity, their bodies, and relationships.  Fewer mothers and grandmothers have tried to pass on ideas of Biblical womanhood so most of these girls have learned about being a woman from the culture.

The truth is that many girls who have been taught in the olgies of the schools, who have been trained in the conventionalities of society, have been left to pick up as they may their ideas upon personal conduct, and, coming face to face with puzzling problems, are at a loss, and perhaps are led into wrong ways of thinking and questionable ways of doing because no one has foreseen their dilemma and warned them how to meet it.

Hmmmm.  Today’s young women have been “oligized.”  But, far too many have little or no idea about their origin, purpose, or destination.  They have been taught how to “feel” but perhaps not how to think.

Life will be safer for the girl who understands her own nature and reverences her womanhood, who realizes her responsibility towards the human race and conducts herself in accordance with that realization . . . Life will be nobler and purer in its possession and its transmission if, from childhood onward to old age, the thoughts has been held that ‘Life is a gift of God and is divine.’

I am an ezerwoman.  A helper woman.  This is a vocation through which I can help younger women be safer, realize responsibility, and make choices that lead toward hope.  This begins with the confidence of identity: I am a creation of God and treasure of Jesus Christ.

Truth in 1898.  Truth in 2011.  Timeless.  Life-changing.  Rich with promise.

This was first posted by Ezerwoman 1-22-2011

A Letter From God

woman shaped by Potter

What does God say to a woman?

His letter to her reads something like this:

Dear Daughter,

I loved you before I created you.  You are my masterpiece.  But, sin has distorted My perfect creation.  Sinful people are challenged by difficult choices.  You, My daughter, are tempted by feelings and emotions.  You can’t trust these emotions, but you can always trust Me.  Your life is of such value to Me that I came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ — the God become Man willing to rescue you from the consequences of sin.  I paid the highest price for you.

Because of this great price, your body is not your own — to do with as you please.  It was covered by the Robe of Righteousness when Jesus shed His blood on the Cross.  The sacrifice of Jesus, your Savior, made you a new creation.  You have the promise of heaven.  I don’t want you to be hurt.  I don’t want your heart to be broken or your body abused.  So please, daughter.  Guard your body, mind, and soul by making choices that glorify Me.

It’s o.k. to rebel.  Rebel against all that is sinful and wrong in this world.  Dare to be different from those who follow worldly opinions.  They chase after popularity and selfish ambitions.  When they do wrong, they want you to do wrong, too.  They say, “Follow your heart,” or “Do whatever feels right for you.”  But, a sinful heart cannot be trusted.  It is filled with all manner of bad things.  Your feelings and moods blow with the wind.  They are high and low like a rollercoaster.  Look to Me, My daughter.  I never change.  You can trust your life to Me.  I know you better than you know yourself.  I know your thoughts… your desires… your needs.  You are never alone in My world.

I didn’t create you to be sexy, but holy.  Practice modesty in the way you speak, act, and dress.  Call attention not to yourself, but to Me — the One who made you.  Show your beauty not by revealing your body, but revealing your love for Me.  Resist being a temptress and, instead, lead others away from sin with its ugly consequences.

Be alert to deception.  My daughter, if you acknowledge Me to be God, your Father, then you also acknowledge the evil one who opposes me and despises you.  He hates you because I love you so much.  He will try to deceive you.  He knows when you are vulnerable.  He will tempt you with one question, “Did your Father really say . . .?”  Then, when you doubt Me and fall to deception and sin, the tempter becomes your accuser, “Look at what you have done!  Can your Father ever forgive you?”

Oh, yes, My daughter.  I can and do forgive.  There is nothing you need to do but confess your sin.  In your sorrow, I reach down to lift you from despair and secure the Robe of Righteousness tighter around you.  Forgiven and set free, you are no longer captive to your past.   Satan may tempt you again and again, but I have given you dominion over the father of lies.

Don’t let anyone look down on you for being young.  Instead, let your speech, behavior, love, faith, and purity be an example for others.  Entrust your life to Me.  I’m not a god of chaos, but the God of order and beautiful design.  I made you to be a woman.  Live as a woman — My daughter — while you wait for Jesus to return for you.

Your identity is not found in your appearance or what you do.  Your identity is a creation of God and the treasure for whom Christ gave all He had.  No matter your age, no matter if you are single or married, no matter your health or the circumstances of your life– that identity remains.

I am the King… the Lord of life.  Because of what Jesus has done, you are my daughter.  My heir.

With the greatest love of all,

Your Heavenly Father

First posted 10-22-2010 in Ezerwoman

Jesus Doesn’t Wrap Silly Myths

Jesus and little childrenWhen did God say, “Educate children in sex”?  I challenge you to find this passage in Scripture.  While you’re looking, you will find an opposing thought.  Parents are to train their children in purity.  The theme of purity is woven throughout Old Testament and New.

When our sons were in elementary school, I purchased a series of “sex education” books from a Christian publisher.  Something about them troubled me, so I put them on the shelf.  I found a better substitute — chivalry and more about biology than “sexuality”.  Of course, there was no substitute for the Bible.  I was amazed to see how much God had to say about training in purity.  I began to contrast God’s Word with “sex ed” textbooks and resources.  The teachings were world’s apart.

The question for me was this: Which worldview was best for children?  Some years later, speaking nationwide to teens and their parents, I realized why I had been uncomfortable with Christian-wrapped “sex ed” material.   Jesus does not wrap Himself around worldly ideas.

“Sex education” is not a Biblical teaching.  It is the idea of Alfred Kinsey who coined the phrase “children are sexual from birth.”  Too late, his criminal and fradulous research was exposed.  Opinions had been shaped — in education, media, and even courts of law.  If we define ourselves as “sexual” (with “needs” to be met), or “sexy” (“it’s our right”), then that’s how we’ll live.  Our Creator God defines us differently (Genesis 1:27):

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

The first man and woman were made in God’s perfect image.  God defines Himself as “Holy.”  Therefore, God called the bearers of His image not to a “sexy” life, but to a holy life.  We all fell from perfection when sin corrupted God’s perfect image-bearers, but His original design for male and female did not change.  We are called and equipped by God to be holy (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).  Unlike animals, we are not captive to our sexual desires.  Our bodies (knitted together by God) and our lives (held in His arms) are not our own.  They were “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20).  That price is the blood of Jesus Christ.  In Jesus, we are forgiven and set free to pursue what is good, right, and holy.

God created male and female, not to bring glory to themselves, but to Him.  We do this best when we realize that God does not define us as “sexy” or instruct us to call attention to ourselves; rather, He defines us as “holy” people who help our neighbors see God.

God’s Word says,

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.  Rather, train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.  To this end we toil and strive . . .

This passage from 1 Timothy 4: 7-10a tells me that Jesus can’t be wrapped around unholy and “silly myths.”  It is impossible for Truth to wrap Himself around foolish and destructive philosophy and practice.  Certainly, as the passage above notes, we have to “toil and strive” because disconnecting ourselves from worldly influence is extremely difficult.  It threatens to sap the energy right out of the most persistent Christian.  Still, every father, mother, grandparent, pastor, teacher, and mentor is obligated by God’s Word to train children in purity.  To do otherwise is to remove the protective boundaries of modesty and send vulnerable children to wolves — big and bold or dressed in sheep’s clothing.

Jesus doesn’t wrap around modern sex education.  He can’t.  He is the Word of purity, modesty and humility.  For this reason, His Word tells elder brothers that they have the responsibility to guard the purity of their younger sisters (Song of Solomon 8:8-9).  If the little sister is a wall (virtuous), they are to help protect her chastity.  If she has fallen into sin and is like a door (swaying open to promiscuity and harmful choices), then they are to do what they can to rescue her, call her to repentance, and put a stop to her sinful behavior.

Jesus contrasts the world.  He is Light; the world is dark.  He is Truth; the world is myth and changing opinion.  Jesus, the Word, tells us: Do “not stir up or awaken love until it pleases” (Song of Solomon 3:5b).  We must not disregard the order that pleases God.  It is His design — for the good of all — that love be stirred, awakened, and fulfilled only in marriage between one man and one woman.

So, I challenge you to answer one question: Which practice is compatible with Jesus?

  1. Boys and girls brought together in a classroom, not to study anatomy, but to “ease inhibitions” and “comfortably” discuss all manner of “sexuality” (with caution to “wait” until marriage following graduation, college, and establishment of career); or,
  2. Boys and girls taught separately to honor God’s created order and complementary difference of male and female; mentored in Biblical manhood and womanhood; equipped for the battle with temptation; and age-appropriately helped to understand God’s design for procreation between one man and one woman in marriage.

Jesus is Truth.  Truth cannot wrap Himself around unholy and “silly myths.”  To protect children from wolves (big and bold or dressed as sheep), Jesus guards walls of virtue.  He rescues the hurt and repentant after doors have swung open.  He tells me to do the same.

This is the love of Him who holds young ones in such high esteem.

First posted 10-1-2010 in Ezerwoman

Identity Theft

identity theftIn today’s world, we are all at risk of having our identity stolen.  We call this crime “identity theft”.

But do we realize that identity theft begins at birth?  Alfred Kinsey and other humanists attempted to steal away our true identity when they theorized that “children are sexual from birth”.  But children are not sexual from birth, not in the way that Kinsey meant.  It is not normal or beneficial for a child to engage in sexual activity.  While it is true that a boy or girl will, with maturity, develop sexual desires and have sexual inclinations, it is hardly true that a boy or girl should be defined by those desires or inclinations.  We are not, first and foremost, “sexual beings”.  We are male or female persons called by God’s name and created for His purpose.  We are not primarily “sexual beings” but spiritual beings with body, mind and soul.  Our identity and how we live based on that identity has eternal ramifications.

We humans are not the first to have our identity challenged.

Not long after His Baptism, the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness.  Satan literally challenged Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.

How did Jesus respond?  “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Matthew 4:7).

When Satan persisted in challenging Jesus’ identity, the Son of God replied, “Be gone, Satan!  For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’” (v.10).

In today’s world, there is the very real risk of “identity theft”.  It happens when our credit card or personal information is stolen.  It is a crime.

But the subtle and far more dangerous identity theft that is practiced by the culture and in sex education classrooms should be recognized and resisted by every believer in Jesus Christ.  When children are sexualized, we can respond, “Be gone, Satan!”

Let us not put the Lord God our Creator and Redeemer to the test.  He has made male and female for His glory and purpose, not our own.

He has called us by name.  We are His.

Please visit Our Identity Matters.

My “Thesis” Is Published!

My book coverWithout fanfare or ceremony, the deed is done!  I have just completed nearly two years of writing a book.

On May 2, 2014, it was officially published and made available on Amazon.  There is enough left in my well of words to say “thank you” to an extraordinarily patient and helpful support team.  You know who you are.

The title of the book is The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity.  It is not the book I dreamed of writing.  It is the book I was compelled to write after thirty years of working with and listening to parents and the children they care about.

The book is 250 pages with over 230 footnotes.  No, I’m not in graduate school, but yes, this is my thesis. It is a dissertation that covers more than the controversial subject of sex education.  It explains how humanists bestowed a mistaken identity upon our children and why, nearly a half century later, Christians still nod their approval.  Yet, everywhere I go, I hear people ask, “Why are children sexualized?” The fact that a book like this hasn’t already been written tells me that too many of us have been deceived about our identity.

Christians live in a foreign land.  We are called to be uncommon, but have accepted the common ways of our neighbors.  We have let the unbelievers identify us.

The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity is a “catechism” for parents, pastors, teachers, those struggling with sexual temptations, and everyone who is concerned about the sexualization of children.

For fifty years, Christians and non-Christians alike have been taught to believe that “children are sexual from birth”.  Nowhere in Scripture does God describe children this way.  The phrase was coined by a humanist named Alfred Kinsey who believed infants and children can enjoy and benefit from early sexual activity.  His social science was wrong, but his research was widely accepted.  Our nation and even the Church were set on a dangerous course.  By accepting Kinsey’s data and the expertise of other like-minded humanists, the Church played a role in bestowing a mistaken identity, compromising purity for multiple generations, and ultimately putting human lives at risk.

A false identity has both temporal and eternal ramifications.  With painstaking care, I have attempted to explain why the Church can no longer participate in a tragically flawed social experiment and going beyond diagnosis, I propose a hopeful, radical and thoroughly biblical remedy.

There is no personal delight in pointing out error.  I have persevered with this project because I am motivated by love for my own children and grandchildren and by love for God’s Word.  For the sake of all children, I believe that Christians need to know the origin of sex education, then ask:

  • What fellowship has light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)?
  • Upon what foundation have we built?
  • Young or old, single or married, who does God say that I am and what does this mean?

For the sake of generational holiness and purity, it is my prayer that we encourage honest and kind dialogue.  The 107 questions and answers I offer in my book are a good place to start.

Curious?  Please visit Our Identity Matters to learn more.

The book may be ordered from Amazon.