Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Victims of Sexual Abuse Survey Results

I conducted a totally anonymous survey with the help of Survey Monkey on Facebook. I asked victims of sexual abuse to answer seven questions. I have no idea who answered, but forty people did. I don't know if this number represents the percentage of my friends who have been abused, but I suspect not, since there are people who don’t like to do surveys, and many people who have gone through this kind of a trauma might not want to revisit it. 

First, read the survey with the results. At the end, I’d like to draw some conclusions and offer some biblical hope. 

1. If you were a victim of sexual abuse, please check the closest age to what is true for when the abuse began.
Age 3-12—90%

2. Was your abuser known by your family? Yes—100%

3. Was the person who abused you someone you knew over a period of time? If so, was grooming involved before the actual abuse? 
Yes, I knew this person. 82.5%
No, this person was a stranger. 5%
The abuse involved a period of grooming—making me comfortable with touch—before actual 
            abuse started. 27.5%

4. Was the person who abused you accused of this crime?
Yes, I accused this person. 15%
Yes, one of my parents (or guardian) accused this person. 7.5%
No, this person was never reported to the authorities. 77.5%

5. Did your attacker ever go on trial?
Yes. 7.5%
No. 92.5%

6. Sexual abuse is a horrible violation. How has it affected your life?
It has ruined all of my relationships. I find it impossible to trust. 12.5%
With help (God, counseling, support, etc.) I have been able to move on and mostly overcome. 
I was very young and wasn’t affected as much as I would have been, had I been older. 12.5%
I sometimes have sudden fears and terrors. 30%

7. What advice would you give to anyone who suffers the same kind of abuse that you went through?
Report it at once to an authority figure (parents, teachers, police, etc.). 95%
Get counseling. 80%
Prosecute the perpetrator in court. 60%
Just forget it and go on with life. 2%
Run away. 1%
Keep it secret. 1%

I want to thank every victim who helped me with my survey. My heart goes out to you.

Let’s look back over the answers and draw a few conclusions. 

One fact that stuck out to me is that 100% of the abusers were known by the victim's family. Every single one! Eighty-two percent of the people who answered my survey actually knew their abusers. Ninety percent of these cases started when the children were quite young—before they were thirteen. Experts say that abusers need access and opportunity. For some reason, these children were vulnerable. 

Ninety-five percent of these victims gave the advice that any instance of abuse similar to theirs should be reported to an authority figure. But it’s not! Why, and what can parents do?

I believe strongly that parents can prevent most—I wish I could say all—sexual abuse by taking the following steps with our children:
  1. Control their environment, and keep them near you. This doesn’t mean they’re not socialized; it means that your children are being watched over. Be there—in whatever activity they’re doing—with them.
  2. From very young, teach them about their bodies, and which parts are private. Use specific biological names for their body parts and explain that no one is to touch them there (except medical staff) and to tell Mommy and Daddy if anyone ever does.
  3. If they ever feel uncomfortable in any situation, they are to tell Mommy and Daddy.
  4. If an adult asks you for one-on-one time with your child, be very suspicious. This isn’t normal.
  5. Never leave your children in a home with people you don’t know very well. Be extremely careful about sleepovers. Be aware of all the people (teens, relatives, etc.) in any place you leave your child.
  6. Unfortunately, many sexual predators are family members. Make sure you and your children communicate freely. Help them be comfortable with telling you anything. Give your children the security that you are there to protect them.

Sexual abuse is a crime. It is such a personal kind of abuse that it’s hard for the victim to report. The perpetrator could be one’s stepfather, uncle, teacher, family friend, brother, mentor, cousin, coach, etc., and it’s so hard for a child to tell on someone like that! This is why it’s important for mothers to be aware of their own child’s reactions and feelings. When you sense a child seems “strange” or he pulls away at your touch, ask a few questions and listen to how he responds. If you suspect some kind of abuse, ask the child if he was told not to tell. (Most child abusers threaten the child—or a family member—if he ever tells.) Get to the truth. If you have good reason to suspect abuse, report it to the authorities!

Did you notice that 77.5% of the people I surveyed said their attacker was never reported? Did you notice that 92% never went on trial? That means that almost all the sexual predators that hurt my friends are still out there. If more parents caught abuse early and reported it immediately, I believe we could significantly lower these statistics.

The psychological effect of abuse is terrible! Eighty percent of those who responded to my survey said they recommended counseling. It doesn’t make sense, but most victims feel worthless, like they somehow don’t deserve better treatment, like the abuse might even be their fault. Of course that’s not true! Victims need loving, understanding counseling with an experienced biblical counselor. Twelve percent of the people who answered my survey said the abuse had lasting effects on them, that they found it almost impossible to overcome. That’s more than one in ten! 

So, does the Bible offer hope for victims of sexual abuse? Happily, it does!
  • Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
  • Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). 
  • Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us . . . . (2 Corinthians 7:6)
  • Casting all your care upon him (Jesus); for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:7).
  • And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4).

If you have suffered sexual abuse, healing and rest for your soul can be found in Jesus Christ. He understands your hurt and wants to give you peace. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4a).

If you are a mother or father, you can help prevent your children from being targets. 

God bless you!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why the Bible Needs to be Taught in Your Homeschool

First, a little bit of my background: I am a homeschooling mom who survived—no, thrived—through sixteen years of homeschooling our two children. Today, I teach high school homeschoolers. I’m going to mention a trend I’m noticing and make a few practical suggestions for incorporating the Bible when you plan next year’s school, whether you homeschool or send your children to school.

I totally understand why there’s a dilemma. After all, if you send your children to Christian school or homeschool, math, science, language, and all the rest is taught with a Christian worldview, using Christian curricula. Why would you need an additional subject, Bible?

Before I answer that question, let me share some things I’ve learned through observation:

  • Many Christian homeschool high schoolers don’t know their Bibles. They don’t know the words of Jesus. They have no clue where Bible verses are found. 
  • Let’s suppose a graduating senior doesn’t know his or her Bible. How is he or she supposed to battle the onslaught of secular teaching if he/she goes to a secular college? And more than that, how is he/she going to be able to stand against temptation? In Ephesians 6 about the armor of God and resisting the devil, the only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (verse 17b). Have we “armed” our children with secular knowledge and not given them The Sword?
  • Many Christian teens are unchurched. One would suppose that Christian homeschooling parents want their children to have a Christian education that includes Christian priorities. The Bible says we’re not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25). Church attendance is important!

The Bible commands us to teach the Bible to our children. Let me share a few of the verses with you:

  • And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up . . . . Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, 9).
  • Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD (Psalm 34:11).
  • If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore (Psalm 132:12).

How can you incorporate the Bible in your homeschool? 
  1. Use a Bible curriculum. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with this approach, which we did in our homeschool. But, it was much better than nothing! Together with church, personal, and family devotions, I felt like our children got a good Bible foundation. 
  2. A Bible overview approach. These systems take sections of the Bible and make practical applications along with Bible knowledge. Even if you just do it yourself, it will orient your children in the Bible, and they will know where to find what they are looking for.
  3. Book studies. You could through: Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Daniel and the New Testament books of John, Acts, Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, James, 1 John, and Revelation to hit the key spots. Of course, in their private devotions, your children should be reading the Bible devotionally for themselves.
  4. Topical studies. This will take work on your part, but you can explore such topics as love, prayer, drugs, family life, and other subjects that might be of interest. You can also look into the heroes of the faith: Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Joseph, Esther, David, Daniel, etc. (Look at Hebrews 11 for inspiration.) You can discover how Jesus treated people by going through one of the Gospels. You can help your children know why they believe what they believe.
  5. Catechism. Many parents use a memorized biblical catechism for teaching basic doctrines to their children. We did, and our kids (now grown and married) can probably quote some of those statements of faith today! 
  6. Use a devotional book together. I personally like a devotional book with more meat and that makes connections between Bible passages. I like devotionals where the reader needs to look up references and come to his own conclusions, based on Truth.
  7. Bible memory. Kids can do Bible memory with church clubs (like Awana, Kids for Truth, etc.) and at home with you. Make sure they know verses about salvation and others that are practical for them personally. Even very small children can memorize well. Let them memorize short Psalms (23, 100, etc.) and key passages. 
  8. Family discussions. Our family had the advantage of about forty minutes’ drive to church and back home. It gave us opportunities for all kinds of “why do we believe” discussions. These were especially important in our kids’ formative and teen years, when they were trying to make decisions crucial to their personal testimonies and belief systems. We also talked at the table at mealtime. Use teachable moments to instill the Word of God in your kids’ hearts, so that their faith has a biblical foundation.

Plan for next year to be a biblical year for your kids. Take the time to incorporate the very best Subject of all, the Living Word of God!


Some tried and true suggestions for Bible curricula: 
A-Beka Bible Curriculum—Good content with colorful flash cards.
Accelerated Christian Education—Bible curriculum for all grades. Very good New Testament and Old Testament Survey classes (high school).
Answers Bible Curriculum—a three-year journey for the whole family. It’s a Sunday school program with age synchronized materials. Apologetics and a chronological overview of Scripture.
Apologia Bible Curriculum—Foundational worldview and Biblical Truth. Look for “Who is God?” on
Bob Jones University Press—Its Bible Truths curriculum presents the life of Christ and all the major persons in the Old Testament with a foundation for living.
Mercy and Truth Bible study booklets—Topical studies, such as: the Tabernacle, Women of the Bible, etc.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Eat More Tofu!

I read an article a few years back about a healthy people group. The reason? They eat lots of soy. Therefore, we were supposed to eat tofu instead of meat, drink soy instead of milk, and do anything we can to get soy into our diet. Many people did.

This year, a study comes out that says exactly the opposite. What do we need to be doing now? You guessed it: eat organically grown meats, milk (with fat) in the most raw state possible, eggs, etc. 

Just today, I found out that one of the vitamin combinations I was taking actually has extremely negative side effects—for me. I noticed I was feeling lousy a few times over the last weeks, and I commented to my husband that, every since I started taking vitamins, I felt worse than before. So today, I took some and immediately felt terrible. I sat down and Googled the side effects for one of them. To my shock, what’s supposed to help me works for most people, but it is bad for me, since I have a certain condition. My particular situation was first on the side effects list.

So, why am I telling you this? These are my own thoughts. (If you disagree, it’s okay. We can still be friends!) 
  1. Health fads get started because someone has a good idea that works for him. He gets excited, because he actually feels better. He wants to tell the world about this great health breakthrough. (Most diet changes actually do make people feel better for the first two months.)
  2. Health fads are marketing. Pure and simple. If I believe pomegranate juice can cure almost anything, I will bottle it and sell it and market it. If I am successful, I have created the next great health tonic. Vitamin companies, “fake food” marketers (egg substitutes, low-fat ice cream and cheese, butter-flavored, etc.), healthy drinks and liquid diets, pyramid schemes, and all the other health-based companies are out to make money. They wouldn’t exist otherwise.
  3. Health fads usually last only a few years. What’s amazing and cool today will not even be followed in five years. Why? There are no fixer elixirs, no silver bullets, no amazing revelations. I already know people who are getting rid of or limiting their essential oils.
  4. Health fads usually go against what the Bible teaches about nutrition. I did a study about what the Bible actually teaches about foods for my book. I was surprised how easy it all is and how balanced a biblical diet is! Are you curious? Study biblical foods. Study what Jesus ate. (Or buy my book!)
No one wants to feel sick and dragging. We all want to be vibrant, with a spring in our step. But, I believe we firmly ignore the fact that ever since sin entered into the world, so did sickness and death. 

I am not saying we’re not supposed to take care of ourselves! We are! The Bible instructs husbands to love their wives just as they love their own bodies: So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones (Ephesians 5:28-30). Obviously, the husband is supposed to take care of himself!

But, there’s a lifestyle that brings more blessing than running after every new thing. Jesus said, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (Matthew 6:25). The end of this passage gives a clear conclusion: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:31-33).

Oh yes, try to eat as healthy as you can. Take your multi-vitamins. Drink pomegranate juice and eat tofu, if you wish. Exercise, get fresh air, and get your beauty sleep. Laugh—the best medicine—and live fully. 

And, trust your health to the Lord. 

Be careful for nothing; 
but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving 
let your requests be made known unto God. 
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, 
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Non-fiction Review--Passport Through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances

Passport Through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances, by Kimberly L. Smith impacts on many levels. I was interested in this book, since the author and her husband began being missionaries in Spain and then moved on to help in an orphanage in Portugal. Sadly, they soon picked up on the unbridled sexual abuse in that orphanage, and they prosecuted the owner-operators, who fled. 

The Smiths wondered how many more vulnerable children were out there—children without any voice. Soon, they would find out.

I usually read at night. This book is the stuff of nightmares. I am positive that the author made Passport Through Darkness as palatable as possible. She only told part of what she had seen and experienced, but it is still difficult to take in. I personally would only recommend this book to mature adults. It is too graphic and raw for teens and even young adults. It includes the sexual exploitation of children, rape, extramarital temptations, death—so much death, and sometimes you feel hopeless. I mean, who can fight against such evils? The enemy is real.

The author and her husband visit Sudan and see for themselves horrors that so touch their hearts that they start an association, Make Way Partners. They try to involve others in saving orphans.

The author goes back alone to Sudan. (Her husband is quite ill with diabetes.) She teams up with a native pastor, who is trying to save children. The dangers are brutal—hyenas, slavery, rape, sickness, early pregnancies—and the small, safe place doesn’t have room for many of the children. She decides to go back to the United States and raise funds to build a large, fenced compound for the orphans. 

As she goes around to speak to churches and other groups, she runs into the understandable problem that people are being emotionally disturbed by the realities. Could she please not come back?

Besides compassion, one of the huge positive takeaways from this book is the importance of transparency in marriage. The author describes the challenges she experiences in her marriage and how she finally came to tell her husband all the facts about her time in Sudan. It was hard for her to do, since some of her experiences were so horrible she didn’t want to share them. But, it was important for him to understand her—his other half. She talks about the importance of refreshing times as a couple, and much more. I very much appreciated this aspect of Passport Through Darkness.

I feel at a loss whether to recommend this book or not. It is raw and brutally honest, yet you get the feeling there is so much more to the story—and you don’t want to hear it. I feel that I personally profited by it, because it exposes the plight of too many children in our world. It also motivates me to pray for workers and funds to help these vulnerable little ones. I appreciated very much the emphasis on transparency in marriage—even in the super ugly stuff—and I feel her story is profitable in that aspect as well. 

This is not a feel good book. It is not pretty. It doesn’t uplift. But, it is well written and certainly has merit for the reasons I describe. Again, Passport Through Darkness is not for young people, and you’ll want to read it during the day and follow it up with some Psalms.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

How to Rear Children That Love God and the Bible

How can parents rear children that love God? How can they make sure their kids will love the Bible? What can parents of children of any age do to help their children love the Lord?*

I’m going to address this post to mothers, but these principles are for every parent.

God gives us one of the most practical outlines for child rearing in the “second law,” the Book of Deuteronomy: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Mom, do you:
    • Love God with all your being? Can your family see the fruit of the spirit in your life? But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). Are you loving? Do you have joy and peace? Are you patient with your kids? Are you gentle and good? Do you evidence your faith? Are you strong and controlled? If so, your kids will notice.
    • Have God’s Word—the Bible—in your heart? Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee (Psalm 119:11).

    If not, what can you do to love God with all of your heart, soul, and might? Do you know Him as your Savior? All spiritual life begins with the Giver of Life. Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10b). He wants to save everyone. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16-17).

    What can you do to have God’s Word in your heart? Read it. Love it. Study it. The Bible is transformative. It will change you and your family!

    Mom, are you teaching God’s words to your children? Do you teach the Bible? Do you quote verses with them? Are they memorizing Scriptures?

    A while ago, I was counseling a young mother. She told me her salvation testimony. She said that the verses she memorized as a young girl stuck with her and continued to speak to her. She then gave her heart to the Lord.

    The Bible is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible is the only Book in the world that actually is used by God to work in hearts. It will work in your heart, and it will work in your children’s heart. No other study in the world yields such results! We’re supposed to teach it to our children diligently!

    That’s not all! The Bible says a parent should talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. That sounds like the parent is impacting his child with the Bible all day long! The child’s “schooling” is to be done all day, with a biblical worldview. Parents can share the Bible principles with their children. 

    Johnny should know that he doesn’t hit his sister because the Bible says, And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

    Susie should know that a young lady should speak kindly instead of shouting because the Bible says that, for the Virtuous Woman, She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness (Proverbs 31:26).

    Both Johnny and Susie should expect to work for a living because the Bible says, that if any would not work, neither should he eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10b).

    They should know not to steal, lie, or covet because of the Ten Commandments.

    Do your children know their Bibles?

    Do you?

    Do they know Jesus as personal Savior from sin?

    Do you?

    Are your kids being taught the Bible day in and day out? Are they hearing it from their parents?

    If we wish to reproduce strong, young Christians, we must be strong Christians. If we wish to rear children to love God, love the Bible, and be in Christian service, we must bring them up in the love of God and the Bible and also be actively serving God.

    The old saying, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” applies to Christian parents, too. What are you teaching your children? 

    Do you want them to be like you? They will be!


    *These helps don’t guarantee the young person will ultimately love God and always follow the Bible, but they will give your child a great life foundation. His adult decisions, of course, are his responsibility.

    Monday, May 16, 2016

    What Does the Bible Say About Equality and Differences Between Men and Women?

    When the musician Prince passed away recently, the news often referred to his androgynous appeal. They said he wasn’t exactly male or female. Prince broke the mold and became something new, reinventing stereotypes. He even designed a symbol for himself that included both male and female signs.

    Does the Bible really define male and female as separate roles? Does it promote differences between the sexes—or not?

    Let’s explore the Bible’s own words and see. Let’s find out how the sexes are equal—and different.

    EQUAL in:

    Value—God created Adam and Eve, put them in the garden, gave them both dominion over animals and plants, and He pronounces all His creation good. There isn’t any difference between the value of the man and the woman; they’re equals. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. . . . And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Genesis 1: 27-29, 31).

    Marriage—In marriage, man and woman are one. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Marriage means mutual yielding. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife (1 Corinthians 7:4). Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:21).

    Spiritual opportunityFavour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised (Proverbs 31:30). Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments (Psalm 112:1)

    Strong characterThat the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you (Titus 2:2-8).


    Roles—Women are helpers. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him (Genesis 2:18). Just as Jesus submitted Himself to the Father—though equal with Him—wives submit leadership in the family to their husbands. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. . . . For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:22-24, 31-33)

    Clothing and Hair lengthThere’s a difference between men’s and women’s clothing. The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment (Deuteronomy 22:5a). Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).

    Actions—Men are to be manly, and women feminine. That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace (Psalm 144:12). Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind (1 Corinthians 6:9).

    Physical strengthLikewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered (1 Peter 3:7).


    I’ve been watching the trends, even in Christian circles, and I’m left scratching my head. 

    • Do women understand the message they’re sending with how they walk, talk, and dress? 
    • Do men who adopt the metrosexual new cool—man buns, hairless chests, overly groomed eyebrows—think they represent Christian manliness? 
    • Why are women stomping around in tight jeans, jeggings, and clunky boots? 
    • Why are men dressing almost the same? 
    • Why do you have to question from a distance whether the person is male or female? 
    • Why are Christian women wearing their hair as short as the men? Why do some of them even shave the sides of their heads? 

    Much more important than outward appearance is what God thinks about our spiritual lives. 

    • Are we getting closer to the Lord—or to the world? Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Matthew 22:37)
    • Are we glorifying Him in our decisions? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:20).
    • Are we content in our God-given gender roles? But godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).
    • When someone looks at us—even from a distance—can they tell we are different (not weird, but godly)? Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation (lifestyle), in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12b).
    • Do we point people to Christ through our lifestyle? Now then we are ambassadors for Christ ( 2 Corinthians 5:20a).

    Will we, at the end of our lives, hear praise?

    • Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her (Proverbs 31:28).
    • Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).
    • His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord (Matthew 25:23).

    May God help us to glorify Him!

    Friday, May 13, 2016

    May Christians Rant?

    I get tickled at the rants I see on social media. They’re about: politics, social problems, family strife, unjust treatment, people with bad manners . . . . The list goes on! 

    Rant simply means “a tirade.”

    Should Christians rant? Or, maybe the question would be better worded: is it Christian to rant? Let’s look at it two ways.


    Christian means “Christ-like.” You never see Jesus ranting. He calmly explains, but he doesn’t go off on a tirade. He doesn’t shout or sound off. He bore injustices with patience and calm. Consider these Scriptures: 
    • He (Jesus) was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth (Isaiah 53:7)
    • And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly (Matthew 27:12-14).
    • Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously (1 Peter 2:23).
    • Godly love is characterized by longsuffering, not by raving. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil . . . Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, 7).

    A complaining spirit is the opposite of godly contentment. Paul knew how to be needy, yet content. 
    • Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:11-13).


    The flip side of this issue is whether Christians should ever expose wrong in a long speech (not a “tirade”). I believe that sometimes a protest is appropriate. (As we’ve seen above, it’s very important how we express ourselves. Our speech shouldn’t come across as unkind, biting, and nasty.) When is it appropriate to rant?

    Directly to God, in prayer. God urges us to express all of our concerns to Him.
    • Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah (Psalm 62:8).
    • And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD (2 Kings 19:14). 
    • Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6).
    • Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:7).

    Defending vulnerable people.
    • Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy (Psalm 82:3).
    • Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place (Jeremiah 22:3).
    • Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:27).

    And, spreading the gospel:

    For he that will love life, and see good days, 
    let him refrain his tongue from evil, 
    and his lips that they speak no guile: 
    Let him eschew evil, and do good; 
    let him seek peace, and ensue it. 
    For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, 
    and his ears are open unto their prayers: 
    but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. . . .
    But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: 
    and be ready always to give an answer to every man 
    that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you 
    with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:10-15).

    May a Christian rant? 

    Not for bad. 

    Yes, kindly, for good.

    Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3).

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    Fiction Review: Thrill Squeaker

    Thrill Squeaker, by Christy Barritt is another delightful Gabby St. Claire mystery, the eleventh book in the Squeaky Clean Series.

    Gabby finds herself at the medieval-styled, intricate, black iron gate that says “Mythical Falls.” What she saw behind those gates gave her pause. Restore this place? Seriously? This is a resort destination? Who would travel—like she just had—hours to come here?

    But she’d promised that she would help with the renovation, and she would. Chad greeted her with the words, “This is Mythical Falls. You’re in for a real treat.” Soon, the owner arrived, said a few inappropriate lines, and Gabby was pretty sure she didn’t regard this as a sensible place to be, let alone a destination.

    The nightmares begin with the first walk around. Clowns. Gabby had a phobia for clowns. And, goofy sections like: Bigfoot Woods, Loch Ness Lake, Area 51, the Bermuda Triangle, and Pharaoh’s Tomb. All of that in West Virginia. Gabby could only shake her head. Soon, she saw the body.

    And, it wasn’t a joke. That man really was dead.

    As the police arrive, the adventure takes off.

    It’s frankly not what I expected, having read several of Christy Barritt’s books and laughing all the way through them. This one certainly has its share of humor and blood—like her others—and her characteristic quirky people. But, it’s also a maturing time for Gabby, and almost half of the story is hers.

    This was a great read. It’s got mystery, romance, and a surprising ending. Loved it!

    Ms. Barritt’s books are strongly Christian, clean, and they always take on some complicated issues. I think you will enjoy them.