Tag: Value

Enriching Friendships

Strong friendships are one of the greatest joys of life. However, some people are overly self-conscious and shy away from those who could be their friends. Some open themselves up to only a small circle of friends. Some put their friends through a lot of difficulty and pain. And some are outgoing toward everyone, but never cultivate any close relationships.

 

How can you learn to develop strong, healthy friendships? God’s Word has particularly deep insight concerning human relationships. And it is full of advice on building a high-quality social life.

 

Loving Friendships

 

  1. How early in human history did God recognize the need for companionship? Genesis 2:18.

 

Our Creator made us to need relationships. God created specific relationships in the family. But He also designed us to need relationships outside of our families. These relationships help us become better human beings, stronger in character and more like the loving God in His thinking. Unlike family connections, which we cannot choose, we can choose our friends.

 

  1. What biblical principle explains how we should treat others? Galatians 5:14; Matthew 22:37-40. Does this include our enemies? Matthew 5:43-47.

 

Loving another person in the same way that you love yourself is a huge challenge. But this command governs our treatment of all other human beings. If you lack solid friendships, examine yourself. How good are you at putting others’ needs ahead of your own?

 

It is natural to have some friendships that are deeper than others. Though there are levels of friendship, they all must be based on love: unselfish, outgoing concern.

 

Proverbs 18:24 states, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly ….” The King James Version contains a mistranslation of this portion of the verse. The Revised Standard Version reads: “There are friends who pretend to be friends ….” It takes more than just putting on a show of friendship to develop strong relationships. It takes being a person who shows others that their opinions, needs, and desires matter to you; that you value their companionship. It takes a desire to love them the way you love yourself. This attracts others to you.

 

  1. Did Christ say there was an even greater love in a friendship than loving as you love yourself? John 15:13.

 

 

This kind of love goes beyond the love you have for yourself. It means even dying for your friend if necessary. In everyday application, it refers to putting your friend’s needs above your own. Do you have friends like that? Are you a friend like that?

 

Other Qualities of Good Friendships

 

  1. What else builds friendships? Proverbs 14:20; 19:4.

Superficial things draw people to us. But these proverbs aren’t saying we should seek material wealth to draw more friends to us. The word for wealth in Proverbs 19:4 can mean anything from material possessions to (My Favorite) wealth of mind and/or character. This Hebrew word is also used in Proverbs 13:7, which states that even those with nothing physically can have “riches.”

 

If you are rich in character, your personality will attract others. Proverbs 19:6 states that “every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.” Examine what your personality offers your friends. The richer your character and the more giving your personality, the stronger those friendships will be.

 

  1. What kind of friendships should we seek? Proverbs 27:6, 17.

Rubbing a knife against a sharpening iron makes the edge of the blade razor-sharp by friction. True friendship goes beyond common interests. Seek friendships that enrich your character and the character of others. Friends should have a positive influence on each other. Showing tough love to help someone through a problem is true friendship.

Not only can your close friends enhance your moral development and character growth, they can also accept you despite your shortcomings.

 

  1. What is a related quality of good friendships? Proverbs 17:17.

The Moffatt version translates this verse, “A friend is always a friend, he is a born brother for adversity.” Struggles and tough times reveal what friendships are made of: They even deepen relationships. They distinguish real friends from fair-weather friends. True friends will not desert you when things get rough or when they discover a weakness in you. They will see you through the adversity and help you overcome.

 

These proverbs say a lot about the kind of friend you should be, not just the kind of friends you should seek. Show your friends this unconditional love “at all times.” Be sure you demonstrate “wealthy” character around them, that your influence on them enhances their already strong character.

 

  1. What warnings do the Proverbs give about sure ways to ruin friendships? Proverbs 16:28; 17:9; 18:19.

These verses can refer to gossip that separates other people’s friendships. But gossip can also separate our own relationships if we spread rumors about our friends or share something with others that was told to us in confidence.

 

If you show yourself trustworthy; able perhaps to be blunt with your friends to their face in private, yet stick up for them around others and in the face of rumors, people will value your friendship.

 

We all make mistakes, though. A selfish act, an instance of stubborn pride, a hurtful comment; these can test the stability of a friendship. We should be able to apologize, and to forgive our friends when they slip up, to be a friend “at all times.”

 

Friendships to Avoid

 

  1. Does the Bible ever encourage two people not to be friends? Amos 3:3. Are there specific people we should not associate with? Proverbs 13:20.

 

Since we can choose our friends, God tells us to consider those choices carefully.

 

  1. Did Paul exhort Christians to avoid close company with nonbelievers? 2 Corinthians 6:14, 16-17.

 

These verses do not contradict the biblical law of “love thy neighbour as thyself.” Christians should hate the evil that people get involved in, but they should not hate the people. We can and should be friendly, help them if necessary, and even pray for them (Matthew 5:43-44). But do not associate with them or seek out their companionship.

 

There are also many nonbelievers that true Christians can become acquaintances with: people we work with or go to school with that we would not necessarily associate with beyond those situations. You can probably think of several acquaintances you have whose choices conflict with your values or morals in certain ways, but such a conflict does not typically arise in a work environment.

 

Use caution, however. Once those acquaintances move outside those boundaries, you could be dragged down by the lifestyle they lead. You may think you can be a good influence on them, but that is not what the Bible says. People who are bad influences will pull you down, often times you will not pull them up.

 

Close Friendships

 

  1. Are there some friendships that should be especially close? Proverbs 18:24 (last half).

 

Most of us have several good friends, maybe a few close friends, and maybe even one special, best friend. As you grow older, you will probably only be able to count your strongest, closest friendships on one hand. This is normal.

  1. As a human being, did Jesus Christ connect more with one disciple than the others? John 13:23; 21:20.

 

Instead of referring to himself by name in his own writings, the Apostle John refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Because Jesus was the great God in human form, the one who epitomized perfect love and friendship. His friendship with the other disciples did not suffer from the special bond He had with John. Jesus loved all men to the point of dying for every man. Still, Jesus referred to all of His disciples as His friends (John 15:14-15) and had a best-friend type relationship with John. In fact, Jesus, just before dying, told John to take care of His mother, Mary (John 19:25-27).

 

  1. Did David have a special closeness with a certain friend in his life? 2 Samuel 1:26.
  2. To what level did Jonathan love his best friend David? 1 Samuel 18:1, 3; 20:17.

 

Here is an example of outstanding love on the human level. Jonathan loved David “as his own soul.” Jonathan’s loyalty went to the point where he told David, “Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee” (1 Samuel 20:4). 

 

This relationship transcended even politics. Jonathan, son of King Saul (who was trying to kill David at this time), was the heir to Israel’s throne. But Jonathan had the courage to serve his friend, knowing that God had chosen David to be king, rather than cling selfishly to his position. It was a marvelous example of loyalty, mutual respect and admiration. It was unselfish love and up building of character in the other.

 

Treasure your friendships. Take time to learn who your real friends are. Choose your friends wisely. Then work at building those friendships. Examine the kind of friend you are and what you have to offer Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you do these things, your life can be enriched and your own character strengthened!

Recapturing The Value in Womanhood

womanhood

 

Feminists claim that women, in the last several decades, have made great advances in personal freedoms, jobs, and politics. Women no longer need to feel shackled by the “traditional” roles of wife, homemaker, and mother. But with all of this success, why aren’t more women happy? How can a woman become truly fulfilled?

As one writer states it, the feminist movement is suffering an identity crisis.

Feminists claim that women, in the last several decades, have made great advances in personal freedoms, jobs, and politics. Feminist writers maintain that advances in birth control have given women the same sexual freedom as men. In other words, women can now have multiple partners and not fear pregnancy!

Feminist leaders proudly proclaim women are as good as men in the job market. Women are landing traditionally “male” jobs. For example, women are working construction, serving in the military, and leading many corporations. Feminists declare that they have finally achieved some long-standing goals. Women no longer need to feel shackled by the “traditional” roles of wife, homemaker, and mother.

But with all of this success, why aren’t more women happy? After decades of marches, placard waving and angry speeches, there is a growing undercurrent of dissatisfaction within the women’s movement. Wendy Kaminer wrote in The Atlantic Monthly, “Thirty-nine percent of women, recently surveyed by Redbook, said that feminism had made it ‘harder’ for women to balance work and family life … wage-earning mothers still tend to feel guilty about not being with their children and … worry that ‘the more women get ahead professionally, the more children will fall back …’”

Minority women feel that the feminist movement has failed to solve their problems with inner city life: no jobs and poverty. There is even a growing number of very well-educated, young white females who refuse to be known as feminists. In fact, some very talented, capable women are turning back to the more traditional roles of wife, homemaker and mother. Why? Personal freedoms, great careers and achieving “male” status have not provided the fulfillment they desired. All human beings want fulfillment and happiness. The problem is, mankind has cut itself off from the way to find true happiness.

Our Time = Anti-marriage

Living happily in a marriage seems like an unreal dream for most people today. Many couples are attempting to find happiness outside of marriage. Why are so many people anti-marriage today? The Apostle Paul prophesied that our times would be very perilous (2 Timothy 3:1). The word “perilous” can also be translated dangerous. Paul shows that one reason for the danger today is human beings no longer have a “natural affection” for each other (2 Timothy 3:3). Our newspapers are full of headlines proving this verse true.

Children are killing parents; husbands killing wives; and wives killing husbands. People have become more concerned with their own selfish desires (2 Timothy 3:2). Although there are many people claiming to be religious, our time is one that has drifted far from the true knowledge of God (2 Timothy 3:5). God and His Bible no longer bear any direct authority in many people’s lives. And society is suffering the results.

In the last several decades, homes that should have been a bastion of peace and tranquility have become vicious battlegrounds. Failed marriages have led to great sadness, and even tragedy. Many children have watched their mothers being abused mentally, emotionally, and physically. Because of this fact, many people, especially women, have become anti-men and anti-marriage. The feminist movement has gained notoriety because of these many problems in society. Leading women want solutions to marriage, family and society’s problems; but the women’s movement is walking down the wrong path for a solution. All women will have to come to the realization that they can never discover solutions to human problems or find happiness through feminist values. How can you, as a woman, become truly fulfilled?

God’s Revealed Purpose

The plain truth is, God created women for a physical and Spiritual purpose. Women will only find true happiness by living according to these purposes. This Blog has been written to inspire you to recapture the value in true womanhood.

What is true womanhood? We must look to the Bible = to God’s revealed purpose for women for the answer. Why did God create women? “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). Well-educated people scoff at the revelation concerning Adam and Eve. Yet, these few verses in Genesis reveal God’s awesome purpose for women (and men). If only believed, these verses can give solutions to the unhappy state of many women.

This historical account in Genesis is probably one of the most romantic in all of the Bible. Adam was brought to life suddenly. He was given an incredibly beautiful, semi-tropical garden, teeming with wildlife, as his home. He was in perfect health. He was incredibly good looking and had sharp intelligence. Genesis 1:26-28 show that God gave Adam authority over an entire planet. What a fantastic challenge! Genesis 2:19 shows that Adam went right to work. God brought the animals to him and he gave each animal species its name.

But Adam soon discovered that he was alone. He was given an awesome job. He had a great home and plenty of wealth but no one to share his life. There was no one of his same kind to experience the beauty of creation. There was no one to share his plans, hopes and dreams. There was no other human whom he could love.

God knew that it was not good for Adam to be alone. So God put Adam under a deep sleep. He took one of his ribs and fashioned Eve from that rib. Being molded from Adam’s rib, the laws of biology tell us Eve shared the same body cell structure and blood type as Adam. Adam understood this fact (DNA) when he first saw Eve. “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23). In a wedding procession fashion, God brought Eve to give to Adam. Eve was also in perfect health and stunningly beautiful. Like Adam, she had sharp intelligence. God created Eve to be the perfect match for Adam. After presenting Eve to Adam, God then bound them as husband and wife. In this first marriage ceremony, God said, “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).

The women’s movement has taught millions of women to scorn this knowledge concerning Eve’s creation. However, Eve was created to assist Adam. That is the revealed purpose for women. A woman’s purpose is tied intimately to that of a man. God did not create Eve to be in competition with Adam. Adam and Eve were created to work in harmony together.

A Wife is a Man’s Inspiration

Feminists nearly choke when God’s revealed purpose for women is discussed. Somehow they believe that these scriptures show that women are inferior. The truth is that the scriptures say just the opposite. Remember God said that it was not good for Adam to be “alone.” Adam may have been in perfect health, incredibly handsome and of high intelligence, but he was not “good” alone. If Adam was not good alone, then why would God create an “inferior” woman to help him? The truth is, Adam needed Eve. Adam was not complete in himself. He needed Eve’s special talents and abilities in order to become the success God wanted him to be.

Remember, Adam could find no animal creature to help him with his special needs. An animal could not share Adam’s thoughts, hopes, and dreams. Only the woman, Eve, could help him achieve his full potential. Without this help, which only the woman could give, Adam would not have a full, abundant, peaceful, and balanced life.

This is God’s physical purpose for creating woman. Woman was designed to be the inspiration and encouragement for her own husband. A husband’s success in life is also the wife’s success. Without giving this kind of help, a woman—if married—becomes frustrated, depressed, resentful, and unfulfilled. Why? She is failing to fulfill the very purpose for which she was created!

Some may ask, must all women be married to find fulfillment? The answer is no. In Matthew 19:11-12, Jesus taught that some people choose to be single for the Kingdom or work’s sake. The Apostle Paul lived as a single because of his commission and the seriousness of the times in which he lived. Because Paul believed he was living in the end time, he wished that everyone were single. He said, “For I would that all men were even as I myself” (1 Corinthians 7:7 ). Why? Paul said, “But I would have you without carefulness” (verse 32). Building a strong marriage takes much work. Striving to build a strong marriage in tough times is even more difficult. A woman who chooses to be single, as long as she lives lawfully, can still achieve the Spiritual purpose God has planned for her.

Be Under Authority

If you, as a woman, are married, or desire to be married, then you must focus on the wife’s purpose in marriage. This is the only way you can achieve true happiness. Paul states, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). Submission has become a bad, bad word in today’s society. Because of all the abuse that women experience, submission has taken on a very negative connotation. But if a man is living as a Godly husband, submission is a very positive and fulfilling experience for a woman. The word for “submit” in the Greek is hupotasso and means to subordinate, to obey, be under obedience, put under, subdue unto. Submission means to put yourself under authority.

When God put man on this Earth, He established authority in marriage and family. God decided that men would have the overall or final authority in regard to marriage and family. Paul taught, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve” (1 Timothy 2:12-13). God has given men the head, or lead, position in the home. Wives must not strive to take over that position. True family happiness can only come through the proper, loving use of authority. That is the man’s serious responsibility. A wife has the responsibility to fully support her husband’s authority. Unfortunately, this is where most women fail in marriage today.

Even husbands are under authority. Paul shows, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Converted men in God’s Church have a boss 24 hours a day – Jesus Christ. Paul shows here that even Christ willingly submits to God the Father. There must be government in the home. The man is the head. The wife shares the authority with the man as second in command. But a wife is not equal in authority.

“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5:24). Women must look to the example of Christ and the Church to learn how to properly submit to a loving husband. True submission means more than just choking down commands. True submission is helping and complementing your husband “in everything.” A woman must learn to be responsive to her husband, to his direction of the home and family, to his plans for family recreation and way of life.

A responsive wife fully shares and takes pleasure in her husband’s successes and accomplishments, knowing that she has helped him to achieve success. A loving wife also shares her husband’s failures, sorrows, and disappointments. Never ridiculing, a loving wife always strives to give her husband sympathy and encouragement so that he can rebound to better success in the future. Wives, remember, submission is the key to your happiness.

Meekness is Not Weakness

Submission does not mean that a woman be weak. In fact, to fulfill her God-intended purpose a woman must be very strong emotionally and Spiritually. The Apostle Peter taught this. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear” (1 Peter 3:1-2). Like Paul, Peter taught that a woman must be in subjection to her husband. But Peter also taught that a converted woman must have some limits concerning submission.

Let’s look at these verses closely. Verse 1 discusses a husband who is not obeying God’s Word. It implies that even though a wife must be in subjection, she must not disobey God’s Word. In other words, a wife must be Spiritually strong enough to obey God even if the husband is not obeying God. A Godly woman would never allow any man to lead her away from God.

By writing these verses, Peter shows that there should be great strength in feminine character. In verse 1, conversation should be translated “conduct.” A truly converted wife will not follow a disobedient husband’s bad conduct. In fact, her “chaste” conduct is a strong example to her husband. Actually, through her obedience, a wife could lead her husband out of disobedience. Notice that Peter emphasizes conduct. A woman should strive to win back a disobedient husband through her conduct. Peter does not say that a woman should nag at, complain against, cajole, or rebel against her husband in everything because he is disobedient. She must be strong enough to set the right example.

How does a woman maintain this kind of strength and still be in subjection? Peter gives us the answer in verse 2. Converted women must have good conduct “coupled with fear.” The word fear can be a little misleading in this verse. Whom are the wives fearing? Are they fearing just their husbands? No, they are in subjection to their husbands, but they are also fearing God. Actually, to be a truly submissive wife, a woman must be in subjection to God first.

What does God the Father look for most in His Spirit-begotten women? “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (verses 3-4). God does not care much for appearance. God places a high value on women who have developed “a meek and quiet spirit.” Many women (and men) today place too much emphasis on a woman’s beauty or status. But God says a woman’s deep conversion is her true beauty. A Spirit-led woman is of great price to God.

In order to show they are as good as men, some women have developed a forward and noisy personality. This behavior is unbecoming for men. It is even less becoming for women. A strong and secure woman is feminine in all social situations. A woman with a “meek and quiet” spirit is not a wallflower or a weakling. She wisely uses her feminine character to assist and serve others.

Modern women have lost sight of the force and vitality of true femininity. It is sad to say that there are not many examples today for women to follow. Peter wrote, “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement” (verses 5-6). Peter points out that Sarah set an example for all women to follow. Genesis records for us that Abraham did not live a perfect life. He made mistakes and some were very serious mistakes. He even subjected Sarah to some wrong situations in Egypt with Pharaoh and in Gerar with Abimelech (Genesis 12 and 20). Yet Sarah obeyed Abraham. How could she obey him? 1 Peter 3:2 gives us the answer: Sarah trusted in God. When Abraham disobeyed God, Sarah didn’t rebel against him. She looked to God for her protection. Study the two accounts in Genesis. God saw to Sarah’s needs. If your husband isn’t obeying God, you should not follow him in his rebellion. But neither can you use his rebellion as an excuse to rebel against him. Trust in God and He will see to your needs. True happiness will come to you if you remain submissive to your husband. But never see submission as being weak.

Keepers at Home

Many women today look down upon stay-at-home wives and mothers. Yet God also planned that women give birth to, and raise children. An effective mother exerts great influence over society. Paul admonished Titus to remind the older women of their responsibility to teach the young women how to be wives and mothers. Paul wrote, “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” (Titus 2:4-5). Paul shows here that the highest calling for a young woman is to become a competent wife and mother. Society has forgotten that tomorrow’s leaders are trained by today’s mothers.

Why are so many young people in serious trouble with drugs, pre-marital sex, alcoholism, and gangs? There are very few “keepers at home.” Many women are trying to jostle full-time careers and family life. Many women have become full-time professionals and part-time moms. In 1960, only 31 percent of married women worked outside of the home. In 1991 that figure rose to 58 percent. Who suffers most? The children do. What is the result? Our wretched society.

How is Christ going to solve the problems in our world today? After His Second Coming, He will reestablish women staying at home, and He will praise women who become loving wives and competent mothers.

Can you imagine what life will be like when women are taught to pursue the God-ordained career of stay-at-home wife and mother? Women will be more happy. Children will be happy and stable. Society will have fantastic well-being. “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts” (Zecheriah 8:4-6). A truly marvelous world is coming. Why should any woman be put down for aspiring to the calling of wife, mother, and homemaker?

Motherhood Requires Skill

To be a wife, mother and homemaker requires much education and skill. Teaching and training young children demands years of study. A good mother has to be a teacher, doctor, nurse, and psychologist. Most educators are required to take five or six years of upper level education to be able to teach in a school. Doctors have to be trained for eight to ten years. A good mother has to be ever learning as her family matures. An effective wife and mother has to become multi-talented.

Should all women and wives stay at home and not work? There is no problem with single women working. Even when a couple is newly married, a young wife can and often needs to work outside the home. A young couple working two jobs can achieve financial stability more quickly. But if a couple has small children, the wife should not work outside of the home.

There could be times when family emergencies may require that a mother work temporarily, but it should only be temporary. Because of a high divorce rate and sexual permissiveness, our society has produced a large number of single mothers. Unfortunately, most single mothers must work to support themselves. The extended family should provide as much support as possible to single mothers. A single mother must fight to spend as much time with her young family as possible.

True Feminine Character

Striving for true womanhood is a supreme challenge. A devoted wife and mother is more valuable than all the wealth of this world. Solomon laid the gauntlet before all women to strive for true feminine character. He outlines these essential qualities of true womanhood in Proverbs 31. Let’s look at a few of the sterling qualities of this woman. Her husband trusted her (verse 11) because she did many good things for him (verse 12). Because of her loving support and encouragement, he was successful and well-respected in the community (verse 23). She made clothing for her family and procured the best of foods for them (verses 13-14, 19, 21). She got up early to serve her household, including the servants (verse 15). She conducted her own business (verses 15, 24). She also had time for the poor (verse 20). Most of all, she was happy (verse 25). Why was she happy? She was living a productive, full life. Please study all of the verses concerning the Proverbs 31 woman.

They will inspire you to set goals and accomplish more in your life than you ever dreamed possible.

The Proverbs 31 characteristics are only valuable if a woman achieves her ultimate Spiritual purpose in life making it into the Kingdom of God. Men and women are on equal ground when it comes to attaining the Kingdom of God. Peter taught, “Likewise, 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 (giving) of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).

Men and women are “heirs together” of the grace of life. A man prepares for leadership in God’s Family by being the head, or leader, of the wife and family. A wife learns that kind of leadership by supporting her husband, managing the home and teaching and training the children. A woman cannot attain the Kingdom as a man. A woman can only attain the Kingdom being a woman. Paul wrote, “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” (1 Timothy 2:15). God gave men and women unique purpose. A woman’s purpose is not inferior to a man’s. God created women to be wives and mothers. God gave women these specific purposes in this life so they can learn to rule in His Family forever (The Coming Kingdom/Government/Family of God). All women who desire true happiness now and forever must recapture the incredible value in true womanhood.