|winter :: 2010 |
Kept by His Grace
Reflecting on the earlier article, Let us Press On, I believe the Lord would have us consider just how we are to progress; for somehow we are prone to wander, and find ourselves caught up in “doing it our way”, even as the late Frank Sinatra boasted.
A word of caution comes from Jeremiah as he instructs us not to boast in our wisdom, skill, strength, power and riches, but our boasting should be in the glorious gift of knowing Him, whose birth we celebrate this month.
The prophet Isaiah spoke of those who go down to Egypt trusting in horses and chariots, (or in other words – the arm of the flesh) and proclaimed they were a people who looked not to the Holy One of Israel, nor sought to seek and consult the Lord!
When our Lord’s disciples asked Him for signs of His return, He told them there would be perplexity of nations, meaning no way out of their dilemma. Would you agree that presents a picture of our nation and the whole of nations? Truly there seems to be no answer for our smart politicians as well as many ‘religious’ leaders; for God sits in the heavens, laughs and has them in derision! (Psalm 2:4) Today, our leaders are prone to seek counsel from other gods and are ashamed to stand for the Word of God and His righteousness. Never have we witnessed such lawlessness and iniquity as is at work around us. Are we about to witness the revealing of the lawless one who precedes the return of our Lord?
Oh! But the God of grace holds His flock; comforting, supporting and shielding us, as we walk through these perilous times. I Peter 1:5 assures us we are being guarded and kept by God’s power through our faith, till we fully inherit our final redemption.
If, as you read this, you find yourself as one who knows Him not, He invites you to receive Him; declare Him Lord of your life and walk into the riches of His grace, becoming a sharer of all His love, kindness and goodness toward you. Most of all, salvation – full, rich and free – purchased by His blood at Calvary!
The old hymn, Come Thou Fount declares: Oh to grace how great a debtor. Daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above. Continue on in the faith.
Now may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen, so be it.
by Barbara Collins
The Temptation. (Genesis 3:1-13).
Was Adam separated from his wife when Satan’s temptation came? He was not! He was “with her.” (Genesis 3:6) He stood by her side during the whole sorry episode. When Satan spoke to the woman, he said,”You shall not surely die,” he didn’t speak to her alone. Although it seems only the woman is addressed, the “you” is plural and includes Adam. (3:4). The Bible tells us the woman was deceived but Adam was not. When she picked the fruit, did he make any effort to stop her? Did he warn her that she was disobeying God? When she handed the fruit to him, he accepted it. Notice Genesis 3:7: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened,” again implying it happened to both of them at the same time.
Adam’s Choice: (Genesis 3:6-12). The first-indulged temptation, or Adam’s willful sin, was to be “as God.” (3:5, KJV, says “gods,” which is incorrect, for Adam had just heard of one God.) These two already had equal dominion over all the earth. Therefore, Adam in his desire to be “as God” had no one else to be “as God” to but the woman. Adam wanted to extend his dominion by subjugating the woman to his rule. As he had named the animals (2:19), Adam named the woman. (3:20). He chose the name Eve, meaning “the mother of all living.”
The sin of the male in loving the preeminence began here and has prevailed consistently throughout history. Jesus repeatedly rebuked this sin, which was the last sin He pointed out to the disciples just prior to the last supper. (Luke 22:24-27). The strife created was over which one was the greatest. Jesus said to them, “. . . let him who is greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.” (NAS)
The Lord asked the man, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then, the man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” (3:11-12). Although Adam admitted that he did eat, he didn’t mention Satan as the instigator. He simply accused God to His face saying that the problem was the woman He had given him.
Adam doesn’t even mention Satan whom he had let in and left inside the Garden. The cause of his downfall through the woman was because he found support and excuse for what he wanted to do; therefore, he took the side of the serpent and became. a false accuser of God. Adam’s conduct here is undoubtedly what Job refers to when he complains, “If I have covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom . . . “(Job 31:33, NKJV).
Woman’s Choice. (3:13). In contrast, when God questioned the woman, she replied, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” By exposing the character of Satan before his very face, woman created an enmity between them. Her better choice caused God to draw woman farther away from Satan when He said to Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman . . .” (3:15). The woman repented. Adam did not repent but was banished from the Garden.
Please read Lesson 9 for Katharine Bushnell’s treatment of these same scriptures in the God’s Word to Woman book. You will notice some identical words in the article above.
by Gay Anderson
Our wonderful Lord warned His people to take heed, that we be not deceived. Surely we are in the last of the last days experiencing the cunning of Satan, with all his wiles; for everywhere we turn to look or listen the deceiving spirits are at work.
Just as Eve, we know what the Lord God has instructed us; but there in the garden the voice of the enemy sounded so right. The eyes of her spirit were turned to the forbidden tree and as she gazed upon it, we see lust enter into this innocent woman.
Satan used three areas of lust to lead her into temptation. By the way, he also used the same strategy on our Lord when he tempted Him in the wilderness. First, Eve saw the tree was good and pleasant for food. The lust of the eyes led her to contemplate how good the fruit would taste. Secondly, the lust of the flesh led her through her mind and senses to believe it would be quite alright to taste its fruit. Thirdly, the pride of life led her to take and eat so she might become wise. Her husband with her gladly received of the fruit, and the glorious relationship with their Creator and with one another was broken.
The Apostle Paul addressed the church at Corinth, writing them that he was jealous for them with a godly jealousy, for he had betrothed them to one husband; that he might present them as a chaste virgin to Christ. But he feared that as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, their minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
I John 2:16 instructs us: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life is not from the Father, but is of the world.”
Oh! That we might be found as the Shulamite maiden in Song of Solomon 4:1; for her Lover tells her, “You have dove’s eyes behind your veil.” We are told the dove can only see straight ahead and has only single vision. This maiden has eyes only for her Beloved.
What a lesson to be learned from Peter, James and John, who were with our Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration. (Mt. 17: 1-8) After seeing and recognizing Moses and Elijah and hearing the voice from the cloud saying, “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” When they lifted up their eyes they saw no one but Jesus only.
Bride of Christ! The heavenly Bridegroom is calling His Bride to keep her eyes on Him alone and to keep her ears tuned to hear His voice above all others. Can He hear us calling “Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly. Even so! Amen!”
by Jocelyn Andersen
Male supremist theology lies at the root of virtually all male against female spousal abuse among professing Christians. Because of that, it stands to reason that theology which hinges upon the subordination of women must be changed in order for the abuse to stop.
Some are suggesting that new Bible translations that eliminate words like “SUBMIT and SUBMISSION,” will help change abusive theology and prevent husbands from demanding submission. Others insist the focus should be on healing broken people rather than fixing broken theology. Is this an either/or issue? Isn’t it possible and even necessary to focus on both?
With or without supporting theology, abusers will abuse. But it is a fact that, historically, men have consistently sought divine sanction in their efforts to overthrow the autonomy of women. Waneta Dawn, author of, Behind the Hedge, a fictional portrayal of a family suffering from the harmful effects of patriarchal theology, says, “Dealing with abuse…requires a two-pronged approach. The abusive individual has to be held accountable, and theology must also be addressed…it is the theology that is creating more abusers… the word "submission" is not the problem, since we are all told to submit to one another.”
Gender based abuse is a fact of life. While the first couple was still in the garden, God predicted that husbands would have a sinful tendency to despotically rule over their wives. Most Christian men interpret that prediction as a mandate and, because of broken theology, have converted a prophecy associated with a curse into a divine commission from God. But though gender oriented abuse was predicted in Genesis, the prediction itself was not a mandate, and therefore cannot be considered causative, although to a great extent, due to misinterpretation, it is. And the prophecy has certainly proven to be true. History records that males have demonstrated an inordinate desire to rule over females and have successfully done so to the fullest extent culture, tradition, and popular opinion have allowed them.
Desire for temperate amounts of personal power and autonomy for survival, for the pursuit of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is a good, God-given, thing. A revolution was fought in the United States to gain rights the framers of our constitution considered inalienable, that is, God-given. If God-given rights, which bestow personal power and autonomy on all adult humans, are taken away, only vassals remain.
Christians should draw strength and power from Christ Himself and from the magnificent promises contained in his Word, but an inordinate lust for personal power is a sin which easily besets many humans, whether male or female, Christian or non-Christian, but it is unarguable that males, because of their superior physical strength, have more going for them in the “ruling over” department than females. The natural inclination for personal power, predicted by God and prejudiced on the side of the more powerful male, has been shored up nicely by theology flowing from male psyches which has kept professing Christian males in authority whether Christian females liked it or not.
What is the solution to the twin problems of broken people and broken theology? Jesus Christ, the only way, the only truth, and the only life is the only real solution. Culture, popular opinion, and law can control, up to a point, but only Christ can transform. He is the wonderful counselor. He is the embodiment of truth. And only truth can set free. Our Lord said so.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, and the truth contained in God’s Word, Jesus Christ promises that we can know the truth, and the truth will set us free. If we will fall at the feet of Jesus and allow his spirit to break our stubborn wills, we can be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. And at that point, abusive behavior and abusive theology are easily recognized and rejected for the vile, utterly destructive, things they are.
Broken theology, which focuses on female subjection, is fallen theology, the natural outcropping of fallen man's lust for power, and is certainly a primary catalyst for domestic abuse among Christians as well as a hindrance to Christian men who might otherwise put on the mind of Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them into all truth—Including the truth that would set them free to love their wives, instead of falling prey to, and helping fulfill the ancient prophecy that they would rule over them.
Jocelyn Andersen, an advocate of gender equality, is the author of "Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence," Her next book, "Woman this is WAR! Gender, Slavery & the Evangelical Caste System," is scheduled for release in 2010. Visit her website at www.WomanSubmit.com for more information.