Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Supporting husbands and being their "Helpmeet"

First there is the topic of Obedience 

Obedience to a husband does not include murdering for him or any other sin, like thieving, lying, or anything immoral. I personally put it this way---if a husband says to do something contrary to the Bible and you have to choose between obeying your husband or obeying your Creator then I go with God and what God has taught because my husband and myself are both sinners. It's a little like the blind leading the blind. God is not a sinner.
But many women say, "I have to obey my husband, the Bible says so." The difference between me and a person saying that is that I'm concentrating on the author of the Scriptures, the author of my faith, for that matter. My husband is fallible and God is not. In areas of Biblical obedience and morality I choose to follow God, our Lord. As much as possible I obey my husband. As much as my earthly sin-nature lets me. Plus, if it were not for God I would not have a Bible to quote or to teach  me. The Bible, that we all want to follow, came from God.

I believe the headship order given in I Cor 11 clearly teaches that it's God, then Jesus, then man, then woman but in another part of the Word we have the teaching that God sees us as neither man nor female, neither slave nor free, etc.

So I believe that the headship order is to HELP us here on earth to know "who follows who" in the day-to-day decisions that are not matters of morality. And, I believe the same thing in a church setting too----it brings order and God likes and teaches orderliness in several places in the Bible.

In the life (after this earthly life has ended) I believe in our total equality and even now before God, but for here, for solving spats and making choices, I believe our Jesus, our Lord gave us clear direction ever since He created Eve.

As to living with an unbelieving spouse; clearly you have to pray for them and they do change for the better (usually) as they age. They don't always. Get your friends to pray for your husband too.

There is more to the topic too and that is how I am a "helpmeet" to my husband. 

Personally, how I "helpmeet" my husband is by keeping in mind that the Bible says we are the weaker vessel and our husbands are supposed to love us as Christ loved the Church and gave His life for her. And the Bible says that our husbands are supposed to love us as much as they love their own body.

With that and the "gentle and quiet" spirit teachings and the other verses directed TO women in the Bible I come to it with all of that in the background. (Those are included at the end.)

We are asked to respect our husbands and they are asked to love us.

I Corinthians 11 reminds us that woman is made FOR man and not man for woman.
With all of that in the background of my thinking I try to "help" and by help, I mean sweep the floor, to me that is helping my husband. By putting the emphasis on the word "help" it lifts a ton of weight off of my shoulders and puts all of that back where it belongs---on God, and on my husband.

If I help, then I don't do everything for him. He can pick up a towel. If he couldn't pick up his towel then I would help him do that. I'm not obstinate but I want to help in a feminine and Biblical way and not do everything that he can do himself. Women who try that wind up waiting on their husbands "hand and foot" and (often) very unhappy because that energy is (often) not reciprocated and I think that the wife took the teaching too far.

Sweeping the back steps is helping him. Jumping on the riding lawn mower for an 8 hour mowing session, in several very hilly and bumpy fields, is not helping him appropriately because I'm not physically capable of that and he is muscular, strong, and big. He is capable of mowing our 6 acre farm-ette and he does the man-work and I help in a more lady-like way.

I'm not telling any of you to not mow the lawn but in some marriages the wife does that, then takes out the garbage, cleans and cooks, raises the children like she is a single parent because she does ALL the work of that and brings her lazy husband a sandwich while wiping the sweat off of her brow. After that, she washes the car and starts dinner. She has become a slave more than a servant of the Lord. She often secretly resents her husband and inwardly considers him to be lazy and that is NOT respecting her husband to think such thoughts because thoughts have a way of exhibiting themselves in one form or another. Trying to squash down all your resentments daily will bring unintended consequences, or at least it could.

Adam was given his curses from God.

Eve was given her curses from God.

The funny thing is that men cannot borrow from our curse and bear children but we can be under our curse, bear children etc., and have a job, do all of the household work and be the one who gets up with the kids and we CAN borrow from Adam's curse, the curse of work.
In some marriages I personally know it's becoming very common for the husband to be the stay-at-home parent and his wife goes to the office everyday.

I believe that going back and reading the curses given to Adam and Eve will help all of us.
 Here are the 10 verses in the Bible directed to women

Verses Directed to Women

From the entire Bible, Genesis through Revelation, the Bible very infrequently calls out to women specially and I believe because it is such a rare thing that we believing females ought to at least read and know these verses and then whether you obey them or do not is between you and our Lord.
There are many verses in the Bible written to “Anthropos” meaning all people. There are a few written to aner, which means only male (MEN ONLY) and doesn’t mean people. Then there are the few times below where the Bible speaks to women.

#1-------I Tim 5: 9-10, the widow’s list, includes proper behavior
#2-------I Tim 2: 9-15, dressing modestly/don’t teach/be in silence
#3-------I Peter 3: 1-6, submit/apparel/ gentle and quiet spirit
#4-------Proverbs 31: 10-30, virtuous wife
#5-------Titus 2:3-5, behavior, teaching younger women to love their husband and children
#6-------I Corinthians 14:34-35, do not speak in church
#7-------Ephesians 5:22-23, marriage submission
#8-------Colossians 3:18, marriage submission
#9-------I Corinthians 11:2-16, women’s headship, covering, long hair
#10-----Add to all of the above when Adam and Eve were given curses, you will see that the genders were not given the same curses. Men can’t borrow from Eve’s curse and bear a child but a woman can live under her curses and borrow from Adam’s curses which quite often winds up with a marriage of hardship.

Thank you,

Monday, February 8, 2016

Struggling to keep covering

Struggling to keep covering:

On one of the covering lists that I run a member reported that she is struggling to keep covering. What I wrote to her there I bring to you here, in case it can help someone:

That's the whole reason I run 2 covering support groups and post support covering. These two Yahoo groups have only one purpose.

Someone called me a "Fundamentalist" over the weekend and he told me that we are supposed to take Paul's letters symbolically, not literally. The person had the correct definition too. To take the Bible literally. So he is not "off" on his definition. But he takes the Bible symbolically and therefore, I believe, he is free to pick and choose which passages to obey and which ones are okay to disobey. I'm starting to hate living in the "last days" because I can see the falling away from the faith all around me. Things all Christians believed in and followed together are going away. They've been there for 2000 years. But we've lost ground (as if in a war and Paul says we are in a war) since the 1920's and again in the 1960's. I'm sick of it. Our children are being raised in Christian homes and rejecting the faith after a good and kind grounding in the Christian faith. You hear about that every day. Sorry, this part is NOT directed at anyone struggling with covering other than to say that usually people who cover are those who are attempting to follow and obey the New Testament as best as they can. They DO believe that Paul's letters are to be obeyed.

If you do not know there is a large teaching on head covering for both men and women in First Corinthians, chapter 11: 1-16. It's a letter that Paul wrote. It's published in the New Testament of the Bible. The women of the Old Testament covered too and we have a small reference to that early in the Bible but not a full teaching about it. In the NT we get a full teaching.

I say this: How absurd to call me a Fundamentalist when I would have been called an ordinary Christian 100 years ago.

Paul did not write,

"To those in Corinth,

Please take my letters that I write to you symbolically, not literally." 

No, he was very adamant that those receiving the letters obey him. In the 11th chapter of I Corinthians (the covering passage) he told us at the beginning of the passage to do as he does, follow his example and he has said that other places in his letters too. He has said (essentially) "I've got this, I'm living this, I'm an example to you of how to do it, and he assumed the teacher/example role."

Then he taught covering for 15 verses and then he gave 3 very long-term, if not eternal reasons to cover.

Most Bible passages do not self-interpret themselves but our covering passage does.

Because of the headship order: God, Jesus, Man
Because of the order of creation, Man then woman
Because of the angels and then Paul doesn't say whether he means the "good" angels or the the fallen angels.

But it's such a clear teaching and I find that passage of Corinthians is my personal main "help" to cover. Twenty-six years ago I didn't WANT to cover. I liked my hair. People still compliment my hair. I didn't want to be hot in the summer. I didn't want to "stick out" and cause people to ostracize me and I didn't want to be debated by pastors, elders, pastor's wives, friends, children, etc., I wished I could dig into the Greek and find a way out of covering but there was not a way out. In fact, the Greek makes it at least 100% more clear that we are to cover than the English translations do. 

Other coverers find other comfort and reasons for covering. They like the simplicity of it. They feel more obedient when they do it. I've asked a lot of questions on these 2 covering groups I run and I've received a lot of reason of "why" people cover.

This something only you can do for yourself. Only the Lord can help you. The pervasiveness of others will not assist you. We can pray for you and that's about all we can do. I regularly pray for North America about this topic. South America does cover, as does the Asian continent and many places of the world. 

My prescription for someone struggling with this or ANY other spiritual issue is to take a 1 day retreat at home, if you can, Get a babysitter if you have children or do it on the weekend, if you're married, and stay in your room for 1 day. Take a toaster, some bread, some butter and some water, a few plates and butter knives and the Bible and any Bible helps or reference books you may need. Only leave the room to potty.

Then spend the whole day away from the crazy, high speed world, and the critics who live in it and be with our Lord. That's your only goal. Just be with Jesus. The bread and water are to keep you there, in your room, rather than in the kitchen. Rest, Pray a lot, and read the Bible a lot. Give the Lord one full day of attention and see what He does with you. 

Don't even think about those who have rejected you for covering or for being a literal Bible follower.

Last time I looked up "Fundamentalist" in a dictionary the meaning was short. It said, "Those who believe the Bible is really the words of God." 

Yes, that's me. If that is ALL that it means, why is is becoming an insult?
If some type of cloth, scarf, or hat is on your head, why is that so offensive to other people?

It's them, not you. They don't want to cover and I remember having that feeling too, 26 years ago. It's a strong "want" but we don't "get to" disobey God. Our passage doesn't say our prayers will not be answered. It just says DON'T pray or prophesy uncovered and then gives those 3 reasons within the passage.

If any of you are struggling: Please take a 1 day retreat in your home or leave home for 1 day and do that. Some churches or retreat centers, or monasteries will let you stay 1 night for free. Or get a quiet hotel room. But get alone and devote yourself to the Lord for one full day.

I brought this here in case someone here needed to hear this too.

Thank you,

Friday, June 26, 2015

Unholy Churches

On a Yahoo group I run a member there had some stories about some recent experiences. I am NOT going to share what she disclosed but I am going to share my response. ~~~~Thank you, Clevsea

I have experienced all of those things.

Immodesty in church....short, shorts, tank tops, mini skirts and then they dance in church wearing this stuff. AND then they go up on stage and sing in the band wearing this stuff and because the stage is 6 feet above the audience it puts their legs right at eye level.

Also -------- you will not believe this but it's so true. I have witnesses. A Christian celebrity came to our town. I had heard him speak many times and he was always going on about his wife. He would have her stand up in the crowd and wave. She looked like a Barbie Doll.

My Precepts Upon Precepts leader did not like my take on the endtimes and had done everything she could think of to reform me. She thinks that if I heard Dr.______________ famous guy talk that I'll be convinced. Never mind that I had seen him over 10 times before and I listened to his radio preaching for years.

So my PUP teacher and my whole class and even a friend of my sister's was there because the whole town was there and my leader made me go forward after he was done talking.He happens to talk about endtimes---maybe she called him.

He had run through nearly all of the endtimes verses. There are so many that made my question easy to ask, because he had skipped the part I asked about. There was a long line and the room was still full. I was about 8 months pregnant and wearing a green jumpsuit so it was clear I was pregnant. The lady in front of me asked if her dog went to heaven. Then comes my turn.

I open my Bible and say, "In light of what you taught tonight what would you say to someone else who asked you about these verses?" My Bible was opened to John chapter 6 where Jesus says 4 times in a row that He will raise us up on the last day. (I did not say that the person who was curious about this was me. I implied that I would be asking for another person without lying about it.)

Dr.________________ got spitting mad me right away. He was bright red and YELLING. Spit literally coming out of him. The anger is unbecoming of any Christian. I had used a meek and quiet voice. I was pregnant. If anyone was getting drowsy they were wide awake now!! I simply pointed the verses to him I did not read them. In my Bible the words "last day" are already underlined and there they were.....4 times in a row the Lord Jesus said that.

Dr.________________ was aggressive and ran through all of the "Day of the Lord" verses like a run-away logging truck, at the speed of light. No one could have answered him. He asked (yelled) about 40 questions in this mean way and then says...."How are all those things going to happen in one day?"

Why do I tell you this story? Because within a week or so he was publically disgraced for sleeping with THE lady he was traveling with on this tour of speaking engagements. He had another Barbie Doll blonde, not his wife, open each meeting with her playing the piano for about 3 praise songs and then he would teach the crowd.

He was fired from his high position at the well-known Bible college and his radio program was cancelled too. Eventually, he wrote a public letter of apology for the blatant affair with this lady.

So, what is the connection between "bad" doctrine and screaming at people?

You tell me.

I also tried a different Church and they were screamers too. I get migraines and these are the kind of men who need no microphone!! We'd hear that screaming style of preaching without a PA system. But they insist on screaming into the mic. Why? Are we naughty little kids? Do we need a whooping? Do we need our weekly scream session to keep us in line with the Lord?

But perhaps one last story will help you. I was attending a church that taught the opposite of what I believe about salvation. I told my friend that I could handle it because I knew better so I wasn't going to be seduced by this misguided teaching. She said, "Don't be surprised if you children all believe like the staff does if you go there for 6 or more years."

She was right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WE can't allow our children to hear wrong Bible teaching and yet, on the other hand,  some of the best churches have okay teaching but modern dress codes that are obscene.

I was in stadium seating at 2 different churches I went to. One I fondly call the "thong" church because the whole row of ladies in front of me each had a different color thong (underpants) on as they stood up to sing. I should not have to know what color your underpants are! And you could see down their shirts because of the seating combined with a neckline that is too low for church. We're not at a nightclub but they dress like we are. Even to daytime, all female Bible studies---they dress like we're going to a nightclub to pick up men. It makes NO sense to me. Why can't we be HOLY? Why can't we dress decently when we meet to read the Bible, study the Bible, to praise the Lord or to hear a sermon?

The other time I had stadium seating was at a more conservative church but the lady in front of me got down on her kneeler and because she was wearing little shorts and a skin tight cami (or tank top) it looked like she was getting into a s*xual position. Sorry to be so blunt. My husband wasn't with me and I never went back. I didn't want him to see that.

There is a denomination that I like, that covers their head for church, and it's called the Plymouth Brethren.  I've been to 4 of them and they range in their modesty. The largest one I ever saw had about 200 to 300 people crammed in the auditorium. There was ONE lady covering her head even though that is one of their "distinctives" and the other 150 women were wearing short shorts and camis with spaghetti straps. They were VERY uncovered.

Some of you know all of my stories but with this one I stayed after and I talked to the oldest man there. I thought maybe he remembered a day when they were still a covering church. He did. He said he was THE one who taught them that they could stop covering.

What are we to do?

Some of us suffering with this live in southern California. I'm in the greater Seattle, Washington area where both Seattle and Portland, Oregon are in a competition to see who can be weirder. There are big bill boards in Portland, Oregon that say, "Keep Portland Weird." So they know they are doing this on purpose.

The west coast of the USA is weird and liberal (doctrinally)
and the churches are empty. The good ones that teach the Bible can only draw about 15 people.

It is like the "great apostasy" is beginning. Right here under our noses. It's a big topic with all the ladies who raised their children in the faith. The held Christianity high in their homes. They taught their children right!! And their children, whether there are 2 or 15 of them grow up and don't believe in the basic gospel anymore. They live like they want to live. They are not obedient to the Word and they don't read it anymore.

Our world needs prayer. I would like to see a  massive revival of the faith hit the entire globe we call Earth or let's go ahead with the endtimes because God never lies and that means we can't pray away His prophesies. If they are beginning then they are beginning and we can't stop that. We wouldn't want to. We want our God to do these things He said He would do.

He has never lied to us. Every prophesy has occurred right on time, right when He said it would.

But we can pray whether this it is or not because if it's not yet time we CAN pray this unholiness away!!!

Thank you,

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

This is NOT from or going to be in the upcoming book and it's not one of my prayer installments. I came across this blog entry I wrote back in '09 and thought that someone today might need to hear this, RIGHT NOW, so I'm posting it hoping to be of help.

Help for the wife whose husband is misusing his headship role

I seem to answer a lot of private email regarding marriage and recently I was asked about a particularly bossy husband who is not a believer and yet is “using” the Bible and its teaching on wifely submission to his advantage.  His wife is a Christian and he appears to know enough about submission to misuse the teaching. 

 Here is what I wrote back in 2009 but I feel there is someone here that needs to hear this today:

Women who find themselves in a situation (like the one described) need to find a trusted prayer partner, somebody very discreet and regular about prayer. A woman whose prayers get answered and will take the request very seriously.

If anyone’s husband is not a Christian then that main thing you need to do is this:

“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands…” I Pet 3:1-5

When a woman has a non-believing husband then we don’t talk to them, we don’t teach, we go the “without a word” route that is mentioned above.

Our conduct will be the only teaching they get from us.

Some husbands may never change. A wife may never impact her husband for salvation faith or change his attitude or his behavior. That is God’s job anyway….it’s not her responsibility. If you do impact your husband ... chances are that it will be because he sees you change *for real* into something that he is blown away by. As God transforms you, through His Power and you are gradually showing the fruit of the Spirit  your husband will see that.

That is probably what the verse from I Pet 3 means and I’ve seen it in my own life and in the lives of others. It's all about YOUR conduct, not your words. Difficult for a verbal female…believe me, I know about that too.

All of this also applies to a husband who claims to be a Christian but is disobedient to the Word of God.

If you have tried being quiet…don’t stop. Pray for him and be the best at your own Spiritual growth that you can be. You grow, You read the Bible, You pray quietly, often, steadily. That is the Christian walk.

If your husband is a Christian (and there is no doubt about it) then you ought to be able to hold him to Christian accountability. Christian men/husbands have “rules” about their conduct too. If a Christian husband does not treat his wife with patience then his prayers will not be answered.

The Christian husband is to love his wife like Christ loved the church (the believers) and gave Himself up for them. Christian husbands are to love their wives as much as they love their own bodies. Christian husbands are supposed to live with their wife in an understanding way, remembering that we are the weaker vessel.

The wife needs need to feed herself a steady diet of Bible. Don’t stop praying. Remember that God is seeing every single thing. God loves you and there will be an accounting for bad conduct on the part of a wayward husband.

If a husband asks a wife to sin and she has to choose between submitting to the husband or following the Lord God’s clear teaching then the wife ought to choose God’s teachings and leadings. Even the concept of submitting to the husband came from God but there are times you cannot obey a husband if he asks you to commit adultery, or kill someone, or something clearly wicked like that.

I used a strong example on purpose to make the point. The stronger the example the easier it is to see what a Christian wife ought to do. When the unsaved or disobedient husband asks for sinful actions that are less clear then it is more difficult to decide.

For me, my Lord God will always be my true boss, my head, the one I will obey whenever I feel led and able, etc. If following one’s husband does not directly offend the Lord or His Word or His will for the Christian wife then I would suggest following the husband because that would fall under submission.

copyright 2009

Friday, January 30, 2015

#7 The Conclusion of Why Pray


#7 Conclusion of "why" pray?


We have started things here with some “why should we pray” chapters and we could conclude that topic with a few recaps and a few new reasons. First, you and I are motivated by the fact that prayer works. I started with the Jenny story as a good example. When you ask and God answers that is a great motivator.

Some other reasons to pray are because we were told to in the Bible and we have great examples in that book that we will look at later. Some models from Daniel, Paul and some from Jesus Himself.

The Bible also says to devote yourselves to prayer or in another translation it says “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it.” Col 4:2. We also pray because Jesus used terminology like “When” you pray, not “if” you pray. And then there are those 100 verses in the Bible that teach us all about prayer.

Let me give just a few: “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind [your thoughts] through Christ Jesus.” That was a lot. We could write an entire book on those words alone. For now, allow me to say “anxious” as in anxiety? A quick check from a reputable website writes that 40 million Americans suffer with anxiety. I could start quoting statistics about how much we spend on antianxiety medications and all kinds of facts here. And peace? Isn’t peace the number one thing we are chasing? I believe drug abusers are and so are many other people are trying everything from Yoga to cruises.

Then we have I Thessalonians 5:17, a very famous verse on prayer, “pray without ceasing.” Let’s talk about that quickly. It is one of the methods of prayer that I will cover in another chapter and it can mean a few different things. It can mean that you literally never stop praying no matter what you are doing or perhaps Paul was trying to say in my own words, “keep it up, keep going, and do not stop. Pray, pray, pray.” I lean toward that one. I don’t necessarily pray while I clean the cat litter. I could, but I think that the Creator of the Universe deserves a little more respect than that and I have 24 hours every day. While I’m scooping through the sand looking for Kitty’s droppings may not be the best moment to pray. Again, it all overlaps. Unceasing prayer is a type of prayer but it also falls under “when” to pray.

Ephesians 6:10-20 is a great teaching on prayer. This is the famous “Armor of God” teaching from Paul but we won’t get into all that right now. Let’s only look at verse 18 “Praying always with all prayer.” Goes nicely with our “pray without ceasing verse” doesn’t it?

My personal favorite is when Jesus teaches us about the persistent widow that we talked about already with the Jenny story but look at how that teaching is introduced, [Jesus] “…spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart…” Wow, I love that so much.

But before you start to devote yourself to prayer you need to know “who” you are praying to. Read your Bible so that you will KNOW Him. That’s the only way. I can tell you all about the Lord and write you a Bible study and tell you which verses to go read but the best way is to do this on your own, with YOUR Bible and your time. If you want to become “cult proof” then please read and understand Genesis, the four gospels and the book of Romans. Add to that a dedication to knowing what Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians say. That’s the beginning. I’m a huge believer in every kind of Bible reading but I firmly believe that every Christian should read the entire Bible from front to back every year of their lives. You really do need to know it, all of it. After you feel you have reached a certain point of familiarity then you can explore all the others ways to read it. Slow and meditatively or involve yourself in deep and difficult studies while learning some Greek and some Hebrew so that YOU will not be at the mercy of the translations. You can learn to read the Bible in its original languages. Sometimes it is soothing to the soul to just read passages at random but when you are new to the faith it is vital to get the basics correct.

Why is this important? Because you can’t just make up a Jesus and pray to that made up Jesus and expect your prayers to be answered or expect a good result in the afterlife. If you really know the God of the Bible you will not make up features of God that are not true or take on a fake view of Him. Do not add to the Bible. Don’t make it harder than He taught us. Don’t make up rituals and rules that the Bible doesn’t teach you. What do I always say? “Let’s go with what God clearly taught us and do those things and not guess about what He did not say.”

The Bible will teach you precisely everything you need to know if you will read it faithfully. Do NOT take other people’s word for it. That is how cults begin (many times) and there are a lot of cults and false teachers out there.

God said that in the Old Testament (many, many times) and Jesus said it in the New Testament. In Matthew chapter 24 Jesus’ disciples asked Him three questions: “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” This was a private conversation involving only Jesus and His very closest followers. The very first thing He said when He answered was, “Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” And He went on to detail how things will end here on earth for the rest of the chapter. (Side note: It is a hugely important chapter about the end and probably the best starting place for that entire topic.) As He continued to teach on this He says again in the 24th verse, “24For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.”

Or for now, while you are learning, keep it simple. Consider this, the early believers met by the river and prayed and if you only knew one verse of the bible a good one would be, “…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Jesus taught us that in Matthew 6:33 and we usually refer to this in the short version of, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” Sometimes it helps just to keep repeating that to yourself.

Isaiah is the best book to read God’s word in the first person. He is pouring out His heart in the book. It’s large and it’s complicated and very thorough so read it more than once, study it and it will help you to know our Creator’s heart and a lot about what is going to happen in the future that is important too.

I believe the first example of who God is can be found right at the beginning of Genesis. You can learn a lot about His power in a very short amount of time. I also think that you can see the first example of prayer right there too. It appears from Genesis 3:8 that Adam, the first man, used to walk with God in the cool of the evening. I’ll take a night of that myself. Wouldn’t that be fantastic? I would love that. Adam had it made as far as fellowship with God goes. But then Adam sinned with his wife’s assistance and mankind fell. The two of them were cast out of the Garden of Eden and things changed. Curses were given to people from God Himself. But I still think that is our first glimpse of praying in the Bible. Like a friendship, walking around just talking, spending time together. The biggest difference is the Almighty God is in conversation with you and He is just that, Almighty, very powerful…not quite the same as having a small talk with your neighbor. There needs to be some reference as to who He is.

The verse, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…” is not exactly a teaching on prayer, I will concede that. But it gives us such a good backdrop to how we live, how often we pray and what our priorities are. It struck me the first time I ever read it which must have been within days of becoming a Christian. At that time, 1982, having a T-shirt made for you with what you wanted said on it was very popular. You could find a store like that in every little shopping center. I ran out and bought a plain white one with light blue raglan sleeves. It was blank on the front and the back I had the store owner write, “Seek Ye First” in black letters. The idea was that people would stop me and ask what it meant and then I would tell them the rest of the verse.

I did not just wear a shirt though. I took that verse to heart and lived it. And we need the beginning of it right now in order for my next story to make better sense.

Jesus is speaking, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Very clear, isn’t it? Seek God first and because He knows what you need He will add these other things to your life, such as food and clothing. You do not have to put pursuing anything else ahead of God. It is the opposite of how many of us live before we are believing Christians and sometimes after. There are things we seek, that we want, like jobs and good apartments, a family and all the stuff the department store sells. But I decided it was literally true so you think I’m going to tell you I gave away all my stuff, right? No, I gave away a person. Within one, two or perhaps three days (of becoming a Christian) I called my boyfriend on the phone. I broke up with him on that call. I have no recollection of what he said but I know what I said as if it had happened yesterday, “Hi. I became a Christian and even though I don’t know what all that means I do know one thing. I don’t think that Jesus is going to want us doing what we have been doing and I don’t think I can take the temptation and I am not going to be the same. I can tell I am going to be different. So, I can’t be around you.”

That breakup worked with very few glitches. He did try to contact me by leaving notes on my car and calling sometimes. You also need to know that I moved from where I lived right away even though he and I did not live together at the time. We had a rental together earlier but when I accepted Jesus and started to follow Him I had a little one bedroom apartment and he did not live with me.

However you need just a little bit more background. I’ll be brief. I had a fulltime job in downtown Seattle but could not afford to rent a place in Seattle so I lived outside of the city by the airport (not a nice neighborhood). I had a horrible, cheap car with a big V 8 engine and one child in daycare. So picture this, the first week I am a Christian I go into work where I’ve been for almost two years and my boss said he loved me and it broke his heart but he could not afford my wages anymore. He could only have me work six hours a day instead of eight. I told him, “But my rent will not go down, and neither will my daycare bill so I won’t be able to work here.” I could not even afford to park in downtown Seattle. I drove my “beater” car to a bus station and took public transportation into the city five days a week.

I caught the bus home, in the rain, and picked up my car and knocked on the door of the lady who was running a home daycare. At the door, on the same day as my boss’ bad news she announced that she was no longer going to be a daycare owner. She was returning to her regular job. I take my toddler (whose father had committed suicide earlier that year but he and I had been apart for her entire life—two years) and I put her in her car seat. We drove about 2 miles and my engine threw a rod I think they called it, so it was totaled, meaning that fixing it was not worth the money because its overall worth was less than two hundred dollars.

I do not even remember how I got home. Maybe I carried my two year old the rest of the way, I just don’t know.

I was pretty helpless but not at all despondent because I was “seeking first” God, the Almighty, the creator who saved me from my sins by sending His only son here to earth to die for me. So that I would never have to go into the lake of fire myself and I could have Jesus’ righteousness instead of my own…and that was a good thing because I KNEW I had no righteousness at all. I was okay because a God that powerful must have a plan for me. That is how the first week of Christianity played out for me. Suddenly, I did not have a boyfriend, a proper job, a daycare or a car.

Obviously, the Lord provided a place to live and I got a different fulltime job and a different daycare and my boyfriend moved hundreds of miles away because he said he would not be able to leave me alone unless he left.

He was gone for five years. On occasion I would pray that he would become a Christian too for his own sake. I did not expect to ever see him again. I prayed about 20 or 25 times for him over the five years. I prayed that no matter where he went someone would give him the gospel. I prayed that everywhere he turned another person would give him the gospel.

I was single for those five years except for one brief time that I won’t go into now because it doesn’t serve any purpose to do that. But, when I woke up one morning in early 1987 I said to myself and to God quite emphatically and frequently that I wanted to get married that year. I asked Him repeatedly to pick out the right husband for me. I asked God to help me change so that I could be a good wife and boy oh boy did I ever get persistent about it.

Men started lining up around the block. All of sudden everyone wanted to marry me. There were all kinds of men asking but it felt a lot like the time Adam named every animal and none of them proved to be a proper mate for him. While my social calendar was going crazy the phone rang one night and my old boyfriend was on the line asking to come over. I remember that like it was just yesterday too. I didn’t know what to say at all. In a spilt second I was going back and forth between yes and no in my mind and then I thought, why not? I gave him my address and he came right over.

He asked me what I was up to and I let him know, I am getting married, I don’t know who to but I am getting married this year. He told me that he had got on a plane with nothing with him and his plan was to come to Seattle and try to find me. I have no idea how he did get my phone number, but he did.

Was he a Christian though? For five years I had been reading in my Bible that a Christian should not marry a non-Christian so he was out of the question if he wasn’t a believer.

He told me his conversion story and it goes like this. He said, “Everywhere I went people told me the gospel. I would join a basketball team only to find out they were Christians and they would tell me the gospel.” He went on and on and said everywhere he turned people were popping up telling him about salvation through Jesus Christ. It happened at work, it happened at soccer teams, it just kept happening.

That is not the only time I’ve heard my own words, said alone in prayer, repeated to me verbatim. No, that has happened many times now.

We married late that summer and it’s been happily ever after since then. He and I have had fights and gone through some major issues at times but everyone knows we are a happy couple and the Lord did add unto me all the things I needed.

I tell that story sometimes to ladies who are living with their boyfriends and trying to live the Christian life at the same time. I can’t promise them anything but I can tell them that my sacrifice to break up with my boyfriend changed my whole life. I should say it was God who changed my whole life and he prospered us and I am not sure there is another man anywhere that loves his wife as much as my husband loves me. I could write a whole book on all of his sacrifices for me and things he has given me. He is the most selfless man I’ve ever met and I thank God that out of all the men he could have paired me with he chose the husband that I have. I am blessed and God answers prayers.
Clevsea copyright 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

God gets the glory Prayer Installment #6


“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
‘I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God.
And who can proclaim as I do?
Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me,
Since I appointed the ancient people.
And the things that are coming and shall come,
Let them show these to them.
Do not fear, nor be afraid;
Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?
You are My witnesses.
Is there a God besides Me?
Indeed there is no other Rock;
I know not one.’” Isaiah 44: 6-8


Think of all the things you have prayed for. Jobs, marriages, promotions, lives, healings, and houses you’ve wanted so badly … all these things you wanted. When your grandpa survived his double bypass surgery and when the vet tells you that it’s too late for your dog to live and he doesn’t die. I prayed for my second baby to not die as I went into emergency surgery. The surgeons told me that I would lose the baby that he would most likely die. Oh, the pleading, begging, bargaining I did as they wheeled me away. He lived.

I prayed hard when they told me that my 3rd baby would not live through the night. She was supposed to die the day she was born and she did not. I had a funny prayer answer for my 4th baby. Because the third one was a premature baby I prayed every day for my fourth one to be born between 7 pounds and 7 and a half pounds. I prayed that daily for about 8 months. She was born 7.4 exactly between an even 7 and 7 and a half. I recognized that the very second when they told me her birth weight that God was doing it again, He was showing me exact answers to exact (and persistent) prayers.

When my 5th baby got autism, and he had a very severe case of it, I prayed and I cried for over a year. He was cured. The Lord restored him and took the Autism away.

Even one of my unbelieving children calls me for prayer when she or her husband needs a job or a job promotion. I do pray hard for those requests hoping that as she sees the answers it will convince her that God is real, He exists. She still doesn’t believe that He exists but she does believe that my prayers are answered because she has seen that so many times. She has told me that dozens of times. She completely trusts in the process of prayer even though she does not believe in the Jesus of the Bible.

However, we believers in Jesus know better. We know that I don’t have some weird “powerful” brain that can manifest things into existence. That would be witchcraft and even in the case of witchcraft it is NOT that person’s power that brings something about, it is God’s enemies mimicking and deceiving so that the person will remain in darkness.

One lady that I didn’t even know told me I had a powerful brain and here is why.

Typical story of “dog follows children home” you know the one or you’ve had it happen to you. A very homely black mutt followed my kids home and of course they wanted to keep her. I told them right away that she belonged to someone else and that I was going to have to find her owner because they would be so sad to find out she was gone.

I called the humane society and reported the dog. She was not easy to describe because I had seen dogs exactly like her all over that neighborhood. Best guess? There was a loose unneutered black dog in our area. She was very medium in size too. There was really nothing to say but I had a medium sized, all black dog with no markings. They took my report.

About three days later I received a call. The owner had called in to the humane society as well, they gave her my phone number and she told me when she would be over to pick her up.

You probably know what happened over those three days. My children had become attached to her.  So, for their sake only I started to pray and pray and pray that the owner would change her mind. I prayed that she would see the dog sitting with my children and say, “Oh my goodness, she belongs with you and your children. So never mind, I’ll just go home without my dog and you can keep her.”  Personally, I didn’t care that much about the dog. However, something out of the ordinary had happened to me earlier that very day she entered our lives.

I remember clearly sitting in my backyard considering a thing that had been occupying me that was now gone from my life. As I sat on the steps and thought about the new amount time I would have a very strange thought came to me.  You could get a dog and take care of it and take it to obedience school and the two of you could go for walks. Because I’m not a dog person I let that go and very nearly forgot it had happened.  It happened to be September 11th, 2001. I didn’t even think of that series of thoughts that had come to me when I met the dog. To me it was just something that happens to every mom at some point.

But as I knew the time was approaching I sure was praying for that dog and her owner. Really, really, really praying. I even helped God out a little bit by lining up my children and borrowing about three neighborhood children to sit next to the dog.

There they were, all in this line I created as she pulled up in her car. I’m still praying like crazy and I will never forget what happened next. Her car door opened and one foot came out. She looked at the line of children and, of course, the dog and she did not get out of her car. I was on my way to greet her and from inside her car I heard her say, “Never mind. Look at that. You can keep her. She belongs with you.”

Okay, I’m used to answered prayer so I’m not too bowled over but she does get out of the car and we went to the side of the house (so that she couldn’t see her dog anymore, I’m not stupid) and she wanted to tell me a little bit about the dog. How she always got out and couldn’t be contained and she herself had just gotten her from the humane society within the last few months. I asked her how much that had cost her and she gave me a number. I insisted on paying her that money back and she refused. She finally settled on half the money. As I made out a check to her I started to give my side of the story and how much I had hoped she would let us keep the dog and that even that day, before the dog showed up, I had experienced some type of feeling that I might be getting a dog.

So what does she say? “Wow, that’s one powerful mind you have there! Whew, if I ever need something I might get a hold of you and ask for your help.”


She thinks I can conjure all this up with my big brain? Are you kidding me? I tried to explain God and prayer to her but she wasn’t interested in that or converted on the spot.

Just as you think there is nothing to add there is. I had kind of a love-hate relationship with that dog. She was stinky, had bad breath, did get loose quite a lot and of course she needed to eat and be let outside and all of that. She was work, in other words, and a little bit hard to love.

Time went by and she stopped running off and she settled into her neighborhood life but then something happened. The value of all the houses dropped significantly and we were able to buy a house, with a creek and six acres by doing a refinance on our house. We were able to buy our retirement home (early) which we started out using as a weekend cabin. Guess who got to come with me every Friday? My stinky little mutt who was stinking up my car. She loved it. She rolled in the grass and we have a thousand pictures of her rolling, running, jumping over the creek, running in the creek and laying there in the sunshine a lot. She had never seen anything like this before. She was from the city and she was in heaven on six acres.

Here is a little diary entry from three years ago and probably the only time I ever wrote about my dog:

“It’s beautiful outside and I want to be relaxed and alone. I went outside and it had clouded. There is snow on the ground but the VERY green grass is showing too. I put on ski-pants and 2 coats, gloves and went down to the creek. Just as I got there it started to rain but I decided to stay outside. Under the cedar trees it was dry. I thought about Brother Lawrence and how he talks with God all day long. So do I when I am alone. As I came out of the trees I saw strong sunlight on the forest floor. I smiled my way to the meadow and stood in the warm sunshine, snow all around me. The trees had droplets with rainbows in them. I lingered there in peace and tranquility. The kind of peace drug people probably want. God was good to me. No pain, just peace and sunshine and then I looked at my homely black dog and she was covered in sparkles. She didn’t know it but her black coat had droplet on it, from the rain, and she sparkled. Amazing.” And then I wrote, “Remember to wait – the sun is coming.”

She was aging and I saw her tripping up the two steps to the front door and other weird things and I knew she wasn’t going to live forever. She wasn’t all black anymore. She was greying. I couldn’t picture nursing her through a long term illness because she wasn’t the cuddliest dog you’ve ever seen. So I prayed that if she was going to die (and clearly we all do eventually) then it would be quick and not a painful, long ordeal.

The next day she died at 4:00 in the afternoon. I checked my diary and found this:

“The dog died today. She loved it here in the country. I prayed for her yesterday about her death and if it could be quick and not drawn out. She was a happy dog. She even had a happy look on her face when she saw the bus. It was this time of year (9-11-2001) when I praying about what I was going to do and God gave me an idea for a dog and she came into my life later that same day. Now, eleven years later I prayed for her and she was taken very quickly. She had a good last year of her life and she lived to the end of summer. She got to enjoy life at the property and all our walks.”

No, it’s not my powerful brain that killed my dog. God’s mercy is why she died quickly. I saw the whole thing. It happened only a few yards away from me. That is how I was able to see her last smile. She saw me coming out the door and knew she was not supposed to be across the street chasing the bunnies. She was headed toward me with a smile on her face like, “here I come.” I looked at her and I looked at the school bus and there was nothing I could do. (If my brain was so powerful it would have levitated my dog out of the way.) No, I saw her look up and smile at me and then smile at the bus and she was instantly dead.

“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Rom 11:29

The whole entire story of her life was like a gift to me.

Ps 4:3 says, “Know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to Him.”

It goes on to say, “be angry, and do not sin” but I was not angry with God. I cried and I cried and I cried for an old greying dog that I didn’t know I had loved so much. She was gift before I even knew she was headed home that day so many years ago and even her last day was a gift in its own way.
Clevsea, copyright 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why Pray (Installment #5---look below for the others if you missed them)

Why Pray?

I meet Christians very often who either say I don’t “how” to pray, or they say I do “not” pray. Usually, I just blink a couple of times and they are probably happier people that I don’t open my mouth and start talking because this book has been inside of me for 33 years and I don’t know anyone who has time for the conversation I would want to have with them. There is so much I could say to that. “Do you know how to talk on a telephone?” And, they would answer of course I do, then you know “how” to pray. It’s pretty close to the same thing. You are talking to someone you cannot see. You trust they are on the other end listening to your words. Even the people who say this to me may have had some experience with “Now I lay me down to sleep…” Or perhaps they heard grace at every meal.

This even came up in the Motion Picture, “Gravity” with Sandra Bullock. Whether you saw this movie or not there is a scene where she realizes that she is alone and probably going to die and what does she say? Paraphrasing, “I don’t even know how to pray. No one taught me to pray!!” She is so exasperated that she is crying out these words over and over and now her character wanted some knowledge of how it’s done. And, as a side note: We are going to return to the topic of the mechanics of prayer later.

Sometimes I don’t just blink in shock and I do respond with this, “How do you drive? How do you pull onto the freeway and drive down it with any peace at all if you didn’t pray first?” It’s freeway collisions that often result in fatalities. When you have a fender bender on the freeway you are likely to go into a spin, hit the guard rail and if you are going fast enough you might even flip your car over onto its top. What am I talking about? The fact that I am not going to drive anywhere without praying first.

This is a little side note but people also tell me that they don’t read the Bible. Pardon? Did you know that reading the Bible and praying really is our walk with the Lord? You could add to that, meeting with your fellow Christians, and giving money and few other things but “our” walk with Him really does boil down to prayer and Bible reading. So simple. However, we are going back to “why” we should pray other than to live through a drive on the highway.

If we could ask Samuel of the Old Testament why he prayed he would likely answer the way he did when confronting the Israelites. The people had recently gone against the Lord’s way and requested a king be placed over them as a nation. And here is what he said to them:

  "Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. 24 Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you." I Sam 12:23-24

 He was an elderly man with a lifelong relationship with God and this was not the first time Samuel prayed for Israel. He had just prayed for rain and for thunder to destroy their wheat crop. A prayer that was answered, I must add.

 Samuel himself was an answer to prayer. His mother Hannah was in long term anguish over her inability to conceive a child. Her husband’s other wife had not only managed to have several children but she taunted Hannah regarding this which was driving her rival toward bitterness. The entire account is found in the first chapter of I Samuel. The short version is Hannah prayed and the Lord answered.

 We already see two truths with Hannah and her son. One is the entire premise of prayer. We ask of the Lord and He does the answering. The second is that we, at times, have a responsibility to pray. Samuel felt it would be a sin against the Lord to stop praying for the people in his care.

 To be like Hannah is to “pour out our soul before the Lord.” When we get to that point of desperation we have a strong motive to pray. And when we get to old age we are very familiar with our responsibility to pray.

 In my own life I have had this sense of responsibility many times. One vital example would be from just a few years ago. I met a woman in the health care profession who shared with me her heartbreak of infertility. She was 27 years old at the time of our meeting and had never conceived. As a married couple her husband had done all he could in way of preparation. They were Christians; they had purchased a house and thought a little baby would come along at any moment. By time I met her years had already passed and she was heartsick. My response was to ask her if she had prayed about it. She claimed to not know how. (As I just explained to you this happens to me on a rather constant basis…it is the entire motivation for the book.)

I assured her I would pray for her. I felt that responsibility at the very first. I decided that fasting and prayer would be the best approach and I asked a few friends (a few of you are reading this right now) to join me in a day of prayer set aside for this young lady. I am very happy to report that she did conceive 3 days after our day of prayer. She was delighted and delivered a baby.

 This has happened many times in my life. The reason this happens has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the Lord. You see it was the Lord Himself who had closed Hannah’s womb and stopped her from conceiving. It was only after prayer that she did have a baby, in other words, after prayer the Lord God Almighty acted and answered her prayer. And with that we are back at a “why” God question that will go unanswered.

 I know that God got the glory for Hannah’s conception of Samuel and also for the health care worker. It is impossible for me, as a female human, to bow my head, fast from food and create a baby in another person. We can all agree to that. I lack the power to impregnate other people, that is obvious. It was an answer to prayer so that God would get the glory and those of you that prayed and fasted with me also know that. 

I conclude that there are times when God allows what appears to be a sad situation to occur and in His timing He nudges someone to prayer. All along He had a plan. All along He knew what was going to transpire. He used the miracle of prayer to get the glory, to have all concerned know that He is listening and has the power to bring about the answers.

So our Bible passages for this chapter have come from I Samuel which showed us the responsibility to pray when Sam said, “far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you.” But there is another well-known verse from James 4:2 “Yet you do not have because you do not ask.”

What did that just say? You don’t have what you want because you didn’t even ask. Now, James is a book that should not have verses pulled out of it without their context so please go read the whole thing. It is five chapters long so if you have ten spare minutes today you have the time to read the whole thing.

That is our second verse to answer “why” we should pray. Because if you do not … you may not receive all that much from the Lord. I do believe that He is answering things we do not ask for all day long. I’m sure we’ve been spared thousands of things that we did not even think to pray about. But sometimes we get stuck.

Just before I started writing today I washed some dishes by hand. My husband had just purchased a new pair of dishwashing gloves for me and they are size small. Nice man to think I have small hands, right? Well, it was a bit of a squeeze but I got my hands in there and did my work and then these purple “Playtex living gloves size small” were definitely living, on my hands, perhaps for the day. I was really stuck. That’s when it hit me the ruts we get into when we pray.

Do you ever do this? You pray a while and say to yourself, “That’ll do. I prayed for Grandma’s hip, to get that mortgage approved and for my husband to be promoted…that’ll do for today.” To me that is like flossing one tooth. Sure, it is time consuming to floss all of your teeth and it would be a cinch to floss only one of them, but shortcuts are not the Lord’s favorite way to go about it.

Here is what ought to happen instead. When we think about “why” we pray then we can see many reasons, one is to get the answers. If God can answer that prayer about that pregnancy then what else can He answer? That ought to be our motivator. If we pray for a good parking spot and get one right in front of the store then maybe we should praise God for that and then later, when you’re finished shopping, pray for Afghanistan.

Another answer to “why” to pray is that many, many people from the Bible did pray and they are our examples, including Jesus Christ.

Expand friends. Wiggle out of your gloves, get unstuck, get motivated by the answers you have had or the answers you are going to see in this book and pray more. It takes time and effort, I know. I am extremely familiar with that but I had to share with you how Samuel’s feeling of responsibility had impacted me and how James’ verse put it so succinctly. Those two verses alone were enough to get me started and I hope they are for you too.
Clevsea, copyright 2015