Monday, August 18, 2014

What Women Can Do For the Kingdom

"I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet." -1 Timothy 2:12

     In my previous article I said that I would write an article about what women can do for the church instead of what women can't do, and today I would like to honor that promise. So what can women do for the church? What can women do to further the kingdom of God when we can't even get up and preach a sermon if a male being is present? Today, I will be answering these questions.

     1 Timothy 2:12 says, as we can see at the top of this article, that a woman is not to teach or have authority over a man. However, this does not mean that we cannot teach men at all, rather we don't teach over men, or have authority. What do I mean by this? How can we possibly teach if we are not in authority? Ladies, it is not wrong to have a biblical discussion with a male. In fact, in Acts 18:26 it talks about how Apollos was preaching in the synagogue, and Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and talked to him about the Lord. It says, "He (Apollos) began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately." Now I am not saying that we need to pull aside our preachers every Sunday and tell him everything that he has done wrong because that is not very encouraging. However, if we see someone teaching something that is incorrect, it is our job to show them in a loving way a scripture or scriptures that help them to see the issue more clearly and more accurately.

     Also, we don't just have to show people where they're wrong. Sometimes we can just have a simple Biblical discussion. Now, we can't start preaching a sermon to whoever we are talking to, but we ought to be speaking about matters of the Bible often, and use it to uplift and enlighten those around us as we see in 2 Timothy 3:16. But if you go to your friend John and you ask him a Bible question, and he answers it and then next thing you know you're discussing the ten commandments, is there anything wrong with that? No. Merely talking about the Bible and having authority over someone are very different things altogether. Now, I don't want to confuse anyone. I don't believe that it is right to go up to a man and have the conversation with the intention of preaching a sermon. There is a fine line between having a Biblical discussion and preaching to someone, and we have to be aware of that line.

     Third of all I'd like to talk about teaching by example. I have said this several times before, and I will continue to say it until the day I die; we cannot not teach by example. Whether we are sending a positive or a negative image, we are still teaching. We have to make sure that we are following God's word completely and wholly so that in our actions we can teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). I'm not saying that we should do things to be noticed, but to do things that, when they are noticed, people can learn and see what kind of a life Christians should be living.

     Last of all, I'd like to talk about encouragement. One of my goals is to be a modern day Barnabas. Barnabas literally means "Son of Encouragement" as we can see in Acts 4:36. When Saul was baptized and no one believed him, who was there to vouch for him? Barnabas! Who was there when the church at Antioch needed teachers In Acts 11:19-30? BARNABAS! We can learn from Barnabas and encourage those around us. We can give words of encouragement to our preachers, Elders, Deacons, teachers, mission workers, and all Christians in general. Have you ever done something that took a lot of work, and then a bunch of people told you that you did a great job and it instantly feels like the weight on your shoulders from it has lessened at lease a little? We can help lesson the load of others by being an encouragement and just telling them that they're doing a good job, or just by telling them that you appreciate what they're doing. It can really go a long way.

     There are several other ways that we as women can teach. We can teach Bible classes, ladies days, girls days, go to any service events that our congregations are doing, aiding in Bible studies, serving others, organizing girls' devos (really, all you need to do is invite a few girls to your house and ask a couple of them to lead songs and prayers and give or ask someone else to give like a 5 minute devo, it's really fun and easy) and so many other things. Today I would like to encourage you all to find at least one way that you can help further the kingdom, and do that sometime this week. Maybe it's to encourage someone, or set up a Bible study. If you don't know how to study, ask your preacher or someone you trust to do it and go with that friend who needs to study. There is so much you can do, and I'd like to encourage you today to do it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why We Shouldn't Be Lazy

"Go to the ant, oh sluggard; consider her ways and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest." Proverbs 6:6-8

     Today, as I am sure you have noticed, I will be discussing laziness. The world wants to objectify and support laziness, but why is that such a bad thing? After all, there's nothing wrong with having a little bit of time off, is there? Of course not. However, people tend to go too far with this and end up never doing anything. That is where the issue is. The issue is when we take having a break to stopping all work. 

     First of all, I would like to take a look at laziness from a woman't point of view. Okay, first I have to address the roles of women; not just in the church, but in life in general. According to Titus 2:5, women are to be keepers of the home. Obviously if you're in your teens you won't have to worry about this right now. However, if you look at the context of this verse, the author of this book is telling older women to teach this to the younger women. Why? Why is it important for us to learn these things when we're young and they're supposedly irrelevant to us? Well, how are we supposed to know what to do and how to do it when we are married and have children if we don't already know it before the time comes? The teen years are to be spent preparing for adulthood. If your room is constantly a wreck in your teen years, then what can you expect your home to look like when you're the one supposed to take care of it? Our responsibility as young adults is to be homemakers in training. And yes that is difficult when you can just watch tv instead, but we can't let our priorities slip from us.

     Second and last of all, I'll be talking about laziness from a Christian's point of view. Above keeping our homes in check, we have to be busy in the enlargement of the kingdom of God. We have to be out there teaching others about God's word. Even though as women we can't get up in the pulpit and "preach to the multitudes" so to speak, we don't have any room to complain. God gave us women our own priorities. I've got an article coming up about what women can do for God and I really hope you all get to read that. Unfortunately I can't get into everything right now but us women can do a lot for the Lord. Basically, if we are doing everything that we are supposed to be doing, then we have no time to complain. I'd like to encourage you all to read through Titus chapter 2 and see for yourself exactly what women are to do. 
     As Christians, it is our #1 priority to further the kingdom. I'm not saying that you have to do Bible studies every day, but if you have a friend who is looking to study and you don't know what to do, ask someone who you know knows how to handle it and offer to go with that friend to the Bible study. Teach younger children, encourage everyone else who is helping to further the kingdom, but most of all, read your Bible so that you can be effective. No one is going to listen to someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. 

     Today I would like to encourage you all to come up with some sort of plan or some idea to help further the kingdom somehow and then carry it out. Get a group of friends together and come up with a way to not only further your works as Christians, but also as homemakers. Make goals, get organized, do anything you can. It devastates me when teens think that they con't do anything until they're adults. These should be the busiest years of your life getting a good foundation for your faith right now. There is no commandment in the Bible that you cannot carry out until you are an adult. Even if you don't have children of your own, they're everywhere. Be a good example now and get to work now because if you don't have a good habit of it while you're young, then it'll be that much more difficult to create these habits in the future. Today I'd like to encourage you all to do so. 


Friday, August 8, 2014

Relationships With Our Friends

     "The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."-Mark 12:31

     The teen years are full of ups and downs. Though I have never experienced anything past these years, I can't help but expect the same for the rest of my life. However, one of the things that is especially difficult in the teen years is maintaining friendships. Everyone is changing. Whether it be movie preferences or personalities, these years are spent growing and changing into adults. Sometimes we outgrow our friends, and sometimes, very rarely unfortunately, our friends last several years. So how do we maintain these relationships? How do we make sure that our friendships don't fall apart? That's what I'll be discussing today.

     When we are friends with someone, it's typically because we share something in common, and sadly when we realize that we no longer have something in common with that person, the relationship slowly fades away. Now, what does this have to do with us? It sounds like because we are always changing, we cannot help this. This is not true. If we stay true to our faith and become friends with people who are also strong in the faith, if neither of you waver from that then you will always have something in common. Not only that but as Christians we are told to love one another and to put others before ourselves. If everyone did that, wouldn't the world be such a wonderful place?

     "But I want to make friends with people in the world so that I can lead them to Christ!" Well, leading people to Christ is important, but it's more important to make sure they don't drag you down with them. When a doctor goes to see a highly contagious patient with a deadly disease, do you think he's just going to go in to see them without bringing a mask or making sure there's no way he can catch the disease? Yes he's healthy when he goes in, but that doesn't mean that he can't or won't catch the disease that his patient has. Before we help someone, we have to make sure that we separate ourselves from them. Not enough so that we can't help them, but just enough so we aren't pulled into temptation with them.

     Another way to make sure your relationships last is to treat your friends with love and respect. I don't know about y'all, but I am a very sarcastic person. Now, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with sarcasm, but if one of your friends isn't used to sarcasm and they don't quite get it, it can be misunderstood as harshness. You have to know your friends, and be aware. Also, just as a side note, please try not to be sarcastic through text message. It never works out well in the end. We have to be aware of our friends and their preferences and their needs. We have to make sure they know where we are coming from so we aren't misunderstood as being rude.

     Finally, we just need to outright love our friends. 1 Corinthians 13 talks a lot about it, and all the characteristics of it. If you haven't read it, I have an article about it that I posted back a couple months ago, and you an see it if you click here. I'd like to encourage you all to consider this, and think about your friendships. Friendship is too wonderful and rare a thing to completely neglect it. And this doesn't only work with friendships. This works with every relationship we will have. Today I would like to encourage you all to take a look at who your friends are, and how you treat them. Do you treat them with love? Do you treat them with respect? Do you treat them with kindness? These are questions we should always be asking ourselves about our relationships, and I would like to encourage you all to do so.