Monday, April 3, 2017

Faith and Courage From the Sidelines


I saw something in church yesterday which I have rarely seen before. The text was Hebrews 4:14-16, which in itself is a charge worthy of any spiritual battle the believer may face, but it was the pastor's response to the preaching of it which blessed my heart.

You've seen how teammates on the sidelines will lean forward ready to jump to their feet for joy as they witness their comrades gaining ground on the opposing team. That was the pastor's posture yesterday as he listened intently to another lay minister delivering the message. He simply could not hide the inner excitement of hearing once again the truth of the exaltation of Christ who opened the way for needy sinners to come boldly before the throne of grace and find mercy. To say the least, by the close of the service, he was pumped for the communion celebration!


That's how it should be among ministers of the Word, and it is one thing I truly appreciate about Ventura Baptist Church​. The humility of the men who lead there and the love they have for Christ and one another is such a breath of fresh air! There is no vying for the pulpit; the pulpit belongs to Christ. There is no vying for the love and loyalty of the congregation; the congregation belongs to Christ. The men who teach and preach there are on the same team in the battle against sin and Satan. And that is as it should be.

Truly, the battles we face every day against the devil, the world, and our own flesh (indeed our strongest foe!) are much better fought and won when we've been challenged to remember who our Conquering Savior is and who we are in Him. I rarely leave a service at Ventura without feeling ready "to charge Hell with a water pistol," as the old timers used to say. Indeed, I, too, felt the anticipation of the win as I came home with a renewed vision and courage to fight the sins which so easily beset me.

The pastor's excitement during the sermon reminded me also of a scene from Kenneth Branagh's Henry V (1989). If you choose to view the clip I've included with this post, take note of how the posture of the men changes as they are encouraged by King Henry and how they look on one another with a light in their eyes with renewed courage by the power of his inspiring words. Though they knew not the outcome with the odds against them, yet they were ready to fight!


And, yet, we have a more sure outcome in our spiritual battles whereby we may gain courage. We have a Leader, a commander of the people (Isaiah 55:4), our mighty King Jesus, who encourages us by His Spirit through men of God called to that ministry. Truly, this is what the cowering, struggling church needs today.

However, the Spirit of God cannot move where there is pride in vying for position in leadership or bickering and infighting among the warriors. We need a new vision of who the enemy is, who our Leader is, and who we are in relation to one another if we are ever to see the conquests which our Commander has promised are possible. We must pray for it, pray for our pastors and leaders, pray for one another, put down our own pride, and then expect God's blessing on the battle.

"God be with you all!" Amen.


Friday, March 31, 2017

Are You Engaged In Your Calling As a Homemaker?


I know there are some guys today who actively participate in their family's housekeeping, especially when the wife has to work. But, I'm speaking today primarily to women like me who are either full-time or part-time keepers at home and who take most of the responsibility for managing their homes.

We have recently been studying the Gospel in relation to our work in our adult Sunday school class at church. There is a mixture of both men and women participants, including a few stay-at-home moms and grandmothers. It might seem like we SAH-ers would be completely out of place in a class seemingly geared toward those with careers outside the home, but I have been totally thrilled to find our work being recognized and validated in this class as a true occupation emanating from our calling from God. 

One of the handouts we were given was an article written by Susan Adams for Forbes.com where she cites the outcome of a 2013 Gallup poll regarding how "engaged" people were in relation to their jobs.[1] If they felt "engaged," that meant they loved their job and were happy in it, while being "disengaged" meant the opposite was true.

The author gives twelve statements used by Gallup to tally how engaged their pollsters were with their jobs. I would like to take those twelve statements, reconfigure them a bit for relevance sake, and consider them in relation to our own engagement with our calling as managers of our homes.
  1. I know what is expected of me as a homekeeper in my own home. [I say in your own home because so many homekeepers try to meet the expectations of homekeeping gurus who write books and blogs and very possibly hire someone else to do their housework. I want to know if you know what is expected of you in your particular home.]
  2. I have the material and equipment I need to do my housekeeping right. [I'm thinking cleaning tools, detergents, pots and pans, appliances, storage solutions, etc., anything you might need to do a good job in housekeeping.]
  3. In managing my home, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day. [To be honest, this one is debatable for me. I am still trying to figure out what gifts and talents I possess in relation to managing my home and what opportunities I have to use them in it.]
  4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good housework. [I'm not saying I require it, but I do wonder how much more I would feel "engaged" in my housework if this happened on a regular basis. How much better would our children do at their chores if we were more giving with out praises at a job well done?]
  5. Those who live in our home care for me as a person. [This may seem like a given, but for some women it just isn't so. Sad, but true.]
  6. There is someone who encourages my development in being a keeper of my home. [This might be someone in your home, but more than likely you will have to seek this outside of the home, such as people at church, a ladies' group, homemaking blogs, or perhaps a Facebook group or page.]
  7. In our family, my opinions seem to count in regard to managing our home. [Hopefully, there is no overbearing husband or demanding children who override the homemaker's decisions about her own housekeeping. But, I know this is the case with some women.]
  8. The mission or purpose of our family makes me feel my responsibilities are important. [An aimless family is bound to be a place of dissatisfaction and disaster in the everyday workings of the home. If your family doesn't have a mission or purpose, now is the time to figure that out together. You could also include the division of labor between husband and wife and delegation of responsibilities to the children. Here is a good place to start.]
  9. My husband and children are committed to doing quality work, according to their ability, in their share of the housekeeping. [When it's done right, everything runs more smoothly, and you don't have to worry about having it done over again or doing it yourself when they drop the ball.]
  10. I have a best friend at work. [You might think that should be your husband, but in regard to keeping house, that might be your children, your mother, or anyone else who comes alongside you to make your work in the home more enjoyable.]
  11. In the last six months, someone has talked to me about my progress. [Again, this could be your spouse, but it could also be someone else who is encouraging you in your homekeeping. We need feedback and an opportunity to share our accomplishments as we improve our home management skills.]
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities to learn and grow in my knowledge of managing my home. [This is why it is important for us to read good books and blogs on homekeeping and try to get involved in person or online with groups of other homemakers who are learning and growing along with us.]
Susan ends her article with ways to fix the problem of unhappy workers, "Communicate with your workers, tell them when they do well, encourage them to move forward. Give them the tools they need and the opportunity to feel challenged."

I can see this being implemented with the training of our children in the realm of housekeeping. They, too, need to have their chores explained and taught to them, to have the right tools provided for them to do the job well, and a word of praise given when it is done well. Help them to learn and grow in their experiences working around the house with you, keeping in mind you are training them to be managers and workers in their own homes one day.

 And, while we are at it, let me throw in here it's a good idea to keep in mind that, while being a homekeeper may be our main occupation and calling at any given time, it should not define who you are. Rather, it's what you do. What I mean is we should have outlets for our gifts and talents other than our homes. We can serve in our extended families, in our churches and communities, and even in a job outside the home. This isn't about glorifying housework. It's about finding a way to be satisfied in the calling of housekeeping and pleasure in a job well done.

If you are struggling with the responsibility of being a homekeeper, I'd like to encourage you to seek out others who are successful in managing their homes and learn from them. You can do this with friends, family members, or online groups through email and on Facebook. One of my new favorites is Household Management 101. Though I haven't had time to explore Clean Mama, it also looks like a great resource for improving home management. Others have found success with the Fly Lady. I particularly love books written by both cleaning guru Don Aslett and the 15-minute-organizer queen Emily Barnes. Please feel free to share your homekeeping resources either in the comments here or on the eHomebody Facebook page.

[1] Susan Adams, "Unhappy Employees Outnumber Happy Ones By Two to One Worldwide," Forbes, October 10, 2013, https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/10/10/unhappy-employees-outnumber-happy-ones-by-two-to-one-worldwide/#3517eec2362a.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day and Its Socialist Foundations


Notice any similarities? On the left is a symbol for International Women's Day;
on the right the symbol of the Communist Party USA.

A Brief History of International Women's Day


March is Women's History Month in the United States and has its roots in what has been dubbed as "the first recorded organized action by working women anywhere in the world." On March 8, 1857, hundreds of women workers from the garment and textile factories marched in New York City to protest their low pay, long hours, inhumane working conditions, and not having the right to vote.[1]

Fifty-two years after that notable event, and to commemorate the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the Socialist Party of America declared the first official observance of National Women's Day on February 28, 1909.

The following year, Clara Zetkin, a notorious Marxist feminist from Germany, suggested at the first international women's conference held in Copenhagen that there be an established International Women's Day (IWD), but no official date was determined at that time.

However, after the October Revolution in Russia, Lenin was persuaded by Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai to make it an official holiday in that country. Ironically, women in Russia didn't even get the day off for this day held in their honor until 1965! (We really appreciate the work you do, now get back to it!)

The United Nations gave its sanction to and began sponsoring International Women's Day in 1975, which had also been designated as International Women's Year.[2]

President Jimmy Carter proclaimed a Presidential Message supporting the celebration of Women's History Week in 1980, and a bi-partisan Congress passed a resolution declaring a National Women’s History Week the following year. Then, in 1987, Congress expanded the commemoration to the entire month of March with a resolution for celebration of Women’s History Month each year during the month of March.[3] The highlight of Women's History Month is March 8, International Women's Day, and each American president in succession since its inception has issued a proclamation in honor of this radical socialist, feminist high day.[4]

In fact, the United States is currently recognized on the official IWD site as one of the key governments around the globe which supports the celebration.[5] Unfortunately, this day has been honored enthusiastically in our own White House by both liberals and conservatives, including President George W. Bush, with First Lady Laura Bush being the featured speaker at the 2002 "Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities" observance of IWD.[6]


US First Lady Laura Bush, Secretary-General Kofi Annan,
along with Her Majesty Queen Noor of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
(UN/DPI Photo by Eskinder Debebe. 80302ed6)

The Lies of Socialist Feminists Promoted Through International Women's Day


I wasn't surprised to find there is a day set aside as "a major day of global celebration for the economic, political, and social achievements of women."[7] However, I was troubled by a particular image associated with this celebration. It pictures a woman carrying a red flag as she pulls another woman out from under a pile of kitchen wares.

According to Wikipedia, this image is a "1932 Soviet poster dedicated to the 8th of March holiday. The text reads: 8th of March is the day of the rebellion of the working women against the kitchen slavery and Down with the oppression and narrow-mindedness of the household work!"[8]

Notice the woman pictured on the left is crawling out from under a pile of plates, pots, pans, tea kettles, and a huge samovar (hot water dispenser for making tea). Apparently, what began as a commemoration of women struggling against adverse working conditions in factories became a clarion call for women to leave the "oppression" of the fireside at home to work in factories. What I must ask is how anyone could be convinced this was a good idea for women.

But, isn't that the big lie of socialism, Marxism, and the feminist movement in general? The big lie is that women are oppressed, kept down, and left without a choice, unless, of course, these organizations can convince them to become "liberated."

Yet, if women are liberated from their kitchens, who will prepare the food and clean up the pots and kettles? In most cases, if not their husbands and children, it will be other women. It would be interesting to find out how many women who hold political office in this country and around the world have women as domestics. How about Oprah? Have you ever heard of Rachel Ray, who was her personal chef? Of course, these women are paid -- Ms. Ray especially well, I am sure -- but, many domestics today are illegal immigrant women who are paid very poorly for doing what these liberated women consider "oppressive" work.

Please consider that the women in the textile and garment factories of the early 20th century had left their kitchens in order to work there. Many were wooed by the empty promises of the feminist movement of that time which played on their discontent and hid from them the down side of working outside the home. Yet, even after 100 years, the sales pitch is the same. Only now it is dressed up as "achievement." The sad truth is that many women who seemingly "have it all" are still discontent with their wages, exhausted by long hours, sick and injured on the job, and still don't have a voice or a choice in the matter.

And, I bet they don't even get the day off.

[This post is a modified version of one posted on March 11, 2009 found here.]

[1] "International Women's Day," Womenaid International, accessed March 10, 2008, http://www.womenaid.org/iwdmain.html.
[2] "International Women's Day," Wikipedia, accessed March 10, 2008, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Women's_Day.
[3] "March Women's History Month," Federal Heritage Month Celebrations, University Dining Services, University of Vermont, Sodexho, 2007, accessed March 11, 2008, http://uds.uvm.edu/diversity_calendar.html.
[4]Gerhard Peters, "Proclamation 6400 - Women's History Month, 1992
January 16th, 1992," The American Presidency Project, 2008, accessed March 11, 2008, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=47328.[5] "About International Women's Day (8 March)," International Women's Day, accessed March 8, 2017, https://www.internationalwomensday.com/About.
[6] "International Women's Day at Headquarters 8 March to Feature Afghan Women," U.N. Press Release Note 5712.Rev2, 7 March 2002, accessed March 8, 2017, https://www.un.org/press/en/2002/note5712.rev2.doc.htm
.
[7] "International Women's Day," Womenaid International.
[8] "International Women's Day,"
Wikipedia.