Tuesday, December 23, 2014

And every man did what was right in his own eyes

In Sunday school class we are just finishing up the book of Judges. We are determined to get every ounce of wisdom, information and spiritual knowledge that we possibly can from each Scripture, so we dig a little deeper. In digging in, we discovered that over and over again Israel would fall into apostasy (meaning they turned away from God and did evil). God would then allow other people groups to overcome them in some manner or another. Finally the Israelites would cry out for help, and God would hear their cry. God would then rescue them by raising up a man, a judge or leader who would help them overcome their adversary. But, once that leader died, the Israelites would again fall away from God and start worshipping idols. God would again take away His blessings, and the people would be in subservience all over again. This went on for centuries. But, the book of Judges is just a microcosm of what we, too, have been doing for decades.

Why, did the Israelites start worshipping other idols and doing evil? The main reason is that the parents did not teach the next generation to worship the Lord and obey Him. They did not teach their children that God wanted them to love and glorify Him. Everyone just lived their lives the way they wanted to live them.

How do we know that the apostasy came from the parents’ failure to teach their children about God and how to live for Him? Well, in Judges 2: 7-12 we are told exactly how their apostasy developed. At first the Israelites followed Joshua and then the elders, who taught them to serve the Lord. But verse ten tells us that after Joshua and the elders died things began to change and a shift happened: “… also all that generation [of people and elders who were taught by Joshua] were gathered to their fathers [meaning they had died], and there arose another generation after them who did not know (recognize, understand) the Lord, or even [know about] the work which He had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served Baals [idols]. And they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers Who brought them out of the land of Egypt. …” – (Judges 2: 10-12. Amplified, but bracketed words are mine).

Every time God gave them a good leader or judge, the Israelites would come back to the Lord. They would live in peace for awhile. But then that generation would fail to teach the next generation about God.  Within a few years that next generation was doing what they wanted to do.  Chapter 17: 6 sums it up very well: “… every man did what was right in his own eyes.” – (Amplified). Do those words sound familiar today? It should, because that is the way we are living today. We have failed to mentor our daughters and other young women in knowing and living for God, so they can in turn mentor their children too.  Active Relational Christian mentoring can give our young women and ladies the foundation they need to serve the Lord and obey Him. We just have to step forward to actively mentor for the Lord.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Standing Up for Christ Through Active Relational Christian Mentoring

Yesterday I talked about mentoring our children and young women on standing up for God and Christ by standing up for their right to say “Merry Christmas”.  Today I would like to continue some of my thoughts on the importance of standing up for Christ. ARCM encourages Christian women to stand up for Christ in many different ways.

When we do not stand up for Christ, we are essentially denying Christ. In fact, Christ said, “If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before My Father in Heaven. But if anyone denies me here on earth, I will deny that person before My Father in Heaven.”  -- (Matthew 10: 33. NLT).  Denying Christ can take many forms. We don’t have to be asked directly if we believe in Christ and then deny Him. We can deny Christ when we acquiesce to the demands to take down the Ten Commandments in our schools and public buildings. We deny Christ when we fail to use Christ’s name when we pray for fear of offending someone else. We deny Christ when we accept the world’s view or the world’s truth instead of God’s Truth and values. We deny Christ when we don’t teach our children who Christ is and how they, too, are to stand up for Him. We deny Christ when we fail to take God-given opportunities to mentor our young ladies in knowing and living for Christ. There are just too many ways that we often deny Christ to list them all here. But, all of us need to take a moment and ask ourselves: when was the last time I personally denied Christ? It might surprise you.
One way we have denied Christ is in our failure to mentor our daughters and other young women in God’s Truth, morals and values. Instead, we have encouraged our young women to live any way that they see fit, while failing to teach them about Christ and God’s Truth, morals and values. Oh we may have taken our daughters to Sunday school or even taught others in Sunday school, but we are simply too tired to have dinner discussions with our daughters on what they learned in school that day. We don’t have godly discussions on values, morals and truth with our daughter’s friends or other young women when they come to visit either. We would rather not possibly offend someone than to stand up for what it right and true. 

Without daily communication and without discussions on right and wrong attitudes and the questionable information that our young women may have been given in school, we are giving the world the opportunity to raise our children the way the world or the government thinks they should be raised. Raising our children does not take a village (which is actually socialism). Instead, raising our children takes a morally upright God-fearing family to raise a morally upright God-fearing individual. It takes Christian women being willing to mentor our young women in God’s Truth.

Throughout their schooling, our daughters, and girls or ladies who are their friends, will be inundated with such worldly ideas as political correctness and intolerance of Christians and their beliefs. They will be taught to deny Christ. Eventually, our young ladies will accept political correctness and other untruths as the truth. Remember, if one tells a lie over and over, people will begin to believe that the lie is true. This is why many of our young women today buy into the belief that “Happy Holidays” is less offensive to the few than it is offensive to the majority. But, in many ways this is our fault too. For, we don’t teach our daughters and other young women to question some of the unproven ideas or lies they are told to accept. We don’t tell our young ladies that we are offended by someone trying to take Christ out of Christmas. We also don’t tell them that it is okay if they are offended too.

There are so many things that we just accept; many of which lead to our denying Christ. There are also many things that we don’t tell our young women today. We don’t tell our young ladies to voice their concerns and to not just accept everything the media and the higher education system tells them. Young women need to question why one person’s rights are more important than the majorities’ rights. We also don’t teach our young ladies to question the media’s agendas. We do not tell them that simply because something is stated in print does not mean it is automatically the truth. Moreover, we do not teach our young women to question their professors’ beliefs or to ask why their professor’s beliefs’ are more important than theirs.

Sadly, even though we are to be the example and role-model for Christ-like living, we often fail to tell our young women to stand up for the Truth, morals and values they learned in Sunday school. Moreover, we do not mentor them when they are confused and could use our help. As Christian women and mothers, we should reinforce the Truths our young ladies have learned in Sunday school by role-modeling Christ-like living and by discussing with them what they have learned. We should give our young ladies opportunities to talk to us while being open to discussing their questions and concerns. Invalidating their concerns and questions stifles the two-way communication and shuts down the mentoring process.

Unfortunately, we often fail to teach our daughters and other young girls and women about the most important person in their life. That person is Jesus Christ. He is the One who can save their souls for all eternity. He is the One who can help them overcome all kinds of trials and tribulations. They need to know that Christ is the One who will bring them inner peace instead of the constant inner turmoil within their lives. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – (Matthew 11: 28-29. NASV.).

ARCM teaches through example and role-modeling as well as through verbal discussions. As Christian women we must mentor our young ladies and young women by using several different types of mentoring, so they will truly understand the importance of knowing Christ and living for Him. Young women also need to understand the importance of standing up for what they believe.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2014

"Merry Christmas" mentoring

Merry Christmas! How much longer can we say those words? The politically correct police have forced “Happy Holidays” on us to the point that many people are afraid to say “Merry Christmas”. We are no longer allowed to have Christmas music and Christmas programs in schools. We now call them “Holiday” programs. How can something that isn't even taught in school become taboo?  Well, in many ways Christmas is taught, because it is subtly taught against. God has also been taught against by not allowing Him to be introduced or even talked about in schools or the work place. Officials and leaders have become so afraid of offending just one person that they are willing to offend everyone else. They can get away with this, because the majority of Christian people do not stand up for their rights or the rights on which this country was founded. You know; the right to express your own beliefs without going to prison or being sued for what you believe. Today, though, when we send our young girls to school, they are easily indoctrinated with the belief that they cannot offend someone else by expressing their beliefs. If wearing a cross around her neck offends someone else, then she must take the cross off. If saying “Merry Christmas” offends someone, she must say “Happy Holidays” instead. If someone does not believe in Santa Claus, then there can be no Santa Claus at the Christmas celebration. Woops, I mean at a Holiday celebration. Now, which Holiday are we actually celebrating? Oh, it must be a Winter Holiday break, because we are not allowed to celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas in the public arena.

Our young people are constantly told that the majority has to give up their right to say what they want to say, because some person may not agree or be offended. This is the opposite of why our country was established. Our country was founded on the right to express our faith. But sadly, there have been many news stories recently where a school district has asked a young child not to bring a Bible or Biblically based story to class for reading time, because it could offend some other child. Instead of allowing the offended parent’s child to do something else during reading time, the child that brought her cherished book is told that she has done something wrong by bringing it to school. Pre-school and Kindergarten starts the re-training and political correctness process early in our culture today. This re-training of our young people, though, creates confusion and ultimately subservience. I ran into a college age young woman the other day who actually said that it was against the law to say “Merry Christmas”. She really believed that! Unfortunately, this is what the secular world would like for us to believe, so that we will quit celebrating the birth of Christ. But, at present there is no law against saying “Merry Christmas”!

Why do our young women buy into these false beliefs? Unfortunately, as Christian women, we often do nothing when we or our children are forbidden to express their belief in God and Christ. Why do we not stand up together for the right of our children to bring a Biblically based book to school? Why have we accepted the views of the administration that our Christian beliefs are taboo or wrong? As our young girls see us doing nothing, they will also emulate us and not doing anything when they get older. They will grow up with no desire to do anything about standing up for their godly beliefs. Romans 12: 2 (NKJV) says, “… do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” 

When young girls and young women see Christian women succumbing to the push back of the minority, they simply think that Christian women don’t really have strong beliefs to begin with. They see us as accepting and conforming to the world. Remember, if we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything. Our children and our young women will do the same, as they, too, are brainwashed into accepting the minorities’ right as having more worth than the majorities’. Because we have not set a godly example or mentored our young ladies in God’s Truth, then they, too, will not stand up for what is right and true and will fall for anything. We have to teach our young ladies and women not to allow the world’s scare tactics to stop them from worshiping God and His Son. Start this Christmas by mentoring young people in the true meaning of Christmas and by teaching them to stand up for the right to say “Merry Christmas”.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mentoring Young Women, Part II

Today, Christian women should have a heart for mentoring young women. Sadly, many of our young women have become confused about life, as they have focused on worldly things and simply surviving. I’ll never forget what my teenage son said to me back in the nineteen ninety’s on a day when he was not looking forward to going to school. I asked him why he did not want to go to school. He said that every day in high school every student had to make what could be life-changing decisions. Decisions had to be made on the spur of the moment on such things as: Was that drug pusher going to retaliate because the student did not buy his drugs? Were the guys who ran with a particular crowd going to expect the student to engage in some nefarious activity? Was this person really a friend or just using you to get what he or she wants? Then there were the fairly ordinary classroom discussions that could get you a bad grade if you disagreed with the teacher. A bad grade could ruin your GPA for getting into college. All those decisions and so many more seemingly innocuous decisions could affect a student’s life for years to come.

I had never thought of high school as being such a mine-field of daily decisions. But, it is even worse today. Now, students have to also worry about getting shot or stabbed by some disgruntled student. Girls are constantly pressured to give up their virginity. Sometimes, in order to be in the “in crowd” girls have to compromise their values (if they have any). By the time our high school women get into college they are confused and uncertain about what is important in life. Just this last week on the news it was reported that some of our college age men and women had to set through a civics class where the professor expected his students to recite a totally different and derogatory pledge of allegiance to the United States. This pledge is based on his ideas and beliefs. This is brainwashing and propaganda at its worst, because the students’ grades depend on their acceptance of the professor’s beliefs. But do our young women recognize it as propaganda or do they just accept what the professor says as Truth?

The news this last week also focused on the many rapes that occur often on college campuses today. So, how do our young women get through college without getting raped or without being expected to give up their beliefs in order to get a grade? Sadly, many of our young people come out of college spouting what they have been indoctrinated with from the classes they were required to take. Many students did not have any values to begin with; while others let someone else set their values for them. Then we have those students who arrive at college without any type of Christian foundation. Many are gullible while others become totally confused when taking classes that don’t teach the truth, as some professors use propaganda to indoctrinate the students into believing what they want them to believe. The Bible tells you that “… there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach their destructive heresies about God and even turn against their Master who bought them. … Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of them, Christ and His true way will be slandered. “ -- (I Peter 2: 1-2. NLT).  

But, professors do not just stop with telling students that God does not exist or in slandering Christ. Our young women are told untruths and so much more. Truth comes from knowing God and His morals and His values on which we should live. But, without a strong Christian foundation, some students will succumb to the professors’ hype, because they are expected to believe what their professors say. Many young women and men will also come away from college sure that there is no God. Consequently, they will believe that the only reason for living is to have as much fun as they can before they die. So, what can we do?

Ladies, we have got to do better than we are doing for the young women we encounter. I know we are scared to speak up, but we have to remember that if we don’t speak up and help those who are confused, unhappy, or in need, they will continue to be lost. As ARCM women we have to reach out to all women and through many different areas in life mentor those who need our help. The Apostle Paul told us that “… God has given us the task of reconciling people to Him. … We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak… .” (11 Corinthians 5: 18, 20.). Can you speak for the Lord and help others come to know Him and to know that He is there for them?

We have to let go of some of our personal busyness to help those that God puts in our path. We also have to quit avoiding the younger women, simply because we think we have nothing in common. When you are introduced to a friend’s college age daughter, don’t just say nice to meet you and leave it at that. Start a conversation. Befriend her. Offer to have coffee with her sometime. You can be the person that she can come to when she doesn't feel that she can go to her mother. You could also volunteer to teach a Sunday school class for college age students. Or you could volunteer to chaperone a church planned activity for high school students. If we don’t get involved with today’s young women then we are failing them and our Father in Heaven. For, we are God’s hands, feet and voice while we are here on earth. We are His ambassadors for the Gospel message and for Christ-like living. We are to be examples of God’s Truth. If we don’t make the effort to find a mentee, our mentoring will be over before it has begun and our young women will remain lost on a sea of ever increasing waves of turmoil and immorality.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Mentoring Young Women, Part I

Active relational Christian mentoring should be a normal part of every true Christian woman’s life. Whether we are intentionally mentoring our children in knowing God or we are mentoring another woman or young lady at church, Christian women should be focused on mentoring other women. Sadly, so many Christian women live for themselves and their family to the exclusion of helping other women in need. This may not be out of unkindness, but from simply thinking that we are just too busy to get involved. Moreover, we often think of someone in need as being an individual who doesn't have food or housing. Certainly, that can be the case, for there are times when mentoring addresses an immediate need. However, ARCM more often starts our slowly with the mentor listening and fellowshipping with the potential mentee until she finds out what is really bothering her. Then the woman can decide if she is qualified to mentor her or if a more specific type of mentoring is needed such as; Counseling, Guidance, Coaching, Teaching or Sponsoring types of mentoring.

Unfortunately, many women don’t even think about mentoring another woman. Others may think that day to day mentoring is trivial and not worth the effort, because they don’t see the importance of small things in theirs or the lives of other women. However, it is the small things that can become huge and derail our lives before we know it. It doesn't take a very large rock to derail a train, and it certainly doesn't take much to derail our lives if we are not focused on Christ and living for Him. So, it is important to listen to other women and empathize, which is the first step in helping them to crush that huge rock in their lives into pebbles that are manageable. The Bible says that, “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” – (Proverbs 27: 9. NLT).

Young women today are inundated with millions of small things in their lives that can when piled together cause stress, spiritual dryness, mental sickness, and many other maladies. In looking for solutions or for self-help, many women will turn to things that will not help them like drugs and alcohol. Some will even add more and more things on their daily calendar just to keep busy, so they do not think about the problem. In such situations, the woman needs another woman to talk to and to comfort her or support her. Indeed, everyone needs someone they can talk to or someone who will be there for them when a crisis occurs or when life seems overwhelming. For, “as iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” – (Proverbs 27: 17. NLT).

Unfortunately, many women today don’t even know they need someone to lean on or someone to give them support. But without support from a fellow Christian woman, some women will fail to turn to the One who has all the answers, which is God. Many women need another Christian woman to remind them about or to point them toward trust in God. Christian women can give another woman support and help diminish spiritual dryness. But to do so, we have to step away from our own busyness and self-centeredness to do something for someone else. Most of the time, befriending someone starts with just showing that we are interested in them or that we care. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mother Mentoring Part II

A very unhappy young lady tried to justify why she didn't believe in God. Along with other reasons, she said that her parents believed in Christ and Heaven only because their lives were inadequate and unhappy here on earth. In her eyes, her parents looked forward to a Heavenly future, because they had nothing else to look toward. Like many other young people today, this lady has been inundated with the secular view on life. Like this young lady, many young people don’t believe in God. But if they don’t believe that they were created, then they are just a fluke of nature (evolution and all that). What purpose is there in being a fluke of nature? What reason do they have to exist?

Christians have a purpose for our existence. We have been created to glorify God and to be the recipients of His love. God’s love is for all who will believe on His Son, Jesus Christ. Moreover, even though we live in a fallen world, with many trials and hardships, God is always there for us. His love and the shed blood of Christ give those who believe on Christ a peace that passes all understanding. So, no matter how bad life can get, if we have Christ in our heart, we can get through the day.

Before our children are out on their own, mother mentors must teach their children that no matter how lonely they are, how anxious, or how sad or depressed they are, that they, too, can have Christ and His love. But, the only way to fill the emptiness in their soul is by surrendering to the love of Christ. No amount of self-gratification, indulgences, or busyness in life can fill the empty spot in a person’s soul. With Christ, love, generosity and gratitude replace selfishness and emptiness. Our children can have the same kind of Christ-centered love that emanates from those who have a relationship with Christ.

Mentoring our children, though, does not stop when they reach a certain age. If we have a good relationship with our children, they will often call us and ask our advice. Even if the relationship is not great, our children are always watching us and learning from us as we role-model our beliefs and Christ-like living, whether we realize it or not. Consequently, mothers can and will continue to mentor their children through at least passive mentoring. Fortunate is the mother, though, who has a relationship that allows her to actively mentor her daughters throughout the years when needed. Being able to call your mother to clarify something or to ask for advice is very special indeed. For, it is through the recognition of their mother’s gained wisdom and knowledge that they can also gain her wisdom and knowledge for their own benefit. This is because; the gaining of wisdom comes gradually and over time. It takes time to learn all the things that we need to get by in life. However, it takes even more time to learn how to live a life of love, which is based on God’s complete love for us. Mother mentors can role-model God’s love in their actions and words.

Christian women gain wisdom by continually working to gain spiritual maturity. To work at growing spiritually, Christian women must continue to read the Bible, meditate on God’s Word, pray and seek God’s guidance in everything we do. Along with gaining knowledge and giving our devotion to the Lord, the Holy Spirit who indwells all believers will give us insight, discernment and guidance in the mentoring of our children and other women. When our children, from an early age, see their mothers reading the Bible and praying, they are being given some of the best passive and active mentoring.

Christian mother mentoring really never stops, even when our children become adults. For, even if we are no longer actively mentoring them, we are passively setting examples and standards on which they can base their lives. Mother mentors have a very great responsibility indeed!  Please start early in the mentoring of your children for the Lord.