THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

August 15, 2018

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

I have written about family and marriage in past devotionals. What has been on my heart a lot here lately has been about the biblical principles regarding men and women, and how God designed them to be different. I think because of how our culture, busyness of life, everyone wanting equal rights, fear of discrimination, and a plethora of other reasons, in many ways we have stopped following the guidelines that God designated for us. Whether it be in the family, church, community, workplace, or among friends, men and women no longer consider what God has to say about how we are to fulfill His purpose in our different roles in order to fully love, respect, and honor one another.

I honestly feel that a lot of the problems in our generation is due to women demanding equal rights with men; desiring to be treated on the same level as men and declaring discrimination if they felt as if they weren't. It threw the balance off where men no longer knew their place, so they began stepping out of their God-given roles so that they wouldn't be labeled as being prejudice against women. That shifted the balance where men also stopped taking their leadership role as being head of their household. Women pushed too hard, too fast, and in their attempt for equality they stepped out of their God-given roles of being keeper of their home, wanting to become career women to assert their independence. Men then became lazy when it came to being the spiritual leader of their home, forgot how to act gallantly towards women and conduct themselves as gentlemen, as well as no longer treating their wife and other women as true ladies. Many also stepped down from fulfilling the role of fathers in the lives of their children, allowing the mothers to take both roles of caregiver and disciplinarian. They love their kids, but the bulk of the care is left up to mom.

Yes, women should be allowed to drive, vote, cut their hair and not have to wear petticoats and long dresses, get equal pay for equal type of work as men, be educated, etc. There were laws and thinking that had accumulated over time that did need to be changed. Men needed to recognize that women were valuable and worked hard, too, and were smart enough to have a valid opinion or idea; but woman's attempt to expand her boundaries, she pushed too hard and ended up making many men feel inferior and as if he were wrong for fulfilling the role that God had given him.

I'm not blaming the women and not blaming the men for how our society and home-life is today; because I believe that both have stepped out of the positions that God created them to have.

In many ways, I see that women have forgotten how to act and behave like real ladies; or perhaps they have never been taught or have never seen true examples of this. In their thrust for independence, they lambasted men for opening doors for them, pulling out their chair at the table, insisting that they sit in the best chair in a room, offering their arm when they crossed the street, carrying and lifting heavy things or moving heavy objects for them, giving compliments, insisting that they do the more difficult tasks, and numerous other things. So men stopped doing so and began treating women as equals in all areas. "I can do it myself;" "Just because I'm a women doesn't mean I'm weak;" "I'm perfectly capable of doing that and don't need you're help!" have all been spoken to men so often over the past several years that they have forgotten how to treat women as ladies; or else they are afraid that they will be ridiculed if they do.

On the other hand, men have forgotten that God created women differently than them. They expect women to work every bit as hard as they do and be able to do the same tasks, as well as to lift and carry as much as them. Gone are the days of a boy carrying a girls' books home from school, but now they expect the girl to be as strong as they are and to do as much work. The mindset is often, "If I have to work, then you should have to work, too!" Few men are thrilled if their finances allow the woman to be able to stay home and be a housewife, but would rather she have a career and contribute to the bank account. They rarely consider the comfort of the women, only thinking about themselves getting the best seats in the room. "I work hard, so I deserve to have the best recliner and put my feet up and watch what I want, when I want!" seems to be the mantra of many men; regardless of the fact their wife has also been working hard all day and that there are children to care for and meals to cook and laundry to wash and errands to run or chores that need doing.

Women have forgotten how to be real ladies, and men have forgotten how to be true gentlemen. The truth is, God created men and women differently for different roles. Women can be strong and independent, yet should still be feminine and ladylike. Men should be gallant and gentlemanly, yet be courageous and leaders of their households.

Perhaps I can't change overnight or change the society as a whole, but I can study what the Word of God says and then strive to fulfill my role as a woman as God initially intended, and lead by example. I can show other young women what it means to conduct oneself as a true lady. Men can study what the Word of God says and then teach the young men what it means to fulfill their role as godly men.

Titus 2:1-5 says: "As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. Similarly, teach the older women to live in a home that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God."

These are not only instructions that Paul was writing to Titus, and only beneficial to that one group of people. These are instructions, in scripture, that both men and women need to pay heed to today. In that first sentence, we should all read it and replace Titus' name with our own. "As for you, Loretta, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching."

Men are instructed to practice self-control, to live their lives wisely and to be worthy of respect. They must... not a suggestion or something that they are encouraged to do, if it's convenient or easy... but they MUST have sound faith, as well as be filled with love and patience. All godly men today need to put this into daily practice and follow these instructions.

Similarly, the older women are to live in a home that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers (which is the easiest out of the list for me to do!); instead, they should teach others what is good. The older should teach the younger ladies to love their husbands and be submissive, which can't be done unless we love our husbands ourselves and practice submission; as well as to love their children. They are also to teach the younger generation of women how to live wisely and be pure. The younger women also are to be taught how to work in their homes and do good. If the older generation of women don't know how to work in their homes and care for it, then how can they teach that to the younger women.... then how can that generation teach it to their children?

Paul ends these charges given to the men and women by saying, "Then... after doing all those things... they will not bring shame on the word of God". So if we are not doing those things, does that mean that we do bring shame on the word of God? Something to think about and consider.

As men and women begin respecting and honoring one another more, it will begin to affect our mindsets and there will be a change how we think about and treat each other. Men will begin to treat women with more gentleness and become gallant, while taking on the leadership roles in their household. Women will begin acting more ladylike and realize that they can be strong, yet still be a homemaker and care for their family. Men will step back into their God-given roles, and women will allow them to do so. They will take joy in being head of their household and honoring their wife and other ladies as true gallant gentlemen. Women will realize that it is not giving up their independence to allow men to treat them more gently, and that God creating them to be a woman is a good thing. They will find true joy in conducting themselves as true ladies and fulfilling the role that God created them for.

Then both the men and women can begin teaching the younger generation what is instructed in the above scripture. We can't teach well unless we are living it and putting those things into practice ourselves. God gave both men and women important godly roles to fulfill, both are equally important, and much needed.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

People seem to confuse equal with equivalent.

Parents and kids seem to struggle with that in many families. If one kid likes soccer, the parents might think all their other kids should play soccer, or some similar sport. If one kid does well in a school subject, they expect their other kids to excel in the same subject. But also, if one of their kids makes some mistake again and again, they might expect the others to make the same mistake.

But no two kids are exactly alike, even identical twins. It might be hard to recognize, but it is possible for two kids to be equal in value, worth, esteem, and love, even if they are completely different.

Kids also pick up on that confusion. I've heard kids again and again say "That's not fair!" when they aren't getting exactly the same treatment in some isolated way. If the youngest gets to stay home day after day, while the older kids go to school, but then one day, the youngest has to go to daycare while the others are at home, they will probably complain "that isn't fair!". If one kid spent their money on a car, and the other spends theirs on candy, when the candy is eaten, they will probably declare "That isn't fair; they still have a toy!" The thing is, the car and the candy had an equal cost. They aren't equivalent.

We tend to want equality when it's in our favor, but want special treatment when that's in our favor, too.

ON THE MENEWE:

Creamy Tomato Bisque Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, sliced

2 (28 ounce) cans peeled tomatoes

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup half and half

8 large fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

In a heavy pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add onion and cook, stirring as needed, until translucent -- about 8 minutes. Add peeled tomatoes (with juice), chicken stock, and sugar. Bring to a low boil. Cook uncovered for 12 minutes or until it has thickened. Add the half and half, basil, oregano, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender (or carefully transfer soup to a blender); puree soup until there are no large chunks left.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

As kids are going back to school may we remember to pray for them, as well as for the teachers. We need to pray for their protection, for God to bless them with good christian influences and friends, as well for them to excel in all they do.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. - Martin Luther King Jr.

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org