Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How wives should treat their unbelieving husbands

How wives should treat their unbelieving husbands
(or husbands that act like unbelievers, or husbands in general, we all have problems)
The purpose of a marriage is not to satisfy yourself or fulfill your selfish desires or to gain control, the purpose of a marriage is to model the Gospel in your relationship to your husband and to model the relationship between Christ and the Church to unbelievers which is ultimately glorifying to God. The purpose of your marriage is to glorify God.
1. …a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife.   1 Corinthians 7:13-14.
First of all, no matter how bad things are don’t even think about or say the word “divorce”. I know husbands who are not walking in Christ can make a marriage miserable but God is giving you an opportunity to learn how to love a wretched worm unconditionally. This is how God loves us, unconditionally. We deserve wrath for our sin against God but while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. You treat God worse than your husband treats you. Think about your sin.
Second, If you can model the gospel in your life then you will sanctify your husband. Your husband will be blessed because of your faithfulness. He will receive some of the outward benefits of your salvation. If it pleases God, He will use your conduct to convict your husband and your husband will see his sin far better than when you point it out. Let God convict him and then he will change.
2. And why to you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.   Matthew 7:3-5
It is so important for all of us to look at ourselves and all our sin and many problems before we look at others. Sometimes what you don’t like about you husband is what you really don’t like about yourself. The sin you hate in yourself is just more manifested in you husband. Look at yourself first and then you will be able to go to your husband with love and understanding.
3. Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 1 Peter 3:1-2
Be submissive to your husbands. This does not mean that you should agree with your husband on everything or let him drag you into sin. It means encourage your husband to take his role as head of the household (not throw it in his face when he fails) and then follow his lead. If there is a big decision to make and it is not a sin either way, support your husband even if you have to sacrifice. This is part of what the Bible calls “dying to yourself”. It is a perfect model of being Christ like. Your husband will see this eventually and again be convicted and see Christ in you.
Your conduct should be so Christ-like that your husband will look at you and say, if this is what it is to be a Christian then I am definitely not one. Your example of conduct should be opposite of your old life. You should handle problems in an opposite way he is expecting. If your husband does something really stupid and he expects you to react the way you always do by screaming at him, then give him grace and mercy and you will shock him. He will actually be more convicted by his mistake and will be far less likely to do it again.
4. 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, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. 1 Peter 3:4-6
Make an effort to be not only submissive, which honors God, but to have a quiet and gentle spirit. If you are always fired up and raising your voice or arguing it will certainly bring out the same behavior in him. If your husband is screaming and acting crazy and you face him with a quiet and gentle spirit, then you will bring him back to reality and calm him down. The more gentle you are the more conformed to gentleness your husband will be. This will also be reflected positively with raising your kids.
5. An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 12:4
Support him, love him, be excited about the things he is excited about and live a life that does not cause him shame. He should love to talk about you. If he is talking with all his friend and he has a supportive, godly wife, he will always be sharing that with others. If you are always nagging every time he does anything, the sinful husband will not be bragging about you but complaining about you. This is his fault and he is fully responsible but it will be the result.
6. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church, and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Ephesians 5:22-24
Model the Gospel in your marriage. The wife represents the church and her husband Christ. Respond to your husband how the church should respond to Christ. Focus on fulfilling your role, not how bad he is failing his role. This is how unconditional love is learned. If your husband was perfect then your love would be conditional on his actions toward you. The marriage is not about you or satisfying all your selfish desires, it is about Christ. Die to yourself and model the gospel. This is extremely hard and we will struggle with it until we die but we should definitely be getting better at it, by God’s grace, as we are sanctified.
7. …let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Men have a desperate desire for respect. They have a lot of responsibility in their role as the head of the house. If you respect your husband, even when he doesn’t deserve it, you will make leaps of progress in your relationship. He has a lot of pressure on him and he sure doesn’t need to be nagged at every time he fails. Try encouraging him and pointing out the good job he is doing when he does good. This will go so far. Respect him as a person, respect the things he does for the family, respect his effort to earn a living (as long as it isn’t sinful).
8. …love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
If you are mad your husband isn’t walking with Christ and is not fulfilling his biblical role you should again look at yourself. Concentrate on fulfilling your role and let God deal with your husband when he fails at fulfilling his role. Sometimes it is best to step back and let God take vengeance on your husband, so to speak. This can’t happen when you are always in his face. When you fail at your role, the name of God is blasphemed because you are sinning and disobedient. You are actually doing the same thing as your husband. Stay the course, finish the race, fulfill your unique role in the marriage. If you are being persecuted because of your faith then Philippians 4:13 is a promise for you, it says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. God will give you the grace and strength to endure your marriage. Pray continually. God is the only One that can change you husband but be encouraged because we have a God that we can go to in prayer and a God that does change husbands.
9. Some words of encouragement and final exhortation:
But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:23-26
Like everything in life, your marriage is a huge spiritual battle. Put on the full armor of God, depend entirely on God, die to yourself daily for God, so that God will be glorified in you.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stay awake, Finish Well

So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done.

1 Kings 11:6

Let this not be said about me! I followed the lord but not wholly. I did evil in the sight of the Lord. What a dreadful thing to be said about a person. Our good does not outweigh our bad. It is said that you can do everything right and no one notices but if you do one thing wrong it can destroy you. How many pastors have preached boldly, served God faithfully, had successful ministries and then one day they commit adultery and all is lost. Their preaching is counted as hypocrisy and their ministry is destroyed overnight. Solomon started well but finished bad. Matthew Henry tells us, “ He left his first love, lost his zeal for God, and did not persevere to the end as he had begun; therefore it is said he was not perfect, because he was not constant; and he followed not God fully, because he turned from following him, and did not continue to the end.” 1

It is so dangerous to put your guard down, become complacent in your walk, stop examining yourself and your sanctification, to fall into a life of easy. We must be given fully to God and his work constantly, day after day until we die. We must pour out our life for the sake of Jesus Christ and the advancement of his kingdom. We must not dwell on or look for the comforts of this world or a life of ease. We must pour out our short life on this earth, work for God while we still have strength, and finish the race. We must stay awake! Reading through the Bible we see countless leaders who did not finish well but where like Solomon. Don't fall into this pattern. Stay awake!

1 Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (1 Ki 11:1–8). Peabody: Hendrickson.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Heavenly Minded

For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.

Mark 8:33

There is an old saying that say that you are so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good. This saying could not be more wrong. Most of our day is usually spent on the daily worries of this world and not on eternal things. Most of us are so earthly minded that we are useless for eternal things. Peter was so focused on Jesus' bodily health that he was oblivious to the eternal purpose of the death of Christ, which is why Jesus rebuked him. We often do the same thing when we are so focused on the minuscule part of our life on earth. We put all our thoughts, words, deeds and effort into this short life, which is like a grain of sand in the desert compared with eternity. At times we are so consumed by our circumstances, which will be almost forgotten in a short period of time, that we are oblivious to our future in eternity. The world only can focus on the things of man but a Christian must live for eternity. Charles Spurgeon said,
It is our duty and our privilege to exhaust our lives for Jesus. We are not to be living specimens of men in fine preservation, but living sacrifices, whose lot is to be consumed.”

A practical way that we can set our minds on the things of God is by renewing our minds in the Scripture each morning. We must read the Scripture frequently, abundantly and deeply.  We must memorize it and meditate on it.  When we start our day with our mind set on the things of God, we can live for eternity throughout the day. We can stop throughout the day to read the Word and pray so that our minds will be re-focused if we begin to stray. We must be heavenly minded and look at every circumstance, trial, relationship, and every event that occurs in our day as a God-ordained appointment that will have an impact in eternity.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Jungle Journal - Chembo and back to Cusco

May 28th, 2013 Tuesday

After a decent night sleep we met for breakfast.  We ate Sajino (wild pig) and then I showed Wilder how to set snares.  Wilder is the man we nicknamed Panther killer.  I had a friend bring me some snares from the States so I rigged a few up and showed Wilder how to make sets for puma, panthers and tigers.  I seemed to like it a lot and said he would try it out by his village, which is very remote.  Wilder's village is another 3 hours by boat and a 20K (about 12 1/2 miles) hike up three mountains.  Wilder is the jefe of the village of about 80 people.  He is the most sold out for Christ out of all the pastors and he is begging us to come to his village in September.  Scott Dollar started to teach at 9:30am on the qualifications of a pastor.  We quit about noon and ate some more wild pig for lunch.  After lunch some little kid asked me if I wanted some kind of fruit.  I accepted and he darted up a tree about 35 feet and got the fruit, broke it open and gave it to me.  It was great.  Later Adin and I watched this boy and his sister climb trees like monkeys.  They are unbelievable climbers and have no fear.  The video of them climbing is below.

The kid was funny.  He found a bee hive and said that he could wiggle the honey out of it.  His method was to hit it hard with a stick and then run 5 feet away and wait for the bees to settle.  We went back to teaching and there was a long discussion about us being there.  The cultic Pentecostal church, God is love, came into Chembo a week before us and spread slander and rumors about us.  They said that we where heretics and teaching false doctrine because we never wore ties and we had beards.  It is so sad to see what the people of Chembo have been taught. They are enslaved in legalism and heresy.  We asked Ricardo what the Pentecostal church taught him and the first thing he said was that they were taught that a Christian must wear a tie.  This is bizarre because a tie and dress clothes are so contrary to the culture in the jungle.  This is a great example of how not to do missions. They threatened Chembo not to work with us or Miguel.  Ricardo then explained to us that this was our last trip and we would not be invited back.  Scott continued teaching and expressed his love for the people in Chembo and that our pure desire was to teach the bible, nothing more or less. 

At dinner we heard that Eleazar, a pastor on the Urabamba river, did not show up for the teaching because 70 terrorists with guns took over his village and they would not let anyone go.  His village was about 8 hours by boat.  The terrorists are the remnant of the Shinning Path terrorist group but do not have a political cause anymore.  They are now hired by the narcotrafficers for protection.  They are more or less mercenaries now.  They often go into these villages to steal their animals and food as well as their teenagers for their military.  I asked one of the leaders of the village if the terrorists ever came to Chembo and he said they have not.  I asked why and he gave me a great answer.  He said that God protects them and God does not want them in Chembo. 

The next morning Eleazar showed up and said the terrorists were not in his village but in a different one.  He said his people just did not want to come here the word of God.  We heard several other rumors about the location of the terrorists.  The closest was a village called Mayopa, 2 hours away.  We don't really know where they were but we know they were somewhere by us.  Joe Martinez preached on the work of the Spirit in the church service in the evening.  After, we hit the sack with the cockroaches, bats and tarantulas that lived in the roof of our hut.

May 29th, 2013 Wednesday

Killillay and his friend
This morning we made coffee just after sun-up.  At breakfast we spoke with the jefe, who is not a Christian.  He invited us to us the community center to preach and said that many people wanted to hear us but would not go to the church.  Probably because the heretical legalism.  I gave him a R.C. Sproul book and he seemed happy.  We also got an invitation to preach to around 60 kids at the village school the next morning.  The principle of the school came to the teachings and had a lot of questions for Scott.  He was taught by the Pentecostals that he could lose his salvation. He was heavily burdened and said it was so hard to maintain his salvation.  We taught him verse by verse through the Bible to show that he could not lose his salvation.  He understood and was filled with joy.  He said that the Spirit in him testified to him that he was eternally secure and that the Spirit testified to him that what we were teaching was true.  A weight was lifted and he has great joy and peace.    After the teaching, Adin and I played soccer with the village kids.  It was so hot and humid but fun.  The kids are very good.  After dinner Joe and Adin caught one of the tarantulas that lives in our roof.  They put it in a plastic jug with a rock on the top and left in by our tents all night.  Tim preached in the community center to a full house in the evening.

May 30th, 2013, Thursday

We had the opportunity to preach in the open air to all the students at the school in the morning.  The principle showed us the 10 bibles that he had for the 60 kids.  The Catholics offered to send people to teach the Bible class but he refused and told them he wanted someone who would teach truth.  Joe, Tim and I switched off sharing the gospel.  Miguel summed things up.  After this we returned to the chapel so Scott could continue teaching.  I preached at the community center in the evening.  They killed two bats in the building during the service.  One right by me as I preached.  I don't think the sermon went well because of the language barrier and because things have to be explained in a way they can understand.  Most of them can't even repeat back a simple truth but they can understand deep things in their own way.  As we learn the culture, which is far different than Cuzco or any other place out of the jungle, we can make the connection and teach them truth in a way they can understand.  We learned a lot this trip about teaching them. 

May 31th, 2013 Friday

We were up at 5am and packed up in the dark.  We were supposed to leave at 6am but only one guy showed up, the other did not arrive until 6:45am.  We went down river by boat for about 45 minutes, which is faster because the current is helping us.  We got to the little airport at 8am and it was closed and the pilot was not there.  He finally showed up at 11:30 and we left at 12:30.  We maxed out the weight of the little 6 person plane.  We arrived in Satipo, found a car to take us to Jauja and we were off.  To save money we put four of us in back.  We were so squished for the 5 hour trip.  Our legs kept falling asleep and we had to switch positions to make the other leg fall asleep.  About one hour before Jauja, the taxi hit a big rock and blew a tire.  It was dark and we were stranded.  We sent Adin back to the nearest town to find another car.  We finally got to Jauja at 8pm and we were all frozen.  Going from low jungle with heat and humidity to 10,500 feet of dry mountain air and about 40 degrees. 

The rest of the time in Jauja, Scott did some baptisms for the church in Sausa as well as the Lord's Supper with the church in the evening.  In Jauja I was told a sad story.  Scott and Adin know a 22 year old girl that they have been helping.  This girl's parents were both killed in a car wreck a few years ago when they were going to the hospital to have their 10th child.  This 22 year old girl became the caretaker of her 8 siblings.  Kind of hard to raise 8 kids and have a job to work and support them all.  She finds work where she can and spends a lot of time in the fields.  Sadly, the wicked people in Jauja took advantage of this situation and lured one of the sisters into a bar, drugged her, raped her and she got pregnant.  She had the baby and added another member of the family.  Scott Dollar's church, The Way, has helped her in many ways and they are currently trying to buy her a hamburger stand so she can sell food on the street. 

We had another great trip and learned a lot.  We may be going into Wilders village in September to teach the 80 people for a few days.  Please pray for these people and this work in the jungle.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Jungle Journal - Cuzco to Chembo

After being gone for almost two weeks, it is good to be home.  Our trip to the jungle working with the Ashaninca people was filled with joy and frustration.  It did not take many photos or video this trip, so I apologize.  The next series of blog posts will basically be directly from my journal.  I did take one video of the Ashaninca kids climbing trees, which is incredible.  They can climb a 40 foot tree, with few limbs, to get fruit with ease and they have no fear.  This first blog post will cover our trip from Cuzco to the village Chembo.
May 23, 2013 Thursday
Through the Gospel Coalition I got 40 R.C. Sproul books for free.  I had them shipped to my friend Matt in Montana and he shipped 8 of them to me in Cusco.  I wanted to give them out to the pastors that we work with on this trip.  They did not arrive yet and it was almost time to leave.  On Wednesday I finally got a notice in our P.O. Box that I had a package stuck in customs.  Customs opens at 8, in theory, so I had to go to the Post Office before I hopped on the plane to Lima.  After waiting for an hour I told the security guy that I had to catch a flight and asked for a favor.  He got me in, I signed all the papers, paid 10 soles and was off to the airport.  I received the books only less than two hours before are plane left. 
We made all our flights with no problems and the pastor of the church in Sausa picked us up at the small airport in Jauja.  As we got off the plane there was a truck load of Peruvian soldiers.  They saw Joe and his big beard and started mocking him by calling out that he was Osama Bin Laden.  Throughout the trip many people thought the Joe was from the Middle East.  I preached at the church in Sausa in the evening to a good little congregation.  We found out that Scott Dollar missed his plane and was uncertain about his luggage.  He was still hoping to make it to Jauja tomorrow.
May 24th, 2013 Friday
As I waited for Scott Dollar and his translator Adin to arrive at the little airport in Jauja, I got a call from Tim saying that Scott missed his flight to Jauja and they lost his luggage.  He will wait another day and then fly to Jauja tomorrow and then drive the 5 hours to Satipo, where we will meet up.  Upon hearing this news we went in search for a car that we could hire to bring us to Satipo.  We will have to make the trip in 3 legs.  In the 5 hour trip to Satipo we drop around 9000 feet in elevation.  Jauja sits at about 10,500 feet and Satipo is around 1,500 feet. The first leg was from Jauja to Tarma.  We found a car and negotiated a price.  We left the high mountains and tree-less plateaus and began to descend.  At Tarma we hired another car to take us to La Merced, which is high jungle.  As we descended we felt the heat and humidity increasing each hour.  I love dropping from the mountains to the jungle because it seems as if you are entering a new world.  The cold mountain climate and  mountain culture of the Quechua people is left behind and is replaced with heat, humidity, and the people of the jungle.  The clothing is different, the food changes from potatoes to fruit stands and coffee, and even the music on the radio changes to accommodate the different culture.  This time of year the people are drying coffee beans out in the sun on huge tarps along the road.  They sell the beans to coffee companies like Star Bucks in the States.  The last leg of the trip from La Merced to Satipo was a little more than two hours.  We arrived and met Miguel, the pastor we work with in Satipo. 
After a tour of his new location for the church, he broke the bad news to us.  We have to wear a tie for his church service.  The reasons that he gave us stemmed from legalistic Pentecostals that were pressuring him and spreading rumors about us.  Instead of arguing at this point we went and bought ties so that we would not cause others to stumble.  We would teach on this later.  We all sure looked goofy.  I was wearing running shoes, Carhartt pants, a goofy shirt that is not meant for a tie, and the cheap tie that I bought.  Tim and Joe looked equally goofy.  I preached the evening service and it was very frustrating.  Miguel was answering his cell phone during the service and then he unloaded giant speakers right next to the pulpit when I was preaching.  There were so many distractions that the people never heard much of what I was saying.  To top it off, Miguel apologized to the people for my bad Spanish and promised that tomorrow a Peruvian would be translating for Scott Dollar.  I left so frustrated because I put so much effort into the sermon, I did not have to look at my notes too much and I preached it as good as I could, at least at this point in my Spanish ability.  The language is still a hindrance for us. 
May 25th, 2013 Saturday
We found Miguel at the hostel when we awoke and he took us to a radio station.  He has a radio program twice a week.  He literally put us on the spot and had us speak live on the radio.  A little notice ahead of time would of helped but this is the way of Peru.  Scott and Adin arrived at noon and we had a big lunch at Miguel's house.  We had to go to the town center to find clothes for Scott to buy, as he had only what he was wearing.   It was amazing we found stuff in his size.  Scott preached the evening service to a good crowed and the sermon was very good. 
May 26th, 2013 Sunday
We arrived to the church service at 9:00am but no one showed up until 10:00am and then it was only 5 people besides us.  Scott Dollar preached a great message but sadly only to a few people.  After the service we had a big lunch at Miguel's house.  Miguel's wife taught us to make cerviche.  In an attempt to conquer his fears, Killillay wanted to eat a fish eyeball from the fish head soup.  He ate it but then puked it back into the soup and then he picked it up again and ate it.  Quite gross.  Later that night we went to visit an American lady that was living out of town.  There are no Americans in this part of Peru so Miguel thought we would want to visit her.  She turned out to be the sister of a friend of ours in Cusco.  Small world.
May 27th, 2013, Monday
The shark picked us up at 6:00am to take us the 8 hours to Atalaya.  The shark is really just a Toyota that they call a shark because on the trip to Atalaya we have to drive through rivers.  This time of year the rivers are low but when we were on this trip last December during the rainy season, they earned their name.  Scott Dollar and Tim rode in the back and the rest of us were up front.  A long 7 1/2 hours of driving through the jungle on a dirt road and we were in Atalaya.  We waited for the guys at the village to come and get us in the boats.  There was a misunderstanding.  They guys in the village thought we were arriving the next day so according to them we were a day early.  They only had one small canoe so we had to pay a guy to take Miguel and our gear up river to Chembo. 

We were definitely at the weight limit of this boat.  We motored over an hour up river until we ran out of gas at dark.  Our driver pulled off to the side of the channel and refilled.  We started off again but just before the village we ran into a fishing net that got wound around the propeller of the motor.  It was dark now and we had to wade through the water and mud to the shore and then walk the rest of the way to the village.  We waited by the river until the jefe was informed that we were there.  After we received permission, we entered the village and dropped off our stuff.  The Ashaninca are very hospitable and they quickly sat us down for a late dinner of monkey soup.  It was actually pretty got except that I had a foot, which harder to eat.  We were more prepared this year and brought tents, of course with the exception of Scott who lost his luggage and had nothing.  I drifted off to sleep after a long day as I listened to the sounds of the jungle.