Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Mothering Your Man

I’ve heard awesome, Christian men say it more than once, and in many ways, in regards to their relationship with their wives…

”If she would only stop mothering me…”.

“She treats me like a child.”

“She is always correcting me.”

“I wanted a wife, not another mother!”

Oh boy, do we have a problem here, ladies! You see God made most of us with a mothering nature. It’s part of our general makeup to mother, correct and nurture in a way that men will never fully grasp. It’s great when it comes to raising up kids – not so great when we start applying that mothering nature to our husbands. Then we have a problem indeed.

The problem is, at least in most cases, men don’t want to mothered by their wives. Hopefully when a man marries a woman, he does so because he loves her, respects her, is attracted to her and passionate towards her. He wants her to be his partner, lover, best friend and looks forward to her being the mother of his children….not HIS mother too! Suddenly, a man who has been taking care of himself, making his own decisions (such as what to wear and what to eat), is being instructed by his “wi-ther” (wife-mother) on such matters. Most men will not only find this to be annoying but also disrespectful. Pretty soon he’s asking permission to have a cookie or wear his favorite baseball cap to the picnic, and he’s wondering when that sexy, adoring woman he married decided to adopt him instead of just be his wife.

We want to be careful, sisters, that we do not treat our husbands like they are our children. I learned this the hard way myself. When my hubby and I got married, I was not a fan of his wardrobe choices at all. He would put outfits together that didn’t match or just weren’t flattering. I would confidently tell him that he couldn’t wear that out and offer him other choices. I could tell it was deflating to him and it often brought on conflict. At one point I had to decide which was more important: that I was proud of how he dressed or that I was proud of the peaceful, happy marriage we possessed. We have to pick what’s important to us. Pride is often a factor that needs to be broken down in order to allow our husbands to be who they are without mothering and scolding them into changing for us.

(By the way, if your husband likes you to pick out his clothes, that’s fine! Just don’t force your opinions on him when he doesn’t receive them well.)

So here are some of the most common ways a wife mothers her husband:

  • Telling him what to wear.
  • Telling him what to eat.
  • Telling him whom he should befriend.
  • Reminding him how to do simple, mundane tasks.
  • Correcting him when he’s telling a story.
  • Referring to him as your “other child” (uh oh)
  • Scolding him (especially in front of the kids or other people)
  • Calling him immature.
  • Speaking to him with “that” mothering tone of voice.
  • Speaking slowly to him like he doesn’t understand you.
  • Telling him what he can and can’t watch, read, listen to, etc.
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The Pain of a Parent’s Adultery

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“They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!” 2 Peter 2:14

The Day My Dad Left

I’ll never forget that day. It was a day that changed our lives in many ways. It was a fork in the road that led us all into the path of pain, poverty, fear, hopelessness and hatred. It was the day that what we had known, though not very pleasant either, would be ripped apart. When I say that he left, I actually mean the day he moved out. He had really left a long time before, but on that day – the day that it was discovered he had been committing adultery with my mom’s secretary – it was finally over. That’s the day my dad left. 

My parents never had a great marriage. My mother was a Christian, but my father wasn’t. The fighting, cursing, occasional violence….it was not uncommon. It was what we knew growing up. There were separations and then reconciliations. Rumors and suspicions of multiple affairs on my father’s side were always present, but there was never proof. Not until that day.

Now my intention in sharing this personal story is not just to tell a sad story, nor to seek to harm the reputation of anyone involved, but to shed some light on the pain and harm a parent’s adultery inflicts on his/her child. You see, too many people who commit adultery think they are only cheating on their spouse. I’m sorry, but that’s just not the case. When you cheat on your spouse, you are cheating on your children as well, and you are most certainly sinning against the Almighty God.

 Cheating on Your Kids Too

Adultery is one of the most selfish of all the sins, though I dare say sin in and of itself is always based on selfishness in some way. When a husband or wife commits adultery, he or she seeks self-gratification at the expense of the spouse and children. Knowing that this action will deeply wound and scar the hearts and minds of their children, they go forward. They please themselves. Their mouths may say that they love their children, but their actions show that they love themselves far more and don’t care about the well-being of their kids. They cheat on their family. How sad! It is a most selfish and abhorrent act. God hates adultery.

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Matthew 15:19

When my dad’s adultery was found out, he left and eventually married the woman, raising her children as his own. We realized later that, looking back, he had been fathering them for a while anyways. He coached her kids little league team. He never did those things for us. He was always a better stepfather than a father. At his funeral many years later, the person reading the story of his life, skipped from when he graduated from high school to when he married the woman. The twenty plus years that we were a family – my parent’s marriage, our births, our childhood – were deleted from his timeline. We were deleted. While he didn’t write it, he chose it. He chose to cheat on his wife and abandon his children.

There’s Healing in Jesus!

While this seems like a very sad story, I want to leave you with hope. It was 8 years from the time he left before I was willing to speak to my dad again. Even then, I had such bitterness and hatred in my heart for him and his wife. Every moment with them was torture. The Lord, however, did a magnificent work in my heart. Throughout the years I was able to forgive my father for the hurt he had caused us. Only a few years ago, he died of lung cancer. I can say with thanksgiving in my heart that I was able to hold his hand, tell him I loved him and say goodbye before he departed from this life. I have no regrets for anything I did, but only regret that I never had the father I should have had. 

Today I am so grateful to see my husband playing with our daughter. He loves her so much. He would die for her and he would never hurt us the way my father did. I praise God every day that my daughter has a mother and father who will not break our marriage vows. We will not cheat on each other or her. We will not file for a divorce no matter what the circumstances. We stand solidly on the Rock knowing that Jesus Christ is the center of our home. 

If you have experienced the pain of a parent’s adultery, you know very well the bitterness and scars it causes. My prayer for you is that you find total freedom from it all and the ability to forgive through the strength of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is so powerful. It’s freedom! Pray for those who have harmed you. Make yourself do it, even if you don’t want to. Ask for God’s help. He wants to bring you healing and wholeness.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Repent of Adultery

If you have committed adultery, or are having an affair even now, repent! Repent for this sin and ask God to forgive you. Change your life. If you can win back the hearts of your spouse and children, make that the most important thing in your life. Love them more than yourself. That’s what God wants from you. God hates adultery.

Flee from Temptation

If you are considering committing adultery, I beg you to stop now before it’s too late. You are about to do something that will utterly destroy the lives of many, and that will cause a schism between you and God. Think of your spouse. Think of your children. Think of the tears they will cry and the heartache they will endure. Will you really put them through all of it for a moment of pleasure?

 Flee from temptation and sin! If it lingers at you workplace (as it did for my dad) quit your job and never go back. Find a new job. Your family is more important. If your spouse isn’t giving you the love and support you need, don’t go trying to find it elsewhere. Read the Word of God and keep the vows you made to God. That’s right! Those wedding vows you made were before God. Stop now before it’s too late and you have crushed the hearts of the people you are supposed to be loving and protecting. Please stop.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Find Healing through Jesus

The adultery of a parent is painful indeed, but there is hope for the hurting in Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus Christ, you need Him. He wants to heal you, forgive you, know you personally and change your life. He wants to give you eternal life through His death and resurrection. Confess your sin and ask Jesus to forgive you and to come into your heart. He will answer your prayer with joy. If you are a Christian who is hurting, allow God into those wounded places in your heart. Ask Him to help you forgive. It won’t be easy, but it will be exceedingly worth it in the end. I have found peace through Jesus.

 

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What is Disrespectful to Husbands?

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*** Guest blogger April of Peaceful Wife’s Blog. “I love Jesus Christ with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and desire to honor Him with all that I think, say and do. I love being Greg’s wife and am thrilled to get to live with him each day. I love being mom to our son and daughter and desire to raise and nurture them in the ways and wisdom of God and His Word. I have a huge heart for women and desire to see marriages be vibrant, God-honoring, full of life and blooming with the beauty of God’s design – shining brightly for Christ!” Follow Peaceful Wife on Facebook also.

What is Disrespectful to Husbands?

There is a whole masculine world of respect that I knew nothing about until December of 2008. I had been married for 14.5 years, thinking the whole time that I was the best Christian wife ever. I loved my husband so much, and wanted us to have the best marriage. I didn’t understand why he was so shut down and passive. I would tell him all the things he needed to do to improve himself and how he needed to step up and be the leader God commands him to be. I prayed constantly for God to change Greg.

Then, God showed me what I was missing as a wife.  Well… I was missing a lot of things. But one of the biggest issues was that I had unknowingly been extremely disrespectful to my husband all those 14+ years and I had deeply wounded him. He never said a word about it to me. I had no clue he was hurting. I just thought he was unloving and God needed to change him. I didn’t know that Greg had shut down and unplugged from our marriage and family in direct response to my disrespect and controlling behavior.

I have heard from dozens and dozens of husbands about what they personally feel is respectful and what they feel is disrespectful. I have a LONG list on my blog if you are interested in details. And I have a post called “Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected” that may be helpful for you to diagnose how severe the disrespect issue may be in your marriage.

Here are some general things that feel disrespectful to most husbands, these can be pretty surprising for many wives. Some wives think “all wives do these things” it’s no big deal. But to our men, it IS a big deal. We deeply hurt them when we do these things, and we are not being the godly women Christ commands us to be when we do these things, either:

  • Telling them what to do or how to do it as if they can’t figure it out for themselves (i.e.: how to drive, how to take care of the children, how to pack for vacation, how to do their jobs at work).
  • Treating them like children.
  • Telling other people that they are our children.
  • Making fun of them or humiliating them by pointing out their failures or weaknesses anywhere, but especially in front of other people.
  • Criticizing them.
  • Not showing appreciation for what they do for us, having an “entitlement” attitude and taking them for granted.
  • Mocking them.
  • Making demands.
  • Using an “an angry mama” tone of voice.
  • Rolling our eyes.
  • Giving them  “the look” like we think they are “idiots.”
  • Sighing like our husbands are “stupid.”
  • Not trusting them. (one caveat here, if trust has been broken, then you would want to show you WANT to rebuild trust, that you want to have trust again, that all hope is not lost.)
  • Withholding sex or demanding sex.
  • Acting like their thoughts, ideas, opinions and feelings are not important.
  • Thinking we are “always right” and they are “always wrong.”
  • Usurping their God-given position as leader in the marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33, I Corinthians 11:3, I Timothy 3:5, Titus 2:3-5).
  • Trying to force them to have a deep conversation when they are not mentally prepared yet (springing a “big talk” on them without warning). Many men need a few days to prepare and decide how they think and what they feel. That is not wrong. It is just different.
  • Acting like the things that matter to them are silly or unimportant.
  • Trying to force them to “submit” to us.
  • Dictating to them.
  • Calling them names.
  • Implying they are not capable sexually, financially or in any way.
  • Implying they are failures.
  • Assuming the worst about them instead of the best.
  • Comparing them to other men and saying they fall short.
  • Judging their spirituality.
  • Condemning them.
  • Showing contempt for who they are.
  • Not accepting them.
  • Being mean and hateful to them.
  • Complaining.
  • Arguing.
  • Not smiling at them, being unhappy all the time – that makes them feel like failures as men.
  • Holding them responsible for our happiness instead of finding all of our contentment in Christ and being responsible for our own spiritual growth and our own emotions.
  • Saying we want them to lead and then refusing to follow them.
  • Making them idols in our hearts, expecting them to be Christ to us – which is impossible for any human being to do for us.
  • Refusing to cooperate with them, not being on their team.
  • Gossiping and bashing them to our friends, family and coworkers.
  • Not believing them when they say they feel disrespected.
  • Telling them they must “earn our respect.”
  • Assuming we are more spiritually mature or morally superior to them.
  • Hurtful sarcasm.
  • Threatening to leave/divorce.
  • Undermining them as fathers.
  • Assuming they have no feelings or emotions just because they do not express themselves the same way we do.
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A Keeper of Your Vows

The Word of God has a lot to say about the importance of a person keeping his or her word and living up to their commitments:

   “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37

            “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” Proverbs 12:22

            “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds…” Colossians 3:9

            “If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” Numbers 30:2

A vow is a promise. When a woman breaks her wedding vows, she is breaking the promises she has made to her husband, the witnesses and her God. There is no sugar-coating this fact. A vow is a serious matter. Let your “yes” be “yes”. Lying lips are an abomination. Do not lie to one another. If a man (or woman) makes a vow to the LORD….he (she) shall do according to all that proceeds out of his (her) mouth. This is what God’s Word says on the matter.

In case there is anyone who is misled into thinking that the vows she pledged at her wedding were to her husband alone, I encourage you sister to bring to remembrance that a wedding vow is always made in the presence of God, whether it be in a church or a courthouse. The moment you spoke those wedding vows to your husband, you were married in the eyes of the Lord. He took every word you uttered seriously that day. The question is, did you?

That’s a question we wives have to ask ourselves when we are tempted to break our vows in any way. I know I have had to ask myself this question from time to time. I have had to meditate on the importance of my vows and remember that I was speaking those vows to God and my husband alike. The truth is, keeping those vows for a lifetime is no easy undertaking. We see that every time there’s a news article reporting the upsetting divorce rate. That’s why we have to be reminded of the value of a vow and to whom we have made those vows. When the storms come and the home is being rattled and shaken, will be keep our vows to the Lord? When our husbands are not living up to their part of the deal, will we keep our vows to the Lord? When we face a life that is not what we anticipated, will we keep our vows to the Lord? That’s the question that matters most.

If a vow is a promise, and one that is made to spouse, witnesses and God Himself, then what is the penalty for breaking that promise? What can we expect to be the consequences of breaking our vow to the Lord? Just like with any other sin that we allow to enter into our lives, one who breaks her marriage vows will no doubt feel a great hindrance in her relationship with the Lord. Sin hinders our prayer life and quenches the Spirit.

Not only are their spiritual consequences to sin, but history and statistics have shown us that those who break their wedding vows and divorce their spouse oftentimes suffer from hardships, depression, loss of other familial relationships and more. Children of divorced parents usually have a hard time in school, struggle with thoughts of guilt and depression, sometimes lose contact with at least one parent and often have trouble maintaining healthy relationships themselves later in life.

Am I proclaiming that these trials will come to all those who divorce their spouses for reasons that are not permitted in the Word of God? Of course not. I pray these hardships do not come to pass, but they do nonetheless. One thing I find to be particularly troubling is that Christians who divorce seem to suffer a great deal more than unbelievers who divorce, generally-speaking. Perhaps this is because Christians are held to a higher accountability, as Jesus often spoke of in the Word.

“When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.” Deuteronomy 23:21-23

“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

It’s quite clear throughout scripture that making a vow, oath or promise before the Lord and failing to live up to it is sin. A wedding vow is no different. While a wedding vow may seem to some to be nothing more than a sweet declaration of love for another, it is far more. It is a spoken contract that should be entered into when a person is thoroughly dedicated and committed to fulfilling those vows.  We come back to that ever-lingering question: will we keep our vows to the Lord?

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Be My Valentine

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“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” Proverbs 5:18-19

The Lord God of the Bible created romance, marriage and sex! Yay! The same God tells husbands and wives to enjoy a romantic relationship and to rejoice in that union. Now, Valentines Day is just one opportunity to express that love and focus on it a bit more, but the truth is we need to nurture this aspect of our marriages every day of the year. Rejoice continually with the with the wife (or the husband in our case) of your youth! What a blessing indeed!

Happy Valentines Day to all of you married lovers today!

I also want to give a shout out to those who are not married today, our singles and widows. May your day be filled with the love of family and friends. There’s no doubt there are many of whom this holiday is but a sad reminder of love lost or never found. We should never lose sight of that and lose sensitivity to those who may be hurting today. May the Lord Jesus be a comfort to these dear ones. May He be their husband and may they be surrounded by His love today and always! God is love!

The Way of Love for Everyone!

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,fn but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;fn 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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Keeping Marriage Spicy

I recently shared this topic with a lovely group of mommies at a MOPs event in Mariposa. In light of Valentines Day this week, I thought it’d be fun to share it with you! The topic is Keeping Marriage Spicy. Such a fun one! In doing my research and such I found so many fun and creative ideas for encouraging romance in marriage and keeping that passion alive, even in those post-baby, mommy years.

First of all, let’s look at the word romance. Men and women tend to view romance differently. Men tend to be romanced more by the senses: sight, scent, touch, etc. Women, on the other hand, are more emotionally-driven in our definition of romance. Most women want flowers, love notes, hand-holding, compliments, words of affirmation and admiration. What’s cool is that the God who made men and women, with our own characteristics, created romance between a husband and a wife to be both! We know that by reading the Song of Solomon…the spiciest book in the Bible!

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” Song of Solomon 6:3

 “My lover is mine and I am his.” Song 2:16

“My heart began to pound for him.” Song 5:4

 “How beautiful you are, my darling!” Song 4:1

“He has taken me to a banquet hall and his banner over me is love” Song 2:4

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine.” Song 1:2

“A bundle of myrhh is my beloved to me that lies all night between my breasts.” Song 1:13

“His left hand is under my head and his right hand embraces me.” Song 2:6

“All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves.” Song 3:1

“I am my beloveds and his desire is toward me.” Song 7:10

So God’s definition of romance includes the emotional and the physical. We read also throughout scripture that when a man and woman are married they become one flesh. This one flesh includes a union spiritually, emotionally and physically. A marriage that is lacking in any of these three areas is going to suffer, and cause the others to falter as well. So it’s important that we stay connected with our husbands emotionally, spiritually and physically.

I recently read some statistics that really surprised me. 300 married men were asked if they were happy with the intimacy in their marriage. 77% of the men said they were having less sex than they would like in their marriage. 13% said they weren’t having any at all. Funny enough, NONE of the men asked said they were having TOO much sex. On the other hand, 11% of women asked said they were having more sex than they would like. These numbers shouldn’t make anyone feel bad, but rather point out an important truth that we need to acknowledge. Men usually have a higher sex drive than women do, and that’s the way God created them. Part of our calling as wives is to minister to our husbands in this way, so it’s good to know the facts so that we can meet those needs in the marriage bed!

Romancing your husband can be such fun! We can enjoy keeping our marriages spicy by making and keeping date night. Don’t be lazy when it comes to date night. Be creative and fun. Keep the mystery alive. Even a date night at home to accommodate a tight budget can be lots of fun (especially if you can get the kids over to grandma’s house!). Be affectionate. Surprise your husband with affection and be playful. Flirt! Here are some fun flirting tips I came across while researching:

  • Leave a love note on the mirror or somewhere unexpected
  • Kiss in the car at stoplights (only on red lights haha)
  • Have a secret code phrase to tell him you want him
  • Grab and tackle him as he’s walking by
  • Set up a cozy love nest for watching movies
  • Text him sweet nothings throughout the day
  • Hint at what’s to come
  • Flirt in public or on facebook
  • Flash him, but not in public and definitely not on facebook!!!
  • Surprise him with a token of affection
  • Play footsies (discreetly of course)
  • Be playful, laugh, be silly (remember dating?)
  • Create mystery. Keep door closed before date night while you get ready. Tell him you’re wearing something special tonight. Do something unexpected.
  • Plan a surprise date night and keep it mysterious

I am putting some of these fun flirty tactics to good use and finding them to add spice to my marriage. For you cooks out there, think of what would happen if you suddenly weren’t allowed to use spice in your recipes anymore….bland! We don’t want to become our husband’s “perfect roommate” but want to continue in that passionate, romantic relationship God had planned for us when He created marriage.

I pray you would have a romantic, hot and spicy Valentines Day! God bless!

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What Does it Mean to be in One Accord?

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Acts 2:1

The day the “church” was born, one of the greatest days in church history, it says that the disciples of Jesus were together in one accord in one place. This is important, because God is going to perform great miracles and show His mighty power on this day, but it seems important that the disciples were in one accord and together to set the scene. Throughout scripture we see the Lord calling us to be in “one accord” with one another in the church. We accept this, but I think so often we do so with our own idea of what “one accord” actually means. What does it mean to be in “one accord”? Does it mean we agree on every single issue? Does it mean we are mindless robots without having any understanding of our own? Does it mean we have to agree on each and every theological issue in order to be in fellowship? Instead of forming our own opinion on what God means here, we need to search the Word for the answer.

In Acts 2:1 when it says “one accord”, the Greek word is “homothymadon” which means “with one mind, with one accord, with one passion.” Blue Letter Bible gives a beautiful description of the use of this word here: “A unique Greek word, used 10 of its 12 New Testament occurrences in the Book of Acts, helps us understand the uniqueness of the Christian community. Homothumadon is a compound of two words meaning to “rush along” and “in unison”. The image is almost musical; a number of notes are sounded which, while different, harmonize in pitch and tone. As the instruments of a great concert under the direction of a concert master, so the Holy Spirit blends together the lives of members of Christ’s church.”

As a musician myself, I love the way this is described. I direct a choir, and I’m always telling my choir that each one of their voices is unique and different. The sing different parts. Not all of their notes, rhythms, tones or words are the same all of the time, but when brought together they make a beautiful song. In the same way, God knits His church together with a variety of colors, flavors, strengths (and weaknesses), visions, gifts, preferences and callings and He brings them all together with One Mind, One Accord, One Passion to make Him a glorious song.

So this word for “one accord” is used several times in Acts. Let’s see what these men of God are doing in one accord:

Prayer and Supplication – “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” Acts 1:14 

Fellowship and Community – “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,” Acts 2:46

Praised God – “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is…” Acts 4:24

Experienced Miracles – “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.” Acts 5:12

Raised Up and Sent Out Missionaries – “It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,” Acts 15:25

And in Romans…

Glorify God – “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:6

These disciples of God were most definitely in one accord and had one passion: Jesus Christ. They were rushing along toward one goal: Jesus. Praise Him. Serve Him. Love Him. Love His people. Bring others to Him. Glorify Him. It was all about Jesus. We lose sight of that so often in the church today! We think we have to agree on every single issue to be in “one accord”. I say that we don’t see that example in scripture. We don’t see division over minor issues. What we see is humble men and women coming together in one place and uniting with one passion, one goal and one mind to serve Jesus. That’s what being in one accord means. It means setting aside your differences and following Jesus together.

Another word for being in “one accord” in the NT is found in Philippians 2:2, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” The word for “one accord” is “sympsychos” and this is what Blue Letter Bible has to say about the etymology of the word: “This word is made up of two words syn (together with) and psychos (soul, self, inner life, or the seat of the feelings, desires, affections). So the word refers to being ‘united in spirit’ or harmonious (BDAG). Paul desired the Philippians to be united in their affections—one in Christ in all desires! Phl 2:2 is the only occurrence of this word in the NT. (Wayne Steury)”

It’s such a beautiful picture, and in it we see the heart of the Father. He desires His people to be in one accord in their desire to follow Him, serve Him, know Him and love Him. Do we have to agree on every issue to do this? We don’t see that in scripture. Being in one accord doesn’t mean we will always agree on every issue that comes our way. There’s just no way for that to happen. We won’t always agree. Awesome, God-fearing Bible scholars have studied the Word their whole lives and come to different conclusions on issues like the balance between predestination and free-will, use or cessation of spiritual gifts, worship preferences and expressiveness, eschatology and so forth. We study the Word to show ourselves approved, being Bereans, and we stand on the truth of God’s Word, but that doesn’t mean we cannot and should not be in one accord with other Christ-followers who know and love the Jesus Christ of the Bible. We do not embrace false teaching/doctrine by embracing men and women who may be getting it wrong in some areas. As Jesus did, we love people. We spend time with them and we encourage them in the Word. We see them as God does…His children, His people, the Bride of Christ and our fellow heirs.

* I’ll say something that is a bit controversial here: some churches seem to think being in one accord or in one mind only applies to the people in their church body. They think it means we are to be in one accord on every single theological issue that pops up or we can’t be in one accord. I say with confidence that this is not at all what God is showing us here in scripture, but rather a skewed understanding based on man’s logic. Actually, it takes great maturity, grace and love to be able to put the “unimportant” or “secondary” issues aside and be in one accord with our brothers and sisters who serve the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

Last point and clarification – when I say “Jesus Christ of the Bible”, what I mean is that for a person to be a brother or sister in the Lord, he or she must confess the Jesus we know from the Word. They must believe He is God, part of the triunity of the Godhead, born of a virgin, the Messiah of prophecy and the Messiah of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the author of salvation and the author of the inspired Word of God (Bible), who was sinless but died on the cross for our sins and rose again, standing at the right hand of the Father. These are foundational truths that we must agree on to be in one accord. Can we be in one accord with people who follow another, false god or who follow their own version of Jesus? No. We have to be in one accord in the Spirit, which means we have to have the Spirit of God inside us and that happens when we call upon the Jesus of the Bible.

God desires His people to be in one accord. He wants us to be able to join together to worship and serve Him in one accord. We need to stop looking at believers from other churches, or those who differ on minor issues, as outsiders or enemies. This harms the church as a whole and hurts the heart of our Father.

God bless!

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Division – A Disease in the Church

There is a disease that makes its way through churches around the world, bringing pain, suffering, heartbreak and ugliness. It turns church families into splintered fragments and transforms friends into enemies. It causes people within the church to leave, and curious unbelievers to flee the other direction. It is not profitable, nor is it pleasing to the Lord God of the Bible. Strangely enough, it is often welcomed into the church as a sort of antidote, but the truth is this disease is a cunning tool of the enemy to attack God’s people. This disease is called Division.

 

Before you start writing your rebuttal comments, pray listen to all of what I’m sharing. I know that there are times when division is necessary, Biblical and just. I am not one to say we should overlook primary doctrinal falsehoods or ignore issues of ongoing sin within the church. Not at all. There is a time for division. The problem is, unnecessary division is running rampant in the church and it is causing God’s people to be unable to even recognize the kind of unity Jesus Christ wanted for us. We are missing out on that brethren! We are forfeiting one of His greatest gifts to His church and we are grieving the heart of the Father by attacking one another needlessly.

 

Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23….

 

“20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

 

Oh the loving heart of Jesus! How He loved and loves us…ALL OF US! God says that when a man and a woman are joined together in marriage, they become one flesh (both spiritually and physically). Well God has also knit His church together to become “perfectly one”. If a husband and wife divide it is called divorce, and we know God hates divorce. Division in the church amongst brothers and sisters is a type of divorce. We should be perfectly one, as our precious Savior prayed.

 

Division is Usually Wrong

 

“1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” Titus 3:1-11

 

Here is a breakdown of just some of the commandments God gives here. Now keep in mind that these are instructions from our Lord, so going against them is therefore sin.

 

1. Speak evil of no one. Wait…no one? That’s right. We are to speak evil of no human being. The original Greek word for “evil” is “blasphēmeō” which translates to “to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate, blaspheme”. So we are not to speak evil of, speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate or blaspheme anyone. Ouch…I’m guilty. Repenting.

 

2. Avoid quarreling. Proverbs 20:3 says, “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.” Again…guilty.

 

3. Avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Wow. So all of the controversies I have spent countless hours debating people over….they are worthless? Unprofitable? That’s what God says. Again, I’m convicted. Repenting. Lord change my heart! I ask here, what is foolish? We’ll get into that a bit later, but right off we can see that, unless God is contradicting Himself (which He is not) there are foolish reasons for division and there are necessary reasons. The necessary are those that pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

4. Do not STIR UP DIVISION. I bolded that for emphasis. The word for divisive here is one that means “able to choose, causing division, factious, a follower of false doctrine, schismatic.” Interestingly, the root word is “hairetizō” which is to choose a sect. Basically this is a person who finds it easy and acceptable to choose a side, reject others, cause a schism in the body and essentially cause division. This person looks for occasions to stir up dissention and division. God says we are to be a people of unity, not division.

 

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10

 

“Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:3-6

 

“But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.” Luke 11:17

 

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” Psalm 133:1

 

“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.” 1 John 2:9

 

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15

 

Who is the Church?

 

If division in the church is wrong, then who is the church? Who is my brother/sister? You may not like the answer. You may reject it, but remember that we are following God’s Word, not the logic of man. How does God say one becomes a saved, follower of Christ and a part of the church family?

 

Believes in Jesus! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

Confess Jesus! “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

 

If a man or woman believes in and confesses the Jesus Christ of the Bible (that He is God, born of a virgin, born to save the sons of man by His death and resurrection, etc), then he or she is saved. They receive salvation. The fruit of that new life salvation we see is repentance, good works, etc., but salvation was not earned by good works. They are merely the after effects and fruits of the free gift of salvation.

 

Does the Bible teach that a brother or sister in the Lord has to have all of their doctrine right to be counted as such? Absolutely not! In fact, we see instances in scripture, like in Romans, where God literally gives permission for there to be differences. One man eats meat and another does not, but they both do so in confidence unto the Lord. One esteems one day more than another and the other esteems them all the same, but do it as unto the Lord! Someone’s right ad someone’s wrong, but God says these things don’t matter. In the same way, divisions over minor issues in the church (predestination vs free will, styles of worship, gifts of the Spirit, etc) are wrong and evil in the sight of the Lord.

 

Be very careful my friends. Be very careful not to cast judgment based on your own logic. Be ever so careful not to call someone an unbeliever simply because you disagree with some of their doctrine. If that person has believed in and confessed Christ, he or she is saved and the bride of Christ. Christ does not take pleasure in His bride being attacked, bashed, despised, etc. He is a jealous God and He will deal with those who cause division and harm His bride.

 

Is there a reason for division? Sometimes.

 

There are sometimes needful divisions that occur. God is clear that we are not to embrace false teaching that perverts the gospel of Jesus Christ. If a pastor/teacher claims that Jesus Christ is not enough, and you need something more to be saved, that is something to come against and expose. Expose anyone who claims to be a Christian and denies the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the all-sufficiency of Christ, the power of the triunity of God and the total forgiveness of sins by the washing of the blood of the Lamb. Reject teachings that we must change the gospel message or that we don’t need scripture. Also hold accountable those who have been given authority in the church. The scripture gives guidelines for how a pastor/elder must live.

 

Be Careful! Do not believe every rumor you hear!

 

“Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.” 1 Timothy 5:9

 

 

I share this message from God’s Word because I see the ugly disease of division and strife tearing through the church of God’s people. It’s no surprise. As we get closer to the end times, we expect it. Yet I am greatly disheartened by well know teachers, beloved friends and even myself, at times, seeing that we are so quick to cast out and tread down those who we find disagreement with. I encourage you brothers and sisters (and myself) to remember that, when it comes to minor issues of doctrinal difference, division is wrong. Do not speak evil but be graceful. Teachers, spend more time teaching God’s Word and less time pointing out where everyone else is doing it wrong. God’s Word is the truth that will set us free and inoculate us against bad teaching.

 

God is not pleased by those who stir up division, who delight in bringing down others or who hate under the masked disguise of “conviction”. Do not allow minor issues of doctrinal difference cause you to look at a brother or sister and see an unbeliever. You have no right to make that call. Only God knows the heart of that person. Pray. Be quiet. Love. Speak and live by truth. Focus on God’s Word. Focus on unity and peace within the church. Oh what a glorious light will shine forth, drawing the lost to the love of God! They will know us by our LOVE! And they will want it.

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