New Year’s Leadership-Part 2, by Sarah Latimer

Shifts (Continued)

It is well recognized that the biblical Hebrew word for “house” is meant to refer to a man’s wife. The thinking is that a man builds a house by first taking a wife and then together they become one and make a family. So, how important is a wife to a man? Well, she is his home and is the one who enables him to have a comfortable and safe place to go (at least one that’s emotionally safe), a place to build a family, a place he can call his own to bring others, and even a place that demonstrates his honor within the community. She, through the work she does in the home and in the community, brings him honor also. Beyond being a child and a princess of the Most High God, there is no greater honor or role I can have than to be the home-maker for Hugh.

I’m Hugh’s partner in life, and I am his home. I’m the being with whom he has family, comfort, and honor. My efforts and behavior brings honor (or dishonor) upon him within our of community of influence, and his honor is also my honor. He loves, cherishes, and protects me. He provides for my needs and many of my wants and encourages me to pursue greatness, not only in home-making but in intellectual matters also. He has always been involved with our children, just as I have been. He is supportive and patient when I leave the home to care for others in our community, and he is at least as generous and charitable as I am, so there is no conflict when I want to give of my time to “mother” the motherless or visit the elderly or sit with the dying. He encourages this and gladly covers for me at home, if need be. We have a beautiful, cooperative relationship of respect and love for one another, trying to serve and care for the other, in our unique roles and responsibilities, though we help each other too. He helps me make the bed and in many other household duties, and I help him with the blog, as I write regular contributing articles.

This may seem “old fashioned” to many, but it is God’s way of looking at family. Our so-called liberal, feminist culture tells people that we should each look out for ourselves with a selfish attitude. It tells us that we have to keep score of wrongs and fight for whatever we think is ours, even within our families and marriages. Our culture tells us that we each deserve luxury as if it is “owed” to us somehow. Few of our grandparents could imagine that kind of thinking and certainly not our great grandparents.

There is also an expectation of instant gratification. If we don’t have it (whatever that latest “thing” is), then we’re told we should just get it and worry about paying for it later. This is the thinking that gets people into the bondage of indebtedness and sometimes addiction, too. Delayed gratification is something that most Americans don’t understand or practice. Try buying a pack of M&M’s or peanuts and eating them over the course of days instead of minutes. Can you? Can you eat just one M&M or peanut every couple of hours or must you shove the whole pack into your hand and consume them in one or two mouths full? Learning to relish something small is a good skill. It goes against the lies that commercials tells us– “consume, buy, consume, and do it right now; you need this to be happy”. However, finding pleasure in small things will be quite useful when TEOTWAWKI occurs and we have very little.

Consumer over-spending and indebtedness as well as the devaluation of a home-maker and expectation of instant gratification are merely a few examples among many shifts in our culture’s thinking that draw us away from the One who we need to lead us through whatever the future holds. We are bombarded in our culture with messages that tell us we need things and that we should be the one telling everyone else what to do. We are told that serving others is demeaning and that there is no honor in serving others or following someone, yet that is a complete and total lie.

Building a House on Solid Ground

So, think about your reaction to what I wrote above. Wives, how did you react to the idea of serving your husband as a wife who devotes herself to providing her husband with a home that is comfortable, safe, and gives him honor? Husbands, how did you feel about providing for, being patient with, and cherishing your wife? She is more valuable than rubies (Proverbs 31) and a gift from God. (Treat her tenderly and as a precious treasure.) How do you feel about caring for the poor, the sick or elderly, and the dirty travelers (like the homeless)? Are you okay with delayed gratification?

It’s not easy and most will not follow God’s way in this; Jesus told us that the way was narrow. The Bible clearly tells us to care for the widows and the orphans, especially those in our own families and the believers in our own communities. Jesus told us so. In Matthew 7:12-14, Jesus said:

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Did you get that? There will be relatively few, according to Jesus, who find the narrow way that leads unto life! That means it is not what the crowd is doing. It’s not the way of the culture at large, especially when the culture is not following the law, the prophets, or our Savior– Jesus.

In Matthew 7:21-27, Jesus said:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

Regardless of our resolutions and intent, what matters is our actions. When the figurative or real floods come, will we have built our house on a solid foundation that withstands these floods? Are you a man and woman who follows God and builds your family and your life upon God’s word and His ways rather than upon our culture? When the physical floods come, will we go the way of the hordes and rely on convenience and government, or will we work hard and prepare as the ants do for the winter and as Joseph did in preparation for a coming famine? Are we spiritually and physically fit, working hard to have what is needed for our household and also to have some to share with those in need who God puts in our path to help?

Who Do You Follow? (Facebook Follow, Celebrity Follow, Friend Follow, Trend Follow, or Jesus Follow)

Another way to put this is to ask yourself who you follow. Do you spend much of your time and thought “following” people and organizations on Facebook and Twitter? Do you follow a celebrity, someone at work or in your career who excels in some way, or someone who catches your eye (but may not be worthy of your heart, mind, and soul), or someone who has your heart above all others?

If you profess to be a follower of Jesus, are you really His follower? If so, then you know how He lived, understand His teachings from the perspective of His culture and time, and you are modeling your life and actions based upon this. In evaluating your knowledge of the One you’re following, I’ll list just some of the questions you might ask yourself. How did Jesus respect His Father, worship His Father, treat his friends and family, serve others, and view material things? What holy days did Jesus keep and how? Did Jesus prepare for the future and teach His followers to do the same? How did Jesus use money? What did He teach about worry? Did He always engage in conflict or were there times He avoided communities where there would be confrontation? Did He spend time in prayer to His Father? How did Jesus pray? Was Jesus a weakling or did He have the strength to endure horrific beatings and still carry His cross toward the place of His crucifixion? What did Jesus eat and wear? How did Jesus treat women, the elderly, children, the sick, the tax collector, and the prideful religious men? How did He respond to the merchants conducting business in the court of the Gentiles– a place that was supposed to be reserved for worship? When He healed someone, what did He often tell them about their sin? These are just some of the things you might ought to know about the God you profess to follow.

After Jesus healed people, He sometimes challenged them to “go and sin no more”. I believe He was asking them to turn away from their sinful “norm” and to make a commitment, a resolution if you will, to pursue righteousness. They had met Perfection, and He had healed them. After meeting Him, they had a choice to go back to doing things the way they had wanted to and how they’d been living before, or they could follow what His Father instructed in the Scripture and to be blessed by living like Jesus modeled for them.

Jesus was a miraculous cure in the land of Israel during His time on Earth. He wiped out disease, it seems. He healed leprosy, gave sight to the blind, stopped the bleeding of those with chronic hemorrhaging, stopped seizures and fevers, and He even brought the dead back to life. He had power over demons and controlled the storm winds and the water. He could turn water into wine and multiply food. In a catastrophic crisis, wouldn’t you like to have a leader with those kinds of powers?