Thursday, July 21, 2011

Me Obey Him ‘vs’ Me Submit to Him

We miss what godly submission is all about.

In the husband/wife relationship, is it... "me obey him" or... "me submit to him"? Did you know there is a difference? True... to obey requires one to submit, and to submit means you obey the wishes of another, but the processes of the two are very different.

As basic as I can state it - to obey means to be obedient and carries with it an authoritativeness that says, "This is the way it’s going to be; it is not open for discussion; this is non-negotiable." Whereas to submit, to be in submission to another, carries with it a subdued form of authority that allows room for negotiation and consideration. Submission allows one to have a voice and an opinion, whereas obedience does not allow this considered negotiation.

For example, we are commanded to obey God’s commandments, which are not subject to negotiation or debate... God said it and that settles it. Obviously, we have no righteousness of our own, nor any omniscient power of our own to negotiate any subject matter with our Holy God. God’s ways are not our ways, but we can be assured that He always has our best interest in mind, hence the reasons we are commanded to obey God.
(Deuteronomy 11:27, 28; 26:17; 27:10; 28:9; 30:2, 8, 16; 32:4; I Samuel 12:14, 15; Jeremiah 42:6; Psalm 19:8; 119:75; Romans 7:12; I Peter 4:17)

But there are also two other authoritative relationships mentioned in the Bible: the relationship of children with their parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20; Deuteronomy 21:18-20)
and servants with their masters (Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22).
It is both interesting and necessary to note that these other two relationships (of children/parents and servant/master) are to be patterned in much the same way, for many of the same reasons, as our relationship with God.
(Exodus 20:12; 21:15, 17; Leviticus 19:3; Deuteronomy 8:5; 21:18-21; Proverbs 13:24; 20:20; Psalm 123:3; Mal. 1:6; Ephesians 6:5-7; Colossians 3:22-25; 4:1; I Timothy 6:1, 2: Titus 2:9, 10; I Peter 2:18, 19)

Have you ever notice that the Bible never says, "Children submit to your parents," or "Servants submit to your masters"? There isn’t the slightest hint of these relationships being of the negotiating kind. In all three of these examples, the command is to obey and there is no suggestion of a negotiating relationship, and it is this command of obedience that also carries with it the hand of chastisement.
(Deuteronomy 11:1, 2; Hebrews 12:7-11)

All three of these relationships (parent/child, master/servant, God/Christian) are based on a superior and subordinate design...
but, the husband and wife relationship is a unique unity and is designed to be different, hence the reason why the Bible repeats, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands..." in Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18.

In the Bible, it is only with the husband/wife relationship that we see submission and that is because marriage is not to be a domination relationship. 
(I Peter 3:1-5; Ephesians 5:21, 22)

Marriage is about two becoming one flesh, not just physically (bodily), but more importantly spiritually with our mind and soul; becoming soul-mates. It is only submission that encourages this as a reciprocating relationship which results in the unique unity of marriage.
(I Corinthians 7:3, 4; I Peter 3:7; Genesis 2:23, 24; Matthew 19:5, 6).

And, with this unique unity of marriage, submission does not allow a husband to dominate his wife. He is also not allowed to chastise his wife in any form or manner.
Christ set the example of how a husband is to treat his wife, in Ephesians 5:22-33.
And, Christ does not dominate.
Even when God has to chastise a wayward Christian, we are corrected as a child, not a bride.
(Deuteronomy 11:1, 2; Hebrews 12:7-11) 

Thank you for reading my post, your questions and comments are welcomed.
God Bless,
Jane Coley

Friday, July 15, 2011

Culturally Different, Identically the Same - How a book changed a misconception.

I have a very small lending library... emphasis on very... ...and emphasis on small. The books are few, but the topics are concentrated, dealing primarily with the marriage relationship, parenting children, and a few other miscellaneous topics, from a woman’s point of view. Taking those tight parameters into perspective, it’s a pretty good library after all.

While teaching the woman’s certificate course in the Bible Institute, I require my students to read one book of their choosing and give a written and oral report each term (3 per year). The ladies often check-out more books but focus on one for their reports. Keeping in mind that English is not their first language, I believe the ladies do an outstanding job of reading and reporting on the books of their choosing. The following is one such report.

Juliet read, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women, written by Dr. James Dobson.
Juliet wrote (copied as it was written):

"When first I saw this book in my friend’s library I thought it was supposed to be read by men because women have needs which men don’t understand, then after reading it I realized is should read by both but I still believe husbands should read this book or a teacher some how hold a seminar for the husbands. The book has helped me to understand that not only in America but here in Kenya wives go through emotional depression throughout their married life. Another thing is house work or housewife is viewed like nothing or no job both there or here."

"I learned that sources of depression in women are many and yet sometimes I think is just Juliet going through this. From suffering low-esteem, time pressure, financial difficulties, loneliness, isolation and menstrual and physiological problems just to name a few, all these are emotional struggles we struggle with. I have learned a lot from this book, from the interviews the author did with his patients as their counselor. They are very encouraging to me just to read another wife / mother share her heart to mine."

"I have learned that I can’t change my husband except God’s spirit in him, but I can change myself and work to be the best wife / mother, express my feelings as facts not as emotions and serve the Lord through him. I can only change what I can and that is me. The book has helped me to understand because of our menstrual circle which women have it affects their mood. Children also is another type of depression in women and yet in Kenya if the children don’t succeed or they turn rebellious people ask who is their mother or they are like their mother. This can take a woman to an early grave."

"Finally to be honest I wish husbands knew about the needs of their wives."

Juliet revealed, through her report and a personal conversation that followed, Kenyan women often think American (and European) women live a life that is very different from theirs. In short, America is the place where dreams come true, therefore, women of America have a wonderful, stress-free, easy life... nothing like the life Kenyan women have. Juliet discovered that though our daily activities are different, our emotional needs are identical.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post, your questions and comments are welcomed.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Disturbing Story

It was while we were discussing the topic of barrenness (the inability to bear children), in the women’s class of the Bible Institute, that one student told me this interesting but disturbing story which is too often the norm in Kenya.

In Kenya, and in many countries like Kenya, barrenness is often looked upon as a woman’s curse from God for some sin or displeasure she has wrought. The childless wife often bears the shame and blame alone, without even a thought that it might possibly be the husband who is the infertile one. The childless wife is harshly rebuked by her husband, and her mother-in-law, as well as her own family members, with this continuous rebuke being without mercy or compassion, often pushing a wife into desperate measures, which this story will, in part, reveal.

This story is of a wife who has been married for about 15 years without becoming pregnant, but her story of barrenness actually begins when she was a youth in her Form Four studies (17 yrs. old, in 12th grade). She got pregnant... and her mother was insistent upon her getting an abortion because a baby at that time in her life would have interfered with her studies and her future entrance into university. This pregnancy was such a disturbance to the young girl’s mother that the mother herself performed a home abortion on her own child, ending the life of her own grandchild. We can only imagine that some neglected medical problem occurred which resulted in permanent damage to the young girl’s reproductive system.

The young girl, now grown and married and unable to conceive, once again submits to her mother’s council as the mother tells her to "go and be with this other man and see if you can get a baby through him". It is unknown as to how many times this women submitted to this instruction given by her mother, and, as far as is know, this was something done behind the back of her husband. When this repeated attempt "to get a baby" failed, the barren wife eventually turned to th female pastor of her church for council. This female pastor instructed the wife to have strong faith and believe she was going to get pregnant, she told her to start wearing maternity clothing, as an act of her faith, while telling others that she was pregnant. When this repeated charade failed to produce a baby, the wife would then say she had suffered another miscarriage.

As the desperation of this wife continued, she again sought the council of her female pastor who now suggested she take a trip, to a particular country in Africa, where there is a particular mountain and get her miracle of conception from that mountain. It was at this point that the student in our Bible Institute was able to stop the desperate wife from making the trip.

This story is just one of many, the other students all had similar stories to tell concerning barrenness or abortions. Another such story involved a male pastor who’s young daughter was found to be pregnant. The father/pastor was not about to lose his church because of his daughter’s illegitimate pregnancy, so he took her for an abortion.

It is also common knowledge that barren women will go to the witch doctor for treatment, sometimes the women are taken by their own husbands and left for a few days to endure the treatment given by the witch doctor. Also, though it is against the laws of the country, bigamy is still practiced in Kenya, and it is not uncommon for a husband to take a second wife when his first wife is unable to produce offspring.

Barrenness is not God’s rebuke, or chastisement, on sin. God said, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth..." (Genesis 1:28; 9:1; 35:11) for God then to use barrenness as a form of rebuke or chastisement on sin would be to put God in direct conflict with Himself. When sin is a contributing factor to barrenness, it is not God’s judgement on us, but the consequence of our sinful behavior. For example; leading a sexually active life often results in sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) which in turn could infect the reproductive system to the extent of causing sterility in either a man or a woman.

Barrenness is due more to either a genetic problem, a medical or physical problem, or the result of trauma to the body, and proper medical diagnosis through a fertility clinic is needed to discover the root cause of barrenness. Infertility is not just a woman’s problem, it is scientifically reported that men are equal with women when it comes to infertility problems. For example; mumps, or a high fever could be enough to render a man sterile.

This is a sample portion of the lessons the students are receiving through the Women’s Certificate Course in the Bible Institute. The ladies are gaining scripturally based knowledge which is able to be of help to such desperate women in need of godly council.

Thank you for reading my post.
Jane Coley

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tea Time

Would you like a cup of tea?
A hot cup of Kenyan tea is the best, and it should be served with milk and sugar, and a few tea biscuits on the side. Tea time is a special time for just sitting and visiting with others, unlike coffee that can be carried around in a mug or paper cup all day, tea needs to be properly served in a tea cup, with saucer, while sitting down enjoying a visit and a moment of calm in your day.
Would you like a cup of tea?
Is the question most often asked by my mother, as she is already pouring the hot water for her own cup of tea. Mom is British, and that means I was given warm tea in my bottle while I was still a baby in arms. Feeling a bit poorly? - Tea was always the first remedy, and when that didn’t work, other secondary methods were considered, but not until "a spot of tea" might be just what you needed.

Would you like a cup of tea?
Seems to say so much more... "Tell me about your day." "How was your date?" "What did the doctor say?"... and it seems to mean so much more, too. Sitting down and sharing a cup of tea together is stopping time for just a few moments while hearts listen to each other.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Deborah the Judge - An Example of Leadership?

It’s very interesting to me when Deborah the Judge is presented as an example of Biblical female leadership. I’ll often ask the person, or group, if they can tell me where the story of Deborah is found, but most people "guess" wrong for the Bible reference. Their answers have been one of the books of Samuel or Chronicles, or the book of Acts. It is amazing how many people will take what someone else has said as the gospel truth, instead of reading the gospel truth for themselves.

Here is another question to ponder - who leads a country? Most would answer, the president, congress, parliament, but no one would say "the judge, or judges". The role of a judge is that of an arbitrator, similar to a magistrate. The judge has the obligation to know the laws of their country, and then to apply these laws as they make decisions regarding cases that are brought before them.

Deborah’s story can be found in the book of Judges chapter 4, with chapter 5 as her song of celebration with Barak. Deborah was a judge, but Deborah did not lead the children of Israel (Nation of Israel). The position of judge is a very important position, but a judge is not a leader. It was Barak who was accountable to God for his role as the leader of the Nation of Israel, not Deborah.

In the book of Judges there were two positions sometimes given to one man; to judge, and to be the deliverer (or the leader) of the children of Israel (Judges 2:16-23). In Judges chapter 3 a pattern begins to be established with the children of Israel doing "evil in the sight of the Lord", with the Lord sending chastisement upon them, and with the people crying "unto the Lord" for the Lord to give them another deliverer. By the time of Judges chapter 4 many years have passed with this same "roller coaster" pattern. Now, the children of Israel would have a judge in Deborah, but a weak and fearful leader/deliverer in Barak.

Granted, Barak was a weak and fearful leader, but he was the leader none the less, and it was Barak who was accountable to God for his neglect of leadership, not Deborah. Deborah had gone to Barak to encourage him to fight the battle against their enemies, but God gave the credit for the victory to Barak, in Hebrews 11:32, because leadership is male, and God has never changed His mind on this distinction. Male leadership is always accountable to God, when it is weak, when it is strong, when it is neglectful, and when it is successful. Barak was the leader, not Deborah.

Deborah’s role with the Nation of Israel was very important, but Deborah was not the leader. Deborah called herself "a mother in Israel" - a mother is not a leader. A father is the leader; a mother consoles and gives comfort. (Judges 5:7) It is also interesting to note that Deborah "dwelt under the palm tree..." "...and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment." (Judges 4:5) she did not seek to lead them; they sought her for godly counsel.

Thank you for reading my post. Your comments and questions are welcome.
God Bless!
Jane Coley

Thursday, June 16, 2011

God is Gender Specific ~ Leadership is Male

Leadership is male and God has never changed His mind on this distinction. God never intended women to hold positions of leadership in the church, nor in the home. God’s intent in leadership being male is for the purpose of protection and provision of the woman, it always has been and always will be. (Numbers chapter 30; Ephesians 5:21-33; Titus 2:1-8; I Corinthians 14:34, 35; I Timothy 2:9-14; I Peter 3:1-6)

But there are good Christian women and men who are using other verses in the Bible to support their argument that women and men are able to share the same roles of leadership in the church.

The two verses which are often used are Galatians 3:28 and Acts 2:16-21. They use these verses to argue the point that a woman is able to serve in positions of leadership as a pastor of a church, as a preacher or an evangelist preaching the gospel message, or as a teacher of Bible doctrine to men, because (they argue) women and men are equals. However, spiritual equality is not role equivalence and God is gender specific, leadership is male.

They wrongly use: Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." The rules for understanding scripture always cautions us to not take a verse out of context. The context of this verse is spiritual, not physical. The correct teaching of this verse is referring to a spiritual equality in Christ.

The first illustration of this verse is using Jew and Greek. By their spiritual birth, born again (John 3:1-7), the Jew and the Greek have spiritual equality in Christ with all who are born again. But the Jew is still physically a Jew and the Greek is still physically a Greek, and as such they were still subject to the laws of their day.

The second illustration continues with that of bond and free, or slave and master. Salvation made the slave spiritually free, but it did not make the slave physically free. The slave still served an earthly master.

Then, the third illustration continues with male and female. Spiritual equality is not role equivalency and the role of leadership still remains male, while women are in the place of care, protection, and provision.

They wrongly use: Acts 2:16-21 "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh sons and your daughters shall prophesy... ...The sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day...".

 There are also other references for this passage, Joel 2:10, 28-32; Matthew 24:21, 29; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:25; and Revelation 6:12. The correct teaching of this passage in Acts is that this is prophecy still to come. The most notable indication of that is "the sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood...". These are things still to come in the tribulation and will specifically happen with the Nation of Israel, as the verse 32 in Joel 2 declares; Joel 2:32 "...for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance...".

Restating: Leadership is male and God has never changed Him mind on this distinction. Spiritual equality is not role equivalence.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post.
God Bless,
Jane Coley (June 2011)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


written by Jane M. Coley

If you read the first article by this same title, Women In Ministry, thank you for revisiting this subject with me. If you have not, you will find it located below this one.  Now, to continue with the question from the previous article, "What are the ministries that God has ordained for women?".

There are seven areas of service that a women is able to scripturally participate in, of these seven, there are some that God has specifically and distinctively designed only for a woman. It won’t be necessary to identify those specific areas, as that will become obvious from their descriptions.

Before we get into the specific areas of service, I wanted to briefly look at the object lesson that the Apostle Paul taught in I Corinthians 12:12-26. His teaching was not only about the different parts making up the whole, but that each part was needful. We cannot all be ‘the eye’ or ‘the foot’ for just as the physical body has different parts/members/roles/functions, so too must the body of Christ, the church, have different parts/members/roles/functions. It is these differences that bring balance to the whole.

The Apostle Paul goes on to teach that there is not a respecter of parts/members/roles/functions because there is an equality of need. Our roles, within the church, are, by necessity, different. It is this difference that brings balance to the whole; different roles with an equality of need.

Leadership is male and God has never changed His mind on this distinction - spiritual equality is not role equivalency, men and women do have different roles and each is equally needful.

Women of the Bible in Ministry ~ Seven Areas of Service:

1. A "help meet" to her husband. - For a physically, emotionally, and spiritually balanced relationship. - Genesis 2:18-20; Pro. 31:10-12; 12:4; 18:22; 19:14

2. A helper with her husband. - A wife is most successful in her Christian walk when she walks with her husband. You cannot honor God when you harbor dishonor towards your husband.
Priscilla with Aquila - Acts 18:2, 18, 24-26; Romans 6:3; I Corinthians 16:19; II Timothy 4:19 - Together they were most effective for the cause of Christ.
Sarah with Abraham - Hebrews 11:8-11; I Peter 3:5, 6 - It is interesting to note that Abraham took another wife, after Sarah died, and there were concubines, but no other relationship was as effective for God as Abraham and Sarah’s was together.

3. A godly mother to our children. - Proverbs 31:28 
Hannah with her son, Samuel. - I Samuel 1:1-20
Grandmother Lois with her daughter, Eunice, and Eunice with her son, Timothy - II Tim. 1:5
 Deborah who judged and "arose a mother in Israel" to comfort and guide. - Judges 4 and 5
4. A counselor, and teacher of younger women. - Titus 2:3-5
Elisabeth with her cousin, Mary, the mother of Jesus. - Luke 1:36-45, 56
As the example of Sara (Sarah) to the Jewish women. - I Peter 3:1-6
Deborah who "judged Israel... as they came up to her for judgment". Judges 4:4, 5
5. A helper to the sick, the poor, and the needy - ministering to the needs of others - as a soccourer. - Proverbs 31:20; Hebrews 10:24
This is one of the greatest areas of service which is sadly being neglected by women in our churches today - too many women want a more important status in the church than seeing to the physical needs of others.Ruth served her mother-in-law, Naomi, and an entire book of the Bible was dedicated to Ruth.
Esther served her people, and an entire book of the Bible was dedicated to Esther. All Ruth and Esther did was serve others.
Dorcas served other women. - Acts 9:26-29
Phebe succoured many, including Paul. - Romans 16:1, 2
The many women in Jesus’ time who served Him and His disciples with provision of food, a place of rest and comfort, providing a meeting place in their home, which became the early churches. Faithful, serving women anointed Jesus’ body for burial. - Martha and Mary, Salome, Mary Magdalene, Lydia. - Luke 10:38; John 11:2, Mark 15:40; 16:1, 9; Acts 16:14, 15, 40
6. A prayer warrior - one given to prayers and fastings.
Rebekah - Genesis 25:21-24;
Esther - Esther 4:15-17;
Hannah - I Samuel 1:13-28; 2:1-10;
Anna - Luke 2:36-38
7. A witness for Christ.
Anna gave testimony of Jesus "to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem." - Luke 2:38
The woman at the well, the woman of Samaria, told the city "come, see a man..." - John 4:4-30
Many followed Mary and Martha to the tomb of Lazarus. - John 11:45

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  Your comments and questions are welcome.  God bless. ~ Jane

Friday, May 27, 2011

Women In Ministry

With having the opportunity to teach women in Kenya, and in the United States, I can say that the topic of Women in Ministry is of great interest to all women who love the Lord and want to serve Him wholeheartedly. If we asked what the common factor is that prompts us, we would discover the internationally answer is, "my heart was touched". But emotionally stirred is not always Spirit lead.
When we are emotionally stirred, it becomes easy for us to insert our self wholeheartedly into the endeavor of service, believing that this is what we need to do, but is it God’s will or self-will? Both are satisfying and rewarding but only one is right, and that is God’s way.

The most difficult thing about correctly discerning God’s will for our life is first getting self-will out of the way. This means re-evaluating our emotions with Biblical understanding and direction, and committing ourselves to be lead by godly principles.  This means accepting the fact that if it’s not Biblically correct, then it’s not correct.
Knowing what is Biblically correct is not difficult, but it does require diligent study of the Word of God.

Christianity today is stronger than ever in making the ministry a unisex endeavor by giving women the same position as men in the church. Women are peaching, pastoring, leading the song service, teaching Bible doctrine to men, and leading the mixed congregation in prayers and this is not Biblically correct. Spiritual equality is not role equivalency.

Women and men are spiritually equal with God; both are sinners in need of a Saviour; both are able to pray and receive answers to their prayers; both have the ability to read and study the Word of God with discernment. But spiritual equality is not role equivalency and God is very gender specific.

Leadership is male and God has never changed His mind on this distinction. God’s place for women is a place of protection, you cannot be protected if you are in the position of leader or leadership. For an understanding of this Biblical principle (leadership is male and God has never changed His mind on this distinction), consider the Prophets and Prophetesses that are mentioned in the Bible.

Prophets and Prophetesses were not the same. Aside from the obvious, that prophets were male and prophetesses were female, there were some very significant differences between the two.  And, when we fail to understand and appreciate the differences, we also fail to understand and appreciate God, as He established these differences between the two.

The first difference is limitation in number - there are 39 named prophets (male) and hundred’s more unnamed prophets mentioned in the Bible, but there are only 7 named prophetesses (female) and four unnamed prophetesses in the entire Bible. The 7 named prophetesses are: Isaiah’s wife (because she was a prophet’s wife); Jezebel and Noadiah both false prophetesses; Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and Anna are the only godly prophetesses.

The second difference was the God-given gifts to perform miracles and healings, only prophets of God, such as Elijah, Elisha performed miracles and healings. Miriam, Deborah Huldah, and Anna never had such God-given gifts to perform miracles and healing.

The third difference was the penning of the Holy Scriptures. God used (male) Prophets to pen the Holy Scriptures, God never used (female) prophetesses to pen the Holy Scriptures. Prophets had the gift of prophecy (to predict coming events) and were allowed by God to give God-given prophetic utterances; the was revelation of scripture. This prophecy became written Scripture; "holy men of God" penned the Word of God (II Peter 1:21; Palms 45:1b). This prophecy was known as foretelling, and was inspired by God as God revealed previously unknown truth to His prophets. Now, with the complete written Word of God this prophecy gift is no longer given, there is no new revelation of scripture.

Prophetesses had the gift of wisdom and understanding (discernment) to make clear (clarify) that which had already be spoken. For example: When the lost books of the law were found by king Josiah, Huldah told him what would happen, not as a prediction or foreknowledge of future events, but as a clarification of what God had already said would happen to the Nation of Israel, if they forgot God (II Kings 22:1-20). This had already been recorded by Moses in Deuteronomy chapters 28 through 32.

The forth difference was that God never used prophetesses (females) in the role of leadership. The (male) prophets of God were God’s spokesman to His people, these Prophets were confrontational as they publically lead, directed and gave instruction, from God, to His people. For example:

a. Elijah with Ahab and the confrontation with the prophets of Baal. - I Kings chapters 17 and 18
b. God’s calling of (and instruction to) Samuel for the nation of Israel. - I Samuel chapter 3
c. Isaiah and Hezekiah, as a sign of God’s promise the sun went back ten degrees. - II Kings chapter 20

These (female) prophetesses were only used by God to clarify known scripture to a few individuals and did not lead the people. For example:

a. Deborah, while she "dwelt under the palm tree" was a judge, an arbitrator to those who "came up to her for judgment". Judges 4:5
b. Huldah spoke only to the five men sent by Josiah. - II Kings 22:14-18
c. The only group of people lead by Miriam were other women during a time of celebration of how God had saved them from the hand of Pharaoh. - Exodus 15:20, 21

These (female) prophetesses never usurped authority over a man, nor did they foolishly assume a leadership role.

a. The first time Miriam became head-strong with Moses was her last time, God plagued her with leprosy and made her to be shamed for seven days. - Numbers 12:1-16; Deuteronomy 24:9
b. The only woman to assume a leadership role, as a prophetess, was Jezebel. - Revelation 2:20; I Kings chapters 18 and 19.
c. God never held a woman accountable for the failure, or the neglect of leadership, God always holds the man accountable in his role as leader. For example:
1. Adam was accountable to God for sin entering the world, not Eve, even though Eve took the first bite. - Romans 5;12; Genesis 3:6-11
2. Abram (Abraham) was accountable to God for Hagar, not Sarai (Sarah), even though it was Sarah’s idea. - Genesis 16:1-6
3. Moses was accountable to God for neglecting to circumcise his son, not Zipporah, even though Zipporah was the one who refused to circumcise her son. - Exodus 4:24-26
4. David was accountable to God for his sexual sin and murder, not Bathsheba, even though Bathsheba submitted to the seduction. - II Samuel 11;1-57; I Kings 15:5
5. Barak was accountable to God for his neglect of duty, not Deborah, even though Deborah was a judge she was not the leader and she was not answerable to God for this role of leadership. Had Barak failed, Deborah would not have been blamed. - Judges 4:6-16; 5:1, 7, 12; Hebrews 11:32

Every godly woman of the Bible submitted to a male leader: Phebe submitted to Paul (Romans 16:1-27); Miriam submitted to Moses (Numbers 12:1-15); Deborah submitted to Barak (Judges 4:6-16; 5:1, 7, 12; Hebrews 11:32). These male leaders submitted to God.

Now the question that must be asked is, what are the ministries that God has ordained for women? That is a topic for another blog.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bible Reading and Bible Study... there is a Difference

In April (2011) I finished my 8th time reading completely through the Bible (both the Old and New Testaments of the Authorized King James Version) and started my 9th time through in May. These were eight purposely recorded times, so I’m not just guessing that I’ve read the Bible enough to call it eight times through, I actually did.

I don’t say that to be bragging, to be honest, I’ve been saved more than 40 years and I should be able to say I’ve completely read through the entire Bible more than that. So, this post is not about bragging, it’s about encouraging one another.

If you’re like me, you study your Bible often because you have a Sunday School lesson to prepare for, or you have a devotion to give at a Ladies Fellowship, or somebody asked you a Bible question that you’re seeking an answer for, but I often used my Bible study time to count as my Bible reading time, after all, it’s pretty much the same thing... right? And that’s the mistake I think too many Christians make.

Bible study time is not the same as Bible reading time... yes, you have to read to study... but when you study, your mind is focused on one particular topic, unlike when you read and your mind is open to different topics and thoughts. We need to do both, read and study the Bible. There have been many times that the passages of scripture I was reading for the day, were just what I needed for the topic of study I was preparing for, and it could have been missed if I was studying without reading.

I hope you have been encouraged... but I really hope you have been challenged by this posted.

God bless.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

“The Only Way to Heaven... through Jesus,” were the words I heard the preacher say.  It was 1969 and I was a little over 12 years old.  Going to church was a new thing for me, as were the Bible lessons and sermons that I was hearing and learning for the first time. 

I had started going to the Baptist church at the invitation of my friend, Millie, and over the past few months, questions started to stir in my mind.  I was a good girl, shy and quiet, a low-maintenance child, didn’t give my parents trouble, seldom heard from and it was easy for me to get lost in a crowd.  So when I began to hear that sin would keep me from going to heaven, I wondered what the limit was and had I reached it... how bad did a person have to be before they would not be allowed to go to heaven.

Then I heard the preacher say, “The only way to heaven is through Jesus.”  and I knew I had never done anything to get Jesus. I couldn’t get those words, or that thought, out of my mind and I wondered... if Jesus is the only way to heaven, how do I get Jesus?

Mrs. Larry Warren, the pastor’s wife, was the lady that talked with me about salvation.  Salvation... that was a strange word to me, but if it was about getting Jesus and going to heaven, I wanted to know more.  As she talked I was still getting over my timidness and didn’t quite get what she was saying, but her kind and gentle manner put me at ease and I began to listen and understand.  “We are all sinners” she said and began to explained that telling lies was an evidence of sin.  Lies... I was a good kid but even I couldn’t say that I had never lied, I was sure that would’ve been a lie!  After all, my Dad had taught his children the value of truth.  Dad used to tell us, “You kids better never lie to me.  I’ll beat you if I catch you in a lie.  If you get in trouble, I’ll do my best to help you through the trouble, but don’t you ever lie to me!”  Our Dad never lied to us, and when Dad said it, we knew he meant it.  And then I reasoned... if my Dad hates lies that much and wouldn’t put up with lies in his house, then it was equally true that the Heavenly Father would not want lies in His heaven.  I was sinner... I wasn’t going to go to heaven... it wasn’t about how much bad I had done, it was about not being good enough for heaven... that’s why I needed Jesus; “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Jesus died on the cross... I always knew that, but I never understood why He had to.  Then I began to understand, sin is a debt that must be paid and the price of sin is death; “for the wages of sin is death...”.

Jesus rose from the grave... I always knew that, too, and I always knew it was bodily that Jesus lived again, He was not just a spirit, but the impact of what that meant was something I did not understand.  He was, and is, the conqueror of death, the grave could not hold Him.  He is the only one who could die to pay the penalty of sin and live again in victory over death to make salvation the gift of eternal life; “...the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ...”. (Romans 6:23)

Most people know John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” but few understand its meaning.  For the first time, as simply as I could understand it, I would never be good enough for heaven because I was a sinner and the fact that I was able to tell lies was evidence of this truth. Jesus could take me to heaven as the One who had died and paid the penalty of sin (as well as the entire world) and lives again, but I needed to believe and put my trust in this truth.  “...if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  (Romans 10: 9, 10)

The things I knew (Jesus died on the cross... Jesus bodily arose from the dead...) and the things I had learned (I am a sinner... The only way to heaven is through Jesus.) began to come together in my mind and I understood my need.  Then, beyond the understanding part was the confession and calling part, and I needed to pray.  “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  (Romans 10:13)

I had never prayed before and so Mrs. Warren gave me the words to say, but the words would have been empty without the sincerity of my heart making my request to God, and I knew this.  The prayer was something like this:
Dear Jesus,
I know I am a sinner, and I know I cannot go to heaven without You. I believe You died on the cross for my sins, and I believe You rose from the dead to live again.  Please forgive me of my sins, and take me to heaven when I die.  I trust completely in You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

We had been kneeling at the church altar when I asked Jesus to save me, we then stood, and I remember a feeling like a weight had been taken off of my shoulders.  I remember rolling my shoulders backwards at relief from the weight, and I said to myself, “So that’s what it feels like to have the burden of sin lifted, and I didn’t even know the burden was there, until it was gone.” and it felt good.  I began to cry because I was thankful, but I didn’t tell anybody about the lifted weight feeling, I thought they would tell me I was just dizzy from kneeling down and standing too fast.
This moment in my life was more than 40 years ago, but it’s a moment that I have never forgotten.  Now that I’m older, I know I’ve had that dizzy feeling from kneeling and standing too fast often enough to know the difference.  The burden of sin was lifted from my shoulders years ago... and it still feels good.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When the Lions Eat... can hear the crunch of bones and smell the blood of the fresh kill. 

We were in the Nairobi Game Park with our son, Billy, shortly before he was to return to the states.  Billy had come to Kenya to be the interim pastor for the few months we were gone on furlough.  He is our only son and the oldest of four sisters, and let me tell you, his sisters will all say he’s the best brother in the world.  He’s a young man of outstanding character with a quiet disposition and he feels the call of God on his life to return to Kenya as a missionary in his own right.  Billy is single and looking... waiting for God’s choice.

It was early morning when we entered the game park and found the pride of nine lions finishing the last of what appeared to be a wildebeest.  They were content and looking very sleepy as the morning sun began to warm the day, they heaved their full bodies to a standing position and headed for the shade of a nearby tree. 

We were cautions, after all, these are wild animals in their natural habitat and there are no fences between you and them, but we felt the risk of getting closer was minimal judging from the fullness of their bellies.  I was on the video camera as my son crouched closer with his camera to get better shots of the satisfied pride.  With our car doors open and ready for a quick escape, we were thrilled to be so close to one of God’s most fearsome creations in their natural environment.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lunch with Juliet and Her Family

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and Juliet had invited us to have lunch with her and her family.

The Nzyuko Family have been members of our church since 1998 (shortly after we arrived in Kenya) and through the years our friendship together has grown.

Peter, her husband, was unexpectedly put out of work when the company he worked for ceased to exist when the Twin Towers in New York were destroyed by terrorists on 9-11 (2001). I don’t know how his job in Kenya was tied to the Twin Towers, but it was. The family was then desperate to quickly find another source of income and Juliet asked me for work. With Juliet’s coming to work for me, our friendship deepened and the Lord knit our hearts together in a special way. We have shared sorrows and joys, culture differences and food...
...oh my goodness... Juliet loves American potato salad!!! I don't think I have ever seen a person enjoy potato salad like Juliet does... I have seen her eat a dinner plate full of potato salad and still hope there was more for later.
But this Sunday was a day to enjoy lunch and fellowship with the Nyzuko Family.

Add caption
Sunday lunch with Juliet and her family was a wonderful day. I tried to help Juliet in her kitchen but the room was so small that one person could stand in the same spot and reach the sink and the hot plate all with a slight turn to the left or right. We laughed together at how small the room was and how I should go outside and reach my arms through the window to help her with the dishes. 

Our meal was delicious and included my favorite food , sukuma wiki, we also had mixed beans, and rice. In the U.S., we would know sukuma wiki as kale and here in Kenya it is fried with onions and tomatoes.

Peter and Juliet have three children, Victor, Vannessa, and Vincent and the other day, I received this text message on my phone written just like this:
Now, if you’re having as much trouble as I had in deciphering that message, let me help you:
Hi Mrs. Coley I know that you do not know me let me introduce myself. I am the one and only Vannessa the daughter of Julie I miss you and Pastor Coley. 3rd April 2011

Having fun with the camera.   
This is Victor, his is now 15 and is away at boarding school most of the time.
Vannessa and Vincent.

Vincent, the baby of the family, may be quiet with words but he’s not quiet with actions and keeps his momma busy as she tries to anticipate his next move.

We love this family and we are so thankful for their Godly testimony.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Outside My Door

This is a view outside my door in Kenya.  For the last 8 years we lived on the edge of the Nairobi Game Park and saw wild animals on a daily basis; zebra, giraffe, ostrich, rhino, cheeta, lion, wilderbeast, heartbeast, impala, and a few others... everything except elephants are found in this game park and that's because the park is actually too small for elephants.
As we move in a little closer, you can begin to see the zebra dotted in the area above the catus plants that edged our yard. Since this picture was taken during the rainy season, and the grass was fresh, it was an attraction for many animals.

An even closer look. The zebra are close enough to us that we are able to hear them bray, and it sounds very much like a donkey. As a matter of fact, the Swahili word for zebra is "punda mlia" which means "crying donkey".
And one last close-up picture for good measure.

Now a few of our other near neighbours.

This was an exciting place to live, on the edge of the Nairobi Game Park, and the 8 years we spent there were filled with many different views of many different animals and many different weather affects. We saw the place 'dry as a bone', well, actually it could get so dry that we envied the days when it was 'dry as a bone'. :o)  Then, the rains would come and we would watch as the sheets of rain would cause our world to vanish before our eyes and we could not even see the rock wall that was part of our front yard.  This place was always the spot of a double rainbow and the rainbow's end... sorry, no 'pot of gold' was ever found there... but this is Kenya, and I'm sure it went missing years ago. :o)

If you look close, you can lightly see the second rainbow above the one that is visible.
And, this area was also a good spot to view Mt. Kilimanjaro, on a clear day.

Then, to the far right of this same spot, we had a wonderful view of the Ngong Hills, made famous in the book "Out of Africa" written by Karen Blixen (though I don't remember if this book actually was printed with that name, or another name she often wrote under).
Not a very good picture of the Ngong Hills, this is facing west into the setting sun and we enjoyed the view of the setting sun over Ngong Hills.
Ngong Hills would be father to the right of the tree.

But, God did not call us to Kenya just to view the wonderful and amazing sights of His marvelous creation, this was just a benefit of following His will for our lives.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

After 33 Years

My younger brother, Jimmy, high school photo 1976.

To hear my brother tell it, he began drinking when he was 18, but being his older sister by 14 months, I can tell you his drinking habit was well establish by that time. Where he got it or how he got it, it is a mystery to me because our parents, though unchurched, were not drinkers and never had any liquor of any sort in the house. By the time my brother was 27 he had already lost jobs, lost girl-friends, and had suffered alcohol induced diabetic comas where we were called to his bedside because he was not expected to make it through the night. Then in January, 2003, my mom and sister called me and tearfully asked me to come home from Kenya. Jimmy, at age 44 was dying with cirrhosis of the liver. All his vital organs were starting to shut down, and it was recommended that he go into a hospice care program.

Even though our paths were very different, Jimmy always had respect for me. When we were in our mid-teens, Jimmy had a friend come by to visit. When his friend started using foul language, Jimmy told the guy to stop. His friend said, “Why, you say the same stuff!”. My brother told him, “Yeah, but not in front of my sister. She goes to church and she doesn’t like that kind of stuff, so I’m telling you, don’t do it.” I had never said anything to my brother about how he spoke in front of me. I think it was because of this respect that Jimmy would often call me to talk about spiritual things. Though Jim was seldom sober at those times, I took the opportunities to keep the door of communication open and to be a witness to him.

After the call from my mom and sister, arrangements were made for me to leave alone within the next 3 days. Not an easy task when you have to book connecting flights from Nairobi, to Amsterdam, to Chicago, with a re-boarding in Memphis before continuing on to Arkansas. And, since this was 2003, the tragedy of 911 had established new guidelines. My quick arrangements had raised warning flags at every point of my journey. I was scrutinized at every opportunity both going and on my return trip.

When I arrived home, I went directly from the airport to the hospital where my brother was still in the ICU. For the next two months, while Jimmy was in and out of the hospital, going back and forth to the doctor’s, as well as receiving out-patient care for the tapping of his swollen abdomen, I took every opportunity to witness to him until he finally told me, “I don’t want to hear any more and that’s as nice as I’ll be about it, don’t talk to me about this any more. Respect me enough to leave me alone.” My heart sank, but I returned the respect my brother had shown to me and refrained from saying too much.

Being home for those 2 months was one of the most emotional times I have ever experienced concerning the eternal destiny of a loved one! I could see my brother getting closer to death as his physical features changed, and I could feel his life slipping away as each day passed, knowing he wasn’t saved. All the prayers had been prayed. All the attempts to witness had been made. He was on the edge of life with the shadow of death getting nearer, and yet he continued to say “I guess I’m not ready yet.” There was nothing else I could do but Rest in the Lord, trusting Him to honor 33 years of prayer and witnessing on my brother’s behalf.

Walking into my brother’s ICU room on a Friday morning (March 14, 2003), with my older brother and Mom, we found Jimmy unusually quiet. After a few minutes, Jimmy turned to me and said, “I think I’m ready.” My mom was standing nearest him and asked what he was ready for, while my older brother walked out of the room. In frustration Jimmy answered, “Mom, I think I’m ready to die!” As only a mother would, Mom told him, “Oh, no Jim, you’re going to be alright. You’ve made it through tough times before. You’ll be alright.” Our visit was short because this was the ICU. When I returned later, alone, Jimmy had been medicated and could not respond to any conversation.

It was on a Saturday morning when I next saw Jimmy but he didn’t want to talk about spiritual things. Mom and I left and later returned for the afternoon visit. My sister’s pastor also came by. Pastor Hill asked Jimmy if he could have prayer for him. My brother’s response to this question was startling to me. Jimmy sat up straight and quickly glanced at me and then back to Mom with a very startled look on his face, all the while Pastor Hill was explaining that this was just a prayer of comfort and that many people found it to be a great comfort when they were in the hospital not knowing how things would turn out for them. My brother gave permission for Pastor Hill to pray and then I realized what Jimmy was thinking. He thought this was it, the prayer you prayed when you want to go to heaven, but Jimmy didn’t pray, and it was obviously only a prayer of comfort offered by Pastor Hill.

It was later that same day that my mother and I returned for the last visit of the day. Jimmy was in a very bad mood, and so, Mom and I just sat quietly in the room. There were times when Jimmy could be so mean. He had hurt our mom and dad so deeply with his words and actions that their emotional pain became a physical pain, and they wished they could separate their lives from his. But Mom and Dad never turned their backs on their son. They suffered - they suffered greatly waiting for any ray of hope that would return their son to them, the son who had been stolen from them through his self-indulgence of drugs and alcohol. Loved ones wait, but they don’t wait without hurting, and they don’t wait without sacrificing their own peace and happiness.

I sat in the chair of Jim’s ICU room thinking I couldn’t witness to him again. I didn’t want him turning to God in his last hours of need and using God as if God were some sort of lotto ticket he could try his luck with and then throw away if things didn’t work out. But the Lord spoke to my heart with these questions: “What if you were suffering the physical pain he was suffering, even though you knew you had inflicted it yourself? What if you were suffering the emotional pain of wasted years, knowing you had caused it yourself? What if you were suffering the loneliness as the result of abandoning your loved ones for your own self-indulgences? What if you were finally facing what you knew all along, - ‘I am going to die and go to hell!’?” And I knew at that moment, I would be angry at the world, just like my brother was. I realized, that for the first time in my brother’s life, Jimmy had finally stopped blaming others for his failures and his problems, and had finally accepted everything as his own fault. That, in itself, is a painful experience, especially when you have spent your lifetime blaming others, and justifying yourself to yourself.

Then I heard Jimmy speaking to me. He said, “Jane, I want you to pray for me.” Never before had Jimmy asked me to pray for him. I stepped closer to his bedside, and he took my hands. I held his hands as tightly as he was holding mine. I remember thinking, “He’s trying to hold onto life itself.” My brother then said, “Jane, I want you to save me.” I said, “Jimmy, you know it’s not me that can save you; it’s God.” Jimmy’s response was, “Well whatever it is, I want it.” I told Jimmy that he needed to trust Christ and said, “You know you’re a sinner!” Jimmy’s response was, “I know that for sure! I’ve never done anything good.”

With the many times I had talked with my brother about his need of salvation, there wasn’t too much more I could tell him that he didn’t already know. But, there was still one thing I needed to know for my brother, and it was in that moment that my understanding of my brother was made very clear to me. I said to him, “Jim, there is one thing I have learned about you, and that is that you have never trusted anyone in your entire life. I don’t know why, but I know you have never trusted anyone, not the doctors, not the nurses, not Mom or Dad, not anyone.” My brother’s response was, “You’ve got that right.” I don’t know why Jimmy had such a problem with trusting people, but this was going to be his most difficult obstacle to overcome. Then Jimmy said to me, “Well you’ve trusted God most all of your life.” I said, “And I can tell you this, you can trust God.” I think Jimmy needed to borrow some faith that day - some faith from a life well lived for Christ, something consistent that he could look back over the years and say, “This is real!” So Jimmy took what little faith he had and borrowed the rest he needed, and we prayed.

I prayed for my brother, asking the Lord to help him to have faith to trust Him. When I had finished praying, I saw the face of my brother. His eyes were still closed and tears were streaming down his face. I said to him, “Jim, if you want to go to heaven when you die then pray this prayer with me meaning it with all of your heart.” Jimmy prayed the sinner’s prayer with me, and when we were finished, he looked across at our mom. Mom was quietly sitting in a chair looking out the glass door of the ICU room we were in. Jimmy turned back to me and said, “I wonder how much Mom heard.” Mom has a hearing problem and has to be focused on you just to be sure she can hear what is being said. I said to Jimmy, “I don’t know, why don’t you tell her.” Jimmy called to Mom and said, “Mom, Jane just saved me!” I know it wasn’t me, but if you were a 44 year old man that only went to church for funerals or weddings and spent most of your life running from God and trying to “drown” your sorrows with alcohol, how would you put it?

I had nine days left before I returned to Kenya and needed to see something to reassure me that Jimmy had really gotten saved and had not just prayed a prayer hoping his life would turn around for the best. My first reassurance was in knowing my brother. This was a serious topic with him, and the respect he had for me would never allow him to “use” me or God in that way. Later, Mom and I walked into his hospital room, and he was watching a religious program on TV, not something my brother would have ever gotten caught doing before. A few days later, Jimmy was discharged from the hospital and put into hospice care. When the nurse came by the house to do all the paperwork and medical checks, she asked Jimmy if he wanted a Chaplin to come and visit him. Jimmy told the nurse, “No, I’ve already got one,” pointing to me standing behind him. Jimmy went on to say, “Thanks to my sister, I’ve made my peace with God. And you know what? I’ve got all her church and my other sister’s church praying for me. I’ve even got people in Africa praying for me.” The nurse said to him, “And now you have one more praying for you.” But probably the moment that was most significant to me, and to those who knew my brother, was the day I needed to pick my mom up from the hairdresser. This was just a few days before I had to leave and as I was going out to use the car that had been loaned to me, Jimmy said, “Hey, you can take my truck if you want to.” I told my brother it was fine, that I could use the car. But Jimmy kept on insisting even telling me I could take it anywhere I wanted. Now his truck was a brand new, beautiful white truck, and nobody touched his truck, but that day he let me drive it and actually gave me free reign to use it when I wanted. When I pulled up in my brother’s truck to get Mom, there was a look of astonishment on Mom’s face as she said, “I am amazed! What did you do to rate driving your brother’s truck.” “Nothing mom! Jimmy finally learned how to trust Someone other than himself.”

Sixteen weeks later, Jimmy went home to be with the Lord on July 6, 2003. It was my sister’s pastor who preached his funeral. Mom had emailed me about a week after I had returned to Kenya with this note; “...the social worker wrote everything down and then asked Jimmy if he wanted the Chaplin to come out and he said, ‘No, I have made my peace with God thanks to my sister,’ so you did a lot for your brother." This was now the second time Jimmy had made this same statement.

Our next furlough was January, 2004, and it was at this time that my mom showed me Jimmy’s wallet. Folded and tucked away inside Jimmy’s wallet was a newspaper clipping he had saved. As I unfolded the article, I noticed it was dated February 2001. It had been clipped from a Baptist paper, and it was the plan of salvation. Jimmy took it seriously.

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Help Meet"

Help Meet
(This is Part 2 of a 2 part session.)
Written by : Jane M. Coley, Missionary Wife       Date: February 5, 2011

Goal: To help build stronger families through understanding God’s design for the help meet.
Scripture Reference: Genesis 2:7-9, 15-25; Ephesians 5:21-33; I Peter 3:1-7
Introduction: God created the universe and all that is therein.  God then created Adam, and sometime later, God created his wife.  But before she was called a wife, she was called a woman, and before she was called a woman, she was called an “help meet” by God.
  The words “help meet” are only found together in verses 18 and 20 of Genesis chapter 2 (KJV).  Together these words are referring to a matching mate for Adam/Man.  The Woman was designed to be an help meet, but she was not designed to help the man with his labor, nor was she designed to work for the Man.  God gave no occupational instructions to the woman.  God had another purpose for the design of a woman, an help meet.
   I. Understanding God’s design of the help meet.
 A. Adam did not need help with the labor that God had given him to do.
     1. Adam was to dress and keep the garden of Eden, and name every living creature. Genesis 2:15, 19
     2. These occupational instructions for Adam were given and accomplished before Adam was introduced to his wife. Genesis 2:20
     3. While in the process of naming every living creature, Adam began to see a pattern and realized there was no matching mate for him, Adam/Man was alone.
 B. God’s design of an help meet was because Adam/Man was alone.
     1. Man being alone was the only thing about God’s creation that was not good.
     2. Adam/Man alone meant he had needs.
         a. He had no one of like-kind to interact with.
         b. He had no matching mate to bear offspring with.
         c. He had no matching mate to share his life with.
 C. God’s design would be specific to Adam/Man’s needs. Genesis 2:18, 21-25
     1. God had designed the needs in man, and God would provide the help to meet the needs of man.
     2. God designed Adam/Man as a triune being with a body, a soul, and a spirit.
     3. It is this tri-unity of Man that Woman was specifically designed to help meet the needs of.

 II. Understanding God’s design of the needs He put into Man.
 A. God designed woman to interact with man on three levels; physical, emotional, and spiritual.
     1. Men and women are not the same, and ironically, it is this difference between them which results in the best design for a balance of the husband and wife relationship.
         a. God designed the difference to be a compatible relationship. (well-matched)
         b. But Satan uses the design to create a combatant relationship. (fighting)
         c. Satan has been trying to destroy the relationship of a husband and wife since the Garden of Eden.
     2. God did this by making men and women different on these three levels; physically different, emotionally different, and spiritually different.
     3. It is this difference which best produces a balanced relationship.
 B. A woman is an help meet not by her function... but by God’s design.
     1. In example: I have a car, we know it’s a car by its design.  But if the car does not run, does it cease to be car?  No.  It is a car by its design, even though it does not function, it is still a car.
     2. In like manner, a woman is an help meet by God’s design; it is what she is... not what she does that makes her an help meet.
     3. But because a woman is an help meet, she should desire and want to choose to be a good help meet, which is being a good wife and mother. Proverbs 31:10-31 (with attention to verse 12)
 C. These needs were designed by God to cause Man to “cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh”, bonding them together on all three levels. Genesis 2:24
     1. If a wife was created to work for and serve her husband, those are duties that any servant is able to comply with.
     2. An help meet serves... but an help meet is not a servant.
     3. The marriage relationship is designed by God to be unique, unequaled to any other relationship.

III. Understanding God’s design of the triune bonding between a husband and his wife.
 A. Our different physical design has three purposes...
      1.  Designed different to be a balancing matching pair.
      2.  Designed different for mutual sexual enjoyment. Proverbs 5:18-19; Song of Solomon
      3.  Designed different for producing offspring together. Psalms 127:2-5; Genesis 1:28
 B. Our different emotional design is to bring an emotional balance to the marriage relationship.
     1. A man will focus on the facts of a matter, while a woman will focus on the emotions, with the two working together this is to bring emotional balance to the relationship.
         a. Your children need the emotional balanced relationship of a dad and a mom to guide them.
         b. A parent’s balanced relationship gives to their children security  in the home, children feel loved and wanted.
         c. This balance helps the two of you to hold on to each other through the difficult times of life.
     2. A woman is God’s most emotional creation.
         a. This emotional design of a woman gives her the ability to comfort others while she herself is suffering.
         b. This emotional design helps a woman to “read” the needs in others - woman’s intuition.
         c. This emotional design helps a woman to bend without breaking - pliable.
     3. These emotions in a woman help her to be the one adjusting (bending without breaking) to the many changes in her life, as well as of her life.  In example:  Much like Sarah’s journey with Abraham and Sarah becoming a mother at 90 years old. I Peter 3:6; Hebrews 11:8-12
         a. Sarah was able to call her husband “my lord” not because she was commanded to do so, but because she lovingly wanted to.
         b. Sarah and Abraham never blamed each other for the troubles in their life, they were together (in agreement) through the troubles of life, holding on to each other.
 C. Our different spiritual design.
     1. Men and women are spiritual equal; both are sinners in need of a Saviour; both have equal access to God in prayer; both are able to receive answers to their prayers.
     2. But our spiritual function/role as men, and as women is different by God’s design. I Peter 3:7
         a. This verse (I Peter 3:7) shows both our spiritual equality with God. “ being heirs together of the grace of life...”
         b. And our role distinctions with God. “ honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel...”
         c. Weaker vessel as in that which is to be protected and cared for.
     3. With God, leadership is male and the place of submission is female. I Timothy 2:11-14; I Corinthians 11:3; 14:34, 35; I Peter 3:1-6; Hebrews 13:17
         a. God designed this  “chain of command” for a wife’s protection and provision. Ephesians 5:21-33
         b. As the church is subject unto Christ, so to is a wife to submit to her husband’s leadership.
         c. And, within the church, leadership continues to be male and all positions of leadership are male.
       1. The key words: lead, leading, leadership.
       2. Men are to lead in teaching older boys; men are to lead in congregational singing and congregational prayers.
       3. Men, by God’s design, are to be the spiritual leaders of the home and the church.
           a. God holds the man accountable to his function/role of leader/leadership. Numbers 30:1-16
           b. Three scriptural examples:
  *  It was Eve who took the first bite of the forbidden fruit, but God looked for Adam to give an account because Adam was accoountable to God on this matter. Genesis 3:9, 10
  * It was Sarai/Sarah’s idea to give her maid, Hagar, to Abram/Abraham but even Sarah recognized that her wrong was upon Abraham and he was accountable to God. Genesis 16:1-5
  * It was Zipporah who refused to circumcise her son but God sought to kill Moses for the disobedience; Moses was accountable to God on this matter. Exodus 4:24-26

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Unique Unity

I didn't grow up in a Christian family, so God was never first in their lives, but my parents were married for 45 yrs before Dad died. Don't get me wrong, God is VERY important!!!! But Christian homes are wrecked by divorce at almost the same rate as non-Christian... there's more in the element of staying together when non-Christians are able to succeed at marriage too.

That element is commitment, and even ungodly people are able to make lifelong commitments to one another. The hindrance to commitment is selfishness, when people become selfish they cease to be self-giving and marriage takes a lot of self-giving.

Marriage is not based on the needs and desires of one, marriage is a process of blending the hearts of two into the desire of us - a unique unity of us as one. Divorce is the result of the process of self-thinking, instead of us-thinking.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Understanding Biblical Submission

written by:   Jane M. Coley, Missionary Wife                 Date:  February 3, 2011

Goal:  To help build stronger families through understanding God’s design of submission.
Scripture Reference: Colossians 3:12-17 and 18-24; Ephesians 5:21-33
Introduction: While speaking at a ladies fellowship, here in Kenya, I (Jane Coley) was asked this question, “How far, with this submission thing, is a woman to take it?”.  I asked for an explanation to better understand the question and the woman said, “I have a friend who is a very godly woman and her husband often beats her. When I asked her why she puts up with it, she said it was because the Bible teaches that she is to submit to her husband.”.
   This is the same question I want to answer for you today... How far are we, as women, to take this submission thing?

 (This is Part 1 of a 2 part session.  Part 2 - Help Meet)
I. Understanding What Submission Is Not.
     A. Submission is not grievous.
     B. Submission is not bondage, as in making you feel like you are a slave to the wishes and wants of someone else.     
     C. Submission is not a punishment on women.  God is not punishing women because Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.
     D. Submission is not restricted to the marriage relationship and a wife’s behaviour with her husband.

II. Understanding What Submission Is.
     A. Submission is a godly character trait that every Christian is to emulate (copy). Colossians 3:12-17
     B. Submission is an authority order, a chain of command.
          1. Submission is not restricted to the relationship of the wife with the husband, submission covers a list of other relationships as well, from the servant with his master, to Christ with God. I Corinthians 15:28; Hebrews 5:8; John 4:34; 6:38; Philippians 2:8
          2. It is interesting to note that every portion of scripture that speaks about a wife’s submission to her husband, is found within “a list”. Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18; I Peter 3:1, 5 (look for “the list”)
      C. Submission is an accountability to God.  Hebrews 13:17
      D. Submission is a place of protection and provision.  Those to whom we are to submit to, are responsible for taking care of us.
            1.  The example set forth is that a husband is to love and care for his wife in the same manner as Christ loves and cares for His Church. Ephesians 5:21-33
                  a. Christ’s death on the cross was to protect the unsaved from hell by providing salvation to those who would believe.  John 3:16
                  b. Christ suffered physical to prove his love and care for us. Romans 5:6-8
           2. A husband is to be concerned for his wife, and he needs to be willing to assist her with her burdens just as we, as Christian, are able to expect assistance from Christ. - Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

III. Understanding the Purpose of Submission.
      A. God’s purpose of submission is for it to balance ALL our relationships. Ephesians 5:21 “Submitting one to another in the fear of God.”
Romans 12:10 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”
I Peter 5:5b “...Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
      B. The purpose of submission is for all things to be done decently and in order.
             1. God is not the author of confusion and there is nothing more confusing than to not know who the leader is; the one responsible and accountable. I Corinthians 14:33, 40
            2. Therefore, God designed this chain of command - servants submit to masters, children submit to parents, wife submits to husband, husband submits to Christ, Christ submits to God.  (The Church submits to Christ.) Ephesians 5:21-33
      C. The purpose of submission is to serve the Lord Christ through serving others. Colossians 3:17-18, 23-24 (see the verses posted earlier)
            1. Even the Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself to serve others.
                  a. With His death on the cross. - Philippians 2:3-8
                  b. By washing the disciples’ feet. - John 13:3-15 Vs. 14 - “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
            2. The teaching of Jesus Christ, by example, is clear, the greatest among us is a servant to ALL.
Matthew 20:27  “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:”
Matthew 23:11  “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”
Mark 9:35  “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.”
Mark 10:44, 45  “And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Friday, February 18, 2011

Banana-skinned Christian?

Four Types of “Fruity” Christians

By Jane M. Coley

Are you sometimes a banana-skinned Christian, easily bruised, allowing the things others say and do to easily offend you? Or maybe you’re sometimes like another type of fruit...  I’ve learned that when I start to let my emotions get the best of me, it’s evidence of my lack of how near I have drawn myself to God.  Be aware, Christian friend, what it takes to offend you is the reflection of your quiet-time with God. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you...” James 4:8

 1.)  Thin skinned / soft fruit - such as - Grapes, Kiwi, Peaches, Plums.

These fruits are usually expensive because they take so much special care. They can be damaged so easily. Their skin is thin and it doesn’t protect the soft fruit from damage, it's only enough to keep the fruit from getting dirty.

 *These Christians are high-maintenance people and they are offended often and easily. You have to watch what you say around them because they are so sensitive, it's like walking on egg shells. They are the type of Christian who struggles with being faithful to church because they are somewhere else nursing another emotional injury waiting for someone to “pet” on them.

 2.)  Thin skinned / hard fruit - such as - Apples.

The appearance of this fruit can be deceiving because this fruit often rots from the inside out. It also bruises easily.

 *This Christian has become emotionally hard in order to protect themselves. But all the while, they are rotting away on the inside from all the bitterness they are harboring. They are not joyful Christians, their pleasure is in  the calamities of others.

 3.)  Thick skinned / soft fruit - such as - Bananas, Oranges, Grapefruits.

The skin of these fruits seem to be able to hold up to normal bumping around, but it’s not until you open them up that you find the fruit inside has been bruised.

 *These Christians are easily crossed or offended but will usually keep quiet until they find their moment to lash out, and, like their fruit counterpart, they can be very acidic with others - hurting others because they have been hurt. They also like to gossip.

 4.)  Tough skinned / soft fruit - such as - Passion Fruit.

The skin of this fruit is almost like a shell protecting the delicate fruit inside. This fruit does not have to be handled cautiously, it can take some stress while the inside fruit is still soft, almost liquidity, and delicious.

 *This is the type of Christian we need to be. Strong enough on the outside to take the offenses of this world, while still tender enough on the inside to have compassion for others.    

Be aware, Christians, what it takes to offend you is a reflection of how much quiet-time (personal devotion) you have with God.
 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalms 119:165. “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” - Proverbs 3:1, 2.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Who I Am

My name is Jane and my husband is Bill. We have been living in Nairobi, Kenya since March of 1998.  We are missionaries with the Baptist Bible Fellowship and our sending church is Faith Baptist in Florida.

I want to say, from the beginning, I throughly enjoy reading the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.  Every time I read other versions of the Bible I find the translation weak, at best, and wrong at their worst.

I also have separation standards that I live by.  For example - I don’t wear pants, I wear dresses and skirts.

I thought I would initiate my blog with this personal information, just to set the record straight on who I am.  I’m not out to start an argument, I have wonderful sisters in Christ, and four beautiful Christian daughters who have different opinions and have made other choices.  But as for me and my personal choice, this is where I stand.

Now, for those of you who seek sincere answers to questions, on these two particular topics, I will be happy to give you the biblical foundation for my standards, but I will not argue with you.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post.
God bless.