Protecting Against Deception – Part 6

To read the first parts of the series, you may do so here.

When a man has been deceived, he doesn’t realize it. In fact, he may even get angry with someone who implies that he has been deceived. That is the way it is with so many Christians today, in that they have taken the bait—hook, line, and sinker—in the greatest deception of the age. How could so many be deceived? Remember, we are deceived far more easily when the deception appeals to the flesh.

Almost everyone with an e-mail account has received a scam e-mail telling him that help is desperately needed. The e-mail will explain in great detail that someone very important and wealthy died, leaving a huge sum of money that is just waiting to be claimed. The e-mail will continue by pointing out that if you will help them, this vast some of money will be yours.

Most people receiving that e-mail know it is fake, yet many people are being fooled by it. There are so many being taken by the scam that when we went to our bank to arrange a money transfer for a missionary in Africa, we had to sign a paper attesting that we had been warned about fraudulent offers. Here we are in little Leavenworth, Kansas, and there had been people from our city who had withdrawn tens of thousands of dollars and wired it overseas with the hope of getting rich.

The bank officer told us that it was usually the elderly who were falling for this hoax. If several from our town have been deceived by this, then think how many around the world are being tricked out of their life savings. What makes the deception so tempting is the fact that it appeals to greed. People want to get rich quick. That is why the lotteries have been so successful in fleecing those who have the least to spend. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The bait appeals to our sinful nature, and we want to believe the lie. That is why so many are deceived.

Even though those reading this would not fall for a hoax such as sending your savings away on a get-rich-quick deception, there is one that is far more serious, and vast numbers of Christians have been hooked by it. Not only have they fallen for it, they will relentlessly defend the deceived position and pressure those who have not been deceived. This is the same progression we see in Psalms 1 concerning the scorner: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Psalms 1:1).

First, the susceptible Christian will listen to the counsel of the ungodly. That bad counsel, which is after the tradition of men (Colossians 2:8), will lead to his taking this ungodly position for himself and standing firm in his belief of it. Finally, the last step is that he will sit in the seat of the scornful and loudly proclaim the deception to be true in his attempt to convert others to this way of thinking.

One way to confirm a deception is to see if Satan promotes it and what the Lord’s position is on it. I want to walk you through one of these deceptions that is devastating to families. This particular deception is the deception that children are burdens and not a blessing and that parents are to decide how many to have.

The phrase “pass through the fire” occurs eleven times in the Old Testament. It referred to a horrific practice of offering one’s children to demonic idols. In Leviticus 18:21, God specifically commanded that the Israelites were not to do it, and He referred to it as an abomination in 2 Kings 16:3. “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 18:21). “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch” (Deuteronomy 18:10). It is clear that Satan’s agenda is to destroy and limit godly seed, but to God this is an abomination.

Egypt, which is an Old Testament type of the world, took a position against godly seed when Pharaoh commanded the midwives to kill all the newborn Hebrew sons. “And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live” (Exodus 1:16). The world, under the “prince of the world,” desperately wants to limit godly seed.

Just this week a man driving a delivery truck was speaking with my sons, Joseph and John. He asked how many children there were in our family, and they told him eight. He replied, “Whew. God said to multiply, and that is what my wife and I did. We multiplied twice, and that is it.” Here he was a professing believer, but he had clearly misapplied Scripture, either intentionally or ignorantly.

The first time God commands “man” to multiply is in Genesis 1:28. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28). It is the first command that God gave man. Also important to note is that it is His first blessing on man. The Hebrew word for “multiply”—raba—according to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament means “become great, many, much, and numerous.” When used in relation to days, raba means a long life; when used with wealth, it means to become rich. As we study the Word of God we can quickly see that “multiply” means to make numerous or many. God told Noah to be fruitful and multiply, and He never rescinded that command for us.

What is God’s heart toward children? In Psalms 115 we are told that the Lord will bless with children. God sees children as a blessing. “The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children” (Psalms 115:14). Probably everyone is familiar with Psalms 127, and in particular verse 3: “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalms 127:3). Here we are told that children are a heritage of the Lord. The word “heritage” means inheritance. Amazingly, they are both an inheritance from the Lord and to the Lord, if they are raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The fruit of the womb is His reward. Next to salvation, children are the greatest reward we have from the Lord. If God calls children an inheritance and reward, why would anyone ever choose to limit children? Could it be because they have listened to Satan’s deception and are not listening to what the Lord is saying?

What if someone phoned you and said, “I have a truckload of gold I would like to give you. Do you want it?” Of course everyone would readily accept it. What if he called again with the same offer? What if a third time? A fourth? People would not say they have too much gold. Could a willingness to receive gold but not children reveal a carnal focus rather than a heart for God? To some that may sound strong, but think about it. Study and meditate on God’s Word and what He has to say about children.

Have you noticed that to justify abortion, people will bring up the extreme circumstances and use them as a reason why abortion should be an option? In the same way, I will receive e-mails from families wanting to let God give them children but detailing all sorts of seemingly impossible situations as to why it seems that the family shouldn’t have more children. However, if God is the giver of children and knows fully every family’s situation, shouldn’t we look to Him to decide whether He gives a child? That is why this area of children is the greatest challenge concerning whether a family is willing to trust God with all of their lives.

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). A very reasonable application of this verse is that parents should allow children to be born into the family. We see Jesus’ love and desire for the children, when even the disciples would send them away.

Just like the e-mail scam, we are vulnerable to the deception concerning children because that deception appeals to our flesh. Children take our time and our finances. We have to deny ourselves if we are going to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They are often inconvenient, causing us not to be able to do what we want to do. When viewed from a fleshly position, life is easier without children.

Through Scripture we can observe God’s position on children as opposed to Satan’s disdain for them. We can then see how great the deception is that has been wrought against Christians. As with any deception, when our eyes are opened to it, we will repent and turn away from it, embracing the Truth instead. In the case of children, may we repent and embrace the good gifts that God wants to give us.

When a Wife Disagrees with Her Husband – Part 6

As we wrap up a six-part Mom’s Corner series on how a wife biblically handles disagreements with her husband, I want to remind you that we are looking at 1 Peter 3:1-6: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

I encourage you to read the whole series since any one of the articles will not give a complete picture. With each of these articles, I have repeated that I am not writing to wives who are in abusive situations.

Here is a mom who has written to me with some specific questions. “Thanks for the Corner on obeying your husband. I can hardly wait to read the next one. I need more info in the future Corners on what a wife speaks up about, and what she should keep quiet about. Should I say something in private if his teasing hurts the kids’ feelings? How do I teach the kids to obey Scripture that goes against what their dad is doing? For example, if he complains and criticizes his boss vehemently, I feel like I need to explain that the kids can’t criticize their dad, and they can’t imitate him either. HELP! I love my husband and I want the kids to respect him, but the things he does are not respectful.” A Questioning Wife

I would suggest that this mom not speak to her husband, even privately, when he has hurt the children’s feelings by teasing—unless he has asked her to point such things out to him. The husband is probably already aware of the children’s reaction to his teasing. If he won’t stop his teasing when he observes his children’s hurt feelings, I would be surprised if he would respond well to his wife bringing it up. However, when he has a good conversation with them, the wife could praise and encourage him in what a great father he is and how he is building relationships with his children.

It is true that we want to teach a child not to criticize his father. If the child is being critical, we can help him to think about the positive aspects of his daddy and being grateful for those, even using Scripture. The wife wouldn’t bring up that the child’s father has a critical spirit toward others. When Dad is criticizing his boss, that is a time for Mom to be quiet. She might be able to help alleviate those critical feelings her husband is experiencing by telling him she wants to make him his favorite dessert because of what a hard day he has had or rubbing his neck while expressing her gratitude for his diligent work in a difficult situation. Those expressions of love and tenderness by the wife will be as strong an example to the children as the father’s negative example.

Here is one final question I would like to answer: “If a wife disagrees with a decision a husband has made or a direction he is taking the family, can we express our concerns, one time only (with a correct tone of voice, attitude, etc.), or are we just to pray and never say anything?”

Obviously, in normal conversation between a husband and wife there will be differences of opinion expressed. I think that whether a wife specifically brings up a concern would depend partly on her husband. Does he want her to share? Is he open to her opinion? Has he asked her to let him know whenever she has concerns about what is going on?

My thinking is that for those men who are closed to their wives’ thoughts and opinions, it probably will only put more distance between them if she were to bring up her disagreement, and probably it wouldn’t make any difference to him. However, for the man who wants his wife’s counsel, he will likely receive it from her and consider it in his decision making.

Even though Steve is one of those husbands who would welcome and listen to my concerns and disagreements, I find it is very easy for me to fall into a pattern of sharing any and all of them that I have. That leads me to a critical, controlling spirit rather than being the helpmeet that I want to be. I personally prefer to choose to pray—because of 1 Peter 3—unless Steve asks me for my opinion or thoughts. To be sure, I am still growing in this area and sometimes say something when I would rather have just prayed about it. However, I also have the sweet victory of being much quieter than I was early in our marriage when it comes to disagreements. The direction Steve takes when it isn’t the way I would choose is, more often than not, just fine. If it isn’t, it is a lesson from the Holy Spirit, which is so much better than from a controlling wife.

There are numberless questions that could be asked on this topic. I would never be able answer them all, nor would it be my place. Each wife must study Scripture, pray, and apply what she is learning in her spiritual walk in a practical sense when those disagreements with her husband arise. I can only share what I have learned and practiced in my own life.

Here are three audio resources that might be helpful to wives that deal with the topic of a wife who disagrees with her husband, which I recommend and which we carry at Titus2.com:

The Attitude No Lady Should Have, by Dr. S.M. Davis

How a Wife Can Use Reverence to Build or Save Her Marriage, by Dr. S.M. Davis

Loving Your Husband, by Teri Maxwell

I would like to conclude this Mom’s Corner series with another testimony to encourage wives to win their husbands without a word by their meek and quiet spirit while trusting in God.

“I am a homeschooling mom to 4 that has been blessed tremendously through the years by your monthly columns. This month’s message about honoring our husbands truly resonated with me. I have been married almost 22 years and it has been very difficult because I have not been obedient to Scripture, and I am so glad that you are teaching on these passages.

“I married my husband during a rebellious period of my life when I had turned my back on the Lord. I was a believer, and he was not. When I was expecting our first child, I was overwhelmed with conviction about how wrong I was living my life, and I gave myself back over to the Lord.

“My husband was confused and aggravated over my zeal to re-embrace my faith, and difficult times began. I thought it was my job to bring him kicking and screaming into the kingdom of God. I wanted him to have an earth-shattering conversion experience and become the perfect Christian husband. I thought God needed my help, and I did everything wrong and in my own strength. I know the Lord knew my motives were right but my actions were wrong. I was ignorant of what 1 Peter 3 taught, but eventually I began to realize how blessed I was that my unbelieving husband was content to dwell with me. However, there were still many problems. I began to make an idol out of my husband becoming a believer, and it began to consume my thoughts and my life, and I was sorely discontent and began a mindset of negativity and anger.

“It took a lot of time, but with biblical counsel from a dear pastor at my church, I began to realize that I was the problem. I needed to get on my knees and beg God to change my heart and forgive all the sin in my life because of my wrong thinking of this situation. I began to realize that forgiveness and a desire to bless my husband was the right way to think. I began to see him as a gift from God for me to love in spite of his sin and wrong ways. I began to realize that God would work in my husband’s life in His own way and time. I could trust the Lord and wait.

“My husband is now a believer. After 21 years of marriage I finally have a whole family in church together in the Lord.” A Victorious and Blessed Wife

This series has taken six months to complete, and we have covered only one passage in the New Testament instructing wives. Wives have great potential to influence the atmosphere of their homes in all areas, but particularly in the area of how to deal with times of disagreement with her husband. She can choose to be quiet, with a meek spirit—leading to a peaceful home and perhaps the winning of her husband to the biblical path. She can also choose to express her opposition, and no matter how nicely she manages to do this, it will create conflict. What choice will you make?