Central church of Christ 

New Smyrna Beach, Fl 

Sunday Bible Study, 9am.    Sunday Worship, 10am & 5 pm.    Wednesday Bible Study, 7pm.

Women's Bible Study Group

The Women's Bible Study Group meets on select Sundays at 3:00 P.M..

Please contact us to learn more:

Thank you for contacting us. We will get back to you as soon as possible
Oops. An error occurred.
Click here to try again.

 

The Family As God Would Have It

By Gene Taylor


DOWNLOAD THIS PDF STUDY NOW!










The Woman Who Fears The Lord

Proverbs 31:10-31











            10        An excellent wife who can find? 

      She is far more precious than jewels. 

            11       The heart of her husband trusts in her, 

      and he will have no lack of gain. 

            12       She does him good, and not harm, 

      all the days of her life. 

            13       She seeks wool and flax, 

      and works with willing hands. 

            14       She is like the ships of the merchant; 

      she brings her food from afar. 

            15       She rises while it is yet night 

      and provides food for her household 

      and portions for her maidens. 

            16       She considers a field and buys it; 

      with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 

            17       She dresses herself with strength 

      and makes her arms strong. 

            18       She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. 

      Her lamp does not go out at night. 

            19       She puts her hands to the distaff, 

      and her hands hold the spindle. 

            20       She opens her hand to the poor 

      and reaches out her hands to the needy. 

            21       She is not afraid of snow for her household, 

      for all her household are clothed in scarlet. 

            22       She makes bed coverings for herself; 

      her clothing is fine linen and purple. 

            23       Her husband is known in the gates 

      when he sits among the elders of the land. 

            24       She makes linen garments and sells them; 

      she delivers sashes to the merchant. 

            25       Strength and dignity are her clothing, 

      and she laughs at the time to come. 

            26       She opens her mouth with wisdom, 

      and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 

            27       She looks well to the ways of her household 

      and does not eat the bread of idleness. 

            28       Her children rise up and call her blessed; 

      her husband also, and he praises her: 

            29       “Many women have done excellently, 

      but you surpass them all.” 

            30       Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, 

      but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 

            31       Give her of the fruit of her hands, 

      and let her works praise her in the gates. 




3 Ways To Find Life-Giving Relationships

by Lysa TerKeurst


Why not spend some time today praying for the friends you have and the friends you’ve yet to meet? God loves to answer those friendship prayers!        


"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works." Hebrews 10:24 (ESV)


I pressed my forehead against my front door window while tears quietly slipped down my cheeks. I watched my husband pull out of the driveway and head off to another day at work. I then turned to look at what my day would hold — a crying baby, a messy house, and an overwhelming feeling of dread. How could this be?


I finally had everything I ever thought would make me happy, fulfilled, significant and satisfied, yet I was more miserable and lonely than I’d ever been. Finally realizing a great husband, healthy baby, and a comfortable house with a flowerbed planted out front, weren’t the answers to ultimate happiness in life, rattled my soul to the core.


There are deep places within our soul that God hand-designed and reserved only for Him to fill.


But my whole life had been focused on getting these other things that I thought would fill me up. So when they fell short, I slid to the ground and cried, "God, I can’t do this. Where do I go from here? How do I find You? Help me!"


A few weeks later, my husband called and said there was a woman in his restaurant who wanted to meet me. I glanced down at my spit-covered sweatpants, ran my hands through my greasy hair, and willed my mind to override the desire to pass on meeting her that day.


I couldn’t handle the relationships I had in my life, I certainly couldn’t make time for more. Plus, if I got too close to women who appeared to have their lives together, they’d judge me for the pitiful way mine was falling apart. I just didn’t have the white space for anything but my family.


But that was exactly the problem. I was giving everything I had to my family with nothing to fill me back up, no one to encourage me past the hard spots, and no one to share practical advice because she’d been there, done that.


So, I crammed my diaper bag full and headed out the door.


Over the years, I’ve thought about that pivotal decision to pursue and embrace the necessity of friendships. Not only have they helped me personally, my friendships have been crucial to my success (and sometimes survival) in my roles as wife and mom as well. They’ve made our key verse, Hebrews 10:24, come to life for me.


What I once thought would take away from my family, has proven to add a richness I couldn’t have gotten any other way.


If you can relate to the season I was in, here are 3 practical ways to find life-giving friendships:


1) Find a friend who does something well that you wish you were better at.

It may be managing paper piles, cooking, organizing kids’ rooms, creatively loving her husband, effectively disciplining her kids or a hundred other things. Whatever it is, ask her if you could spend time observing how she does what she does so well. Women love to talk about things they do well.


2) Choose a friend with whom you feel comfortable to pray.

There is no better gift we can give our families than to be wives and moms who pray. Praying with a friend about our families will not only knit our hearts closer to the ones we love, but to that friend as well.


3) Pursue a friendship with someone who is one stage behind where you are in life.

Offer them practical help in their area of stress and weave in the wisdom you gained as you went through that same stage.



Why not spend some time today praying for the friends you have and the friends you’ve yet to meet? God loves to answer those friendship prayers! And trust me on this — go ahead and wash your hair, just in case you get a call like I did all those years ago.




Help Me Unplug!

by Patricia Holbrook


Are your gadgets robbing you of precious time with God? The difference between spending quality time with God or not may mean the difference between a purpose-filled life and a wasted one.







Key Verses:  “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 (NASB).


I need to unplug.



It seems as if my brain is on constant drive. My feet hit the floor in the morning and my eyes have not quite adjusted to the light before I hit the home button of my smart phone. The screen glares at me as if to say: “Take a breath, woman. I’ll be here after breakfast. You are not the President.” I cannot stop at a traffic light without being tempted to reach out to my phone and check if anything has changed from… uh… 30 seconds before.



It’s pitiful, I admit. But judging from what I see around me, this is certainly not my personal issue. It’s an epidemic. 



I went out for dinner with my family last week. As we settled at our table, I scanned the territory around: A group of teenagers, a young couple seemingly on a date and another couple and their 5 year old son. They were all holding on to their gadgets as if the air that they breathed was only released at the push of a button on their thingamajigs. The young couple seemed to exchange only a couple of sentences all evening. Long sentences seemed to be reserved to whoever was reading their social media pages or texts.



I don’t mean to sound overreacting, much less judgmental, since I am often guilty of the same flaw, but I am afraid technology owns too much of our time. I don’t read as much as I used to. Or play with my children like I should. Truthfully, life was already very busy before these niceties came along claiming our attention 24/7, but now it seems as if we have allowed them to rob our attention from just about anything we do. Shamefully, I heard my oldest daughter ask me if I was listening, because I had to grab my phone in the midst of our conversation. Gizmo buzzed and mom went to it. I’ve been treating it like a colicky baby. 



Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we drive a hammer onto anything we own with an LCD screen. But I think we have a growing problem in the western world: not only is technology impersonalizing our relationships, it is also dividing our thoughts. It is claiming our attention when we should be plugged into more important matters.



Worse yet, I’m afraid our gadgets are robbing us from precious time with God.



If Only God Would Text Me!



“If we are weak in communion with God we are weak everywhere.”  -Charles Spurgeon


With the overflow of technology in our days, many of us are guilty of spending less time with God. Nevertheless, our hyperactive minds are flooded with information that is at best unimportant. We’re able to waste time nosing around or inflating our egos on social media walls and yet have a hard time finding 15 minutes of quietness before our God. And as cool as it would be to receive a text from the Almighty, we know it won’t happen. If we are to listen to what He has to say to us, we must learn to unplug. Be still. And patiently wait. 



The difference between spending quality time with God or not may just mean the difference between a purpose-filled life and a wasted one. That sounds harsh. But it is true.



Learning to Unplug



The first step in learning how to better connect with God and the people we love is to realize and admit that we are indeed “over plugged”. Next, I would like to share some changes that I have implemented to my routine in order to realign my priorities and learn to unplug:


1) While studying Scriptures or praying, I am keeping my phone on the other side of the house.
2) While tending to my children, I will not check my phone.
3) While dining with my family or friends, Gizmo shall stay in the purse. Or in the car. I’m reminding myself I am not                   
    that important.
4) I am committing to pick up the phone and call my friends more. And text less.  



Lastly, my weekends shall now be called “Electronic Sabbath”. I will check my emails in the morning and then again in the evening. That’s it. The rest of my weekend will be dedicated to rest my soul from the cares of this world: the news, business matters and whatever the Joneses are parading to the world on social media. 



Electronic Sabbath will be reserved to enjoy my greatest treasures in life: my family and my God.



"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21.





A Heart for Marriage – A Seven-Day Study
by Jennifer Smith

Although I am already married and assume most of you are as well, I think that it is still extremely important to dive into what the Bible says about marriage. Just because you are married, doesn't mean you should stop studying or learning about God’s design for marriage. Because of this, I have decided to give myself a “refresher” this week and invite you to join me in studying each day to learn God’s Heart For Marriage.



Day 1: Genesis 2:5-25
What better way to start than at the beginning – the creation of man and woman. One of the things that always stuck out most to me was how God truly provided for Adam. He saw that man was not good alone, and created Eve. It reminds me of how God knows everything about us and provides for us – even a spouse.


Day 2: Ecclesiastes 4: 7-12
This passage reminds me of the purpose of marriage – to come together to help one another in Christ and share Christ with others.” Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” In marriage, your partner is also your helpmate and friend that can come alongside you and compliment you.


Day 3: Ephesians 5:21-33
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." This passage gives insight into the equal, defined roles of a husband and wife. It also happens to be the scripture read at our wedding.


Day 4: Proverbs 31:10-31
Love this passage about a Godly woman/wife. I know some people say it seems unattainable but my goal is to strive toward this daily. Studying this really gives you a refresher on the role of a wife and to me demonstrates sacrificial love and humility.


Day 5: Colossians 3
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”. Without the power of Christ, I think we fail at life and our marriage. This passage really spoke to me about living for Christ in all I do.


Day 6: 1 Peter 3
This passage reveals more to me about the character a wife is called to have and how she is to modestly present herself.


Day 7: 1 Corinthians 13
I saved the biggie for day 7. I know this is one of the most quoted passages, but it honestly still takes me breath away. I think I could spend a week just on “love is patient”. There is so much truth and wisdom packed into this chapter about how to love your husband and others around you.


I hope that you will join me in digging into God’s word. This was just my recap of studying this week and I hope you do the same and share some insight about your study this week with other wives!



Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LOR

(Proverbs 18:22)


by Sally Anne Perz



Next to God, the most important person in a wife’s life is her husband. Often wives are guilty of holding their husbands to their own expectations and standards or comparing them to other men. Learn what kind of a man you are married to—and remember that you were created to be HIS help meet. Be content with him! Discontent is the main ingredient in an unhappy marriage.


Knowing our own husband’s hobbies, likes, dislikes, personality traits, strengths and weaknesses will help us to love him in a way that pleases him—and ultimately pleases God. Consider some of these practical ways a wife can love her husband and pave the way for a ‘Song of Solomon’ kind of love in your relationship.


Be a loyal wife to your husband. Do not speak ill of him or ridicule him for any reason. A wise wife builds her husband up rather than tearing him down. Be discreet. A wife who is ill-mannered, course, vulgar and whiny brings shame upon her husband (and herself!).


Have a clear understanding of what your husband is able to contribute in the home—particularly when it comes to duties typically taken care of by a wife. Understand that his job is primarily to provide financially and to be the spiritual leader of the home. Let him determine his level of involvement in your realm. Do not try to make him do more—he will not morph into a more helpful man as a result of your nagging, but he will certainly morph into a more annoyed man!


Let your husband know how much you love and appreciate him daily, not only by your words, but by your actions. Be a happy, loving mother to your children. Do not undermine his authority with the children. Unified parenting is critical and your support will firmly establish this in your family.


Fulfill all of your husband’s needs all of the time as best as you are able!! Treat him like a king and your King will bless you. Provide healthy meals, clean clothing, a listening ear, a helpful hand, and most of all, freely give of yourself fully when it comes to your intimate relationship. Desire him and be desirable for him.


Keep within your budget so that you do not cause stress upon him as the sole provider. Plan well enough in advance so that he is aware of what funds are needed for any special purchases that may not be included in the budget. If you are in charge of the budget, be a good steward so that he can trust in you to make the best decisions possible.

Do the best you can to be a good homemaker and to provide a clean, organized and comfortable home. Do not expect your husband to keep the home for you. This is your job. If he lends a hand, be thankful, but don’t expect him to do fulfill your role as homemaker.


There is much written in God’s word specifically to wives. Set aside time to study and search for these scriptures. They’ve purposely been left out to encourage you to seek them on your own. Start with Proverbs—how many times are contentious wives mentioned? What wisdom is written specifically for wives? When you search and dig in God’s word yourself, you will find pearls of great price and make them your own. Dig deep!




Maturity & Marriage 

by Bill Walton



When we talk about "maturity" there are different ways in which people can be mature and different ways in which they can be immature.  It is possible for a physical giant to be an emotional dwarf.  It is possible for a grown man to be as immature as a 13-year-old boy.  It is possible for a beautiful woman to be an emotional child.  


The connection this has with marriage is simply this: (1) marriage requires maturity, and (2) immaturity in marriage is the reason many marriages fail.



Immaturity In Children

I want you to ponder some examples of immaturity in children.  Children often show their immaturity by: 


Selfish attitudes and behavior:

Some children are so wrapped up in themselves that they care very little about others’ needs.  For example, a child may be more concerned about his broken toy than his neighbor’s burned house. 


Ingratitude:

Immature children often take for granted the things that others do for them.  Ingratitude is an ugly, disgusting thing to see.  But we’ve all seen children and teenagers who show no appreciation or gratitude for all the sacrifices and actions of their parents.  They act like they fully deserve everything they get, that their parents owe it to them. 


Demanding to have their own way:

Many children have the attitude, "If you don’t play my way, I’ll just pick up my marbles and go home." 


No sense of responsibility and obligation:

Children often feel no obligation to take on any part of the work around the house.  A child may feel it is his right to make any kind of mess he wants to, and let someone else clean it up. 


Wrong reactions to conflicts and problems:

We have all seen children who are happy and contented until something  goes wrong, and then they react with anger, temper, and frustration. 


Poor judgment:

Children often lack the judgment to appreciate the true worth of things.  They may treasure worthless things and despise priceless things. 


Thinking that happiness comes without giving:

Children sometimes act like they are only interested in themselves, and care very little about the feelings and needs of others. 



Immaturity In Marriage

Some adults never outgrow childhood immaturity, and they demonstrate it in their marriage. 


It is possible for a husband to be so self-centered that he doesn’t care about the feelings of his wife (and that can be true of wives as well).  It’s sad that many young women (when they’re dating) don’t realize that a young man who doesn’t care about anyone’s feelings but his own probably won’t care about her feelings either once they’re married. 


It is possible for married adults to be as ungrateful as a small child.  Many husbands and wives hardly know what it is to say, "Thank you."  Often the words are absent because the feeling is absent. 


It is possible for husbands and wives to be locked in a constant battle to see who gets his way.  Such marriages usually have a constant cycle: manipulative tricks, dramatic actions and reactions, sulking, shouting, as each one maneuvers to get his way. 


It is possible for married adults to have no sense of responsibility or obligation.  A wife may be financially irresponsible.  A husband may act like his only responsibility is to "make a living." 


It is possible for married adults to react immaturely and irrationally to problems and conflicts that arise. 


It is possible for husbands and wives to be characterized by childish standards of judgment.  Husbands may be infatuated by what the world calls "glamour."  Wives may be obsessed with the desire for their husbands to make more money. 


It is possible for married adults to think that real happiness is found in getting more and more things. 


It doesn’t take much insight to see that when one or both of the marriage partners behave with such immaturity, problems in the marriage are inevitable.  The problems that are inevitably brought on by such immaturity will eventually come, no matter how handsome, beautiful, or sexy the man and/or woman may be. 




Biblical Marks of Maturity

I want to turn to the positive side and talk about some of the marks of maturity that the Bible connects with a good marriage relationship. 


Independence:

The Bible teaches that when a man marries he is to leave his parents and cleave to his wife (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-5; Ephesians 5:31).  Rebekah is a good example of independence from parents for women - "And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go" (Genesis 24:58). 

Some young married men and women are still psychologically dependent upon their parents - husbands who are still "Mama’s boys" who can’t cut the apron strings, and wives who are still "Daddy’s girls" who won’t build their own homes with their husbands.  Some parents encourage this kind of dependence instead of preparing their children for independence and insisting that  they be mature and independent.  Some parents interfere in their children’s marriages, and young married couples sometimes allow their parents to interfere. This doesn’t mean that it’s wrong for young couples to respect their  parents, or seek advice from their parents or from others. Grown children ought to love and respect their parents, and parents ought to live in such a way so they can be respected.  It is wise to seek advice from those who are more experienced.  But people shouldn’t enter into marriage when they can’t be independent, and they shouldn’t enter into marriage with the idea that their parents are still going to make their decisions for them.  If a man is not mature enough to make decisions and assume responsibility and  leadership, he is not emotionally mature enough for marriage.  If a woman is not mature enough to "cut the apron strings" and  build a new life with her husband wherever he leads, she is not emotionally ready for marriage. 


Mature attitude toward sex:

The Bible teaches that God intends sex to be an enjoyable, satisfying  part of marriage (I Corinthians 7:2-5; Proverbs 5:15-19).  Instead of having mature, Bible-based attitudes toward sex in marriage,  some have very immature attitudes. 


Some think of sex merely as something to "get," instead of shared affection, mutual enjoyment and satisfaction.  Some use sex in the marriage as a weapon to coerce the marriage partner, or as a manipulative tool to get their way about something.  Some think that sex, even in marriage, is dirty and sordid. 


In contrast to such immature attitudes, people with mature, Bible-based attitudes realize that sex in marriage is a part of expressing, building, and maintaining love (Hebrews 13:4). 


The ability to seek your companion’s happiness as diligently as you seek your own:

I’m not just talking about the infatuation that typically exists before marriage but often doesn’t survive marriage.  Some immature people can be considerate for a short time in order to get what they want, but they have never developed the capacity for real, sustained consideration that is a part of real love and real maturity.  Marriage ought to a be relationship in which the husband is concerned for his wife’s happiness as much as his own happiness, and vice-versa.  An old story is told about a young man who sold his pocket-watch to buy an expensive brush for his girl friend who had beautiful hair, not knowing that she had cut her hair and sold it in order to buy him a gold chain for his pocket-watch.  That story illustrates the kind of attitude the Bible teaches husbands and wives should have in marriage.  Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, 33 teaches husbands to love like that.  Titus 2:4 and I Corinthians 13:5 teaches wives to love like that.  One reason this kind of love is not demonstrated in many marriages is because many of the young men and women who enter into marriage have never developed the maturity that makes lasting love possible. 


Capacity to live up to commitments:

We are living in a society that makes it easy not to develop this kind of  maturity.  The popular concept is: "If you make a commitment but you find out that something is not the way you thought it was, or something is not to your liking, or it’s too hard to fulfill your commitment, then get  out of it."  We frequently see famous athletes who renegotiate their contracts, refusing to live up to the contract they already have.  Many children are seldom required to honor their commitments when fulfilling the commitment is found to be unexpectedly difficult. 

In contrast to this modern attitude, God teaches us to keep our word even when keeping our word is causing us to hurt (Psalms 15:4). Marriage is a covenant that involves vows and requires a commitment between the husband, the wife, and God (Malachi 2:14; Matthew 19:6).  The fact that a marriage often encounters unexpected difficulties and requires unforeseen sacrifices doesn’t nullify the commitment.  What is needed for marriage is the kind of maturity that enables a person to fulfill his commitments until the hardship is over, or even if it is never over (Psalms 15:4). 


Ability to understand and accept authority:

There is a special need for this today because there is growing stress in  many marriages over authority in the husband/wife relationship.  Instead of having a mature attitude toward authority, some husbands think authority is a weapon to use on their wives.  Instead of having a mature attitude toward authority, some wives think accepting authority and living under authority makes them inferior. Some young women are even omitting the bride’s traditional promise to "obey" from their wedding vows.  What is needed is a maturity that is capable of understanding and accepting the true nature of authority.  That means husbands who are mature enough to understand that having God-given responsibility is a solemn responsibility, not an ego trip.  That means wives who are secure enough about their own worth to realize that accepting authority doesn’t make one inferior.  So if someone is not emotionally mature enough to understand and accept authority, they really are not mature enough for marriage. 


Conclusion

I want to explain some reasons why I have said all this:


1)  To stress the fact that marriage is a relationship for the mature, and maturity means more than the desire to get 

     married, and more than the ability to conceive children, and more than the ability to earn enough money to live on;


2)  Although some have entered marriage without this maturity and the marriage somehow survived until maturity 

     was developed, the best time to develop the maturity needed for marriage is before marriage, not after marriage;


3)  The best guide for developing the kind of maturity needed for marriage is God’s word.  If you are unmarried, and 

     you want to be mature when you marry, make the Bible your guidebook. If you are already married, and you 

     realize you still need to develop maturity, make the Bible the guide for your life. 




3 Reasons To Avoid The Lazy Monster

by Maria I. Morgan



Am I the only one who feels the urge to be lazy during the summer? Bright sunshine and warm temperatures make it difficult for me to concentrate on the things I need to accomplish. Friends are headed on vacation and neighbors congregate at the pool. Remind me why I’m not out there with them? I can feel the lazy monster creeping up on me.




Relaxing v. Being lazy

There’s nothing wrong with relaxing. In fact, taking a break is necessary. Studies show that productivity is actually enhanced when we take regular breaks from our work.


I’m not disputing the value of taking a much needed break. What I’m talking about is doing nothing because I don’t feel like working. And trust me, I struggle with this one.


The Bible has a lot to say about people who are lazy. It refers to them as sluggards. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound too appealing to me.


Wisdom From the Word


Here are a few things I discovered in the book of Proverbs:


Laziness sets a bad example for my family and those who are watching me

My daughter learns from my example. If I exhibit laziness by consistently sleeping in late, ignoring the work I have to do, and sitting in front of the TV for hours at a time, how can I expect her to act any differently? God’s Word puts it this way:


How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. Proverbs 6:9-11


Laziness causes me to make excuses and give myself an easy out 

When I want to avoid the things I should be doing, I can find lots of excuses: it’s too cold outside, it’s too warm, I’m too tired, I did a lot yesterday. And the list goes on. But the results can be devastating. Although all work and no play can make me a dull person; all play and no work leaves me with a never-ending list of things that need to be accomplished.


The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing. Proverbs 20:4.



Laziness is a form of selfishness

When I choose to be lazy, not only am I ignoring the work I should be doing, but I’m failing to contribute to the lives of others. As a wife and mother, I’m responsible to provide certain things for my family. Notice the wisdom in Solomon’s words:


Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8.


Laziness leads to all sorts of problems. I’m better off realizing the benefits of the work God has given me to do and doing it to the best of my ability.


Your turn

Do you struggle with laziness? What will you do to make the most of the time God has given you?



Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for showing me the pitfalls of being lazy. Forgive me when I act selfishly and refuse to do the work You’ve given me to do. Help me be a diligent worker, and a good example to my family and others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.




A Pity Party Confession

by Erin Davis



Do you focus more on having good friends or on being a good friend?

(Philippians 2:3-4).


I confess. I had a pity party this week. We're talking a tantrum with tears... the whole nine yards. I've been feeling pretty bummed lately, because it seems like I don't have many friends. I'm a stay-at-home mom with a little kid who doesn't have much time for lattes and shopping trips between diaper changes and nap times. Plus my summer schedule has kept me on the road for weeks and hasn't left any time for friendship. So on a day I was feeling particularly lonely and isolated, I let myself fall into a pretty deep funk. When my hubby asked what was wrong, I wailed, "I don't have any friends!" 

Most of you are in circumstances that are totally different from mine. I doubt you are feeling the isolation that most young mommies feel, but I bet you've had a pity party or two related to the issue of friends. You may have even felt like I did—that you didn't have any friends at all. 

In my life, that's total bunk. I have lots of wonderful friends. If I started to name them all, I easily could come up with a long list of friends who love me and want to spend time with me. But that list isn't what got me out of my funk. 

As is so often the case when I allow myself to sink into self-pity, it doesn't take long for God to gently remind me of my selfishness. The truth is, He has been generous to bless me with beautiful friendships. But even more importantly, He has called me to be more concerned about being a friend than having lots of friends. 

Nancy and Dannah write about this very truth in Lies Young Women Believe. 


"There's one more thing we need to address in regard to friendship. A lot of what we heard from the girls in our research was... well... can we say it like it is? It was selfish. You may need to take a different approach to your earthly friendships. 

"You are called to be a true friend. If your focus is on who likes you, you're not pursuing true friendship. If your focus is on who is asking you to hang out with them, it's all wrong. That's not a spiritual mindset. Ask the Lord to help you be more concerned about who needs you than who likes you" (Lies Young Women Believe, 109).


Now that's a revolutionary mindset! To truly see friendship as a means to love on others instead of stroking our egos or filling our calendars is radical and wonderful. I think it's great to be friends with girls who are just fun to be with. But I think it's more important to seek out those who need a friend and reach out in love. If your goal becomes to befriend and reach out to others instead of waiting for them to reach out to you, I doubt you'll find loneliness and self-pity sticking around for long. 

In the midst of my pity party I was reminded of this truth. I faced a choice. I could continue to believe the lie that I didn't have true friends and sulk over an empty social calendar or I could reach out to a friend in need. I chose the latter, and what a difference it made. 

Can you find any specific evidence from the Bible that God desires for us to concentrate more on being a good friend than having good friends? How do you think it would change your life this year if you decided to live this principle out? 




What About Women Preachers?
by Carrol R. Sutton



The number of women "preachers" is increasing yearly. Many people think they are really "broadminded" if they accept and promote the modern idea of "equality" of the sexes. It seems to never enter the minds of some people that God's will should be considered when the subject of "the role of men" and "the role of women" are considered. What about "women preachers"? Should we have them? Is God pleased with them? What is God's will relative to "women preachers"? Can a woman be a preacher of the gospel by faith? (Rom. l0:17) Let us consider the following facts and principles.


1. 1 Cor. 11:3 says: "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." This shows that in a general way women should be in subjection to men. We also learn from 1 Cor. 11:7-9 that the woman is the glory of man, was created for man and is of the man.


2. Ephesians 5:22-24 says: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." This indicates that each wife should be in subjection to her husband as her head. In Col. 3:18 Paul said: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord." It is certainly proper, fitting and right for wives to be in submission to their husbands!


3. I Cor. 14:34-35 says: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: For it is a shame for women (ASV says "a woman" - CRS) to speak in the church.” Paul teaches (by inspiration) in this passage that women should keep silence in the assemblies because it is a shame for women to speak in the church (assembly).

Women preachers do not keep silence in the assemblies. Women preachers do speak. Women preachers are not under obedience as also saith the law. It is a shame for women preachers to speak in the church! There is no way that women can follow the instructions of the Lord in 1 Cor. 14:34-35 and be a preacher!


4. 1 Tim. 2:11-12 says: "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." This passage shows that women should have a quiet disposition and a spirit of subjection. It also teaches that a woman has no right to teach nor have dominion over the man. 


A woman can not respect these restrictions and be a preacher. No, women preachers are not authorized in the Word of God!