Oct 23

Spiritual Status Updates

If your spiritual life had a page with status updates like your social life has a Facebook page what would be your status?

Social media is so popular today and has a place in connecting family and friends to one another. People typically will put their “status” periodically on their page which shares these thoughts with all of their friends. What if you were forced to write a short statement giving your “spiritual status?”

Here are some possible “spiritual” status updates that you would read from your friends, but what would yours be?

“Haven’t been to church in a while, I am slipping back into the world.”
“Know I need to be baptized, I just can’t make that commitment.”
“I have sin in my life that I need to repent of and confess to the church, but my pride is holding me back.”

“I need to be rededicated to the Lord and His church, but fear and pressure from the world is holding me back.”
“I am passionate for Christ. It is amazing what God has done in my life.”
“I love the Lord and His church, but I need to love lost souls more.”
“I am saved, but my prayer life is not where it should be.”
“I go to church, but my heart is not in it. I need revival.”
“I have let trials and the failures of others discourage my walk of faith.”
“It is time I step up in my faith for the sake of my family and my soul.”
“I haven’t read the Bible in over a month.”
“I am confused spiritually, I need to study and seek truth from God’s Word.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/spiritual-status-updates/

Oct 21

Sexual Abuse: What the Church Can Do!

Sad and Scared by lilgoldwmn  at freeimages.com

Sad and Scared by lilgoldwmn at freeimages.com

When was the last time you heard a sermon on sexual abuse?  We preach against illicit sexual activity, but what about our concern for the victims of abuse?  Yet 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are victims of child sexual abuse.¹ Some even suggest a higher number.

Jesus quoted from Isaiah when he said, “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted.”²  Sexual abuse is so bad because it not only affects the body, but also wounds the spirit and breaks the heart.  It produces guilt, shame, and hurt.  It distorts the image of a loving God.  It creates an inappropriate self-image and makes future relationships more difficult.

What can the church do?

  1. Discuss the subject!  Just because we don’t talk about it doesn’t mean it is not there.  Our pulpits should have lessons on the subject.  Use the text of Amnon and Tamar or Lot and his family.  We should discuss the subject in teen and adult classes.  We need to talk about it in our homes especially warning our children.
  2. Help the abused.  Whether the abused is a rape victim, young child, or an adult, the church must have a heart for the abused.  We must help the abused person to place the blame where it belongs–on the abuser!  They must learn to take responsibility to control their response to the abuse.  Often child sexual abuse manifests itself in adults’ lives years laters and hinders their well-beiing, happiness, and relationships.  The church should be there to provide love, counsel, and support for the abused.  We need to support childrens’ homes and brotherhood ministries that work with this great need.
  3. Don’t treat the abused as lepers.  When Christians are friends to the abused, they don’t treat them differently or like they in someway brought the abuse on themselves.  We should treat them with love and respect.  They need understanding and support.  We need to come along side them in their pain and walk with them in Christ.  Sometimes all they need is your presence, attention, and a hug.
  4. Create a safe environment for people to seek help.  It is believed that much sexual abuse is never reported.  Often the reason people don’t share sexual abuse is because it accuses someone who in many cases is a “good” person or even a relative.  We need to provide avenues for people to be able to privately speak to church members.  Leaders need to be approachable in their demeanor.  Youth ministers and Bible class teachers need to reassure the kids of their love and concern.  In order to provide this safe environment there must be humility, openness, trust, and a dependence upon the grace of God.
  5. Recognize that all members have a role in exposing darkness.  This is not just a ministry for the preacher or the elders, but one for all  all church members.  All members can share the love of Jesus with the hurting around them.  Every member can be courageous and speak out when there is a need.  Church members that have experienced abuse, can not only find help for their hurts, but offer help and strength to others.

What suggestions would you add?

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¹   http://www.victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/child-sexual-abuse-statistics

²  Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18-19

The idea for this post and many of the thoughts came from a lecture by Ed Lee at Polishing the Pulpit 2014.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/sexual-abuse-what-the-church-can-do/

Oct 19

Remember Your True Citizenship

By Kolobsek at freeimages.com

By Kolobsek at freeimages.com

It is election time again which often creates a wave of interest in the political and moral direction of our nation.  Our nation certainly seems to be declining morally and our political leaders are certainly contributing to this decline.  Christians should vote and seek to elect officials who will respect God and His word.

Yet, we as Christians need a regular reminder that our true citizenship is with the Kingdom of Christ.  

The theme of citizenship is used by the Apostle Paul to strike a cord with the Philippian brethren.  Roman citizenship was a very real and vital part of their lives. They were granted the status of a Roman colony which meant they had the right to be governed by Roman law and were exempt from direct taxation. Octavian (Augustus) and Mark Antony had defeated the forces of Cassius and Brutus near Philippi.  He gave the city a special title and sent retired veterans to live there. Deep Roman patriotism existed in the city.  The Roman language, dress, customs, and ceremonies made up the culture of the city.

Thus when Paul writes to them he uses the term for citizenship on two occasions.

Phil. 1:27 – “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” – The term used to translate “manner of life” means “to live as a citizen.”   the ESV Bible gives a footnote – “only behave as citizens worthy.”  Paul was saying, just like you believe you must live worthy of your Roman citizenship with its duties and responsibilities, so you should to a higher degree in your service to Christ.

Phil. 3:20 – “But, our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Here Paul uses the same root word he used in 1:27 and directly states that they now have a greater citizenship in heaven.  They value their Roman citizenship and their freedman status, but as Christians they have a far greater loyalty and privilege of being citizens of heaven.

We should value our citizenship in the nation we reside.  We certainly have many reasons to be grateful to be citizens of America, but we must always remember we are citizens of a far greater Kingdom.  King Jesus demands our loyalty and allegiance above any earthly kingdom.  This heavenly citizenship should shape how we live!

Be thankful for your heavenly citizenship today!

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Source – http://dkiel.com/GreeceTurkey/Philippi/Philippi.html

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/remember-your-true-citizenship/

Oct 14

Buy Your Kids an Alarm, and Take Away the Cell!

digital clock by iprole at freeimages.com

digital clock by iprole at freeimages.com

You can purchase a simple digital alarm clock for $9.33 at Amazon.  This may be the best money you can spend for your kids, if you are allowing them to keep their cell phones at night because it is their alarm!

4 in 5 teens say they sleep with, on, or beside their cell phone every night.¹  The actual statistic is 84% of teens keep it with them through the night.²  70% of teens admit to hiding their online behavior from their parents.³  Teens receive hundreds of texts through the day and often receive them into the night.

Here are some reasons why you should consider taking the phone and buying an alarm.

  1. Sleep deprivation.  Teens need sleep.  They have busy schedules with school and sports.  How much sleep is lost because of checking social media and texting?  Many teens admit to texting during the night.
  2. Constant social pressure.  If a child has their phone all through the night they have constant access to bullying, social pressure, and influence from peers.  Peer influence and pressure is so prominent during awake and present hours at school, why should parents want to allow it to persist during the night hours?
  3. Give your kids a “boundary” and an “out.”  Surveys reveal that kids actually like having cell phone rules and boundaries.  It helps create discipline for them, when they know they need it.  Studies have shown that sleeping with the phone and having it’s constant presence increases psychological problems and anxiety.  It hinders family time, self-awareness, and personal development.  It often keeps kids from getting their school work accomplished on time.  Also, when parents set the boundary, it gives the teen an “out.”  They can tell others, don’t call me or text me after 9:00 p.m., as I don’t have my phone.
  4. The dangers of privacy with the phone during the night.  Would you allow your unsupervised teen to go out in New York City at 11:00. Yet when we consider the dangers of the internet from bullying, pornography, gambling, music, sinful influences, and predators it is not tremendously different letting them keep their phone all night.  Their room provides some privacy.  The parents and others are asleep.  With the opportunities and dangers of the internet, YouTube, Netflix, FaceTime, Snapchat, and other apps it is simply too much temptation for a Christian teen to face.  Parents should be sure they have their wifi filtered, but even then, teens can access the internet through their cellar data.
  5. The incredible threat and temptation of pornography.  The internet is saturated with porn.  The numbers are staggering.  For example, in 2013 a study was done that said porn sites get more traffic per month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined!   We all know the hormones are raging as children experience puberty and begin to be curious about sex.  Don’t let their phone be their primary instructor!
  6. So you can monitor the phone. A final reason is so that the parents have access to the phones nightly.  The teen knows that his parents will have his phone each night.  This will affect how they use it and allows the parents to regularly check out what the phone is being used for during the day.

What are your thoughts?  Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts?  What other reasons would you add?

———————

Note – I owe the idea of this post to Adam Faughn’s podcast on the topic “Smartphones and Kids” with Chad Landman.  It can be accessed at this link and is well worth your time.

¹  http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/teens-sleeping-cell-phones-clear-and-present-danger

²  http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/17/opinion/robbins-cell-phone-teens/

³   http://www.mcafee.com/us/about/news/2012/q2/20120625-01.aspx

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/buy-your-kids-an-alarm-and-take-away-the-cell/

Oct 12

Don’t Leave These Up to the Church

The local congregation is wonderful and plays a necessary role in the life of the Christian.  The church provides Bible instruction, fellowship, worship, accountability, and overall edification.  But sometimes, I think we can leave our discipleship and spiritual growth solely up to the church in our attitude and mindset.  Here are some things that you should not leave solely up to the church! 

  1. Your Bible knowledge.  Bible classes are short!  Sermons are focused on application and exhortation typically.  You have a responsibility to read and study the Bible on your own.  “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”¹  If you want to truly grow your faith, you need to be in the Word daily.  You need to read good faith building books.  Don’t depend on the preacher and Bible class teacher to provide all of your Bible knowledge.
  2. Your kids’ faith development.  Whether the church has a great education and youth program or not, you must not leave your child’s faith development to the church.  The church can be a tremendous help in teaching your children about Jesus; but you must not leave it all up to them.  Parents should be the primary instructors of spiritual values and morals.  It seems many parents feel they have done their job by taking their children to church, when the church does not have the primary responsibility, but the parents (Eph. 6:1-4).
  3. Your Christian service for the Lord.  Churches have a responsibility to organize ministry opportunities for Christians.  Church leaders must equip the members for the work of ministry.²  But a Christian’s service should not be limited to what is done in organized ministries by the local congregation.  A disciple’s service is much broader, and should not be limited to church programs.  Christians should look for opportunities each day to serve the Lord; whether at work, school, or home.  In some ways I feel the church’s abundance of programs has hindered personal service.  You don’t need a visitation program to visit, an evangelism program to evangelize, or a benevolent program to serve the poor.  Jesus instructed disciples to be about this work everyday through the opportunities God provides.
  4. Your loyalty and faithfulness to the Lord.  When you became a Christian at baptism, you made a covenant with the Lord to be faithful and serve him for the rest of your life.  You have a responsibility to be loyal to His church.  All kinds of things can happen in the local church that discourage you.  You may not like the preacher’s sermons or the elders’ decisions.  Sin may destroy the family of a youth minister or deacon.    You may even be mistreated or not be in the “in” clique from your perspective.  Sadly many folks become unfaithful when they have a problem in the local church.  You have a responsibility to be active in the church, to serve and worship the Lord as a part of His body. Don’t let problems cause you to lose your soul!

What else would you add to this list?

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¹  Romans 10:17

²  Eph. 4:12

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/dont-leave-these-up-to-the-church/

Oct 08

8 Roots of Domestic Violence

light network stop violenceOctober is Domestic Violence Awareness month.  The Light Network which produces a number of great podcasts providing solid Bible teaching and encouragement is seeking to bring awareness to this topic in the church.  They have several podcasts on the topic this month and are coordinating a blog hop. They are asking various writers to contribute posts on the topic.  You can see all the other posts at this link. I encourage you to check out the other ones and their weekly podcasts.

Domestic violence could be compared to the leaves of plant above ground which is seen.  The plant’s existence above ground indicates that there is more to it below ground.  So it is with domestic violence when it is finally exposed and seen by all, it also represents some major roots below the surface that caused and produced the violence. Our criminal system is focus on the outward acts, as we also often are in the church.  If we are going to affect real and sustained change in the person, and eliminate the violence, we must address the root causes.  Jesus does this all through the sermon on the mount, when he takes outward acts and then goes to the heart that produces the acts.

Here are 8 root causes of domestic violence that we should consider.  We must address these causes to help prevent, and also stop violence.  

  1. Anger - So often connected with violence is uncontrolled anger.  Jesus calls us to self-control and quick reconciliation.  Too many allow their temper to be an excuse for sinful behavior.
  2. Fear –  Anger is often motivated by fears.  With domestic violence, it is often the fear of losing a relationship or of not having control that causes the violence.  The fear of not being able to get another relationships, support oneself financially, or looking bad in public all play a part in this issue.
  3. Poor examples - The Bible speaks of sins and punishment for sins being passed on to the third and fourth generations.  So much of domestic violence comes from people not having good examples as they grew up and then falling back on these poor examples.  Even though an abused child determines never to do this to their children, when they become a parent, they often know no other way.
  4. A lack of valuing other people –  Jesus taught us to love other people.  He teaches husbands to cherish and nourish wives.  Wives are supposed to love and respect husbands.  Fathers are not supposed to provoke children to wrath.  Yet, all of this involves seeing the intrinsic value in other people. So much violence comes, like it did in the book of Judges, because there is an unhealthy respect and value for other people.  In Judges we see women mistreated and abused by the Jewish society.  Jesus saw the value and worth in lepers, women, and Samaritans.  We should see the value and worth of every person!
  5. A lack of self-love – Jesus and Paul both assumed that we would love ourselves.  When we do not love ourselves it creates all kinds of problems.  Much of domestic violence finds its roots in low self-worth issues.  Men, who feel they don’t have what it takes to be the husband and father they need to be, resort to threats, power-plays, and force to gain a psedo-respect.  Women, who don’t feel lovable and valuable, get out of one abusive relationship, only to quickly find themselves in another, or even back in the same abusive man’s arms, because they inwardly don’t feel they deserve to be treated differently.
  6. Alcohol and drug abuse –  The roots of much violence are connected with the stimulants put into our bodies that make us impaired and irrational.  Often before the violence can be stopped, treatment and help must be received for a drug addiction.
  7. Hypocrisy – Domestic violence lives in the darkness.  It lives under the pretense of privacy and family business in many “good Christian homes.”  Yet it will one day be exposed just like all sins.  Often it comes out within this lifetime.  It is sin, and needs to be exposed to the light of the gospel, but it will not be, if everyone stays quiet and lives in the hypocrisy.
  8. Failure by the church and Christians to teach and know God’s will - A final root to this sin is the lack of clear teaching on these roots, domestic violence in general, and a godly marriage.  The church must confront these sins, be an advocate for the innocent and abused, be a source of strength and protection for the hurting, and a lighthouse to lead those in dark.

Which of these 8 do you think is the most prominent root of domestic violence?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/8-roots-of-domestic-violence/

Oct 03

Boxtrolls – A New Cartoon with a Homosexual Agenda

Image from Boxtrolls Trailer by Laika

Image from Boxtrolls Trailer by Laika

The new release PG-rated cartoon Boxtrolls has a clear message, “Families come in all shapes and sizes.”  It is about an orphaned child who is raised by boxtrolls.  It is made by the same production company, Laika, which introduced the first openly gay cartoon character in ParaNorman.  The trailer for the movie is pretty blunt in its descriptions of families.  Stating that some families have two fathers, while some two mothers.

You can watch it here. (I tried to embed it on my site, but could not so you will have to click this link to go  and watch.)

The producers included the song “Some Kids” by Loch Lomond as the second song in the credits which has these lyrics, “”Some kids have a mother and a mother/Some kids have a father and a father/Some kids have no one at all/ … We should be glad for the families we have/And reach out to those who are on their own.”

The movie doesn’t openly explore the them of gay parents, but wants it to be understood by children that families come in all shapes and sizes.  In fact, that seems to be the idea of “boxtrolls.”  Boxtrolls are these out-of-the-mainstream characters that have been marginalized from society.  They are encouraged to come out of the box and let their true selves be known.  They don’t need to hide behind the box any longer.

The CEO of the company said, “The Boxtrolls are a very loving community that have been marginalized by the lies and distortions of others. It doesn’t take someone who’s got a Ph.D. to recognize that of course there are metaphoric elements to the message in our movie.”¹

While children may not pick up on the homosexual metaphor or the push to accept all types of families, Christian parents should still have a concern.  Though the movie may have some entertainment value and be overall just a fun show, we must understand the danger in this agenda.  Christians must continue to understand that us and our children are being pushed a secular, worldly agenda that subverts Biblical truth.  God wants us to love all people and certainly have concern for orphans and the marginalized of society.  But He certainly does not approve of the view that all families are acceptable and equal.  God designed the family system based on the committed love of a man and woman bond in holy marriage (see my post on The Christian and Homosexuality).

To learn more about the movie and the homosexual theme and other issues check out the well-written review at Plugged-In.com.

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Quote taken from Plugged-in Review

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/boxtrolls-a-new-cartoon-with-a-homosexual-agenda/

Sep 30

Hope: A Lesson from the Blueberry Patch

I love blueberries.  Amanda loves the health qualities and taste of blueberries.  So when she ran across blueberries discounted to closeout prices at Tractor Supply she could not pass them up.  She bought them for $.49 a piece when they are normally $5 or $6 dollars in the Spring.  She read about planting them in the fall and decided it was worth the risk.  So we planted about 12 various types of blueberries at our farm.  

Here is our field of blueberries!

Here is our field of blueberries!

While doing this we were thinking there is little chance these blueberries will make it.  

  1. We don’t have that great of soil and we did nothing to enrich it (well we did let the pigs live there for a bit)!
  2. We know nothing about growing blueberries!
  3. We have lots of healthy grass and weeds that will probably overtake our blueberries if they do come up!
  4. We were the only ones in Mayfield rushing to Tractor Supply to clean out the blueberries that hadn’t been bought since Spring.

When we went to plant them, they looked very small, like a twig or small branch with a small root system.  But we persevered!

Here is Amanda planting away!

Here is Amanda planting away!  Doesn’t she look good in overalls and a hat?

We had the kids get rocks to sit beside the small shafts so we could at least find them next Spring.

photo 2

Don’t worry, you couldn’t see it if you were there either!!

As we laughed about how we were probably wasting our time and there was little hope of these blueberries actually living and producing fruit, it reminded me of a Scripture from Job.  Job is lamenting his suffering and discussing his lack of hope in death.  He says this poignant words:

““For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant. But a man dies and is laid low; man breathes his last, and where is he? As waters fail from a lake and a river wastes away and dries up, so a man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep.”  (Job 14:7–12)

Job could have been talking about our blueberries!  There is little hope, but there is hope, that when the sun and water of spring come, these blueberry shoots will spring into life!  Yet, Job was saying, he didn’t even have that hope.  It saddens my heart to think of how many millions live without the hope of the resurrection.  I read a verse from Proverbs that typifies many in our materialistic society today, “When the wicked dies, his hope will perish, and the expectation of wealth perishes too.“¹  Many live their lives placing hope in wealth and pleasure, but what hope do they have for when their body is placed in the ground?

We don’t have much hope for our blueberries, but I have a great hope because of the work of Jesus Christ that my body will come forth one day to a new life immortal in nature.²  Truly that is what matters!!

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¹  Proverbs 11:7

²  1 Corinthians 15 as well as many other passages teach the power of Jesus’ resurrection.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/hope-a-lesson-from-the-blueberry-patch/

Sep 28

Now What . . . Life After an Affair

Couple Walking" By Mattox at freeimages.com

Couple Walking” By Mattox at freeimages.com

           The call comes just as Sue was leaving her classroom for the day.  It is stranger she doesn’t recognize.  She could hear the tension in his voice as he said, “I think your husband, Ted, is having an affair with my wife.”  This begins a terrible nightmare that will spiral downwards very quickly.  She experiences anger, remorse, guilt, rejection, depression, and confusion.  Her husband was a man of high moral principles, but his moral compass failed him as his emotions, pride, and lust got the better of him.  Both of them knew their marriage was a struggle.  With three kids active in sports, music, and church, they barely had time to speak to each other, much less meet each other’s needs.  Sue was swamped with her work, plus trying to keep the home decent and clothes clean.  Ted felt tremendous financial pressure to provide for the ever increasing needs of the family.  But they love their kids, believe in God, and deep down, still love each other.

            What happens next will affect the rest of their lives.  They could take the course which most marriages do when adultery has invaded their home, or they could choose to be an example of forgiveness and reconciliation.  Both partners must consider all they have to lose if they abandon the marriage.  A divorce wreaks havoc for years.  It comes with great consequences for the spouses, and especially the children.  There is hope.  Many couples have overcome an affair and had greater marital intimacy and satisfaction following an affair.  Jesus does say that fornication is the only acceptable reason for ending a marriage and being able to marry another acceptably (Mat. 19:9).  But Jesus is certainly not saying this is best, or even desirable.  Rather the whole context of Jesus’ instructions are centered around emphasizing being faithful to your marriage bond, rather than figuring out how to get unbound from it (Mat. 19:4-6)!  The marriage can be saved, but some drastic and intentional steps must be taken by both partners.  If you find your marriage in such a position here are six steps to take to save your marriage. 

             The first step that must be taken is humility.  The one committing the adultery must have a contrite and broken heart.  It is tempting for them to rationalize and justify their sinful actions.  This will only serve to deepen the hurt afflicted on the injured spouse.  As the old saying goes, “they have made their bed, they must lie in it!”  They have to be willing to take the anger, emotions, and consequences that come because of their actions.

              The second step, and one that is often difficult to do because of the emotional ties that have been established, is to completely and radically end the affair.  The affair has been able to develop because of emotional and physical needs that the other person is fulfilling.  Affairs typically have a euphoric component that makes the wayward spouse rationalize their behavior because they feel happiness and pleasure like they haven’t in years.  Their pride and ego is puffed up by the affair.  They likely feel like they cannot be happy without it.  The affair, most likely has gone on for several months from the initial beginning to its exposure.  Thus the participants have become trained in sneaking around and are comfortable with lies and deception.  In order for the marriage to be saved the affair must come to an abrupt end with no more contact between the lovers.  A letter, text, or email should be sent to the other partner, after being read by the spouse, informing them the relationship is over and that they do not want to see, speak, or hear from them.  The Bible is clear that the way to deal with sexual sin is to flee from it and conduct radical surgery (1 Cor. 6:18; Mat. 5:28-30).  The failure to do this step often prevents the marriage from being saved.  The wayward spouse often struggles to cease all communication with their lover.  They are emotionally confused and are often double-tongued saying one thing to their spouse and another to their lover.

               The third step is confession and transparency to begin the healing.  Confession is key to cleansing the individual and the couple.  Just like a wound that must be painfully cleaned before healing can begin, so the couple must experience some difficult conversations.  The adulterer must confess their actions to God and their spouse.  They must acknowledge their sin, the pain they have inflicted, and the unjustifiable nature of their deeds (Psalm 51).  They must be willing to be transparent and open regarding the relationship.  Their spouse should be able to ask them whatever they wish to know, being careful not to ask if they don’t want to hear the answer.  The spouse must answer honestly, openly, and forthcoming about their past actions, including sharing text messages, emails, meeting places, and the duration of the affair.  The offending spouse must fight the temptation to want to rush the offended through this process.  This may take weeks and months with multiple conversations often rehashing the same information.  There must be transparency and openness.  A Christian counselor, preacher, or church elders can be very helpful in assisting in this step and offering counseling.

               The fourth step is establishing accountability measures to ensure the affair remains ended and to begin rebuilding trust.  The spouses should work together to develop practical measures to provide accountability.  This should begin with removing the notion that a spouse has the right to privacy.  The affair was likely allowed to grow and develop because of a lack of accountability.  This must be changed for it to end.  So all passwords should be shared, and all accounts should be accessible to the spouse.  The phone of the spouse should be regularly made available.  Each spouse has the right to know where one another is located at all times and what they have been doing.  Trusted friends and mentors can aid the couple well if allowed to do so.  It may be a minister, another Christian couple, or a couple who has survived an affair previously.  But accountability measures must be put in place between the spouses, but also with other Christian men or women to help during this time of great crisis and temptation.

              The fifth step is analysis of the marriage relationship.  An affair has thrown the family into turmoil and rocked it to the core.  There is a desire, especially by the adulterer, to get back to normal.  Statements such as, “I just want us to go back to normal” may be uttered, because they don’t want the focus to stay on the affair and their wrong.  But “normal” is what led to this point!  As a couple, you don’t want to go back to the way it was, you wish to rebuild and grow to new levels.  You have a foundation to build upon and you have great reasons to motivate you to build, but you need to seriously look at fixing the problems that led to this great consequence.  This means that you need to analyze your relationship.   This involves both partners admitting past shortcomings and learning how to better serve and love one another.  It will likely be necessary to have the help of a counselor or preacher. You can read great marriage books like His Need, Her Needs, or Five Languages of Love.  But it all comes down to priorities.  You have to get God back first in your family.  You have to focus on one another and ensure your marriage is nourished and cherished.  Couples must make time for one another.

             The sixth step in this process is understanding forgiveness.  Forgiveness is about canceling the debts that others have incurred against us (Mat. 6:12-15).  Forgiveness, like agape love, involves a decision of the will to release the offending person of the debt they owe.  It is not forgetting.  It still acts with the knowledge of the wrong.  It is not the removal of all hurt feelings and emotions.  Feelings like bitterness, anger, and trust, are issues that will have to be resolved over months of processing.  So the couple that has undergone an affair must understand forgiveness.  The offended spouse chooses to forgive or cancel the debt.  They choose to do this out of love, because God commands it, and to release their own bitterness and hatred.  They will often have to remind themselves of this daily and practice “re-forgiving” regularly.  The offending spouse who committed the adultery must also understand forgiveness.  They cannot do anything to change the sin they committed.  They must accept God and their spouse’s forgiveness.  But they should also understand that this decision to forgive does not mean their spouse’s anger, hurt, and bitterness are gone.  It does not mean that trust is restored and they are allowed privacy and a lack of accountability.  NO!  It means the other person has chosen to let the wrong go in regards to exacting revenge, and in willingly seeking reconciliation.  This reconciliation will be a process where the emotions and trust will be processed over time.  But it is only able to be done, because forgiveness has been granted and the past released.

             Years have passed, Ted and Sue are grandparents.  They are influential and active members of their congregation.  They teach Bible class and are friends with many of the young couples with children.  The church has been shocked with the news that one of the young couples is experiencing the pain of an affair.  Ted and Sue schedule a visit.  Sue recounts receiving the call that day years ago.  Ted with tears coming back to his eyes tells of how he had been wrapped up in the deceitfulness of sin.  They then tell the story of how they chose to save their marriage.  They sought help and took advice.  They cried, yelled, and vented during those tumultuous times.  Ted confessed.  They listened to one another.  He ended the affair and they rebuilt their marriage.  They share how they are so thankful they took this difficult path, because it has paid huge dividends with their kids, their own happiness, and their relationship with the Lord.  Ted and Sue beg the young couple to do the same.  They promise to walk with them by their side to help.

     There is hope.  Don’t give up on your marriage, even when an affair has destroyed it!   

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/now-what-life-after-an-affair/

Sep 26

Farm Report #5: Animals Come to the Farm

It will be a year in October that we bought our farm.   We have poured lots of work into the farm over this past year.  We had hoped to be living at the farm by now, but our house has not sold.  If you are looking for a good 3 bedroom house in Mayfield we can set you up!  Despite the fact that we are still commuting to the farm, we have made a lot of progress with four small kids and very limited time to work. After finally getting water and electricity done through the Spring season we began adding animals.

The kids have loved adding the animals and we are all learning so much. We have several aims with the animals: 1) to provide experience and responsibility for the kids, 2) to provide good, healthy, less expensive food for our family, and 3) to in the long run provide some income through the sell of grass-fed meat.  

The biggest challenge of getting animals has been working on fencing. Fencing is time consuming and lots of hard work, not to mention expensive!  We went with woven wire or American wire for our perimeter fence around the main pasture.  My wife has been a great help, along with my sister-in-law and the kids.  We spent one weekend doing the main work, but have still been trying to finish over the last month.  Currently we have the fence installed, but now I am trying to add a couple of electrical lines inside.  This will keep the animals off the fence and allow us to divide the pasture easily into paddocks with electrical fencing.

The kids also got a lesson in “how a donkey can learn to stand up.”  We got a “jack” donkey that was still intact to help protect our sheep.  He went after our mare very quickly.  He was good for the kids, but not good for the horse or sheep.  We were going to get him cut if he worked with the sheep, but he almost killed one of them, so we passed “Radar” on to another farm.  In return, the gentleman gave us 12 bantam roosters and hens.  So now we have chickens too.

Here is a rundown of the present animals on the farm.

photo

Our first two animals were two American Guinea Hogs. They love to eat, though they are still small! We have had them since July.

 

This is another picture of Red.

This is Red our Quarter Horse.  

This is another picture of Red with our two Black-belly sheep in the background.

This is another picture of Red with our two Black-belly sheep in the background.  Austin loves Red and does a great job of taking care of her. 

Caleb feeding the sheep which are expecting lambs.  They are very "sheepish!"

Caleb feeding the sheep which are expecting lambs. They are very “sheepish!”

This was Radar our Donkey, but he has already moved on to another family!

This was Radar our Donkey, but he has already moved on to another family!

See the post to learn why Radar didn't work on the farm!

See the post to learn why Radar didn’t work on the farm!

These are our four Dexter cows.

These are our four Dexter cows.

 

Here the kids are feeding two of the younger calves.

Here the kids are feeding two of the younger calves.

Here are the roosters on the day they were delivered.

Here are the roosters on the day they were delivered.

 

So begins our adventures on the farm with animals.  

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/farm-report-5-animals-come-to-the-farm/

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