Curse of Childbirth

“To the woman he said, ‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labor you will give birth to children….'” — Genesis 3:16

I became a Christian before I became a mother, which afforded me the opportunity to naively consider the above verse before I actually experienced it. One such unenlightened thought is this: Is it still a curse with the development of modern medicine?

My unlearned mind continued to question and explore the weight of this curse. Every mother had endured this pain. How painful could it really be? Many eager mothers continue to have multiple children even though birth control is readily available and effective. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and have endured various types of pain in my lifetime. I consider myself “tough.”

In the delivery room, my thoughts abruptly changed. Yes, pain in childbirth is still a severe curse. After all, you experience hours of painful contractions before an epidural can be administered (if you choose to get one). Yes, indeed! It is still a curse. For such a natural process, nothing quite seems to happen too naturally. How do all mothers make it thought that pain? I salute them all and confess it was my prideful thoughts.

As the Bible says in John 16:21, a woman does forget the pains of birth because of the joy that a child is born into the world. Sometimes the forgetfulness may not be immediate. It may happen after a mother has overcome the fears, surrenders to the sacrifices that must be made, and develops a relationship with her baby. Yet the joy is real and just as sure as the pain!

I reflect on the birth of my first child as such a miracle and blessing even though the process was cursed with pain. It was such a blessing, in fact, that I also chose to have a second child. We are now blessed with a family of four.

Over all of these thousands of years, the curse on Eve has not been lifted while the miracle of birth still triumphs over pain. I am equally convinced the curse of sin is death while the miracle of Christ’s sacrifice triumphs over the penalty of eternal punishment. God’s Word stands and—just as it says—not one stroke of it will disappear until everything is accomplished (Matthew 5:18).

I wrote this article to share my heart about God’s Word and my personal experiences. After reading it, I am realizing it could be intimidating to a mother who is pregnant for the first time especially if the mother is not in the perfect situation. For that reason, I want to encourage pregnant women that giving birth is the best decision and give you a link to a local group of special people who can help you in your circumstance. Contact Hand N Hand Pregnancy Help Center (Missouri) or a pregnancy help center in your area. There is no need to go through it alone. Joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Thanks for reading and  God bless!

Homosexuality & Other Issues

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As a longtime online religious forum contributor, I can honestly say I have witnessed a fair share of people state they reject Christ because of their opinions on homosexuality or abortion or some other other political issue. As a longtime church member, I can also say I have heard the true-life stories of a fair share of people stating they are homosexual or that they received abortions—yet they still committed their lives to Christ. It seems ironic that people would feel so strongly that they must defend someone else’s political rights that they themselves would reject their God and opportunity to obtain eternal life based on the “Christian view” of certain political issues. This is especially disturbing considering the fact that opinions of Christians vary so greatly. Today, I want to implore the strong-minded, Non-Christian political activists reading this blog to reconsider their rejection of Christ. I am not asking you to abandon your political views about any issue—just your view of Christ.

Take a moment to consider how God feels about you. Maybe you feel unsure about God’s feelings for you. Well, let’s look at what Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) says about it: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. If God will not let anything in all creation separate you from His love, then why would you let political issues come in between you and your Creator?

 If you have decided you no longer want political issues or anything else to stand in the way of your acceptance of Christ and His promise of eternal life, then pray this prayer: “God, I accept Jesus as my Savior. I believe Jesus is the Son of God. I believe He died on the cross and rose from the dead. I believe His death is the sacrifice that paid for my sins and His resurrection is a promise of eternal life. I choose to commit my life to You, Lord. Thank You for my salvation. In Christ’s Name, Amen.”

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

How to Chase Your Dreams

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It’s not a verse in the Bible, but it appears everywhere: Chase your dreams! You can see that it’s wise advice, but then there is this fear inside of you that is afraid to even admit your dream to yourself much less anyone else. You may have no idea where to start. Here are five steps to guide you as you pursue your dreams in life:

1. Make a list of dreams. Nothing is too small or too big to list. If you want something to happen in your life, list it! Your list might include things like: get married, have children, become financially stable, become a famous rock star, become a renowned novelist, or be a distinguished pastor. Remember your priorities. Do not assume anything is necessarily going to happen. We will fine-tune the list later. Just put your dreams on paper without fear. It’s just between you and God.

2. Purify your motivation. Why do you want to get married or have children? If your answer is because you want someone to love you, then rethink the motivation. A more pure motivation would be to give your love to someone. If you want to become a famous rock star because you want people to think well of you, then consider letting go emotionally of that thought. Instead, find motivation in the desire to share your musical talent with the world. Once your motivation is purified in your mind, your heart will let go of the selfish desires that you have held onto since you were a child. Reconsider your list and fine-tune it if necessary. The psalmist in Psalm 51:10 wisely prays this: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

3. Pray about your dreams. Some people only pray for other people. They think God is too busy to hear their prayer for anything more than physical health. That’s not true! God wants you to pour out your heart to Him. He wants you to ask for your dreams. In some cases, He may have put the dreams in your heart to lead you on a path to the type of life He meant for you to live. Be open to God’s guidance. As you pray, you may hear His still small voice guiding you to modify your list in some way. Matthew 7:7 states, “Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

4. Take steps toward your dreams. If you have been praying for a child because you want someone to love, then put your words into action. Offer to babysit your nieces and nephews, volunteer in the church nursery, or offer to help school children read in a program like Oasis. If you want to become a professional singer, then join the church choir or form your own band to perform in public places. These are fulfilling and rewarding ways to help others while you work toward your own dream. God sees your efforts and will open doors of opportunity for you.

5. Persevere in your dreams. You may have passionately pursued your dream, but no one accepted your demo or your manuscript. You may be tempted to give up. And the truth is you may need to give up on some element of your dream—but not the whole dream! You may need to fine-tune your list some more. You may want to change “becoming a famous rock star” to “use my singing voice to spread joy in my community.” The doctor may have given you the news that you are unable to conceive. That does not mean your spouse and you must live in a quiet childless home. There are over 300,000 children in foster homes in the US. One third of them are eligible for adoption. Become a foster parent or adopt a child. Don’t let excuses get in the way. Watch a video of a young boy’s heartfelt plea to become adopted by clicking here.

These steps offer a sensible plan to pursue your dreams. Dreams that have been fine-tuned and prayed over will lead you to a fuller life and a closer relationship with God. I pray you will not look on life with regrets. Consider praying this prayer with me: Lord, Help me to pursue the dreams that will lead me to a greater knowledge of You, Your love for me, and Your will for my life. Guide me to remember my priorities, help and encourage others on my path, and walk into doors of opportunity. Thank You, Lord, that You hear my prayer and want what is best for me. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© 2015 Kim Bond

*Kim Bond writes and edits literature for Draw Near Christian ministry. Click FREE EBOOKS to read more.

Submission

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When Christians hear the word submission, their minds may automatically jump to the controversial subject of submission of wives to their husbands. However, all Christians are called into a lifetime of submission. Christians are called to submit first and foremost to God as stated in James 4: 7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God….”.  Jesus lived in perfect submission to His Father. He never argued with Him about His rights or rebelled against Him. Instead, He yielded to His Father’s will because He trusted Him. He is our example.

We are called to submit to the government and other authorities. Romans 13: 1 states, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” This means everything from following speed limits to paying taxes. It means we cannot use our own judgment or take what is entitled to us.

Common sense tells us to submit to our bosses, but Christians are called to do even more than submit but to “serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…” in Ephesians 6:7. Putting forth our best efforts is a testimony to our boss and coworkers that God is good. If you think you are being treated unfairly, do not seek revenge with poor efforts.

Christian children must obey their parents as it says in Ephesians 6:1 , “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” This basic relationship teaches us to know our place.

Submission is an attitude fortified with humility and obedience. These are characteristics God wants to instill in us because we cannot live in a proper relationship with the Lord unless we are trained in submission. If we cannot submit to earthly authority, how can we submit to God?

Ephesians 5: 22 states, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” As women’s rights gained prominence, the above verse became increasingly controversial. Some non-Christians think it is demeaning to women. Even some Christians think this is a verse that was meant for the time period it was written in and does not apply to us. I do not think it is demeaning or outdated.

Our Creator gave a masterful order to the universe. He instituted the laws of gravity. Our Father in heaven also established an order in families. Jesus should be the head of every household. Husbands are called to submit to Him, wives should submit to their husbands, and children must obey their parents.

Women have been given the gift of beauty, the ability to bear children, and a powerful influence over their children’s lives. Yet, women are called to submit to husbands. This does not mean wives should become robotically compliant to their husbands. It means they should yield to their husbands.

Husbands should never misuse their authority to control or abuse women. Rather, they should delegate authority to other people in the household. They should seek the opinions of household members before making decisions. In this way, they become a good Christian husband and father.

Christian wives will become unhappy if they must assume a leadership position because a husband is refusing to lead. When both husband and wife struggle for power, households are too argumentative. Christians who feel their household is out of balance should seek their God-given assigned identity in Christ by meditating on Scripture and praying for ways to conform to God’s design for families.

Christians should have an attitude of submission towards God. Our earthly authority provides a great training ground to learn how to submit. When we submit to authority, we humbly obey God as we should. Whether it is the federal government or our boss or a husband, we respect God’s plan for order when we yield to their authority.

But what about when the authority figure or law goes against God’s Word? What then? God is the highest authority in the Christian’s life. Christians should always obey God even when authorities in your life command you to go against what God or His Word is telling you to do.

In the book of Daniel, we read about Daniel’s character. He was faithful to God and submitted to authority. He worked hard and behaved righteously. His qualities earned him a promotion. The jealous officials inspired a decree which forbid Daniel to pray to God. Yet Daniel ignored the decree that lead him away from God and kept on praying! He feared God more than man so God rescued him from the mouth of lions.

Christians must always fear God more than man. Christians should never depend on the law to tell us what is right or wrong, but we should rely on God’s Word. Believers should tell corrupt bosses they will not break the law to help their bottom line. Christian women should not quietly submit to abusive husbands but seek God’s will in their lives. Those are exceptions in which acting righteously and justly according to God’s Word is more important than submitting to authority.

In most circumstances, submission to authority is a useful tool to help us draw near to the Lord. If we love the Lord, we will submit to authority. In doing so, we are a good example and witness to others. Throughout our lives, we must remember our King in heaven is our ultimate authority. Our Father who loves us deserves our undivided loyalty.

PRAYER: Lord, Help us to draw near to You by submitting to authority. Give us the courage to stand firm on the Word when authority leads us astray. Thank You, Lord, that You hear our prayers. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Closet Atheism

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When non-believers think of Christians, we want them to think of an upstanding man or woman who loves God and exhibits the fruit of the Spirit. We do not want them to think of abortion clinic bombers or funeral picketers. When they project those qualities on us, we want to scream, “NO, I AM NOT LIKE THAT! That’s a misunderstanding.”

Now consider how Christians think of atheists. What’s popping into your mind? Is it someone ridiculing your beliefs? Blaspheming God? Suing governmental institutions to exclude every reference to God? If we do not want to be stereotyped, we should stop stereotyping atheists. After all, there are LOTS of atheists that silently and privately disbelieve in God. This is closet atheism.

In fact, you might be surprised to learn some people you assumed were Christians actually do not believe in God at all. They have not told you or anybody else because they are afraid they will be rejected or be forced to endure a long, one-sided conversion speech. If we regard and respect all of God’s creation, quiet atheists among us will be more likely to voice their opinions about God. Then, your love for them will have opened the door for an intellectual conversation about God and the Bible.

Once the closet atheists in your life feel comfortable enough to confide their lack of belief in God, you may feel privileged to have this information. Yet at the same time, you may feel too intimidated to speak openly about your faith in God. Try this:

*Serve this person. In John 13, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. If our Savior washed feet, we should never feel too superior to serve another human being. Be ready. Look and pray for opportunities to fill needs in this person’s life.

 *Share your testimony. Wait for an appropriate time in natural conversation to share the story of how God delivered you, healed you, or saved you. If you cannot think of one that applies to yourself, share the true story of what God has done in someone else’s life. Atheists depend on logic to discern whether or not your story adds up so they may explain away the truth in their own mind. That does not matter. The truth of the testimony has an anointing that went forth when you spoke it. Spiritually, Jesus is knocking on their door. It is up to them to answer or not. Just do your part and speak the truth.

 *Discuss God and the Bible. The key word here is “discuss.” In a natural conversation, bring up God and the Bible. Ask them what bothers them about Christianity. Be ready to answer according to the Bible. The fact that your answers are Biblical will not mean much to the atheist since they do not regard it as God’s Word, but you know you are speaking the truth if it is Scripturally founded. Admit you do not know all the answers. Humility is a virtue.

Do not take it personally if an atheist rejects your words. They are rejecting Christ—not you! Do not become discouraged no matter how long this atheist rejects Christ. God may be working emotional healing and/or other Christians to witness of God’s truth into that person’s life. Just keep praying for this person’s faith to be ignited. I pray you will boldly and lovingly communicate God’s invitation into His kingdom to any unbelieving people in your life.

Supposing a non-believer in your life agrees to say the sinner’s prayer with you or answers an alter call while visiting your church or somehow finds faith in God, then what? Go ahead and celebrate! Just don’t abandon them after the celebration. Take the time to disciple them. Encourage the new Christian to: 1) confess their faith publicly and become baptized by showing them what steps are necessary to become baptized, 2) attend church regularly by inviting them, 3) read their Bible by giving them one as a gift, 4) lead a holy life by being a good example.

Consider how much time Jesus spent with His disciples and how He loved them. I pray the Lord gives you the ability to disciple a new Christian in your lifetime with the heart of Jesus. Some of our best opportunities come within our own family. Take the time to disciple new Christians especially if they are your brothers, sisters, cousins, parents, and your very own kids. God bless!

PRAYER: Lord, I pray the atheists in our lives would have the courage to confess their lack of belief. I pray You would inspire us to love them the way You love us. Let them see Your glory and be saved by Christ’s blood. Thank You, Lord, that You are good to all and have compassion on Your creation. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

About Judaism

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Who is Jewish? It seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? But it’s not! There is more than one basis for being called Jewish.

1. The first basis is ETHNICITY. People who have Jewish parents are referred to as Jewish. Regardless of their religious beliefs or practices, this group of people are still considered Jewish because they are ethnic Jews.

2. The second basis is RELIGION. Ethnic Jews who practice the religion known as Judaism are called Jewish. However, any person who can convert to Judaism and will then be referred to as a Jew.

In Genesis 12:2, the Lord said to Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.Today, it’s easy for us to see that God fulfilled His promise to Abraham! Abraham’s descendants can be found anywhere in the world including the great nation of Israel. God always keeps His promises because He is faithful. 

With over 300 prophecies about the coming Messiah pointing to Jesus, it may be hard to understand why Jewish people do not accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Well, some Jewish people do accept Jesus as their Messiah and Savior. Jewish people practicing Jewish traditions that have accepted Jesus are called Messianic Jews.

Yet there are many more Jewish people who do not accept Jesus as their Messiah. Here are two major reasons why:

1. The first reason is CONTEXT. Jewish people think Christians take Messianic prophecies out of context. Christians argue the Bible passages that contain prophecy have a dual meaning.

2. The second reason is the JEWISH BIBLE. The Jewish translation of the Bible renders certain passages differently. For instance, Christian Bible state Immanuel will be born to a virgin in Isaiah 7:14. In the Jewish Bible, it simply says Immanuel will be born to a young woman.

There are whole books written on the subject, and the many words written do not apply to every Jewish person. However, I hope this blog has helped a little to unravel the mystery of why Jewish people are still waiting for their Messiah while the rest of us are waiting for His return!

In the Bible, we read God promised a chosen nation to Jacob’s descendants including the Promised Land of Israel. We know one major reason God set this nation apart was to bring forth the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to bring non-Jews into a reconciled relationship to God. Now that Jesus Christ accomplished His Father’s will, does it nullify God’s promise to Abraham’s descendants? Should Israel belong to the Jewish people in modern day times?

The belief that Israel should belong to the Jewish people is called Zionism. Many Christians support Zionism because they believe the book of Romans confirms the original promise stated in Genesis 12. Many Jewish people support Zionism because they have a continued faith God’s promise to them, which is stated in the Jewish Bible. Even people who do not believe in the Bible at all may support Zionism for political or other reasons.

What do you think? I see the existence of Israel as a miracle and a reminder that God has not forsaken us. As Christians, we know for certain God will one day call us to our own spiritual Promised Land in heaven where we can reside forever with Him.

If you are not a Christian, it is easy to become one with simple heartfelt prayer: Dear Lord, I believe your Son Jesus is the Messiah who washed my sin away with his suffering and death on the cross. I believe he was raised up from the dead. His blood guarantees me a place in heaven. I accept the gift of salvation. In Christ’s Name, Amen. 

If you prayed that heartfelt prayer, you are now an heir of God. Congratulations! Click here to read a poem on our spiritual Promised Land in heaven. 

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Dealing With Anger

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James 1:19-20 states we should be “slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” Yet, sometimes it just feels like a reflex. It seems like there is nothing we can do about this wild emotion rising up in us. Anger builds in us and we either explode or stuff it down in our heart somewhere. If you think you have successfully stuffed it away, you’re wrong! Your anger takes a toll on your face and in your body. It’s like trying to hold back a tidal wave. You will either explode uncontrollably later or become bitter or resentful.

One way we can deal with anger is to refuse to become angry by forgiving immediately and taking personal responsibility for our part in the situation. Secondly, we can quickly switch our focus from anger to problem resolution. Another great way to manage anger is to express anger through exercise and art regularly. This blog explores each of those ways to manage anger.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

One of the best ways for a person to control their anger is to take personal responsibility. Personal responsibility means accepting our part of the blame for the situation. When we feel anger, this might require a quick prayer and some soul searching. After thinking a few minutes, we can usually find some way we contributed to the event that is angering us. Once we realize we are also to blame, we can a quickly confess and apologize to any other person that is involved. Anger has no time to take root.

Sometimes we simply do not play any part in the blame for a situation that has the potential to anger us. When this happens, it’s just best to look for a way to be thankful like saying, “At least it wasn’t worse.” We can also take heart in remembering God uses our situations for His purpose (although we may not be able to see it). He promises to work them for your good in Romans 8:28. It is always within our power to choose a positive perspective.

REFOCUS

Ephesians 4:26 states, “’In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry… “ One way to avoid letting the sun go down on our anger is to shift our focus away from our angry feelings. We move the focus FROM our feelings TO our mind when we try to solve the conflict instead of arguing about it. Ask yourself, “How can we solve this disagreement?”

Communication is the best way to resolve conflicts with other people. Ask them in a calm way why they did what they did. Try to gain some understanding of their point of view. Ask them how they feel and tell them how you feel. Can you find a solution through compromise? Can you assign times, chores, or routines? Can you avoid the situation altogether? If you humble yourself and put the other person first, will this solve the problem? Brainstorm and work together to try to figure out how you can prevent the situation from happening again. Your relationship and peace of mind is worth the effort it takes to solve issues. Ask God to help you come up with solutions. He will honor your prayer when He sees you are serious about sheathing the sword of your anger. God cares about you and wants to give you the tools to solve conflicts.

Sometimes relationships become more about winning than actual arguments. If that is the case, maybe you both need more healthy competition in your lives. Stop arguing and join a bowling league! Ideally you two (you and your coworker, spouse, brother, etc.) could join a team together. If not, just join one yourself.

Above all, pray for a solution to recurring conflicts. Is your anger a problem in your life? Ask God to deliver you from your own anger in prayer. Our God delivers us from anger and restores joy. This is how we draw nearer to God.

EXERCISE & ART

We know that when one man punches another, he is expressing his anger. But what if the same man punches a volleyball across the net instead? Isn’t he still expressing his anger but in a more productive way? The human body was meant for physical activity. The expression of anger is just one more reason to squeeze about 20 minutes into your daily routine. You do not need a gym membership or treadmill. Click here for free workout videos designed for men and women to do at home. (Kinda like having your own personal trainer.)

Alternative ways to express anger would be to write in a journal or to dream up some creative fiction. Even drawing and painting can express anger. The quality of your art piece is not as important as the expression of your emotion–the download from your heart and soul.

Lord, We confess our sinfulness and unrighteous anger to You. Please help us to become angry less and deal with the anger inside of us in healthy ways. Thank You that You have the power to deliver us, the desire to deliver us, and great wisdom in all things.In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Consider anger you have held onto for a long time. When the sun goes down on your life, will you still be angry at those people? Fast forward to thoughts of you laying on your death bed. Will you regret all the time you wasted being angry? Will you mourn the relationships wounded by your anger? What should you have done with your time? Click here to ponder this with me in a poem called “From My Death Bed.”

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!