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You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently. Ps. 119:4
According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, ethics are “rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad.”
Christianity offers the foundation of ethics. By becoming familiar with the Bible and what the world teaches as ethics – you’ll find that even the world borrows ground from what God has established. The teachings of morality, were God’s idea. The differences between good and evil are defined and given meaning in the Bible. Justice, honesty, wisdom, prudence, diligence, integrity, moral conduct, fair dealings, laboring with good work, respecting superiors, structure of rank and leadership, restraint in conduct, etc. – all of these attributes defining an excellent workman are based in God’s moral law and the bedrock of Christianity.
The work place is a Christian’s daily boot-camp for being renewed in the mind of Christ and having to apply Christian ethics. Looking at the reality of some job situations, what can stretch our fortitude? Real dilemmas, difficult co-workers, stressful encounters with the public, personal mistakes, frustrations of “red tape,” low wages for work performed, unjust misunderstandings, management breakdowns, lack of support, having to work with people that don’t have good ethics, fielding complaints, fixing other people’s mistakes, having to do the “dirty work” – the list goes on. The common response to the on-going of such challenges is demoralization, an apathetic attitude, bitterness, giving up, finding relief in “drinking it off,” a belligerent, complaining spirit and a “me” attitude. This is consistent with 2 Timothy 3:1-5 concerning the last days: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
God’s standard of ethics are much higher, tried and successful than what the world tries to enforce. As Christians, our lives are to be ruled by Christ’s Holy Spirit. We are not alone in our efforts, though surrounded by a sea of people that don’t usually share our same high standards. It’s not because we’re “super humans” or can achieve this in our own effort. Our ability to work with Christ’s ethics is because He enables us through His Spirit to achieve His standard and to even strengthen our areas of weakness. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Eph. 2:20
The Christian should be a “stand out,” a gleaming bright light providing an example of Christ by the way we work and conduct day-to-day business. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16
When governed by Christ, we make the best workmen, provide the highest standards of ethics and give the most diligent effort in whatever task presented—because we reflect Christ’s life in application, not just profess it.
The Bible’s Code of Ethics
Here’s a few characters traits that are the definition of a Christian’s ethics according to God’s word:
Hard Working: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…” Ec. 9:10
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Col. 3: 23-24
“The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.” Prov. 10:16
Diligent: Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. Prov. 22: 29
“The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor.” Prov. 12: 24
Just in Business/Wages: “A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.” Prov. 11:1
“Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully.” 2 Kings 12:15
Not a Man Pleaser: “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” James 2:9
“But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Col. 3:25
“For there is no respect of persons with God.” Rom. 2:11
Read More: A Christian's Work Ethic
Seven Thoughts to Consider about Purity in Public
Titus 2: 3-5 - The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
What employee hasn't had to sit through the dreaded video on how to handle sexual harassment in the work place or in public? It's unpleasant and embarrassing but it often defines situations and conversations we've probably had to handle.
From a woman's point of view, it's no surprise that this is an ongoing "issue" in the work or public place considering how some women (even professing Christians) act and present themselves in public.
Here's a few things Christian women especially would do well to consider about purity in public:
1) Matthew 10:16 - Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. A woman has the ability to often steer the situation with inappropriate attention from males (and sadly even females now days!) and often PREVENT situations before they fester. Plan for success – ask God for wisdom daily in the workplace or when going out in public!
2) Proverbs 11:22 - As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion. / Proverbs 31: 25 - Strength and honor are her clothing... Before even opening her mouth, a woman speaks the most by her conduct, the way she dresses and even by her body language. Have discretion in your deportment. Walk and present yourself as a daughter of the King and a follower of Jesus Christ. You reflect Christ and His image should be gaining a stronger resemblance in your life day-by-day!
3) Proverbs 31:26 - She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. / Ephesians 4:29 - Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. / Matthew 12: 36-37 - But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Ephesians 5:4 - Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. When she does open her mouth, a woman need be careful! Somethings just don't need to be discussed outside the home. The nature of topics certainly need to be thought of twice. Are we vulgar in our speech? Well, we need to repent and not be vulgar! What do we laugh about? Be a lady. How we talk and what we talk about, all sends volumes of insight to our coworkers about what we're willing to receive from them. Women, we can be inviting others—just by what we tolerate--to include us into their dirty or off-colored conversations. Speak up by your actions, leave the room and don't just go along with the trend. When the right timing, let your co-workers know about your church and some of your church activities. Yeh, go ahead and be thought of as a "church girl!" It won't fix all, but by doing our part, we women can certainly help guide the situation and while we're at it, witness a living Christ in our lives to our lost coworkers and the public we encounter.
4) 1 Timothy 2:9 - ...that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation... A woman can be modest if she wants to be. Women, please think "modesty" when you think about what you wear! Modesty is God's idea. Cover it up your nakedness...wear more fabric! For the conservative crowd, dresses can be just as immodest and revealing—watch the necklines and revealing fabrics! Just because it's a skirt doesn't mean it's appropriate in fit, length or perhaps that high slit to reveal a thigh and leg should be sewn up. Pouring yourself into a long pair of jeans with no skin showing doesn't make it less revealing! Also what you wear can be pretty! Nowhere in the scripture does it contextually tell us we get extra "spiritual points" for looking dumpy, ill kept and wearing faded clothing all the time (Hey! But it's true, we all need some dumpy clothing to paint the house in!). Go before the Lord and ask Him to help you get His idea of what you need to look like. It's a personal walk—but we can be united in Christ to have HIS idea.
5) Read Proverbs 31 - A Christian woman is not one of the "guys". A woman of character, high morals and Godly pursuits will be respected by most—even unbelievers. A Godly woman understands that the Biblical, God given role of womanhood if a gift that can be rejected and missed. It doesn't just happen (especially in our world today!) that women embrace God's plan for woman! A woman that truly is seeking God will behave like one. That means, in our society, that women respect how God created men in a leadership role capacity (even if the men don't understand). It means, we conduct ourselves with femininity and actively seek to live out the standards God has given us as women. "Putting one over" on the guys and competing between the sexes has no Biblical support. Being mannish is not "okay". (This is from a woman that likes to sweat outside, train horses, has helped a father and brother's work in plumbing, fencing, ranching, etc. A woman can still do and help do physical work in a God honoring way, but as a woman not trying to be a man.)
6) 1 Thessalonians 5:22 - Abstain from all appearance of evil. / 1 Corinthians 1:9 - But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. If you are single, act like you are married in that you reserve yourself for that one man (or woman) in your affections, conversations, entertainment, etc. That sounds crazy, but if we believe God is true to His word, He will provide a spouse in His timing. A wise mother said to her daughter, "There's only one man—just one. You don't have to try out everyone." Be the type of woman that the man of character would want for a wife. Presenting yourself as "one of the fun girls" to your coworkers or others in public is going to attract the same kind of person for a spouse and damage your witness for Christ. God put the solitarily in a family. Be known as a single person that is a family person. Invest in your parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, etc. Serve the brethren in church. Yeh, it's okay to be mocked as being "boring" and having no "fun." It is guaranteed that wholesome, righteous fun (that's really very broad in spectrum) will tend to life, character and enduring relationships when the counterfeit of a self-culture of "night life binges" and "sprees" will only end in moral corruption and broken, emptiness. Psalm 68: 6 God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land. Those "too friendly" customers that what to invade your space—stiffen the arm to prevent the embrace. Let it be known you belong to a church, a family. You girls, get your Dad to come visit you, let them know you have a "covering" and a man in your life. Get your brothers to walk in on your lunch break. Speak of the Lord. They'll get the message!
7) 1 Corinthians 7:1 - It is good for a man not to touch a woman. / 1 Timothy 5: 2 – [treat] The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. A note for the Men of the church or in public! Keep your comments on a woman's physical appearance reserved for your family! Many grandfatherly and fatherly types have a grace quite capable of presenting compliments and kindest actions with appropriateness—like apples of God in settings of silver. But some/most men would do better to refrain. Every time you meet in church, it is inappropriate and uncomfortable to a woman to give her an update on what she's wearing, her hair style, how well she looks, etc., etc., etc. While any honest woman would confess that admiration and being thought beautiful is a compliment—a godly woman neither seeks nor desires such attention from men beyond family. And consider, from some sources, it is more an aversion or insult to the woman than a gratification. A good rule for men would be to ask themselves, "Would I want another man to say this to my wife?" "Would I want another older man to act this way toward my daughter or sister?" "Would I say this if this woman were married and her husband standing next to her?" Even if the woman is single and young, she is likely someone's future wife. Act like a brother—and what brother goes around excessively hugging or telling his sister she's beautiful?
Loving Thy Enemies Featured
Sometimes, the hardest person to love isn't your arch enemy.
When someone is really causing you pain, they're easy to focus on – too easy, sometimes. They're right there in your face, demanding your attention; you concentrate on them and think your problem through so that you reach the path of love and forgiveness. It's not always easy to do, but it's not easily forgotten, either.
But there are other enemies that slip your mind as soon as you turn your back. Enemies that cause only irritation, not pain. Enemies responsible only for hot flashes of anger, not abiding and seething fury. But these need love and forgiveness just as much as anyone else does: just as much as you do.
God has taught me some of His greatest lessons through horses. The latest is a particularly stubborn young horse with whom I do not get along. The reason why is difficult to explain; it's not a bad horse, and we have made quite some progress with its training, but I just don't like it. It's a simple personality clash, but that doesn't give me any excuses. No – I have to love that annoying little horse just as much as all the others, or what kind of a person am I? Even the worst sinners love those who love them. It's loving those who hate us that means we really love (Matthew 5:46).
So I gritted my teeth and plugged on, building a partnership with this horse and swallowing my annoyance when it did something random apparently just to irritate me, but I knew I didn't like it. I didn't like the way it looked, acted or carried itself and I couldn't make myself do it. I was starting to get annoyed with myself for not being able to love the little horse when one evening at feeding time the poor horse was not looking well at all. It wasn't hungry, it didn't want to get up, and once it did get up it just stood with its head hanging and agony in its eyes.
I nursed it most of the evening, giving it medicine, monitoring its vitals, walking it up and down to see if we could get its stomach moving. I knew what it had and it didn't make me happy; colic can turn nasty in moments, and you might never know what you're dealing with until it's too late. I could do what I would, but as usual, it was not in my hands.
So I wrapped my arms around the horse's neck and buried my face in its fragrant mane and prayed, “Lord, please make this little horse better.”
And in my heart, a light went on as I realised that I was not afraid of what the horse's owner would say if I lost it; I was not afraid of what would happen to my reputation as horse trainer if I lost it; I was not afraid of the financial implications if I lost it. I was afraid to lose the horse because, much as I disliked it, I loved it.
Lord Jesus was just teaching me something. Less than an hour later, the horse looked fine again, its stomach was back to work and its vitals were normal. I was riding it again less than twenty-four hours later and it annoyed me half to death, as usual. But this time I could just push the annoyance aside, grit my teeth and keep working without worry.
You see, God just showed me that you don't have to like somebody to love them. You don't have to feel attracted to them or see something good in them to love them. You don't even have to feel a warm emotion when you think about them. All you have to do is make a conscious, determined decision to love them and the Lord will do the rest.
Love's not an emotion. Love is a glorious duty, and one which we can do – which we will do – no matter what the implications, no matter what the obstacles, no matter what the price. Because we have been given this perfect and amazing commandment by the One Who is love, by the One Who loves the most mightily and eternally of all (Matthew 22:36-40).
Purity Behind Doors
Character is what you are in the dark. D. L. Moody
Purity starts in us...in our hearts and at the hearth of home.
The “product” of how we live and operate begins with what we believe and how we live by those beliefs.
Scripture tells us, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).”
What is in is what comes out.
The starting point of purity for any believer is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Relationships require knowing someone. In being a Christ follower, it means following the ways of Christ and living as Christ would. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth (Romans 10:4).”
When we professed Christ as the Lord of our lives that meant our lives are going be constantly required to change for better in every way. We can know the Lord’s guidance through the Holy Spirit. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come (John 16:13).”
Behavior and pleasures that once were acceptable in a carnal lifestyle are no longer acceptable.
Even those of us raised in a Christian home are not exempt from Christ’s purging as all of us are born with the sin nature and require redemption of character, attitudes, mindset, etc., etc.
What we are in secret is so important. Appetites for sensual pleasures often can trip up even the most enthusiastic Christian into living a lifestyle that is disobedient to God. Idleness can lead to wasting time, reading frivolous romance novels or sports magazines. Most commonly in today's internet immerged culture, many Christians can find themselves over dedicating to endless hours on social media, gaming, chat/dating websites.
Home entertainment is one of the greatest vehicles for compromise in standards of purity we Christians face.
Fornication, pornography, adultery, murder, revenge, covetousness and even just mindless, course jesting riddles almost every form of media known to man. Those bad things just get “slipped in” and before many know it, watching fornication on the screen can be justified, because, as one Christian woman told the authoress, “I’m married” (should that really make a difference??)! Crude, coarse jesting humor begins to make one laugh and the gore of blood and war—many can’t wait to watch again and again. Foolish dreamy romantic fantasies lead many young girls and even grown women down a frustrating path of longing for something that either doesn't exist or breeds discontent in their lives.
What we are “comfortable with" or things that "don't bother” us maybe should make us uncomfortable and bother us!
Humans can become comfortable with anything. One example is that many have come to accept homosexuals or unmarried people living together with an excuse of “they are engaged” or “well, they are committed to each other.” Is it surprising when considering that even the Corinthian church had to be rebuked for growing comfortable with accepting sexual immorality (incest) in their church (1 Corinthians 5:1)? Throwing out God's standard of purity--as this is an example--is not right even if it is humanly accepted. God will punish such sin.
In seeking purity, our home lives are to reflect Christ’s purity, even behind the drapes and closed doors.
We may be able to hide our actions from our family, our pastor, our friends—but God knows and see all. “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom wemust give account (Hebrews 4:13).”
Are we feeding our minds with pure mental food? Have we asked the Lord to show us where we can change our lives at home? Have we turned off the television when someone clad in immodest clothing comes slinking across the screen? Or do we justify it because it’s sports, it’s a commercial, etc.? Are we blameless as singles (and married people are included too) in giving no appearance of evil of in how we are hosting male or female friends? Do we protect ourselves by our actions to remain chaste in world that tingles with thriving lasciviousness? Are we spending enough time dedicating ourselves to God-given responsibilities—like cleaning the house, washing the sheets, tending to wiping a child’s face, fixing supper on time--or are we being excessive on Facebook, Pintrest, Craigslist, blogs, etc. and neglecting husband, children, parents and/or home? Idleness or even doing good things that are the cause of neglect of the first priority can be a stumbling stone that leads to unhealthy habits, that lead ultimately to vice and sin.
Go before the Lord. This is not an exhaustive “how to” post on cleaning up our lives according to scripture. It is a call to think, fall on our knees and go humbly before the Lord seeking Him out for the Christian standard.
There are definite guidelines for Christians that should be universally understood as the way of Christ. God is very explicit in moral detail. Anyone can read the Bible and find answers about how to behave morally. Again, the Holy Spirit will lead all seeking Christians into all truth. We can know. If you want to know more, go to the Contact Us page and send us a message.
Remember, if we are aligning and justifying our purity by comparison of others—we’re not where we need to be. We only have One to align ourselves to and that is Christ Jesus. He is our Standard and Helps us obtain that morality He calls us to.
Let us make our aim not to push the limits, gratify our nature and find our “comfort zone”—but to seek the Lord, to please Him and have a heart wholly dedicated to Christ refining us into His beautiful, holy Image.
**Note from Authoress: There are two references to "sports." Please note that this is not a bash session against sports. However, there is an element in the sports world that can glorify what is not God honoring. This was merely used as an example and the blog post not exhaustive to explaining every detail. As in everything, each Christian has a responsibility to go before the Lord and live out the Christian walk before the Lord.
This is the first part of a multi-part series...
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
Purity is a hot topic in the Christian world today.
In our culture, "to be pure" often is associated as being naive, abnormal, wimpy and "no fun." Even in Christian "upstanding" circles, the idea of physical purity (e.g. virginity, abstaining from substance abuse, not being a drunkard, etc.) has shockingly become a novelty. Many parents just expect that their children will turn wayward, have a "fling" and then hopefully get serious about life and settle down.
It doesn't have to be this way.
God forgives—yet—what we often find is an attitude of acceptance among Christian crowds for the "sake" of trying to cajole and lure the wayward (especially the young) into church so we can "fix" them. Many churches and Christian organizations mistakely define love as toleration. Much effort is put into glamourizing the Message into attractive, marketable packages that will be appealing and more palatable to the Generation lost. They increase and diversify marketing strategies and grow to unnecessarily accept a lower standard and end up accommodating sinful lifestyles by providing "a comfortable environment" where lives ultimately don't change much. Nowhere in the Scriptures do we find it Biblical to accommodate and excuse sin. We are to instead call sin, sin and disciple nations in the Gospel, a solid hope in an unchanging Christ.
Christ's purity is not subject to or diminished by human definition, interpretation, marketing strategies or popularity. Regardless of man's efforts—Christ remains the same. Christ was and still is the perfect pattern. In Him is a surety, a foundation to be anchored upon and an absolute possibility in obtaining His ways (He. 6:18-20). Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (He. 13:8). He is consistent, unmoving, uncompromising Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6).
As humans, we are incapable of obtaining purity by our own efforts. We can "look the part" and still inwardly be vile. Being pure just doesn't happen by itself. As Christians that read their Bible know, the first tenet toward is a relationship with Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit living through us, putting on the armor of God, feeding oneself with the Word of God, bearing the fruits of the Spirit, and praying without ceasing. Being pure as Christ, though, does have some more action on our part. We are born with a free will, thus, WE have to choose to allow the Lord to work in us a daily renewing in a never ending lifestyle that permeates every part of us. Briefly, in application this means we have to set things asside. We have to keep our clothes on or even add more fabric to our clothing! We have to not read or watch trash. We have to walk away. We have to turn off the radio or television or computer.
In accord with Scripture and with the enablement of Christ, we have a choice and ability to control and to "... keep thyself pure" (1Tim. 5:22).
Our mind – What do we think about? Read? Entertain ourselves with?
Our eyesight – what do we view? Do we walk away or refuse to look at it? Do we turn it off?
Our mannerisms – How do we act? Are we ruled by selfishness ("this is just me, you'll have to lump it") or self-giving?
Our speech—What comes out of our mouths? Are we deceptive, backbiting, idle, vulgar?
Our desires – What do we long for? Do we inappropriately want something?
Our passions – Are we controlled by our lusts and impulses?
Our bodies – How are we presenting them? Using them? Managing them? Dressing them?
In our relationships – do we treat others as Christ would? Are we physically pure with others?
Our identity – Do we act as women should? Are we uncompromisingly feminine as God created women to be? Do we excuse ourselves as being mannish when God gave us a role of femininity?
How we work? – Do we work with purity? Are we blameless, ethical, integral and honest?
How we spend our time? – Are we good stewards of our time? What are we doing with life?
How we spend our money? – What investments are we making? Do we tithe? Are we responsible?
What entertains us? – Do we have hobbies and interests that God would approve of?
How do we care for our families? Are we committed? Do we invest and love the lives God has given us in our family? Do we honor our parents?
And the list could go on...
God doesn't want us to feel beat before we're start. He enables, He provides, He satisfies, He gives. What we have to do is make the commitment and live today, one step at a time. When we fail, we have to confess it and get back going on the right track. We have to be willing to change and make changes.
Let's bring this down to application.
What does purity look like in our daily lives?
To Be Continued...