Psalm 111:10— 

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.”

Proverbs 1:7—

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Proverbs 15:33—

The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.

Proverbs 31:29-31—

“Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the work of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. 

The reason for this lesson and why we are reminding you of what is at stake—is not to protect any of us as leaders or our ministry, but to protect the many innocent women who will be affected. In addition, today’s lesson will also protect YOU— from what is up ahead should you enter serving the Lord in this (or any) ministry and then fail to confess and come clean of sin that has you bound. The only way you can be set FREE from sin is to CONFESS it.

What happened to so many of the women who came before you, after the Lord uncovered what was going on in their lives, I confess is terrifying to me as well. Most of the time when these women came to confess what they did or someone else who was associated with them came to tell me what was going on (which I knew nothing about) it was soon after the Lord revealed what it means to suffer for unconfessed sin—living in sin as a Believer.

One of the ladies who sinned against this ministry and Erin personally (because they had become very close friends) was in her mid-thirties but is now living in a nursing home though she is so young. Less than a year after she took RMI’s publishing team and the resources she used while working with our ministry (that we briefly mentioned in the last commitment Lesson #8 Freed from Sin), had a brain aneurysm, which left her in a vegetative state. Her two young daughters had to live with relatives due to the ex-husband not wanting them.

For the record, if this minister had just shared her desire for a publishing company, Erin said she would have gladly encouraged her to do so AND would have encouraged her to invite any of our ministry team members who wanted to join her. Then, who knows, GOD KNOWS, NRP would have been eager to sub-out our work using her publishing company.

Another woman who didn’t confess until more than a year after she left, had just come through her second or third cancer, this time she was close to death twice to the point that their pastor and extended family was called in. It was right after she found out about her cancer coming back a third time that she immediately contacted and confessed to me what had been going on while she worked for the ministry. Today she keeps in touch and is also free from cancer. Thank you, Lord.

Had she shared and confessed, even if she didn’t feel like she wanted to remain with RMI, Erin would have encouraged her to continue her public speaking—sharing about how her HH brought her through cancer and restored her marriage. Humorous public speaking, detailing her fight with cancer and finding her HH was her ministry but it never materialized.  

“He who covers his transgressions shall not prosper.” Proverbs 28:13

One more example that the Lord wants us to share was the woman who embezzled money from our ministry for many years. Erin discovered the fraud when she began handling the ministry’s finances and noticed strange charges on the ministry debit card. When she went to the bank and they were able to trace who was making these fraudulent charges, and was strongly advised by the bank manager that we needed to sue the woman and charge her with the crime! 

This man told Erin and Tara (when they first began talking) that he was actually an ordained minister. He said he was still waiting for God to use him on the mission field. Erin explained that this woman was formerly her personal secretary and if she were to file a police report, it would mean she would be arrested! Then when Erin balked telling him that “No matter what she’s done, I forgave her long ago and would never take any legal action against her.” He replied that this is sometimes what you “have to do” saying that he had to sue his own parents! God help us! 

When Erin and her daughter, Tara, returned to the car Erin said, “No WONDER God has yet to use that man as a missionary!” Instead of taking his advice, of course, Erin let go of the injustice and left it up to the Lord, then asked God to show her if there was any way she could bless her.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you . . . For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the taxgatherers [or sinners] do the same?” Matthew 5:44–46

The opportunity came several months later. There was one of the worst tornadoes that ever hit the midwest of the United States. Erin said, “When I saw the aerial views I knew it had wiped out where this woman lived. When I looked at the map, I could see where her house USED to be. We immediately posted a missing person and heard from her about ten days later. We emailed back and forth.

“To bless her, I offered to GIVE her a house our family had that was close by, and then to take all its contents whenever her house could be rebuilt. She said she did not want anything and would not accept my offer. What I had hoped to give her was more than possessions or a home to live in. What I know God wanted to give her was peace and protection if she would only have confessed what she’d done. Sadly, she never did.”

This woman was fantastic at networking but today she does nothing for the Lord. Each of us has been given different talents and training throughout our lives that He wants to use—and what RMIOU wants to help you develop. But a minister needs to keep the right heart, clean and free from sin—living the principles we’ve each learned here and must live as His bride and His ministers. 

Confessing your Faults each Month

Recently we’ve been working on restoring one of our Ministry Team Members who we had to issue a “Mandatory Ministry Leave of Absence Sabbatical” MMLAS due to her unkind and impatient behavior. As part of this process, we took time to go back to review her Check-in forms for 12 months. We wanted to see if she had confessed anything that we, as her leaders, had failed to agree in prayer about and possibly work with her on. Each “confession” had a central theme, not confessing faults, but was centered around what she wanted God to do for her. In the future, we hope and pray that He helps us to notice things like these as red flags because self-centeredness is not the characteristic of His bride or His servant or a Minister.

The Opportunity to Confess

“And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3, Luke 6:41.

During this unsavory process of having to go through the offenses towards others, while also working on this MCL “Ministry Commitment Lesson,” one of her sins towards others, was being in a hurry and pressing others, and Erin immediately realized this is something that she was doing. “I had only uncovered this connection to what this MTM and I was also doing— after taking the opportunity to confess this twice, to two of our BODs. I was so eager to be rid of the rapid pace the enemy was using to wear us all out and I didn’t want to be part of the enemy’s scheme.”

See that “no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:11

So since this confession, Erin says, “I am happily going to adopt a ‘wait policy’ and am encouraging our BODs “Board of Directors” and BN “Branch Directors” to do the same—so we don’t fall into this scheme of his again. If it can wait, we will wait and simply schedule it for later.”

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 KJV

When going through your Restoration Journey for your marriage, you learned and hopefully followed through by confessing your faults to whomever you’d offended or hurt. This cleansing never ever should stop because, the truth is, we are simply “sinners saved by His amazing grace.” As you continue on your RJ now as a minister or minister in training or volunteer, the Lord will uncover things in your life that He wants you to confess so He can rid you of all the consequences of that sin. He wants you to be His bride, all in white, and not carrying anything hidden that could weigh you down—often through guilt and shame and condemnation.

The truth is, once you confess your sin to Him, He will let you know if you need to go to the person or persons you hurt by your actions. It’s simply being open and willing.

The tragedy is when we are unwilling to confess, and instead, keep our sins hidden. In the same way that Adam and Eve hid from God when they sinned, it only serves to separate us from His love! He still sees us and our sin, yet our unwillingness to confess it to Him and repent (turn away from it) will be our downfall. And when we have been given ample time and opportunity, there could very well be His vengeance due to the natural consequence of sin. So please don’t miss this opportunity if you have kept sins hidden. Be set free today.

Often a telltale sign that a believer is living in sin that’s not been confessed, is becoming religious and doing their best to flaunt their righteous acts—becoming a Pharisee the only group of people the Lord despised.

Clearly we have been given only two choices:

  1. For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. How much more severe a punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God. Vengeance is mine, I will repay. The Lord will judge His people. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:26–31.
  2. “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8–9.

"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants." Deuteronomy 30:19

Lacking Discretion

“As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.” Proverbs 11:22

As startling as seeing these pig pictures are, so too is how what you say can startle and cause others to look at you in a different way. The picture the Bible paints, and now that you see in this picture, is used to explain how important it is to STOP and think of others before you simply blurt out, or send a text or email or share a comment.

Discretion is defined as “the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information (about yourself or someone else or ministry-related) to another.

Synonyms of discretion are circumspection, carefulness, caution, wariness, chariness, guardedness. And when followed, it says it gives us “the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation.” Synonyms for being discreet are having a: choice, option, preference to send that text, post the comment, or write and send the email.

Like almost all of the previous Ministry Commitment Lessons, we were led to write this lesson and ask each of you to consider this commitment due to a LACK of discretion on the part of a few of our former ministers. The Lord usually calls our attention to the need for a lesson/commitment when He amazingly allows the behavior to happen repetitively, in this case, three times so we can clearly see the need to help our ministers and volunteers understand the principle. By having this as one of our MCL each of you has the opportunity to move higher in your spiritual maturity and in ministering. In order to not allow a negative character quality, often due to a lack of knowledge and understanding, or hold you or your team or our ministry or your ministry back from all He has in store—we hope you will speak to the Lord, your HH before you just dismiss that you could have neglected this (or any other) principle.

“Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He WAITS on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him.” Isaiah 30:18

Often giving examples can help us understand a concept much better, so in SG for what to share, and sharing it discreetly, hopefully, this will help.

Often there are warning signs that the Lord puts up in order to stop us from lacking discretion. One is the urgency behind something, which is far different than a conviction. Identifying negative feelings also will help keep you as the beautiful bride He is creating you to be, rather than the pig pictures we began with.

This example has happened numerous times to Erin and she said, “It’s something I should have become used to, but I haven’t. Instead, just as startling as the picture of the swine was when you saw it, so too when I get a personal email sent to me that’s sitting in my personal inbox. Each time the minister or volunteer or woman is certain that she must personally share something with me. More often than not, it has to do with her own personal restoration journey or marriage. I’ve even gotten phone calls, not knowing how some got my phone number (thankfully this hasn’t happened in awhile probably due to how often I change my phone when I give away the one I have to someone who needs one ;).

The only One you need to go to is your HH. We each learned that at the very beginning of our journeys. 

If prompted to share with someone else, if you are on our Ministry Team, then it should be shared with the person who is directly over you. This is because they have been appointed over you for a reason, and to go around them or go above their head is simply rebellion and insubordination. The only time this would possibly be appropriate would be if the person over you is acting in a manner unsuitable for a minister—lacking a “gentle and quiet” spirit—and therefore it should be made known. This too GOD has graciously helped us with.

First, we added to our check-in form the opportunity to share a concern you have regarding another MTM. And next, He led Erin to create a specific for RMI: Ministry Team Member Concern and it says...

So rather than anything being stated regarding the concern in an unsecured and not entirely private check-in form, once #18 is checked, 18. Working with others in an understanding way also means being concerned for others. Do you have any concerns regarding another MTM that we should be made aware of?  it will redirect you to fill out this form. It's also at the bottom of the email confirmation should it not redirect.

However, so far a concern regarding the behavior of another MTM has never been the case when someone felt the urgency to contact Erin directly. Should you be privy to Erin’s email address, personal or administrative, please don’t fall into the trap of contacting Erin personally. Erin is honestly heartbroken when you believe she has the answers when only HE does. 

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 ESV

Erin always says she simply goes to Him, just as you are free to do and what we encourage you to do. Trust us, if we see anything in a journal or praise report or check-in form that would benefit from something He shows us needs to be shared with her, Erin will contact you.

Don’t you see it’s a favorite scheme of the enemy, getting you to usurp the authority that is over you? It’s a slippery slope. The principles you learned regarding the authority of your EH holds true in many ways in your personal, working, or ministry life. We just finished a Restored Marriage Testimony from a woman who was shocked when her children began to obey her after seeing the example as she became a submissive wife. It’s not just them witnessing her example—it’s primarily due to the spiritual atmosphere—and why within RMI or your own ministry you follow all the principles you learned in RYM, WW, etc. as they relate to your personal, working, or ministry life. This is a wonderful passage in Luke 14:8-10 that probably explains this principle the best. Humility is always in vogue, so when you feel an urgency to do or say anything, first check to see if it isn’t bordering on and rooted in pride and does it follow the wonderful thread that weaves through all He’s taught us.

Also before we close this portion, Erin wants to explain, “I also respect authority. We have BD “Branch Directors” who have been appointed by me, nevertheless, I respect their position. So if someone sends something to me, which should have gone to another leader first, even before I read it, I simply forward it to the correct recipient. If I read it, I would be tempted to usurp their authority and either deal with it or tell them how to deal with it—thus, finding myself on a slippery slope. I cannot act in an insubordinate manner since I am not above any law or protocol, or principle. Instead, I must act and lead by example.”

Politics, Religion, How Much Money you Make

When Erin was growing up she said she always heard that these are the 3 things you should never discuss with others—because it was indiscreet. Today no one cares about discretion. Everyone shares everything far beyond what any of us could have ever imagined! Discussing very intimate details about their lives and worse about other people. 

Often things are “said” or “revealed” due to lacking the discretion of who you are speaking in front of. Erin shared with us, “I am still amazed when parents speak indiscreetly in front of children—either on topics that they should be speaking about behind closed doors due to the nature of the topic or due to the child not fully understanding, thus being left with a misunderstanding. Most often, parents speaking about the child in front of them as if they’re deaf. 

“Knowing children are ALWAYS listening, their father and I made it a habit to speak “about” them when we knew they were listening, as a way to praise them. Either of us would say something like “Wow, you should have seen how well Macy did today doing her chores. I just love that girl so much I feel so honored she is my daughter, aren’t you?” and the other would run with it. Soon we’d pretend to finally notice Macy standing there, always beaming and so happy to have “overheard” what we were saying about her. Of course, at some point, Macy and each of our children caught on and would say something like “Ha, I know you saw me coming in” ;)”

The point is this, in your personal life, ministry life, or work life, be careful when speaking. Be absolutely certain that there is no one else around or if there’s any way someone can overhear you beyond who you are speaking with. This includes talking in a restaurant or in a store since someone could easily be listening. More often than not, what you were speaking about is not what you should be speaking about anyway. Erin often quotes what her mother taught her, “If you don’t have something nice to say about someone—don’t say anything at all.” But should it cause offense to anyone, then just be sure of your surroundings. 

In our ministry and in your own ministry, this can be tricky when working in documents or on the monday.com board. So be very sure you know who can hear or read what you’re saying BEFORE you click the comment button. 

If you are a leader, either here or in your own ministry, be sure that you don’t share something or keep a conversation going that someone on your team began. Instead, act wisely and move your conversation to a private venue where you will not be overheard.

Discretion or Secretive?

Unfortunately, just like every ditch, when we “try” to keep ourselves along the narrow road, the enemy will happily push us towards the other side to the other extreme, the opposite ditch. So instead of being discreet, they become secretive, withholding what should be shared with either their ePartners, coworkers, fellow ministers, and/or the ministry as a whole. 

Before you share, however, be absolutely sure you’ve spoken to your HH enough that there are no longer any emotions attached to it. Whether those are feelings of frustration or heartbreak, be sure to WAIT and speak to Him often enough that you can speak of it and share it when you should.

Here’s an extreme example, but nevertheless, it does show what can happen when we move from blabbering everything but then just as bad, the other ditch of being secretive. One of our former ministers shared her involvement with a married man with two of her ePartners, which caused serious and devastating consequences that RMI had to deal with every day. This can happen when discretion becomes secrecy and the enemy is free to use it to destroy the innocent because it’s still a ditch—not the narrow road.

Since we are not always certain what we are working through is His plan or our solution, there is a very real possibility that a policy our ministry will adopt concerns when the truth is withheld and secrets are kept under the mask of discretion. It may mean that the parties involved will be suspended for a period of time to help each have time to understand the difference.

How can you change from an overly cautious discretion that’s now nothing but being secretive—leading to the listener imagining all sorts of scenarios, most vain imaginations caused by the ditch?

As mentioned, one remedy is through a new form for ministers RMI: Ministry Team Member Concern that Erin gets. This form can and should be used for each minister personally, but also if there is ever a delicate concern regarding another minister.

Recently, Erin noticed an odd-looking email from a minister who wrote to her about her husband disappearing after leaving a suicide note. Had Erin not spotted it, the email could easily have been buried in hundreds of emails and responded too much later (rather than immediately). By not responding, Erin could have unintentionally added hurt or rejection or other negative emotions to what this dear minister was already experiencing. At moments like this, we all need compassion and loving support. 

So, again, we’ve asked our ministers to submit a form on behalf of others, not to use in the wrong way, with a jealous or vicious heart (like a child who tattles in order to see their sibling get into trouble)—but in a loving way. Care enough to be more forthcoming and please alert our ministry of things that need our attention. And when filling out the form, it needs to be transparent enough that it’s easily understood.

For instance, though Erin later heard all the details, such as the method the EH had planned to take his life, all she heard (until Erin pressed her ePartners for answers) was simply: “name is still unable to come in at this time. She asked that we (Partner's names), contact you. She is spending this time SG and will be back as soon as possible.” And then from the other Name has asked that I contact you and let you know she has been facing trials at home and will not make it in today. She is spending time SG.” Each minister knew what was really going on but everything that was shared with us by way of her ePartners was far too vague, and there would be no way Erin could possibly have known the severity of the situation. 

In addition, these were both left as “comments” in a meeting with many new ministers. So, again, this is why the CONCERN or Confession was created. The RMI: Ministry Team Member Concern form, which is private to only Erin, allows each of our Ministry Team to share openly and with complete transparency regarding their own situation and feelings, as well as those concerning their fellow ministers, such as and especially ePartners.

If there is anything you could share that could help us pinpoint what prevents you or others from being transparent, please be sure to share this in your Journal.

IOU: 🎓 "Ministry Commitment" Assignment

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