Monday, October 2, 2006
"It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a companion for him, a helper suited to his needs." vs18.
"God...took one of his ribs...and made the rib into a woman, and brought her to the man." vs 22
"This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife in such a way that the two become one person." vs 24"
"...yet even so, you shall welcome your husband's affections, and he shall
be your master." 3:16
An interesting tidbit. NASA's Ames Research Center found every single element of the body exists in soil.
God knew man needed someone more like himself than any animal in creation for comfort, companionship and and the like. What he created was so like Adam, yet different and new. And yes, he said she was to be his helper. The word it is taken from "ezer" means partner. Not a slave, not an errand boy, a partner. Now partnerships are not always 50-50. And that truly makes sense. If I partnered with one of you to open an art gallery, all I could possibly do would be to answer the phone and type invoices. I know nothing of art and have no talent. If we divided profits 50/50 you'd probably soon view me as an expense. It might be more appropriate if you received 75 or 80%. It works that way in marriage too. The most successful rely more on a distribution according to talents, energy, suitably, etc., then pure equality. And the percentages are constantly changing and being rene, like variable rate credit cards. Sometimes one has to totally carry the other for a time. But the world would have you count each towel folded, each dollar earned, each meal prepared constantly checking to see if you were on the "losing" end. That's not God's way, he says give and then give some more. Check out the Beatitudes.
And God took a rib! How symbolic! Part of Adam. Essential. From his side, not his tail bone or his nose. We should stand beside our spouse, not striding out in front, nor bowing and scraping from behind. And also notice the location makes for a perfect place to be protected and sheltered under Adam's arm. A perfect fit. Let him protect you. It's his right and his responsibility. Society is trying to strip all the eloquence from simple courtesy (door opening) on up, until we are toe to toe with Adam instead of side by side. My husband puts it like this, I should be able to take care of most anything, but if I can't or someone won't listen, he'll step in. He's never had to. But there is an unspoken undercurrent, if you mess with her, I'll mess with you. May not be entirely biblical, but it is old fashioned. And I love it. It makes me feel empowered, not dominated.
And the man should leave his parents....not neglect them or write them off. But clearly separate his new home and family from them. In a way it is like the balance between the spouses, there will be times when it is agreed a parents needs must be put 1st. Or when their help and insight will be sought. But nothing and no one, not even dear sainted mother, should be between the couple or before the spouse.
The two shall become one. One plan, one destiny, one household, one unit. It symbolizes the intimate connection of sex. But it goes much deeper than that - to the heart and the mind and even the soul. You can't truly be happy if they aren't. Can't be satisfied if they aren't. Now, it's not always that way all the time. But it is the ideal that should be strived for. It deepens the relationship. Builds each partner up. Makes them the best they can be as a team and as individuals.
"And even so , you shall welcome your husband's affections." There will be more pertaining to this later in the study, but yes unless we are truly sick or have to leave right then to make it to work, or something other than "I'm just not in the mood." we should welcome them. 1st, it helps to strengthen him (and you) from outside lusts and temptations. 2nd, it's good therapy. It releases stress. Eases tensions. Helps you feel all warm and fuzzy toward each other. But don't panic! This is not carte blanc. Later we will hit on verses that make it clear he should always be sensitive to how you feel and what you need. After all, you are a part of him. What fool would want to hurt theirself?
I hope you received some insight, some blessing from this 1st installment. I do not want anyone to blindly accept what is here, but go to the Word. Check it out for yourself. Pray for insight and turn it over in your own heart. Let the Holy Spirit lead you into all understanding. This is here only to serve to get you thinking.
God Bless you and keep you. Please add your reply. A question. A testimony. Anything that applies.
Today's verses will challenge some commonly held "world views." As Christians, our world view must be colored by God's Holy Word. Remember, we are to be in the world, not of the world.
Exodus 20:14 lists the 7th Commandment. "You must not commit adultery." Maybe you are thinking that you certainly have not. But remember our Lord expanded upon this to say that if you even lust in your heart you have committed adultery. If you have in the past, ask for His forgiveness now and His strength never to do it again. If you are currently harboring lust, then renounce it! Ask Jesus to fill you with disgust at the thought. Ask Him to give you desire for only your husband, that you may honor Him. If your spouse has issues here, then perhaps in this light you can take the 1st steps toward forgiveness of him. If you have committed these sins, then forgive yourself. When we repent (turn away from) our sin and ask His forgiveness he remembers our sin no more! We stand justified (just-as-if-I'd never) before God.
Think sex before marriage is OK!?! "If a man seduces a girl...and sleeps with her, he must...accept her as his wife." Exodus 22:16 If God expects that you should marry someone you slept with, then consider that sex was designed by God for marriage. It has no place apart from marriage.
Homo sexuality?! Beastiality!? God forbids such acts in Leviticus. "Homosexuality is absolutely forbidden, for it is an enormous sin. A man will have no sexual intercourse with any female animal...and a woman must never give herself to a male animal...this is a terrible perversion." 18:22 & 23 But it's genetic! Well, personally I seriously doubt the science there. But consider even if there was a genetic predisposition to deviant sexual behavior, most believe there is such a predisposition to addiction. That doesn't give them the right to be addicted or excuse them from the sin or the consequences of that sin. Same thing. Why is it such a perversion? Because it goes against the plan and order that God established at creation. The animals weren't suited to meet Adam's needs, so God created a mate for him. And she was Eve not Evan!
And now let us consider how much authority our husband has in our life. Especially if he is a Christian. In Numbers 30:10-15 we find, "If she is married and living in her husbands home when she makes the vow (to God), and her husband hears of it and does nothing, the vow shall stand; but if he refuses to allow it on the first day he hears of it, her vow is void and Jehovah will forgive her. So her may either confirm or nullify her vow,..." Wow! Maybe you should listen when hubby says you shouldn't have signed up to teach VBS again this year. Mainly, I want you to take away from this scripture an appreciation of just how much weight your husbands opinion can and should carry when you are deciding service and commitments to the Lord and the church. And then take it to God in prayer.
I hope this installment has challenged you to review your world view. I pray it empowers you to embrace a more biblical view. Remember, when these books were written, God had led the Israelites out of Egypt and was establishing them as a nation. A nation unto himself. A nation that was to be holy (set apart for God, pure). We are commanded to be Holy, even as our Lord is Holy. Now, no one will achieve it in perfection here and now but that is the cross we take up each day that we follow Him.
Hey, don't be shy...add a reply!
May God bless and strengthen you until next time. - Barbara
Welcome to Our Devotional Series! The book of Deuteronomy is a retelling of the law. Address that Moses delivered to the people before they entered the promised land to remind them of the covenant they had with God. It had been established 40 years earlier after the exodus from Egypt. This is the book our Savior quoted from most often!
Deut. 7:3&4, "Do not intermarry with them, nor let your sons and daughters marry their sons and daughters. That would surely result in your young people's beginning to worship their Gods." TLB
Moses was referring to the people who inhabited the promised land. They did not know, acknowledge or worship Jehovah God. They worshiped pagan, false Gods. Often included in their worship were idols, temple prostitutes and sacrifice of children. These things were all abhorrent to God and expressly forbidden for the Israelites. God had called them out to be a separate Holy people unto Him.
God knew then and now that if we mix in with other people of different beliefs their ideas and practices will begin to rub off on us.Love for a mate of opposing belief could lead us astray from our first love, Jesus. Therefore, then and now it is His ultimate will for us to marry within our faith. If marriage is in Gods plan for your life then He has a Godly mate out there somewhere that he wil lead you to.
Now, that said, we should not dump or leave a mate that we married when we were separate from God. It is within His permissive will that we should remain with them for as long as they will have us. (More on this when we get to the writings of Paul) We should lead Godly lives before them and pray for their salvation. If you are single, you should be praying now for the mate you may one day have. If we are Christian, we should always seek God's will before we inter into marriage. Unfortunately even among Christians it is more often a matter of lust and desire, will they give me what I want ie. social standing, economic security,etc.
Myself, I was a Christian when I met my spouse. But I had not yet learned to let Jesus be Lord of my life or how to seek His will. I was not living the lifestyle, walking the walk. My dear husband is unsaved. It has brought issues and struggles into our lives that Christian couples can often though not entirely avoid. Please join me in praying for his salvation that this home and marriage may be united fully in Christ.
One more thing. This verse has been used, misused to promote bigotry and hate. To claim that God sees color when he looks at His children. This is not true. . It is false doctrine. God's only concern was for spiritual harmony and purity in our relationships.
Have a great day in the Lord! And please add your reply. Insights, testimonies, prayer requests. I need a blessing too! I hope this has been a blessing unto you.
Love in Christ,
My prayer is that these devotionals will be a blessing to someone. If at least one marriage becomes more devoted to God, gets stronger, heals from some hurt then it is worth any time or effort I spent on this. This is in obedience to God for what He showed me and what He did in my own marriage!
Today's verses come from Ezra, Nehemiah and Jerimiah.
In Ezra 9:10 and Nehemiah 13, we see that once again the Isrealites were turning their backs on what was God's way and God's will. In part they had not followed His will in choosing whom to marry. This among other transgressions had them exiled from the Promised Land for several decades. There is always a price to pay when we don't follow God's leadership. And we should never swerve in our devotion to God for any man.
In Jeremiah Chapter 3 we hear the Lord say to Isreal, "But though you have left me and married many lovers, yet I have invited you to come to me again," vs1 TLB God's mercy and grace run so deep! He stood ready to forgive and restore Isreal time and again if they would only admit their sins and turn back to God. That same God stands ready to do that for us. And shouldn't we stand ready to do that for our spouse? Strive to forgive as He forgives (he remembers our sin no more). To love as He loves (He loves us just as we are). Sanctify your love as he sanctifies us. ( Set aside for a special relationship.) Enable and empower your mate as the Holy Spirit does for us! We won't get it right every time in this world. But that IS our cross that we bare. To get up each day and strive to live better, more like Him, then we did the day before.
May God go before you today and may His love follow you every where you go!
Psalms 128 is a picture of a family happy and content with each other and in the Lord. Read the whole short chapter, but we will focus on verses 1 & 3. The Living Bible Translation. "Blessings on all who reverence and trust the Lord-on all who obey Him.... Your wife shall be contented in your home."
Okay, blessings on ALL who reverence, trust and obey the Lord. That includes me and you. That is why it is so important to make sure we are the women, wives, mothers, friends, etc. that He desires us to be. And there is just no way to know that, to be that without Bible study and prayer. Now by context, this was applied to a man who led his household in this lifestyle. If you have a man like that, praise the Lord for Him and thank him. If your husband isn't there yet, then claim it for yourself as the spiritual head of the household by default. Do all you can to honor God as a spouse. He will bless it and use it, perhaps even to get your husbands attention and get him on track. (Notice I said God would use it, not you. There is nothing more unappealing than a wife (or hubby) on a soapbox.) Let your actions honor Him and then His Spirit can use your actions in the hearts and lives of others.
Content wives. Is that an oxymoron?! Just kidding. Half the battle is in the mind. The glass can be half full or half empty. If you are a child of God you should know that it truly is always on the full side. There is always more. It will never run out. He is inexhaustable!
But pratically, no matter how content or discontent you are, express your contentment to your husband. Let him know the things your appreciate in him. Look for and seize every chance to affirm his actions. Bite your tongue some when you're not so content. You really do catch more flies with honey than vinegar! So sweeten it up. Pour a little sugar on it. Unless he really is from Mars, he will appreciate it and respond to it in positive way to get more of it.
May God bless you all!
Hello one and all! Welcome to my journal and this series. I pray that is serves it's intended purpose which is to get you looking into the Word of God and seeking His will for you and your life as a spouse. Never blindly accept anyone's comments or teachings on scripture. Always examine them against the Bible and the Spirit!
Today's verses are listed in my concordance under the heading: Wives/good. Truly, God intended for wives to be a good thing in a man's life. Was not Eve provided to be a helpmate? We hold a very powerful position in our men's lives. How we treat them, interact and respond to them can have a profound impact on all other areas of his life. Therefore, to paraphrase a little, before you get after the splinter in his life that irritates you or disappoints you, check for the board in your own life. It may be true you can't change him, but you can change you. When you change you, he has something new to react to. See what brings out the best in your man.
"A worthy wife is her husband's joy and crown; the other kind corrodes his strength and tears down everything he does." Prov. 12:4 TLB Pray and ask the Lord to show you which kind of wife you are in each area of your relationship. Since your life is tied up in his it behooves you to help him be the best he can be, to help him succeed in each area of his life as it will surely impact your life!
"The man who finds a wife finds a good thing; she is a blessing to him from the Lord." Prov. 18:22 TLB Wow! Now that is awesome. We are one of God's blessings to our spouse. Consider are we worthy of that title? Do we honor God in this or bring shame to His Holy Name? There is a song that says "make me a channel of blessing today...make me a channel of blessing I pray." Let us ask Him each day how we can be that channel of blessing for our husbands.
"...and a nagging wife annoys like constant dripping." Prov. 19:13 TLB Okay. I know my husband sometimes thinks just to mention that something isn't working right (That commode stopped up again.) is nagging. There are times when I don't tell him something or remind him of something, then it is...shame on me for letting him forget! There are others when I do and then it's will you please get off my back! But I strive to filter things likethis by asking myself if he truly needs to know. What will happen if he does forget? That kind of thing. So he won't feel he is getting so much nagging. But we all know there is the other kind. The whinny, mean-spirited, implying he's failing in some way kind of nagging. Well, stop it! Stop it because it isn't Godly and because it WILL NOT yield the results you are looking for. It will only make him reclusive, drive him to avoid you, ignore you.
Read thru and pray and meditate upon Proverbs 31:10-31 The following is an outline from a sermon upon these verses:
1. She is trustworthy.
2. She builds you up and is a good companion.
3. She works hard in her home and for her family.
4. She gets up early and is available at any time.
5. She gives wise advice to her family.
6. She has compassion for those outside her family.
7. She is prepared for every need and situation.
8. She takes care of her appearance.
9. She adds to and aids your reputation.
10. She is optimistic and hopeful.
11. Kindness and pleasant words are her qualities.
12. She loves God and puts Him 1st.
May this be a blessing to your heart and home. Please spread the word about this site and this series! Please share what God has spoken to your heart. Confused about something, ask a question. Need prayer, an accountably partner or mentor? Send me an e-mail with your request: BHbnEr2Him@aol.com .
We will be in Chapter 19: 1-12. The Pharisees that questioned Jesus weren't truly seeking answers. Their aim was to get Jesus to in some way blaspheme God so they could discredit him. But no matter what their intentions were, we are left with a record of where our Lord stood on marriage and divorce. A plainly stated revelation of God's intent.
vs. 4 - 1st Jesus asked whether they read scripture. God has supplied us with a handbook for living THE LIFE. It, along with the Holy Spirit as a tutor is all we need for guidance, morals, lifestyle choices, our world view, etc. Never let anything I or any other person says override what the word and the Spirit say to you. If they agree, fine...the word is from God. If they do not, and you are sure you have remained close to Him thru study and prayer, then discard the one and cling only to His Word.
In vs 5 & 6 Jesus restates the commandment of Moses and the words of Genesis. A man and a woman in a bond together like no other and above all others, save our relationship to God. In God's perfect plan there is no room for divorce. If each person in the relationship submitted to God and to each other, there would be no need! But unfortunately not all are children of God. Nor do all of God's Children always seek or remain in His will.
In vs. 8 & 9 we see that it pains our Lord, but divorce for adultery is allowed by God. But this He allows as part of His Permissive Will. Recognizing how hard the human heart can be. If you get divorced for other reasons, you set you and your former mate up to commit adultery in future relationships. This is because in God's eyes you are not even divorced! Now let's settle here awhile. Must I divorce an adulterus mate? No. Of course not. If there is repentance and with God's help you can work thru to forgiveness then the marriage can be healed and made better than before. Mine is living proof! I divorced my husband for other reasons, what now? If you are already divorced for other reasons, don't dispare! There is only one unforgivable sin and that is rejecting the Holy Spirit. You can be forgiven for the divorce and any thing you did leading up to it. True repentance is the key. And you must forgive yourself and go on, for God remembers our sin no more!
Just make sure as we see in verses 10-12 that you seek God's will for you in all present and future relationships. For some it is better to marry and for others it is not. The apostle Paul will get into this more indepth as we continue the series.
For any out there recovering from this thing called divorce I pray for you peace, healing, and a full and restored relationship with Christ. For any who are considering it or may have it forced upon them by a spouse I pray Jesus grant you strength, wisdom, and insight into His will.
God bless you all till we meet again!
The apostle John was approxamately 25 years old when called by Jesus. Domitian banished him to Patmos. Afterward he pastured the Ephesus Church. John outlived the other apostles. Hence his grandfatherly tone in 1st, 2nd & 3rd John. The gospel of John reveals the Diety of Jesus in every chapter and was written that those who read it might believe in Christ.
These scriptures relate the story of Jesus' 1st public miracle. Though there is nothing here to teach us directly about marriage just the Saviors presence at the wedding holds significance! By attending the wedding he sanctified it. His presence there put His approval on the occasion. I submit to you dear sisters that Christ's presence is at (in) each and every marriage. Marriage is never a partnership of two people but of three persons. Whether you are saved, unsaved, whatever, Christ is a partner in the marriage! The problem is, all too often He is the silent partner!! Not by His chosing or because He has nothing to say or contribute, but because we shut him out. God never "butts in" where He is not invited. So, if you want the power and love of Christ flowing thru your marriage invite Him! The True Place for Christ in any marriage is at the Head. Like a triangle, Christ is the top point and Head. Man and wife are the bottom points and equal. Communication and love can flow freely around the lines of the triangle.
Dear Sisters, if Christ is not at the Head of your marriage, please pray today and invite Him to take the full priviledge of His place in the partnership!
May God bless you and fill you with His Presence today!
I want to thank everyone that has contacted me to say they are being blessed or helped in some way by these devotions. Just goes to show God doesn't need a perfect tool.....just a tool! Seek His will and find out what kind of tool He would use you as.
1st a little background information: The book of Romans is one of the many that Paul authored for God. It summerizes Christian theology. Written around AD58, Nero was emporor of Rome at this time!
Today's verse is short and sweet: to the point. "...when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, she is no longer bound to him; the laws of marriage no longer apply to her." Now Paul was using this as an illustration to another point about no longer being bound to the law for salvation thanks to Christ.
But in using it, He established it's truth for us even in New Testament times. God intends marriage to be a lifelong walk thru this world together. It is His highest aim and Ultimate Perfect will for men and women in their relationships.
So if you are married, recommit yourself to Christ and your spouse for a lifelong commitment. Decide now that you are in it all the way. Ask Jesus along for each step of the way.
If your single, see in this the importance of seeking God's will in choosing a spouse. The necessity of being like-minded in the things of God. The need to be equally yoked in Christ. Reject here and now the previlent notion that if it doesn't go well I can always leave. That thought, that mindset is not of Christ, but of the world. Your marriage will be in the world, but do not bring the world into your marriage.
Thanks to those who are faithfully viewing these devotions. May God use these humble offerings to enrich and bless your marriages and your lives!
Here's the Devotion on Marriage. I have to say right now I feel a little hypocritical posting it.......as I am so mad at the big hairy ape of a man I married! But I reckon' these feelings will pass. And Satan would be delighted if my bad morning kept me from sharing what others may need. So, with no futher ado:
The apostle Paul had a lot to say about marriage, so we will be settled in Corinthians for several devotions.
Corinth was a Greek city where idol worship abounded. The new believers in Corith had failed to recognize Christ as Lord of their lives, therefore they didn't always act like Christians...thus bringing dishonor upon the name of Christ. Paul was writing to address these problems and correct them thru the fundamental teachings of the faith.
In chapter 7 vs 1-9 Paul addresses how marriage is a tool to keep us from the sex sin he denounced in the later part of chapter 6. Some do not have very strong desires and urges toward sex. They could devote themselves fully to God and with his help never fall prey to sexual temptation. Others (generally most) need that intimate connection in their lives and if they don't get it thru pure means, they will fall prey to impure means to satisfy their longings.
Our bodies are not our own. If we are married, they actually belong to three persons. Us to maintain, control and oversee. Christ to use to His glory. And to our spouse. Your spouse is an equal partner in your own body. So don't dismiss his (or her) needs, longings, advances, etc. casually. We cannot be indifferent or removed! We must be available and accessable for sexaul intimacy. It is quite plainly their God-given right.
And their body for our needs is our God-given right.
Don't shout....yes, feelings and health and time; all those issues should be considered. Later, in another book Paul will point to the high level of consideration we should give to each other.
If you don't see it, don't believe it, you are not arguing with me but with God. Read the verses. He designed us. He designed marriage. Who better to understand what is in our and our marriages' best interest?!
God bless you and your marriage until the next time!
Questions, comments, testimonies? Post your reply! Or contact me by E-mail.
Today 1Corinthians 7:10-17 will be our text. Now Paul turns his attention from advice on when and whether to marry or not, to those who are already married. And he specifically states that it comes from God, not his own ideas.
A wife must not leave her husband. But if she is seperated from him, let her remain single or else go back to him. , from vs 10 & 11 TLB. Okay, we have already established that God does not sanction divorce. That it is to be avoided. But here the wording illudes to a "seperation". Not living together as man and wife. How many people do you know who "split up" with their spouse and before any paper work for divorce is even filed they are out dating or even living with someone else.Our society says this is okay. But here we see that God sees it different. As long as you are married, then YOU ARE MARRIED. You are never single or free until a divorce is finalized, no matter what the circumstances.
Now lets look at vs 13, And if a Christian woman has a husband who isn't a Christian, and he wants her to stay with him, she must not leave him. Umhum! On the Christian message boards there are always plenty of people complaining and crying that their spouse is not a Christian or says they are and are not living it. That is sad. That is hard. But that in and of it's self does not give the Christian spouse freedom to leave! They are commanded to remain if the unsaved spouse will have them. (If you really looked into it, many - but not all - who are in that situation are there because they did not seek God's will before they married or were not Christian theirself before they married.) And God even gives His Divine reason for requiring this of us:
So the unsaved spouse might come to know Him and the children might learn of God and come to know Him! God's first priority always and forever is the salvation of man! From Genesis to Revelation! To Him there is no greater need and no higher purpose!
In verses 15 and 16, God examines the other side of the coin - you have an unsaved spouse that doesn't want to stay with their Christian spouse. They are free to leave! Free to end it! God pushes Himself and His ways on no one. And the unsaved is not bound by the call to obedience that the Christian is. You can try to gently persaude them to stay, but he tells us not to insist. Don't cause a big stink with fighting and bitterness. Just accept it and let go. I'm not saying this is always easy....many things that are right in God's sight are not easy. But He knows it is best.
Now look at verse 17, where we end today. If everyone took the words of this verse to heart and truly tried to do as it says, divorce would be a rare exception! And the marriages we were in would be fuller, richer and more satisfying! Mark it. Use it. Share it.
But be sure in deciding these matters that you are living as God intended, marrying or not marrying in accordance with God's direction and help, and accepting whatever situation God has put you into.
Definately words to live by! If you are receiving any help from these devotions, please spread the word! If God has used them to change your life in some way, to minister to you.....please respond here with a testimony! If you just want to dicuss something personally, you can email me.
God bless you!
Please remember that each entry revolves around the specific verses of the day, and no one entry can stand alone without the support of the others. If you are new to the series, please go back to the previous posts on the archive link and review them all. I have clearly labeled each as a Marriage Devotion and numbered them. Also, keep in mind that my original intent was to get people looking into the Word for guidance.....not to stand as an authority. The Word and the Spirit should be each Christians final authority. But as I have traveled the web and even in my own ladies' Sunday school class, I am shocked as to how many Christians have never read the entire Bible even once! That is why I have personally chosen to quote The Living Bible by Tyndale House Publishers in this series; in the hopes that if the stilted, Shakespearian language of the King James Bible has halted anyone from exploring the Word fully, they will see that there are reliable translations that are easy to read. Now...........on to today's:
Good day to you dear Sisters! Today in Chapter 11 of our look into Corinthians, we will see God's overall plan for men and women.
"But there is one matter I want to remind you about: that a wife is responsible to her husband, her husband is responsible to Christ, and Christ is responsible to God." vs3 TLB When you put this verse up against what we continually hear in the world, the two do not match up. In the world we hear I, me, my, rights, equal, etc. In God's word we see a plan that always leads to put the emphasis back on God Himself. A plan that is not sheer equality. Ladies we have been brainwashed to believe that equality in and of itself will free us! The only True Freedom is in Christ! A life yielded to His Lordship! With great privilege or rights comes great responsibility. We should rejoice that there is God, then Christ, then our dear husband to shoulder that responsibility before us! To lighten our load. To share our burdens. To lead the way. Do you trust God to only want the best for you? Then you should trust Christ to want the best for you also, as He is the Servant of the Father. If you trust Christ's love for you, why not trust the Christian husbands devotion to you as He is under the Lordship of Christ! The only truly equal place is before the throne of grace......as we all have equal access to salvation, intercession, mercy, the Holy Spirit, etc. So while you may be "under" your husband in day to day physical living, spiritually you are on equal footing and a partner! As a child of the King of Heaven you are an equal partaker in the glory and privilege of His Only Son. (Did you know adopted children have more rights than natural born children?)
If your husband is submitting to Christ to guide his life, you are in a blessed situation. If he is not, then you still owe him honor and respect as much as you can in all things where he does not go contrary to Christ Your Lord. And when he does contradict your Savior, you can draw all resource from Him to stand firm with Love as your guide!"God's glory is man made in his image, and man's glory is the woman. The first man didn't come from woman, but the first woman came out of man. And Adam, the first man, was not made for Eve's benefit, but Eve was made for Adam." vs.7-9 and "But remember that in God's plan men and women need each other. For although the first woman came out of man, all men have been born from women ever since, and both men and women come from God their Creator." vs 11 & 12
Can't you see the love God had for Adam when He created Eve to be his companion and helpmate?! The thoughtfulness that went into His consideration of our needs and our natures?! The honor that is bestowed upon us as women, perpetuating the survival of His Creation?! Rejoice! Rejoice to be a woman! Rejoice in God's goodness! Rejoice in the provision He makes for you thru your husband!
Love bears pains and trails calmly and without complaint. It is disposed to be helpful and agreeable. Love is never suspicious, distrustful or apprehensive. Love is never begrudging of what another has. Love does not call attention to oneself, exaggerate or brag. Love is not arrogant or over-bearing. It does not feel superior to others. Love is not blatantly proud. Love is never excessively or exclusively concerned with oneself without regard to others. Love is never offensive, discourteous, vulgar or abrupt. Love does not insist upon or require it's own way. Love is not quickly annoyed or angered. Love does not take offense on slight provocation. Love has no deep seated resentment, nor abides ill will. Love will hardly pay attention, nor comment, when it's rights are violated or it is treated unfairly. Love is never glad about another's rights being violated or them being treated unfairly. It is not glad when hurt is inflicted upon someone. But love rejoices when sincerity abounds and lives align with God's Will! If you love someone, you will be faithful and unswerving no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, accepting trustfully, convinced of his good and worth. You will always think the best of him, and look forward to the best for him. You will always stand you ground to protect and shield them, maintianing your belief in the face of argument or hostile criticism.
Love is not a feeling, but a choice that leads to action! Love is not a noun, but a verb! It is in the doing. Love is continous and ongoing!
"For a man is in charge of his wife in the same way Christ is in charge of his body the church. (He gave his very life to take care of it and be its Savior!) Uhm-hum, this is where it gets hard for the man. Where his portion in this is much more of a "burden" than mere submission. Christ loved his church (the saints) so much he died for us. Suffered so we would not suffer. Christ would never direct the body of believers toward anything that was not for their ulitmate good. Christ wants us to be in a close relationship with Him. Sharing our burdens and asking our questions. For a man to strive to live up to this standard in loving and caring for his wife is noble......and his duty. If he fails at his duty he answers to Christ. If you fail at yours, you answer to the Lord. We each have our assignment so to speak. We are each accoutable to the other and to Jesus for how well we honor that assignment.
More on the wife's role: ""So you wives must willingly obey your husbands in everything, just as the church obeys Christ." vs.24 "...the wife mustsee to it that she deeplyrespects her husband - obeying, praising and honoring him." vs.33 Willingly - there is that choice again. Do you respect your husband? Look for things to admire in him. For every negitive thought of him, think and dwell and come up with a positive or two. Once discussion and imput has ceased and he has decided something, stick to it. Back him up all the way. If your gut tells you he has chosen wrongly, take it to God and let Him work to guide hubby and change his mind, his direction. In public and to others, if you don't have something good to say about hubby, keep your mouth shut. Words are powerful. God spoke the universe into existence! (Now this does not mean not to seek help if there are issues bigger than the two of you, i.e. alcoholism, abuse, gambling, adultery.) Show you appreciation for all the good he does. Blab about that to everyone! Praise and thank God too! Honor him. God gave him his position. You honor him, you honor God. Honor him. You chose him didn't you? You honor him, you honor yourself.
Now for the deep side of the husbands role in this. "And you husbands, show the same kind of love to your wives as Christ showed to the church when he died for her,...that is how husbands should treat their wives, loving them as parts of themselves." Chances are, even when you feel like he is being hard or stubborn, he is trying in some way to protect you, to shield you. Some husbands do this better than others. Just as some of us yield better than others. Pray for him. Do your part to the best you can with God's help, and see if hubby does not begin to live his role better. Some men are more mature spiritually and will fulfill their role very well. Some are still babes in this area and need time to grow into what Christ would have them to be. Surely, this should work better with a saved spouse. Someone under Christ's Lordship. But from my own experience I can tell you that it can work and does make a marriage better and richer even with an unsaved spouse! Thank God he opened my eyes to how far the worldview had taken me from His own! He saved my marriage and gave me a deeper, better love for my spouse than I had ever known before! And just last March we celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary as a testiment to God's way. It is always best, God's way. And even one truly seeking it makes a difference!
I remind you again that quotes are from The Living Bible.
God bless you!
"And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus......" vs.17 HHhhuumm......now I can't be grumbling and griping! I have to do the best I know how in everything. Gee, maybe even be the best wife, mother, housekeeper, cook, waitress, driver, nurse, secretary, lover, friend that I can be . So if I'm scrubbing the toilet, I ought to try to make it shine! Laundry should be clean, neat and wrinkle free! Gosh.....I'm not doing it all for hubby.....I am doing it all for God! Whatever it is. If I am His, I am doing it for Him! As His representative! As His living, talking, walking Word!
That puts the verses below that echo the refrain from Ephesians in a new light! Even "daily work" done for God has eternal value. Our first responsibility is to please God, and a good place to start is always obeying His word. Jesus said "If you love me you will obey me."
Read the Chapter, pray and then read & mediate on vs. 18 & 19."You wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, for that is what the Lord has planned for you. And you husbands must be loving and kind to your wives and not bitter against them, nor harsh."
Now go have a Good Day in the Lord!
Today's passages are more an instruction into ages and stages of a woman's life, not directly tied to marriage. First, in 1Timothy 5 vs. 2-16 Paul instructs as to the care and the role of widows in the church. "Treat the older women as mothers, and the girls as your sisters, thinking only pure thoughts about them." Plain and simple, church isn't a meat market. Many of the pegan religions around used women as sex slaves in their "worship" of their gods. Paul is speaking directly to the men as to the proper attitude they should have toward the women in the church. Christ's leadership literally turned the world upside down as to the value and worth of women. He was the true women's liber!
Excerpt from vs. 3-16. in regards to older widows. "The church should take loving care of women whose husbands have died, if they don't have anyone else to help them. But if they have children or grandchildren, these are the ones who should take the responsibility, for kindness should begin at home, supporting needy parents. This is something that pleases God very much. The church should care for widows who are poor and alone in the world, if they are looking to God for his help and spending much time in prayer; but not if they are spending thier time running around gossiping, seeking only pleasure and thus ruining their souls......But anyone who won't care for his own relatives when they need help, especially those living in his own family, has no right to say he is a Christian.....a widows relatives must take care of her.......Then the church can spend its money for the care of widows who are all alone and have nowhere else to turn."
My pastor likes to say, if all the Christians and all the churches were living and giving the way Christ intended, we wouldn't need welfare, social security, medi-care and medi-caid. And he is most probably right. In the day that this was written, very few women had any means of support outside of their husbands. Traditions dating back to Abraham and Moses said that sons and/or brothers of the husband were to look after the widows. Most women without a man were consigned to utter poverty or felt compelled to turn to immoral means of support. Notice, Paul didn't say if she was a relative you liked you should help her. He didn't say if she'd always given to you. He said relatives were to help, period. Thanks to societies social programs, many widows no longer need financial support. But there are many ways we can honor and help them, doing things we know their spouses used to tend to. Trimming hedges, tuning up the car. And perhaps the biggest need.....to fill the void of loneliness with wholesome caring interaction. I don't know about where you live, but locally many times when someone is in need the local VFW post will host a benefit, bring out baskets of food, etc. Nice. But many of thier functions revolve around drinking and drunkeness. Most of the folks never darken the doorway of the church. It is sad to think that they could out give and help and organize the local church. But often times they do. This is no statement of condemnation agianst them, but one against the church and its members! We should be the "first responders".
It may sound harsh, but if the woman was not living the life of a Godly Chirstian woman, the church had no responsibility to support her. Lending support to someone says "I understand your circumstance." It implies agreement with their lifestyle and choices. We may want to say, "Well they still have needs!" That is true. But the biggest need any one has is the need of salvation and a personal relationship with Christ! If we aren't careful, we can "help" someone straight out of "needing" Him and straight into Hell. The original Tough Love.
Then Paul turns his attention toward the younger widows in particular, saying: "So I think it is better for these younger widows to marry again and have children, and take care of their own homes; then no one will be able to say anything against them. For I am afraid that some of them have already turned away from the church and been led astray by Satan."vs. 14 & 15.
Exactly what age is he referring to.....I don't know. But women in general often married at age 13 or 14 in this day. So a woman still in her teens or very early twenties could be a widow! We have needs. Emotional and physical. We can try to stuff them down and pretend they do not exist. But we will most likely fail. A young widow would have been fair game for irreptible men. There would be temptation to give thierselves away to satisify lusts or even just to have a night of companionship. A woman could live a purer life remarried. And a woman would have in general an easier, even longer life with the support of a new husband. And the possiblity of children to care for her in her old age.
In Titus, Paul turns his attention toward women in general in the church and their spiritual role. Older women, by age or spiritual maturity, were to mentor the younger ones in Godly living and their role as Christian wives. This puts the burden of being an example more squarely on the more mature women. In Titus 2:3 he states that older women should be "quiet and respectful in everything they do. They must not go around speaking evil of others and must not be heavy drinkers, but they should be teachers of goodness." Basically they should be living out the Fruits of the Spirit. And bearing fruit in the lives of the younger women by coming alongside of them and guiding them as to how to walk the walk and apply the Truth in their daily lives. These Fruits, found in Galatians 5:22 & 23 include: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Thru this example and mentoring the younger women learn to "...live quietly, to love their husband and their children, and to be sensible and clean minded, spending their time in their own homes, being kind and obedient to their husbands, so that the Christian faith can't be spoken against by those who know them." Every single one of us is a witness, has a witness. The question is, is our witness for Christ or against Him? Do we bring honor to His name, or hold Him up to ridicule? Do we live a lifestyle that makes it easier for us to stay true to God and our husbands, or do we flirt around on the fringes inviting temptation?
Sisters, I invite you today to look around you. If you know a widow or perhaps someone seperated from her husband by military service or work, reach out to her. Invite her to dinner. Ask her to ride into town with you. Take her a pie and visit while hubby or son does an odd job or two for her. Are you an older woman, mature in Christ? Don't shake your head at the things you see the young newlywed doing......come alongside her. Lead by example. Just start talking and share something from your own life and experience that might point her in the right direction. Be friendly and become a friend so that she can feel comfortable to ask your advice. Are you new to Christ or newly married? Do you wonder sometimes how "they" do it? Go to a woman in the church you respect and admire and ask her! More than likely, she'll be pleased and happy to share what she's learned and her "secrets" for making it look easy.
Well this devotion will wrap up our tour through the scriptures on marriage. The book of Hebrews is sometimes called the 5th Gospel, because it describes Christs' ministry in Heaven at God the Father's right hand. Officially the author of the book is unknown, but many credit it to Paul....and I tend to agree. This book was written to Jewish Christians, perhaps because they were clinging too or thinking of returning to Judaism.
Our one verse comes in Chapter 13, which in my Bible is headed "Jesus, always the same." Let that be a reminder to us that as fads, fashions, customs, norms, even traditions, come and go God and His ways and His Will and His purpose remain constant and unchanging.
Our verse is number four: "Honor your marriage and its vows, and be pure; for God will surely punish all those who are immoral or commit adultery." The foundation God layed for marriage has not changed. Will never change. It is timeless and constant. Like God and His love for us.
And as Christ's relationship with the church is our bright and shiney example of what our marriage relationship should be, our marriage is an image, a symbol (though often dull and clouded) of what our relationship to Christ will be once we meet our Groom at the Alter of Heaven.
"Praise the Lord. For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice and honor him; for the time has come for the wedding banquet of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself." Rev. 19:7&8 TLB
Thank you all for joining me on this journey thru the word!