Monday, January 30, 2012

Love & Marriage

I John 4:12 - "No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us."

I get sentimental this time of the year.  It was 23 years ago that Tim & I were in the throes of wedding planning!  Addressing & mailing invitations, having bridal showers, and all the last minute details that go into planning a wedding.  The scripture above was written on our wedding invitation!  There were many fun and stressful things that went into planning the wedding, but once March 25th came and the party was over, Tim & I were left with a marriage that we were responsible for, as were the ones of you who are married.

 Early days of marriage bring many trials.  What makes some marriages strong and able to survive?  I would like to suggest that it takes superglue.  Well, not exactly superglue, but something similar!  Have you ever seen those little tubes of glue that actually house 2 different chemical compounds, that when squeezed out and joined together provide a bond that is impossible to destroy?  Well, something very similar is necessary in marriage. 

Genesis 2:24 – NASV “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife.” KJV also uses cleave.  NKJV uses the word joined – literally cling. 

 I read that the Hebrew word for cleave is the same word for glue!  Isn’t that interesting!  We need to be glued to each other as husband and wife. 

 What makes up this glue?  Well, the two ingredients that need to combine for the superglue of marriage are commitment and love.  Commitment is often a joke in today’s society, and that’s very sad.  Commitment is the desire to succeed, determination to succeed, the willingness to pay the price to succeed, the intestinal fortitude, or “guts” to do whatever it takes.

I could spend hours discussing commitment, but I’m not going to today.  Remember, I said I get sentimental this time of year, so I’d like to spend some time on the other glue ingredient – love. 

I Corinthians 13:4-7  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;   does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 Let’s think a few minutes about these verses and look at a way to apply them to marriage:

SUFFERS LONG – “I’ll be patient with you.  I’m human, too.”
IS KIND – “I’ll tread you with kindness, not belittling you or your needs.”

ENVIES NOT – “There is absolutely no jealousy in me.  I’m proud of what you do.”

VAUNTS NOT ITSELF(does not parade its superiority) – “I understand that we are different – you can do some things better than me and I can do some things better than you - but I also understand that we are equals.”

IS NOT PUFFED UP – “I promise not to let my little successes go to my head.”

DOES NOT BEHAVE ITSELF UNSEEMLY – “I will always treat you with honor and respect.”

SEEKS NOT HER OWN – “I want to do what is best for you and our marriage – not what I want to do out of selfish desires.”

IS NOT EASILY PROVOKED – “I take into account that we all have bad days.”
THINKS NO EVIL – “I trust you completely.”

REJOICES NOT IN INIQUITY – “I’m sorry about the mistakes I’ve made and will not remind you of the ones you have made.”

BEARS ALL THINGS – “The loads of life are heavy but I’ll always bear my fair share.”

HOPES ALL THINGS – “I’ll never let our dreams die.”

ENDURES ALL THINGS – “I love you with a tough love.  It’s not a because love or an if love; it’s unconditional.”

If we bond our marriages with the superglue of love and commitment we can have what some have called a taste of heaven on earth.  Commit to working hard on your marriage and remember the characteristics of love.  God will bless you for it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Women Glorifying God - Part 5

The final way I want to share with you is by being convicted.

We need to be convicted in our lives to make wise decisions.  We can give glory to God by our dress, by our speech, by what we choose to participate or not participate in.   We learn from Proverbs chapter seven that a woman that dresses like a harlot, who is boisterous and rebellious, attracts young men that are lacking in sense.  Why as women who are trying to glorify God would we want to attract such attention?

I Peter 3 persuades us to not let our adornment be merely outward – but the hidden person of the heart with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.  We are to be discreet (Titus 2:5) and modest (I Timothy 2:9). 

We must honestly ask ourselves (and our husbands!) if these adjectives describe our current wardrobe. Men are attracted to the female form. If we’re showing ours off, purposely or not, we’re not being modest! Short shorts show off legs. Plain and simple. Tight or low blouses show off other things. Pants can also show off the bottom. (I don't know how to say that more politely!)  I realize if you’ve been shopping in the last few years you know how difficult it is to find clothing for yourself and also for your young girls.  But it can be done!  Take someone with you – bend over, look in the mirror!  Buy a camisole keep "the girls" covered! 

Do you know that many men complain about the way women dress in the worship service?  They have trouble serving communion due to the legs and cleavage they see.  A woman said one time, after being approached about the way she was dressed, that the men just shouldn’t look!  Ladies, it is our responsibility to dress modestly, and exposing our assets is definitely not being discreet and gentle.

We need to be convicted about our friends and the people we spend time with- I Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be deceived:  Evil company corrupts good habits.”

Philippians 1:27 – let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ

Are our friends influencing us to not be modest and discreet?  Or are we influencing them towards better behavior?  How about the religious friends we may work with – are we convicted enough in our faith that their beliefs aren’t altering the truth? 
Ephesians 5:4 encourages us to not engage in foolish talking or coarse jesting.  Most television shows and movies are full of this kind of “entertainment”.  Ladies – entertainment is optional – we do not have to watch and we certainly do not have to repeat what we hear on these shows.  Utilize tools we have to keep our minds pure.

While we’re discussing our speech – what about the bickering and gossip?  Women are notorious for not getting along – I Samuel 1:6 “and her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable” … we cannot be nice sometimes.  Do you come into the building and purposely avoid someone, sitting down with your arms crossed?  If there is a problem, the scriptures are clear on how we can deal with it, by going to the source.  There are so many scriptures on the love we should have for one another, and what will happen to us when we don’t have that love.  We are not to be ones going off and telling tales about each other, but we should be bearing one another’s burdens, Galatians 6:2. 

Our speech says so much about us – our attitudes towards our family, friends, the church and more.  We need to flavor our speech with joy and happiness instead of negativity and foolish talk. 

How about our Facebook accounts?  On this social network, we can list our religion – and if we write “church of Christ” and then post pictures of ourselves with not many clothes on, or pictures from the prom or homecoming dances, or talk about our favorite movie that isn’t something a Christian should be watching, we have a problem.  We can even use Facebook to bring glory to God and we need to be using it in that way.

Romans 12:12-14 “Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lust.”

Fill your life and your heart with positive things.  Keep your mind in the word and focused on God, be convicted in your faith and you will bring glory to Him!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Women Glorifying God, Part 4

How do we, as women, glorify God?  Another way we can glorify God is by being compassionate.

We can show glory to God by reaching out to community.  Galatians 6:10 – Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.  We can glorify God by practicing pure religion, James 1:27 – to visit orphans and widows in their trouble.  I know of churches who participate in the county fair, giving out information concerning the church, and that many hold back to school give-aways.  We can be active in the community and be good Christian examples.  I know of Christian women who are involved in politics, school organizations and such.  What a great opportunity to show God’s love to the community and give Him glory.

We need to share the Gospel with others such are our neighbors or friends.  Use opportunities to share your faith in conversation, on the job, and in your community.  Mark 16:15-16.  Dorcas is an example of someone who was full of good works and charitable deeds.  We can be that individual in our community. 

We also need to speak kindly out of love, especially when we are out and about.  A smile can go a long way. Be nice to people, be patient with them, and be courteous. These days there are more and more people who are proud, rude, and in a rush. Stand out and be kind. Doing nice things for other people is a way to be a witness to the goodness of Jesus. You can really brighten someone's day and make them feel special. 

Being a mentor to younger ladies and girls in the church is yet another way we can give God glory by being compassionate.  Our Bible school departments need Godly teachers committed to teaching the Word.  Not only are many congregations struggling with empty literature, but also with teachers who do not want to spend any time in preparation and who want to baby-sit the children with snacks and coloring sheets.  If you are a teacher, you need to show compassion for these children’s souls by filling every possible minute with fun Bible drills, songs that are teaching Scripture, and bringing the lessons to life.  Your dedication as a teacher will benefit these children and bring glory to God.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Glorifying God, Part 3

How do we, as women, in 2012 glorify God? 

We've already discussed glorifying God in our corporate worship.  Another way we can glorify God is by being committed to our marriage, and our home.

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.” 

 We can show glory to God by being keepers of our homes I Timothy 5:14.  If we allow our homes to be run in chaos, how can we be showing the world a better way of living?  We can show glory to God by being hospitable, Romans 12:13.  This is partly being a good steward of what God has blessed us with, but also being a good example to those around us.  Do we use our homes as a way of blessing those around us, or is it a showpiece kept just for ourselves? 

 We are told to love our husbands.  That includes speaking about him to others in a positive light.  Try not to allow others who may talk negatively about their spouse influence you to do the same.  We want our husband to be able to rise up and call us blessed and to praise us (Proverbs 31:28) and we need to treat him in the right way.  We are to submit to and honor our husbands Ephesians 5:22-24, I Peter 3:1.  We are showing glory to God when we are helpers to our husbands (Genesis 2:18).

 What about our children?  Do we belittle them when we speak to them?  Do we protect them from the world, guarding their hearts?  When we teach our children the truths from God’s word as we sit in the house, walk by the way, when they lie down and when they rise up, Deuteronomy 6:7-9, we will be glorifying God.

The world will take notice of the different way we live, the way our family interacts, the way we show love to one another and that we have a commitment to our marriage, family and home, and God will be glorified.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy 2012!

Another year has begun - 2012! 

Our family has had an amazing holiday break!  My husband has been off for 2 weeks and a day, our daughter home from college and the boys home from school.  We've played games, watched television, eaten a lot, shopped, celebrated, enjoyed having families into our home, and being in the homes of others.  We have relished our spiritual family and our earthly family. 

Blog entries haven't been a high priority, but I will be getting back into that later this week.  My goal is to write more for my blog, submit articles to magazines and newspapers, and hopefully have the opportunity to speak at ladies events.  My goal is to focus more on God's people and less on myself. 

Here are some other goals:  daily Bible reading, Scripture memorization, reading more spiritual books, continuing with the "Digging Deeper" study, re-implementing family Bible time, getting more involved with our local church, continuing with hospitality, and limiting my time on things that are not profitable. 

This isn't a complete list, but it includes some of the goals my family will be talking about this week. Do you and your family make New Year's resolutions? What resolutions have you all made for 2012?