The Plight of the Discontented Woman

(This is a follow-up from the previous article.  If you have not read it I encourage you to read it before you read this article.)

There are many single women today who are discontent with their families, their education, their jobs, their singleness, and many other reasons; not only unbelievers but Christian women as well.16_discontented-singles Some Christian women that I know personally want to be married and have a family.  They sincerely want a husband with whom they can share their life and to bear children. This is a noble desire, a natural desire for women in all ages. My only counsel, as an older woman, is that you not make this the main focus in your life.

As the apostle Simon Peter writes in his second letter to those who are waiting for the second coming of our Lord, the message is to us today.  Whether male or female, young or old, while we wait for a new heavens and a new earth, we are to “grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 3:18  Take advantage of this time in your life to immerse yourself in His word and prayer; not so that you can be an expert and able to argue certain doctrine, but so that you can humbly discern the faith of others (I did not say to judge) and support and compliment one that may become your husband.

Some beautiful women have no problem finding a husband (we cite the record of Rachel and Leah, Genesis 29-30),  yet their lives are no happier than a single woman without one.  This is the point that I want to make.

If you are unhappy with your situation now, a husband will not make your life any happier.  Your contentment is not dependent on your position in life, but on the condition of your heart. Is Christ all to you now?  Then He is enough.  If Christ is your life, then live humbly and fully in the joy of His presence.  His work of grace in your heart will make you more desirous to those who are looking for a virtuous wife.  Your contentment will be an attraction to others.  It says to a man that you are not dependent on others for your happiness.  It relieves a prospective husband of the burden (the oppression) of making you happy.

Seeing Christ as your contentment and joy is an encouragement to others that you would be a suitable help mate. And if God does not give you to a man, then live in service always to Him.  He will more than fulfill your need for companionship and love in this world, with the promise of an eternal love beyond that which any man can give.

” A Christian has that which may make him content. Has not God given you Christ? In Him there are unsearchable riches. He is such a gold mine of wisdom and grace that all the saints and angels can never dig to the bottom. Never complain as long as Christ is your Friend. He is an enriching pearl, a sparkling diamond. The infinite luster of His merits makes us shine in God’s eyes.   In Him there is both fulness and sweetness. He is indescribable good. Lift up your thoughts to the highest pinnacle; stretch them to the utmost; let them wander to their full latitude and extent—yet they fall infinitely short of those ineffable and inexhaustible treasures which are locked up in Jesus Christ. And is there not enough here to give the soul contentment: A Christian who lacks necessities, yet, having Christ, has the one thing needful.” ~ Thomas Watson The Art of Divine Contentment

Dear Father, I pray for these women whose desires are not fulfilled; who feel that they need something else in life beyond what you have given.  Reveal Christ as the fulfillment, the contentment and joy that you meant Him to be when you sent Him to the earth.  As the propitiation for our sins you have expressed and bestowed a love beyond any that we can ask for or understand.  Make us all humble, accepting the role and position you have given each of us in this life.  Thank you for the hope of your fulfilling every promise that you have given us in your word, now and for eternity.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen

Related Article: I Don’t Wait Anymore

Image source

Fight or Flight ~ the Plight of the Discontented Wife

(Warning:  This is an OUCH, and an encouragement.)
As an older woman who has over the years images
taught and mentored younger women I want to share some of what I have learned from this experience.

Only three of those I mentored were single, but all had an original desire to know and live a full life in Christ. All discipling was personal and biblically based. Christ was the center of each relationship; the prayer was always to seek the Lord’s will in the hearts and lives of each one that I mentored. Some came to me; others I took under my wings.  None were forced,  but each had a seemingly sincere desire to know and grow in Christ.

Each one was unique; and I was amazed sometimes at what the Lord was doing in the lives of those He allowed me to spend time with.

With some the mentoring stopped at a certain stage because they were not willing to submit to God’s word in a certain area of their lives. They had not fully understood the cost of following Christ.  There are not many women today who are seeking older women for the purpose of knowing how to love and obey their husbands.

The Blight of the Church
In mentoring, and beyond those personal relationships, I write here of what I have observed in the church. Not just younger women, but older ones have been the decision makers for their families. We have had many such families leave our church.  It was well known that the wife was dissatisfied; either with relationships, the doctrine, the programs or activities of the church.

There are many women today who are leaving their husbands for no reason except that they are unhappy with where they are.  Many are being deceived, even as Eve was, by the same spirit of discontent.  Christian women who are not abused and whose husbands have remained faithful are hearing the commercials from lawyers who stand with them in public courts to declare their freedom from any authority over them.

What these do not understand is the oppressive spirit that pervades not only their own lives, but the lives of their husbands, the life of the churches of which they are members, and others with whom they shares their problems.

Where there is discontent the whole church is affected. We are members one of another. It is like a sickness that pervades the whole body.   Only the work of the Holy Spirit can heal and make the church a healthy church that is able to fulfill its purpose. The practice of church discipline is not known in many churches today, but is effective to a degree. The discontented wife is not excommunicated until her discontent is actively displayed; in the case of railing against her husband and the church, and refusing to repent.

Suggestions For Mentors
Be cautious at what age and stage you become a mentor. Paul warned the church against new converts becoming deacons and elders. The older women, mentioned in Paul’s letter to Titus, would have been those with wisdom and knowledge, and years of experience. Being a friend who is able to listen and sympathize is different from leading another person in their relationship with the Lord; and teaching them to love and obey their husband.

It is easy for one who is being mentored to become dependent on their mentor. The purpose of mentoring is to direct their way to Christ; to total dependence on Him.

And this is not to take the place of, but directed to, their own personal study of God’s word, personal prayer, and the preaching of God’s word and counsel from their pastors.

This time should be limited. After a year those who are being led should be able to go and grow on their own.  A mentor can remain a friend and available for special times of need.

I have also written from my own experience of having been that discontented wife; and have learned that contentment is coupled with humility. These two, humility and contentment, have been the main things I have desired and prayed for in these latter years; for myself and others. Here is a quote from Thomas Watson in his book, The Art of Divine Contentment

images“ Here was a sore temptation the devil handed over to Job by his discontented wife. Only his grace, as a golden shield, warded off the blow from his heart. “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women” (job 2:10).
Discontent tempts a man to atheism and apostasy.
Atheism is the fruit that grows out of the blossom of discontent.

” A Christian has that which may make him content. Has not God given you Christ? In Him there are unsearchable riches. He is such a gold mine of wisdom and grace that all the saints and angels can never dig to the bottom. Never complain as long as Christ is your Friend. He is an enriching pearl, a sparkling diamond. The infinite luster of His merits makes us shine in God’s eyes.   In Him there is both fulness and sweetness. He is indescribable good. Lift up your thoughts to the highest pinnacle; stretch them to the utmost; let them wander to their full latitude and extent—yet they fall infinitely short of those ineffable and inexhaustible treasures which are locked up in Jesus Christ. And is there not enough here to give the soul contentment: A Christian who lacks necessities, yet, having Christ, has the one thing needful.”

To the Discontented Wife
If you are not content with your life, whether a wife or not, search your heart. Does Christ have your whole heart? Do you seek daily His word, and in prayer desire His Spirit to lead you in His word to obedience in all that you read? Does Christ speak to you, leading personally through His word? Or do you live, desiring things your own way, and blaming your circumstances on someone else?

My prayer is that God will reveal yourself to you. Once you are able to see yourself as you are, a sinner who is discontent with God and the life that He has given you, I pray that He would reveal Christ to you as your Redeemer; and enable you to believe and follow Him in obedience to His word and Spirit. In His timing and His way, as He changes us (and sometimes our circumstances) we are able not only to endure all for His sake, but He gives us joy in the middle of our circumstances, and praise, for our deliverance from the oppressive spirit that has controlled our life.

The God whom we have railed against in our discontent becomes our refuge and our life.

If you are the victim of one with this oppressive spirit Christ will give you the power of His Spirit of humility and contentment; to resist this oppression and live hopefully and fully in Him.

Dear Father, turn our eyes to you in Christ, melt our hearts and unite us in Him and His church.  Make Him to be our only desire, our hope, our joy, and our fulfillment ~ all to your glory, now and forevermore.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Related article:  Give Your Marriage at Least Fifty Years

Source: Image 1
Source: Image 2

Rubber Legs

The story is told of a young man, who, in the “prime” of his life, woke one morning, but was unable to get out of bed. His legs and arms were like rubber.

He could move his head, his hands, his feet, and his body, but his arms and legs seemed to have no bone, and no muscle. He was not in pain—just uncoordinated. Overnight he had become helpless. Alone, he had no one to call to. He could not reach his phone. His screams for “help” went unanswered. In his despair he pleaded, “Oh God, help me!”

In the assurance that his cry was heard he ceased to panic, and his struggle turned to resignation. He gave in to his helplessness with the only hope he had been given. In peace, he relaxed and slept.

When he woke up this time, he realized that the trauma he had experienced had been a dream.

Was it only a dream? Or was it God’s supernatural way of revealing the man’s real need, and producing a miracle in his life? It was real enough to cause the young man to evaluate his independence of God. In the dream he had experienced in his whole being the sense of full dependence on the Lord God, who had enabled him to call out to the only one who could help him in his solitude; and the response he received was what he needed.

In reality he sought the same God of mercy that he had encountered in his dream.   God, through Jesus, brought him to full dependence. And he never forgot his rubber legs and arms.

God restored, through his relationship with Jesus, the proper use of his whole body, soul, and spirit. In a local church body of believers, he learned more about his God, and found his true purpose for living, in service to Him, for His glory.

FRmhCImage source

The FEAST

For some reason my mind has been on food these last few days, not just on one item and not just on one meal, and not just for a common occasion.  My thoughts have been on a feast, in which I picture this long table that extends out of my sight, with so much food, and with such a variety, it is a smorgasbord that is more than you would ever have time to sample.

This sight affects all my senses.  What I see is an arrangement of colors, textures, and designs.  They all fit together so that we could not describe any one platter of such a banquet. It is a beautiful offering of a majestic kind, fit for a king and his court. The aromas capture my sense of smell, as I am drawn nearer to the table.

I am invited to come closer, to taste the delicacies spread before me.  What do I sample first?  It is all so magnificent, that I dare not spoil the display.  It is too glorious even to touch, but I must.  I am enthralled with the scene.

The questions come: “Who has prepared such a feast?”

“Where do such delicacies grow?  Why have I not seen or tasted such as this before?”

“How is all this food prepared and preserved?  Will it not spoil before it is eaten?”

“I cannot begin to partake of all this by myself.
There is no one here but me.  This is too much for me.  I must go and find others with whom I can share this banquet.  It is too wonderful!”

But, as I start to leave, a voice comes from the end of the table.  “Before you go, taste for yourself, before you bring someone else. Without tasting you will not remember where you have been, nor will you want to come back.”

And so, humbly I approach the table.  I see in the middle of all the other food, and my hand reaches for, a piece broken from a simple loaf of bread, the aroma of which I have never enjoyed before.  Slowly, and gently the bread is lifted to my mouth and the sensation is indescribable.  My eyes are opened to a throne at the end of the table where the King is seated.  Gathered around Him and around the table are all these people who have come and tasted of the feast in the simplicity of Christ, His Son.

The feast is too rich for us now; our palate must be prepared for it. It is designed by the Father and revealed to us by His Holy Spirit who draws us to the center of the table—the bread of life—Christ, Himself.  For now the bread of heaven is enough. He is our sustenance for this earth and our taste of heaven.  The Feast is for the Wedding and heavenly dining with the Father, and Son, in His great glory—for His glory and our joy.

“I am the living bread
which came down from heaven;
if any man eat of this bread,
he shall live for ever…”
John 6:51

“O taste and see that the LORD is good:
blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” 
Psalm 34:8

I pray that today we might taste of His divine goodness and bring others to His table.

9/29/07  (from Waiting is Not a Game ~ Articles of Faith, written during the three years that we waited for the wound to heal from Jerry’s amputation.)

Related Article:  Feast of Harmony and Joy

Humility in the Teaching of Jesus ~ Chapter 4

How important are the teachings of Jesus in the world today?

The writer of the book of Hebrews began with these words, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Hebrews 1:1-3

On the mount of transfiguration Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (exclamation point!)
Matthew 17:1-13

How often are we like Peter, thinking of what we can do for God. He wants us to listen and hear and obey. Like Peter, our human nature of pride excludes our paying attention when we should.

Jesus is quoted in John 6:63; “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
He was the Word of God in human flesh speaking the words by which we needed to live. He was that seed planted in the ground, to die, to bring forth new life in us. That seed must be planted in fertile soil. The heart filled with the humility of Christ is the only medium in which His life lives and grows.

As important as Jesus’ example of humility are His teachings on humility. We skim over the things that seem less important, especially when they are not a main emphasis of the churches teaching. Andrew Murray points to this in his writings in Humility. (PDF)

In the fourth chapter we have the doctrine of humility spelled out very clearly by Jesus; and it behooves us to study these, to memorize them and to meditate on these until they are part of our daily lives. We will see that these teachings are not the usual things that we learn, even in church.

From last month’s study and our meditations on Isaiah 53 we should come into this chapter with grateful hearts for Jesus’ humility, His suffering and His sacrifice for us. We should be willing to daily look to Him as the author and finisher of our faith. If He is our Lord and Savior, having died to take our sins upon Himself, to make us righteous before the Father, we should be continually studying His words and His teachings. As is the master, so is His servant. If our faith is real we will be seeking His kingdom and His righteousness first and foremost in this life.

As we remember in previous chapters we are talking about relationship ~ relationship to God through discipleship in Christ.  Humility, as we have been learning, is the root of our life in Christ. Without it there is nothing to be gained by what we say and do. We must read, and we must remember what Jesus still teaches today through the written word of God.

The Doctrine of Humility
Jesus is the only true teacher. We cannot look to man for this doctrine, but only to Jesus Christ. Let’s examine the main teachings from Murray’s nine points in this chapter.

From Matthew 5:3-5 we understand that the “poor in spirit” may be poor physically, but the meaning has to do with the heart and the spirit of a person. This person knows that there is nothing good in him. He, unlike Simon Peter, (before He understood Jesus’ teachings) has nothing to give, but must constantly look to God for all things. The “meek” are not looking for anything for themselves, but all for God and others. God will give heaven and earth to these.

There are two examples that Jesus uses.
1. In Matthew 11:29 He is the example. It is in His own Spirit of meekness that He gives us rest for our souls. Peace with God is through our humility in Christ.
2. In Matthew 18:4 Jesus uses the example of a little child as the “greatest imagesin the kingdom of heaven.” This “little child” would have been quiet in the middle of these proceedings, listening; in awe of Jesus. “This little child” was still dependent.

There are examples of those who needed humility.
1. His disciples often disputed about and asked for the prominent places in His kingdom. The “chief among” them, and the “greatest among” them would be the “servant. Even as the Son of Man came to serve.”
His teachings were those of the kingdom of heaven. We who are His, His children, His people, are His servants. Our glory is to be His servant, as we practice servanthood here on the earth.

2. The Pharisees were used to the chief places. In Matthew 12:11 Jesus was emphatic; “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”   And in Luke 14:7-11, in the parable of the guest who would be invited to come up higher He said, “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” He spoke the same thing after the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. (Luke 18:14) “In our worship of God everything is worthless that is not pervaded by deep, true humility toward God and man.”

The doctrine of humility is all about the kingdom of God. Unbelievers live in their own worlds, but we are called with a holy, high, and heavenly calling to live with and for God, not for ourselves. The new heart that is ours in Christ is the new wineskin that receives the new wine of Christ’s life and His humility.  (Ezekiel 36:25; Luke 5:38)

Murray points out that we don’t think low enough; perhaps, that one may think humility is not becoming to a man. Can we be too humble? We must receive Christ as He is and live by His teachings here if we are to live with Him eternally. We understand by Jesus’ teachings that true humility is the only way and means to heaven; the reality is by being the servant of all.

Humility, as it is the mark of Christ the heavenly, will be the one standard of glory in heaven. The lowliest is the nearest to God.” If we think of any glory at all, it will not be until we enter the portals of glory with Christ; and then it will be the glory of being His servant.

“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:” Hebrews 12:25

 “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Jesus Christ is not only the mediator but also the means of all life. In Him we see our lack and need of humility; and more than this we see and receive from Him what He is and teaches us to be. God’s word came to us in Christ, and does not return to Him void, but fulfills in us His servants all that He planned in our creation and redemption. As we long and pray for His spirit of humility we look for its precious fruit according to His promises.

word-will-not-return-void“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Dear Father, I praise you for your commands of what you planned for us to be, and for the promises that come with them. Rule in our hearts and give us such a longing for Christ and His teachings that we discipline ourselves by His words; knowing the authority of your word commanded in us by your Holy Spirit. Make us to know the joy of humility. In our service to you and others let nothing be too menial or vexing.

“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.

 But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe;
Here Lord I give myself away; Tis all that I can do.
(Alas!, and Did My Savior Bleed ~ Isaac Watts 1707)

Related Article: Humility in the Life of Jesus ~ Chapter 3