Husband, Cherish Your Wife

Walk into any “old folk’s home” and you will see very few men.  On the average, women outlive men.  It would be interesting if we could search the hearts of the women in these facilities to see what they remember of their childhoods and their marriages.  From those who can still speak of their own, you hear very little of their joy in marriage.  Most have a complaint against their parents or their husbands.  Few are content. Is it possible that husbands could change this?  No; but God can, through husbands who seek His will in their own lives and their families’ lives.

What can a husband do?  First, you can ask the Lord to show you what you already have. Take inventory of what He has given you.

Is your wife content?  Praise the Lord!  Thank Him that He has given you a gem.  Treasure what you have and ask how to cherish her, love her, and polish this jewel to His expectancy ~ notice ~ not yours, but His.  She is not yet all she will be.   She will need to grow to conform to the image of Christ.   Caring for her will not preserve her so that she will live longer than you, but to enable her to give you the best care possible should you fall into the average pattern.

Remember that your former years together may be an example for her should she become your caregiver.  And should you in the end outlive her, she will be much easier to care for.

The Marriage God Intended
We see in Ephesians 5 the analogy of marriage as it relates to the church ~ Christ and its members (His bride).  This is another treatise altogether, but as a starting point, let’s look at four things Paul mentions for a husband and wife.  I am not using the plural as relating to all husbands and wives, but singular, so as to draw you, the reader, to look at your marriage apart from others you know.

There are good marriages and bad marriages that you could compare, but here we want to settle you, the husband, as one husband, and the person God created you to be and especially to you as God’s son, redeemed by the blood of His first-born Son, Jesus Christ.  I doubt that many who are not born-again believers and disciples of Christ will understand what this is all about.

The four things we will speak of are: 1) Submission 2) Love 3) Sacrifice 4) Sanctity.

Submission

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.”  Ephesians 5:22-23

Your first thoughts will probably be, “The author should be speaking to women, not men.”  Bear with me, please.  Think about it.  Christ is the head of the church.  Who came first, Christ, the head, or the bride, (the church)?  Would there be a bride without Christ?  Would there be a church, a body of believers, without Christ’s work of bringing believers together in one accord, for His name’s sake?

The practice and custom of a bride taking on the name of her husband is indicative of the action of a man who loves a woman, woos her, and proves his ability to take care of her.  She takes his name, willingly, submitting to his proposal, entering into a covenant that he has presented to her.  Marriage in this century does not have many good examples, or patterns, to follow.  

Christian marriage is not much different from other marriages of our culture.  This treatise is not meant to go into the various problems but rather to get a picture of what marriage could be and would be if we each see the model and the potential God gives us.

Women are getting this same teaching from other women and many are trying to adhere to this, even in marriages where the husband has no true love for them.  Submission is difficult in any situation, but in marriage, where God meant it to be a pleasant and blessed thing, submission has become an oppressive word. It is difficult for those who truly want to submit, to understand how, when the husband is not able to love and lead her.

Love 

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3 

Husband, I implore you to cease from observing marriage from the world’s view, the example, and patterns that pervade our culture.  In this first point of thinking of your wife’s submission, there are three things that apply to you.  

1) Submit 
2) Admit  
3) Commit

Submit yourself to be the husband God wants you to be. Turn to God your Creator and Redeemer. In prayer and humility, submit yourself to the Lord.  You may have done this at other times in your life as a new believer or in commitment to a special work for the church or God’s kingdom.  The first and most important work for you as a husband is to shepherd your wife.  She must see you as her leader and companion through the pilgrimage of this life.  You must initiate this relationship if you want her to submit to you as she should.  The love of Christ for His church is the only factor that we have to bring us into submission to Him.

Even so, your love for your wife will be portrayed in how you cherish her, lead her, protect her and preserve her.  But, you cannot expect her to submit to you if you have not submitted totally to Christ, as your Lord and Savior.  You cannot love her as you need to love her unless you understand the love of Christ for you, and in your love for Him, live in submission to do His will in all things.

Submission should be followed by admitting your failures, mistakes, sins, or misunderstandings about your role as God’s Son and as a husband.  Time in humility and prayer, for the purpose of His searching your heart, will reveal and enable you to see, confess, and repent of those failings, even though they come from ignorance. Admitting, consenting to what He puts His finger on, is second to submission as a means of clearing the way for His working in your heart and life.

Third, committing your way, your will, your life, to the Lord as your head, will give the freedom for Him to lead you, to shepherd you and in turn for you to shepherd your wife.  You are setting the example for her to follow.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:1-2

Commitment to the Lord will include presenting all that you are to be transformed by the renewal of your mind.  This means you must, for yourself and your wife, have a plan for this transformation and renewal; for when your mind is renewed everything in your life will be changed.  God’s Word is the means of His grace for this transformation. Through His Word, Christ will speak to your heart and write on your mind and heart His plans for your renewal.  He will continue to lead you and your wife in the love that He has for you and her.  

He does not marry you ~ through Christ making us His Bride ~ and leave you to yourself, but in patience and longsuffering, bears with you.  Understanding His love, and His strength in preserving you, will make you stronger, more loving, and more gracious.  Here is where the bond of marriage cannot be broken by anything the enemy or the world would throw at you.  Christ is the head, the center, the radius, the circumference, the all of life, for the union He performs.

Sacrifice
When you understand and experience the love of Christ and His sacrifice for you, you will know what it means to sacrifice for your wife.  There is not much I will say here, because I can’t imagine; I can’t get my mind around the sacrifice Christ made for me.  I can’t know what this means for a husband.  Any sacrifice I have made for my husband and family are no comparison to Christ’s sacrifice or to what He asks of a husband.  Each of these is personal and occurs in different circumstances for each one.  

When and where He leads you will bring you up to the task.  Your submitting, admitting, and commitment will prepare you in love to sacrifice for your wife.  Like Christ, you will not have to ask what God’s will is for you. Christ’s love for you will work in you a supernatural love for your wife.

Sanctity

“For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one,” Hebrews 2:11

Jesus sacrificed and sanctified Himself for His bride. He set Himself apart for His people. Such is the oneness of a husband and wife brought into Christ, united in Him. Joined together in Christ, “let no man put asunder.” 

As all of God’s children are one in Christ, how much more a husband and wife in Christ. A true Christian marriage is a shining example to the world of this beautiful union.
Fran

Image: Stock Photos

A University President’s Message

Jerry received his degree in Industrial Engineering on December 15, 1961, from Auburn University. The following excerpts are from the President’s message, one you would not hear from a secular institution, today. We see how far we have come from the foundation of our nation and its institutions of higher education.We pray the Lord would bring us back to our humble beginnings.

“”””””””””””””””””

“My dear Friends,

You have completed your work for the degree in a time of the tremendous expansion of knowledge and in the midst of a world ferment of exploration of all the areas of thought.

I have the distinct feeling that the impact of new knowledge, which is producing so much of change is also reflected in changing outlooks among governments. I believe that you will live to see the effects of these forces also in the individual attitudes and beliefs of men.

We of the Western World have been conditioned in our thought and our morality largely through the beneficent influence of the Christian ethic. Although as individuals and as a nation, we have departed often from this ideal in individual acts, over the years and in the long view, we have been generally governed thereby. I would hope that the growth of knowledge, with the attendant dislocations which harass the world today, may serve to strengthen the influence of the Christian ethic and, eventually, ring wisdom and understanding among men and nations.

The prospects of that hope do seem dim at present, but I hope that you will cherish the ideal because I believe mankind must respond to the spirit of good and recoil from the spirit of evil. If this can’t be believed by men, there is little hope that civilization can survive.

I think that, perhaps, the best wish I could make for you on this occasion would be that each of you may be guided by the philosophy of the love of your fellowmen; goodwill; sensitivity to just and honorable relationships; and willingness to stand on the side of good against evil.

I wish for you, also, the joy of hard labor for worthwhile ends, and an awareness of the struggle in which you will be engaged throughout your lives. I wish for each of you good health, happiness, and success in that struggle, and I hope your lives may be blessed by the hope, the wisdom, and the influence of the Christian ethic.”

Ralph B. Draughon

 

The Auburn Creed includes seven points, the last of which is:

“I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by “doing  justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God.” (quote from Micah 6:8)

When Jesus Cleans House

A new thought for Filled with Grace ~ Wrapped in Glory.

 

 

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
1 Corinthians 3:16

 

 

Christ in you, the hope of Glory (Colossians 1:27) ushers in a new life in which He changes everything. You are His building, His temple, His field. All belongs to Him. He cleans house ~ every nook and cranny He knows intimately. If He is to live there, He must have full reign to make things suitable for Him.

“And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;” Luke 19:45

He casts out the spirits within and takes up residence so that they cannot return. (Matthew 12:45)

“But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” Hebrews 3:6

Praise the Father for His indwelling power to conform us to the image of His dear Son (Romans 8:28-29) ~ through His Word and Spirit, by His grace and for His glory. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.
Fran

All Things New

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things
are become new
.
2 Corinthians 5:17

In awe for the last decade, I have been given another new year to express the all-glorious presence and blessings of our Almighty God. Ten years ago, I was thinking how close I might be to leaving this planet to be with our Lord. Now in my eighth decade, I sense more and more my weakness and dependence on my Creator and Redeemer as He continues to prepare me for eternity with Him. It is a second childhood I heard about in my first childhood, but, oh so much more than I had imagined. And, I am loving it!

Learning to leave behind those things I thought were so precious years ago, I have been blessed for the Lord to reveal His kingdom of grace in me enabling me to experience a taste of that which is to come.

Trust in the One Who Gives Life
Did I say that these years have been comfortable and pleasant? Not by any stretch of the imagination; they are being spent in trust and leaning upon the One who gave me life twice ~ as Creator and Redeemer ~ a new life that will never end.

Giving me the responsibility as a full-time caregiver for Jerry has been the Father’s way of grooming me as His servant. And there is no greater joy than this. Having served in many roles (too many to list) the role of a servant tops the list for joy and fulfillment in His kingdom.

With one of my favorite verses of His Word, I end my first prayer each day before getting out of bed.

“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” Psalm 90:17

There is always new work to do. With this expectation, we know this new year of our Lord, 2019 will be filled with newness of life. With every day and every trial in the last several years, we have experienced a greater sense of His presence and His goodness.

Lovecraft ~ A New Look
After eight years of blogging, we are using a new format. In searching, I chose a fitting theme Lovecraft~ not knowing the name of the theme until afterward. We will be tweaking it until we decide on the final look. One difference in this theme is the overlay of the area for the text. Images are good, but we want to focus on the truths of God’s Word and His kingdom. A physical image cannot aptly portray the spiritual truths of His love and grace.

We have also just published a new book which we will review the end of this week; What the Holy Bible Says about The Word of GOD, second in the series What the Holy Bible Says.

Our God is the Living God, the God of wonders, the God who never leaves us. He desired us before the world began and sired us in His timing ~ to bring us to Himself through His Son’s redemptive work and the power of His Holy Spirit. He continues to show us great and mighty things we have not known (Jeremiah 33:3) ~ to us, in us and through us. All this; all that He does is for His glory and our joy.

Dear Father in heaven, you have called us unto your eternal glory through Jesus Christ, your Son. We thank you for your mercy and grace, by your Holy Spirit, to accomplish all that you have planned for us in this new year. Whether to keep us here to proclaim the legacy of your kingdom or to bring us home with you, we praise you now. Continue to fill us all with the outpouring of your Spirit to speak and write the truth of your Word that others may know you and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image is from Christian Poetry by Deborah Ann. 
You would be blessed to visit her blog.

Persecution in China

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution,
or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
Romans 8:35

As we prepare to spend an hour or so in a comfortable worship environment tomorrow, please consider that not all Christians have this privilege. Such is the church in China. Please read the following statement written by Pastor Wang Yi before he and his wife were arrested.

“Editor’s note: Over 100 members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, were arrested beginning Sunday, December 9. At the time of publication of this translation, arrests are still being made. Among those taken away were Pastor Wang Yi, senior pastor of Early Rain, and his wife, Jiang Rong, who have not been heard from since Sunday. 

Foreseeing this circumstance, Pastor Wang Yi wrote the declaration below to be published by his church should he be detained for more than 48 hours. In it, he explains the meaning and necessity of faithful disobedience, how it is distinct from political activism or civil disobedience, and how Christians should carry it out.”  

The translated statement can be read from the December 12 post of China Partnership.

I pray that we begin to understand what freedom and blessings we have, now. But also that we see the need to prepare, at least our children, for the persecution that lies ahead for those who follow Christ. Let us pray for those who stand firm for the gospel of the kingdom of our Father and His Christ in China and throughout the world. Fran

The Power of Redemption

As I continue to study Andrew Murray’s, Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness, the end of this year seems a good time to share some treasures from this book. We can take into the new year these special truths that can change our thinking and our lives. Considering if we live in pride or humility is to know if we live by the flesh as in the first Adam, or by the Spirit in the second Adam.

Think of the power of sin that was within us before we were born of the Spirit. Then meditate on the following quotes from Andrew Murray. Let us take these with us into the new year as we continue to study the power of the new life, the life of redemption that is ours in our Lord, Jesus Christ.

“Even as we need to look to the first Adam and his fall to know the power of the sin within us, we need to know well the Second Adam and His power to give within us a life of humility as real and abiding and overmastering as has been that of pride.  We have our life from and in Christ, as truly, even more truly, than from and in Adam.”

“The life of God, which in the incarnation entered human nature, is the root in which we are to stand and grow.  It is the same almighty power that worked there, and from then on to the resurrection, which works daily in us.  Our one need (now) is to study and know and trust the life that has been revealed in Christ as the life that is now ours.”

There is no greater blessing than a life of humility; serving the Lord and others.

Gracious Father, we thank you for the new life that is ours in Christ. We praise you that you showed your power in His incarnation, resurrection, and redemption so that we can experience the power of His humility working in us. In Jesus’ name, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran
Have This Mind Among Yourselves
Philippians 2:5-11 Music

Suggested Reading: A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility

Heavenly Overtones

Music is designed with a melody that runs throughout the whole piece.  Other parts add harmony.  The melody is the beginning, and the ending.  It is what holds the piece together.  Lose the melody or make it a monotone—the same tone over and over— and it ceases to be music.  Overpower the melody and the music loses its meaning.

Music is a sound that began in heaven with God, our Father and Creator.  It is a major means that He provided to help us worship Him—“Holy, Holy, Holy”—one for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Ghost, is sung by the angels in heaven. (Isaiah 6:3  and Revelation 4:8)

Anthems are compositions for music that include all parts —melody, harmony, and sometimes, a descant.  A descant is a part that is sung by a higher range of voices.  It is not meant to overpower but provide an extra lift to the other parts.

Together all the parts speak to the senses to lift the spirit and the heart toward God.

In Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs we worship with Biblical texts and heavenly music (Ephesians 5:19).

I picture it according to His Word—the melody was begun in heaven with Jesus, His Son—“Holy, Holy, Holy”  from the foundation of the world.  He would not only be the beginning of music but the melody throughout the span of time here on earth, onward into eternity.

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes…”

The melody of heaven was here
~ He was wrapped in our humanity ~
to gather around Him those that would
add the harmony to Himself,
and provide the music for His family,
the music that the Father wanted to hear.

“On the same night, there were shepherds with flocks of sheep in the field. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them”

 ~ the music and the worship were about to begin.

And the glory of the Lord shone round about them with good tidings of great joy”

  ~ the prelude
the introduction to the first anthem of true worship.

To all people—unto you is born a Savior, Christ the Lord”

 the music begins.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God, and saying,  Glory to God in the highest”

 ~ the descant.

“And on earth peace.” Luke 2:7-14

Christ Jesus, our Lord, is the melody of heaven, the melody of life, as God has composed it, and plays it for us by His Spirit and through His Word.

“I will declare thy name (the Father) unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. Behold, I and the children which God hath given me.”  (Hebrews 2:12-13)

~ the harmony of His family.
Now He has a full choir.

The Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs that we learn throughout our childhood are the anthems that are carried into heaven with us, as we join that celestial choir. Others are added along the way as He gives us a repertoire.  The only soloist is the one who carries the melody—Christ, Himself.

As we live by the Spirit and walk by the Spirit, He opens our ears to hear the melody and to follow Him.  Our off-keys and monotones are tuned to harmonize with other voices.  And walking humbly with Him in the obedience of faith, loving the Lord, our God, and our neighbor, we are surrounded by the heavenly overtones echoing His praise in heaven and earth. In our devotion to Christ, He opens our hearts to hear compositions we have never heard or sung before, especially during the difficult circumstances of life.

I pray that we know the Lord as our strength and song (Exodus 15:2).

I pray that we would experience “the new song as He fills us with His Spirit (Psalm 149:1).

On the Lord’s Day, we go to His House with a great expectation of hearing the melody—a strong and sure foundation for our worship—hearing the other parts, and the distant sound of the descant of the angels in affirmation that our worship is accepted.

I pray that each day we will practice our singing, individually, and in family worship, so that we are prepared for worship on the Lord’s Day—all in preparation for the great day when we see Him and praise Him in all His glory with the angels.

Our Father has composed the music
and directs the choir.

Let us sing with full hearts
to His glory and our joy.

“Holy,—-Holy,—-Holy,

The LORD of hosts:

The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Fran ~ Lord’s Day 9/23/07 (Article from Waiting Is Not A Game ~ Articles and Stories of Faith. Unpublished)

A Panoramic View

How blessed we would be if we could see in God’s Word a panoramic view of Him working from beginning to end —the Alpha and Omega— through it all to bring the first and the last scene together.

How blessed we are to be in the middle as God’s people—the body of Christ—to take it all in; turning from page to page to behold His glory, His kingdom, at work in His people; His strong arm upholding His sovereign will and authority over life and death, His hand holding and molding each heart and life taken out of the degradation of sin.

How blessed we are to be turned by the power of His own Holy Spirit to see Him greater than all the circumstances of the human will and the power of the enemy combined; triumph shared with His people for eternity.

This is a view that comes through a lifetime here on this earth. The view is so breathtaking that we cannot bear it except slowly and as God, the Father, in the wisdom He gives through the righteousness and atoning work of Jesus, His Son, prepares our hearts by His Holy Spirit to conceive of Divine reality—“enlightening our eyes” to see what He allows our ears to hear.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

The tour through His Word is conducted one-on-one so that we do not miss anything that He has for each of us. It is the preparation for that which will come in eternity ~ from glory to glory ~ so that we will share in His glory forever.

The glory of God is hidden in Christ and it will take an eternity for us to behold.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:19

Dear Father in heaven, we praise you for all that you have prepared for us, what our physical eyes cannot now see; what our ears cannot yet hear; the glorious life for which we are being prepared. Continue to work by your Holy Spirit, in light of the truth of your Word, in our minds and hearts to look beyond this present world to the glory that awaits us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

Image:Pixabay