Are You a Blessing?

blessed-bejpgIn a recent conversation with a young woman, she expressed her desire to be married and to have a family. She had thought several men might have been the right one, but was now hoping for another prospect. After discussing the subject for a few minutes, she said that she did not understand why God had not given her a husband. She was 28, and still living with her family.

I asked her, “Are you a blessing, where you are?

With some thought, she admitted, “No, I’m not.”

She was not happy with her circumstances and desired to escape her present living conditions.
She realized that if she was not content with what God had given her, she should not expect more.

I asked her to read my post, The Plight of the Discontented Woman. She then agreed that she needed to examine her relationship with the heavenly Father before she could expect anything to change with her circumstances.

God has blessed us with everything that we need for a life of happiness and joy in Him. (2 Peter 1:3) He has given us all things needful in this life and for eternity through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:32) He has created us and redeemed us in Christ, so that we will be a blessing to Him and to others.

ARE YOU BLESSED?
Have you been BLESSED
by the BLESSINGS that are ours in CHRIST?
Are you BLESSED every day
by the GRACE of our LORD JESUS CHRIST?

ARE YOU BLESSED?
Then ~
Be a BLESSING to God and others today.

Dear Father, Thank you for creating and redeeming us in Christ, your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us be content in Him for all of life here as we will be forever.  By the power of your Holy spirit, make us a blessing to you and others today.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Relation Ships

There are three words within the word “relationship” representing three different facets of a relationship.    imagesWe see the word “ship” as the most prominent word. Within the ship are people who relate to each other; and between these there is relation.

There are friendships, fellowships, memberships, partnerships, leaderships; and also relationships of marriage and family; parents with children, etc. In the spiritual realm there is a lordship and worship.

A ship is a means of transportation, a vessel that holds and carries one or more persons from place to place. A ship represents a unity of heart and spirit.   Two people in a ship usually have something in common. In a long lasting relationship the two are of the same mind, with the same desires, the same purpose and the same plans. Their destinations are the same.

Our neighbors have recently booked a passage on a ship for a fall cruise. They will not own the ship but will pay to enter the ship that will take them on a week’s voyage wherever the ship has planned to go. Relationships are not always cruises to beautiful and pleasant shores. But, we pay for these in our commitments to those with whom we are in a relationship. Marriage and family require a covenant vow of our money and time, and all our resources.

 Abandoned Ships
There are relationships that have been abandoned because one has changed his/her mind, plans or destination. One may have entered a different relationship. They are now relating to someone else with whom they have more in common.

Sometimes ships need to be abandoned, when plans and destinations have changed.
An example is when one has become a Christian and is following Christ and the other is not.  If the unbeliever is not interested in the direction that Christ takes us the believer cannot safely continue in the relationship. There cannot be two captains of one ship. The two may still have similar interests, but the lordship changes for one,  charting a different course than the unbeliever.   These relationships usually end on the rocks, sometimes after years of struggle in trying to keep the relationship afloat. Or believers are influenced by the unbelievers to abandon their faith.

Evaluation and Repairs
Marriages may begin to sink because other ships seem more attractive, or one simply loses interest in the one that they are in. Relationships of marriage and family need to be brought into the harbor, for evaluation, repairs and renovations. Others need to accept that the ship is going in a different direction than was planned, seeing the need for change of heart and mind.

While marriages are joint relationships, a partnership so to speak, God’s plans for this relationship requires the husband and father to be in a relationship with Him, so that he may know how to captain the relationship with his wife and family. He must first know the lordship of Christ and submit to this relationship.  Wives in relationship with God are given the plans and the means of submission to His plans under the leadership of the husband.

God’s Word, the manual for repairs of the ship needs to be sought, and obeyed. Both husband and wife need to enter into the relationship of prayer with the heavenly Father to seek His plans, means and power for renewal.

A Lifetime Relationship
In the case of lordship and worship, we have to repent and in faith submit to God’s will if we are to enter into a relationship with Him. He is the captain of all our ships, whatever relationship this may be. This one relationship determines all others for us. A circle of relationships will have the Lord, Jesus Christ at the helm. We can depend on Him to bring us through all the rough waters safely and victoriously to that glorious worship that He has planned for us.

(In Part 2 we will look at the context of a relationship.)

Dear gracious Father, who has booked a life voyage for us that will extend to eternity, please show us your plans. By your Holy Spirit work in our hearts and bring us willingly to embark upon this voyage with you and the family that you have provided for us. Reveal to us the greatest relationship that we will ever enter and experience ~ the relationship that is ours in your dear Son, Jesus Christ, that will bring us together to the shores of Paradise with you. In His name I pray and praise you.  Amen.

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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

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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 wing.  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 husbands.

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, 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 articles:
The Plight of the Discontented Woman
 Give Your Marriage at Least Fifty Years

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Give Your Marriage at Least Fifty-years

slide_191808_853093_largeWhat happens after the honeymoon?  Reality sets in.  The husband and wife begin to let down their guard and show their true colors.  The marriage vows were laid on a sure foundation of true love and commitment or on the sand of lust and deception.

How well do a man and woman know each other before saying “I do?”  In a way the stages of marriage can be compared to this life and preparing for the next.  As the Bride of Christ, the church is always going through difficult times, as we anticipate and contemplate the developing of this relationship and the final consummation.

For whatever reason you married ~ for love or lust ~ it can develop into a holy relationship.  By this I mean, a relationship in which God, through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, does a miraculous work in both hearts; bringing two people to enjoy a time together that was impossible at the beginning.

It takes commitment, from both, or at least one.  This too is His work.  We must give ourselves first to the Lord Jesus Christ, as part of His Bride.  We experience a spiritual marriage in our relationship with Him; and a physical marriage in our relationship with a husband or wife.  A wife’s submission to the husband is “as unto the Lord.”  Ephesians 5: 22-24, 33.  The husband’s love to the wife, is as “Christ loves His church.”  Ephesians 5:23, 25, 33.   This is a supernatural work.

Twenty years is a miracle for most marriages today.  We have heard of broken vows and divorce after thirty years of marriage.  The duration of fifty years is one of brokenness of hearts and spirits, for things unforeseen, for hurts and adversity; much prayer and searching for wisdom through God’s word.

All of these bring with them the needed character of patience, longsuffering, and forgiveness, with  a multitude of the Lord’s blessings.  They are used of God to turn lust into true love, as we endure with the one to whom we are united and committed.

 Jerry and I (as one) are a good example of this truth of perseverance.  Had we depended on ourselves, or just on each other, we would not still be together.  Forgetting ourselves, we had to look past our own feelings, to what God willed for us, and to the needs of the other.

There is no perfect marriage, except the one that our heavenly Father is preparing us for in heaven with Christ.  What a glorious day and eternity that will be.  In the meantime, He is revealing it to me, giving me a taste of it, in my own marriage.

 (Jerry, in case I haven’t told you today  ~  I love you.   Thank you for putting up with me all these years, for enduring all my anger, impatience, discontent and frustrations; for your forgiveness, for providing for me, for loving me. )

 Lord Jesus,  I love you.  Thank you for your patience and longsuffering,  your physical suffering and sacrifice for me, your provisions for now and eternity; your loving me now and forever.  Thank you heavenly Father for creating me to be Jerry’s, to see His needs above my own; to live for you and him.  Spread abroad your love in our hearts, by your Spirit, which you have given us; that we may love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. Continue to fill me with your Spirit of joy, fulfilling your purpose for Jerry and me ~ for your glory and our joy.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.