Our Hearts

heartsWe are going to talk about our hearts.  What is really in your heart?  How do we know if what’s in our heart is a desire from Christ or a desire of our own selfishness?  The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace has a lot to say on this subject!

We are going to address our day-to-day heart’s devotion. Everyday we are worshiping something.  Is it Christ?  We worship what we “serve, speak about, sacrifice for, seek after, spend time and money on, and trust in”.

“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 26:1 ESV.

We have to be brutally honest with ourselves.  We can not hide from God what is in our hearts.  Is your devotion completely and totally on Christ?  Idols and lusts are wild in our hearts.  We set our eyes and hearts on something and want to attain it so badly!  Think about this for a minute… do you “lust” after that new Coach bag?  Do you desire to keep up with the Jones, not seeing all that God has blessed you with?  Do you put your facebook time ahead of time with God?  Do you watch your favorite television shows before spending time with God?

God wants (demands that!) our focus to be on Christ and Christ alone.  We as believers have a God-given capacity to have a pure devotion to and worship of the Lord, but we also frequently struggle with other “gods”.

Martha gives us a list of Common Idols (“False Gods”) we might be struggling with:

1. Good Health.

2. Physical Appearance.

3. Having a Christian marriage.

4. Being treated fairly.

5. Having a hurt / pain-free life.

6. Worldly pleasures (drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.).

7. A child or children.

8. Another person (man or woman).

9. A material thing.

10. An ideal (“pro-life movement”, “peace movement”).

11. Money.

12. Success.

13. Others’ approval.

14. Being in control.

15. Having your “needs” met.

Do any of these look familiar?  Did any of these surprise you?  As you read the list, did anything touch your heart?

When things are going well in an area you have you heart on, you feel like everything is right in the world.  But when things don’t turn out like you hoped, or you are beginning to struggle, you begin to get frustrated.  The desire is so great!  You will do anything to get it all back on track again!  Your mind begins to struggle with “what can I do to make this right?”  I know I’ve been there!  We’ve all been there if we are being completely honest with ourselves.  We begin to think that we have all the answers, we can do this!

I wanted a relationship built on trust and love.  I was in a relationship that was anything but.  I put so much energy and thought into making it into what I thought it should be.  It consumed my thoughts.  When troubles would hit, I would make excuses and try that much harder.  I know now that the relationship I imagined was an idol.  Had I been a Christian then… things would have been so very different.  I’m sure you have examples too.

I never thought during my struggles that maybe, just maybe, God was trying to break up my relationship with my “idol”?  I know now that He was… over and over again.  (Isn’t hind-sight wonderful?)

God wants devotion, our thoughts, our energies on Him!  He is a jealous God after all.

“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38 ESV.

God must be our deepest longing, desire and refuge.  Our thoughts should be on glorifying Him, not on our heart’s desire.  We need to be like David, the Psalmist!  Let’s read Psalm 119 together.

Psalm 119  The Message (MSG)

119 1-8 You’re blessed when you stay on course,
    walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
    doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
    you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
    now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
    keeping to the course you set;
Then I’d never have any regrets
    in comparing my life with your counsel.
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;
    I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
I’m going to do what you tell me to do;
    don’t ever walk off and leave me.

9-16 How can a young person live a clean life?
    By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
    don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
    so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
    train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
    all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
    than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
    I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
    I won’t forget a word of it.

17-24 Be generous with me and I’ll live a full life;
    not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road.
Open my eyes so I can see
    what you show me of your miracle-wonders.
I’m a stranger in these parts;
    give me clear directions.
My soul is starved and hungry, ravenous!—
    insatiable for your nourishing commands.
And those who think they know so much,
    ignoring everything you tell them—let them have it!
Don’t let them mock and humiliate me;
    I’ve been careful to do just what you said.
While bad neighbors maliciously gossip about me,
    I’m absorbed in pondering your wise counsel.
Yes, your sayings on life are what give me delight;
    I listen to them as to good neighbors!

25-32 I’m feeling terrible—I couldn’t feel worse!
    Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?
When I told my story, you responded;
    train me well in your deep wisdom.
Help me understand these things inside and out
    so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.
My sad life’s dilapidated, a falling-down barn;
    build me up again by your Word.
Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
    grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
    I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
    God, don’t let me down!
I’ll run the course you lay out for me
    if you’ll just show me how.

33-40 God, teach me lessons for living
    so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
    my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
    I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
    and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
    invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
    promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
    but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
    preserve my life through your righteous ways!

41-48 Let your love, God, shape my life
    with salvation, exactly as you promised;
Then I’ll be able to stand up to mockery
    because I trusted your Word.
Don’t ever deprive me of truth, not ever—
    your commandments are what I depend on.
Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me,
    guard it now, guard it ever;
And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces
    as I look for your truth and your wisdom;
Then I’ll tell the world what I find,
    speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.
I cherish your commandments—oh, how I love them!—
    relishing every fragment of your counsel.

49-56 Remember what you said to me, your servant—
    I hang on to these words for dear life!
These words hold me up in bad times;
    yes, your promises rejuvenate me.
The insolent ridicule me without mercy,
    but I don’t budge from your revelation.
I watch for your ancient landmark words,
    and know I’m on the right track.
But when I see the wicked ignore your directions,
    I’m beside myself with anger.
I set your instructions to music
    and sing them as I walk this pilgrim way.
I meditate on your name all night, God,
    treasuring your revelation, O God.
Still, I walk through a rain of derision
    because I live by your Word and counsel.

57-64 Because you have satisfied me, God, I promise
    to do everything you say.
I beg you from the bottom of my heart: smile,
    be gracious to me just as you promised.
When I took a long, careful look at your ways,
    I got my feet back on the trail you blazed.
I was up at once, didn’t drag my feet,
    was quick to follow your orders.
The wicked hemmed me in—there was no way out—
    but not for a minute did I forget your plan for me.
I get up in the middle of the night to thank you;
    your decisions are so right, so true—I can’t wait till morning!
I’m a friend and companion of all who fear you,
    of those committed to living by your rules.
Your love, God, fills the earth!
    Train me to live by your counsel.

65-72 Be good to your servant, God;
    be as good as your Word.
Train me in good common sense;
    I’m thoroughly committed to living your way.
Before I learned to answer you, I wandered all over the place,
    but now I’m in step with your Word.
You are good, and the source of good;
    train me in your goodness.
The godless spread lies about me,
    but I focus my attention on what you are saying;
They’re bland as a bucket of lard,
    while I dance to the tune of your revelation.
My troubles turned out all for the best—
    they forced me to learn from your textbook.
Truth from your mouth means more to me
    than striking it rich in a gold mine.

73-80 With your very own hands you formed me;
    now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.
When they see me waiting, expecting your Word,
    those who fear you will take heart and be glad.
I can see now, God, that your decisions are right;
    your testing has taught me what’s true and right.
Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight!
    just the way you promised.
Now comfort me so I can live, really live;
    your revelation is the tune I dance to.
Let the fast-talking tricksters be exposed as frauds;
    they tried to sell me a bill of goods,
    but I kept my mind fixed on your counsel.
Let those who fear you turn to me
    for evidence of your wise guidance.
And let me live whole and holy, soul and body,
    so I can always walk with my head held high.

81-88 I’m homesick—longing for your salvation;
    I’m waiting for your word of hope.
My eyes grow heavy watching for some sign of your promise;
    how long must I wait for your comfort?
There’s smoke in my eyes—they burn and water,
    but I keep a steady gaze on the instructions you post.
How long do I have to put up with all this?
    How long till you haul my tormentors into court?
The arrogant godless try to throw me off track,
    ignorant as they are of God and his ways.
Everything you command is a sure thing,
    but they harass me with lies. Help!
They’ve pushed and pushed—they never let up—
    but I haven’t relaxed my grip on your counsel.
In your great love revive me
    so I can alertly obey your every word.

89-96 What you say goes, God,
    and stays, as permanent as the heavens.
Your truth never goes out of fashion;
    it’s as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up.
Your Word and truth are dependable as ever;
    that’s what you ordered—you set the earth going.
If your revelation hadn’t delighted me so,
    I would have given up when the hard times came.
But I’ll never forget the advice you gave me;
    you saved my life with those wise words.
Save me! I’m all yours.
    I look high and low for your words of wisdom.
The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me,
    but I’m only concerned with your plans for me.
I see the limits to everything human,
    but the horizons can’t contain your commands!

97-104 Oh, how I love all you’ve revealed;
    I reverently ponder it all the day long.
Your commands give me an edge on my enemies;
    they never become obsolete.
I’ve even become smarter than my teachers
    since I’ve pondered and absorbed your counsel.
I’ve become wiser than the wise old sages
    simply by doing what you tell me.
I watch my step, avoiding the ditches and ruts of evil
    so I can spend all my time keeping your Word.
I never make detours from the route you laid out;
    you gave me such good directions.
Your words are so choice, so tasty;
    I prefer them to the best home cooking.
With your instruction, I understand life;
    that’s why I hate false propaganda.

105-112 By your words I can see where I’m going;
    they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back
    from living by your righteous order.
Everything’s falling apart on me, God;
    put me together again with your Word.
Festoon me with your finest sayings, God;
    teach me your holy rules.
My life is as close as my own hands,
    but I don’t forget what you have revealed.
The wicked do their best to throw me off track,
    but I don’t swerve an inch from your course.
I inherited your book on living; it’s mine forever—
    what a gift! And how happy it makes me!
I concentrate on doing exactly what you say—
    I always have and always will.

113-120 I hate the two-faced,
    but I love your clear-cut revelation.
You’re my place of quiet retreat;
    I wait for your Word to renew me.
Get out of my life, evildoers,
    so I can keep my God’s commands.
Take my side as you promised; I’ll live then for sure.
    Don’t disappoint all my grand hopes.
Stick with me and I’ll be all right;
    I’ll give total allegiance to your definitions of life.
Expose all who drift away from your sayings;
    their casual idolatry is lethal.
You reject earth’s wicked as so much rubbish;
    therefore I lovingly embrace everything you say.
I shiver in awe before you;
    your decisions leave me speechless with reverence.

121-128 I stood up for justice and the right;
    don’t leave me to the mercy of my oppressors.
Take the side of your servant, good God;
    don’t let the godless take advantage of me.
I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, waiting for you
    to keep your promise to set everything right.
Let your love dictate how you deal with me;
    teach me from your textbook on life.
I’m your servant—help me understand what that means,
    the inner meaning of your instructions.
It’s time to act, God;
    they’ve made a shambles of your revelation!
Yea-Saying God, I love what you command,
    I love it better than gold and gemstones;
Yea-Saying God, I honor everything you tell me,
    I despise every deceitful detour.

129-136 Every word you give me is a miracle word—
    how could I help but obey?
Break open your words, let the light shine out,
    let ordinary people see the meaning.
Mouth open and panting,
    I wanted your commands more than anything.
Turn my way, look kindly on me,
    as you always do to those who personally love you.
Steady my steps with your Word of promise
    so nothing malign gets the better of me.
Rescue me from the grip of bad men and women
    so I can live life your way.
Smile on me, your servant;
    teach me the right way to live.
I cry rivers of tears
    because nobody’s living by your book!

137-144 You are right and you do right, God;
    your decisions are right on target.
You rightly instruct us in how to live
    ever faithful to you.
My rivals nearly did me in,
    they persistently ignored your commandments.
Your promise has been tested through and through,
    and I, your servant, love it dearly.
I’m too young to be important,
    but I don’t forget what you tell me.
Your righteousness is eternally right,
    your revelation is the only truth.
Even though troubles came down on me hard,
    your commands always gave me delight.
The way you tell me to live is always right;
    help me understand it so I can live to the fullest.

145-152 I call out at the top of my lungs,
    God! Answer! I’ll do whatever you say.”
I called to you, “Save me
    so I can carry out all your instructions.”
I was up before sunrise,
    crying for help, hoping for a word from you.
I stayed awake all night,
    prayerfully pondering your promise.
In your love, listen to me;
    in your justice, God, keep me alive.
As those out to get me come closer and closer,
    they go farther and farther from the truth you reveal;
But you’re the closest of all to me, God,
    and all your judgments true.
I’ve known all along from the evidence of your words
    that you meant them to last forever.

153-160 Take a good look at my trouble, and help me—
    I haven’t forgotten your revelation.
Take my side and get me out of this;
    give me back my life, just as you promised.
“Salvation” is only gibberish to the wicked
    because they’ve never looked it up in your dictionary.
Your mercies, God, run into the billions;
    following your guidelines, revive me.
My antagonists are too many to count,
    but I don’t swerve from the directions you gave.
I took one look at the quitters and was filled with loathing;
    they walked away from your promises so casually!
Take note of how I love what you tell me;
    out of your life of love, prolong my life.
Your words all add up to the sum total: Truth.
    Your righteous decisions are eternal.

161-168 I’ve been slandered unmercifully by the politicians,
    but my awe at your words keeps me stable.
I’m ecstatic over what you say,
    like one who strikes it rich.
I hate lies—can’t stand them!—
    but I love what you have revealed.
Seven times each day I stop and shout praises
    for the way you keep everything running right.
For those who love what you reveal, everything fits—
    no stumbling around in the dark for them.
I wait expectantly for your salvation;
    God, I do what you tell me.
My soul guards and keeps all your instructions—
    oh, how much I love them!
I follow your directions, abide by your counsel;
    my life’s an open book before you.

169-176 Let my cry come right into your presence, God;
    provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.
Give my request your personal attention,
    rescue me on the terms of your promise.
Let praise cascade off my lips;
    after all, you’ve taught me the truth about life!
And let your promises ring from my tongue;
    every order you’ve given is right.
Put your hand out and steady me
    since I’ve chosen to live by your counsel.
I’m homesick, God, for your salvation;
    I love it when you show yourself!
Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well,
    use your decrees to put iron in my soul.
And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me!
    I’ll recognize the sound of your voice.

David had a passion , a longing to know God, to follow His ways, to obey Him.  David wanted what God wanted, no matter what the cost.  We can have that same passionate desire and delight in the Lord, too!

We need to focus our thoughts and hearts on what God is like and how He is working in our lives.  All we need to do is ask and seek Him through His Word, in prayer with Him.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 ESV.

A lot to think about…A lot to pray about….

Until we meet again… In Love


Bring Glory to Your Husband

helpingNow, that we’ve absorbed so much as we journey through Martha Peace’s book The Excellent Wife let’s see some ways that we can bring glory to our husbands!

1. Ask your husband “How can I pray for you today?”  I know that sometimes I think I know just what Hubs needs me to pray but in most cases I’m way off the mark!  Stormie Omartian’s book Power of the Praying Wife Devotional is an amazing resource!

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.” 1 Timothy 2:1 ESV.

2. Ask your husband “What are your goals for the week; for today?”  You may be asking, why?  If we know what he’s up against then we can help him, be accommodating.  What if he’s working a major project and his mind is totally focused on that?  Wouldn’t it be better to know that instead of getting upset or feeling neglected if he doesn’t respond in his typical way?  I think it makes me more sense to know.

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 ESV.

3. Ask your husband “How can I help you accomplish your goals for the week; for today?”   Remember, we are his helper.  In any way we can glorify him, we are also glorifying Christ.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 ESV.

4. Ask your husband “Is there anything I can do differently that would make it easier for you?”  Within a month we moved from New Mexico to Texas.  When I got to Texas Hubs had been sleeping in our home, in a closet no less (it was the only place with carpeting) for a week.  No furniture ~ nothing.  The day after I got there he left for a six day hitch. It was up to me to set up house after the movers came.  Of course, I did everything my way.  When Hubs came home from the hitch his way and my way… well, just say they were two different things.  I forgot what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for him.

“I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” 1 Corinthians 7:7 ESV.

5. Be organized with cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, etc.  As we fulfill our God-given responsibilities, then our husbands are free to do his work.  Now this isn’t just for him, you know!  The more organized we are the easier our lives are.  We can put our focus on what really matters.

“But all things should be done decently and in order.”  1 Corinthians 14:40 ESV.

6.  Save some of your energy for him at the end of the day.  There are so many demands on us throughout the day…children, work, home-keeping, etc.  We have to learn to balance our commitments so we aren’t exhausted.   (see #5)

“Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.” Ecclesiastes  9:9 ESV.

7.  Put your husband first!  Over your children, your parents, your friends, your job, etc.  We were wives before we are mothers.  We are wives after our children leave to venture into the world.  Our husbands will be with us through it all.

8.  Be willing and cheerful if your schedule has to change for him when necessary.

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV.

9.  Talk about your husband to others in a positive light.  Do not slander him, even if what you are saying is true.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Ephesians 4:29 ESV.

10. Do whatever you can to make him look good, to help him accomplish his goals.  Think about ways you can do this…run errands for him, pray for him and make good suggestions.

“As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13 ESV.

11.  Consider the things you are involved in.  Do they glorify your husband?

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Romans 12:3 ESV.

12. Be warm and gracious to his family, friends and co-workers.  Make your commitment to him obvious to others.  Let Christ shine through you.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34 ESV.

I’m sure that we can come up with more but this is a good start!  

My copy of The Excellent Wife is a second hand copy.  At the bottom of this page someone wrote “What! What about the husband?”

“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” James 3:13-18 ESV.

From my experience with this marriage thing, the more I uplift Hubs the more he uplifts me.    Goes around comes around?  Maybe. But the point is to honor and glorify Christ in all we do.  God’s Word is perfectly clear… would He ever steer us wrong?!

Until we meet again… In Love…

Understanding A Wife’s Role

husband and wife loveGod, as always, has a perfect plan for our marriages.  We are beginning to understand that being a “helper”  is the task that God has assigned to us in our marriages.  Our goal is to glorify God.  Now is the time when we will get into God’s perspective of what this means.

Martha Peace gives us some ideas in her book The Excellent Wife:

God’s Perspective

1.  Men and women are created in the image of God.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 ESV.

We agree that we are created in God’s image, don’t we?  So each of us have certain tasks we must complete.  For example, we are to be in charge of God’s creation to glorify God in all we do.

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26 ESV.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

We are also accountable to God by making responsible choices.  The right choices putting God first.

“Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.” Romans 3:19 ESV.

Every moment of every day, we have  a big decision to make …Will I serve God?  Will I follow Christ? When we make the decision to serve God, we also make the decision to come to Him and let the Holy Spirit guide us in our decisions.  In that way, we learn to make responsible choices.

“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

2.  In the order of creation, man was created first.

“For Adam was formed first, then Eve;” 1 Timothy 2:13 ESV

The order of creation is important and not something that should just be cast aside.  Adam (man) was created to rule over the earth.  Eve (woman) was created to help Adam in the role that God gave to him.  Though both were created in God’s image we each have different roles and duties to do for God.

3.  Woman was created for the man, not man for the woman.

“For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” 1 Corinthians 11:7-9. ESV.

Paul is telling us about God’s original intent ~ man is to glorify God and the woman is glorify the man.

Martha elaborates by using the Trinity, in which there is perfect harmony,  as the example.  “Within the Trinity there are three distinct roles:

The planner who makes the plans – God the Father.

The one who carries out the plans – God the Son.

The who also carries out the plans as well as keeps and empowers Christians – God the Spirit.”

All are satisfied with their roles, there are no “power plays”.  Also, look who gets the glory?  God!  Jesus glorified the Father by doing the Father’s work. We are to also glorify the Father by glorifying our husbands.  We were created for him.

4. The effects of the fall of man.

God created man (husbands) as the rulers over the earth.  God created woman (wives) to be their helpers.  (Yes, I need to keep repeating it because it’s important!)  There was harmony between them, each were fulfilling their roles as God intended them to be fulfilled.  Life was sweet! Then Eve ate that apple (shaking my head) so God pronounced judgment on both of them.  Part of this judgment was a power struggle between them.  Both, Adam and Eve, wanted to be the one in charge (that control issue again).

“To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.  Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Genesis 3:16 ESV.

“Rule over” are you kidding?  That’s just what I thought when I read that!  I’m sure many other women feel the same way (go ahead admit it).   Now, let’s just take a deep breath and think about this for a minute.  If we were not Christians, if we did not love our husbands, if we did not want to glorify God then “rule over” would be a huge deal!  I’ll give you that!  But we are Christians, we do love our husbands, we do want to glorify God “rule over” isn’t quite as scary as we first thought, is it?

5. The husband was and still is to be the head of his wife (and his home).

 “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 ESV.

 “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 5:23 ESV.

God tells us in His word that our husbands are to the ones in charge.  Being in charge isn’t being dictatorial, condescending, or patronizing because Christ was not.  Martha takes this a bit further…

a. The Model of Christ and the Church.  Wives are to model (“act out”) the church being submissive to and glorifying Christ.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:22,24,32 ESV.

Our role is a model of the church’s relationship to Christ.  Therefore, we should submit to our husband’s authority and use our talents and energies to glorify him.

b. Christ’s Response to the Church.  Our husband’s role is to model (“act out”) Christ’s response to the church. 

1. Christ die for the church, a sacrifice of self.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25 ESV.

2. Christ loves, nourishes, and cherishes the church.

“In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:28, 29, 33 ESV.

It is only by living and fulfilling our roles as God intended that our marriages will consist of unity and harmony.  What was lost when Eve ate the apple can now be regained through Christ.

QUESTION: It’s easy to see Eve’s role, but what about your role?  How, can you carry out your God-given role in your marriage?  How can you be a helper to your husband?  How can you glorify your husband and Christ?

Til we meet again… In Love!

Understand How to Reproof

speakingWe are beginning to understand more and more about relationships, our marriages, aren’t we?  I know I am!  Yet, as much I’m learning, I need to apply it!  God has given me so many opportunities to apply what I’ve been learning in the past few days.  I’m seeing relationships fall apart, angry words between friends.  I’m seeing first hand how this also affects those around them.  I’m seeing the “worldly” reactions when if we are walking in Christ we should be seeing Christian reactions.  Let us remember going forward; the purpose of all relationships is to glorify our Father, to walk like Jesus.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

So how do we point out sin in our husband’s (or another’s) life?  Martha Peace gives us some guidelines in The Excellent Wife:

1.  Choose the right time.  We don’t do it when we are in front of others; this is downgrading and treating him like a child.  We don’t do it when we have a sinful attitude; this will backfire! We don’t do it when we are angry and want to lash out at him. Our hearts must be open and loving.  We don’t do it when they are not giving you their undivided attention. We must pray about the situation, look in the Word for God’s direction in the situation.  We must be in complete control of ourselves and not angry, disappointed or focusing on the things he’s been doing wrong.  The right time is when you are alone together, when there is plenty of time to talk.

” For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …”  Ecclesiastes 3:1-7 ESV.

2. Choose the right wording. We must know what we want to say.  If it makes you more comfortable, you could write it out and then practice saying it out loud.  We must have love in our voice.  This may be difficult, I know it can be for me

“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Proverbs 15:28 ESV.

3. Comfort him as you correct him.  In His letters to the church at Ephesus, Jesus repoofed the church members for losing their first love.  He threatened harsh discipline if they didn’t repent.  However, before He reproffed them, He comforted them by telling them the good things they were doing.  I’m sure it made it easier for the church to accept the reproof.  In the same way, as Jesus taught us, we should reproof.

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.” Revelation 2:2-3 ESV.

4.  Be specific.  Sometimes it feels more comfortable to us to be vague rather than being straight forward and honest.  Most people are oblivious to vague indirect hints, especially husbands.  Speak the truth in love.  Ask if there is anything you can do to make it easier for him.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20 ESV.

5.  Communicate a spirit of unconditional love.  Show him this love by being patient and kind.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8


Yes, I’m going to give you a task today.  I want you to print out or bookmark Galatians 5:22-23 (“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”)

I want you to read this Scripture throughout the day.  I want you to begin to see where you are not producing good fruit.  When you see you haven’t exhibited these fruits ~ STOP and Repent immediately.

I promise you, you will see changes immediately!  You will begin to feel God working in your life more.  You will be producing the kind of fruit God wants more and more.  Try it you’ve got nothing to lose!

Understanding Sanctification

santificationThe definition of sanctification is:  the state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion.

Sanctification is coming to a place of death… a point where we can be reborn, to be new creations in Christ.  sanctification is something we will fight with everything we have in us.  I did and I know you do, too.  We struggle with this daily… moment by moment ~ the struggle against what we want and what Christ wants for us. Luke 14:26 ESV,  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

We are getting down to the nitty-gritty of who and what we are.  Jesus has told us, “I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” Matthew 10:34 ESV.  We don’t understand this point, our God is strict and He requires us to do whatever He directs us to in His Word.  There is no  choice if we truly want to be holy, to be all in Christ.

Maybe this is what took me so long to come to Jesus.  I wanted to love God and have God love me.  BUT I wanted to do things my way with His blessing. We all know how well that worked for me!  How is working for you?  Are you willing to reduce yourself to just you?  Are you willing to get rid of all of the thought of what other people think? What you think?

To be holy means that we must hand ourselves completely and totally to God… not one place can be denied Him.  This is a control issue.  I  know, I know. Yet, once we let go we are free, free to be everything that God created us to be.  Once my knees hit the ground, once I understood that my life was not my own but His, is when things began to change for me.  It wasn’t easy and it still isn’t!

In the beginning, I began to see myself in some ways like He saw me ~ that was amazing!  I gained strength and confidence, which was sorely needed at that time in my life.  Then the work set in… work (why is this all about work?)  The more I walked the more I wanted what God wanted.

I would ask God to guide and direct my paths.  What I got I didn’t expect…I got the answer to my prayers, yes, I did ~ God began to show me the sin I had in my life.  I wasn’t prepared for that!

Martha Peace in The Excellent Wife shows us how God shows us our sin.

1. By convicting you when you read or hear God’s Word.  “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 ESV.  The more I read and studied God’s Word, the more God pointed out my sins to me.  My heart would ache at certain scriptures, the scripture would stay in my mind leading me to admit and confess my sin.  Have there been scriptures that have spoken to you?  How did you react?

2. By having someone tell you.  “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6 ESV.  Oh yea, who are we kidding… it hurts to be told you are sinning!  No joke!  Once we get over the hurt, the humiliation of being told it’s how we learn from it that counts.  We have a choice, we always have a choice…responding with a heart full of pride in embarrassment, angry, defensive, resentful or worse vengeful or do we respond with a grateful heart, confessing our sin and turning away from it?  Free will… your choice.  Proverbs 13:10 ESV “By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.”  It is never fun to see our blind-spots but responding in an ungodly way makes it worse.

Another confession, for about three days I had been speaking with a friend about some problems she was having in her relationship.  These problems seem to repeat over and over again.  In fact, I’ve been very concerned about her welfare. It seems her man had done the usual yet again … she claimed to be done finished.  We discussed it, we prayed about it.  Then within two days, they are back together.  I’m confused!  I’m scared for her!  He posts a comment that just gets right under my skin about the whole situation… to be honest, I didn’t wait a second before I spilled my thoughts out.  Cringe, hangs head.  He called me out immediately… cut me straight to the bone.  I had a choice… I could continue this argument or apologize.  I’m proud to say I took the high road.  My heart ached for what I had done…. it still does.  My actions has now stopped my friend from speaking to me.  I only pray that God touches her heart…

Martha also tells us there are three main categories of sanctification taught in Scripture:

1. Positional Sanctification.  It occurs at the moment of one’s salvation.  It is all the work of God.  God draws us to Himself.  God gives us a desire to seek Him.  God convicts us of our sin.  God cleanses us of our sin and saves our soul.  “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13.  This is when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, when we allow Him into our lives.

2. Future Sanctification.  This too is all the work of God.  It will happen when Jesus returns for His church.  When Jesus takes His church home to be with Him.  In that process, we will be given a new, sanctified body that is pure and holy.  Jude 24 ESV “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.”

3. Progressive Sanctification. This aspect begins at the moment of salvation and ends when you go to be with the Lord.  This is the work of God as He convicts, disciplines, and helps us in our journey but it’s our work too.

We are responsible to do the following:

                 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2  Peter 3:18 ESV.  Grow is an imperative verb here…it is a command not an either or.  We can’t grow if we don’t study His Word.  We can’t grow if we don’t pray.  We can’t grow if don’t follow His ways.

We are to pursue love “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1 ESV.  I’ve written about love…right love (https://letitbeginanew.wordpress.com/category/love/) and wrong love (https://letitbeginanew.wordpress.com/category/wrong-love/) so I won’t get into the specifics on love.

We are to “for those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5 ESV.  To live life in the spirit is to let go of earthly things, of self-indulgence, of self desires.  To live in the spirit is to know that you belong to God, His child.

We are to “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18 ESV.  I think you understand this, pretty straight forward.

We are to “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;” 1 Timothy 4:7 ESV.  Do not waste time arguing over  ideas and things that don’t matter in eternity, instead use your time and energy for God and His ways.

We can see this will take work to be like Christ.  But here’s the good part, we aren’t doing this alone!  God is with us to help us grow spiritually by the power of the Holy Spirit.  God is working to mold you into His image through everything you go through.  Everything we do, we go through, is an opportunity to grow.

Understanding Marriage

   marriage  I posted about the vows we took when we married the love of our lives in The Vow Matters (https://letitbeginanew.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/the-vow-matters/) so I won’t go into all again.  Today, we are going to begin to understand what marriage means to God.
      For Christians, our marriages are to go beyond the worldly definition of marriage.  Marriage to God is a divine picture of the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church.  Marriage is a spiritual representation of our relationship with God.  As I read this I began to understand more, to see more about myself and my marriage.
      Think about it, when we haven’t spent time in the Word, when we haven’t prayed, when we are not about the Lord’s work… what happens? We don’t have the guidance we need, the love within us.
      I want you to take some time and think, really think about what a day looks like when you begin it with God.  Now I want you to think about a day when you didn’t begin your day with God.
     WOW!  I know that light bulbs are going off everywhere right now!  See how our relationship with God is so important to our marriages, our relationships, our lives.  When I don’t begin my day in my  Quiet Time with God, studying scripture, praying, praising my day is all over the place!  Things that I thought I had a handle come back up!  I wonder “where did that come from?”  I know I stress all the time to begin your day with God… before anything else… it’s because it’s so very important!  It’s the foundation for the day.
      Our goal in our marriages (yes, there should be a goal, who would have thought?) is to have a oneness, a loving, spiritual and physical bond between each other.  A bond that glorifies God.  This oneness is obtained when each of us helps the other to become more and more like Jesus. This oneness is not something that we will  ever be “complete” but something that needs to be worked on each minute, of each day.  We set goals every single day of our lives, but how can we forget to set the goal of the most important relationship (under God) of our life?  It just makes sense but we just don’t see it as a goal.  I know I didn’t until this study.  I was just going along my merry little way… praying and hoping but not working it!
       Martha Peace tells us in her book The Excellent Wife that there are four biblical ways to achieve the goal of oneness and spiritual growth.
1. Make your marriage a matter of faithful prayer.  Pray for your marriage.  Pray your marriage will glorify and please God.  Be specific.  Be humble.  Let God know where you are weak, confess your sin and ask God to change your weaknesses into strengths.  Do the same for your husband.  Even if you don’t see instant results ~ don’t give up!  God hears our prayers always and will answer according to His will, in His time.
2. Commit to a biblical course of action.  Simply make a plan based on the Word.  You begin this by taking personal responsibility for you.  Look at you first, not your husband.  Study the Word and see for yourself what God wants your marriage to be.  Try writing those scriptures on index cards, or type them into your phone so you always have easy reminders of what steps you should be taking in your marriage.
3.  Take a personal responsibility for your own failures and repent.  “In their testimonies to the Lord, many Christian husbands express gratitude for the influence that their wives have had on them.  Even if your husband is an unbeliever or is uninterested in spiritual growth, you can still glorify God and have a positive affect on your husband.”  How cool is that!  I can relate to this completely.  When Hubs and got married, our faith was important but it wasn’t something we went all out about.  Then I got serious about following Jesus.  I began to speak differently, I began to express my feelings, I began to talk about (all the time) what I was learning, experiencing.  How could it not effect Hubs?  Soon we were discussing the Word, we were praying together, and our home is as Joshua says in 24:15 ESV, “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
      I have a little story about this… This past Thanksgiving, Hubs mom and sister came to celebrate with us, we hadn’t seen them in over a year.  Hubs and I had started a tradition of getting a pumpkin and putting all the reasons we were thankful on it.  As we read the pumpkin Thanksgiving day, his mom read what Hubs wrote, “I’m thankful for my wife who has been brought me closer to God.” Tears people, tears.  I had no idea how much my faith had changed him!  His mom said, “So, that is the wonderful change in my son!.”  So what I’m getting at is that even though I thought Hubs may not have been all in, he did see the changes in me, and they did affect him more than I knew!
4. Submit to and participate in the process of sanctification.  This is the biblical process of helping each other become as much like Jesus as possible.  We know our husbands are the spiritual leaders of our homes (or should be) so he should be helping us to grow and mature in Christ.  We are his helper so we are to be doing the same thing.  I’m blessed that Hubs has stepped up in the past year to take over as leader of our family’s spiritual growth. I thank God everyday that he has.  It has given me more time to focus on Hubs and building him up.
      We all have work to do to become more like Christ, it takes work no easy way to go.  This is where the talk meets the walk.  Are you willing to work this?  To walk the walk not just talk the talk?  If you are then let’s let Martha gives us some ways God helps us to become more like Christ:
Testing or Pressure:  Getting along with your husband. 
Scripture References:  Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Potential Character Qualities:  Humility, forbearance, love, diligence, patience.
Scripture Reference:  Philippians 4:2-3 ESV “I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”
Potential Character Qualities: Living in harmony.
Testing or Pressure: Suffering for the Lord’s sake.
Scripture References:  1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
Potential Character Qualities: Joy, gratefulness, deeper trust in God.
     *  On a note, here.  Remember, as we get closer to God, as we walk more like Jesus there will be fiery trials!  The Devil is trying to gain a foothold in you and in your marriage!  Don’t let him, don’t give up!  Draw closer to God and He will draw closer to you!  Be prepared!
Testing or Pressure: Other’s Sin (Possibly your husband’s.)
Scripture References: 1 Peter 3:8-9 ESV “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”
Potential Character Qualities: Harmoniousness, sympathy, brotherliness, kindheartedness, humility.
Testing or Pressure: Financial Pressures
Scripture References: Philippians 4:11-12 ESV  “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”
Potential Character Qualities: Contentment
Testing or Pressure: Daily Work
Scripture References: Colossians 3:23 ESV “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”
Potential Character Qualities: Working heartily from the heart.
Scripture References: 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 ESV “And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”
Potential Character Qualities: Behaving properly, financially responsible.
Testing or Pressure: Illness (Due to Sin)
Scripture References: James 5:14-15 ESV “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
Potential Character Qualities: Repentance
Testing or Pressure:  Trials (Temptations, Testings)
Scripture References: James 1:2-3 ESV “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
Scripture References:  James 1:12 ESV “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
Potential Character Qualities: Joy, endurance.
Testing or Pressure:  Providentially Hindered
Scripture References: James 4:13 – 16 ESV “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”
Potential Character Qualities: Mindful of God’s sovereignty.
Testing or Pressure:  Death of a Loved One
Scripture Reference: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. …”
Potential Character Qualities: Hopeful in the Lord.
Testing or Pressure: Bearing Each Other’s Burdens
Scripture Reference: Galatians 6:2 ESV “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Potential Character Qualities: Love.
Testing or Pressure: Admonished by Others
Scripture Reference: Romans 15:14 ESV “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.”
Scripture Reference: 1 Thessalonians 5:14 ESV “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
Scripture Reference: Colossians 1:28-29 ESV “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
Scripture Reference: Colossians 3:16 ESV “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Potential Character Qualities: perseverance, patience, wisdom, diligence, gratefulness, humility.”
     I know that we probably have more testing or pressures in our marriages, in our lives right now than just these.  What are yours?  What Scripture reference speaks to you?  What potential character qualities can you gain from this lesson?

Understanding Relationships

husband and wifeI’ve learned a lot… about God, sin, myself reading The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, have you?  I was thinking this morning, though this book is about becoming an excellent wife, which we all want to be,but I’ve come to understand this book is not just about becoming an excellent wife… it’s about the relationship we have with God, ourselves and others, not just our husbands.  I know… slow on the take maybe, but still.  So let’s continue our journey…

God designed us for relationships we are not to walk in this world alone.  As much as we want a relationship with others, relationships aren’t easy.  They aren’t easy with our husbands, our children, our family, our co-workers, our friends.  Let’s face it ~ relationships are hard! They hurt, they make us mad, they disappoint us.  I’ve been thinking about relationships the past few days a lot (thank you, Martha!).  About the relationships I have with others.  I’ve come to understand that most of the “hard” comes from my own expectations of what others should be, what others should do.  I expect Hubs to pick up after himself, I expect him to know my needs without speaking them to him.  I expect my family to love Jesus like I do.  So when my expectations are not met, I have wrong, sinful thoughts.  When I have these wrong, sinful thoughts, I thrust my desires on the other person.  More often than not, it backfires on me.  My desires are not their desires.  I get upset, I get angry.  I’m worried about my own desires.

God doesn’t want us to live for ourselves, but to live for Him. On this journey, we are to be witnesses for Christ, sometimes I forget this.  The words that come from my mouth matter.  Colossians 4:6 ESV, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”   How I behave and my actions matter.  Titus 2:12 ESV, “Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”  These things are for the world to see, especially in our relationships.  I forget that these things are the outward expression of Jesus in my life.  I forget my journey (our journey) is honor and glorify God in all we do, to live for Him.  This is a struggle we all face… to stop living for ourselves.

God wants us to be and act like Jesus in all our relationships.  John 17:22-23 ESV tells us, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”  That means thinking like Jesus would.  Jesus didn’t think about what the “other person” was doing but what He was doing. Jesus built up those around Him without expecting anything in return.  Can we?

Martha gives us God’s pattern for overcoming the “me” in relationships.  The Godhead’s relationship is the model for all our relationships.  The Trinity. The Trinity will result in perfect harmony and intimacy in our relationships.  God has given each of us these characteristics it’s how we use them that matter in all of our relationships.

Characteristics of the Trinity:       Tender, compassionate, and merciful.

Characteristics of Fallen Man:      Not gentle, unmerciful, and cruel.

Characteristics of the Trinity:      Open and transparent.

Characteristics of Fallen Man:      Closed, private and self-protective.

Characteristics of the Trinity:      Goodness towards the other shown by glorifying each other.

Characteristics of Fallen Man:      Malice towards each other shown in tearing the other down to build up self.

Characteristics of the Trinity:      Love – sacrificial actions for the other.

Characteristics of Fallen Man:     Self-seeking ~ actions for self.

Characteristics of the Trinity:     Perfect communication with each other.

Characteristics of Fallen Man:     Hurt each other by not communicating biblically.

Characteristics of the Trinity:      Honest and truthful, commitment to a righteous standard.

Characteristics of Fallen Man:     Deceitful, lying, and committed to self.

Characteristics of the Trinity:      Perfect knowledge and understanding of each other.

Characteristics of Fallen Man:      Limited knowledge and revelation of each other.

Characteristics of the Trinity:      Reliable and faithful in their relationships.

Characteristics of Fallen Man:     Unreliable, unfaithful, and lacking in trust due to the conditional basis of their relationship. (“If you will, then I will…”)

Characteristics of the Trinity:     When working on a task, there is order, purpose and voluntary subordination of the Son and Spirit to the Father. (No power play over “my rights”.)

Characteristics of Fallen Man:     Likely to manipulate with anger, tears, threats to have own way. (May desperately cling to “my rights”.)

As I read these characteristics, I realized why some of my relationships failed!  Light bulb moment to be sure.  Can you?  I can’t count the number of times I closed myself off to others, or the number of times I said things to make myself look better than the person next to me, or how about the times I didn’t say what I was really feeling.  Geesh, the list can go on and on.  As I look at certain failed relationships, I can see exactly why they failed.  If only…

Martha says, “As you can see, the Trinity has perfect unity and harmony. In fact, the three members of the God-head are so inter-relational, they appear to be one person, when in truth, they are three.  Since the three members of the God-head are our perfect example, take some to read carefully the following explanation of how the members of the Trinity relate to each other.

The Trinity is a relationship in which three persons (each being perfect in character and totally equal in being, power, and glory) reveal, know and love each other tenderly and perfectly for the other’s good within the context of an eternal commitment.  When they decide to set and accomplish a goal, for the purpose of order and economy, God the Son and God the Spirit voluntarily subordinate themselves to God the Father in order to function according to their perfect plans.  As they work together, the are totally unified in desire, thought and action until the goal’s completion.  Thus, they are plurality within a unity.”

Why do we may struggle with all of this… can you guess the reason?  SIN!  Our natural tendency is to “self”.  A sinful man does everything to protect the “self”.  A sinful man seeks to be isolated, in order to not be hurt, to not share the”self”.  A sinful man seeks to be in control that way nothing can hurt the “self”.  A sinful man seeks to hide, cover-up so there will be no pain to “self”.  A sinful man is always in “self” protection mode.  A sinful man is always thinking about “self”.

How do we come out of “self” and into all that God has for us?  Get into God’s Word!  “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12 ESV. The more we get into the Word the more the Holy Spirit can convict us on the changes we need to make in our “selves”.

In all your relationships, (especially with your husband), God wants us to communicate in love.  God wants us to experience a righteous intimacy through sharing thoughts, present and future desires, goals, to discuss the struggles we are facing and the spiritual insights we are gaining.  God wants us to be open, and honest ~ to allow the other to see us as we truly are.  God wants us to build up others through our words and actions.  Our tasks are to be done with God first, others second, for God’s glory.

“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” Romans 8:7 ESV