Month: August 2011
Sacrificial love = submission
God created the perfect plan in regards to marriage. Submission to our husbands is truly a gift and a blessing.
As a mom of five children my responsibilities in the home are great. It would be beneficial to have a spouse that trusts the Lord and follows Him in obedience as it would allow me to focus on the responsibilities God has laid out for me.
God’s perfect plan states that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. It means a husband’s love is selfless. So much so that he would give up his own life to protect her. Wow. What woman in their right mind would choose not to submit to that kind of love?
God knows what He is doing. His ways are perfect. If I can trust Him with my life then shouldn’t I trust His word?
The Sacrificial Quotient of Giving
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” Ephesians 5:25
A little boy was looking through the family picture album, and he came to a picture of his mother when she was a very young girl. It was taken just after they’d gotten married. The boy asked his father, “Is that when Mother came to work for us?”
Does this ring true in your home? Let me set the record straight. The husband, if he loves his wife as Christ loves the church, is going to love his wife sacrificially. He is going to love her in such a way that he would be willing to lay down his life for her. He’s going to protect her. He’s going to provide for her. He’s going to do what he can to present his wife and family as holy vessels for the Lord’s use.
Are you married? Then how are you doing on the sacrificial quotient of giving to your spouse? If you had to, would you be willing to lay down your life for your spouse?
Paul did not picture himself as a victim. Despite tremendous physical discomfort and emotional turmoil, he believed he was under God’s sovereign hand. So instead of growing resentful and walking away from the faith, the apostle turned to the Lord and continued to mature spiritually.
We can learn much from Paul—He was determined to focus on God’s sovereignty rather than his own will. It’s easy to be bitter over the mayhem that another person has caused in our lives. However, the minute we start thinking that our enemies are in control, we’re defeated. The Bible says that God “has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Ps. 103:19). He is in absolute control. We may not understand His reasons for permitting hardship or pain in our lives, but His plan is always for our good and His glory (Jer. 29:11).
Moreover, believers can learn from Paul’s commitment to focus on positive results rather than on personal agony. Pain, whether in the body or the heart, often absorbs all of a person’s attention. But there is no victory to be had in dwelling on our hurts. God has a plan for that anguish, and Paul is a good example. He rejoiced when the gospel spread to the Praetorian Guard —his jailers.
Difficult circumstances are crossroads in the believer’s life. If we take the path of blaming God for our strife, we’ll be dealing with resentment and negativity. But if we focus on our heavenly Father’s love and provision, we will find trust and hope as we seek to go His way.
The tongue can kill or nourish life (Proverbs 18:21, NLT).
Have you ever gotten up in the morning feeling out of sorts with the world?
Have you ever harbored hostility toward someone, and the slightest irritation caused you to explode?
The story is told of a man who bought a coach ticket on one of the major railways. Unaware that he had walked into a parlor car, he accidentally took someone else’s seat.
The conductor, who was checking tickets, scolded him mercilessly. As the man left the car, another passenger asked him, “Say, why didn’t you punch that conductor in the nose? Or at least report him to his superiors?”
“Oh no,” replied the gentleman, “If a man like that can stand himself all his life, surely I can stand him for two minutes.”
Let’s face it, most people get angry at times. And often the hostility in our hearts reveals itself through our words and actions. James chapter 3, verses 8 through 12, declares: “No one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Can you pick olives from a fig tree or figs from a grapevine? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty pool” (NLT).
Few things are more self-contaminating than poisoned words that spring from the depths of a bitter heart.
May we always remember God’s exhortations:
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15, NIV).
“The tongue can kill or nourish life” (Proverbs 18:21, NLT).
“Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Proverbs 16:24, NLT).
Yours for helping to fulfill the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The Lord has a beautiful plan for each believer’s life. But to thwart God’s purposes, Satan sprinkles obstacles in our path.
There are many types of hindrances, such as a difficult boss, contrary family members, and financial trouble. Anything that blocks a desired goal can cause anxiety and great frustration. But remember that no obstacle can touch you without God’s consent.
Consider Joshua’s army, which was no match for Jericho’s military. And the great wall protecting that city was an impossible barrier to cross. Yet God had promised the Israelites the land, and Joshua believed. He wasn’t fazed by what seemed unconquerable. Instead, he acknowledged the Lord’s power and sought His guidance.
Before Joshua even realized that God was at work, the Lord was preparing the city for destruction by instilling fear into kings throughout the region. Heaven’s directions included an unlikely battle plan, but because Joshua obeyed, God’s people triumphed.
Waiting can be difficult. And after a while, we might even begin to wonder if God will do anything at all—then it is easy to quit. But, as was true with Joshua, God has gone before us and is preparing the way. No matter how He chooses to handle the problem, His solution is always in our best interest.
Whenever you face an obstacle, you may experience great heartache. But even in the midst of pain, you can have full confidence in God. The most important part of each day is the time you spend alone with the Lord. He will encourage you with His love and give direction.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 (NIV)
One morning I woke up feeling beat up by discouragement. My mind was being bullied by thoughts of doubt: I can’t do it all! I am not cut out to be a wife, a mom, a daughter, a speaker, a writer and all the other things God has called me to. My thoughts were against me, and my feelings were too.
As I lay in bed feeling completely inadequate, my radio alarm came on. Suddenly my thoughts were interrupted by Twila Paris singing to me. With confident assurance, she spoke truth to my soul, telling me this was no time for fear, but a time for faith and determination. She challenged me not to lose my vision or be carried away by my emotions, but to hold on to all that I had hidden in my heart, and all I believed to be true. Then she reminded me of the most important truth of all: God is in control. 
As I heard these words, my thoughts aligned with God’s truth. It changed my whole perspective. I went from feeling afraid to feeling determined and from feeling out of control to knowing God is in control.
We have the choice either to let doubt beat us up or to let God’s truth build us up.
If we have Christ in us, we have full access to God’s power and His promises to live with a confident heart. But it won’t just happen because it’s possible. We have to take action.
When my alarm came on that morning, I was so glad I’d set my radio to that station the night before, so I would wake up hearing encouraging music and truth. Just like I tuned into that station, we need to get intentional about tuning our thoughts into God’s thoughts toward us, every day.
In the same way a radio has AM and FM frequencies, so do our thoughts. They are either AM (against me) or FM (for me) thoughts. The truth is, we are often our worst critics and have a lot of AM thoughts.
And if our thoughts are against us, our feelings will be too.
So, the next time you get those feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt, stop and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what you are thinking that is making you feel that way. Then compare your thoughts about that situation to God’s thoughts, which are reflected in Scripture. Do they match? If not, find a promise in God’s Word to replace the lie that has filled your heart with doubt. Here are few to get your started:
• When doubt comes against me, saying I’m weak and all alone, I will focus on the truth that God is for me! I can be strong and courageous because the Lord my God is with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV)
• When doubt comes against me, saying I’m not good enough for a certain role or position, I will remember that God is for me! He says I am His masterpiece, created to be new in Christ so that I could do good things He planned long ago. (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)
Lord, Your Word says I am a chosen woman, a royal priest, a holy daughter, a woman belonging to You. Help me remember that You are calling me out of the darkness of my doubts so that I can tell others about the Light I’ve found in You. Thank You that You are with me to fight for me against my enemies of insecurity and inadequacy. In all these things, I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.