Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

I Take Thee

“I take thee…”

The first words of most traditional wedding vows contain three small but powerful words, “I take thee…”. They may seem unimportant and be brushed over, but these three words are the start to one of the most important commitments people make in this lifetime. Following these words is a list of ways in which a person commits her life to the mate of her choice. So these three tiny words are actual of monumental importance.

When we look at our beloved and say, “I take thee…” what are we really saying? Well, the Word of God uses the word “take” often to refer to a man “taking” a wife.

““The LORD God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendantsfn I give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.” Genesis 24:7

The word “take” in Hebrew can be translated to: to take, take in the hand, to carry along, take in marriage, receive, accept, select, and to choose. When you say those words to the person whom you are about to marry, you are basically saying “I choose you.” “I select you.” “I receive you.” “I accept you.” “I’ll carry you along with me.” “I take you.”

When we say those words, we are making a commitment to choose none other. We are committing to receive and accept that one individual for the rest of our natural lives on earth. This is an exclusive action. It means consequently that I will reject the attentions from any other person. I will never give to anyone else what I am giving to you. I take the gift of your heart and will seal it up in mine for as long as God gives us breath. I take thee…

Have you forgotten your vow to take your beloved? Remember today those precious words that you spoke however long ago it was. Bring to remembrance the commitment that you made to take your beloved and none other. May the Lord bless your marriage as you stand upon your vows.

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Knit Together in Love

“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;” Colossians 2:2
Being knit together. When something is knit together, it is in unity with another. As sisters in the Lord, we are called to be united, knit together in God’s incredible love. We are called to put aside differences in our personalities and to love one another as God has loved us. We are to bear each other’s burdens. We are to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. We are to care more about others than ourselves. We are to spend quality time with our brothers and sisters, as Jesus Himself did.
Being knit together is what God does to our hearts when we are willing. He is the knitter. He has the thread…the bond of perfection, which is His perfect, blind, sacrificial and unbreakable love. When we are in Christ, we are called to love that way. We are bound by love.
So is it okay for a Christian sister to dislike another sister? Is it okay for her to have a root of bitterness and unforgiveness in her heart? Is it okay for us to not show loving kindness to all of our sisters, regardless of whether or not they return our love? It’s not okay. It’s not okay to hate our sisters or to dislike them. If we are falling into that attitude and heart then we are wrong. God says to love one another for God is love!
Praying for deeper relationships to fill the churches of Jesus Christ. Praying that love and unity, not discord, would reign in the hearts of God’s people as He builds us up to be a temple and dwelling place for His Spirit.
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No More Strength Left

“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” – Psalm 73:26
Have you ever had one of those days? Do you know what I mean by “those days”? It’s as if every time you turn around something is falling apart. Every time you get a phone call it seems to be more bad news. Your body is tired and your heart becomes weary. You feel like you have nothing left to give, and yet you’ve got others counting on you and depending on you to meet their needs. Have you had one of those days? Maybe you’re having one today. Maybe it’s been one of those months or one of those years. Maybe it feels like it never stops.
We all have days like that. Some of us have more than others. Some suffer for long periods of time with various trials and tribulations. Life on earth can be hard and cruel. Sin ravages our land and the sin of others can bring us great suffering. Our own sin can cause long-lasting consequences that persist even after the blood of Jesus brings us complete redemption. On days like these, when it seems that everything is coming up against us, we have to choose to look to Jesus. The truth is, everything IS coming up against us but, if God is for us, whom shall we fear?
There will be days that we have no more strength left. Our heart fails and our flesh is weak and weary. At those moments, when we just feel like we can’t take another step, we must remember that God is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever. God is our strength. He is our endurance. When we fall upon Him, He is the One that lifts us up and carries us through to the end. He renews our strength.
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31
God doesn’t faint or grow weary. He never will. He is our strength. You know, I think the truth is we would never fully understand that concept if we never get to that point of utter exhaustion. If we never grew weary, would we ever experience the supernatural strength of God filling us up and renewing us? If we never fell apart, would we recognize how much we need Him?
If you’re having one of those days, beloved, fear not. Your God is mighty and His strength is everlasting. Fall into His arms and let Him carry you. Be weak and let Him be strong for you. It’s like that Savage Garden song says, “If you need to fall apart, I can mend a broken heart. If you need to crash then crash and burn, you’re not alone.” You’re not alone. God is your strength, your portion, the mender of your heart and your loving Father. So if you have no more strength left, fall on Jesus.
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Why Marriage? Why You?

With the release of my book, “Keeper of His Home”, and the upcoming speaking engagements, I have been asked by several people to explain why I write and speak mostly about marriage. People have asked me why I feel called to this issue, especially in that I’ve only been married 8 years myself. Why is it a topic that is so important to me?

In the Introduction of my book I share my testimony which sheds a little bit of light on that subject. I come from a broken home of divorce myself. My mother was a Christian and my father was not. My father was an adulterer (frequently) and verbally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive to my mother. Childhood was hard. I was sixteen when the divorce went through and my father married his mistress, raising her kids. I didn’t have a relationship with him for 8 years, and even then it was labored and awkward. I can happily share that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I was able to forgive him in the end and tell him I loved him the day he passed away. Praise the Lord!

Why marriage? Well, I don’t honestly know. All I can say is that the Lord has put the burden of marriage heavily upon my heart. I look around and see marriages ending, marriages in trouble and families being torn apart. I see statistics that send a shiver down my spine. I see the faces of children being caught in the middle and it breaks my heart. God had a plan when He created marriage, and this wasn’t it folks. This wasn’t it. His Word gives us the answer of how to have His plan for marriage actuated in our lives.

Why me? Again, I don’t really know. To be honest, I’m not the most perfect candidate. If there were any misgivings, let me lay them on the table now. I don’t have a perfect marriage. In fact, I’d say my marriage has been a hard one from the start. My husband and I honestly barely knew each other when we got married and have both changed so much since then (for the good I think). If not for God’s Word, I don’t think we would have made it, but this message changed my heart. While we don’t have a perfect marriage, we have a happy home. We have peace, joy and Jesus! We have a beautiful daughter whom we love dearly. She has parents who love each other through God’s love and respect and honor one another according to His Word. Do we make mistakes? YES! We make mistakes but God’s grace is sufficient and each year we get better.

Proverbs 5:18-19

“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.  A loving doe, a graceful deer– may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.”
 
God has called me to the ministry of marriage and I accept that calling, knowing I’m inadequate, ill-equipped and unqualified. Thank the Lord He uses the weak things of this world to confound the strong! If your women’s ministry would like me to come and share at one of your events, feel free to contact me. God bless you!
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Unconditional Joy

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that we cannot expect the world to bring us unconditional joy. You know, we talk a lot about unconditional love. As Christians we understand that God pours His unconditional love upon us and through us, and therefore we are called to love others unconditionally. But what about unconditional joy? What about unconditional hope?

It seems that there are so many Christians dealing with so many horrible circumstances. Health, finances, marriage troubles…the average Christian will be going through hard times at one point or another. Sometimes it’s all the time! Yet, through all of the hard times, we are called to have unconditional joy. How does one do that? Well, we first have to understand and acknowledge that joy is not a response to our circumstances. It shouldn’t be. We should have the joy of the Lord in our hearts in the best and worst of times. Think about it this way: what bad circumstance could cancel out the joy of knowing that Christ died for us to give us eternal life? Nothing.

We need to admit that we cannot create joy in and of ourselves. We cannot work hard to make ourselves joyful. The joy that we have comes down from the Father through the Holy Spirit. We have joy because He pus His joy in us, and if it’s His joy that’s in us then we should always have it, whether or not we are going through various trials.

Walk in joy today sisters. Know that God has put His joy in you so that you can be a light to the world. So many people are suffering and they need to see your joy; the joy of God spilling over. His love never fails, and neither does his joy.

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Part 9 – Love Thinks No Evil, The Loving Homekeeper Series

“….Love thinks no evil.” 1 Corinthians 13:5

What does it mean to think evil? In this world we temporarily dwell in we are surrounded by evil. It’s on the television, in the newspapers and magazines, in the streets—everywhere. It’s so easy for us to get desensitized to what is evil because we see a world full of people accepting and even glorying in evil. So when God says that love doesn’t think evil, what does He mean and how can it be accomplished?

Let’s get back to the language. The Greek word for “think” is “logizomai“, and it can be translated to: “reckon, count, compute, calculate, to take into account, to number among, to consider, weigh, meditate on, to determine, purpose, to decide.” So this word is more about how we weigh something up in our minds. What do I determine about this person or issue? What is their substance? How have I judged or calculated their motives to be? It is actually less about what the subject actually is and more about how we’ve labeled it.

Now the word for “evil” is the Greek word “kakos” and means “of a bad nature, of a mode of thinking, feeling and acting base, wrong, wicked, troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, and baneful.”

What’s fascinating about taking this phrase apart is that by understanding the text we get a better idea about the point God is making here. You see it’s not about whether or not a person is evil or has a bad nature. It’s not about whether or not they truly are being troublesome or wicked or if they secretly despise you. It’s not really about them at all. When God said “love thinks no evil”, it’s about me. It’s about how I view people and how I love them. It’s about not being cynical and looking for the worst in people. It’s about not labeling someone as evil, wicked, troublesome or destructive, especially when I don’t know that it’s true.

I think about a juror in a court room. They are presented the facts and are told to make a judgement based on those facts determining whether or not the defendant is guilty. They may be looking at a pile of evidence but it all comes down to how concrete they determine that evidence to be. God is reminding us here that we aren’t the judge and we aren’t in a courtroom. We are supposed to be loving people, not determining how wicked they are or labeling them as evil. Now, there may be evil in their lives. They may be guilty of all of the bad things you suspect. They may be out to get you or they may really be giving you dirty looks behind your back. That’s not the point. The point is how are you going to think on that person. You can choose to think no evil by taking those thoughts captive. You can choose to love people, whether or not they love you. If we really want to be effective in leading others to Christ, we need to show them this kind of love.

I think about a time when a young man came to our old church for a while. The church was something of a legalistic church, and the people weren’t very graceful to say the least. Regardless, I remember this young man entered the church and he was wearing torn up, un-matching clothes, dog chains and a bright green mohawk. He had several tattoos and piercings. The young man attended the church for a while off and on. I’ll never forget when one of the ladies from the church (in her sunday best looking prim and proper) walked up the young man and said she had to confess to him that she had secretly been judging him by the way he looked ever since he started attending.

For one thing, I couldn’t believe this woman’s discernment that the best way to deal with HER inward sin was to confess it to the person who didn’t even know how much she had been despising him. She unburdened herself at his expense when she could have simply confessed and repented to the Lord and spared him the embarrassment. Still, this woman’s heart was to think evil. She had judged him. She had labeled him. She had determined he was wicked and evil. And even when she did confess of this sin, her unloving attitude had driven the young man away from God and not to Him. How sad. Let us not be this kind of person. Let us love people and think no evil.

God says we can take every thought captive that goes against His Word. He also says in Philippians 4 that we are to think on what is true and of good report. We aren’t to go passing judgements or labeling or determining the heart of another person. We aren’t called to do that. We are called to love. Love.

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Part 8 – Love is not Easily Provoked, The Loving Homekeeper Series

“Love is not easily provoked.” 1 Corinthians 13:5

I have found that there are times in my life when exhibiting the love of God—His way—means going against my very nature. See I’m a sinner. I’m selfish my nature. In my selfishness, I tend to be impatient and ungraceful. I tend to be easily provoked to anger when things do not go my way or when people (even the little ones) do not do as I ask, exactly how I asked and at the very moment I asked.

Excellent recent example. Last night I was holding my three year-old daughter and she was munching on some candy. It was “Nerds” candy, which are like tiny colorful pebbles. She kept shaking the box and I told her that she would likely spill them if she continued to shake the box. So she stopped. Wait…no….that’s not how it went! Of course my strong-willed little girl didn’t stop. She continued to shake the box and suddenly sent the candy flying all over me! If I was a cartoon character you would have seen my eyes turn red and smoke come out of my ears. I sharply rebuked her for not listening and making a mess.

After some kind words of encouragement from my own mother (who had seen the whole thing), I realized I had over-reacted. I had been easily provoked to anger. My daughter had not understood the consequences of what she was doing. I had not given her a direct order to stop shaking the box, but rather suggested it was a bad idea. She didn’t listen. Instead she continued to learn how her bad judgement had caused the candy to be sucked up the vacuum instead of her mouth! Love is not easily provoked.

How often do we do this very thing to God. We go against the Spirit’s conviction in our hearts to do something we know isn’t good for us. Sometimes God has said no. Sometimes He’s just said it isn’t a good idea. Sometimes we listen and sometimes we don’t. The good news is, when we don’t listen and we follow our own desires or way of thinking rather than God’s, and we stumble and fall, God is not quick to anger. He is not easily provoked. When we mess up and sin and come running to Him for forgiveness, He doesn’t shout out us or give us the cold shoulder. He is not easily provoked. His love is longsuffering and patient.

I long to be a mother and wife who is not easily provoked. I pray that God will chip away that quick temper that is part of my nature. I hope one day to be the kind of woman that people look at and wonder, “does she ever get angry?” hehe It won’t be soon but maybe someday with the help of the Holy Spirit!

God’s love is not easily provoked. Are you easily provoked to anger or wrath? Do you have patience and grace for people? Are you slow to anger and quick to forgive? We all need to pray for God to perfect His love in us so that we can pour that love out on our family, our friends, our church family and the lost. May His love be ever in our hearts and on our tongues!

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Part 7 – Love Does not Seek Its Own, The Loving Homekeeper Series

“…love does not seek its own..” 1 Corinthians 13:5

What does it mean to “seek ones own” in terms of love? It’s an interesting phrase and also interesting that most of the various translations have it the same way. Some add that love does not “seek its own things” and another shortens it to being “self-seeking”. The NLT says love “does not demand its own way”. When it comes down to it, what the Lord is basically saying is that His kind of love—the real kind—is not selfish, self-seeking, self-focused and self-pleasing. Self, self, self!

It’s not difficult at all to get caught up in self in the world we live in today. Every magazine, therapist and politician we see and hear proclaim that we need to take care of ourselves first and foremost. I cringe to think of a Christian sister going to the world for counsel because she will be bombarded with messages of self-love, self-focus and self-gratification. She is told that she needs to care for herself first before looking to meet anyone else’s needs. She will be told to search within herself for the answers instead of searching out the Word of God and His heart. She is told to neglect her family in order to seek out her own way in life. She is told if she doesn’t like her husband she should leave and follow her dreams. Who cares about her husband and children? They can take care of themselves, right?

I think that most of the reasons people have for getting divorced today boils down to this very important point—this point which has been lost in a social sea of self-seeking corruption. It all comes down to seeking one’s own instead of others. Love does not seek its own. If more people understood this there would be so fewer divorces and strained marriages. Love does not seek its own! Its so simple and yet so corrupted by the wickedness of this world!

Sisters, do not be deceived. God has not called us to be self-seekers but self-sacrificers! God has not called us to be self-gratifiers but selfless servants. God has not called us to be self-focused but to be self-abandoners so that we may truly be lovers of the hearts of our husbands, children, family and friends. We were not created to be selfish beings. We don’t need more self-esteem, we need more God-esteem. We need to take our eyes off of ourselves and put them directly on Jesus Christ.

I have known many women who have suffered with depression and anxiety. I myself battled with it at times in my life and I can tell you from experience that those times when I have been most depressed and most anxious were the same times that I was taking my eyes off of the Lord and putting them on my self. Self-focus causes sin. It causes pride, bitterness, self-love, arrogance, depression, anxiety, self-harm—the truth is it is toxic to the heart of a believer. We need to stop looking at the mirror and start looking to the sky and to our Creator for fulfillment, happiness, joy and love. He is the source. There is nothing good within us and everything good in Him.

Love does not seek its own. Love does not seek itself or demand its own way. Love is giving. Love is selfless. Love is self-sacrificing and humble. Oh Lord, let us keep our eyes fixed firmly on You and let us abandon ourselves so that we can be perfected in Your love!

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Part 6 – Love is not Rude, The Loving Homekeeper Series

“Love does not behave rudely…” 1 Corinthians 13:5

The Greek word for “behaving rudely” can also be translated to “behave itself unbecomingly” and isn’t it interesting that a person who puts on an air of rudeness often loses beauty in our estimation? I can see a beautiful woman walking across the room and think, “wow she is a stunning woman.” Then when I go to say hello she snubs me and looks at me like I just stepped off of an alien spacecraft. Suddenly this beauty has lost her shine and appeal. To think I might have looked up to her for her outward appearance, but now I wouldn’t even want to be in her presence.

That’s what rude behavior does to us ladies. It strips us of our beauty, shine and warmth and makes us into nasty creatures. That should be the last thing we want. I know what I want most is for my husband and daughter to look at me as if I am the most wonderful, special and loving person in the world. I don’t want them to see me as rude and obnoxious. I don’t want my Christian sisters and friends to think of me a as a rude person they have to put up with, but rather a woman who exhibits the love of Christ. We should desire to be beautiful, but not as the world sees. We should seek to exhibit the kind of beauty that God’s finds spectacular—a woman who fears the Lord and loves her family.

As a homekeeper, it is so very easy to slip into rude behavior behind closed doors. Sure, we can clean up nicely when we are out with our family at church or in town. We smile. We bridle our tongues and hold back the urge to make rude remarks. We are constrained by the desire to “look good” and that keeps us from rude behavior when eyes are upon us. The question is, what happens when the spectators are gone? Are we as kind, gently and compassionate to our own family?

We keepers of the home often get somewhat run-down by hectic schedules, long chore lists and the ever-present need to be on top of everything. Sometimes with this exhaustion comes a sort of laziness with how we treat our husband and kids at home. We are more comfortable to unwind and say whatever we like. We don’t feel the need to impress them so we struggle with nagging, unedifying speech and impatience. We need to remember that behaving in a way that is unbecoming is just as bad when its towards our family members in private. When I flippantly shout at my husband to get his own dinner and then start chowing down before he has time to join me, that’s rude. When I ignore my daughter’s questions (even when I’m not actively engaged in other activities or conversations) that’s rude. When I nag and whine and complain, that is very unbecoming.

Lord, help us to be women who are beautiful by Your standard and not women who behave rudely. Love is not rude. Love is compassionate, caring, edifying, humble and kind. We are learning so much about what love is and what it isn’t. I find it so very moving how it all can apply directly and in a special way for homekeepers.

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Part 5 – Love is not Puffed Up, The Loving Homekeeper Series

“Love is not puffed up.” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Love is not puffed up with pride. It does not inflate itself or cause itself to swell in its own estimation. Love, in fact, is cloaked in humility. Sometimes the only way we can show love to our families and friends is through acts of humility. Yet I find this is an area of great struggle for myself and many other ladies.

When my husband and I first got married, we really knew very little about one another and our daily habits. There was a lot of compromising together and getting used to one another in that first couple of years. It was not always easy. Funny how the little things can add up and create conflict. One of those little things that caused problems on several occasions was clothing. My husband and I have very different tastes in clothing. He is much more easy going about what he would wear out into public, where I am more careful about wanting to wear something that best suits me.

Most of the time my husband picks out clothes that are perfectly fine and look good, but every once in a while there would be a bad one. It would always go the same way. Dear husband would come out of the room wearing something that I felt didn’t match, or was too tight or just wasn’t right for the occasion. I would say something to the effect of, “you’re not wearing that out are you?” His countenance would immediately change to one of frustration as he replied, “I’m a grown man. I can pick out my own clothes, thank you!”

Now whether or not I was right about the fashion choice, it was clear that this was going to be an ongoing conflict. My husband didn’t like being mothered and second-guessed by me, and I was worried that he would go out looking bad. We had a problem. After much prayer about this issue that kept popping up, the Lord spoke to my heart and basically asked me this, “What’s more important—that your he looks good or that their is peace between you?”

I realized what God wanted me to do. I had to let go of my pride. I had to stop worrying about what other people thought about my husband’s attire and instead choose to be okay with it. Love chooses humility. Love does not demand to be the center of attention. It builds up others, not self.

As keepers of the home, we have daily opportunities to love selflessly and in humility. When we find ourselves being too proud, or puffed up in our own minds, we need to remember our Savior Jesus who made Himself of no reputation but took on the form of a servant and died a sinner’s death for us. We need to see Him washing the feet of the disciples. As we serve, may our hearts mimic His and our love be His love flowing out of us.

Love is not puffed up. It’s not proud but perfect in humility. It is not inflated, but rather seeks to edify others and bless them. That’s the love every homekeeper must keep at the forefront of a long day’s work.

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