Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

613 Steps to Becoming a Holier You

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As I typed in the title to this blog, I had to have a momentary giggle at myself. Of course the title is ridiculous, but only because it is written that way. As Christians, we read those words and think, “yeah right! Thank God we don’t have to be bound by that extensive and harsh old covenant law.” Yet, even as those words spill out of our mouths, in many of our hearts we still live our Christian life this way. While our minds know we are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus alone, we tend to get confused about how we become holy and what that means. What do I have to do to be holy?

I heard a pastor recently say, “the only way to be holy is to live our life exactly the way God says.” While I agree that God wants us to live our lives according to His Word (absolutely!), I think that the definition of “holiness” and what it means to us today is getting confused. This confusion can lead to a works-based, legalistic type faith, and it can be dangerous. To understand being “holy”, one must look at the Old Testament and the New Testament to get a well-rounded view of the issue. By doing so, you see that there is a big change that happens following the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s actually quite fascinating. Let’s talk etymology.

Old Testament “Be Holy”

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word used most frequently in occurrences where God told his people to “be holy” is “qodesh” and it occurs some 468 times in the OT. It can be translated, “apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness.” Sometimes that is in reference to people and other times to places, objects, etc. It is an adjective that describes someone or something that is set apart for God. It is sacred. It is untainted by sin and stain. Like a bride rightfully wearing white on her wedding day, it has been kept pure and separate for the bridegroom.

The word is used over and over in the OT. It is used many times throughout Exodus and Leviticus, where the law is being revealed and taught to the children of Israel. There are 613 commandments in the Torah. Before Jesus came to earth to die for our sins, the people of God had to work hard to live by the commandments, offering animal sacrifices when they inevitably failed. They really had to work to be holy and set apart for God. Their lifestyle in following the commandments was what set them apart (made them holy) before God and men. Along with circumcision, this was their mark that they were, in fact, God’s people.

After a long list of animals that could and could not be consumed, God said, “For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:45

The word for “holy” here is slightly different because it is made more personified to mean “holy one, saint, person set apart.” It has the same root meaning as qodesh. God tells His people that they must follow these rules to be holy, set apart for Him, because He is holy. So, in other words, in order for them to be connected to God, related to Him and set apart for Him, they had to follow the Law precisely. It was the only way they could be connected to God.

New Testament “Be Holy”

A search of NT references to “being holy” reveals that it is mentioned only a handful of times. This was interesting to me, because we view the NT gospels and epistles as something of a guidebook of how we Christians are to live today. While every verse of the OT and NT is profitable to us and important for us to study, we can relate more closely to the saints of the NT and how they built the church as models for what we should do today. The NT is filled with encouragements, commandments and teachings on how to live. We learn what we should and shouldn’t do as believers, and how to honor God in our lives. Yet, they don’t often talk about the need to “be holy”…not compared to the OT books.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love…” Ephesians 1:4

The Greek word for “holy” here is the word “hagios.” It is the closest related word to the Hebrew qodesh, but the difference is that this word means: “most holy thing, a saint.” It is not talking, necessarily, about being set apart for God. In fact, the word is also used in the NT to describe the Holy Spirit, Father God and Jesus Christ. In other words, this particular word is used to describe something or someone who is, not in the process of being made holy and separate (or keeping one separate until that day comes), but rather someone who has already been transformed into a holy being/saint.

It’s like that spotless bride on her wedding day. This bride has kept herself pure and set apart for her groom. She arrives, they say their vows and are wed. Her name is changed to His. She is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. They are one. In the same way, when we come to Christ, we are transformed. We become holy because we are in Him and He is holy.

The context of the following verse is regarding the people of Israel. Paul is explaining the mystery of how the gospel came to the gentiles because of the rejection of the Jews, but there is still a plan for the salvation of the Jews. The Jewish people are called the natural branches, while the gentiles are branches that have been grafted in, blessed to be able to included in the master plan. Since we are grafted in, this is applicable directly to Christians.

“For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” Romans 11:16

Do you see it? If the root is holy, so ARE the branches. Christian, we are not holy today because of anything we have done except for one thing: we have attached ourselves to the root – Jesus Christ. We are holy because we are attached and dwelling in the Holy One of God. Because Jesus is holy, so are we holy in Him. Notice the Word says “are” and not “will be” or “working towards” or “getting there.” The branches are holy because they are connected to the holy root. If we have given our lives to Jesus and been sealed by the Holy Spirit, we are holy because He is holy. It’s finished.

Praise the Lord, saint! We don’t have to work to be holy. We don’t have to worry that we’ll never get there. God has made us holy through Jesus, and we have a new mark. Before Christ, the people of Israel had to labor at keeping the law as their mark of holiness. Our mark of holiness is the Holy Spirit in us. We are marked and sealed by the Spirit showing that we are His. Hallelujah!

But wait a minute…should we use this liberty to sin? Are we still to be kept “holy” as in separate from the world and sin? Paul had an answer for that question too.

“What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” Romans 6:15-18

There’s no question about it…we are to live our lives in a way that glorifies God. We are STILL to live in an OT “holy”, setting ourselves apart way. We don’t do this to earn salvation, and we don’t do it to earn holiness. We are already holy in Christ. The works that follow a transformed life are merely the evidence that we are already in Christ. Will we sin and fall short? Yes. 1 John says we lie if we say we have no sin, but it also says if we live in unrepentant sin, but claim to know Jesus, we are deceiving ourselves. The fruit we bear tells us whether we are branches on the good and holy root, or not.

“Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” Matthew 12:33

Are we holy? Yes. Right now, if you are in Christ Jesus, you are holy. How do you know if you are in Christ Jesus? There should be good fruit in your life. You should be walking in a way that honors God….not a slave to sin but a servant to Christ. Set apart not to “become holy” but because you ARE HOLY. Amen!

It’s like that beautiful bride. She says her vows, takes His name and becomes one with her groom. Then the groom must go away for a while to prepare a beautiful new home for his bride. While he is away, will she honor him still? Will she keep herself pure and undefiled? Will she live in a way that brings honor to the name of her groom for everyone around her to see? Yes, she will, because she is His bride. How lovely.

Be blessed, you bride of the Most Holy One. You are His. You are holy in Him. Now go and live like it bringing honor to His name!

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Benefits of the Common Cold

There’s never a good time to be sick. We wives and moms know this all too well. You see, we don’t get to call in sick when a bug strikes. We don’t get to tell the kids we are off for the day or tell the house it’s going to have to clean itself so that we can rest. The truth is, our “benefits package” at this “stay-at-home work” situation leaves much to be desired. No, there’s never a good time to be sick for the home keepers, but there are benefits that come from the occasional cold.

As I sit here, sniffling a bit and wondering how my day is going to shape up now that I feel the symptoms creeping on, I toy with the idea that sometimes the only way God can get me to slow down and even take a break is to let illness slip through His sovereign hands and fall right on me. I know it seems a funny thought, but there’s some truth to it. We ladies are busy creatures, running to and fro; cooking, cleaning, shopping, schooling, holding tiny hands and handling the day to day tasks. We may or may not have the finances to attend to, work to complete and problems to solve. We may have ministry commitments, which are such a blessing, but also can keep us on our toes.

We are Oh So Busy All the Time! No wonder God allows us to get sick from time to time. It’s the most efficient way of slowing us down and giving us a chance to recover. I find that when I’m struck down with a cold or the flu, one of the benefits is time. I have more time to pray, read the Word (if my eyes can manage it) and to meditate upon the goodness of God. I also find that being under the weather is an excellent reminder of my humanity and my need for a God who gives life, takes care of His children and loves to bring healing. I recognize my own frailties and how much I need Him.

Look, it’s never fun to be sick, but I believe whole-heartedly that God uses the sick times in our lives to minister to us, teach us, grow us and sometimes just to spend some more time with us as we lay wrapped in the Father’s loving arms.

So I’m praying for all of my fellow sickies today. Praying you are comforted and encouraged as you spend time with the Father. Praying you have some help with the kiddos (or from the kiddos) so that you can rest and recover. Praying for healing as per God’s timing and perfect will. Praying you would praise the Lord, knowing that our present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory that awaits us….someday a new, perfect body and no more pain and sickness as we soak up the very presence of God.

God bless!

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A Family on Mission Together, Stays Together

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Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Throughout the life of any marriage, there are going to be mountain tops and valleys. Some marriages contain far more of one than the other, but both exist in some form. Today we see couples in the valley times calling it quits on the journey far too early. Many times we see Christians giving up because they’ve been in a valley for a while and haven’t been able to find the road up and out.

There are many circumstances that lead us to the valleys. It could be external issues such as financial strain (or other money concerns), health problems, child raising disagreements, a lack of respect and love in the marriage and, most of all, a lack of Jesus in the marriage. What’s interesting is that all of those issues I mentioned could be quickly and easily resolved when one fixes that last most critical point. Jesus in the marriage.

Not “religion” in the marriage. Jesus in the marriage.

Not “spirituality” in the marriage. Jesus in the marriage.

Not “church attendance” in the marriage. Not “charitable giving” in the marriage. Not “singing the hymns, raising the hands, thinking about what’s for lunch after church” in the marriage. It’s all about Jesus. So what was Jesus about?

Jesus was on mission. Jesus was about winning souls to the kingdom. Jesus was about sharing the gospel. Jesus was about making disciples and teaching the Word. Jesus was about praying and interceding. Jesus was about self-sacrifice and service. Jesus died so that others could live. Jesus was on mission.

A family on mission together, stays together. 

You want to combat divorce in the church? We need to get families on mission together. Does that mean they have to pack up their bags and move to the Congo or go to Iraq to share the gospel? Well, if Jesus calls them there then yes! However, being on mission doesn’t always mean going on foreign missions. It can mean that, but what it truly means is living a life of kingdom purpose. Jesus has given us all a commission to be on mission. Our life’s purpose should be to share the gospel and train our children up to do the same. That’s our purpose and our calling…..not SOME Christians, but ALL Christians.

You know what really stifles that missional life of sharing the gospel? DIVORCE!

Yes, it’s hard to be focused on sharing the gospel, ministering to people, sacrificing of your own time, resources and safety even to live out a life of service to the King when we are trying to get the divorce papers in order too. We know that God hates divorce. I tell you that those issues that bring Christian couples to the brink of divorce would be obliterated if they were to give up their lives, pick up their crosses and follow Jesus. It’s that simple.

Jesus lived a life of sacrifice and service. He was living, and dying, for others. The problem with so many marriages today is that people are living for themselves. In most cases, when divorce isn’t about abuse or adultery, it is about those valley times and people just aren’t happy. I tell you with confidence that a couple will not remain in that valley if they are living their lives on mission for Christ. If that means going on a foreign mission, go for it! The happiest marriages in the world are often those families who serve in the mission field. They could be living in a hut, surrounded by violent people and battling malaria and still be more solid in their faith, their marriages and their walk with Jesus than Mr. and Mrs. Smith over here who are getting divorced because they can’t stop bickering about money. It’s not because the missionaries are “better people” or because their lives are perfect. It’s because they have chosen a life of service and sacrifice and being on mission (where ever they are).

When we are fulfilling the calling of the Lord in our lives, the other problems seem to fade away and become manageable. A family who is on mission together, with kingdom purpose in their hearts, stay together. If they keep Christ at the center and the mission always present, they stay together. If they train up their children to follow Christ in this great commission, they stay together and the kids learn what God intended marriage and family to look like.

I want to reiterate that being on mission doesn’t mean you have to pack up and go. It could, but it doesn’t always. It means that your household has a mission-filled aroma about it. It means you work together to best serve the Lord by serving others. You go out and share. You bring people in and minster to them. You seek every opportunity to share the gospel and make disciples. You serve your brothers and sisters in the Lord whenever possible. You feed the hungry and clothe the naked. You care for the widows and orphans. That’s being on mission.

Some of you reading this may be wanting this life but are married to an unbeliever who won’t be on mission with you. Do not try and nag, manipulate or bully your husband into following the Lord…it doesn’t work that way. The best thing you can do is pray, serve the Lord, and love and respect that man of yours all the days of your life. One of those days he may just be won over by your good conduct. Never give up. He is your mission and you will win him over without words, but by being the amazing, respectful, submissive, loving and honoring wife God called you to be. That is the best witness in the world.

So come on families….let’s be on mission for Jesus! Lose your life and find that you gain new life in ways you had never imagined. Thank You Jesus!

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You Should Care – You Really Should

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But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18

That’s the problem with so many Christians today. We love in word and talk, but we don’t love in deed and in truth. We speak great works of affection, but we close our eyes to real opportunities to put that love into action. We say that we care, but our caring falls short of being willing to self-sacrifice in any way to meet a need. We consider ourselves to be loving, but we pass right by one who feels like she is drowning with troubles and heartbreak, and we don’t even stop to find out if there’s something we can do to minister to that hurting heart. That’s the problem. It’s a big one.

As I write this, I know there are many who do love in deed and truth. There are many who do sacrifice of themselves to serve others. There are many who do care when they see a brother or sister hurting and do strive to minister to the brokenhearted. There are some who do seek to understand the pain of others. Still, there are so many in church today that are completely oblivious to their hardened, self-focused hearts. I have been there myself at times. I too have neglected a friend in need of comfort because of time or inconvenience or whatever the reason. Even filled with conviction and shame, I pressed on about my business telling myself that someone else would have to be the one to help. How sad.

You should care – you really should.

If you’re a Christian, you should care about people. You should have a pulling in your heart to minister to those who are hurting. You should care about your family, friends, church body and the lost. You should care about the one that everyone else ignores. You should care about the one that may smile on the outside, but you know is suffering on the inside. You should care about their hardships, burdens, struggles and heartbreaks. Do you try to understand their pain? Do you ever just feel it with them? Ever sit with them and weep? Ever put yourself in their shoes?

You should care – you really should.

Why don’t you? You may not even be aware of your lack of love. There is ample opportunity in this world to get lost in distraction. You are busy. You have your own problems to deal with. You don’t really have time to give. You don’t really think it’s that important what that person is going through. There are so many excuses. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are making them. Sometimes we are just so blindingly self-focused and self-centered that we cannot manage to see beyond our own interests to settle our sights on that hurting person right in front of us. We are so focused on ourselves, we can’t possible see their pain. We should see it. We should care.

You should care – you really should.

Perhaps you don’t care because you don’t think their pain is valid enough for your standards. You don’t see it. You don’t get it. You don’t try to see beyond your own understanding and to really be able to relate to what another person is going through. So you don’t weep with those who weep. You don’t shed their tears with them.

“What’s the big deal? So she wants a baby but can’t have one? So what? She just needs to get on with it and get over it.” Stop. Try to understand the deep pain, longing and heartbreak that a woman feels when she struggles with infertility. In your mind, picture her crying herself to sleep. See the look of disappointment and heartache that crosses her face when she sees a newborn baby. You’ll never know what it feels like if you haven’t been through it yourself, but you can imagine the pain and suffering. You should care.

“What’s the big deal about her being alone for so long after her divorce? She should just learn to be content in her singleness.” Stop. Try to understand that this woman who has been divorced or widowed is lonely. Do you understand that kind of loneliness? Imagine the heartache that she feels being the only single person at the event or family party. Imagine how she yearns for the protection of a husband, or just the comfort of having someone hold her. Remember her pain and stop minimizing what she goes through. You should care.

“It’s their own fault that they’re going through money problems again. If they just tithed they would be better off. They made their bed; now they’ll have to sleep in it.” Stop. Your judgement and your condescension is not welcome, and it certainly is not loving. You’ve never made a bad choice in your life? Get off your high horse and start loving people. Try to imagine what it’s like to go through one financial struggle after another. Imagine years of unpaid bills, fear, worry and anxiety over every rent payment and car repair. See the tears that flow as they try to figure out how they will provide for their children. Feel their embarrassment as they wear shoes that are falling apart and as they collect food donations. Try to understand how hard it is. Try to feel their pain. You should care. You really should!

We love in word and talk. We say “I love you” to our family members and friends. We may offer up a prayer for the person who is struggling, or maybe not. The problem is, so often we are not loving in deed and truth. We are not putting love into action. When we don’t put love into action, it calls to question whether we really love or not. That’s where truth comes in. Do I love you? Do I care enough about you to take my eyes off myself for a minute and be there for you? Do I care enough to experience your burden and your pain with you? Do I care enough to sacrifice my own time, comfort and pleasure to help you? Do I? Do you?

It doesn’t take much to show a person in deed and truth that you really do love. A word of encouragement. An hour of your time. Meeting a need. Weeping with them. Acknowledging their pain. Understanding. It doesn’t take much, but it does take loving yourself less and loving others more.

We should care. Do you know why? Jesus cares!

When Jesus took those lashes, those beatings, that crown of thorns, He cared. When He stretched out His arms and took those nails, He cared. When He gave up His Spirit and died for our sins, He cared. When He rose from the dead into glory beyond comprehension, He cared. When He sent the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide, convict and help us, He cared deeply. Jesus LOVES in DEEd and TRUTH. He didn’t just say, “I love you.” He proved it in His death. That’s why you should care.

I’m tired of love talk. I’m tired of loving in word. It feels empty now. I’m tired of receiving love and giving love that way. Let us love in deed and in truth. I want to be the kind of person that makes this real in my life. Someday when I go to be with Jesus, I want people at my life celebration to remember me as a woman who loved in deed and truth. I ask the Lord to crucify my self-love and self-focus, and to help me to really love. Join me.

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Five Marriage Killers Part 3

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3. Sexual Stalemate

“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:25 “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.” Genesis 4:1

God created sex. He intended for marriage to be consummated by an intimate sexual fulfillment when two bodies are made one flesh. It is a beautiful gift that God gave His children for wives to experience sexual intimacy with our husbands for the cause of having children and for a pleasurable bonding with each another. The Lord God said man and woman would be one flesh before sin had ever entered the world, therefore we know that sex between a husband and wife is not sinful, nor is it defiled. It is in fact a lovely and most natural unity.

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled…” Hebrews 13:4a

Sex is a beautiful and honorable union when it happens within marriage. We see back in Genesis 4 that Adam “knew” his wife Eve and she conceived a child. Now we all know that the word “knew” is referring to sexual intimacy. This word is used throughout the Bible to refer to love-making. It’s so fitting as well to consider that a sexual relationship is the physical act of knowing someone so intimately that you are aware of every part of their body. This is why it’s so important for Christians to strive to remain pure until marriage. That intimate sexual knowledge is one that should only be shared between a husband and wife. Your husband should be the only one to know you that intimately and vice versa. It is so sad that the majority of people today miss out on the blessed experience of being their spouse’s one and only sexual partner.

God had a design for sex. He formed man and woman to be perfectly suitable partners for one another. In simple terms, all the parts fit, and when they do, the pleasure is incredible! Ladies, God designed us to be sexually involved with our husbands. As women we must recognize that our husbands have sexual needs that must be fulfilled. Science can show us why men seem to need sex more often physically. Their simple anatomy and reproductive system have been created in a way to need regular release to maintain a state of well-being. Sure men can go without sex—of course they can. The question is why should they? If their bodies were created, by God Himself, to renew and require release, why should we deny them the fulfillment of what their bodies are demanding? We should not. It’s simple.

While our men are driven by physical sensitivities to feel the need for regular sex, we women tend to need sexual intimacy on an emotional level. For many of us, it is through sexual bonding that we feel loved, connected and close with our husbands. I know when my husband and I have had to go for short lengths of time without intimacy it has left me feeling a bit disconnected and needing that physical closeness. If we need sexual intimacy emotionally and they need it physically, then it’s a win-win situation!

Women of today are deceived into thinking that a wife should never feel obligated to make love with her husband unless she feels like doing it. We are told that we should consider our own needs first and the needs of our husbands secondly. We are told that we have the right to say no when we’re not in the mood (or fake a headache as the magazines would say), and that our husbands must simply accept that and reign in their natural desires. Biblically speaking we see a sharp difference in the approach to sex. God tells us that, when we are married, our bodies no longer belong to us but to our spouse, and that we are to meet each other’s needs whenever they arise.

“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” 1 Corinthians 7:2-5

This passage starts out with a command and a way to avoid lust and fornication. Let every man have his own wife and every woman have her own husband. God knows that we are sexual creatures. He made us that way. He knows that we will struggle with lust and the desire to have sex. He knew that Adam needed a helper to meet ALL his needs—including the sexual ones. Marriage is the only right place to express that sexual nature of ours, therefore let a wife have her husband and let her husband have his wife.

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence and likewise also the wife unto the husband. What does this mean? The Greek word for “benevolence” is the word “eunoia” which means “goodwill and kindness”. Women should render unto their husbands the goodwill and kindness that is due to them. When the verse says it is “due” to them, do not be deceived into thinking that means you only give them the goodwill you think they deserve it. Our reverence of our husbands is not based on what they deserve. If you think of it that way then you have to swap it around and also say that your husband only needs to be kind towards you when you deserve it.
Do you think so highly of yourself that you think you will always be deserving of his best towards you? Do you really think you are perfect sister? I know I’m not. I don’t deserve my husband’s affections and love all the time. If we really got what we deserved, we would all be cast into the lake of fire. Thanks be to God and Jesus Christ, Who has shown us kindness and given us—not what we deserve—but His unending mercies and grace. Your husband may not deserve your goodwill but the Lord Jesus Christ is commanding you to give it to him regardless.

The passage goes on to talk about the wife’s and the husband’s bodies. “The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.” Now this goes against everything the world teaches today, doesn’t it? They tell women it’s perfectly okay to deny their husbands sexual intimacy because it’s their body. They give their hearty approval for abortion because they say it’s a woman’s choice what happens to her body. The Lord God of the universe says that when you marry your husband and commit your life to him, you give over ownership of your body to him permanently. If your body is a door, you give your husband the key so that he may enter in at any time. Wives, your bodies, according to the Word of the Living God, belong to your husbands, and you are not to deny them the pleasure that you have to offer.

No doubt there will be some reading this fuming with hot anger. Let me address one point that is certain to come up and cut it off before it even begins. By saying the wife’s body belongs to her husband I am NOT saying that a husband should or has the right to force his wife to have sex against her will. It is very wrong for any man to force any woman to have sex, even his own wife. I am VERY against it. Whether or not a woman chooses to follow God’s instruction to give her body willingly to her husband is her decision to make. She can decide to disobey God or she can obey. That is up to her. I think I’ve made myself clear.

“Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” 1 Corinthians 7:5

Ladies, the world wants us to believe that we should look after our own needs first, but the Word of God says that we are to care more about our husband’s needs than our own. Withholding one’s body from her husband is in direct contradiction to the Bible and I would encourage you ladies, if you struggle in this area, to pray for God to help you make things right and meet the sexual needs of your husband. Keep him satisfied at home and be the lover he’s always wanted you to be. And remember to enjoy it!

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Playing the Blame Game

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It’s been the way of mankind since the fall in the Garden of Eden. Man blames woman. Woman blames the serpent. It’s the blame game in full effect. Funny enough, despite efforts to “pass the buck”, all three were punished there in the Garden. All three had sinned against God indeed. Yet, when times get difficult, and we know they always do, it can be so easy to get into pointing fingers and assigning blame, and this can be a real marriage killer. I know…I’ve struggled with this one a lot over the years!

There are going to be trials and tribulations in life that are no one’s fault in particular, but we so often feel the need to blame each other and to consequently take our disappointments out on the “guilty” party. Sometimes the problem has been caused by one person’s bad choice. Instead of simply realizing that we all make mistakes and then picking up the pieces together, we come unleash our wrath and sometimes hold onto the issue far longer than what is necessary or prudent.

We had a funny example of this just the other night. We drove to a friend’s house and it was still somewhat light outside. I was driving. I parked the car, but I thought we were just running something in, so I left it at a funny angle and with the lights and everything on. We got out and were talking and our friends invited us in for a few minutes. My husband took the keys and went to roll up windows and turn off the car. We went inside, had a splendid time of fellowship, and when it was time to go we realized the car lights had been left on for the past hour or so.

We both immediately jumped to blame the other person. He blamed me because I had been the one driving. I blamed him because he had been the last person in the car. It was a funny little exchange that happened in those few seconds until my husband tried to start the car. Thank the Lord, it started without a problem! We were all relieved and even laughed later about our little blame game standoff.

This was a much lighter example than the hundreds we could discuss. Common reasons a spouse blames another include such troubling issues as: finances, child training, infertility, home maintenance and lack of family devotion time. We need to realize how damaging it is to our marriage and our family when we play the blame game. It can be quite serious. We are supposed to be on the same team. We are supposed to be cheering one another on and then comforting each other when we fall. Tearing each other down and pointing the finger only weakens ourselves. Here are some important concepts to remember next time you’re tempted to play the blame game:

1. We are all sinners and failures at some point. 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

2. We are one flesh, so blaming and tearing down our spouse is like doing it to ourselves.

So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6

3. Blaming your man is not respectful.

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

4. Pointing out your husband’s failures is not loving.

And so train the young women to love their husbands and children…” Titus 2:4

5. The blame game is bad for everyone in the home, including the children. It tears the home down and makes it weaker instead of stronger.

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” Proverbs 14:1

 

Instead of being one of those wives who is constantly pointing out where your husband is to blame for the problems you face, why not try being his helpmeet? The perfect helper wouldn’t point out the mistakes and assign blame, but rather comes alongside and helps pick up the pieces. She makes him look better – not worse. She ministers to him when he is disappointed in himself. She shares the burden, not passes it. She edifies him with her words and actions. This is the kind of wife I long to be. Praise the Lord that He continues to teach us.

 

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She Makes Him Look Good!

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“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4

Hunny, you can make that man of yours look good or you can bring him down. All of us wives have the power to be a crown to our husbands, bringing them honor, or to bring them shame. It’s as simple as that. Each one of us must decide each day whether or not we will obey the Lord and be a crown to our husbands.

There is something special about a virtuous woman who is dedicated to making her husband look good. She shows her commitment to her man in the words of her mouth, the way that she behaves and the consistency of her choices. I wish I could say that I have been this virtuous everyday of my marriage, but that wouldn’t be true. I’ve certainly struggled in this area, but God isn’t finished with me yet, amen? He continues to perfect in me what is clearly imperfect and to help me to make better choices each day that passes. So what does this virtuous woman do and say to become that stunning crown for her husband?

What to say?

* Uplifting and encouraging words

* Speak of love, honor and respect

* Build him up, in public and in private

* Refrain from criticizing him in front of others

* Never gossip about your husband

* Thank him for what he does

* Pray for him often and fervently

* Remind him that you are his #1 fan

* Let the law of kindness and grace dwell ever on your tongue

What to do?

* Give affection

* Serve willingly

* Follow where he leads

* Help him as he follows the Lord

* Make him a priority

* Care for his needs

* Nurture the sexual relationship

* Never turn your back on him

If everything we do and say is with the motivation of being a crown to our husbands, we will see them walking in honor, with their heads held high. It isn’t about inflating one’s pride in self, but rather reminding our man that he has a wife who loves him, respects him, desires good for him and will always be at his side through good and bad times. A man with a wife like this can face the world with confidence. He feels blessed by the Lord. Others will notice this man and wonder what it is he has going for him that gives him such peace and confidence. He has the Lord Jesus Christ and he has a wife who loves God and loves him. What a blessing indeed!!

Even if your husband isn’t walking with the Lord, being a crown to him is a wonderful witness. A man who doesn’t know the Lord will be so in awe of a woman who treats him so well and he will wonder why she does what she does. The truth is, it doesn’t really matter who your husband is or whether or not he is worthy of any honor or respect. God tells us that we can make our husbands look so good by following the Word of God, being virtuous and by honoring our husbands with our whole hearts.

Let’s do this sisters. Let’s choose to be a crown to our men. Let’s bring them honor and not shame!

 

photo credit: pedrosimoes7 via photopin <a

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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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Covering Our Sins

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

Covering our sins leads to failure, but confessing our sin leads to mercy. It’s funny that so often we refuse to see or acknowledge sin in our lives. We think that by ignoring it, keeping it a secret and pretending it just isn’t there we can get by. We think we can fool God. It seems that this vain attempt only makes us the fool. I’ve been that fool many times.  I thought that by covering up my sins, and not allowing others to see what I was struggling with, that I would escape consequences and correction from the Lord. I would be filled with conviction, but still unwilling to face it.

Thank the Lord that He is loving, patient and full of mercy. All we have to do to shed those heavy weights of guilt and shame is to confess our sins, forsake them and prepare for a mercy shower. We hide in the dark and we suffer, but it is when we allow the Light to chase away our darkness that we find mercy, peace and forgiveness. Oh, we torture ourselves so! We suffer needlessly! All we need to do is confess and turn from our sins and it’ll be over. We receive the new mercies of the Lord, sweet and unwavering. We feel His presence renew our hope!

As women, we love to talk. We talk about this and that. We love to share about our emotions and our thoughts and our opinions. We chat with our husbands, our friends and sometimes even strangers! Yet when it comes to confessing sin, we tend to leave that one alone. We talk about the weather before we admit we’ve been struggling with a sin issue. Ultimately every one of us wants to be thought well-of by our friends. We are afraid of being judged and looked down upon. Yet, we know from reading God’s Word that no one is without sin…including that one lady at church who just seems to have it all together! She’s fallen short of the glory of God too sisters! It’s just the way it is.

Now I’m not saying we have to confess everything to our friends or family. We can confess our sins directly to Jesus to receive forgiveness. What I am saying is that the New Testament church and the epistles tell us that confessing to one another and praying for one another in areas of sin struggle is a good thing. There is something about confessing that secret, dark sin that causes it to lose it’s grip on you. We let the light expose the darkness and the darkness hides! We also are able to help one another to walk through areas of struggle. We can be accountable to one another. We can bear each other’s burdens.

Sisters, we are a family in the Lord. We are called to help one another grow in Him. Let us no longer keep our sins covered, but rather confess, be transparent, forsake our sin and allow the mercy of the Lord to heal our brokenness. He wants to bless us. He wants us to do well. He wants us to confess so that the chains fall off and we are free. Do it now. Don’t wait. God bless!

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We Need Trials and Tribulation

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:1-5

Yes! I have a flat tire on my car. Yay! My house is infested with termites. Fantastic! I’ve just been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition. Yippee! I am behind on my housework, late on a deadline and can’t cover all the bills this month. Thank You Lord for these trials.

I have always found this passage in Romans 5 to be very convicting and also challenging. Throughout my life it has seemed my family (both as a child and now my own family unit) have struggled with many trials. They come often and they come like an avalanche. They hit hard and they keep on hitting. Struggles with finance, health, family relationships and more have been numerous and often bringing an overload of strong emotions for an emotional lady like me. I can say with honesty that my emotional response to the trials that come is rarely joy and thanksgiving. I can truthfully say this is an area I’ve failed in time and time again. Yet, I know that the Lord would not have commanded me to do something that was beyond my capability.

Do you rejoice in trials? Do you thank the Lord for hardships and pain? Romans 5 tells us that we should in fact be grateful for those times when our faith is tested. The trials we face produce in us perseverance or patience. Without these trials its hard to grow in this area. How do you develop patience without have your patience tested? Have you ever met a person with very little patience for others? They snap when someone makes a mistake. Think of the mother in the grocery store with her toddler. When the kid messes around, like kids are prone to do, the mother has no patience to deal with the child in an appropriate way but rather screams at him, slaps him upside the back of the head and shoots others dirty looks for gawking at the scene she’s making. If there is one fruit of the Spirit we need as mothers, and wives, it’s patience! We need it to serve our families and our church family. We need it to serve the lost. I cry out for the Lord to give me patience, and to answer that prayer, He gives me a trial to test my patience. So we thank God that He is working.

Patience creates character. Think about the good and upstanding character of the Proverbs 31 woman. We love to look at her example. She has such an honorable character.  It takes patience for a woman to have that kind of character. You know these women when you meet them. They are prudent, wise and kind. They are slow to anger and quick to love. Patience brings about a beautiful and virtuous character in a woman of God; the kind of character that bring her husband and children to rise up and call her blessed.

Character produces hope and hope doesn’t disappoint. Hope. This small word means so much. You see, hope isn’t a flimsy wish or unreliable dream. Hope is so much more. Hope is a joyful expectation of the goodness to come. Hope is strong and steadfast. Hope is knowing that Christ is coming back. Hope is knowing that these trials are but for a moment, but eternity with God is our future. Hope trumps the pain and suffering we experience. We can get through the worst of trials if we are filled with the unwavering hope of Jesus Christ.

You see, we need hope because the trials aren’t likely to stop coming. The bills will come each month. The cars, like our own bodies, will break down and fail us. The kids will test us often. We know trials are coming. What we need to recognize is that for us to develop as God’s daughters we need trials. We need them so that we can grow in patience, character and glorious hope. While I may not feel now that I can rejoice in tribulations, I have the Holy Spirit within me and with God ALL things are possible. Amen!

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