THE ROLE OF THE WIFE

Two institutions on earth that are to personify God and His relationship with us are found in the Christian congregation and the institution of marriage. All that is good and pure are to be contained therein. Yesterday I spoke about the husband in marriage and today we look at the wife’s relationships with her husband. It is important to note here again that God’s Word does not affirm this same relationship between two men or two women no matter what a ‘politically correct’ society or ‘constitutional guarantee’ a human court may decide.

The relationship between a husband and wife from the time before Christ was to be exclusive. Solomon in all his wisdom used very vivid language in speaking  of this mutual faithfulness in Proverbs 5:15-20. In this exclusive relationship their is to be not only emotional and spiritual satisfaction but fulfillment of a physical relationship as well. Marriage is blessed when this complete relationship is in place and through marriage we can then better understand what it is to be in a complete relationship with our Lord and Savior.

As stated before this relationship is to be mutually exclusive. Again between one man and one woman as we see recorded in the words of Paul found in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. Paul here speaks of celibacy during prayer and fasting. It should be noted there is no provision for celibacy at all  times as it leads to a great many problems. Only those times when devotion to the Lord is in place is it acceptable in a marriage.

Finally, it should be noted the Bible encourages sexual fulfillment but it is to be an undefiled relationship (Hebrews 13:4). The Bible does not condone promiscuity which we sadly see 24/7 on television and in the news. It is today more difficult yet evermore necessary we understand THE ROLE OF THE WIFE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Wives should welcome husbands according to the will of God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 “wife relationship to husband is to be mutually agreeable”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord speak to the hearts of Christian women and men to give them understanding.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  How do you understand the role of a wife?
  2.  What does it mean to be in a complete relationship with our Lord and Savior?
  3.  What does it mean to be in a complete relationship with your husband or wife?
  4.  How can we protect Christian homes from a society without a moral foundation?

THE ROLE OF A HUSBAND

The more I look into Scripture the less politically correct I find myself to be. Not only that but this world grows more distant as I understand God’s plan for our eternal home. I say this because of how this world looks at marriage (among many other matters) and the role of the husband and wife.

Today we will look at the duties of a husband toward his wife. Duties that many men have in one way or another given up performing.

First and foremost is the husband is to love his wife with the same intimacy as Christ loves His church (Ephesians 5:28). Christ gave His all for the church and so should a husband for his wife. Sadly, oftentimes that is not how men and women understand the marital relationship.

A husband is also to honor his wife (1 Peter 3:7) uplifting her before others. To speak well of her when others may speak ill of their wives and mothers of their children. An honorable and loving marriage is a marriage made in Heaven.

Traditionally a man is also the provider for his wife and children if any. In today’s society that role is often minimized or turned around with the end result sacrifices being made by children and even the marriage itself not being fully functional as God intended.

One role of the husband I will always believe is uppermost in a marriage is to be the spiritual head and advisor. Sadly this is where most husbands and fathers fail and we see the effect of it across the entire spectrum of our society. As the world grows ever more secular and self-centered husbands, save for those coming from Christian homes, have been visibly absent in the role God intended for them. All this and more is THE ROLE OF A HUSBAND.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: A wise husband will live in marriage the way God intended.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Ephesians 5:25 “husbands love your wives”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me to be the husband or wife you desire of me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How does Christ’s love for the church compare to a husband’s love for His wife?
  2. Why is the role of mother and wife no longer honored as a vocation such as it once was?
  3. How have other institutions taken over the role of motherhood?
  4. How have husbands given up their spiritual responsibilities in a marriage or family setting?

THE MESSAGE OF THE WHIRLWIND

Many of us have perhaps seen small whirlwinds that spring up at a moments notice running across a field or yard. They are a small version of a much larger and more dangerous tornado that some seem to enjoy chasing. Few perhaps know that Elijah’s translation (change from earthly form to eternal) was done by a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:1). Somewhat reminiscent of Dorothy’s experience in the movie ‘Wizard of Oz’ but in the case of Elijah an actual event.

The use of these winds or great storms are Biblical. The prophet Isaiah speaks of how God will use them in rebuilding nations (Isaiah 17:13) and as we know from the experience of tornadoes and hurricanes they bring sudden destruction (Proverbs 1:27).

As long as their is evil in the world (until Christ’s return) their will be whirlwinds of one sort or another. They are a method by which God shows His anger (Jeremiah 23:19) and His might (Nahum 1:3). All of creation, including its various weather patterns, is of and from God able to be used in furthering His righteousness and the sanctification of His people. Great storms, I believe, are meant to help us better understand this. That is THE MESSAGE OF THE WHIRLWIND.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Whirlwinds are often God’s way of warning the wicked.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Isaiah 17:13 “whirlwinds show God’s fury”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord protect me from Your fury.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. What fascinates people about whirlwinds, tornadoes and hurricanes?

2. Have you experienced any form of a whirlwind?

3. How can a whirlwind correct evil behavior?

4. Why do seemingly good people also experience destruction by whirlwinds?

THE WILL OF GOD

Going through life it is important we understand God’s frame of mind or intention as our Creator and the principle answer is our salvation (2 Peter 3:9). As Christ shared in John 6:40 that all believing in Jesus Christ have eternal life. As harsh as some may say it sounds salvation does not come from belief in allah, budha or any number of other gods (small g). Free will lets you believe in who you wish but my experience with God’s Word (the Bible) does not allow me to deviate from its contents nor does it allow me to hate the person who believes otherwise.

God’s will also is that we give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Even in difficulties or hardships there is that proverbial ‘silver lining’. In fact when we communicate with God the first thought should be on thankfulness and not on some request that meets a need for that moment.

Finally the will of God is for our sanctification. That we grow in holiness according to His Word. It is pleasant and easy to imagine an eternity with others who are of the same spirit.

Some may wonder if we can know the mind of God. We see in Romans 2:18 that it is revealed especially when we see His wrath against that which is ungodly. God as sovereign over nations and individuals (Daniel 4:35) is seen, I believe, daily. We may choose to not understand it but God’s authority over this world is clear. Today we need to be prepared to fulfill THE WILL OF GOD.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: It would be wise for the ways of man to fulfill the will of God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 2 Peter 3:9 “the will of God is our salvation”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire to fulfill Your will for me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  Is your life fulfilling the will of God?
  2.  How do we find union with God’s omniscience?
  3.  Why do some say their is no difference between the God of the Bible and other gods?
  4.  How is the God of the Bible different from other gods?

 

A LIVING SACRIFICE TO GOD

Wheat has always fascinated me. The reason is its ties to Scripture and also my German from Russia cultural background. Numerous articles and artifacts exist showing the story of Hard Red Winter Wheat brought here by my ancestors and its effect on American culture, food and so much more.

Spiritually this life giving cereal was first grown in Egypt as shown in Exodus 9:32 and later incorporated into the spiritual life of Israel. In that regard it is good for us to understand how it has been spoken of in Scripture.

It is important here to note that a companion plant called zonin looks like wheat in its early stages but ultimately ends up being exposed as a weed. That is the message for Christians in Matthew 13:25. Like wheat we will likely go through a process of sifting (trials and temptations) in which the weed seeds and the chaff will be cast aside and eventually destroyed. Christ Himself referenced this in Luke 22:31. Wheat planted as a naked kernel grows in righteousness to be harvested by the great reaper Christ Jesus.

Christ references His death (John 12:24) as like unto that grain of wheat. Unless it is first planted into the ground as one day we will be upon our deaths, we will not be able to experience Resurrection save for the rapture upon Christ’s return or sooner depending on your viewpoint. That being said Wheat was the primary grain offered at the temple in worship to God. So should it be that we now offer our own lives as LIVING SACRIFICES TO GOD.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Waiting on the Lord enriches our life like a grain of wheat.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 3:12 “”Wheat is figurative of being a Christian”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire to be tested and found not wanting.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. What does it mean to be a living sacrifice to God?

2. How are Christians symbolic of wheat?

3. What is zonin?

4. What is the history of wheat especially in its transition coming into the United States?

THE TRUTH ABOUT WAR

Armed conflict between nations (war) will be ever present in this world. That is not to say we should not strive for peace but as long as their are some who do not receive the peace of Jesus it is impossible.

War is caused by sin which begins with conflict within each of us (James 4:1). Human nature is sinful and so natural progression would lead one to conclude that flawed leaders especially from non-God fearing governments would test others often leading to major conflicts.

War when all is said and done is really against the rulers and spiritual forces of evil. Unseen agents of the primary adversary satan and his minions who attack each of us just as he did Christ (Matthew 4:1). Forces that can be fought off only by the spiritual weapons listed in Ephesians 6:13. In fact until mankind understands the Jewish concept of Shalom (God’s peace within us) there will be hostilities. For peace within us through God’s presence is where peace begins. Indeed peace is not just the absence of war but living in holiness guided by God at our center.

This peace we can find for ourselves today. Peace in the world is another matter. That will arrive with Christ’s return and the subsequent downfall of satan. That is THE TRUTH ABOUT WAR.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: War is often waged first and foremost within the heart of mankind.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: James 4:1 “war comes from sin within”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord we seek Your peace.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. How do armed conflicts, past and present, reflect the absence of the God of the Bible within individuals?

2. What in human nature leads to greater conflicts?

3. Explain Shalom?

4. Is God your center?

 

ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS

Each waking day we are in a battle. The battle is against the world, satan and our own flesh. The great majority of the world fall in defeat dying to a death they do not understand.

One of my favorite hymns is Onward Christian Soldiers. I never truly understood it until I put it together with the verses found in Ephesians 6:10-17. As Christians if we stand strong in our faith we have already won the victory. In WWII it was symbolic of capturing Berlin and papers proclaimed in their headlines ‘Victory in Europe’. For Christians it is our taking captive the knowledge of God and the headline reads ‘Salvation’.

To win this fight in faith each day we put on the Armor of God. Each day we fight not with sword but with: truth, righteousness, the Good News, trust, salvation, the Spirit and prayer. The spiritual forces of evil cannot withstand this weaponry. We see these battles fought daily when truth destroys lies, the Bible continues to be referenced where evil flourishes or when prayer heals. This and so much more.

Paul charged Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:18 to “wage the good war”. Many try to do this using the mind alone. That will have its conquest but overwhelming victory comes when the heart and Spirit are a part of the battle plan. Now it is time for us to go into battle. ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Spiritual weapons are necessary as we wage war against the world, the devil and our own flesh.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Ephesians 6:10-17 “the armor of God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord clothe me with Your armor.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are the smaller battle fronts we face each day that the world, satan and our flesh present us?
  2. How do we see the spiritual forces of evil responding to the weapons of God in today’s world?
  3. How do faith, the Holy Spirit and the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17) give us victory?
  4. Do you have a battle plan for life?

THE TRANSFIGURATION

One of the key events in the life of Christ during his time with us on earth was his transfiguration. The change in appearance was in the presence of his elect of the elect: Peter, James and brother John (Sons of Thunder). Also on the Mount of Transfiguration were Moses who had died 1500 years earlier and Elijah who had been gone 900 years. It is believed this event occurred on Mt. Herman for various reasons and was a time when the true divine nature of Christ was to be shown with the effects not unlike Moses was seen to have when coming down from Mt. Sinai after having communicated personally with God. This transfiguration is what we in a very real sense experience partially when we take on the Holy Spirit into our very essence to guide our lives. What we would call being born again.

The transfiguration left us with many spiritual lessons including that it occurred while Christ was praying we are told in one of the texts. Christ as our example shows us that a simpler life is one that is more responsive to what I believe God desires for us. In fact I believe with our many schedules and desires that it is near impossible to walk in the footsteps of Christ. Perhaps this time of year we can resolve to focus more on the truth of Scripture shown through the life of Christ and less on the commercial aspects that secular society desire we get wrapped up in.

The key takeaway from this event for each of  us I believe is that we need to be daily in the transfiguration. That is to say that we need to be in communication with God every moment possible and allow His presence through the Holy Spirit to guide our lives. We too can then be transfigured to the extent this life allows until one day we will be totally transformed into the image God would want for us for all eternity.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The transfiguration turns us toward God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Matthew 17:1-13 “the transfiguration story”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord transform me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. Why were Peter, James and John considered the elect of the elect?

2. How do we show Christ’s radiation through our lives today?

3. What do we know of God’s presence at Christ’s transfiguration?

4. What is Shekinah and how relate to this text?

THE BATTLE PLAN TO WIN AT SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Each of us are in a personal battle far more deadly than any conflict ever fought in this world. It is the battle for our spirit which has eternal implications. There are four opposing armies that have united against we who claim the cross of Christ beginning with the world around us. James 4:4 tells us clearly that “whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God”. The battle begins with our own flesh and its natural (human nature born in sin) desires as explained in 1 Peter 4:1-4. Conquer the flesh and you can conquer the world.

The one to be most vigilant of in these battles is the devil (1 Peter 5:8) who at any moment is ready to attack along with what Ephesians call the spiritual hosts (demonic forces) of wickedness. It is no wonder, knowing this, that so many fall in this spiritual warfare battle. With each breath a new battle confronts us and only through the presence of the Holy Spirit within us are we able to continue to win.

Key in the battle is God’s armor (Ephesians 6:10-17) which we must put on each day and with it carry the only sword that can bring down our enemy which is the Word of God (vs. 17). We can all carry in our pockets the battle plan that will not allow us to be defeated. A promise of victory from and through Christ Who has conquered all (John 16:33).

Until our personal battles are over it is advisable we avoid worldly entanglements (2 Timothy 2:4) which will mean that we must often deny ourselves as Paul experienced (1 Corinthians 9:27). We must be always alert (1 Corinthians 16:13) and continue in prayer (Ephesians 6:18). This is THE BATTLE PLAN TO WIN AT SPIRITUAL WARFARE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: We must never worry when we do battle on the fronts of spiritual warfare.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 16:33 “Christ’s promise of conquest”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord with You at my side I am ready to do battle.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What spiritual warfare battles are you fighting?
  2. Are you in prayer each day?
  3. Do you seek other prayer warriors to fight at your side?
  4. What is your battle plan?

GOD HAS A PLAN FOR EACH OF US

One of societies problems is lustful behavior or a sense of ‘wantonness’. Some who feel they lack what others have and which they also desire so they begin not to just want it but even lust after it.

The cause for this begins with people being hasty to receive (Proverbs 21:5) that which with diligent effort and time they might acquire in an honest way. Sadly a society that seems focused on instant gratification does not leave much room for patience.

To this we add greed which often leads to oppression (Proverbs 22:16) and then you compound the problem. Inequality, most especially when Christian faith is no longer a part of the equation, creates the issues we face today that can literally tear a society apart. Out of this you have many who now feel society and life owes them something and so sloth or laziness sets in (Proverbs 24:30-34) and you bankrupt not only a nation through an entitlement mind set but you begin to destroy the very soul of the people who make up this world. Certainly far from what God created.

This type of world that Paul writes of in Romans 13:13 is unbecoming to a Christian and furthers that which satan desires. Sadly the Christian church through preaching doctrinal error has often encouraged this adding to the problem rather than helping to provide a cure. It is time we recall one of Scriptures most quoted verses which is that “the Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). Indeed GOD HAS A PLAN FOR EACH OF US. Let us wait on it with patience.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Want often causes us to wage warfare rather than to wait on the Lord.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Psalm 23:1 “trusting the Lord protects against want”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I wait on You patiently.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  How does society further a sense of want through the idea of instant gratification?
  2.  How does greed lead to oppression?
  3.  How does greed and lessened faith tear a society apart?
  4.  How has church doctrinal error added to the problem of want?