Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:4-5

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Duck! So God can Reach Your Man!

Last night I read a different (and convicting) twist on that dreaded word, SUBMISSION, in the book Capturing His Heart.
I have a strong personality. Head strong is probably an accurate description. I like to be in control. I am a mess when things get out of my control. It is simply how I am wired and it is an area I have really had to work on A LOT in our marriage. Submission is something I struggle with (as all women who are honest do). Being married to a sinner saved by grace is not an easy task! Just because you are saved does not make you perfect. Sometimes it is just hard to submit to a less than perfect person who just can't seem to do things how I expect/want them done! Major exaggeration going on....but still if we are honest, we have all had these thoughts! 
But what is the reality of submission? It is letting go of the reigns and handing them to God and our  husbands and saying....ok! I am not supposed to be in charge. 
What am I saying? Stop trying to fix all of your husbands problems. If he isn't as perfect as you would have him to be then duck out of the way so God can touch him and make him the man God desires him to be! 
What does this entail? Quit pointing out his failures and flaws spiritually and otherwise. Instead, duck out of the way...fall to your knees and pray! Pray for your husband! Pray that God would continue to mould and shape him into the man of your dreams or better yet a man after God's heart! Let God point out the areas he needs to work on!
This is a lesson learned for me. And one I need to work on daily! 
Submission does not mean letting your husband take advantage of you or treat you as some slave. Nope, submission is simply allowing your husband to be the leader and head of your home, and you stepping aside so God can direct his life! 
Let's determine to start today! Find moments to "duck out of the way" and pray for your husband so God can make him and your marriage great! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

If Only My Husband Would Change!

Oh, how I could relate to these first two chapters of these books! Somehow I really think God directed me to these two books instead of simply stumbling across them on Amazon! 

How many times do we think to ourselves...."If only my husband could see how he needs to improve or change! My life and our relationship would be so much better!" I have been there! I have thought those exact words! Or how about the times when our emotional state is determined by whether or not we are getting along with our husbands? Yup! I can raise both hands high on that one! 
But what is the truth? What is the solution to both of these problems?

When our emotional state is dictated by whether or not our relationship with our husbands is going well then we are allowing our husbands to be our "god." Yup....I never saw this before, but can say I have been guilty of such. If God is truly number one in our lives then it won't matter if things are going great or if we have some things we need to work through with our Hubby's. Our peace should rest in the approval of Christ and Him alone. The main question is, who are we living for? We ought to be living for Christ and not our husband. If we are living for Christ, and things are not perfect between us and our husbands, then we can still be at peace knowing we can work through it and be ok! Yeah, easy to read and understand, but not always easy to live. The main point, instead of always thinking of ways our husbands need to change, lets turn the mirror around and look for ways we can change! Allow God to be God in your life. Live for Him! Build and grow your relationship with Him and know that God can carry you through the ups and downs of married life! 

Then came the next book and that first chapter. It seemed to just add on to the first book. 
Empathy. Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Putting ourselves in our husbands shoes! Trying to see life as he sees it! I know...not always easy! I could relate to her illustration! So, here is how things normally go in my world....Drew is at work all day long, and I am home with the kids. He comes home and I have been anticipating his arrival all day! He walks in the door, exhausted! The only things on his mind are food, and sleep! But what welcomes him? A super chatty wife, excited and busy children, and a list of things he needs to get done at home. No wonder he walks in the door sometimes and he finds a quiet spot and can be a little gruff! I haven't been thinking of him and his needs! Instead I am thinking of my own. I will admit, I get selfish when he comes home and secludes himself. I wish I could do the same thing sometimes! But that is not my reality at the moment. Sometimes I even think critically of my husband. 
All of this is not right! We need to lift up our husbands and think well of them. Let them have some space when they need it. Provide that space if possible. Don't grumble and complain when they do stuff that drives you nuts (like leave messes around the house or forget to fix something). Their brains are wired differently than ours. 
Try to understand your husband and serve him! 
When we are tempted to think on our husbands shortcomings and failures, we need to instead be reminded of their strengths and the reasons we are thankful for them! 
I know! So much homework! Being married to a man is not an easy task! But when we have a close relationship with God and we work on areas in our own lives and change to be better wives, we will reap the benefits of a great relationship with the man we love! 

On the side....

As I am realizing that amazingly ten years has gone by since I met my husband, I have found two books that I am also going through in addition to reading through my Bible. My goal: to be a better wife and understand the heart of my husband more. He is a complicated creature...ok, maybe not...but still, with our differences I don't understand him often and this leads to frustration for both of us. The two books I am gojng through are simple, straightforward, and laid out in such a way that it is easy to read a chapter (both of which are short) and munch on something each day. 
The books:
Capture His Heart
    by Lisa Terkeurst
Buried Treasure: Revealing Your Husband as the Man of Your Dreams. 
    by Leslie Monroe

Will probably be writing little blurbs on things I learn as I go. :) 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Sad Reality of Sin: The Story of David and Bathsheba.

As I have been going along in my reading of the life of David, a theme has taken shape. Here is a man after God's own heart who is seeking God daily, as you can read in his Psalms. You see him in 1-2 Samual and in the Chronicles as God goes before him and he has many victories in the face of opposition. 
David's story is not of some "holier than thou" man. David's story is about a man who still struggles with anger, lust, and the sins of men, but through it all he loves and follows his God...the One True God.
I have been challenged through this time to be a woman after God's heart and to seek His heart daily. I fail, but with God's help I get back up and continue on this journey! 

So, back to David's story. 
It was spring. David sent all his men and servents to battle. The text says ALL Israel. Instead of going along, David lingered and stayed behind in Jerusalem. The text does not say why, but he did. And I am sure it is a decision he later came to regret. David, the King, was not where he should have been. Instead, he was in Jerusalem, and went up to the rooftop. There he saw her. Bathing. He lingered. He looked. She was beautiful. 
Now, some might ask...why was she able to be seen by David? Was it her fault for not being more careful? I would argue that it seems, according to the text, that all the men of Israel were off to battle, except David. The text does not say she is naked, or unclothed in anyway. It says she was bathing. And a couple verses later it mentions she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness. David obviously looked enough to notice she was very beautiful and desired her. 
Unfortunately, David did not stop there. He inquired about her. He found out she was the wife of Uriah. That still did not stop David. Knowing Uriah was off to battle (where he clearly should have been), he took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. 
Does this mean she also committed sin? This is clearly where it seems a little fuzzy. You need to remember, David was the King. The most powerful man at the time. She may have come to him simply because of who he was. We don't know. Did she even have an option in the situation? It sounds like David was in charge of the situation according to the text. What are your thoughts? Was Bathsheba raped? Or was she also at fault? In my opinion, according to the text, it sounds like David took advantage of a situation and Bathsheba (because of who David was) was powerless. She could not call for help. Who could help her apart from God? 
Either way, Bathsheba later sent word to David that she was pregnant. In that moment, his act of sin became bigger than he first imagined, and then he tried to cover it up. 
David had Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, put on the front lines of battle, then set him up to be killed. Of course, it worked. And some of King David's servents also lost their lives as a result. When word got back to Bathsheba she mourned. This alone tells me she deeply loved her husband. Possible proof she did not have any control when it came to David's actions towards her. David then took Bathsheba as his wife. 
The last words of 2 Samual 11 are these: "But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord."

So, what can we learn from this low point in the life of David? Sin is powerful. Even those close to God are not immune to sin's power. We need to be sure we do not get lazy and allow ourselves to be tempted. We need to make sure we are always right where God would have us. But most importantly, even in the midst of our darkest days, God can turn ashes into beauty. If you know the rest of the story of Bathsheba and David you know that God did not give up on David's life (or Bathsheba's). But that is for another day. 

Strive today to be in your place, where God would have you to be. Keep your eyes on Him. Follow Him. Stay close to His Word! Seek the heart of God daily! Make wise choices. It only took one choice in David's life to alter the lives of many. He chose to stay behind. He chose to go to the rooftop. He chose to look and linger. He chose to act. 
Choose to follow God alone. 
What are your thoughts on the story of David and Bathsheba? 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Abigail - A Woman of Strength, Wisdom, and Beauty

Abigail's story begins in 1 Samuel 25. She is the wife of Nabal. She is described as being discerning and beautiful, but her husband is described as being harsh and badly behaved. Such a contrast! But we can see God had a plan.
Nabal was very wealthy. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. One day Nabal was in Carmel shearing his sheep. While David was in the wilderness, (still on the run from Saul because Saul wanted to take his life) he sent ten young men to Nabal asking him to find favor in his sight for them because previously David's men had done no harm to Nabal's shepherds. When the ten young men of David came to Nabal, Nabal refused to help them or give them anything of his. 
When the ten young men came back to David and gave him the report of Nabal's response, David became angry and prepared them to go and take what they wanted from Nabal by force. 
But one of the young men reported all this back to Abigail, Nabal's wife. Being a discerning woman, she decided to be strong, and bold, and do something to make things right. 
"Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys. And she said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I come after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. And as she rode on the donkey and came down under cover of the mountain, behold, David and his men came down toward her, and she met them." 1Samuel 25:18-20
Abigail fell down before David and pleaded with him to not act violently against her husband, but instead to place her husbands guilt on herself. She gave him the gift mentioned, and then asked for forgiveness on the part of David. Obviously, this wife respected her husband regardless of his behavior and harshness towards others. She was a loyal and a committed wife regardless of the kind of man she married. So much so, that she was willing to take the blame for her husbands actions! How many of us are that committed to our husbands? 
Well, David blessed Abigail for her discretion and for her committment to her husband. Not only did her actions save her home and her husband, but it also saved David from committing a sin against God and the house of Nabal. God used Abigail to prevent more wrong from being done. Abigail was willing to be used and was bold in her committment. 
After Abigail was sent back home by David, she finds her husband holding a huge feast like that of a king. He was drunk, so she waited till the morning before she told him what she had done. 
The next morning, when he was sober, she told him what she had done. The Bible says his heart died within him and he became as stone, then ten days later the Lord struck him and he died. 
David, upon hearing of Nabal's death, says:
Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. The Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head.”
Thanks to Abigail's actions, David did not do anything wrong against Nabal and his house. Abigail made an impression on David, so he sought after her and took her as his wife. He saw firsthand how committed she was as a wife to Nabal. He knew he could safely trust in her. 

Are we as committed to our husband, no matter what negetive qualities he may possess? Do we posess these qualities of discernment or wisdom that Abigail possessed? It takes boldness and courage to be strong in this way and to fight for our families. Does that mean that when our husband makes mistakes that we ought to cover for him? Not necessarily. (In the case of serious issues like abuse...definitely seek out help for the sake of you and your family. Seeking help when needing is still being committed to our families and our husbands) That is where wisdom comes to play. God took care of Nabal. He had to pay the consequences for his actions and behavior. As wives we are instructed to follow our husbands and when we married our husbands we committed ourselves to him and our family. Let us strive to be committed wives, and loyal wives to our husbands and families! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

What Consume's Our Hearts Does Matter!

Jealousy. Hatred in your heart towards another person. These kinds of feelings/emotions/attitudes will corrupt you! Reading/studying today in 1 Samuel 18-20 you get a very clear picture of Saul's heart. His jealousy and hatred toward David is clear. Understanding the outcome of having a wicked heart is vital! Because of the wickedness already lurking in Saul's heart God allows an evil spirit to come over Saul numerous times. Reading this may seem odd because it almost sounds like the evil came from God himself. But when you study it out, you will see that the evil was already lurking in the shadows of Saul's heart. God allowed the evil to take over. Just as God allowed the flood back in Genesis as a punishment for the wickedness that was prevalent in the world, God allowed the evil spirit to consume Saul's heart. 

David was the target. Why? Maybe because Satan knew this as the line of Christ! David was a man after God's own heart! So, how can we apply this to our lives? Put away jealousy, hatred toward another person, and all wickedness! Do not allow these things to consume you as Saul did! Instead, strive to be a woman after God's heart! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hannah's Prayer

We have all been there. At a place where our situations are so great and so overwhelming and so out of our control that we are left defeated and bowed at the feet of the only One who is in control and who is greater than our situation. Whether that is due to a sickness or death of a loved one, a job  situation, a wayward friend or loved one, a longing for something, or any sort of upcoming life change we have all come to the feet of Jesus, pouring out our hearts, crying out to the One who is over it all. 
Hannah is remembered for one such time. Hannah was one of two wives of Elkanah. His other wife, Peninnah, had children. It is not clear how many, but she was a fruitful woman and had many sons and daughters. Every year when Elkanah would go up to the Temple to sacrifice and worship he would give portions to Peninnah and her children and to Hannah he would give a double portion because he loved her. Peninnah was a jealous woman. So she would provoke Hannah grievously trying to irritate her because Hannah could not have children. The Bible mentions that this would happen year after year! Can you imagine? I know many women who have struggled to have children. I can't imagine the agony that this would have caused Hannah on top of being barren. I can only imagine the thoughts that were going through her mind. Feeling like a failure as a woman for not being able to have a child. We need to be careful as women to watch our tongues. Peninnah is only known for having a cutting and biting tongue. 
Hannah had a burden so great she would not eat or drink and it brought her to tears. Her husband tried to console her, but Hannah rose and went to the Temple. She sat right outside the door to the Temple and prayed to God and wept bitterly! Here was a woman completely broken after so many years of putting up with Peninnah's cutting words and so many years of not being able to give birth to a child. Knowing the Holy Spirit dwelt in the Temple during this time, she went as close as she possibly could to the feet of God and poured her heart out to Him in prayer. 
And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
Hannah made a promise to God. And she continued to pray. She was so caught up in her prayer to God that Eli, the priest, came and saw her eyes closed and lips moving but not uttering a sound and he thought she was drunk! He commanded her to give up her wine! But she answered Eli and told him that she was not drunk, but rather a woman troubled in spirit who was pouring her soul out to the Lord.
Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
Hannah found peace and comfort at the feet of her Lord. She was able to eat and drink. She had given her burden to God and she knew everything was going to turn out ok. 
So, what happened to Hannah? Well, the next morning they woke up early and worshipped before the Lord, then when they came home, Hannah and Elkanah loved each other and she conceived and in due time gave birth to a son who she named Samuel. 
I do not know what burden you are carrying around today, but I know the God who does! I know the God who can take your burden and carry it upon His shoulders for you! I know the God who is in control of every circumstance and situation you might be facing! I know the God who is strong enough to give you peace through the hardest of hardships! 
My God says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30
Fall at the feet of the one who can carry your burden today! Let us be like Hannah and bring our cares to Christ daily! Let us be remembered as prayer warriors, just as Hannah is remembered. If you want a closer relationship with your creator you need to communicate with Christ daily!