Chastisement, Correction or Testing?

“Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: for He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He woundeth, and His hands make whole.” Job 5:17-18 (KJV)

These words are from the first speech of Eliphaz the Temanite; one of Job’s three friends who had heard of Job’s plight, and came to comfort and encourage him. They had sat with him for seven days in silence, never saying a word. Maybe they should have remained silent; but that was not to be.

The words of the verses above are true. It is a blessed, a happy thing to know that God chastens those He loves (Hebrews 12:7-8). However, Job was not being chastised for any evil, any wrong he had done.

Job, nor his friends knew to the scene that had taken place in heaven. God was placing trust in Job, and his faith.

Remember when you are disciplined by the Lord that He loves you. That is a great encouragement. Let us also remember when it comes to the trials of another that silence is sometimes the best encouragement and comfort that we can give.

We are too prone to the fallacy of thinking that goodness never suffers; and evil always suffers.

We can be encouraged by the fact of knowing that when we err in sin, as one of His children, He chastens us; but all trials, and suffering are not the result of sin.

The answer is that in blessing and in pain rejoice in the LORD, and be a blessing to His name. Praise Him

Vengeance and Justice

“O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew Thyself.” Psalm 94:1 (KJV)

“I don’t get mad; I get even.”  A statement I have heard from others at time.  That thought is one of vengeance.

Our world cries out for justice.  We think of justice as being what is fair and just in payment for a crime that has been done.  We have seen that recently in conflicts where white police officers have killed young black men in the line of duty.  Justice is almost a war cry; and yet in their protest they are not doing justly themselves.

We long for justice; but we ought never take vengeance into our own hands.  We are prone to act with high emotion; especially anger; and when we are angry we sometimes act without thought.

The Bible tells us that “Vengeance is Gods”.  True justice also belongs to God; and in the final assessment justice will be done (Leviticus 19:18;  Deuteronomy 32:35; Isaiah 63:4;  Romans 12:19).

The Psalmist recognized to whom vengeance belonged.  In this day of darkness and evil as followers of Jesus Christ we too must acknowledge that justice and vengeance is God’s.  In too many cases we take vengeance when it is God’s to have.  Remember to “Love your neighbor as you do yourself” (Matthew 22:39).

Asked Again, and Again

“Why standest Thou afar off, O LORD? Why hidest Thou Thyself in times of trouble?” Psalm 10:1 (KJV)

It has been asked again and again, “Where was God on that day of despair?”  Maybe you are one who has asked the question.  Maybe, even like the Psalmist you asked God Himself; “Why are You so far away?  Why are You hiding Yourself in these times of trouble?”

I know that I  have.  God’s answer has always been, “I am right here in the midst of it.  Do you not see My mercy?  Do you not see My hand keeping harm at bay?”

Name a trouble or trial, and I can tell you He is right there in the midst of it.  He is holding you.  If it is a tragic event involving someone else He is there as well.

A very needful question to ask would be “Where was God on the day Jesus was crucified?”  After all Jesus was sinless, without spot or blemish.  He was there. He was displaying His grace; His love and His mercy for all human kind.  He was also displaying His judgment upon our sin upon His Son Jesus Christ.  He was not standing “afar off”; He was very near; fulfilling His Word.

He is right where you are as well.  Believe Him.  Trust Him today.

W4CL – Fruit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”  Galations 5:22-26 (KJV)

Paul gave us examples of the works of the flesh in the verses  preceding the above text.  They are the evidence of ungodliness.  Many of the works of the flesh have been seen in professing Christians; however they are the works of the flesh; and not of Christ.

The works of the flesh come from the heart and mind of unredeemed men and women.  It can be the old left overs of one’s past life, and the Christian must put them to death.  The Christian will produce the Fruit of the Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Notice the fruit –  “Love, joy, peace”  The three go together; you cannot separate peace from love or joy, nor joy from peace and love; nor love from joy and peace.  The peace of God which passes all understanding (Romans 5:1-2; Philippians 4:7).

“Longsuffering” that is basically patience, enduring faith in God, forbearance with others.

“Gentleness” equals moral goodness, integrity.  You are the same in your behavior when you are alone as  you are when you are with people.

“Goodness”  Upright in heart.

“Faith” having a conviction of the truth.

“Meekness”  not too many people desire to be meek; however that is a fruit of the Spirit.  Jesus said of the meek “They shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).  Jesus is a good example of meekness.  Knowing who He is, did not retaliate against those who hated Him; instead, He said, “Father, forgive them they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34).

“Temperance”  means self-control.  This begins with have a clear mind, clean heart, and life.  One cannot have self-control if they have the works of the flesh.  The works of the flesh are in control.

Walking in the Spirit gives the Christian freedom to walk with Jesus; free from condemnation, guilt, and fear.  The fruit of the Spirit is what comes from the Christian who is trusting the Lord.

In Christ Jesus you do bear the fruit of the Spirit.

Words for Christian Living – Not Your Own

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV)

Within the loving climate of the Corinthian Church there was sexual immorality.  Tolerance, love, and peace was the motive of their inaction toward this immorality.  While the name of Christ was blasphemed and the character of Christianity was mocked; the apostle Paul was calling for action.

Christian, our bodies do not belong to us.  We “Are bought with a price”; and that “price” was the precious blood of Jesus.  You and I are His.  Let us glorify God in our spirit and with our bodies.  We are God’s.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words for Christian Living 060913

“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”  1 Peter 4:8

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”  1 John 4:18

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”  Revelation 2:4  (KJV)

Evidence of a Dead Heart

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” 1 Peter 2:1-3

It is a certain fact that all men are dying.  There have been only two exceptions to this in Scripture, and those two were Enoch of Genesis 5:21-24; and Elijah of 2 Kings 2:9-11.  Even Jesus Christ died; and He did that for you and me; taking all the sins of the world upon Himself, taking the wrath and judgment of the Father; and we by faith are justified through faith in Him.

Paul the apostle says that the evidence of a new heart is bearing fruit, or the evidence,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law; and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.   If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”  Galations 5:22-26

It is a hard matter, but there are professing Christians who seek to do harm to their brethren, and that is malicious behavior.  Desiring the harm of another is “malice”, and comes from an evil heart.  Peter says that the Christian, follower of Jesus Christ is to lay these matters aside; and you could say “Put them off” entirely.  He includes “Guile” which would be scheming deception to achieve your own way, and or lying to protect you own skin.

The Christian is to be real.  Hypocrisy is found where ever there are people.  The Christian might be hypocritical at times, but should not be a hypocrite.  Being a hypocrite is one who dwells in that way; always pretending to be something they are not.  It is the hypocrite who goes to church, speaks the theological language on Sunday, at Sunday worship; appearing holy, yet curses his fellow employees, employer and others the rest of the time.  It is “Envy” which caused the religious rulers to crucify Jesus (Matthew 27:18).  Envy is a form of jealousy which will do anything, even murder, to get what they want.

These things which control a life are not the fruits of the Christian.  They are the Evidence of a Dead Heart.

The “Newborn babe” desires the word of God, and grows in it.  The Christian is not perfect, nor sinless, yet we are growing into the image of Christ; if indeed we have “Tasted that the Lord is gracious”.

-T.A.

Going Beyond

We hear much about love.  Love for your wife, or your husband.  Love for your child or children.  Love for a friend.  What is meant by the word “L.O.V.E.”?  Real love goes beyond the ordinary.  That kind of love is more than feeling; it is a decision.  It is not driven by being loved by an individual; it is driven by the love of God, and it is displayed by a decisive act of mercy, grace and goodness; even toward one who has wronged you.  Maybe I could or should say, “…especially toward one who has wronged you”.

Well no one can do that you might say.  God and His Word teaches us to do just that thing.  Hear the Word of the Lord:

“Since you have purified yours souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…”  1 Peter 1:22 (NKJV).

This verse is directed toward loving the brethren, ie., our brothers and sisters in Christ.  This is a “Going Beyond” type of love.  We are to love when we are not loved by others.  We are to love when it may not be convenient to do so.  This is not just a speaking of words but an act of love.

This is the kind of love that responds to a command – the command to love.  It is the kind of love which will take you to a neighbors yard to mow it when they need help, even though this neighbor has caused you many heartaches, and much grief.  All Christians have this “Going Beyond” love.

It comes from a purified soul.  You receive a purified soul by “obeying the truth through the Spirit” of God.  This “Going Beyond” love is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, and His bodily resurrection.  This kind of love meets others at their point of need.  This is the love of Jesus Christ.

-T.A.

Freedom’s Responsibility

It seems that there are many  people who believe that freedom means living your life as “I please”; and it matters not who gets hurt.  As long as “I can do what I want”, then freedom means, “I am answerable to no one else”, “I can drive however I choose”, “I can say anything I want to say”.

If that is the attitude of “freedom” you have, then you of all people are enslaved.  Real freedom is taking responsibility, for your own actions, for helping with others who have needs, and considering others before yourself.

Hear what the Word of God says:

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”  Galations 5:13 (KJV)

The Christian’s freedom is considerate of others. It does not wish its own way; but the way that will honor and glorify Jesus our Lord and Savior.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Married to a Backslider

Married To A Backslider

 

There has been many a father and mother who pleaded and pleaded with their children to return home, after they have ran away from home. Some children, after reaching the mid to late teen years, begin feeling they can run their lives without someone “telling me what to do”, and so they run away. It is sometimes by the deceptive words of a “friend” or an older individual persuades them to do so. These are heart breaking for every loving parent.

Questions like; “Where did I go wrong?”, “What could we have done different?”, “Why is this happening now?”, and feelings of being a failure with your family hit hard. Since I have never experienced the sorrow of a runaway child, I really don’t know all the questions asked, or the pain that it causes. I have known a family or two where the runaway scenario has happened.

You could call their leaving home, “Backsliding”. That is what has happened in the life of the divided nations of Israel and Judah. Israel left home and began worshipping golden calves in Dan and Bethel, set up by their first king Jereboam. The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY defines “Backslide” as “To lapse morally or in religious practice”. That, in my opinion, is a gross understatement.

Before we go on let’s hear the Word of the LORD from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Return, O backsliding children,’ says the LORD; ‘for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Jeremiah 3:14-15 (NKJV).

What does God mean by “Backsliding”? It is the act of treachery, turning away from God, His Word, and sliding on a slippery slope to one’s lowest point. God is not pleased when His people turn their backs on Him and then, offer Him sacrifices which do not come from a heart of devotion and praise. Sacrifices offered with a backslidden heart are a stench in heaven and the nostrils of God.

Why people say that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament is beyond me. The means of salvation is by grace through faith. The Old Testament people were saved looking forward to the cross of Christ; shown in all the blood sacrifices offered with a clean motive, and the people from the cross forward are saved by looking back to the cross of Christ by faith.

This word from God through his prophet Jeremiah is given to His backslidden people. It is not to the heathen, unredeemed, but to the people of Israel and Judah. This says to us that God’s people do go astray. We do get out of the will of God, but God will spare no grace to pursue us, pleading with us to get us back into our personal walk with Him; in more complete agreement with Him; at peace with Him. The backslidden child of God is not at peace with God. The backslider is not even at peace with himself/herself. They want their own way, and they are going to have their way. Even if that way leads to the “pigpen”. Remember the Prodigal son of Luke 15:11-32. The father’s love seen for a rebellious son who had wanted to do things his way returns to the loving father, after realizing his own desperate plight. The writer of Proverbs says of the backslider, “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.” Proverbs 14:14 (NKJV).

It doesn’t matter what the child of God has done you have a loving Father who is pleading for you to return to His fellowship and enjoy the peace, comfort, love and joy that is found only in the presence and power of God. Don’t take this wrongly. This is not an invitation to do evil and wrong. We have been freed from such arrogance, and pride. Because we drag the carcass (Isaiah 5:18 ) of the flesh around with us, we have not laid it down yet, it is still a battle we face everyday.

For too long the nations had had shepherds who were “devouring their sheep”, and not teaching them the truth, or leading them in the true ways of God. They were self seeking. Read Jeremiah 23:1-2ff. The responsibility of the shepherd of people is an awesome responsibility. Those who preach, teach, and minister the word of God, are especially on notice to take great care in what they say, teach and preach. It seems quite clear that the priest, and other shepherds of Israel had gravely failed to lead in the way of God and His righteousness, grace and justification.

God now says to Israel and Judah, “I will give you shepherds according to My heart…” These will not be after the heart of man, but the heart of God. The true shepherd of God needs to know the heart of God. We learn that through His Word, prayer, and service for His glory.

The Christian of our day (2008 ) is living in times of great opportunity. Let us be devoted, committed, and crucified with Christ; being so will not allow us to backslide away from where God desires us to be, and that is with Him. Let us walk in His Spirit, His Word, and do things using His methods. Whether some want to admit it or not there are some methods that are being used to “Reach people for Christ” which are not after God’s heart. You know them. They give more glory to the program, the actors, the performers, the stunts, the numbers of people who are drawn to these events, and even to the numbers of “decisions”, than they do to the Lord for whom they are presumably there.

O, backsliding children God pleads for your return, “Return, O backsliding children…”

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

God’s Love Is Pleading

God’s Love is Pleading

 

Even though Israel has been greatly polluted by sin, the LORD continues to plead with them. He urges them to return to Him at the end of verse one of chapter three.

There is much we as Christians can learn from God’s love for Israel. He never ceases loving His people. He has not, to this day, given up on Israel. They will one day believe in their Messiah who is Jesus.

Hear the Word of God through Jeremiah the prophet:

“Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and see: where have you not lain with men? By the road you have sat for them like an Arabian in the wilderness; and you hav polluted the land with your harlotries and your wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain. You have had a harlot’s forehead; you refuse to be ashamed. Will you not from this time cry to Me, ‘My Father, You are the guide of my youth? Will He remain angry forever? Will He keep it to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken and done evil things, as you were able.” Jeremiah 3:2-5 (NKJV).

The prophet is still addressing the spiritual adultery of the people of Israel, and spiritual adultery most generally leads to physical adultery against those we love. When a Christian man who is a pastor falls in love with his position, power, and the attention which he gets rather than the God whom he is supposed to be serving; he has fallen into spiritual adultery, and is in the position of committing adultery against his wife. This is just a word of warning preachers.

The person in the pew can get into spiritual adultery by caring for his position in the “secular” workforce more than he does for his service to the Lord. When you get into spiritual adultery you are setting yourself and your family up for devastation.

Spiritual adultery pollutes our land, ie., our inheritance with God. The land is God’s inheritance for Israel, and they had polluted it with their departure from faith in Him, and of giving themselves over to other gods, which in fact, were no gods at all. Israel was like the harlot who waited by the roadside. It is written in the Liberty Bible Commentary,

In the ways hast thou sat. Like the prostitutes who enticed passers-by along the roads, so had Israel enticed other gods (cf. Gen 38:14; Prov 7:12). Idolatrous altars had actually been erected at road intersections and the gates of the cities (II Kgs 23:8; Ezk 16:25). Also like the Arabian, the Bedoin who lies in wait for travelers in order to plunder them, so Israel sought after idolatry and thus desecrated the land.” p. 1434.

PLEASE NOTE: “In the ways hast thou sat” is in the text printed above and in the NKJV as “By the road you have sat.

By God’s admission and the prophet’s there is no shame in the people for their adultery. When God’s people get out of His will we get into a horrible state; if we are not quick to do our accounting. Why would people, especially God’s people be surprised at the discipline or chastisement of the LORD? It is because we can get cold and callous when we do not walk with Him. We can begin thinking that He is the one who is angry, and He will keep on being angry with us; when in fact it is we who are in the wrong, angry with God, and will keep on to the end, except for the grace of the Almighty LORD.

Even with the cold, collous hearts God is still pleading for the return of His people. That should warm our hearts. His love is always pleading, always calling us to return.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

People Deportment

There are people who are “Bird watchers”.  These people will go and watch the dilapidated, redheaded woodpecker show up however and wherever it shows up.  You can tell I am not a “Birdwatcher”, though I love to hear the sounds they make, and I know that description I gave of the woodpecker is not accurate.  I hope if you are, you get humor from my gross inaccuracies.

There are people who like shopping, driving cars, and just for the sake of driving – even though that is getting to be a rather expensive venture nowadays.  When it comes to shopping; that mostly involves women and girls, though there are some men who enjoy it as well – I am not one of them.  There are times when it comes to shopping that people will pile into stores, the day after Christmas, and practically, or all together stomp on one another to find and get whatever it is they want.  You know there have been a few injuries in this gang shopping.

If there is anything that I enjoy watching, even more than a good movie, is people.  I have been know to sit down in a Mall, on one of their benches, and just watch the people as they go by, as they window shop, as they eat and drink.  Sometimes, I see a fuss and  quarrel.  I don’t enjoy seeing people fighting with one another.  I don’t enjoy fights at all, and I especially don’t like being in the middle of one.  To be the cause of one is an anathema event for me, and I will do almost anything short of lying to avoid it.

I never cease to be amazed at the gullability of people.  Just last week I heard the story of a man named Robert Salisbury, from Jacksonville, OR. who came home to find all his household goods, work tools, and even his horse being carted away.  It seems that someone had in jest put a notice on a website called “Craig’s List” that was supposedly placed by Robert, telling the people who read the site that he was being forced from his home, would not return, so everything in the house and outside it were free for the taking.  When he arrived home to find people carting things away; he was met by rudeness, an “I don’t care” attitude, “It’s too late now”, and Robert lost about everything.  Gullable people who because of a prank, end up becoming thieves.  I don’t know how this turned out for the people who stole Roberts possessions, or for Robert; but I do know this certainly proves the gullability of people.

Then, there are those who are just out in out thieves.  On March 12 or so, within seven miles of where my wife and I live some Bank Robbers broke into a bank, took a safe, and opened safety deposit boxes.  They did this in the late night, early morning hours, under the cover of darkness.  Isn’t it amazing how evil is done mostly under the cover of darkness.  Dark hearts work best in the dark, I guess.   These thieves broke in the back door of the bank, disarmed the alarm system, spray painted the security cameras, they had turned the outside security cameras backwards.  The more I think about this the more it sounds as though they had help from inside the employment of the bank.  My thoughts only, and a few others probably.  The employees of the bank arrived around 8:00 a.m. to find the back door broken and a mess on the inside.  These thieves had planned this to the max.  They had evidently worn gloves so as not to leave fingerprints.  They had stolen a truck for a while and then left it behind in another location.

Some things like the above really disturb me about people.  It would even worse if I didn’t know that people are all basically evil.  Even myself.  A man whom I know was recently convicted of bad check charges of $500 dollars or more, and sentenced to three years in prison.  I had sat and ate breakfast with him a number of times.  It hurts when you see people do these things.  We are truly an interesting lot.  How God must laugh, and my  how He must cry at times. 

There are so many things happening in this world right now.  All involving people.  Most all are drawn to the gathering of more things.  All on a search for love, and some finding it, and some not. 

Now is the greatest time in the history of man to be the Christian God has called us to be.  Mankind has never had the opportunities which we have now for telling others.  The means I am using right now, this computer, and the internet, are great tools for telling the world about the true source of love.  Love is of God, for “God is love”.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).  Jesus said also, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).

People Deportment will not change until people give themselves to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.  Will you turn to Him today?  He died for your sins, was burried, carrying sins away, then He rose from the grave and is forever alive and seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

His Power and Glory

His Power and Glory

Songs as this one are expressions of praise. Following words of question, and God’s answering them the prophet now sees that this whole thing is really about the power and the glory of God.

In verse three we see, “His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise”. This song continues as we look at the following three verses.

“And His brightness was as the light; and He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power. Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: His ways are everlasting.” Habakkuk 3:4-6 (KJV).

The “brightness… as the light” reveals much about this wonderful, graceful, loving God who has made, and sustains all things. Where there is evil there is darkness, and where there is darkness of the heart, there is evil. The brightness of the light of Christ will drive out darkness. Where the light of God is darkness is not.

Can you imagine singing this song. If only I knew the tune which the prophet had in mind. Yeah, yeah; I know they did it differently than we do, but I would still like to hear Habakkuk sing it. I am certain that this came from his heart. There is nothing like a song sung from the heart. That counts for more than a beautiful singing voice. Also, we often do not listen to the words, but, hear these words. Sunday; when you are singing those hymns, listen to the words. If you listen too closely you may decide you do not want to sing them any more.

“And He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power.” Horns are a symbol of power in the Scriptures. Habakkuk is using a picturescue way of describing the power of God’s hand. He is powerful, and that does not describe it wonderfully enough. All-Powerful is a better term, and that term is expressed in the word Omnipotent. All power comes from His hand. The power of any president, king, dictator, or despot comes from God. It is He who gives us all the power we may or may not have. In His hand is where that power is hidden, and can only be seen as He reveals His open hand.

When there is judgment upon the earth it is from His hand. At His hand the pestilence goes before Him. His feet treads out judgment making the way for holiness, righteousness, justice and peace.

It is only this All-Powerful One who can measure the earth. He has in fact already measured, and came up short of His glory. Nations have been driven asunder, and all nations will one day bow before Him. The mountains were scattered, and they are the “Everlasting mountains”. His ways are everlasting, and will out live the mountains.

We have come short of His glory (Romans 3:23). His ways are everlasting, and through faith in Jesus Christ we can rest in His everlasting ways. The judgment of sin has been fully paid for by the death of Jesus on the cross. The penalty for sin has been fully paid. All who reject Him stand opposed to His everlasting ways, and will still face His judgment. Repent of your sinful rejection of Jesus and turn to Him, and walk in His everlasting ways.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

For Love of the King

The King Separates

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:34-37 (KJV)

When we take up the cross of Christ to lay down our lives with Him, there will be a separation which takes us away from the fellowship of an ungodly family. Jesus is our chief joy; loved above all people and things of this world. Even your family’s rejection of your faith will not stop your love for Jesus. Because they reject your faith and Savior, they may even reject you, and some have been known to command their sons or daughters to leave the house.

The very faith that saves takes away any peaceful existence. There will now be no peace with the enemy of God who is Satan. There will be no peace with anyone who is opposed to Christ. There will be no peace with the old friends you used to party with. Many of them will turn their back on the follower of Jesus Christ. It is because there will be a definite change in your life. There will be no peace with sin. Once you were at peace with sin and at war with the Savior; but now you are at peace with God and His Son Jesus – your Lord and Savior – and a now at war with sin, satan, and death, and all who are opposed to Jesus Christ.

If you deny Jesus because the family rejects you is not the love which Jesus gave you, nor the love He requires. Your faith, your confession, your profession, and change of life will cause them to see Jesus Christ in you. The disciple of Jesus specializes in the love of Jesus and Jesus alone. There is no room for another.

Love your family in the Lord. Don’t give up on them. Pray for them to come to faith in Jesus Christ. Don’t waver in your faith in Him, no matter what their reaction to your faith is. Be strong.

Once Upon A Time…

…There was a young man with a wife and five young children.  He and the wife had been married for around 15 years.  One evening things became a little hot in the household between the husband and wife, and the husband did not like it so he slipped on his insulated coveralls, and walked out the door with the intention of never returning.

The weather outside was not real pleasant.  There was a slow steady, falling rain.   It was a little cool; even with the coveralls on.  There was a whole lot of anger, even some hatred, for what had been said.  He had said a few things himself that were not good concerning his wife.

In the cool and the rain he walked through the woods, down the hills, crossing branches which flowed with a little water.  All the time feeling sorry for himself, and still thinking in his mind, “I am not going back.  I will just keep going, and going, and live in the woods the rest of my life if I need to do so.”  He had no place to go, and he probably could have survived alone, and in the cool.

There was a decision this young man was needing to make.  It was a decision concerning his marriage, his wife whom he had loved and cherished for these 15 years.  There had never been another person come between the two of them.  There were no “affairs”.  Their lives together had been rough.  Struggling financially, spiritually, but growing in the Lord, on their journey together.  Now, however, things had suddenly changed.  He was done.  He could not handle the grief, the complaints, even his own.  He was not returning.

He reached an old hay barn, went inside, sat on the hay… and prayed.  The voice of the Lord spoke to his heart, and the question came to him, “Don’t you love her anymore?”  This required a decision.  Does he love her anymore?  Does he care for her at all?  Does he want to spend the rest of his life with her or not????

Thoughts flooded his mind.  The fifteen years, the five children, the love they had shared together as husband and wife.  Even the struggles they had shared together, though not pleasant, she had remained faithful to him.  By the time all these thoughts had flooded his mind the answer to that question, “Don’t you love her anymore?” seemed it deserved a good answer.  YES!!! Was the answer.

The young man got up off the hay, walked back to the house, asked his wife for forgiveness, and things were well again.  The young man was myself. 

I tell this story because we are filled with fires of emotion when we first wed.  Lust could be a better answer.  That fire that is sometimes called love is weak, and it will not endure the tests of the years.  You grow in love with one another.  You even get used to one another.  Love from God is much more than an emotion; it is a decision, an act of devotion.

When Paul the apostle wrote, “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her” this is the love he had in mind.  The love that abides forever.  The love that sticks through thick or thin.  It is the love that never fails.  That is the love of Jesus Christ for you.

By the grace of God 19 years has passed since that night.  We have now been husband and wife for 34 years, and to be honest with you our relationship has only improved.  I love that woman – my bride – more today than I did the day we were married.

Husbands in Marriage

What is the role of the husband within the marriage?  We have had an article a couple of weeks ago which dealt with the wife’s submission to her husband, and his to her.  I fear that there are many men who think that the responsibility for keeping the marriage fresh, vital, and romantic is all the wife’s responsibility.

That  could never be more incorrect.  The love in the marriage is the man’s responsibility.  Where do I get that?

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her…”  Ephesians 5:25 (NKJV).

The Bible makes it clearly the husbands place to love the wife.  Some of you over tuned with testosterone males need to realize that this “Love” is not about sex.  It is about genuine love.  The love which Jesus Christ showed by the greatest display of love ever given.  That was His death on the cross for the sins of the world.  There can be nothing more manly, heroic, chivalrous, than sacrificing yourself for your wife.

Now, I am getting where it hits home with myself.  I cannot say that I am this way, but I want to tell you that I am learning and growing.  I want to ask the real men who are reading this to begin doing this today.

My wife has been the picture of submission to me.  When our children were at home we would take our family vacations at times going camping, cooking over an open fire, without the modern day camp provisions, etc., and my wife hated camping this way.  She would go along without complaint, she would cook over that fire, and never complain.  She did it for me and the kids.  I have learned from that

How much should a husband love His wife?  Just as much as Jesus did the church in giving His life for her salvation.

You want to show your wife the love that she needs.  Let her choose where you go to eat next time.  Let her choose the movie you watch.  Let her choose where you go on your next vacation.  When you have that very important football game on, you only have one TV, and there is something on she wants to watch; let her watch, and watch it with her.  She likes that time you take to spend with only her.  The next time you have a hunting trip planned, and something comes up she wants to do with the family; you have the idea, go with her and enjoy her and her joy.

“Husbands, love your wife”  There is no command for the wife to love her husband, but she will when you show that form of sacrificial love which was shown us in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins.

Children and Your Marriage

There are many Christian couples who were married and expected to have children and found out after a few years or so that they were unable to have children.  The children are often seen as a blessing to the marriage and children making a house a home.  To those married couples who have longed to have children, but cannot, I can only say one thing, and that is the blessing of children is from the Lord, and He must have something different in mind for you.  I do not mean that to be a cold or harsh statement, but He may have a different blessing for you, so that you can bless children who need help or parents.

My intention is not to deal with having children in marriage, but that in most marriages children do come along as God’s blessing on us.  Most people who have children will realize this some time as the child or children grow, and that is this; these children will put your marriage to the test.  It is for that purpose I write this, and to encourage every young couple to be sure to devote time to their marriage.

Some young couples with children will probably be angered by what I am about to tell you, but it needs to be said.  When that boy or girl gets to two years or so they will start testing your marriage.  Couples need to nourish that marriage at every opportunity they have.  Your marriage made strong through your commitment to one another, your devotion to one another, your love for one another is the greatest thing, other than Jesus and the gospel, that you can give that child. 

By the time a child is five years or so, they will begin to realize that they can cause Mom and Dad a little trouble by dividing them, in matters of discipline, or guidance.  That is why before you have children you need to be sure that you agree on the matters of discipline and direction for your child.  If you have not, and that child sees Mom disagreeing with Dad in a matter of discipline, then that child will know how to get his/her way.  Do not disagree over disciplinary issues in the presence of your children.

In one of the churches God gave me the joy of serving as pastor, there was a woman who told of an event in their home where their daughter tried to divide her Mom and Dad over an issue of discipline.  The daughter did not like the way Dad had disciplined her, and went to her Mom, and said, “Aren’t you going to take my side on this?”, to which Mom said, “I have know him longer than I have you”.  That made an excellent point. 

The home is built around a strong, solid, Biblical marriage with Jesus Christ at its center.  If the marriage is not built according to Biblical principles and on the couples love for Christ Jesus and one another, that is a home that will not stand.  Our children will grow up and leave home.  That is how it should be.  That is how it is supposed to be.  If you do not have a strong marriage while the children are at home, then you are going to have problems after they are gone.

The best thing you as a man can give your children is letting them see you love their mother, and that nothing they say or do is going to divide you. 

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…”  Ephesians 5:25.

“Nevertheless let each one of you in  particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  Ephesians 5:33 (NKJV)

Husbands and wives must both work at nourishing that marriage, even in the midst of a housefull of children.  If your home is built around the children, that marriage is most certainly doomed for failure.