Husbands and Wives (4)

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‘In Adam all die.’
 1 Corinthians 15:22 NIV

The Bible says, ‘In Adam all die.’ Why Adam? He was called to be the head of the first family, therefore he was responsible for what happened in the home. As people, husbands and wives are equal under God. But in marriage each has a different role. What happened in the first home was the result of two people wanting to live independently of God. That’s the way many relationships function today. One or both partners choose to live their lives separately from God’s rule and authority. It shows up in the 36 percent divorce rate we’re experiencing. And that doesn’t take into consideration that many who remain married say they’re not happy and wouldn’t marry the same person again. Conflict arises when you and your spouse have different histories, learning styles, personalities, and backgrounds. One spouse might say, ‘My father raised me like this,’ or ‘My mother always did that.’

We all have our own idea of what makes up ‘the knowledge of good and evil’―what’s right and what’s wrong for a marriage. Everyone has an opinion. The problem is, you can spend your life arguing over opinions and get nowhere. As followers of Christ, we’re called to live our lives and build our marriages on Biblical revelation, not personal intuition. Adam’s job was to get God’s viewpoint on issues pertaining to life and family, then share it with the other members of the family. How? By being a loving husband and modeling godly leadership. When a home functions this way, God’s blessing will be present.

Husbands and Wives (3)

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‘All your males are to appear before the Lord.’
 Exodus 34:23 NASB

God said, ‘Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord… For I will drive out nations before you…enlarge your borders, and no man shall covet your land.’ 
(Exodus 34:23–24 NASB) Three times a year the men of Israel were to go on a spiritual retreat and seek God’s guidance. And God promised to protect their families and their possessions while they were gone, and even to ‘enlarge [their] borders’. So, if you’re a husband who wants God to protect your family and bless your endeavors, you must take the time to submit your thoughts, actions, and decisions to His leadership. You’ll never function successfully as the head of your family until you’re under the headship of Christ. The best thing you can do in leading your home and building a great marriage is to ask the question, ‘What is the mind of Christ in this matter?’ (see 1 Corinthians 2:16) And then follow it. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have your wife’s full attention and cooperation. Why? Because she’s no longer arguing with you and your opinions. Now you’ve brought Christ and His Word into the equation. It may take time for your wife to trust your leadership and respect your thinking, but as she sees you walk with God and practice His principles, she’ll come to trust you and feel secure. When a woman says to her husband, ‘I need you to hold me,’ she’s not necessarily talking about physical intimacy. She’s talking about her God-given need for security. She needs a husband she can love and trust. And God can make you such a husband.

Husbands and Wives (2)

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‘Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman.’
 1 Corinthians 11:3 NASB

Paul writes, ‘I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.’ There is an order to how God operates. Just as Christ was submitted to God, husbands are supposed to be submitted to Christ, and wives are supposed to be submitted to godly husbands. Note the words, ‘the man is the head of the woman’―not all women. This arrangement doesn’t apply in the workplace or in other relationships. When we fail to honor God’s structure, Satan can enter our homes just as he entered the first home in Eden. ‘Submission’ is an unpopular word today. But when we understand it from a Biblical perspective, we see that it’s a positive force to accomplish good, not a negative force to subject women to an inferior status. The Greek word for submission, ‘hupotasso’, means to willingly place oneself under the authority of another. It doesn’t involve coercion, but rather a willingness to take who and what God made you, and submit it to the authority of another. In the husband’s case, to God, and in the wife’s case, to God and to her husband. Paul writes, ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.’ (Ephesians 5:25 NIV) When a husband loves his wife that way, and gives himself to her, she will gladly submit to his leadership in the home. It’s her husband’s love and protection that releases her into the fullness of her God-given potential.

Husbands and Wives (1)

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‘She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.’
 Genesis 3:6 NKJV

In Genesis, before Eve was created God warned Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit, and it was his responsibility to communicate that to his wife. Clearly, he didn’t do a very good job. As a result, he lost his job and they ended up losing their home. Notice, the devil first approached Eve with the idea of disobeying God. ‘When the woman saw that the tree was good… She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.’ Question: where was Adam when Eve was being deceived? ‘With her.’ So, here’s an important lesson: when a man fails to listen to God and obey Him, he can’t be the leader his wife and family need. He literally opens the door to Satan and allows him to come in and cause chaos in the family. When Satan was trying to sell Eve a bill of goods, Adam stood silently by instead of speaking up and saying, ‘That’s not right. Unless we follow the path God has laid out for us, we’ll lose everything.’ The issue in marriage isn’t about who’s the boss; it’s about honoring the structure God created so everyone in the family can walk in His blessing. The Bible says Satan comes to ‘steal, kill and destroy’(see John 10:10). But when a husband is truly submitted to Christ, he can protect his family. So, if you’re a husband, you need to step up to the plate. And if you’re a wife, you need to encourage your husband to walk with God and let him know that it’s an honor and privilege to follow such a man.

God Has A Plan ― Trust Him

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‘He makes everything work out according to His plan.’
 Ephesians 1:11 NLT

The Bible says, ‘The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.’ 
(Psalm 84:11 NLT) Sometimes we pray for a certain thing, believing it’s good for us. But God, who has a plan for your life, knows what would be ‘good’ and what wouldn’t be. Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, said if God had answered all her prayers when she was young, she’d have married the wrong man―several times.

Two teardrops were floating down the river of life. One asked the other, ‘Who are you?’ The second replied, ‘I’m the teardrop from the girl who loved a man and lost him. Who are you?’ The first teardrop replied, 
‘I am the teardrop from the girl who got him.’

That’s the way life goes, isn’t it? We cry over what we don’t have, not realizing we might have cried twice as hard if God had given it to us. The expression ‘walking by faith’ means trusting the plan God has already worked out, and will reveal to you on a need-to-know basis. Paul said, ‘I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.’(Philippians 4:11 NKJV) Clearly his contentment didn’t come from his surroundings, since he spent many years of his ministry in prison. So, where did it come from? The knowledge that God ‘makes everything work out according to His plan.’ Does that mean Paul understood every detail of God’s plan? No, but when he didn’t understand the plan, he trusted the Planner! And that’s where Paul’s peace, joy, and contentment came from. The same goes 
for you.

Discover Who You Are Called To Reach

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‘How is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?’
 Acts 2:8 NIV

On the day the church was birthed, we read: ‘All of [the apostles] were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under Heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?”…Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”’ (Acts 2:4–12 NIV) The question ‘What does this mean?’ indicates that God loves and uses all kinds of people―gypsies and cowboys, bikers and academics, single parents and well-heeled executives. It also tells us that when we’re filled with God’s Spirit, He has equipped each of us to reach a specific kind of person.

So: (1) Who do you find it easy to talk to? Teenagers? Drug addicts? The elderly? You may be tongue-tied around children but eloquent with executives. No problem; that’s how God designed you.

(2) Who do you feel the most compassion for? God doesn’t burden each of us equally. ‘He fashions [our] hearts individually.’ (Psalm 33:15 NKJV) What makes your heart break and your pulse race? When you see the homeless, or victims of the sex trade? The newly-bereaved or the divorced? Paul says, ‘[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.’ (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT) So, discover who you are called to reach.

Be Open To Advice

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‘The wise listen to advice.’
 Proverbs 12:15 NIV

When you ‘don’t know what you don’t know’, you’re vulnerable to making mistakes. You may know a lot, but you don’t know all there is to know. So, you should always seek and be open to good input. Professional golfers play with a caddy. And the caddy is more than just a carrier of clubs; he or she is there for support and valuable advice. Tommy Bolt was one of the greatest golfers of all time. But he had a major flaw: a terrible temper. One year when he was playing in a tournament in Southern California, he was still angry because of a bad round he’d had the day before. So, he told his caddy only to say, ‘Yes, Mr Bolt,’ or ‘No, Mr Bolt,’ if he was asked a question. Otherwise he was to keep quiet. Bolt hit his first tee shot and it appeared to come to rest behind a tree. When he reached the spot, he asked his caddy, ‘Do you think I should hit a five-iron?’ The caddy, obeying orders, simply replied, ‘No, Mr Bolt.’ Bolt hit the five-iron anyway, and made an unbelievable shot that landed on the green a few feet from the hole. He turned to his caddy and proudly said, ‘What do you think about that shot?’ As the caddy picked up the bag and headed towards the green, he simply said, ‘That wasn’t your ball, Mr Bolt.’ If you don’t want to finish up making mistakes you will regret, be open to advice―and follow it. The Bible says, ‘The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.’

Bless Future Generations

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‘I will pour out My Spirit… and My blessing on your children..’
 Isaiah 44:3 NLT

Parent, here’s a Bible promise you can stand on: ‘I will pour out My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your children.’ Your kids should be able to take up where you left off! Your ceiling should be their floor. They shouldn’t merely follow you; they should use the foundation you laid to build something greater. Don’t use the comfort of the status quo as an excuse for not challenging old thinking. To get beyond your mental barriers, you need to stop saying things like: ‘That’s just the way I am,’ or ‘My family never amounted to much, so I won’t either.’ When you say that, you’re contradicting God! When God delivered the Israelites from slavery, they started out for the Promised Land. The journey should have taken only eleven days but it ended up taking forty years.

What happened? They complained endlessly, and as a result kept going around the same mountain again and again. Why? Because they’d been in slavery for four hundred years, and they thought and talked like slaves! They couldn’t grasp what God had promised them. Finally, He told them, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore He would give your descendants’(see Deuteronomy 2:3). If your past has been one of failure, draw a line in the sand today and declare, ‘Enough is enough. I’m going to trust God for bigger and better things!’ It’s in such moments that destinies are changed.

Bottom line: the decisions you make today will affect not only you, but your children―so ask God to help you make the right ones.

Pursue Your Dream

‘Look, this dreamer is coming!… let us… kill him.’
 Genesis 37:19–20 NKJV

When Joseph dreamed big dreams, how did his brothers respond? ‘Let us… kill him.’Sometimes those closest to you will resent your dream the most, yet with God’s help you can still fulfill it. Andrés Segovia was born in southern Spain and began playing the guitar as a child. In those days, it was considered little more than a folk instrument; serious composers and musicians didn’t respect it. But Segovia saw the potential for classical music on the guitar. He began studying the techniques of classical musicians who played the violin and cello. He then applied those techniques to his guitar playing, and developed other methods on his own. He adapted compositions of the old masters such as Bach, and learned to play them on his instrument. In 1909 Segovia made his debut at age sixteen. In 1919 he toured the world and won over the classical music establishment. For the first time composers started writing classical music for the guitar, and a whole new musical genre was born. Over the course of eighty years, Segovia changed people’s perception of the instrument. And like many big dreams, his dream made an impact far beyond what he imagined. It could be argued that his efforts opened the door to the guitar in concert halls and jazz bands, which in turn led to the electronically amplified guitar. Today if you enjoy the music of the Beatles or Eric Clapton, thank Andrés Segovia. If it wasn’t for his dream, much of the music from the twentieth century may have gone in an entirely different direction. Bottom line: when you pursue your dream, there’s no telling how far you’ll go.

Dad, Bless Your Children!

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‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Mark 2:5 NKJV

Old Testament fathers placed their hands on their children’s heads and spoke certain promises over them, believing the blessing of God can be passed from one generation to another. It’s why ‘Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him.’ (Genesis 28:1 KJV) It’s why Jacob refused to die before blessing his grandchildren (see Genesis 48:14).

Children without caring, involved fathers often spend their whole lives searching for a sense of identity and self-worth. Increasingly they’re finding them in the company of rebellious peer groups, street gangs, drug dealers, and on social media and the Internet. And we see the results of it all around us. Instead of fulfilling their God-given destiny, these kids become defined and labeled by a lifestyle such as ‘runaway’, ‘convict’, ‘troublemaker’, ‘addict’. Before Tupac Shakur, the rap artist known for his violent song lyrics, was gunned down in 1996, he said, ‘I never knew my real father. I know for a fact that if I’d had a father, I’d have some discipline [and] more confidence. Your mother can calm you down, reassure you, show you where your manhood is. But you need a man to teach you how to be a man.’

When a man was brought to Him for healing, before Jesus forgave and healed him, He called him ‘son’. He didn’t say, ‘You’ve got to clean up your act,’ or ‘You must do things My way.’ No, He established a relationship with the man by showing him love and acceptance. And as a father you need to do the same. Loving and accepting your kids as they are, without conditions and condemnation, is the greatest gift you can give them.