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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"I Was Blind"

Photo by: imagerymagestic

When I was twelve or thirteen, I became blind. I woke up one morning unable to open my eyes. I could see light, but I couldn’t see. The pain was terrible. I had sunburned my eyes.

I was very afraid, because I thought I might never see again. I even thought my blindness might be God’s will, since my mother had taught in a school for the blind, and she would be able to help me to learn Braille.

Two days later, my sight was coming back, and the pain lessened. I was relieved and very happy.

In John 9, we read of a man who had never seen, blind from birth. In an effort to understand, the disciples asked Jesus, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him (verses 2-3). The disciples showed their faith that Jesus would know the answer, and He did. There are two very important truths here: that physical handicaps and congenital defects are not necessarily results of sin, and that God will be glorified through weakness. He has a purpose in every life. In this case, Jesus would do something amazing.

Jesus then makes mud from saliva and dust and puts it on the blind man’s eyes. (Have you ever had mud in your eye? It hurts. It irritates. With Jesus’ touch, it heals!)

Jesus told the man, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing (verse 7). Jesus asked the man to do something. Jesus could have healed him outright—with a touch or with a word. But Jesus wanted the man to respond.

So it is with salvation. Jesus provides salvation for all people through His death on the cross for sins, His burial, and resurrection. But, no one is saved unless he personally does something. He has to receive the gift. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12). We are cleansed by His blood, but we must accept that cleansing.

The blind man obeyed. And the neighbors started talking. “Isn’t this our neighbor? Isn’t this the blind man who always sat over there, begging? It sure looks like him.” The healed man wiped away any doubt. He said, I am he (verse 9).

And so, the questions start coming. The most important was, How were thine eyes opened? I absolutely love his simple testimony: A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight (verses 10b-11).

The way it was. Simple. Uncomplicated. This is what happened.

Sometimes, I think we complicate our own testimonies. The gospel, though, is so simple—the death of Jesus for our sins, His burial, and resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) What did Jesus do for me? What did Jesus do for you? Tell it.

The healed man told his story.

They carted him off to the Pharisees, who asked him the same question. They got the same simple answer. But, they had a problem. Jesus had healed the blind man on the Sabbath day. They were not happy. According to their law, making mud was “work.” So the Pharisees made a judgment: This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them (verse 16). These men judged the Son of God not to be of God because He did a miracle!

Some blindness isn’t physical; it’s worse. This was spiritual blindness.

So they went back to the man and asked him what he thought of Jesus. He said, He is a prophet (verse 17b). They decided to call his parents.

The Pharisees asked if he was their son. His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself (verses 20-21). The Bible tells us they answered this way because they were afraid of the Jews.

Don’t you find it strange that the Pharisees called a man’s parents? They didn’t believe an adult. They had to see if his parents said he was born blind.

Notice how his parents let him act like an adult. They had prepared him to be a man and to take responsibility for himself. Maybe this is a good lesson for us.

The Pharisees talk to the man again, and they say that Jesus is a sinner. I love what happens next. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? (verses 25-27) The formerly blind man was so exasperated with the Jewish leaders that, after telling them a second time how Jesus healed him, he asks them if they also are interested in being Jesus’ followers. (Is he implying that he is already a disciple?)

Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is (verses 28-29). They chose Moses over Jesus Christ, the Law over the Messiah! They were into religion but not receptive to grace.

The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing (verse 30-33). The man who had been blind was convinced.

But, the Pharisees didn’t see it that way. They said to him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out (of the synagogue).

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee (verses 34-36).

Look at the man’s response. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. The blind man believed Jesus’ word. He also knew from experience that Jesus could do miracles. He worshipped God.

And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

Hearing that, some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, Are we blind also? (They asked the right question. They understood that Jesus was talking about something bigger than physical blindness.)

Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth (verses 38-41).

The blind man was blind two ways: physically and spiritually. He ended up seeing.

The Pharisees were blind spiritually, and at least at this time, they were still blind—because they hadn’t put their faith in Jesus.

One thing I know . . . . I was blind, now I see.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Different Perspective About Food

Photo by: rakratchada torsap

Fat free, gluten free, protein rich, vegetarian, grapefruit, fiber rich, vegan, low carb, and diets by a million names . . . . I am mind boggled! About every five years, there’s another new revelation about eating. Each has its merit, of course, and each has its weaknesses. When people begin the diet, they feel great—more energy, revitalized—for a couple of months. After two years, their bodies are sick. Again.

Where is a happy medium? What is best?

First, let me tell you what this post isn’t. It isn’t the last word. It isn’t a course on nutrition. It isn’t scientific. It isn’t about special diets for people with celiac disease, allergies, or other health issues. It isn’t about right and wrong eating.

It's a different perspective about food.

This is how it began for me. Thirty years ago, I noticed a group of believers who were promoting a certain way of eating. They believed they had found the “truth” about food, and they were eager to spread this good news to all of their friends. When they were invited to someone’s house, they asked what kind of food would be served. When they went to a church function, they made sure their kind of food was on the menu. If they didn’t like the food choice, they didn’t attend. It divided Christian brethren socially.

Some years later, quite a few of my friends went vegetarian. After a few years, I noticed that one friend who had eaten vegetarian for several years looked gray. He had absolutely no color. I thought he must be ill. Later, two of my other friends who had gone vegetarian for several years complained of feeling sick, and I noticed that same gray pallor on their faces. (I found out later they hadn’t gotten enough protein.)

These experiences made me go to the Bible to see if God’s Word had something to say about food. I wanted to understand nutrition from the Word of God, and not only from the things I heard—which was changing about every three to five years. Obviously, we were being misled, but I wasn’t sure how.

I began by asking: when God required people to eat something special—for a feast day, for example—what did He ask them to prepare? In Exodus, for the Passover dinner, the Israelites were to prepare a lamb (meat), unleavened bread (whole-wheat flat bread), and bitter herbs (some kind of greens). God provided the Levites and their families with grain offerings, ripe fruits, the best of the oil, grape juice, and the firstborn animals, as well as the wave breast and the right thigh. (Numbers 18:8-20) Elijah received meat and bread from God’s special delivery guys, the ravens. (1 Kings 17:4-6) God commanded Ezekiel to eat various grains (starch) and beans and lentils (protein) for 390 days. (Ezekiel 4:9) When Jesus fed the 4,000 and the 5,000, what did He give them? Fish and bread. After His resurrection, when He prepared food for the disciples, what was it? Fish and bread. (John 20:9-13)

When God, Who made our bodies, either furnished the meal or ordained a meal, what was on the menu? Meat, fish, or beans, and bread (or grain). He didn’t make a huge bowl of tossed, raw salad and pass it around. He wasn’t grilling squash and mushrooms by the Sea of Galilee. He gave the people meat or fish (protein, essential for body growth and maintenance) and bread (carbohydrate, provides energy). God, the Creator of our bodies, knows what we need. 

If we truly want to eat what Jesus ate, we will eat crushed whole grains, whole grain bread, honey, butter, milk, grape juice, herbs, fish, and meat. Jesus also mentioned a variety of fruits, and we can assume He ate them.

Daniel and his friends ate “pulse” (probably some kind of bean), and Esau sold his birthright for lentil stew.

Bread is the most-often mentioned food in the Bible. Jesus even said He is the Bread of Life (John 6:48). When God gave manna in the wilderness, it was white, and it tasted like wafers made with honey (Exodus 16:31). Remember the widow of Zarephath’s never-dwindling supply of oil and meal? (1 Kings 17:14-16)

Leeks, melons, garlic, and cucumbers, were obviously a hit with the Israelites in Egypt.

On several special occasions, fatted calves were prepared and served with bread. (Abraham gave the angels and the pre-incarnate Jesus this meal with butter and milk in Genesis 18:7-8.)

The ultimate prophet lunch was John the Baptist’s locusts and wild honey. Sweetened insects! Yummy!

There’s more to food than food itself. The Apostle Paul taught the Roman believers an important lesson in Romans 14:2-23; 15:1-2. This passage deals with eating meat that had been offered to idols. Some people felt comfortable doing so, because an idol isn’t really anything in the first place. Other believers had problems with eating this meat, because in their consciences, they were thinking it was “unclean” in the sense that it had been offered to a false god. (They are the “weak” brethren in these verses.) Paul’s conclusion is that we’re not to hurt or offend others by what we eat or drink.

What an interesting concept! We’re to eat or not eat with others in mind. We should use good judgment. The Bible says we have liberty in the Lord, but we don’t want to be a problem for others. We shouldn’t knowingly offend Christians or non-Christians. We should be considerate.

In a nutshell, I learned that:
  • Moderation and balance are important in food choices.
  • Our bodies need both protein and carbohydrates.
  • That Christians have freedom in the Lord to eat or not eat what they want, but that they don’t need to push their views on others.
  • I should be conscious of others’ feelings when eating with others.

Some of this post is edited from my book, His Ways, Your Walk, pages 187-195, in a section about food and fasting.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Book Reviews: I'm No Angel, Divine Design

I’m No Angel: From Victoria’s Secret Model to Role Model by Kylie Bisutti is one of those books that I think every single teen and young woman should read. (I don’t recommend it for under 16, though, because some of Kylie’s experiences are fairly explicit.) Kylie was a model at age 14 and a lingerie supermodel six years later. She modeled in Japan and in New York, and for photo shoots of all kinds. Kylie loved working the runway, but she hated the life that went with it.

This is a behind the scenes account of the modeling world from the eyes of a pretty little girl who grew up to be tall and long-legged. It exposes the dirtiness of an industry that basically sells sensuality and the cruelty of those who treat the models as things rather than people. It reveals the subculture—amorality, eating disorders, and dingy little apartments—that is just the opposite of the glamour and glitz we often associate with top modeling. Kylie tells it all.

This is her very personal story. It’s a story of faith, love, marriage, and finally winning the top prize. When Kylie wins the Victoria’s Secret Angel, her eyes are opened to another world, even worse than the one she had experienced before.

Kylie’s story is told well, truthfully, and I believe it will help young women understand a lot about the fashion industry. I found it very interesting to read about how Kylie rationalized in her own mind the wearing of provocative clothing and then, when she realized what she was doing, how disgusted she was.

I applaud Kylie on saying no and being willing to walk away from great worldly success. I also applaud her for putting the Lord and her husband first.

An emotional and eye-opening story, I believe every young woman should read this book.

At the end of the book, Kylie has written two sections of devotional thoughts, perfect for young and older women alike. She addresses the real value of women within a biblical framework.


Divine Design: A Study of Feminine Priorities by Katie Hornor

Katie Hornor is a missionary and mother. Her short book has some excellent instruction for women of all ages. I appreciate her biblical emphasis and practical writing. She talks about priorities and how to keep them straight, like God would have them. There are chapters about God, husband, children, and ministry. Katie also offers resources for teaching.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Personal Look at Halloween

Photo by supakitmod

Those of you who follow my blog know that I am a grandmother. So, prepare yourself for some memories of the “olden days” and happy times and some reminiscing.

I was a child of the fifties, brought up in a normal neighborhood in the sunny South. I have a brother who is two years younger and a sister who was born way after the story I will tell.

We loved Halloween! My mother would dress us up in some amazing, homemade costume, and we would take a brown paper grocery bag—yes, the big one—around to do our trick or treating. We did street after street after street, and people at every house were ready to give us candy. We would try to get as much candy as possible.

Most years, I tried to be pretty. I went as a princess, a gypsy, and a nice witch. My brother was a ghost, a monkey (with a tail!), and a hobo. (Those are the ones I remember.)

In those days, there was absolutely no fear that someone might put a razor blade in an apple or poison a cookie. There was no problem going to every single house for blocks and blocks. Our parents went with us and stayed at the end of the sidewalks, and we had so much fun!

When we returned home, my brother and I would sit on the living room rug and empty our bags. We lined up similar pieces of candy and counted them all. The funny thing is that I didn’t really like candy. It was fun just getting it. And I wanted to have as much candy as my sweets-loving little brother!

About the time when I was getting too big to do “little kid things” like Halloween trick or treating, the atmosphere changed. My parents took us only to houses where we actually knew the occupants. We found out that some warped people didn’t like children and wanted to harm them. It was a rude awakening.

Our family knew little about the origins of Halloween or the occult world. We were happily ignorant and did what every other person in our neighborhood did. We even carved a pumpkin with a happy snaggletooth grin.

I remember that our house got egged one Halloween, and we found toilet paper on a tree one morning after. But, overall, Halloween was a fun memory and a fun time.

Fast-forward some forty plus years.

I understand now that Halloween:
  • Started as a pagan festival.
  • Glorifies the world of the dead.
  • Isn’t only about little kids dressing up and getting candy.
  • Might encourage people to get into games or practices that have to do with the occult.
  • Might actually endanger children’s lives, if they do house-to-house trick or treating.
  • Provides a backdrop for bad jokes and destruction of property.
  • Glorifies gore, violence, death, horror, and evil.
  • Probably sends the wrong message of getting something for nothing (“nothing” meaning looking cute and saying the magic words).

I don’t celebrate Halloween today, nor would I do it with my children (were they little enough). I would not be happy with them dressing up as ghosts or ghouls or witches.

Here are my suggestions:
  • Let children play dress-up at home in happy costumes that have nothing to do with death, the occult, blood, or violence—on any other day—but not for Halloween.
  • Let them carve a pumpkin at a different time in the fall with a happy look—not necessarily a face—and a candle inside.
  • I don’t have an alternative for trick or treat, but I don’t see the necessity. (I never ate my candy, anyway.) Kids can be given candies they love at another time and in less quantity. It’s healthier not to binge on candy, anyhow.
  • Help your children understand that God is important, and witches and goblins are about the devil. Even little kids can understand that. Teach them that Halloween is about death, ugliness, and things we’re not to think on. (Philippians 4:8)
  • I’ve heard of churches that have “fall festivals” on other dates. The children dress up like Bible characters, and they learn about the Bible stories. I really don’t have a problem with that, especially if it’s not near Halloween. (I’m personally not in favor of “Christianizing” Halloween.) Why not do a fall festival in September, or a Bible character dress-up in the spring?

I believe that now, more than ever, our children need to be pointed toward the Lord. They need to understand that there is a different world out there—the world of the occult, the devil, drugs, and evil—but not be allowed to be interested in it. Whenever they have questions—even at Halloween time—answer them with verses about what God says. God’s opinion always trumps our own.

Here’s a list of Bible verses about occult practices:
  • The Old Testament penalty for witchcraft was death. (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:10)
  • God was not pleased when Saul went to the witch at Endor, who communicated with the dead Samuel. The penalty Saul paid was death. (1 Samuel 28:7-25; 1 Chronicles 10:13)
  • God is angered by witchcraft and associated activities. (2 Chronicles 33:6; 2 Kings 17:17; 21:6; Isaiah 47:9)
  • God includes witchcraft in His list of the works of the flesh. (Galatians 5:19-21)

When children understand that all witchcraft and fascination with death and ghosts is wrong, when they understand that the Lord wants us to meditate on the good (Philippians 4:8) and on His Word (Psalm 119:97, 99), and when they are actually grounded in God’s Word, they’ll have no desire to delve into the other world.

Let them dress up—especially at home—in fun costumes of their own invention. Let him put a box over his head and be a robot, or let him make a helmet out of a watering can. Let her have a fluffy tulle skirt and be a princess, putting on some of your necklaces. Those things are okay. You could do face painting from time to time. How about draping the kids with cloth and acting out a Bible story? This is clean fun, and it should be encouraged. Children love to dress up and imagine and play act. Some families have a “dress up box” with wigs and different “costumes” in it, so that their kids can be imaginative—and not mess up their parents’ good clothes.

For your obedience is come abroad unto all men.
I am glad therefore on your behalf:
but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
(Romans 16:19)

Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good.
He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
(3 John, verse 11)

Please feel free to share your ideas about Halloween. How do you handle this holiday with your children?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Setting the Tone in Your Home

Photo by:digidreamgrafix

“If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Pardon the bad English, but the saying is true. No one sets the atmosphere in the home like the lady of the house. (This goes for singles, too.)

You create the right tone in several ways: 
  1. Thoughtful decoration—You don’t have to be rich or artistic to have a pleasant-looking home. Work with what you have to create a mood. Put time and thought into it. A lot depends on the climate (sunny or rainy) and the basic furnishings you already have. Make sure your decoration is something that’s comfortable for you and your family. (I don’t recommend white carpet and couch! Choose furnishings that work for real people with real kids.) Go for a restful, non-cluttered effect. Reflect your family personality. 
  2. A healthily clean home—Notice I didn’t say spotless. Make sure you have a clean kitchen and bathroom. Change sheets regularly, and clean surfaces. You don’t have to be perfect, just healthy.
  3. Good smells in the house, especially at dinnertime—It’s not necessary to be a gourmet cook in order to have yummy smells in your home. Wholesome tasty food, fruit, and baking make a house smell like a home.
  4. Quiet—Your home should be a haven for the family. The TV doesn’t need to be on 24/7 and the kids don’t need DVDs or video games all the time, either. There should be some quiet—time that can be spent reading, in Bible study, and in good, wholesome, creative play.
  5. A thankful spirit—There’s much to be said for the two words, “thank you.” Say them often, and praise God often. Be thankful for anything anyone does for you. This is especially important with your husband and children. Say “thank you” every time, and teach your children to do the same.
  6. Lack of tension, strife, and yelling—Resolve problems quickly and thoroughly. Learn to count (or time-out or whatever you need to do) so that you don’t scream and holler when people get you riled. You are an adult, and with the Lord’s help, you can learn to act with restraint and wisdom.
  7. Hospitality—Open your home to others and thoroughly enjoy having company.
  8. Fun, games, and laughter—Your home should be the “funnest” place on earth for your family and friends. Play games with the kids. Laugh a lot. Be silly sometimes. Enjoy life!
  9. Love—If anyone were to describe the atmosphere in your home, it should be “a place where love reigns.” Love God. Love your husband. Love your children and visitors. People should actually “feel the love” when they’re in your house.
  10. Your own joyful countenance—It’s easy to compare your house to the one on Pinterest or even where your sister lives. It’s easy to get tired of doing the same old things daily. It’s easy to lose your vision for your family and the lost, trying to live godly while raising a family, teaching, leading, and sometimes, being persecuted. How can you smile and be truly joyful? How can you be genuine?

You have to rely on the Lord. Believe me, I understand it’s hard to have a quiet time when you have toddlers. I know it’s not easy to meet the needs of husband, children, and ministry and feast on the Word and pray. But, your time with God is the most necessary fuel for your life. You can’t give what you don’t have.

God is more interested in your spirit than in your service.

Make a daily time to be with Him, if you don’t have one already. It can be any time that is best for you. During the seasons of my life, I’ve found different times. When I had a baby, nursing was an ideal time to meet with my Lord. When I had a toddler, naptime was good. When the kids were homeschooling, the time after lunch and before the afternoon activities worked best for me. When is your best time? Reserve it for the Lord.

Where is your best place? A place that’s uninterrupted, where you can shut the door. (Teach your children to respect your place. “Mommy’s having her time with God now. When the whichever room door is shut, do not come in, unless it’s an emergency.”)

Keep your “date” with the Lord every day. It will recharge your spiritual and physical batteries, give you guidance, keep your sins confessed, and it will make all the difference in the atmosphere in your home. When Mama meets with God, all the family benefits. So will your ministry.

Every wise woman buildeth her house.
(Proverbs 14:1a)

She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household,
and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:
but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands;
and let her own works praise her in the gates.
(Proverbs 31:26-28, 30-31)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Romans 12 Marriage

Photo by: stockimages

When I recently read this passage, I was challenged by the thought: what if married people followed these guidelines for their relationships with each other? These precepts are, after all, for every Christian.

Read the following verses and think about your own marriage. Let this Scripture speak to you. You might be surprised how this “non-marriage Bible passage” has so much to say about the marriage relationship.

9 Let love be without dissimulation.
Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;
in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business;
fervent in spirit;
serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope;
patient in tribulation;
continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints;
given to hospitality.
14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. . . . Be not wise in your own conceits.
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil.
Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
(Romans 12:9-18)

Here are some of the practical lessons I discovered:
  • Be genuine. (9)
  • Reject evil in your life and embrace good. (9)
  • Love your husband with brotherly love. (10. This same brotherly kind of love is addressed in Titus 2:4, with the application of loving our husbands.)
  • Put husband’s interests first, before yours. (10)
  • Don’t be lazy. (11)
  • Be genuinely zealous about God. Walk in the Holy Spirit. (11)
  • Serve God. (11)
  • Be joyful in your salvation. (12)
  • Be patient through trials. (12)
  • Pray all the time. Be ready to go to God first. (12)
  • Be generous with other Christians, and share to meet their needs. (13)
  • Open your home to others. Enjoy visitors. Be gracious as a hostess. (13)
  • Say positive things about your enemies. (14. Hopefully, no one thinks her husband is an enemy, but this could apply to a husband who is abusive. She should not curse him.)
  • Be happy along with your husband, when he’s happy. Hold him when he is sad. Share his joys and disappointments. Be sympathetic and loving. (15)
  • Don’t think you’re better than he is. (16)
  • Don’t hit back—not verbally nor literally. (17)
  • Be truthful. (17)
  • Live in peace with your husband. This implies not taking up any fight. (18. Compare with Proverbs 15:1, A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.)

All of the Bible is for married people. Some passages, like this one from Romans 12, are actually mini manuals.

May God bless your marriage!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Adopted and Cared for by a Loving Father

Is your father involved in your life?

If you don’t have a father, or if your dad isn’t an active force in your life, take heart. If you have been adopted, see how this is a picture of what Jesus does for us. Read these Bible verses. 

God is the:
  • Helper of the fatherless--Thou art the helper of the fatherless (Psalm 10:14b).
  • Father of the fatherless--A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation (Psalm 68:5).
  • Defender of the fatherless--Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy (Psalm 82:3).
  • Reliever of the fatherless--The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow  (Psalm 146:9a).
  • Preserver of fatherless children--Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me (Jeremiah 49:11).
  • One who gives mercy to the fatherless--For in thee the fatherless findeth mercy (Hosea 14:3b).

Many other Bible passages speak about God’s judgment against those who oppress the fatherless. It is very clear in Scripture that God cares for every son or daughter in this situation.

When we trust Christ to save us, we receive the “adoption of sons.” Galatians 4:4-7 explains the process like this: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Those who have been saved by trusting Jesus become adopted sons and daughters of the Lord. We have a sweet relationship with our “Abba” (Daddy, or Papa). We can go to Him at any time, with any care. He loves us and wants to meet our needs. And, we are His heirs.

It doesn’t get any better than that!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Five Easy Steps That Will Improve Your Marriage

Photo by: imagerymajestic

If you want to improve your marriage, these steps are transformational and they’re easy to incorporate. Your marriage might be good, medium, or not so good, but these steps can be life changing.

What are they? They are so simple that it’s amazing we don’t usually think of them. Over the years, through good books (the Bible being one of them), and good advice from older women, I have put them into practice in my own marriage.

See what they will do for you! 

1. Say hello and good-bye. Even if your husband walks into the house fifteen times a day, every time he comes in, say “hello” or “hey, Babe.” Let him know you are glad he’s there. If he goes away for work and comes home, make sure he gets a welcoming committee upon arrival—you (clean and looking good), the kids, and the dog. His coming home is as important as any king returning from battle. Make it an occasion. When he leaves, give him a kiss and an “I love you.” (I once read a testimony by a young woman who had lost her husband in an automobile accident. The last thing she had done was kiss him good-bye, and the last words they said to each other were “I love you.”) Send him off with your love, and welcome him back with love.

2. Say please and thank you. You’re probably asking yourself, “Is this a manners lesson?” Well, yes. No one is more important than your husband. When he does anything for you, say thank you. When he gives you anything, say thank you. Just be grateful. When you want something done or you want to buy something, say please. Don’t nag. Ask.

3. Don’t contradict your husband in front of your children or in public. It’s very important, because this conveys respect. If you don’t agree with him on something he’s saying, either let it pass, or, if it’s really important, talk to him alone later. It is downright ugly to take him to task in public. In most cases—like when he remembers details of a story differently—it makes absolutely no difference in the great scheme of things. Who cares who walked in first or what color the car was? Let him tell the story as he wishes.

4. Be happy to help. When your husband asks you to do something or to go somewhere, your automatic reaction needs to be, “Sure!” From the very first woman on earth, wives are supposed to be helpers. Even if it means turning off the stove for five minutes, do what he asks you to. (If it’s urgent you finish stirring something on the stove, of course, ask if it can wait a minute or two. Your husband is a reasonable man.) Be happy to do what he wants you to do. Make his priorities your priorities—accompanied with a beaming smile and a happy tone of voice. 

5. Affirm your husband. This is done in several ways. The first is to talk well of him always. There’s an old saying, “Even the birds don’t mess in their own nests.” Your husband isn’t an angel. You know it, and he knows it. But no one else needs to know it. Keep criticism quiet. A side benefit of this is that you will begin to think positive thoughts about him, looking for his good points. Oh yes, he has them! You married him because he had some positive qualities that you don’t have yourself. You admired him for them. Look for the good, and praise him often and openly. Talk about his gardening, his mechanical or cooking skills. Only speak well of him, and compliment him. In private, do the same. Of course, in private, you can be more personal. Tell him how you like his smile, his muscles, his dry sense of humor, the way he . . . . Just like you need encouragement, so does he. Affirm your husband. 

I can guarantee that, if you incorporate these five life habits into your marriage, they will transform it. I can also guarantee that, in most cases, your husband will react positively. You can work on one at a time, if they’re all new to you. Or, you can work at all of them at once. Put this short, 5-point outline on your phone, and refer to it all through the day. Write the points on Post-its, and stick them around the house.

These ideas are born out of the Bible commands for wives to help and respect their husbands.
  • Eve was created to be her husband’s helper. So were we. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him (Genesis 2:18).
  • We’re to respect our husband. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence (respect) her husband (Ephesians 5:33). Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement (1 Peter 3:6).

Her children arise up, and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praiseth her (Proverbs 31:28).