Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Week in Review

Invest in Your Marriage and Reap the Benefits
Marriage & family, God’s Plan

Last week, we ended with the understanding that our true happiness comes from God and not in things, accomplishments or even our marriages. So we see the first step to investing in our marriage is:

1. The first step in investing in our marriage is to seek our happiness and joy from the right source.

So what then is the purpose for marriage, if it is not to make me happy? Marriage is not just some good idea that man thought of. God ordained marriage in the beginning, between a man and a woman. He created marriage, for His purposes. Genesis 2:18-25 shows that God didn’t want Adam to be alone in the Garden. God said Adam needed a helper. God then brought all the creatures before Adam to name. When Adam was finished, there was no suitable helpmate, so God put him to sleep and created woman. I always wondered why God did it this way. I believe that God knew that Adam needed a helpmate, but God also wanted Adam to realize it, so he had him name all the creatures and realize there was no one for him in the bunch. I bring this point up really for the singles. God made Adam realize he needed a mate, and then he brought the woman to Adam. Scriptures says that a MAN that finds a wife, finds a good thing. So who’s looking for a spouse? The man.

Too many Christian women are looking too hard to find a mate. It is your responsibility as the single woman to wait on the Lord and follow what he would have you do with the “time of singleness” you have. If he has a mate for you, then God will show the man you are the wife for him. And even if and when God does show you who your mate will be (to the women), it is not your job to go and get him told. If he hasn’t approached you yet, then that means God hasn’t shown him, when he does, don’t worry, he will make his way to you.

Also, this shows us that God ordained marriage from the beginning. He has a reason and a purpose for marriage. His purpose for marriage is to reflect some profound spiritual principles. God shows ORDER in His ordaining of marriage. Scripture tells us that men are the head, just as Christ is the head of the church. Now many women don’t like this and many men misuse it. This does not mean the man is to rule over his wife or family with terror. It means just the opposite. When we look at what Christ as the head of the church did then we understand that position much better. What did Christ as the head of the church do? First He died for the church, to present the church without stain or blemish. He gave Himself to make her holy, cleansing her to present her to himself as a radiant church. So then husbands are to love their wives. That would seem obvious, so why does God put it in his word. Because he knew what the woman’s make up was. That she, the wife, needs to not only hear “I love you”, but to see it in action. Here God is telling the husband to put his love for his wife in action. Christ died for the church. Meaning he gave up his right to life, he hadn’t done anything deserving of death, but he willing took it on. So husbands ought to do the same. Husbands should willingly give up there right, but put the wife’s needs upfront. Now ladies, don’t amen me too quickly. I have to tell you that women are not always following God’s rules correctly either.

Scripture tells us that women are to obey their husbands. That wives ought to submit to the husband as the head, just as the church should submit to the head, Christ. This does not mean that you only submit when he, your husband is doing everything just the way you want. It means you must submit at all times. Scripture also tells us to honor, and respect our husbands. Why does God put that in his word? It seems like it should be a no-brainer. Well I have found that when God repeats things in his word it is because it is a point that he really wants us to get a good grasp on. Men are built that way. Respect and honor are one of the things that show our husbands we are in agreement with them. And how can we walk together unless we are in agreement?

How does respect show itself? It shows itself by us not bad talking our husbands. We don’t call them out in public or in front of the children, because then that will destroy the respect of the children for the father. We don’t let others disrespect him in front of us. We show our affection to him, by giving him words of appreciation for the things that he does and simply because he’s our husband. We submit to his decision on matters that we discuss together. I put a footnote here. I can’t submit to a decision, if I’m not involved in the decision making process. The Bible tells us that we are equal heirs to the kingdom. That also tells me I am in equal partnership with my husband. He doesn’t make rushed decisions for us without first coming to me and including me in the process. We talk together, we pray together and we even give our ideas together. The final decision is made and we are in agreement. As the head, the husband does have the final decision. But because the husband is functioning as Christ did, giving himself for the church. The husband will make his final decisions that will be good for everyone, and not just himself.
We as wives also have to understand (as well as the men) what being the head really involves. To be the head, you have the responsibility for the entire body. Christ is the head of the church. It is through the head that everything must go, we can’t have two heads, then we are a deformed body. I’m not a doctor, but I know that everything functions because of the head. The head is where the messages are sent from for the body to move. The hand can’t move without the brain first sending the message for it to move. And if the brain is malfunctioning, then those messages aren’t being sent. What am I trying to say? Christ as the head tells us how to function. Who will do what, who has what gift and how we should function. God isn’t a God of confusion, so things work in an orderly fashion. Then what does this say about marriage? As the head, the husband has to functioning properly for his entire family to do what each should be doing. The father/husband is control central. It is the husband’s responsibility to teach, to discipline, to encourage, to help each member function within their role. If the wife is to function within her role as wife and mother, it is the father’s responsibility to equipped her to do so. How do you do that? Only your wife can tell you that. It is your responsibility as the head to make sure your children are functioning in their role. What is their role? Their role is to obey you and listen to you, to grow in their understand of Godly things and to show respect to authority. (Yours, Gods and that of others) As the head you have to be engaged to know what is going on. Also, just as God encourages us, you read it over and over again in the word, “be of good cheer”, “Be not afraid” and so on. God is always trying to encourage us to good works and to trust in Him. Parents, we are our children’s first glimpse of a relationship with God (especially fathers). If we are showing love to our children (listening to them, comforting them, correcting them in love and patience, giving them a hug to show our love and concern) we show them a glimpse of what a relationship with a heavenly father looks like. If we are brutal, if we are uncaring or very critical, it is so much harder for our children to see God as a loving father, but one that they can’t every live up to. The word tells us ‘fathers don’t provoke your children to anger (mother’s too). What could you do to anger your children? When you are unloving or uncaring or even if it appears that way, you frustrate the child.

So why do I write all this? For this one reason, God has a purpose for us. If we seek Him and follow His directions, then our lives become a light to others. As Christians, both married and single, we need to make sure that our lives are a beacon to others. Does our marriage reflect what God wants it to show? Does it show others that two people can come together and function almost as if they are one person? Yes each part has distinct personality, but yet they still come together and agree as one. Does our live show to the world that Marriage is a good thing that God created or does it not look any different from marriages of the world? Does our marriages reflect before our youth something to be desired, something wonderful, or does it just reinforce what the world message is, be with somebody you want at anytime, because marriage is boring and unattractive. We (believers) have to counteract the wrong images that the world portrays. We can only do that if we are doing it God’s way. So to our singles, we can be an example of what a Godly marriage looks like.

So my prayer today is that God will continue to work on our marriages, so they look more and more like what He had planned and that those that are seeking marriage, that they would understand before they marry, what God expects from them. And to those that have work to do, know that it is God’s pleasure to give us the wisdom we need to be what he has ordained us to be in our marriages. If your spouse isn’t functioning as the head or your wife isn’t being submissive, that doesn’t mean you can relinquish your responsibilities. It is the contrary. You are to function just as God told you to and it is through your obedience that the “unsaved” (or disobedient) spouse can be won.

Come back next week for the next installment

The Week in Review

Destined for Greatness
(Preached at Langley Avenue Church of God 2/17/08)

What’s the point: There are some vital points we want to pause for a moment and look at.

Samuel was a wise, godly man, but he did just like the others did when picking a king, he looked at the outside: This let’s us know that even those that should know better, still can look at things with physical eyes and miss the spiritual significance. Samuel looked at Jesse’s sons and thought that the bigger one had to be the choice. – For us today, this let’s us know that even those we trust as wise can miss God’s anointing on our life. Some may want to write you off because you aren’t the biggest, the brightest or the best. But God does not look at outward things he looks at the heart. So even those that may not see you are destined for greatness does not take away from the fact that God has a calling on your life and he is the final say on that matter.

It is also a caution for the older generations. It doesn’t matter if we have discernment and can interpret the mysteries of God, we still cannot see everything. If you don’t see what God wants to do in the heart of a young person, that’s okay, we still need to be what God has called us to be, an encouragement. Maybe by some chance you are using natural eyes to see and are missing the spiritual anointing that God has placed on the life of a young person. Samuel may not have seen it, but it didn’t matter he was obedient and anointed David because it was what God told him to do. Let us be obedient even if we don’t see the clear picture, let us plant into the lives of our youth or water the seed that God wants to increase because he is the only one than can bring the increase from the seed any way.

An Important point from verse: 13 – “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.” Samuel anointed David and spoke a purpose into his life. From that point forward, David went forth with God’s spirit. David received the promise, the destiny of what was to be in his life. We know this when we see David next in chapter 17. Next time we see David he is faced with a “Goliath” of a situation.
1 Samuel 17:28-32 “When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle. "Now what have I done?" said David. "Can't I even speak?" He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him."

David’s father sends him to take some provisions to his brothers but when he shows up his brother is angry because he is there. You must remember his brother was also there and must have senses what was taking place in David’s life and he might not be too happy about it. Remember everyone will not be happy about what God wants to do in your life, but you have to determine to keep going even when others refuse to see it or are jealous because of it. So David’s brother speaks words that are mean to him and David’s response is, “I can’t say or do anything I am always being talked about”. Do you feel like that sometimes? No matter what you say or do, somebody has something negative to say about it? You are trying to do what is right and you are talked about. There are some people no matter what you do they are going to find something wrong with you. You have to do like David did. What David does is he does not allow the naysayers to stop him, if you remember in scripture he turns to someone else. What David finds out is that the Israel army with all its brave men has been running from Goliath because they are afraid of this giant of a man. David sizes up the situation and decides, I’ll fight him. Can you image what that must have looked like? Here we have this scrawny boy saying I’ll go fight this mighty warrior, when all the mighty men were hiding. If you look back in the telling of this scripture, for 40 days the warriors showed up took their positions for battle and then when Goliath came out and challenged them they ran.

Do you know that some have been coming for 40 days, 40 weeks or 40 years taking their positions on the battle field and then as soon as a “Goliath” of a situation comes we hightail it out of there. Well God is sending some David’s in to take care of the situation. He is preparing some to face the Goliath’s because they have faith in what he can do. You might ask why does David have this confidence?
Let’s read what the scripture says in Verse 34-37, it READS: But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you."

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