Maranatha Devotionals
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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Married to an Unbeliever - Day 3

1 Pet. 3:1-6 (1) Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; (2) While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. (3) Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; (4) But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (5) For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: (6) 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.

Verses 3 and 4 elaborate on what Peter was emphasizing in verse 2. This Victorian lady in the picture looks beautiful, doesn't she? Her dress is lovely and her hair is just right. She seems so peaceful sitting there reading. However, that does not make her godly, does it? Peter is not saying that we shouldn't look nice, but that we should be just as nice looking on the inside. The wife of an unbelieving husband must have a heart right with God. She also must have a meek and quiet spirit, which Peter says is of great value in the eyes of God! Don't you want to be regarded as a woman of great value in the eyes of God? I know I do.

Noah Webster defines meek as:
1. Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding; given to forbearance under injuries
It helps me to understand a passage like this more clearly if I think of the opposites of the definition. For example, if a meek wife is of great value in God's eyes, then the opposite of that meek wife would not be of great value. That woman who have a temper, be harsh, loud and unkind, easily agitated, not submissive, and intolerant of incompetence. Are you like this woman of no value to the Lord? Your husband will not be get saved if you are not practicing a meek spirit.

Verse 4 also says she has a quiet spirit. I simply love Noah's definition of quiet in this verse.

3. Peaceable; not turbulent; not giving offense; not exciting controversy, disorder or trouble; mild; meek; contented.
I love looking up what the meaning of a word had back in the times that our blessed King James Bible was written. Today's definitions are so diluted and the word quiet no longer means this so today's woman does not get the full blessing that comes with this verse. Can you imagine the unbelieving man who has a wife who has these qualifications?
  1. Mild tempered
  2. Soft (submissive)
  3. Gentle (not loud or unkind)
  4. Not easily provoked or irritated
  5. Yielding (again submissive)
  6. Patient and forgiving to those who hurt her
  7. Peaceable
  8. Not turbulent (stirring up strife)
  9. Not giving offense
  10. Not exciting controversy, disorder or trouble
  11. Meek
  12. Contented

These qualities are the product of a born-again woman desiring with all her heart to see her husband saved. She will go great lengths to allow the Holy Spirit to work in her heart so that she meets these standards set out in 1 Peter 3:3-4. A woman who is this valuable in God's eyes will be shining with the love of Christ in all areas of her life. How can her husband help but see her Jesus through her?

Do you not see, dear sister, that when we are in God's perfect will, He can and will do a mighty work in your lost or backslidden husband's life? What is God's perfect will? He created you to be a helpmeet. Learn and practice all you can in this wonderful role God has given you. You will reap the blessings.

Dear God...
How deficient I have been
In some areas of my life
I want to be of value
To him and in Your sight!

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Married to an Unbeliever - Day 2

1 Pet. 3:1-6 (1) Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; (2) While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. (3) Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; (4) But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (5) For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: (6) 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.

Let's move on to verse 2 today. (2) While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Ah, chaste conversation. So what does chaste really mean? God's Word has not changed and the definition of chaste 2000 years ago still means the same today. Noah Webster defines chaste as:
(2) Free from obscenity. While they behold your chaste conversation. 1 Pet 3. (3) In language, pure; genuine; uncorrupt; free from barbarous words and phrases, and from quaint, affected, extravagant expressions.
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Tit 2:5) The older women were commanded to teach the younger women to be chaste so that the word of God would not be blasphemed. This chaste woman is not only chaste in word but in deed also.

When a woman is not chaste in conversation, she is said to blaspheme God's Word. What do you consider chaste conversation then? What is so important about a woman's words that she should be on the alert? We all know what it means to blaspheme. Peter says that if we do not practice chaste conversation, we are blaspheming God's Word. We are cursing the God's power in our husband's lives, ladies! Our unchaste behavior and words will be like stench to your husband's nostrils. He will despise God even more. You have quite a heavy responsibility, dear lady. I personally cannot believe that a woman would actually speak to her unsaved husband (or disobedient husband) in such a way as to blaspheme God's Word. If a Christian woman is doing this to her unsaved husband, how in the world will that lead him to Christ? Your dear husband has a better chance of getting saved because you are saved than the unsaved household. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife,... (1 Cor. 7:14a) He is set apart in God's eyes because of you. Surely you don't want to be the cause of God's Word to be blasphemed in his mind.

Notice Peter also says that her chaste conversation is coupled with fear. God will allow trials to come her way due to her mouth that she would not have experienced had she practiced chaste conversation. There will be problems in her life which she will probably blame on her husband rather than look to her spiritual walk. Many pitfalls are due to the wife not exercising her responsibility of practicing chaste conversation.

It's so important that unsaved husbands or disobedient Christian men see the Lord working in their wives' life. Husbands need to see God's Goodness at work. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Mat 5:13) Dear lady, your conversation to your husband should be making him thirsty for the Lord. Not by quoting Bible verses but by your sweetness and by your actions toward him. Your love for Christ should be such that it spills over onto your husband.

Does your world revolve around this man God has given to you? Do you strive to please him and do those little things that he loves? Do you still see your husband in those same girlish eyes you saw him while you were dating? Do you still laugh at his corny jokes? Or do you treat him differently because he's not saved or he's disobedient? Ladies, what is in our hearts will come out of our mouths. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. (Mat 15:18) What we feel in our hearts about our husbands will show up in our words and in our actions toward them. You must remember that the woman he married has changed drastically. She is not the cursing, drinking, worldly woman he was use to. He now has a different woman and it's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to him. You've made a transformation that he did not authorize so he's feeling threatened and confused, I'm sure.

Your husband will only accept this new you if you treat him the way Christ would treat him. What would the Lord say and do? Christ submitted to the Father's will to the point of dying on the cross for us. Are you submitting to your husband in the same manner? We'll cover delicate issues on another day but in the mean time, you were not created to be his helpmeet only when he is a good Christian husband. Peter is clear and deliberately directs verses 1-6 to the woman whose husband is not saved or has a backslidden husband. It's so much more important for the wife of such a man to be in close fellowship with her God. Only through Him and His Word can this wife love her man unconditionally with that same "agape" love the Lord has for us.

What's the best thing a wife of such a man can do? She should pray for her husband because this is her power; ask for God's wisdom in dealing with every situation because this is her ammunition; be faithful in her Bible reading because this is her strength. Don't let up! Don't give up! Be faithful! Be strong in the Lord. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Eph 6:10) It is the Holy Spirit who will draw your husband to Christ. Let the Holy Spirit do His job. Get busy doing your job as his helpmeet and leave the rest to God.

Dear God...
Help each lady here today
Be chaste in word and deed
So her man can find You
And recognize his need.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Married to an Unbeliever

1 Pet. 3:1-6 (1) Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; (2) While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. (3) Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; (4) But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (5) For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: (6) 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.

The best place to go when you want to learn what God requires of us is to go to His Word. The wife of the husband who is disobedient to the word does not only refer to the unsaved man, but to a backslidden one as well. How many Christian men do you know that are 100% obedient to the Word of God? I am certain that many are striving to be obedient, but are they 100% obedient? This verse applies to all men, therefore 1 Peter 3:1-6 applies to all wives.

We will cover one verse today. Verse 1 says that we are to be in subjection to our own husbands. Can you imagine the chaos in a home if the wife were to be in subjection to her father as well as her husband? What if they disagreed? Can you see where it would get messy? God wants us to answer to one man once we are married, and that man is our dear husband!

Subjection means to be under the power, control and authority of your husband. I think of a king and his subjects. The subjects obey the king's commands. They don't disobey because they think their way is better. They do what they are asked to do. A wife is not a slave because the Word says that we are all equal in Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28) However, the Word is very clear to say that the wife must be in subjection to her own husband. Just because we are free in Christ does not mean that we can remove the responsibility of being subject to our husbands.

Verse 1 also goes on to say that if any husband does not obey the word, they can be convicted and won by her conversation. What would a wife's conversation have to be like? Without the word, verse 1 continues to say - meaning quotes Scriptures to him in the guise of trying to "help him." He is the head of the house, yet the help meet is instructing him. The best thing a saved wife can do for her disobedient husband is to pray for him diligently. Ask the Lord to work through your husband for your benefit. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. (1 Cor. 7:14) This verse does not say that your husband is saved because you are saved. It says that your husband is sanctified because you are saved. Your husband is "set apart" and given special privileges because of his saved wife. He benefits from God's Goodness to her and her family. He receives opportunities to hear the gospel through her actions.

What is your conversation like toward your husband? Do your words prove to your him that you love him and are dedicated to him? Or are they nagging words, constantly trying to be his personal "holy spirit." Remember, none of us are without sin and do not even remotely come close to being like the true Holy Spirit. Let Him do His work in your husband. Only then will it be lasting.

If you are in doubt as to whether or not you should say something to your husband, stop, read the Word and pray about it first. If you're still in doubt, don't say it. God is not the author of confusion and He would definitely give you the wisdom you need when you ask Him for it. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (Jam. 1:5) I truly believe that the Lord will equip us to do a job that He has called us to do. God has called you and I to be an help meet to our husbands. Therefore, He will equip us - all we have to do is ask Him what His will is.

Dear God...
Please give me wisdom with each day
To be what You'd have me to be
A godly help meet to my mate
So through me Your face he'll see

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Friday, January 26, 2007

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Day 7

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. (Prov. 31:27) It's not rocket science. The Proverbs 31 wife's home did not look like this... Not even remotely! The woman whose house resembles this picture does not have her priorities in order. There is something wrong, not only in her priorities but in her spiritual life. She is eating the bread of idleness. Satan has distracted her from her responsibilities and she is focused on other tasks. Important as those tasks may be, her priorities are to be a helpmeet to her husband, care for her children and her home.

The Proverbs wife did not have the distractions that women have today. Today's woman has distractions like the television, telephone, and foremost the computer, just to name a few. Yes, she may be on the phone trying to arrange a church meeting, but did that conversation take priority over her housework? Yes, she may be watching a great preacher on television, but did that take priority over her housework? Yes, she may be doing research on-line for new hymnals for the church, but did that take priority over her housework? Ouch!

Paul gave a list for the older Christian women to teach the younger women in Titus 2:4-5, "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,(4) To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (5)" Notice that there is not a task here that involves things outside the home. I'm not saying that we shouldn't involve ourselves with things outside the home. What I am saying is that we need to complete our tasks in the home first or we are outside of God's will. God's Word is blasphemed when the wife strays away from her God appointed role as a keeper of the home.

It is wonderful when a woman can be a stay-at-home wife and mother. There is enough work at home in caring for and raising children, and keeping up with a house. The Proverbs wife was not idle and neither should today's wife and mother. Unfortunately, there are way too many women who do not take their role as a stay-at-home wife and mother seriously. They are quick to put other things ahead of their day-to-day chores. They find their chores as boring. When a woman dwells on these thoughts, her chores will be boring. It's all in how your view your life. Rather than look at your life as God's blessings upon you and His will for you, you look at your life in comparison to the woman next door who is a lawyer. This negative thinking will take your mind off what God wants for you. You will quickly lose sight of your blessings and become a bitter woman in the end. You can change your way of thinking.

I loved this cartoon because it speaks volumes. I challenge every woman to document the times she is on the computer. You would be amazed at what a time waster it can be. The Proverbs 31 wife should make her time on the computer the very last thing on her list of things to do for the day. Her children should be cared for and her house cleaned before even sitting down in front of it. The television is just as bad. It, too, is a tremendous time waster. Sadly, many use it as a babysitter also. No wonder many children suffer from being over weight or are hyper. They do not spend the countless hours outside playing as we did growing up. Instead, they are amused with television, videos and video games - all of these involve no physical activity whatsoever. Granted, there are some good educational shows and videos out there but this should be used for rainy days and not made a normal part of their day.

God has given you His Son Who has saved you from eternity in hell. He's given you a wonderful husband who loves you. The Lord has given you children to care for. This wonderful husband has provided you with a roof over your head. Are you grateful? Gratefulness is shown through action, not idleness. Be grateful for your salvation by loving the Lord and placing Him first. Be grateful for your husband's love by making sure his needs are met and being the helpmeet God wants you to be. Be grateful by seeing that your children are raised properly and cared for, and that the home he is working hard to build is kept. Your home should be a haven of rest for your family, not one of chaos and clutter.

Here are a couple of quotes I came across that I thought would bless you.

I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.... I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby. ~Nancie J. Carmody

Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots. ~Hoosier Farmer

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Day 6

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. (Pro 31:20)Today's crime rate has closed a door of opportunity for Christian women to extend a helping hand. It is no longer safe for women to venture out to help the homeless as it was years ago. However, our hand can extend to the poor and those in need in so many other ways. This Proverbs 31 wife helped both. She displayed her gift of mercy by reaching out. Notice that the verse says that she "stretcheth out her hand" and she "reacheth forth her hands." This wife was actively using her gifts. What has God blessed you with? Are you using your gifts for others?

Good examples of a way a woman can use those talents God has given to her are:
  • Making meals for church members, neighbors, and friends in need.
  • Going through clothing you no longer use, wash them and bag them for someone in need in your church, or Goodwill.
  • Call someone in your church you know could use a "pick-me-up."
  • Knit/Crochet scarves for the children from that poor family in your church.
  • Visit the senior saints from your church - many do not have family who live locally.
  • Are you a gardener - do you grow vegetables? Give someone of the fruit of your labor.
  • Open your home to teens and youth so they have another place to go to stay out of trouble.
  • Can you sew? Sew a dress for that little girl in Junior Church who comes faithfully and wears the same dress.
  • Do you love music? Make music CD's of uplifting songs and give it to someone who needs encouragement.
  • Do you create your own cards? Send cards to shut-ins or that lady you see sitting alone at church every week.

We don't have to go out into the highways and by-ways to use the gifts God has given us. All we have to do is start looking at the needs in our own church, our own neighborhood, and our own friends and family.

Dear God...
Help me to see the ones in need
Please show me what to do
So You can work through me for them
To bring honor and glory to You

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Proverbs 31 Wife - Day 5

She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. (Prov. 31:17) Remember Rosie the Riveter? She was a poster girl during World War II used to encourage women to work outside the home to fill the jobs men were doing so men would be free to join the military and serve their country. I thought this picture was amusing because I believe this is how today's woman envisions fulfilling Prov. 31:17. However, I don't believe that this is how God wants us to look. Women are not to look like men and I'm sure most husbands would prefer their wives to be soft and feminine.

The Proverbs 31 wife has strength of body. She looks well to her health - she eats right - she exercises - she's active. When we don't eat properly, our bodies become sluggish, without energy. When we are strong physically, we are able to handle those every day tasks. I know that when I'm not feeling well, those tasks become mountains and I am overwhelmed. However, when I feel well, I feel that I can do anything! I'm sure she did not have any exercise equipment but somehow she strengthened her arms - probably working in the field she bought and sowed in verse 16. The women of old were busy women, all the day long. Their children worked right along side them.

Some Christian women, like myself, struggle to lose weight. I never compared the task of losing weight with the Proverbs 31 wife's strength. Yes, it's good for the Christian woman to build her spiritual life, but the Proverb's 31 wife was strong in both her spiritual (verse 1) and physical life (verse 17). This wife worked at keeping herself strong.

Excess weight brings hardships to the body. Diabetes, arthritis, acid reflux, and high cholesterol are some of the common complaints of those who are overweight. I, personally, suffer from three of these and I'm 40 lbs. over weight. I feel certain that if I lose the 40 lbs., I will almost eliminate these problems. Sometimes we willfully continue on this road of weight gain, despite having the knowledge of what it does to us physically - both men and women. If it is in our capability to lose weight, we should. Not doing so is not being a good steward of the temple that God has given to us to care for. If being overweight is your genetic "make-up" then you should strive to keep your body strong. Don't forget to eat right and take your vitamin supplements. Your family depends on you being strong of mind and body.

Dear God...
Forgive me for failing
When it comes to my weight
May I strive to get stronger
For my family and mate

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Proverbs 31 Wife - Day 4

She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. (Pro 31:15) Notice that the Proverbs 31 wife rises "while it is yet night" so she could provide for her household. Granted, most of us do not have maidens to help us with our daily chores. However, this wife had everything prepared and ready for her maidens. Whether these maidens were her own unwed daughters or servants is unclear. But what is clear is that the Proverbs 31 wife was organized and had done the prep work for the day before the maidens began their chores.

Because Prov. 31:10 says she is a virtuous woman, I believe this wife not only got up early to prepare for the physical needs of her household but also to prepare herself spiritually for the needs of her family. She relied on her time with the Lord and His Word to feed her spirit and soul. Only then can a woman take on the challenges of life with a Godly spirit and wisdom to deal with ole slew foot's snares. This wife rose up before the sun even crept through the windows. I remember when my children were little and how difficult it was for me to find uninterrupted time with the Lord. They would stir at 6:00 every morning, like clockwork. I had to get up an hour earlier in order to fuel myself spiritually. When I failed to do so, my day always had hurdles that were difficult and I did not feel organized.

Do you plan your day? Or are you the type whose life is chaotic. There's a saying that goes something like this: If you need something done, ask the busiest person you know because their lives are ordered and scheduled. This Proverbs 31 wife was the organized wife because she worked at it by getting up before dawn to get herself prepared. Since verse 12 says that she did her husband good all her days, she included something in her plans for the day that revolved around this man God had given to her. She had the spiritual meat as well as the meals for the day planned and prepared before sunrise. She had the chores already laid out for the maidens to do. In our lifestyle, our maidens would be our children. We should be teaching our children to have specific chores in order to help us out.

Can you imagine how your day would go if you used the following routine?

1. Rise up an hour before everyone else. Forget self - if you wanted to go to your favorite past-time, you would get up even earlier in order to be ready. Wash up and get fully dressed as if you were ready to go out the door.

2. Spend time with the Lord in prayer and reading. Ask for His guidance and wisdom as you go through your day.

3. Plan your day - plan your spiritual time with the children first - plan menus - plan chores needed to be done by you and the children and then assign them to each child. Plan short breaks so everyone gets rejuvenated and motivated to continue. Fix breakfast for the family and send your dear husband off to work.

4. Work your schedule until your tasks are completed. Only then should you sit at the computer or your favorite past-time.

5. An hour or so before your dear husband comes home, do a quick look-around to make sure that the common areas are picked up and nice and get dinner started. If you planned properly in the morning, this should be a breeze.

6. If the kids are "wound up" and overly excited, take them outside to play tag so they work out their energy. If it's raining, have an exercise time with them and work out the those little energy boosts out of their arms and legs by doing jumping jacks, etc. Then right before your husband is expected to come home, take out the coloring books and drawing paper or reading books and have them sit quietly.

7. Put on sweet music in the background, light a nicely scented candle and double check your appearance to be sure you look your best. Remember, he sees business women all day long - he doesn't need to see you in your favorite "shlump" clothes. Make your husband's haven a place he longs to come home to.

8. After dinner, have the kids help you pick up the dirty dishes and send hubby off to relax. Once the dishes are finished, take the kids outside for a half hour or so (or another part of the house if it's raining) and let hubby catch the news without interruption.

9. After the children are in bed, do what you planned that morning relating to your husband. Whether it his favorite brownies, sitting with him in the garage while he worked on the car, or giving him a massage because his back hurt. You are his helpmeet and he is your priority. Don't let the day end without doing something for him. In fact, don't let the day start and get away from you without having planned this already.

The Proverbs 31 wife did not waste a minute of her day. She was not only frugal with her money, but frugal with her time. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)

Dear God...
May I use each minute wisely
Tending to the day's affairs
May each revolve around those
You have entrusted in my care

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Anti American Email to Make Your Blood Boil

Please take a moment to go read this blog from The Watchman. Every red-blooded American should be outraged.

Anti American Email to Make Your Blood Boil

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Proverbs 31 Wife - Day 3

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. (Pro 31:13) This wonderful lady took every opportunity to find what she needed for her family. I love the word "seeketh" used here. Today's Proverb 31 wife would probably research on-line for deals and coupons. She would diligently search the newspapers for more coupons. She looks for quality material, as shown here by this woman searching for wool and flax. Flax was used to make thread and linen fabric. Both these fabrics (wool and linen) are not flimsy or cheap, as many sewers know. They are both sturdy fabrics and have a lot of wear.

Also notice that this wife worked willingly with her hands. I do not see a woman who is grudgingly working here. I see a woman who realizes that God created her to be a helpmeet to her husband. She desires to meet his needs by making clothes for him. She wants him to look good. Her family does not lack in this area.

Today's devotional is not very long but packs a punch, doesn't it? Even if you can't sew, you should still be working to buy quality clothing at the best price. Do you seek the best bargains for clothing? Do you buy the latest fashions knowing that it will be out of style in a year? Do you buy a bargain item only to have to buy it again because it fell apart? I love thrift stores! You can buy quality clothing at a real bargain!!

Be wise as you look for bargains. Making and buying quality garments at a good price will not only help you to keep your family dressed well for the season but it will save you money in the long run. Your husband will be able to rest assured that his wife doesn't squander the money he works so hard to bring home. He will rest easy knowing that his family will not have clothing that will fall apart but will be sturdy, beautiful and made or bought at a good price! Can your husband say that about you today? It's never too late to start!

Dear God...
Help me to be wise today
As I spend each dollar bill
Help me use my resources
As I seek to do Your will

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Proverbs 31 Wife - Day 2

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. (Pro 31:12) I have often wondered how a wife could possibly do evil to her husband when this is the man that she loves. I could see how this could be a true statement when she is involved in an unhappy marriage. However, is it possible for a wife to do evil to her husband when she is in a happy Godly marriage?

What are some evil things that a wife could do to her husband? Noah Webster defines evil as:
Moral evil is any deviation of a moral agent from the rules of conduct prescribed to him by God, or by legitimate human authority; or it is any violation of the plain principles of justice and rectitude.
When a wife knows that she should be doing a certain thing for her husband and she does not do it, it is sin. For example, she knows she must be submissive but she rebels against his wishes instead. This is an example of doing him evil.

Let's look at a few verses which show a wife what is expected of her.

... and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Eph 5:33b) Do you respect and esteem your husband? Respecting and esteeming him is good in public, but do you do so in private as well? Reverencing the man that God has given you is commanded of you. When you fail to reverence him, you are doing him evil.

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (Eph 5:23) Is your husband your head? This verse says that he is. Do you treat him as such? Or do you supersede his decisions? Do you step in and take control without speaking with him in situations which should be handled by him? You are removing him from his rightful place as head of your home. Without words, your actions are telling him that you think he is not capable of leading your home. If you are doing this, you are doing him evil.

... but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (1 Cor. 7:34b) Paul says that the married woman sees how she can please her husband. Do you look for ways to please your man? This is what Proverbs 31:12 is speaking of when she is doing him good.

A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping. (Pro 19:13) A contentious woman is a woman who, according to Noah Webster, is given to angry debate and is quarrelsome. She argues with her husband over everything. It's obvious that she's not content with how he heads the home. Notice how Solomon compares her to a continual dropping? We've all heard the bathroom faucet dripping as we're trying to sleep. It gets to the point where the continuous drip sounds like thunder in the still of the night. I believe this is the thought that he was trying to convey. This contentious woman is a nuisance and makes her man crazy. Can you see him as he rubs his forehead and shakes his head? I can see where a man like this would throw his arms up in the air in defeat. If you are always arguing with your husband, you are doing him evil.

House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD. (Pro 19:14) Ah, the prudent wife does good to her husband. She is cautious and wise as she does her shopping. She watches for sales. She spends his money with care. She doesn't jump to conclusions or rush into trouble. She is careful with her words and chooses them wisely. She does not bring him shame - either in action or in word. All these things show her prudence and Proverbs 31:12 says she is doing him good.

Lastly, this Proverbs 31 wife is doing him good all the days of her life. She does him good even when she doesn't feel like it. She does him good even if she is sick or the children are sick... ALL the days of her life.

Dear God...
I commit to You today
To do my husband good
Drive evil far from me
So I can be the wife I should

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Proverbs 31 Wife

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. (Pro 31:11) Trust is something that is earned - it is developed as a relationship grows. You don't meet a stranger and trust him right away, do you? You observe this person and get to know him. While watching for this person's integrity, reliability and sound principles you then begin to respect him. Proverbs 31:11 says that this husband safely trusts in his wife. Not only does he trust her but he does so without hesitation or fear! This adjective speaks volumes, doesn't it?

Does your husband feel this way about you? If not, why not? Do you belittle him in front of others? How can you trust someone who doesn't honor you? Ephesians 5:33b is still in the Bible. ...and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Eph 5:33) I have heard some very sad stories of men belittling their wives to their co-workers. The wife finds out and it is a long time before she forgets how disrespectful her husband was of her to his friends. It is no different here. A wife should never, and I repeat never, say anything but uplifting and kind things about her husband to others as well as to her husband. This builds trust. He knows that she is his best friend, his supporter and his cheerleader. She should never say anything to anyone that would make him look bad in their eyes. I know that when a woman tells me something negative about her husband, it's the first thing I think of the next time I see him. The same results happen when I hear a good thing about her husband. Which one do you think will create safe trust in this man's heart?

The latter part of the verse says that the Proverbs 31 wife's husband shall have no need of spoil. Are you wasteful? Your husband works so that you can have food, shelter and clothing. Do you waste food? Do you take care of the house to prevent costly repairs later? Do you spend your money wisely on clothing by hitting the sales, buying from thrift stores or yard sales? Do you mend and repair rather than throw it away and buy new? How do you spend his hard-earned money when you go shopping? Do you go to the most expensive store because it is closer or do you seek out bargains? Do you make gifts by hand using your craftiness rather than buy something? Do you pray before you buy asking the Lord to send the item? I have seen many times where the Lord has sent something "free"! We miss out on blessings when we don't commit our purchases to the Lord.

The Proverbs 31 wife was not only a virtuous (Godly) woman, but she was in the promotional business. She was busy promoting her husband and his character. Everything she said and everything she did had her husband in mind - how she could build him up and make him successful. Do you think I'm reading into this verse? I don't think I am. The very fact that he "safely" trusted in her tells me that he did not have one worry involving her. He knew beyond a shadow of doubt that she would do the right thing. I'm sure you've heard it said, "Honey, don't mention what I told you the other night in front of my boss, OK?" If a husband "safely" trusted in his wife, he would have no need to mention this.

Just because you are married now does not mean that your husband will safely trust in you immediately. Remember, it takes time to build trust. Work on building that trust in your husband's eyes by speaking good of him and being careful with every dollar that you spend. This is just the beginning and as he sees these qualities in you, you can be sure that it is adding to the foundation of trust he will have for you.

Dear God...
Help me to guard my mouth
Be uplifting in every way
Guide me as I spend each dime
Give me wisdom each new day

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

You've Made It!

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Gen 2:24) The Lord says that the man will leave his parents and cleave to his wife. Noah Webster definse cleave as:
To unite or be united closely in interest or affection; to adhere with strong attachment.
The man and woman adhere to each other with strong attachment - to the point that they become one flesh. No longer are they separate entities - they are now one, complete in each other. What he lacks, she possesses and what she lacks, he possesses. What a wonderful picture of marriage!

You are no longer your own. Your decisions in life no longer affect you only but they affect another. There's no need to run to your parents for day-to-day decisions because you now have your own spouse and your own household to look after. Your parents run their own household, it's time for you to run yours with God's guidance.

Heavenly marriages don't just happen. They require much work from each person. It's not a 50-50, give-and-take situation. It requires 100-100% from each person. The husband answers to Christ and the husband is the head of the wife. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (Eph 5:23)

We all have to be accountable to someone. In today's "women's lib" mind set, this is not a popular concept. Organizations have a President and Vice President. This keeps the operation running smoothly. When there is a conflict between the two and a decision is needed, the President's decision is final. It is not different in the Biblical home. The husband wants a Toyota and the wife wants a Ford. Compromise is good but when there is no compromise, the Word says the husband is the head of the home and his decision is final. What does the wife do if his Toyota dies after a year? Does she rub it in his face? Would the Vice President say, "I told you so!" to the President of an organization? Absolutely not. Neither should the wife. 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. (1Pe 3:6)

The next few days will be spent covering the role of a godly wife. Let's take a look at what the Word of God considers to be a godly wife. Proverbs 31 has a wonderful outline of the character of the wife. The first characteristic of this wife is that she is virtuous. Noah Webster defines virtuous to be:
Morally good; acting in conformity to the moral law; practicing the moral duties, and abstaining from vice; as a virtuous man.
We are no longer under the Law, this is true. However, as a born-again woman, are you practicing Christ's teachings in the Word? Are you living a godly life? Are you morally good? Are you abstaining from sin? This woman is practicing and living out her faith. Are you?

Granted, no one is perfect and you won't be until we reach Heaven. However, you can be striving toward perfection. The godly woman lives by faith - works at her faith - and walks in her faith. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20) Being the virtuous woman is an on-going process of putting into practice your faith in Jesus Christ and what He has taught you. When God's Word tells you to do something, like submitting to your husband, then start practicing it. Don't just read it and forget it. Put God's Word into action by obeying it.

Dear God...
As I learn to be the wife
Your Word commands of me
Convict me where I'm weak
And help my eyes to see

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Preparing for the Wedding

NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105) Your wedding plans are under way and the excitement is building. You and your fiance have counseled with your Pastor and your uncertainties have all been cleared up. You are settled in knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is the person God wants you to spend the rest of your life with. You're now ready to move forward!

As you plan your wedding, remember to include both sets of parents in those plans. Sit together and talk about what you want to do. Yes, it is your wedding, but no two people think alike. What you think is a "given" may not be desirable to others. Talking out the details eliminates any surprises by those who will be involved. For example, you have picked the colors for the wedding but you had not told either sets of parents about your plans. Your mother-in-law to be does not have the finances to buy a new dress for the wedding and you know this. She does have a beautiful dress that would be great for your wedding, however, the color will clash with the colors you have picked. Do you change your colors to accommodate the color of her dress or do you say, "Tough! It's my wedding and it's just too bad!"? This is where talking is key. A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Pro 15:1) Another good example is the cost of a wedding. Your costs are out of control and you are not considering the financial impact this will have on your future. What do you do? Do you plow ahead regardless? Or do you sit down with both sets of parents and go over the details, asking their input. Surprises are going to pop up no matter how well planned this wedding is.

Just remember that wisdom is given to the older Christians around you and God has placed them in your life for times such as these. They shed light in an area you may not have thought about. They may advise you to go in a direction that was not your first choice, but it is a better choice. Even Paul gave advice that was expedient to his fellow believers (1 Cor. 8:10). Just keep in mind that although it is your wedding, your wedding and marriage are a testimony to God for those in attendance. Don't start your wedding off with any hindrances and hard feelings. Pray about your plans and keep them Christ-centered.

Dear God...

Help us keep in mind Your will
As we plan our wedding day
Let it be a sweet tribute
And testimony to You.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Love and Reverence

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Eph 5:33)

This wonderful verse explains quite simply the role for the husband and wife. It starts off with "Nevertheless" - nevertheless what? This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Eph 5:32) Paul speaks of Christ and the church as a "great mystery." The word mystery is used 22 times in the Word, all in the New Testament. But only once is "great mystery" ever used. That should draw our attention. We are to compare the role of husband and wife to Christ and the church. Christ loves (agape love) us so much He died for us. So should the husband have this agape (unconditional kind of love) for his wife. The church is to reverence her Saviour. So should the wife reverence her husband.

Would a man deprive himself of food, shelter, clothing, etc.? Would a man hurt himself? Does a man hate himself? No - A man loves himself. It is evident because he cares for his body and provides for it. God tells a man that he should love his wife just as he loves himself.

The woman is commanded to reverence her husband. Noah Webster defines the word reverence as:
REV'ERENCE, v.t. To regard with reverence; to regard with fear mingled with respect and affection. We reverence superiors for their age, their authority and their virtues. We ought to reverence parents and upright judges and magistrates. We ought to reverence the Supreme Being, his word and his ordinances.

Those that I reverence, those I fear, the wise.

They will reverence my son. Mat 21.

Let the wife see that she reverence her husband. Eph 5.
As a bride-to-be, are you ready and willing to reverence this man who will be your husband? The Christian woman needs to prepare herself prior to her marriage in order to be the wife spoken of in today's verse. If the man you are planning to marry is not the type you can reverence, you should reconsider marriage. Is he the kind of man that will love you as much as he loves himself? This does not automatically come when the wedding band is placed on your finger.

The Christian man must also be sure that he will be able to love his wife as much as he loves himself. Will her needs take a back burner to yours? Christ did not put our needs on the back burner. In fact, He died for us because He knew we could not gain heaven on our own. Are you willing to do so for her? If you are, then ask yourself if the woman you are about to marry will be the kind of woman who will reverence you? If she is making light of this topic, or if she is belittling you before marriage, it will only be worse after marriage.

Marriage does not bring with it a "bed of roses." This cliche has been used so much but have we ever thought about its meaning? Roses need to be planted in just the right soil, have just the right amount of watering and sunshine, and continually need pruning if they are to grow healthy. One can see the difference between neglected roses and a rose bush which has been meticulously cared for. A good marriage takes years of nurturing by both husband and wife. Starting marriage off equally yoked with a desire to serve the Lord together is a wonderful start. But the key to a good and successful marriage begins with Eph. 5:33.

Don't be fooled. If your relationship has hurdles now that you are sweeping under the rug, these same hurdles will be mountains after marriage. This is not a possibility but is a definite! Work your issues out now. Talk about them. NOW is the time to talk about apprehensions. Search and share the Scriptures together, like today's verse, and see what the other thinks and feels. Better to know now than to be yoked for life with someone who does not desire to be all that God wants him to be. If your Pastor hasn't already arranged to do so, ask him to have pre-marital counselling together. My son is engaged and he and his fiance will be going through several months of counselling to prepare them for their life together.

Search the Scriptures together - Talk about the Scriptures together - Heed the Scriptures together!

Dear God...
May the eyes of those who read
Ephesians Five and Thirty Three
Realize now before their wedding
How their marriage ought to be

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Spiritually Preparing for Marriage

Oh the bliss of getting married! The plans alone can make a person go crazy but the end results are glorious memories! Wedding plans are important but are you preparing yourself spiritually as well? I cannot speak for the husband's role but I can write about the wife's role. I would like to devote the next few blogs on this very topic. What does the bride-to-be have to prepare for? What should she be thinking about? What does the Word have to say about her upcoming role as a Godly helpmeet to this man? Does today's bridge-to-be have any idea what she is getting into? I know I didn't. My mother gave me highlights but she never prepared me for the day-to-day care and responsibilities.

I believe the most important verse in Scriptures that a couple should live by is: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Phi 2:3) When a couple esteems the other better than themselves, they will never go wrong. There is no room for selfishness in this verse. There is no room for going to bed angry. There is no room for retaliation. Esteeming the other better than ourselves is not a trait that automatically comes with marriage. We are all sinners and our own welfare is our main priority. Esteeming the other is a learned skill. It takes practice. Each time you work on this, it becomes easier to do.

... but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (1 Cor 7:34b) The wife who seeks to please her husband is a wife who is esteeming him better than herself. Dear unmarried sister in Christ, if you are reading this and thinking that this is ridiculous, I ask that you pray and ask the Lord to speak to your heart through this devotional today. Marriage is not a 50-50% contribution - it is a 100-100% contribution by the husband and wife. But what will happen if the husband is lazy? What will happen if he does not work at the marriage as diligently as you do? I can tell you that you will become resentful and bitter. 1 Cor. 7:34b does not state that you are only to please your husband when he is doing everything right. When a wife takes her eyes off what her husband should be doing and focuses them on what she should be doing, she will succeed in esteeming him better than herself.

Being the kind of helpmeet that God's Word says you should be is not an easy task. It requires daily spiritual dedication and spiritual discipline. Like any job, being a good Godly wife takes hard work. Practice-practice-practice! I know you must be thinking at this point that I'm over exaggerating. But I'm really not. In fact, I cannot stress it enough. Marriage is not easy, my friend. It takes work - dedicated and diligent work. Your marriage can be a bed of roses if you work at it. Can it be that bed of roses only if the wife works at it? Yes! Why do I say this? Because Eve was created for Adam, not vice versa. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Gen 2:18) My definition of an help meet is a woman who helps her husband to successfully meet the goals in his life. She is his cheerleader when he needs motivation. She is his bookkeeper when he hates to do the checkbook and bills. She is the mother of his children. She maintains his home and everything revolving around it. She is his vice president when decisions need to be made in his absence. She is his devoted best friend when all others have forsaken him. She carries his burdens along with him to ease the load. She is his comforter when the cares of this world overwhelm him. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. (Pro 31:12)

I'm leaving you with some things to think about. As you reflect on what your new role as a wife will involve, I ask that you keep in mind that these are not optional. The wife's duties are not performed only when she feels like it or when she is motivated enough. They are the criteria for a good and successful marriage. Your marriage will be as good as the efforts you put into it. We will continue to cover a more points about preparing for that husband in the next days to follow. My prayer is that you will take to heart the things which I've written here today.

My salvation came after six years of marriage and that marriage was heading toward divorce. Through the Word and being obedient to God's directions, I learned how to be my husband's help meet. Am I perfect? Far from it! But I am certainly a lot further along in that area than I was and God has healed my marriage. It took a lot of growing on my part and a lot of hard work. I have prayed for a long time that the Lord would use my experiences to help women who are preparing to be married or are already married and hurting. I pray that these blogs will bless someone today.

Dear God...
I pray for each bride to be
Prepare her willing heart
Reveal to each Your Word today
Impart wisdom from the start

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Monday, January 08, 2007

The Engagement - Continued

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1 Tim 4:12)

The engagement period brings a certain level of "comfort," for a lack of a better term. The longer the couple is engaged, the more familiar they become with each other. This can be a good thing but it can also be a very bad thing.

It is good that you become familiar with each other's little idiosyncrasies. What makes the other one tick? What are his strengths? What are his weaknesses? Are these weaknesses some I can live with for the rest of my life? But what about when familiarity leads you to sin? As you grow in your love for each other, intimacy is a constant battle of the flesh. You can become so comfortable with each other that the flesh desires to get more intimate.

The church at Corinth was having a problem in this area. So much so, the leaders wrote to Paul asking for direction and guidance. Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. (1 Cor 7:1) This church was having issues in this area so Paul laid it out for them. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. (1 Cor 7:2) Paul preferred that people remained single, as he was, so they could devote their time to the cause of Christ. But he encouraged them to get married if they felt they could not avoid fornication. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. (1 Cor 7:8) But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. (1 Cor 7:9)

Be careful during your engagement. Stay away from situations which will cause you to be tempted to touch each other. Stay in public - fellowship with each other when there are others around you. This will prevent tongues from wagging and people who want to ruin your reputation. I have seen this with my own eyes and can tell you that had it not been for this couple being supervised, their reputation could have been destroyed. The young man was studying to be a Youth Pastor and it could have ruined him. Stay away from being alone - that's the most important thing!

Don't open yourself up to temptation. The devil will use it in any way he can. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Pet 5:8) Heed Peter's counsel in this verse! You won't regret it.

Keeping yourself chaste and pure brings such comfort in the end. Never will you have to wonder if you were "the only one" that your spouse had ever been intimate with. Never will you have to worry about diseases that are God's judgment to those who commit the sin of fornication.

The most perfect and wonderful gift to give each other on your wedding night is your purity! A moment's pleasure can bring a lifetime of regret - it's not worth it!

Pure Within
Fanny Crosby

Lord, on Thee my strength relies,
O, hear me when I call;
Up to Thee I lift mine eyes,
My Life, my Help, my All.

Refrain

Source of comfort, Spring of grace,
Cleanse my heart from every sin,
Now reveal Thy smiling face
,
And make me pure within.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

The Engagement

You now believe you've found the "right one" - the one that God would have you spend the rest of your life with. That is a serious commitment and one which should not be taken lightly. Marriage is just not recorded here on earth but recorded in heaven. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mat 19:6) and What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mar 10:9) This word "together" appears only twice in the Word with this particular meaning of "God joining and man not being able to take away." All other times, the word "together" is used in a different Hebrew or Greek word is meaning "coming together" or "reasoning together" - a more casual term. Seems to me if God uses this term twice and both terms are used in conjunction with Him joining a couple together in marriage and no one can "un-join" them, that would mean that marriage is permanent and for life. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Be very careful in making this decision to marry.

Lust of the flesh is not basis for a foundation in a marriage. Christ is our foundation. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1Co 3:11) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Eph 2:20) Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2Ti 2:19) With Jesus Christ as the foundation and center of your marriage, you can be certain you will be happy.

Once you are engaged, it is time to seek answers to more serious questions. I can think of a few off the top of my head.

1. How many children do you want? You may want 3 and she may want to have as many as God lets her have! Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. (Psa 127:3) As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. (Psa 127:4) Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psa 127:5) I was never more blessed than when I watched a segment on television about Jim Bob Duggar and his family. I've provided a link to their website. The Duggar Family Jim Bob and Michelle have 16 children! Yes, 16. This is a beautiful depiction of a couple who were blessed with a quiver full and each child is loved and knows that he is loved. I hope you will take time to read about this beautiful work from God. They are a Godly, loving family. You will be blessed, of this I'm sure.

2. Will the wife be required to work after having children? This can be a true bone of contention in a marriage. I have walked these shoes and it's not easy. Of course, I was already married when I got saved but I would have loved to be able to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. Better to work these things out before marriage than suffer through after marriage. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Tit 2:5) The Word of God is blasphemed when the woman does not strive to be what the Word says for her to be. This is serious. A woman's natural desire is to be at home, taking care of her husband and raising their children. When she is deprived of this, she becomes resentful at the end of a long hard day when all her energy has been spent at work outside the home. Don't be fooled. Be smart - be prepared - have wisdom and think ahead.

3. Just how much debt will you get into? Buying a house can put a terrible financial strain on a marriage when the woman stays home. This may cause the husband to feel as though he is not a good provider when the finances weigh heavy. It may force him to work two or more jobs just to make ends meet. Are you willing to sacrifice little time with your wife and children? Would you be willing to live within more meager means to be able to reap the benefit of your wife staying home and caring for you and the children? If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee? (Pro 22:27) It is better to live within your means in a doublewide manufactured home that is paid for than to live in a single-family home and owe half a million dollars. The latter only means that more time will be spent away from home in order to pay for it... who can enjoy it?

4. Will you educate your children using the public school system, Christian schools or homeschool them? This may seem a bit "out there" but I have personally seen much struggle in this area between couples. This can also boil down to finances. Private schools and homeschooling mean out-of-pocket expenses. Public schools are indirectly free, although your taxes pay for it. But the heartaches that come with your children being in public school are overwhelming. Please heed my counsel on this. I have two sons and both were raised in Christian schools all their lives, except for the youngest who spent the last one and half years of high school in a public school. That time in our home was tumultuous at best. He was exposed to drugs, gangs, alcohol, and education that is based on the world's beliefs and not the Word of God. My son now says he wishes he would have been able to complete his education in a Christian school. Don't make the same wrong decisions. Settle these matters beforehand, my friend. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deu 6:7)

5. In-laws should be a wonderful addition to a marriage. They do not have to be "out-laws" but should be an additional set of parents to love and guide the new couple. No matter what anyone says, when you marry your spouse, you also marry his family. You must decide now that nothing and no one will come between you. And if they do, what actions are you willing to take? Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Gen 2:24)

If the two of you cannot talk about these things now, what makes you think you will be able to discuss these things after marriage? It will be too late by then should you disagree on even just one point! There is heartache that comes with each of these if you do not agree 100%. I ask that you seek wisdom from on high as you search out the answers to these questions in your relationship. God wants to give you wisdom, my friend! If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (Jam 1:5)

Dear God...
Let our hearts pursue Your will
In each area of life
As we seek to humbly serve You
When we are man and wife

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Possible Hurdles



Let's say you were planning to take a trip to a foreign country. You would more than likely do a lot of research on that country, wouldn't you? You would also be asking questions from people who have travelled there as well so you could learn all about that country prior to going. You'd want to know as much as possible so there would be no surprises when you went there, right?

As you are learning about this new person in your life, there are many areas which could pose a problem even though you think you are equally yoked. Just because you are both saved does not mean that you are at the same spiritual level. You may have no problem with tithing while your friend may not be there yet. You may love working in Junior Church while your friend may dislike working with children. These are things which need to be discovered before a serious relationship is developed.

One may think that it is common sense, but not really. You would be amazed at how many people think that these things will all work themselves out. Don't be so easily deceived. The problems before marriage become mountains after marriage. What are some areas you should be looking out for? Here are some that I believe are instrumental in developing a spiritual and healthy relationship. Rather than use he/she or him/her throughout, I will just use "he/him" to make it flow better.

1. Although this is being repeated, I believe it is vitally important to know whether he is a tither or not. There is nothing worse than a woman who tithes and she marries a man who does not or refuses to tithe and vice versa. It will be a bone of contention after marriage. Being obedient to the Scriptures is a vital part of the believer's life. If you can't agree on these, you are not equally yoked. The same goes for faithful church attendance. If you go to church every time the doors are opened (even during Revivals) and he doesn't, you will have these same hurdles after marriage, only worse. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (2Co 9:7)

2. Is your friend selfish with his time or does he volunteer to help when help is needed - or even better, does he pitch in even when he's not asked? Better to know now than to find out after marriage and struggle each time you want to help someone. Some people are just lazy and don't want to give of themselves. Does he do things for others with the attitude of "what's in it for me"? Or, maybe he sighs or rolls his eyes every time he's asked to do something. Beware! If he is this "open" with these character flaws now, it will be much worse after marriage. Christ came to minister to those in need - so are we to follow His example. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mat 20:28)

3. Is your friend compassionate? It's hard to be married to someone who doesn't feel the way you do about meeting the needs of others. If a dear senior saint needs help with groceries one month, is he willing to help out or does he figure it's the pastor's job? Does he have a heart for homeless? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Mat 25:40) The Good Samaritan was a wonderful account of a compassionate person. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (1 Jo 3:17) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (1 Jo 3:18)

There are various ways you can find out these things about your friend without coming out and asking him directly. Watching him in action is defintely one way. Another way is to talk to mutual acquaintances about his past, his behaviors, his character, etc. Ask them what kind of person he is; how is he with his money; how is he with his time. Talk to your Pastor about him. There's nothing wrong in finding out what kind of person he is.

Remember, you would do this much research if you were going on vacation to a place you'd never been. Don't have any less zeal in your search for a spouse. A vacation is but for a moment, but marriage is for a lifetime. Take your time and ask the Lord for wisdom as you search for answers. Once you fall in love, your eyes will be blinded by that same love and you will not see his faults clearly. Now is the time to see clearly.

Dear God...
Let not my eyes be blinded
As I seek the one for me
To view him as You do
Help me to clearly see

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Have You Found Someone You Want to Date?

Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. (Prov 4:26-27)

Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. (Ps 17:5)


I have yet to read an account in Scriptures that talks about Godly dating. There are recorded courtships where parents were involved in the selection of their children's mates, but no signs of dating. It caused me to wonder why. If dating is not mentioned in the Bible, why not? If dating is not mentioned in the Word, then how did this custom come about? A believer should be asking these types of questions before embarking on something as important as finding a person who he will spend the rest of his life with.

Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thess 5:22) What a great verse to go along with this topic. The world's view of dating means being alone with someone of the opposite sex. When a couple is alone, it not only opens the door for many temptations but others are always watching - whether those watching are saved or unsaved, your good intentions will be misinterpreted and your testimony will be questioned or even tarnished. I speak from experience and I advise any man and woman who are dating to take heed to this. Dating should be done in the open and with adult chaperones if you want to keep your testimony flawless. Some of you may think that these words are old fashioned. They may be at that, but your testimony is the only thing you have in this world that you will take with you to Heaven, my friend. Are you willing to let it be tarnished over a relationship?

Dating exposes you to situations and trials you may or may not be ready for. You can be quite certain that the devil will use dating to lead you to temptation. Here are a few Scriptures which cover the weaknesses of the flesh. It would be wise to read them often and apply them to your spiritual walk as you consider spending time with someone of the opposite sex.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 Jo 2:16)

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Gal 6:8)

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: (Rom 7:18a)

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (Eph 4:22)

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (Gal 5:19)

Satan does not play fair. He will cut you absolutely no slack in this area. You can be certain that temptation will come your way. Your thought life and your heart life will be placed in situations you would not normally be experiencing. So be prepared. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Pet 5:8) If you go into dating with this foreknowledge and the desire to do God's will as you seek to learn about this person, you will be able to spot the devil's sly work.

Learning about a person does not mean you should become familiar with that person in a physical sense. The world's views are "in our face" every day through advertising. Dating couples holding hands, caressing and kissing are not Scriptural, my friend. In fact, the media is not ashamed and even boasts at no longer blushing over matters that were once saved for married couples. The Word says Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman (1 Cor 7:1) Becoming familiar with someone through dating definitely opens the door to touching - even if it is just hand holding. What did Paul say in this last verse? It is good for a man not to touch a woman. There is a reason this verse is in the Word.

I was not saved when I dated my husband. For one thing, I was an immature teenager with one thought in my mind and that was to be with a boy. My husband's thoughts were surely not on what was best for me but what was best for his fleshly desires. Neither of our thoughts were focused on being mature. Our thoughts were not focused on being responsible adults. Our thoughts were strictly on fulfilling our fleshly desire of dating each other because our friends were all dating. These are not thoughts of a mature person ready for the dating scene. It is obvious that dating is not for the immature teenager. Allowing teens to date is like give a child the go-ahead to play with matches. They will most certainly be burned. They will most certainly lose their testimony. Notice that 1 Cor. 7:1 speaks of a "man" not a boy.

Dating by Christians, therefore, should not be considered "dating" per se but should be thought of as "getting together in the presence of others" in order to learn more about each other. The distractions brought on with people around you will cause you to stay focused on getting to know this person. It will keep your mind off the lusts of the flesh. Having other adults around you will also uphold your testimony. No one with evil intentions will be able to point their finger at you and spread malicious gossip if you do not leave room for the devil to sneak in.

The best chaperones are your parents if they are available, adults in your church, your Pastor and his wife, etc. Not only are they wise but they will "see things" about this person that you may not see. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors!

In closing on this issue, remember one thing. As you are getting to know someone, keep in mind that once you are married, your spouse is yours for life. There is no Godly way to undo this mistake if you choose the wrong one. Marriage is a very serious commitment, not only between the couple but before God. Don't be too hasty in making this decision. It is better to be single and right before God than to be married to the wrong person only because you were in love with the idea of being married. Be vigilant because your adversary the devil is seeking to deceive you - be diligent in seeking God's will and He will guide you.

Dear God...
Help me to see with opened eyes
So I am not deceived
Help me to stay chaste and pure
As I seek the one for me

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What Kind of Woman Should I Look For?

Woman was created for man, not vice versa. Man needed a helpmeet and God met that need by creating Eve. The most important thing in a man's life, outside of his salvation, is finding the wife God has created for him if he is to be married. To marry anyone other than God's choice is a recipe for hardship. Therefore, as you look for a woman to date, it is important to stay focused on how she will help you meet the goals God has laid upon your heart.

I can't stress enough how important it is for you to "watch" the person you are interested in dating prior to dating. Is there a woman that has come to your attention? If she is not in your church, it will be difficult for you to see her "in action" when it comes to her spiritual walk, her ministries, etc. It will take more work on your part to watch her and find out these things about her.

Here are some things that you should be on the lookout for:

1. Is she saved? I know that we can't judge someone's salvation. But we can surely judge their fruit. That is why it is good to "watch" a woman for a while before dating. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Cor 6:14)

2. How is her relationship with the Lord? Is it visible to you that she loves the Lord? A woman who has a face which appears as though she has sucked on a lemon does not portray a woman who has spent time with the Lord.Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. (Pro 31:30)

3. Is she burdened for the lost? Not every church has a planned day for going out soul winning. But it is every believer's responsibility to speak with others about their need of salvation. Do you know if she has this burden? If she doesn't, that's a red flag. We're told to "go ye therefore" in Matt. 28:19. It is all of our responsibilities. She may be on that hands out tracts, or goes door knocking with a friend, or talks to people at the mall. It doesn't matter what form of witnessing she does, just be sure that she cares for the souls of the lost.

4. How does she treat her father? The way she treats him will be an indication of how she will treat you. Does she dote on him? Is she attentive to him?Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. (Exo 20:12)

5. How does she submit to authority? If she bucks authority, she will have a difficult time being the submissive wife that 1 Peter 3 speaks of. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:17) How do you know if she submits to authority? Watch her. If she still lives at home, does she say "no" to her father or mother? Does she argue with them? Does she do the opposite of what they've asked her to do? How does she behave when they are not around? If you don't have the opportunity to observe her with her parents, how does she respond to those in leadership over her? Don't be fooled into thinking that you can overlook this point. If she lacks in this area, you will have great difficulty as a man trying to lead his household.

6. Does she appear to be studious in the Word? Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Tim 2:15) Jesus gave us the account of Mary and Martha in the Word. Martha was a busy person but Mary was studious. There's nothing wrong with a woman doing things to further the Lord's work. However, if it is done at the expense of reading, studying and growing in the Word, then her priorities are not in order.

7. Is she involved in various ministries in the church (like nursery, Junior Church, senior saints, etc.)? In my opinion, these three areas bring out the woman. A woman was made to nurture, teach and care for those placed in her care. These three ministries help her to grow in these areas.

8. Is she a servant at heart? Is she lazy? Does she jump right in when help is needed? I've seen women walk away from banquets at church without so much as lifting a finger to help clean up afterwards.

9. Is she modest in dress as well? Is she modest (chaste) in her conversation? A single woman who dresses modestly shows that she is not out to catch a man with her body. Modesty means that a woman dresses to cover herself in a way that doesn't draw attention to herself. If her clothing attracts your eyes to her body, then it will attract the eyes of other men as well - needless to say, it is not modest attire. Modesty does not mean frumpy and unattractive. A woman can dress attractively and yet still be modest.

10. How does she treat those less fortunate? She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. (Pro 31:20) She is not only kind in word but kind in deed. Notice how this woman reached forth her hands to the needy. This is a woman of action.

Don't settle for less in a woman, my friend. A woman who does not meet these criteria will not be able to be the helpmeet needed to complete you as a man. A man's success is based on the helpmeet's contribution toward that success. If her heart is not in your ministry, you will have nothing but struggles. Better to find out now than to be married and have to reap a whirlwind of problems because you allowed your flesh to rule your decisions rather than the Word of God.

Dear God...
If it is Your will for me
To be married in this life
Help me to rely on You
As I seek to find a wife

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