Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Devotions 26-02-08 (Ps 26:1-3)

"Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity; and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart. For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth."

There is something that is great about a person that is truthful and practices honesty in all he does. My father was such a man. I have learned that God is the author of all that is right and pure and honest. He wants me to trust Him and not to waver or to doubt. The Psalmist even tells God to test him in his mind and his heart. I must make up my mind to be honest and also my heart. Both of these must determine to be honest to be a person of integrity.

When I keep my eyes on God and His lovingkindness and live life according to God's truth I will be a man of integrity. There is such peace knowing you have not taken advantage of anyone in what you have said or what you have done. Integrity must be a big part of godliness. What confidence I will have in God if I know He will always do what He says without fail.

The world is so full of lies and deception that it is often very difficult to tell what is the truth. I must be very careful to speak of things that I know that are true and not to pass on half truths or lies which I have heard. I am so grateful that all the words of God are truth. Lord, help me to be a man who can be trusted and will not be involved in any deception or lies. I want to honor You Lord in all I say or do. I want to bring honor and glory to You.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Devotions 25-02-08 (Ps 25:4-5)

"Make me know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me. For You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day."

I desire to have the same attitude of the Psalmist. I want to learn the ways of God and to know His paths. I want God to lead me in His truth and to be my teacher. God has changed my life and rescued me from the miserable life that those without God are living in the world around me.

I also want to be alert during my days to what You desire to teach me. Forgive me for getting so distracted by the things that are so temporal and have no real value. Thank You for the scriptures that are so filled with encouragement and answers to the complex issues of life.

The Psalms are so rich with the truths of God and His love and concern for people who will seek Him and wait on Him. I must read them often and even memorize some of them that I need throughout my life. Thank You, that You always keep your word to me when I seek You humbly and truthfully. I am so grateful for Jesus and His amazing Grace.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Devotions 21-02-08 (Prov 22:6)

"Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it."

The training of children is an amazing and wonderful experience. God has made it possible for every married couple, with a few exceptions , to be able to have children and to train them to be unique beautiful persons. God teaches us some valueable principles that we must follow if we are going to be successful. Good children do not come about by chance but following the truths of God.

The first is understanding the bent or personality of a child. How did God make him or her? What are some born traits about this child? The parent must learn that and fit that child into training them along their birth traits. When a parent does this they are fitting into God's design for this person.

Of course much of the way a child should go is in the direction of knowing their Saviour and their God. It is teaching them the ways of God and doing the things that are pleasing to God . How do we do this? I will look at this tomorrow.

Lord what a joy it is to see children grow up knowing their Savior and God and to be trained in what they really enjoy doing and excell at it. I pray that my grandchildren will have the opportunity to grasp their bent in life and prepare for the work that God has for them. In the process of their work that they would make Christ known in the world in which they will live. Use me Lord to encourage them and help them in this path You have for them.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Devotions 20-02-08 Eph 6:1-2

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother(which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth."

In chapter 5 God explains the role of the husband and the wife and it was so they might be as one person. Now in this oneness husband and wife must care for their children and train them in the disciplines and instructions of the Lord. At various ages of the children the husband and wife have different responsibilities but the husband is still the leader of the family and it is his responsibilities that the children are trained as they should be. Children must learn obedience and respect and it is for their good but the father must be careful not to allow anger to be a part of his training and teach anger to his children.

Lord, Your instructions are so clear and simple but I must imitate You and be one with my wife to accomplish this with my children. Thank You for your patience with us and forgiveness when we fail in what we should do. Thank You for Your grace to help us and to minister to our children even when we fail so badly.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Devotions 18-02-08 (Eph 5:1-2,21)

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." Verse 21 "..and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ."

I am reminded today as I get ready to leave Chapter 5 that the above verses are key to being able to do all that God gives me to do in this great Chapter in Ephesians.

I must seek to imitate God in His Love and care for others just as a son imitates his father who He loves so very much. Christ has loved me so very much and He gave Himself for me to rescue me from the slavery of sin and to please His Father who is over all things. God explains in the following verses what this imitation should look like and what I must do.

I may want to do this with all my heart but I need others to help me to stick to my goal and would encourage me in following the Lord. So God urges me to be accountable to others so they might remind me regularly to do what I truly want to do with my life. I am so grateful to the Lord for those faithful friends who continually encourage me to follow my Lord.

Lord, I realize how weak I am and how easily I lose track of what I really want to do with my life. Thank You for teaching me Your truths in Ephesians 5. Now I must make these truth a part of my life and character on a daily basis. Lord, how I need Your help and the encouragement of other believers.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Devotions 16-02-08 (Eph 5:01-33)

I have enjoyed the opportunity of being in Ephesians for several months and I am still learning new things each day. I want to summarize just chapter 5 briefly today. I would like to see how this chapter relates to the previous chapter 4 and what will be discused in chapter 6.

Chapter 4 spends a great deal of time pointing out God's desire for us to be one in Christ. He wants His body of believers to be unified or one as He is One. God did not redeem us to be fighting and arguing with each other regularly. He desires for us to work together to share the great message of salvation through Christ to a hurting and lost world. He urges us to live a life that is honoring to God and is honoring to others. We are to be "kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.". This is verse 32 the last verse in chapter 4.

With these truths understood now I am ready to imitate God and to further perfect my life in godliness. I must be careful how I live my life not as an unwise person but one who is wise and careful in how I use my t.ime. Verse 20 says "Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the father;"

Now the core of all this is the relationship between a husband and wife which God started with in creation. He created us to be one with our mates and He revisits this need and how we can do this as His redeemed children. We are ready to do this if we really desire to imitate God and His example. The family is suppose to be the key to reaching the world with the gospel and be a living example of what that should look like. This should spill over into our gatherings as believers and our churches should have this same love and oneness.

This is so important because in chapter 6 we begin to talk about a war with our enemy and how we should be prepared for battle. Even before the battle is how we raise our children and how we relate to those who are over us in our work. Then and only then can we be ready to be a part of God's great army of soldiers to fight the enemy of our souls and rescue the lost from their slavery to sin.

Lord, thank You for Your Word that prepares me for the life in Christ You have so freely given me. The purpose is so clear and Your ways are so beautiful and fulfilling. Help me to live out these truths and to be ready to put on the armor of God to be part of Your great army of messengers to the world. Thanks You for the great privilege of being a part of Your great army and able to serve others for Your honor and Glory.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Devotions 14-02-08 (Eph 5:22-33)

Today is Valentine's Day, what an appropriate day to winde up our topic on how a husband should treat his wife or eternal valentine. Verse 31b says "...and he shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh."

The husband is to hold on to his wife as someone he loves and cherishes. It is not a physical holding but one of endearment and sharing of their lives with each other. It is so intimate and giving that they shall become one flesh. Not physically but they understand one another so well and so completely that they seem as one person. I think there are very few people that reach this kind of oneness because they do not listen to what God has instructed us to do in the Word.

This passage is in Gen 2:24 "For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." This is God's design from the begining and it is possible by His grace and obedience to His Word.

The intercourse between a husband and wife is a picture of what this oneness should be like. It is a total trust of each other and each are enjoying one another with their whole being; body, soul and spirit. This kind of oneness should be true in our working together and living in the world in which we live. If we lived out the truths of this Ephesian passage of scripture we could experience this oneness with our mates. Not all the time because we are not yet perfect, we are still sinners, but I will know the beauty and wonder of God's great plan of oneness for a husband and wife.

I must remember that physical oneness, intercourse with my wife, is not the basis of living oneness but the other way around. Living out oneness in life gives me the foundation of experiencing physical oneness with my wife as God planned it. Life is truly a spiritual issue and not pleasure or things or anything that is temporal.

Is this worth working for and dying to self and obeying what God tells me to do? I think it is. After nearly 50 years of living with each other and serving the Lord together I feel we do experience this oneness more and more when we are truly in tune with God and seeking with all our hearts to honor Him.

I believe this oneness or unity is what God wants in His church. This book of Ephesians is all about how I can have this in my home and family and with God's people. God is three persons who are one; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Lord, continue to teach me how I can honor You with my wife, family and your people wherever they are. Help me to continue to understand this truth more and more and how to apply it to living.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Devotions 12-02-08 (Eph 5:23-33)

In verse 31 a "man is to leave his father and mother..." and focus on building a home with his wife. This seems to mean that leaving is an important part of building a home around a man's leadership and his love for his wife.

To some this may be fairly easy but to others this may be rather difficult. It depends a lot on how or what I was taught by my father and mother. God says you must leave your home and start a new home with the husband leading and also cleaving to his wife. I will say a little about cleaving tomorrow.

I think leaving is important to leave the past and to look to the future for what God has in store for me and my wife. I leave a lot of security maybe but my wife and I must work together and believe God to do great things for us. I must not let the past take me away from the focus on my new responsibility for a home centered around my wife and me.

I believe God wants me to always have my wife as the focus of our family so she is secure in my love and that she is my first priority after my priority with God. When we are unified in our lives our family and friends will see the power of God in us because that is His desire.

The goal God has for us is to be as one person. My part in this is to lead and love and demonstrate that love in how I treat my wife all the days God gives us together. What does it mean that we shall become one flesh? We will see tomorrow. Lord thank You for Your marvelous plan in giving us a life partner that we can have a measure of oneness that You have as God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three persons but with perfect unity, love and respect. We are made in Your image and by Your Spirit we are made holy and more like You.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Devotions 11-02-08 (Eph 5:23-33)

Today I am on the third part of my responsibility as the husband of my wife. Let me review the five items as I listed them a few days ago.

1. I am to be the head of my wife and I have the responsibility to lead her.
2. I am to love my wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.
3. I am to love my wife just as I love my own body.
4. I am to leave my mom and dad and home to establish my own home.
5. I am to hold on tightly to my wife so that we become as one person.

How do I love my wife like I do my own body? I think the main point in this statement is to not be selfish. I am not to think only of how I feel and what I need but to think of my wife just as much or even more than I think of myself. The scripture says "He who loves his own wife loves himself.."

There is a book out called " Do yourself a favor--Love your wife" It is all about how loving my wife gets far more benefits for me than I can imagine. I do not love her for that reason but I love her because that is God's command to me. Yet the benefits that I gain are amazing.

Lord, protect me from ever being selfish toward my wife. Help me to be giving and showering her with my love even when she is having a bad day and is struggling with issues in her own life. Help me to truly love her as much or more than I do my own self.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Devotions 08-02-08 (Eph 5:23-33)

Today I am on the same passage but on a different part. Today I want to focus on: "Husbands love your wives as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;"

Do I love my wife so much that I am willing to die for her like Christ did the church. Am I willing to die to my selfishness and pride and serve her when I have the opportunity. Does these actions dilute or hamper my leadership over her. I think not but would help her to be more willing to follow my leadership.

God is telling me in this passage that leading must also have love in order for it to be effective leadership. Christ was the perfect leader but was not harsh or prideful. In fact humility and patience and love was what people saw most in His life. I think those qualities should be more in my life along with the clear decisiveness in my leading.

Love is an act of the will more than it is an emotion. I love even when my wife is not very loveable. God did not tell me to love her under certain conditions but to love her just as Christ loved. I can only do this with God's help so I must be in close fellowship with God to fulfill my responsibility. This causes me to be more dependent upon God and more humble before Him.

Lord, thank You for Your amazing love for me. Thank You for the precious woman You gave to me nearly 50 years ago. I have not lead nor loved as You have directed me to do. I am still very much learning and I want to be a better leader and more loving leader than I have been in the past. Lord help me to do some specific things to improve. Thank You.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Devotions 07-02-08 (Eph 5:23-33)

The passage is on yesterday's blogg. The topic is "the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is also the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body."

The word "head" refers to someone that is in charge and responsible for what is going on. Our physical body gets all it's orders from our brain which is in our head. Christ is the head of His body, which is the church or all believers in Him. He is not only our head but also our Savior. This headship seems to not only give responsibility to lead but also to protect and deliver from harm just as Christ does His Body.

I think it is reasonable to say that as husband of my wife I am to lead her in the ways of God but that I am also responsible to protect her by the abilities that God gives me. I must keep reminding myself that I am doing all this under the authority of God Almighty. It is He that gives me wisdom and strength to do what is right so I am very dependent on Him in every way. I am not more important than my wife but we are co-heirs of eternal life in Christ. God just has given me the responsiblity to lead and to protect her as we both seek to walk with God and to honor Him in all we do.

Leading is an act of my will just as love is an act of the will, which I will cover tomorrow. I am the head or the leader of my wife and family because God has told me to do this. It is not my choice but a command from God. It really is a great privilege but sometimes it can be hard.

Lord, I want to lead and protect my wife as a treasure You have given me. I am very dependent on You and need Your advice and wisdom and strength in everything. Give me the courage to do Your will regardless of how I feel. The way I live and lead will affect generations to come and I cannot possibly do it right without Your Grace. There are no perfect rules to follow but a perfect God to follow and obey.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Devotions 06-02-08 (Eph 5:23-33)

"For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for not one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband."

Since I am a husband Iwant to learn as much as I can about what God expects of me. In this passage I see five things I should be doing. 1. I am to be the head of my wife and I have the responsibility to lead. 2. I am to love her as Christ loved the church. 3.I am to love my wife just as I love my own body. 4. I am to leave my mom and dad and home to establish my own home. 5. I am to hold on to my wife so that we become as one person.

I will elaborate on each of these items in the next few days. Today I want to just reflect on these five items as a whole and get them in my head and heart. God is so good to me to tell me what I should do to have a godly home and family. I sure want to understand each of these fully and seek to obey God in all of these.

I am grateful for the specific way God wants to lead me in being the man God wants me to be. I want to praise You for Your wisdom and grace that gives me the privilege to know what I should do. Lord, help me to not just know them but that I would fully understand them and obey them carefully.