Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 12 “Loving Leadership” + LINKUP


Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 12 "Husband's Role - Loving Leadership" - Jesus' instructions about leadership could be characterized by three words: love, sacrifice and servant-hood.Leadership books, seminars, articles and posts abound in every realm of life. Sales companies want to lead their teams to more sales. Company executives want to motivate employees to loyalty and greater profits. Ministry leaders want to inspire more involvement and greater commitment to the church and its purposes.

Some lead through manipulation. Some through strength of character or charismatic personality. Some try leading through force, fear, or intimidation. But Jesus’ explanation of leadership contained none of those things. It might seem counter-intuitive to many. It surprised, even, His disciples.

Jesus’ instructions about leadership could be characterized by three words: love, sacrifice and servant-hood.


Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.


Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 12 “The Husband’s Role: Loving Leadership”


We’re in a series on God’s design for marriage. If you haven’t read the previous posts in this series, you can read them here. Today’s post is on the husband’s role, that of loving leadership.

Ephesians 5 says:

23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 4: Friends & Counselors -Just as Christ is the head of the church, the husband is the head of his home. This is not a matter of personality or what works for each couple. God says the husband is the leader of his home.

He may default on his role. One of the complaints I hear from wives is, “My husband won’t lead. He leaves everything to me.”

Wives may refuse to submit to their husband’s leadership making it very difficult for him to lead effectively. In fact, some husbands simply throw up their hands and quit trying to lead, believing it’s not worth the battle.

In some marriages husbands and wives fight constantly over who will have their way. Their children live in a minefield where an explosion can happen at any moment.

Others divide responsibilities and assets and proceed to lead two separate lives. There’s my money and your money. I do my thing; you do yours.

Some husbands try to maintain control with their fists or some other manifestation of anger. Some by being harsh or treating their wives and children like their employees.

But what does God have to say? Lets look at the rest of Ephesians 5:

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.


Three Key Words


We could sum up Christ’s teaching on the husband’s role in three words: love, sacrifice, and servant-hood. God has called husbands to loving leadership.  Continue reading

“Biblical Love: Rate Yourself” February 14


Biblical Love: Rate Yourself - What is biblical love? Is it what greeting card writers want us to believe? Is it some irresistible attraction? Is it something we fall into and out of?What is biblical love? Is it what greeting card writers want us to believe? Is it some irresistible attraction? Is it something we fall into and out of?


Today’s Readings:

Exodus 39 & 40
Psalm 22.16-21
Proverbs 8.22-31
Matthew 27.1-26


Biblical Love: Rate Yourself


Matthew 27.1-26

What is Biblical love?


So what is love? Is it what greeting card writer’s want us to believe? Is it some
irresistible attraction? Is it something we fall into and out of? Are we just victims of Cupid’s arrows?

One definition of love is “a purposeful, sacrificial action for the benefit of another and the glory of God without expecting anything in return”. And one of the best passages to show us what that looks like is 1 Corinthians 13.4-7a. Among other things, it says:

  • Love is patient. It’s patient when tempted to be impatient.
  • Love is kind. It’s kind even when the other person doesn’t deserve kindness.
  • It’s not envious of others. It’s not envious of their material possessions, their success, or anything else.
  • Love is not boastful. It doesn’t show off or brag. It’s not puffed up with pride.
  • It’s not rude. Sometimes we’re kinder to strangers than we are to our own spouses and children. But if God’s love abides in us we will not be rude, either in our words or our actions.
  • Love is not selfish, constantly seeking to have it’s own way. It prefers others as more important than itself.
  • It is not irritable, no matter what the circumstances. It is not resentful.
  • Love bears all things. It bears up under hardship. The old King James Version says that love forbears. It puts up with. At times we just have to “put up with” the shortcomings and failings of others. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4.8).
  • It believes all things. It gives the other person the benefit of the doubt. It believes that God is working in the other person just as He is working in us.
  • Love hopes. Biblical hope is much stronger than our “wishing and hoping” kind of hope. It’s expectant.
  • It endures. It perseveres. Love never ends.


Rate Yourself


Based on this list, if you were to rate your love on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being very low and 10 supremely loving, how would you rate yourself? Take a minute and think about it. I’ll wait.  Continue reading

“Love and Tolerance, Not Always the Same!” December 8


Love & Tolerance, Not Always the Same - Love and tolerance: the world often equates one with the other. Yet, passages like Galatians 6.1-2 and Ezekiel 33.1-6 make it clear that tolerance is not always love. We are told to lovingly confront sin in the lives of other believers and to share the gospel and, at times, warn unbelievers of the judgment to come.Love and tolerance: the world often equates one with the other. Yet, passages like Galatians 6.1-2 and Ezekiel 33.1-6 make it clear that tolerance is not always love. We are told to lovingly confront sin in the lives of other believers, to share the gospel and, at times, warn unbelievers of the judgment to come.

Also read about God’s promises to Israel, the futility of running from God, and how a fool and his words get into trouble.


Today’s Readings:
Hosea 7 & 8
Psalm 139.7-12
Proverbs 29.20
2 John 1-13


Love and Tolerance, Not Always the Same!


2 John 1-13:

This is Love


Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Here in 2 John, the apostle makes it clear that the way we love God and others is by being obedient to His Word:

“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments” (v. 6).

Sometimes obeying God’s Word seems contrary to what the world considers loving behavior. The world often defines “love” as “tolerance.” Yet, passages like Galatians 6.1-2, Matthew 18.15 and Ezekiel 33.1-6 teach that we are to warn believers and unbelievers alike so they can repent and turn from their sin.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we go around pointing out every sin, but when we see a professing believer caught in a lifestyle or pattern of sin, we should be willing to lovingly confront them, when necessary, and perhaps come alongside them. With unbelievers, we need to prayerfully consider sharing the gospel with them and, at times, warning them of the judgment to come.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (Prov. 27.6).

Neither does it mean we should be harsh or self-righteous. In fact, this is a time to first examine ourselves and be sure we get the logs out of our own eyes (Matt. 7.3-5). When we do approach someone we are to be gentle and tentative, not tentative about the truths of God, but tentative about their behavior by not jumping to conclusions.

Perhaps you have a married female friend who has mentioned to you that she and a male co-worker have had lunch together a number of times or you’ve observed her playfully flirting with someone. You see all kinds of red flags, but it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Instead, you can lovingly warn her of the danger of spending time one-on-one with someone of the opposite sex or talk to her about the dangers of flirting. You might use an example from your own life where you thought something was harmless, but later realized it was a slippery slope.

Or maybe you have a co-worker who announces he or she is getting “married” to  their same-sex partner and hands you an invitation. You know refusing to go will not be taken well, but you know you can’t support your friend’s choice.  Continue reading

The Jesus Code: “What is your primary purpose?” + LINKUP


The Jesus Code

Chapter 33 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.


This week’s question: “Which is the great commandment in the law?” (Matthew 22.36).

Everyone has a purpose? We may believe we are called to teach others or take care of those who are sick. We may feel called to be full time moms or lead a large company. We may be firefighters or police officers or nannies. We may have a strong desire to use an artistic or musical talent. We can feel called to various careers or activities, but what is our primary purpose in God’s view?

Jesus went straight to the heart of that question when He was asked by a religious lawyer, “Which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Hawkins writes:

Including the Ten Commandments, the Jewish Torah— comprised of the first five books of the Bible— contains 613 commandments. When the Jewish lawyer posed the question, Jesus used the phrase “first and great” to clarify that He was also taking into consideration the Ten Commandments. Jesus went on to say, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (v. 40).

Loving God (the vertical dimension of life) and loving one another (the horizontal dimension) represent all that the Ten Commandments address. The first four commandments (having no other gods before Him, not making an image or likeness, not taking His name in vain, and remembering to keep the Sabbath day) have to do with our relationship with God, the upward, or vertical, expression. The last six (honoring our parents, not murdering, not committing adultery, not stealing, not lying, and not coveting) speak about our relationship with other people, the outward, or horizontal, expression. So, although the Pharisees were “testing” Jesus when they asked this question (v. 35), He simply told them that all the commandments boil down to this: love. According to Jesus, we who are His followers are to love God supremely and to love people around us.

Most of us understand in some measure what it means to love with all our hearts. When we find that special someone in life, we focus all our attention on him or her and on building that relationship. We want to spend long periods of time just talking to each other, getting acquainted, and learning all we can about each other’s likes and dislikes.

If we love God supremely, Continue reading

December 12 “On losing that loving feeling?”

losing that loving feelingAre you losing that loving feeling? Has “red hot love” turned to “not tonight, honey”? Has passion given way to dirty socks on the floor, too many bills, and too little romance? There is a way to regain that feeling!


Today’s Readings:
Joel 1-3
Psalm 140.6-13
Proverbs 29.24
Revelation 2.1-29


Joel 1-3:

Turn to Me with all your heart

Chapter 2.11-13:

11 The LORD gives voice before His army,
For His camp is very great;
For strong is the One who executes His word.
For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible;
Who can endure it?
12 “ Now, therefore,” says the LORD,
“ Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
13 So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.

The “day of the Lord” had a near fulfillment, which we read about in the book of Ezekiel, but it will also have an end time fulfillment. We’ll be reading more about the end time fulfillment as we continue through the book of Revelation.

As you read verses 12 & 13 above, you can see God’s mercy, love, patience, and His desire to save everyone. But because He is also a holy God and a God of justice, He will eventually judge those who have not turned to Him in repentance and faith.

Continue reading

December 8 “Tolerance … not always love” +LINKUP


Sometimes obeying God’s Word seems contrary to what the world considers love. The world often defines “love” as “tolerance.” Yet, passages like Galatians 6.1-2 make it clear that tolerance is not always love.

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 7 & 8
Psalm 139.7-12
Proverbs 29.20
2 John 1-13


Hosea 7 & 8:

Israel has forgotten his Maker

This little book of Hosea contains some of the strongest prophecies against His people, alongside the greatest picture of His redeeming love. Although He declared judgment for their rejection of Him, He also promised to “buy them back” off the auction block, just as He commanded Hosea to do for Gomer.

12 I have written for him the great things of My law,
But they were considered a strange thing.
13 For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it,
But the LORD does not accept them.
Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.
They shall return to Egypt.
14 “ For Israel has forgotten his Maker, … (8.12-14).

Though Israel continued to perform their religious activities—“the sacrifices of My offerings,” God would not accept them. They were meaningless to God because they were without faith and were mixed with idolatry. But, although they would return to captivity—“Egypt”—God said He would not leave them there forever. There will come a time when He will once again begin working in the Nation of Israel as a whole and many will return to Him in faith.

Today many people attend church. They may even be involved in some area of ministry. But their religion has little, if any, effect on how they live their lives or treat others. They give God very little thought on a practical level. They may well be among those we talked about yesterday who hear “on that day … ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ” (Matt. 7.23). Continue reading

November 12 “He spread His wings over us”

hands raised praise worshipHe found us in the bloody mess of our own sin or the sinful choices of others. Then He spread His wings over us, loved us, and made us His bride. What amazing love!

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 15 & 16
Psalm 123.1-4
Proverbs 28.20
Hebrews 8.1-13

Ezekiel 15 & 16:

Amazing love

Chapter 16.1-8 gives us a beautiful picture that is true of not only the nation of Israel, but of us. It pictures an unwanted baby left to die, yet God loved her and nursed her back to health. And the story doesn’t end there. Verse 8 says:

8 “When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord GOD.

God chose to love me and you, not because of anything desirable or good in us, but because of His character. He found us “in our own blood” of drunkenness, immorality, worldliness, fear, self-pity, rejection, abuse or the dozens of other ungodly choices and situations we find ourselves in, either because of our sin or the sinful choices of others. Then He spread His wings over us, loved us, and made us His bride. What amazing love! Continue reading

September 19 “How to overcome evil”

thoughtful womanWe are not to be overcome by evil. In fact, we are commanded to overcome it! So how do we overcome evil?

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 29
Psalm 108.1-6
Proverbs 25.21-22
2 Corinthians 11.1-15

Isaiah 29:

He wants your heart!

Verse 13, “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men.”

God is not impressed with our “praise-the-Lords,” our yard signs, or our involvement in religious activities. Neither is He impressed with our Bible knowledge or our pious-sounding prayers.

Many of those things are good. We should have an attitude of praise toward God. We should be willing to proclaim our faith. We should be faithful to learn more about God’s Word and spend time with Him in prayer. But none of that matters to Him, unless He first has our hearts.

Continue reading

September 4 “Red hot love”

Fire flamesRed hot love? Does God really approve of a red-hot sexual relationship within the context of marriage? Judge for yourself!

Today’s Readings:
Song of Solomon 7 & 8
Psalm 104.31-35
Proverbs 24.21-22
1 Corinthians 14.1-20

Song of Solomon 7 & 8:

Red hot love

I’d like to share some of these verses from The Message to help us get a clearer picture of the imagery here. Chapter 7.1-9 contain Solomon’s description of his bride:

1-9 Shapely and graceful your sandaled feet,
and queenly your movement—
Your limbs are lithe and elegant,
the work of a master artist.
Your body is a chalice,
Your skin is silken and tawny
like a field of wheat touched by the breeze.
Your breasts are like fawns,
twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is carved ivory, curved and slender.
Your eyes are wells of light, deep with mystery.
Quintessentially feminine!
Your profile turns all heads,
commanding attention.
The feelings I get when I see the high mountain ranges
—stirrings of desire, longings for the heights—
Remind me of you,
and I’m spoiled for anyone else! Continue reading

September 3 “A lover’s quarrel & biblical love”

quarrel, fightCan God’s love working in us enable us to respond to others in a different way even when the other person is acting selfishly?

Today’s Readings:
Song of Solomon 5 & 6
Psalm 104.24-30
Proverbs 24.19-20
1 Corinthians 13.1-13

Song of Solomon 5 & 6:

A lovers’ quarrel

In chapter 5.2-8 the Shulamite and Solomon have had a lovers’ quarrel. Solomon expressed his desire for her in the middle of the night and she made excuses.

Both of them were selfishly focused on themselves. By the time his bride had second thoughts, you might say, Solomon had gone to sleep on the couch.

“I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer” (5.6).

Verse 9 begins “What is your beloved more than another beloved …” This serves as a poetic reminder to quit focusing on his selfishness and to focus on his good qualities.

That is so important in a marriage! Continue reading