Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 7 “The Wife’s Role” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 7 "The Wife's Role" - The Wife's Role: If there is one aspect of marriage that is often turned upside-down in today's culture, it's the roles of husbands and wives. If there's one issue that is usually part and parcel of marriage conflict, it's the roles of husbands and wives. If there is one subject that is most often misunderstood, it's this one.The Wife’s Role: If there is one aspect of marriage that is often turned upside-down in today’s culture, it’s the roles of husbands and wives. If there’s one issue that is usually part and parcel of marriage conflict, it’s the roles of husbands and wives. If there is one subject that is most often misunderstood, it’s this one.

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “The Wife’s Role”

 

Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about the key components of marriage that God laid out in Genesis 2.24: leaving, cleaving, and weaving. Last week we focused on how to weave our lives into the one-flesh relationship God’s wants us to have.

Today we’re going to talk about the wife’s role in a God-honoring marriage. Epesians 5 says:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 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. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Wives are to submit to the leadership of their husbands, according to verse 24, “in everything.” There is one exception and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but the commandment is plain.

For many of you reading this, that statement is not a surprise. It’s “old news,” if you will. You’ve heard it taught many times and you’re seeking to live it out. You, probably, even accept it as a good thing.

But for our culture as a whole, “them’s fightin’ words”!

Besides hundreds of hours of counseling, my husband and I taught our church’s “Preparing for Marriage” course for many years. I’ve seen so many prospective wives start the class excited to be there, until this subject rolled around. The more outspoken ones challenged the idea.

If you’ve ever talked to a new Christian or an unbeliever about submission, you’ve likely heard many of the same arguments:

“I believe in mutual submission.”

“That was for a different culture.”

“This isn’t the first century!”

“Paul wrote that and he was not even married (or a woman hater)!”

“Men wrote that and were just trying to keep women down.”

“You can’t take the Bible literally.”

“We’re not going to have THAT kind of marriage!”

“We talk about everything and decide together.”

You can probably come up with a few more. Some just reject it out of hand without even trying to understand what the Bible says.

 

Mutual Submission

 

imperfect authorityThere is mutual submission (Eph. 5.21). All of us are prefer others as more important to ourselves (Phil. 2.3-4). We’re to die to our own selfish desires (Lk. 9.23-24). Husbands are to be willing to die for their wives, not just literally, but in how they live out the command to love their wives as Christ does the church (Eph. 5.25). Wives are to die to their selfish desires to have things their way. Even parents must learn to die to self as they choose to do things for the good of the family as a whole and their children, in particular.

But just as Ephesians 5.25 has a specific command to husbands (more about that in the weeks to come), verses 22-24 above have a specific command for wives.  Continue reading

Marriage Made in Heaven? Part 6 “Weaving 101” + LINKUP

 

Marriage Made in Heaven "Weaving 101" - We all want intimacy in our marriages. We want our spouses to spend time with us, to consult us about decisions, to share our hopes and dreams, and to encourage us when we're struggling. We want openness and humility. We want to be treated kindly and to receive grace. Are there things we should be doing and not doing to achieve those things? And, if so, what are they?Weaving: We all want intimacy in our marriages. We want our spouses to spend time with us, to consult us about decisions, to share our hopes and dreams, and to encourage us when we’re struggling. We want openness and humility. We want to be treated kindly and to receive grace. Are there things we should be doing and not doing to achieve those things? And, if so, what are they?

We’ve been discussing the three components of marriage God laid out in Genesis 2.24 and other places in Scripture: leaving, cleaving, and what we’re calling “weaving,” growing in a one-flesh relationship. Last week we started talking about “weaving” and today we’re going to go a little deeper on the subject.

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Weaving 101”

 

As you remember, our foundation Scripture is:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

As I’ve said, the three key components mentioned here are all critical to a God-honoring marriage. They are “leaving,” “cleaving,” and “weaving (becoming one-flesh)”

Three weeks ago I focused on leaving. Briefly, it means we no longer depend on our parents emotionally, financially, or relationally. It means what they want or expect does not take priority over our spouse’s wishes and it means not running to them with every problem.

Two weeks ago, we talked about cleaving, including the fact that marriage is a covenant relationship.

Last week we began discussing what it means to become one-flesh.

Again, this one-flesh relationship includes the sexual aspect of marriage, but it is much more. Wayne Mack in his book Strengthening Your Marriage says, “Marriage is a total commitment and a total sharing of the total person with another person until death.”

Weaving our lives together means becoming one-flesh relationally, socially, and financially, as well as, physically. It’s a sharing of everything: thoughts, ideas, dreams, abilities, problems, fears, concerns, successes, and failures.

 

2 Kinds of Math: “1 + 1 = 2” or “1 + 1 = 1”

 

Because my husband and I have done so much marriage counseling over the years, we often notice how couples interact with one another. One of the saddest things we’ve observed is how often older couples go to a restaurant for dinner and eat the entire meal with hardly a word exchanged between them.

How does a couple who were once newlyweds, excited about marriage and each other, become so distant they can spend a hour sitting across the table with nothing to say? It happens one day, one choice at a time.

When God said, “they shall become one flesh,” we could say God’s marriage math is “1 + 1 = 1. That kind of math doesn’t happen by default. It takes effort. It takes laying down pride and selfishness. It takes making the time to communicate. It takes putting the other person’s preferences ahead of your own. And it takes being vulnerable and open to change.

Sin, selfishness, and pride are the enemies of a one flesh relationship. And without God’s help to change us from the inside out (2 Cor. 5.17), we are all selfish and prideful at our core. Even as believers in Christ, we’ve got to choose to put off pride and selfishness and to do those things that contribute to a strong, thriving marriage (Lk. 9.23-24).

But with many couples, the process of weaving never really happens or it gets short-circuited along the way.

Sometimes short-circuiting begins almost before the honeymoon is over.  Continue reading

Marriage Made in Heaven? Part 5 “Weaving” + LINKUP

 

 

Marriage Made in Heaven? Part 5 "Cleaving" - Previously, we've looked at an overview of marriage and have been discussing the three components of marriage God laid out in Genesis 2.24 and other places in Scripture: leaving, cleaving, and what we're calling "weaving," growing in a one-flesh relationship. Today we'll focus on "weaving."Previously, we’ve looked at an overview of marriage and have been discussing the three components of marriage God laid out in Genesis 2.24 and other places in Scripture: leaving, cleaving, and what we’re calling “weaving,” growing in a one-flesh relationship. Today we’ll focus on “weaving.”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

The term “a marriage made in heaven,” may bring to mind different images, feelings, and expectations, but wherever you are, I believe this series has something for you.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Weaving”

 

Let’s look at our foundational Scripture once again:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

The three key components mentioned here are all critical to a God-honoring marriage.

Two weeks ago I focused on leaving. Briefly, it means we no longer depend on our parents emotionally, financially, or relationally. It means what they want or expect does not take priority over our spouse’s wishes and it means not running to them with every problem.

Last week, we talked about cleaving, including what it means when we say that marriage is a covenant relationship. God designed marriage to be a permanent relationship between one man and one woman for life.

Today we’ll talk about weaving, two becoming one.

This one-flesh relationship includes the sexual aspect of marriage, but it is much more. Wayne Mack in his book Strengthening Your Marriage says, “Marriage is a total commitment and a total sharing of the total person with another person until death.”

The marriage act should be a symbol of a more complete oneness. Weaving our lives together means becoming one-flesh relationally, socially, and financially, as well as, physically.

Couples should share everything, including: thoughts, ideas, dreams, abilities, problems, fears, concerns, successes, and failures. Ecclesiastes 4 says:

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

That’s not to say a person isn’t complete unless they’re married. If God has called you to singleness or a season of singleness, you are complete in Him. But when God said it was not good that man should be alone (Gen. 2.18), it referred to this idea of making up for what is lacking in each other.

Weaving our lives together is a picture of unity and deep intimacy, but it doesn’t mean we’re the same.

I’m always amazed at how God often brings together two people who are opposites in many ways. One will be a morning person and the other a night owl. One will be frugal and the other more spontaneous about spending. One may be outgoing and the other more of an introvert.

This can cause sparks as we’re learning to weave our lives together, but instead of expecting our spouses to be just like us, we should learn to appreciate each other’s differences. We should learn from and strengthen one another.

 

What Hinders Unity?

 

Genesis 2.25 says, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” But as soon as they sinned, they “realized they were naked” and they tried to hide themselves (Gen. 3.7). This was more than just physical nakedness. It was vulnerability. They saw themselves in their fallen state. As soon as they sinned they wanted to cover up from God and, ultimately, from each other.

Sin still keeps us from the transparency and intimacy God designed for marriage. In our sin nature, we are self-protective and prideful, rather than open and honest. But the walls we build to protect ourselves keeps us from the intimacy we desire. We end up cheating ourselves.

Other sins like bitterness and unforgiveness, harshness, selfishness, stubbornness, anger, impatience, and unwholesome speech prevent us from unity and intimacy, too.  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 4 “Cleaving” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 4 "Cleaving" - The word "cleave" in <a class="bible-gateway" href="http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%26quot%3BGenesis&version=NIV" onclick="biblegwlinkpop(this.href,'"Genesis',800,950);return false;" target="_blank">"Genesis</a> means to cling or adhere; to abide fast; to be joined together." It means we are to stick like glue to each other. We're to cling to each other in sickness and in health; for richer or for poorer; for better or for worse. We're to stick together in joy and sorrow, good times and bad.We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married.

Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. If your marriage is a good one, hopefully, you can fine tune some things and if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married. So, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Cleaving”

 

In week one I talked a little about God’s plan for marriage and how when Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, it not only damaged their relationships with God, but with each other.

In week two I shared my own testimony of marriage, divorce, remarriage, and God’s grace. If you missed it, I hope you’ll check it out.

Last week I started talking about one of God’s clearest and most definitive statement on marriage. It appears four times (Gen. 2.24; Matt. 19.5; Mk. 10.7-8; Eph. 5.31) in His inspired Word (once in the Old Testament, three times in the New, once before the fall, and three times after). It was and is God’s plan and purpose for marriage in a nutshell.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

Often, when a couple is struggling in their marriage, it can be traced back to a failure to follow this blueprint in one or more of these areas. So what are the components of God’s divine plan for marriage listed in this verse?

As I said last week the key words are “leave,” “joined,” and “one flesh.” The word “joined” was translated “cleave” in the old King James Version and we’re calling the idea of becoming one flesh, “weaving.” So we are to leave, to cleave, and to weave our lives together.

Last week I focused on leaving. Briefly, it means we no longer depend on our parents emotionally, financially, or relationally. It means what they want or expect does not take priority over your spouse’s wishes and it means not running to them with every problem.

Today we’ll spend more time on what it means “to cleave.” Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Leaving, Cleaving & Weaving” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? "Leaving, Cleaving & Weaving" -

We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married.

Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. If your marriage is a good one, hopefully, you can fine tune some things and if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married. So, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Leaving, Cleaving & Weaving

 

Last week I shared my own testimony of marriage, divorce, remarriage, and God’s grace. If you missed it, I hope you’ll check it out.

The previous week I talked a little about God’s plan for marriage and how when Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, it not only damaged their relationships with God, but with each other.

Today we’ll zero in on, arguably, God’s clearest and most definitive statement on marriage. It’s the one statement about marriage that God makes four times (Gen. 2.24; Matt. 19.5; Mk. 10.7-8; Eph. 5.31) in the Bible.

He said it once in the Old Testament, three times in the New, once before the fall, and three times after. It was and is God’s plan and purpose for marriage in a nutshell.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

As a counselor, I can tell you, more often than not, when a couple is struggling in their marriage, it can be traced back to a failure to follow this blueprint in one or more areas. So what are the components of God’s divine plan for marriage in this verse?

The key words are “leave,” “joined,” and “one flesh.” You’ll probably remember that the word “joined” was translated “cleave” in the old King James Version. And we might call the idea of becoming one flesh, “weaving.” So we are to leave, to cleave, and to weave our lives together.  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “My Story” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? "My Story" - How God took two broken lives and four divorces and did what only He can do.

We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married. Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. So, whether you’re single or you’ve been married 50+ years, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. If you’re new here, either to the LINKUP or you’ve come for this series on marriage, I look forward to learning together and growing in the ability to be the husband or wife God has called us to be and to have the kind of marriages that bring glory to Him. And if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married.

 

Last week I talked about the fact that marriage was created in the heart of God (Gen. 2.18-25), but that many marriages, even Christian marriages, fall far short of God’s design. I said that because God created marriage, we need to look at what He has to say about it, if we’re going to enjoy it as He intended.

We, also, need to understand what went wrong in the garden and how Adam and Eve’s decision to go against God’s command and eat the fruit had an immediate effect on all of life, including their marriage.

Today I’d like to share some of “my story” and how my story is really God’s story of redemption and grace.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “My Story”

 

My story starts in Maine, actually Dover, New Hampshire, because the small down where my parents lived didn’t have a hospital of it’s own.

My grandparents were hard-working, “salt of the earth” people. My maternal grandparents were good, moral people, but not “church-goers” as they might have said.

My paternal grandfather died of cancer when I was a year old. My grandmother was raised in a Christian home, but didn’t always reflect Christ-likeness to others in the family. I say that only because it had a profound effect on my mother’s view of Christianity.

But I’m profoundly grateful that when my grandmother visited us once or twice a year, she took me with her to church. Seeds were planted. In fact, I remember praying a prayer to accept Jesus when I was about 12-years old.

While I do believe that God was working and drawing me to Himself at that time, I’m not sure if it was a genuine conversion. Only He knows, but I do know that He has had His hand on me.

Mom married my dad, who was five years older, three days out of high school. Their marriage was tumultuous from the beginning. I asked her about it once and whether or not she saw “red flags” before they were married. She said, “It’s just what you did. You graduated, then you got married.”

But my mother was a good mother. She was very devoted to her three children. I think she resigned herself to making us her life early on. She never worked outside the home while we were growing up. Somewhere along the line she decided that she’d stick it out “for the kids,” at least until we were all grown. When my youngest brother graduated from high school, she left.

My parents’ marriage was characterized by drinking and partying, mostly on my dad’s part, and arguments from which my mother tried to protect us.

My dad, in spite of it all, loved his kids. I don’t remember ever seeing him angry or mean, even when he was drinking. But, addictions are inherently selfish in nature and his cost his family in many ways.

Even so, I don’t remember ever feeling I had a bad childhood. I do remember wanting something different for my life.

Consequently, I married the first time at seventeen. Neither of us had any clue about God’s design for marriage. Like my mom, I focused on my children, but unlike her, I decided I would leave as soon as I could support myself. The marriage lasted less than seven years.

The next few years were a struggle: to make ends meet, to have any energy left for my two kids, and to see where my life was going.

I, eventually, got involved with an older man, in part, because I was just tired. This time, there were “red flags” all over the place, but I rationalized them all away. I left again after seven years of his drinking and infidelity. But he was a person who didn’t “lose.” It took me almost three years to get a divorce. Years that included his stalking me, drunken break-ins, threats to burn the house down with the kids and me in it, and on one occasion, kidnapping our young son.  Continue reading

“Marriage: Made in Heaven?” + LINKUP

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. If you’re new here, either to the LINKUP or you’ve come for the new series on marriage, I look forward to learning together and growing in the ability to be the husband or wife God has called us to be and to have the kind of marriages that bring glory to Him. And if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married.

 

“Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married. Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. So, whether you’re single or you’ve been married 50+ years, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

Was Marriage “Made” in Heaven?

 

Where did we get the institution of marriage? Did it start in one particular civilization? Is it the creation of government or prehistoric social engineers?

We have to go back to the beginning, to the book of Genesis to find that answer.

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

God said it was not good that man should be alone and He knew that nothing else in creation could take the place of two human beings in a relationship like the one shared within the Trinity itself.

So, He created a woman that was taken out of man. Then He called them to a “one flesh” relationship. He made two from one and then called the man and the woman to have a relationship that makes them one again.

Marriage was “made in heaven” or perhaps, more accurately, in the heart of God. But many marriages, even Christian marriages, fall far short of God’s design.  Continue reading

“Giving God Our Best” December 31

 

Giving God Our Best & Proverbs 31 -Happy New Year’s Eve,

Congratulations to those of you who have been reading all year and to those who started somewhere along the way. I hope you’re looking forward to starting again in the coming year.

As we read in Malachi today, let’s purpose in our hearts to give God our best in 2017 … to offer Him the firstfruits of our time in the morning … to be faithful with our tithes and offerings … to use our talents and resources to further His kingdom, to bring Him glory in all we do, and to honor Him in our marriages or our singleness or whatever our situation!

Our final passage in Proverbs pictures “the virtuous wife.” How do the characteristics of this ancient model speak to us today?

Finally, as you read the final 2 chapters of Revelation, allow John’s vision of the glories to come excite your heart!

 

Today’s Readings:
Malachi 1-4
Psalm 150
Proverbs 31.10-31
Revelation 21 & 22

 

Giving God Our Best

 

Malachi 1-4:

Finances, Time, Talent & More

 

As is all of God’s Word, this little book is rich with His truth. In chapter 1 we see the importance of giving God our best, not what is left over, whether that means finances, time, talent or some other resource.

God rebuked the people because, instead of giving the best of their flocks as a sacrifice, they offered the stolen, the lame and the sick animals.

Many times, instead of giving God our best we give Him what’s left over, if anything. We can’t tithe or give to the work of God because we are too strapped with huge mortgages and car payments. Perhaps we need to drive that older vehicle a little longer or adjust our budgets in other ways.

Instead of spending time with Him first thing in the morning, we rush off to work or get busy with our day, promising to read His Word before we go to sleep. At night, we’re too exhausted to read more than a few verses before we fall asleep without giving it serious thought or attention.

morning coffee tea bibleI don’t want to sound legalistic, because the Bible does not say we must spend time with God first thing in the morning. There may be some who are at their best at night. I also understand that some of you have young children who, as someone said, “Wake up at the first crack of the Bible.” But for most of us, morning is the time when we are most rested and when spending time with God is the most profitable.

In chapter 2 God rebukes the priests because, among other things, they took the covenant relationship of marriage lightly. And remember as new covenant believers we are all priests to the Lord (1 Pet. 2.5).

First, they knowingly disobeyed God by marrying unbelievers (2.11). Then those who were married were divorcing their wives:  Continue reading

How I Made My Voting Decision

 

How I Made My Voting Decision - It's been a tough election year for most of us. Many feel it's nearly impossible to whole-heartedly support either candidate. Personally, I've run the gamut of thoughts during and after the primaries, including, "I may not vote at all." And as the process has gone on, I'm not any happier about the choices we have. The question I've pondered is, "What is the right thing to do?"

How I Made My Voting Decision

 

It’s been a tough election year for most of us. Many feel it’s nearly impossible to whole-heartedly support either candidate. Personally, I’ve run the gamut of thoughts during and after the primaries, including, “I may not vote at all.” And as the process has gone on, I’m not any happier about the choices we have.

The question I’ve pondered is, “What is the right thing to do?”

 

Lord of All

 

I don’t believe our lives as a believers should look like a pie chart with a “business slice,” a “civic slice,” a “family slice,” a “social slice,” and maybe a “religious slice” where we keep God. God is God of all of life and He rightfully expects to be ruler over the whole pie.

Our faith and the principles of God should inform how we do business, how we love and raise our families, how we conduct our social lives and every other area, including how we carry out our civic duties.

Jesus taught that we were to be good citizens:

… “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God” (Lk. 20.25).

Paul added to that idea in Romans 13:

¹ Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority (NLT).

And Proverbs 29.2 tells us:

When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice.
    But when the wicked are in power, they groan.

So, in a nation like ours where we choose our political leaders, we should do all that we can to see that godly people are in authority.

I’ve written often about “the goal of life” Paul talked about in 2 Corinthians 5.9:

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

So what would be pleasing to God?

 

The Sovereignty of God

 

While I believe as Christians we should do our part to elect godly leaders, God is not limited by anything we do. He’s not limited by who wins the election or the kind of political system under which we live.

He has cared for His people through the centuries under even the most oppressive governments. In the first century alone, believers “turned the world upside down” (Act 17.5-6) under one of the most wicked and oppressive governments in history.

We also must remember that government is not our savior. It’s not the answer to the moral and spiritual problems our nation faces. We are the light of the world (Matt. 5.16). It’s our job to make disciples and teach others about God and His Word (Matt. 28.19-20).

Our culture will never change unless hearts are first changed.

We must remember, too, that it’s God Himself who raises one up and removes another from positions of authority (Dan. 2.21). But when the nation of Israel demanded a king like the other nations, He gave them one (1 Sam. 8.5). So we shouldn’t take our responsibility lightly, beginning with prayer.

 

My Voting Decision

 

So how did I decide?

I’ve always based my voting decisions on moral, biblical issues, so with all due respect to her supporters, I knew I could never vote for Hillary Clinton because of her stand on abortion and gay marriage, among other things. Not because I hate women who have had an abortion or people living a gay lifestyle, but because God forbids those things (Ex. 20.13; Rom. 1.26-27).

Our nation rightfully deserves God’s harshest judgment for the blood of the million plus babies who are murdered each year in the name of women’s rights and now we are trying to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that was ordained by God Himself (Gen. 2.22-25).

But I don’t agree with many of Donald Trump’s choices and attitudes either. So the real question for me was, “Would I vote at all?”

Decision MagazineThen one day, as I went through the mail, a copy of Decision, a magazine put out by Billy Graham’s Ministry, found its way into my hands. On the cover was a picture of the two candidates and the headline, “Two Visions. Two Americas.” But it wasn’t the headline that caught my attention. As I thumbed through the pages, I came to an article comparing the two party platforms.

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time you’ve probably seen similar comparisons. I know I’ve seen many of them, but reading the stands from each platform made me realize what I needed to do.

The article stated, “Many decisions are made at the president’s desk, but the major political party to which he or she belongs wields significant power over which domestic and international policies are advanced and what becomes law.”

I’m not naive enough to think that because any political party says they stand for something, that our elected officials will necessarily do what’s right or that laws will automatically be changed. But given the choices, I realized my responsibility was to vote for the one whose platform most aligned with God’s principles and pray for those who are tasked with carrying out those goals. Whether or not they do is ultimately in God’s hands and the candidates are accountable to Him.

Here are some excerpts on various issues:

  • Sanctity of Life

Democratic: “Democrats seek to repeal the 1976 Hyde Amendment so that federal funds can be used to pay for abortions. The platform says, ‘We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers.’ Democrats support ratification of UN efforts that affirm ‘the reproductive rights of women’ globally.”

Republican: “The GOP asserts the sanctity of human life and affirms, ‘The unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.’ The party supports a Human Life Amendment making clear that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth, and it salutes states that require informed consent, parental consent, waiting periods and clinic regulation.”

  • Marriage

Democratic: “‘Democrats applaud last year’s Supreme Court ruling that ‘LGBT people–like other Americans–have the right to marry the person they love.'”

Republican: “The GOP platform condemns the Supreme Court’s rulings that removed the ability of Congress and the people to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The GOP urges the reversal of those decisions, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment.”

  • Religious Freedom

Democratic: “The Democratic platform says, ‘We support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate.’ The party opposes a religious test to bar immigrants or refugees from entering the country.”

Republican: “Republicans affirm that religious freedom in the Bill of Rights protects the right of the people to practice their faith in their everyday lives. The platform endorses the First Amendment Defense Act, which would protect faith-based institutions and individuals from government discrimination.”

  • Federal Judges

Democratic: “The platform says: ‘We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion.”

Republican: “The GOP platform states: ‘A critical threat to our country’s constitutional order is an activist judiciary that usurps powers properly reserved to the people through other branches of government.’ The GOP supports the appointment of justices and judges who respect the constitutional limits on their power and respect the authority of the states.

  • Internet Safety and Decency

Democratic: “The platform supports ‘a free and open internet at home and abroad.’ The party would seek to strengthen cybersecurity while ‘protecting the privacy and civil liberties of the American people.”

Republican: “The platform states: ‘The internet must not become a safe haven for predators. Pornography, with its harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions.'”

The article also covers each party’s position on:

  • National Defense
  • Terrorism
  • Human Rights (the Democratic stand has mostly to do with LGBT rights, even forcing policies on other nations)
  • Immigration
  • Addressing Poverty
  • Law and Order
  • Israel and Jerusalem

So while I don’t have a high view of the candidate, because of his party’s stand on biblical, moral issues, I’ll be voting for Donald Trump in November. And I’ll trust God to do in our nation what only He can do.

I also know I need to recommit myself to praying more faithfully for our nation, its people, all the candidates, and whoever will become our next president.

How about you?

Blessings,
Donna

How I Made My Voting Decision - It's been a tough election year for most of us. Many feel it's nearly impossible to whole-heartedly support either candidate. Personally, I've run the gamut of thoughts during and after the primaries, including, "I may not vote at all." And as the process has gone on, I'm not any happier about the choices we have. The question I've pondered is, "What is the right thing to do?"


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“Heroes, Culture & Your Treasure” August 26

 

Heroes, Culture & Your Treasure - Where is your treasure? Before you answer ... Who are your heroes? What do you enjoy reading more—your Bible or People magazine? On what game show would you do better—The American Bible Challenge or a pop culture version? What does all that say about where your heart or, as Jesus said, where your treasure is?Who captivates your attention? What do you spend your time reading? On what kind of game show would you want to compete? What do the answers to those questions have to do with where you have put  your treasure? Before you answer … you might want to read today’s post!

 

Today’s Readings:
Ecclesiastes 1 & 2
Psalm 102.1-11
Proverbs 24.1-2
1 Corinthians 7.20-40

 

Heroes, Culture & Your Treasure

 

Proverbs 24.1-2:

Where is your treasure?

 

Verse 1, “Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them.”

Perhaps your first thought was like mine, “I don’t hang out with evil people.” I go to church and hang out with my Christian friends. I don’t go out drinking. I try to avoid gossip. In fact, the list of ways I obey God might be long in my mind.

But just as we learn and grow from the good influence of mature believers, even those who have already gone to be with the Lord, by reading their books and watching or listening to them through all kinds of media … so we can be influenced by ungodly people.

People MagWho captivates your attention? Is it Hollywood celebrities or committed Christians? Do you spend more time reading your Bible, Christian biographies and other Christian books … or People magazine and the hottest new novel? Would you do better at The American Bible Challenge or a pop culture version? Do you know more about Kate Middleton, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Katy Perry … or the Apostle Paul, Susanna Wesley and Charles Spurgeon?

Jesus said, “… where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6.21).

What do your answers say about where your treasure is?

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Ecclesiastes 1 & 2:

Finding Satisfaction in the Daily Activities of Life

 

Solomon most likely wrote this book during the later years of his life after he had squandered much of his energy on earthly pursuits. He wrote this book to others, especially young people, to warn them about the futility of trying to find happiness in the things of this world. As he points out the “vanity” of such pursuits, he shares many nuggets of wisdom.

In chapters 1 and 2 he warns that even wisdom for wisdom’s sake is vanity, as are seeking after pleasure, building projects, and accumulating possessions. He tried and failed to find satisfaction in power, great wealth, and fame. Work for work sake didn’t bring satisfaction either. In fact, he came to realize that all his accomplishments meant nothing in light of eternity. Everything he accumulated here on earth would someday be left to others.

In the midst of all this we read this nugget:

“Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God” (2.24).

Instead of seeking satisfaction in success, wealth, power, and other pursuits, we should learn to find satisfaction in the daily activities of life.

 

Psalm 102.1-11:

Living by Feelings

 

Here in the first part of this psalm the writer focuses almost entirely on his feelings. When he did, he felt as if God had abandoned him. The same can happen to us.  Continue reading