Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Encourage Your Husband

The steaks were sizzling on the grill and I joyfully anticipated the look on my husband's facewhen he saw the deer steaks I had finally made for him. Hearing the phone ring, I hurried inside to answer. It was Norm's supervisor, "Kyle", calling him in early to his scond shift job due to a minor crisis and Kyle thinking my husband would appreciate the overtime. With a sinking heart, I realized he would miss the special lunch I had prepared for him. As he hurried around the house preparing for work, he seemed agitated with Kyle and his management skills. With a quick kiss, he grabbed his lunch box and was out the door leaving my preschooler and I to enjoy his special lunch by ourselves. Somehow the joy had been taken out of it.
Then I thought about my husband who must have been tired and disapppointed. I knew, the way he exited, that tonight may not be a good night for him, but instead, a busy, exhausting one. I knew the added stress of taking care of new problems presented were not going to go well.

It was at that time I remembered Sunday, when, due to inclement weather, he was deprived of overtime and had expressed that disappointment. That was when I felt the tug of the Holy SPirit to send him a message so I dug out my cell phone and sent the following, "Before you get angry with Kyle, consider this: Maybe God did this because you lost your overtime on Sunday." Then I hit "Send" and hoped he'd receive it with a receptive heart.

I knew this really was of the Spirit because normally I probably would have moped and pouted because of a spoiled special dinner, but, instead, I obeyed the SPirit's call to encourage my husband. I have been learning lately that it is a wise wife who will "encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfullness." (Heb. 3:13)

I just heard God telling me to encourage him in love and deeds and in my impromtu Word Bible Study on Encouragement, I found the verse from 1 Thess. 4:18. "Therefore encourage each other with these words. " There are so many instructions in the Bible for encouraging others. Many forget that also pertains to their spouse. How can you encourage your husband today?

More verses on encouragement:

Job 16:5...But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
Acts 15:32Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers.

Romans 12:8...if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Romans 15:4...For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Ephesians 6:22...I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.

1 Thessalonians 5:11...Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:14...And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

Titus 2:6...Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled

Titus 2:15...These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

Philemon 1:7...Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

****Names changed for privacy purpooses.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

That Mother In Law Thing

One thing that triggers shivers down many women's backs. Their mother in law. It is the phrase women feel a common bond of shared grief. My own mother-in-law used to drive me absolutely crazy. She was controlling. She was bossy. She undermined my authority with my children. She took over our wedding photographer. When my brother in law married my sister-in-law, I witnessed her do the same to them as well and my sister-in-law saying, "I don't remember her being this way at your wedding." I laughed and said, "Yes, she did!" She showed up at our house early one Saturday morning and went around the house trying every door until she found one open and, of course, walked right in, sending my husband and I scrambling for decent clothes. Yes, she drove me crazy.

Yet, I decided to try something one day. I took her to God in prayer. I prayed, "God, she drives me crazy. I don't know what to do with her. I cannot go on like this. Please, if it be Your will, open my eyes. Reveal to me what akes her tick.... why she does things the way she does." Looking back, I realize those are the kind of prayers God loves to answer...and He did in a big way. He opened my eyes and I saw things I had missed before. Things right in front of me. Suddenly I understood why she did things the way she did. And just as suddenly was the compassion it stirred inside of me toward her.

In the second book of Kings, chapter 6, verses 13-19, Elisha and his servant are in a city and find themselves surrounded by an enemy out to kill them, but Elisha saw something his servant did not. In verse he prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Then Elisha did something even more extraordinary. He prayed that the army out to kill him would be made blind and he was able to lead this army away from the city because they could not see who he was.

When I was married over 12 years, I suffered a miscarriage. Not only was my mother in law the only one who showed compassion to me, she actually remembered when my baby would have been born. That touched me so much. I am blessed to have someone like her in my life and I would not have said that early on in my marriage.

Is there someone in your life that is just so hard to show love to? Are they impossible to love? Then here is a prayer for you. "Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I AM Stuck On Bandaids Cause Bandaid's Stuck On Me

When your soul gets a bruising, where do you go for a Spiritual bandaid? I am oftem tempted to retreat inside myself but that tends to infect the wound and spread it throughout my body manifesting itself in many ways. God wants us to come to Him with our problems. In fact in 1 Peter 5:7 God invites us to "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." Yet, that is so hard sometimes to give your worries up. You just want to hold onto them and most times you can't do anything about them anyway. I am reminded of a time many years ago when a speaker instructed us to put our cares in a shoebox and lay the shoe box at Jesus' feet. I have often employed such a method and no matter how many times I wanted to turn around and open the shoebox to look at the contents, I, instead, chose to let Christ care for it.
Recently I was having a stressful day and I went up to my bedroom to get something and God told me, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:2) At first I resisted citing all the tasks I needed to attend to, but I eventually allowed myself to rest in Him and was blessed as He ministered to me using His Words. I left there feeling refreshed and ready to meet new challenges. I know as a mom it is so hard to ind a quiet place to dwell and refresh but the rewards are worth it if yoou allow yourself to just hand over your cares and let Him carry your load.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Bottomless Jug

Every time I do my laundry I am reminded of the widow who appealed to Elisha in 2 Kings 4 with her financial problem and God provided a way, through Elisha, of helping her out of her desparate problem. I have a large container of launndry detergent I had bought at a discount store. It says on the outside that it can do 96 loads of laundry but, for a family of five, that wouldn't take a long time to use up. Yet it seems like every time I use it, there is still plenty for another load and it reminds me of God's providence.
The widow in 2 Kings needed a way to make money and the lives of her two sons were at stake. She appealed to Elisha who told her to take the little oil she possessed and start pouring it into all of the containers she could borrow. Her oil lasted until every container was filled. She was able to take that oil and sell it to save the lives of her sons.
Every time I use that detergent I am reminded that he does see to my needs. Time and time again I have whispered a quick prayer of a need and it was miraculously fulfilled. Some of those needs were money for food and a double bed and dressers for my children. More recently I suddenly lost a child care job before I had even started it. It was shortly before Christmas and I had no idea how I was going to get my children Christmas gifts. Then a gift card for $100 to Wal-mart came through the mail with the words that God will provde all my needs. God does not promise to give us that multi-million dollar lottery ticket but I know I can trust Him to meet my basic needs.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Do You Mean it?

Recently I was traveling with my three children, Nicole, Tyler and Alexis and Nicole's friend, Izabel. Nicole and Izabel are preteens and I often found it interesting to listen to their discussions. On this particular day they were discussing raising your hands in worship. Nicole mentioned that she often saw that I raised my hands during worship. Then Nicole asked me why I did it. I opened my mouth to go into long detail of why I raise my hands to honor God when Izabel broke in with, "People raise their hands to show that they really mean it." Whoa! That cut me to the quick. I then began to question myself. Do I really mean it when I raise my hands during worship or am I only doing it to make others think I am more spiritual?
It says in Matthew 6:5-6, "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." What I take from the scripture here can be applied to public praise to God. God does not want us to show others how Holy we are. He wants the focus to be Him and the praise to flow naturally from our hearts. We are not to be focused on what Joe and Janet Christian down the row are doing or what they may be thinking about what we are doing.
In Luke 18, He told the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in which the Pharasee was making a loud declaration to God in which the sole purpose was to attract attention of others. In the story, there was also a tax collector who "stood at a distance" and prayed a prayer of confession from his heart. Christ honored the second prayer because the motivation of the tax collector was entirely focused on Him. In Genesis God accepted Abel's sacrifice and rejected Cain's because of the motivation behind the sacrifices.God is a jealous God and He wants our focus on Him. If we are worried about other's oppinions of how we worship, we are not focusing on Him. In Psalm 150:6 it says, "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!" God wants our whole heart. Anything less is mere chatter cast upon the wind.