Part 4 of Contentious Wife Equals Terrible Life

A pro-active man, makes sure that his wife has proper spiritual food on a very consistent basis.  You see this guy isn’t just cowering and ducking around and trying to avoid what hits the fan.  No, he confidently stands on the strong foundation of the Word of God and his eyes are fixed on His Savior Jesus.  The key thing that he knows is that if he is to have any hope of doing right by his wife, then Jesus has to have priority over her.  Is that true in your life?  Can you honestly say, “Jesus has priority over ____” (insert wife’s name here).  If you are not willing to go there – well then you go into the category of no one can do much for you until you repent and turn to Jesus.  (Please don’t try being proactive without having Jesus as your priority – because you will mess it up and give the rest of us a bad name.)

Okay, now that we have the key element known and solid, here is a list of the proactive things these guys are going to do:

1.  He loves his wife as Christ loves the church.
Basically this means that he is sacrificial and works hard to take care of his wife.  It does not mean that he just says yes to whatever – though Jesus is sacrificial for His church (to death) does not mean that he just says, “yeah sure whatever you want” in His relationship with her.  No Jesus’ goal for His church is for us to be pure and whole.  We should have this same desire for our wives – that they would in every way reflect the character of Jesus Himself.  In short, a godly wife is a lot like Jesus…loving, tender, compassionate, truthful, bold and sacrificial.  Let me tell you that it’s great to be married to a woman who’s life doesn’t revolve around herself or just the things in her immediate world!

2.  He is watching and observing to see that his wife is eating good spiritual food on a consistent basis.
He refuses to sit back and watch her starve herself.   Along these lines he does the following:

  • asks what she is reading in the Bible and praying about

He knows that his wife needs to eat daily of the Word of God and to spend time with her God and Savior.  He knows that if her fellowship with God is on point then the time they share together will be more fruitful and less contentious.  When my wife is regularly reading her Bible and praying then we are having some good times.  If either of us are slack, then we are headed for trouble.

  • is faithful to take her and be with her at the primary meetings of the church (Heb. 10:24-25)

Men, please listen to this one.  Your wives are generally more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and Word of God than we men are.  So there are opportunities each week for your wife to be challenged and encouraged in her walk with the Lord.  Especially if you are working to get rid of your pansiness then you can at least stand up and make the right sort of priorities so she doesn’t miss the meetings….of course this means you will need to be there too.  If one of you has to travel frequently on business then you need to arrange things to make sure you are both still getting good inputs.
I can guarantee that if you are both faithful in regular attendance (as in 6 out of 8 meetings of the church a month Sunday/mid-week…75% (this level of attendance would get you fired from your job in a hurry) at a Bible teaching and practicing church and are at all open to the work of the Lord in your hearts, then you will grow in your walk with Jesus.  If you think that you can step away from Christian fellowship and teaching for weeks or months at a time and continue to grow then you are absolutely kidding yourself.  You will stagnate and then digress…it is just a fact jack…and no you are not the super spiritual exception that doesn’t have to follow the clear principle of you get out what you put in.  (Note: there are dozens of other reasons you should be meeting for worship, Bible study and prayer – but I’ll keep this post to IT WILL HELP YOUR MARRIAGE!)

  • encourages her to have friendships with godly women.

Now when I say this I don’t just mean friendship with women who are “christians” and “go to church”.  How do you know your wife is spending time and being influenced by the right women?  The proof is in the results.  After spending time with “x” woman(en) is your wife more prone to gossip or pray, spend or give, watch some junk show on TV or read her Bible?  I’m not saying that all of the women in your wife’s life have to be off the charts godly women – hopefully your wife has women who don’t know Jesus in her life that she is witnessing to.  What I am saying is to encourage your wife to examine the type of influences in her life from other women and to make sure she is getting a heavy dose of the healthy influence.  Even as adults our choice of friendships have a great affect on us.  So gentleman, you also need to examine this in your own life.  How about make a list of the 5 friends you hang out with the most and then make an honest evaluation of their influence on your walk with the Lord.  You might find that exercise to reveal that you need some new friends or you need to reorder the time so that you don’t sabotage your own life.

Bottom Line: If our homes, churches, and communities are to have any hope of being all that they can be for God’s glory, it will be because men who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus are standing up and answering the high call of our God and Savior.  It will be because we refuse to be lukewarm, pathetic boys and grow up by the Holy Spirit to be passionate men for our King Jesus!

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Romans 1:8-15

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
13
Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. 14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15 So, as much as is in me,
I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.

II.  Paul’s heart for the believers in Rome (1:8-15)

A.  Paul’s thankfulness for the testimony of the believers in Rome (1:8)

Paul commends the believers in Rome for their strong faith by which they live.  Their faith is known throughout the Roman empire and likely to regions beyond it.  The Roman Empire at this time stretched from Spain and North Africa in the west to Turkey, Israel, and Egypt in the east.  The lesson here is that both believers and unbelievers take note of people who “live by faith (vs 17).”

B.  Paul’s prayer life for the believers in Rome (1:9-10)

Paul had a very robust prayer life.  We see his heartfelt love for people and God’s work in their lives.  He was keenly aware that the battle for souls is spiritual in nature and must be fought on that plane by prayer, “for we do not wrestle with flesh and blood…” Let us passionately pursue this labor of love.

Paul had longed to go to Rome to encourage the believers and share the Gospel, but even here Paul is careful to say, “in the will of God.”  If there is one lesson to learn in this section, may we please learn this one; our responsibility is FIRST to seek out the will of God and then do it. I strongly believe that the normal procedure for a Christian is to come up with a plan without consulting the word of God, without prayer, without the Spirit of God bearing witness with his spirit, and without the counsel of those in authority over him.  The Christian makes his plan and then tries to slide it across God’s desk hoping God will not pay it much attention and put His stamp of approval on it.  The Christian informs his friends first and then the authorities in the local church (if he is part of one or talks to them at all).  As he informs his friends he grows in confidence and has mostly convinced himself that his plan is indeed the will of God.  The result plays out in multiple ways:

1.  he settles for something good but not God’s best,
2. God in grace puts him in the best place though he went about it the wrong way, 3. he goes down the wrong path for a while, realizes it is wrong, and humbles himself before God seeking to get back on track.
4.  he makes a decision that has long term negative affects (the more out of God’s will and the more sin involved here normally determines how bad things go).

If we seek God’s will and go about things in the correct order, we can have much more confidence we are living our lives according to the will of God.

C.  Paul’s desire for mutual encouragement (1:11-12)

I believe we can say with a good amount of confidence that the spiritual gift that Paul desires to impart to them is the teaching of the whole counsel of God.  This gift is consistent with Paul’s ministry and his desire for believers to stand on a strong foundation – the Word of God.
The fellowship of people who love God and are striving to live for him is a sweet thing for all who participate in it.  To be like minded and joined together for a common purpose is a blessing indeed. The fellowship of lukewarm people who have half their heart in the world is not much to write about.  May we be among those those fortunate and passionate followers of Jesus who have sweet fellowship with one another.

D.  Paul’s desire to preach the Gospel in Rome (1:13-15)

Paul assures the believers in Rome that it was not a lack of love or desire that has kept him from visiting them, for he has desired but been hindered. When Paul says that he is a debtor to “Greeks and barbarians and wise and unwise”, he is stating a fact.  Paul had in a very unique way experienced the mercy of God and was given the answer for humans’ sin problem.  Paul now has an obligation to share this message with the people of the world – whether they are civilized or uncivilized, whether they are educated or uneducated.  Those of us who believe in Jesus have the same obligation to freely share what we have received – the gospel of Christ. In part 3 we will study more about the gospel of Christ.  Until then, may you be blessed.  Please feel free to leave a comment or question.

The Psalms are incredibly broad and deep.  Though David wrote more of them than anyone else, there are a variety of authors who wrote over about a 1400 year period. When reading the Psalms it is helpful to understand that there are different types of Psalms, and that some Psalms are more or less appropriate for the situation you are currently in than others.  When the information is available it is also a great blessing to know the context of when and why the Psalm was written. How to classify the Psalms is in large part a personal preference.  It can be a useful tool to keep a chart for yourself or put notes by different Psalms in your Bible.  I’m looking forward to making my own chart as I read through the Psalms.  In the meantime I can share some categories from  The Believer’s Bible Commentary by William MacDonald.  I’ve added a couple of categories and given examples for each.

1. Worship and Thanksgiving – Psalm 93 (probably the greatest number of Psalms fall into this category for the purpose of enhancing our fellowship with God.)

2. Messianic (Prophetic Psalms that specifically speak of Jesus Christ).  It is important to remember that sometimes part of the Psalm has to do with Jesus while other parts refer to someone else.  – Psalm 22

3. Confession and forgiveness – Psalm 32,51

4. Petitions – Psalm 17

5. The righteous and wicked contrasted – Psalm 1

6. Historical – Psalm 78

7. Prophetic but not Messianic – Psalm 14

(Note:  It is also important to note that some of the Psalms in the petition category are not appropriate for us to use in prayer today.  The author was writing in the context of the Old Testament law of an eye for an eye.  Jesus calls us to a higher standard of loving our neighbors – whether friend or enemy.

It has been a good and busy time since returning Tuesday night.  It is hard to believe it is already Friday afternoon.  House Fellowship on Wednesday night, dinner with my family on Thursday evening, and a leaders’ meeting early this morning were the highlights of the week.  I’ve also managed to get back on the basketball court twice. Wednesday hoops felt rough, but today I felt much more energetic.  The ball was generally at a high level of quality too.  Unfortunately, it ended with one of the guys spraining his ankle.  I hope for his sake it isn’t too bad.  Basketball at Ramsey has been a great opportunity for me to get some exercise and also get to know some people that I otherwise would have no contact with.

In the very near future the other elders in our church and I will begin a study through Alexander Strauch’s book, Biblical Eldership.  I am looking forward to our collective growth through that investment of time, prayer, thought, and practice.  If you are in leadership in a church and have read this, how about dropping me a note with your opinion.  Or if you are interested in the Biblical perspective of church government – both how it should be organized and applied, then I recommend it.  It makes sense to believe that God cares about how His church is should be organized.  Traditionally the church has ignored most of God’s instruction on this subject to its own detriment.

Don’t forget to pray for rain – boy do we need it!

I remember back to junior high when our basketball team had the old hand me downs from many years prior. It was always a battle for the two pair of larger shorts because most of us would be stuck wearing shorts that were way too short and way too tight.  Well on Monday I took a trip back in time because I failed to take any shorts to Mexico.  In order to fellowship with my Mexican brothers on the basketball court, I had to borrow a pair from one of them.  My translator Christian (who grew up in California) laughed and laughed.  He also had possession of my camera and took about 50 pictures of permanent proof of my humiliation.  I also didn’t realize that we had to walk several blocks down the main street of the city to be able to play.  Yes, people noticed and made sure that I knew that they noticed.  Being one of the very few white people in the area and being 6’4″ or 193 cm for those on the metric system, I already stand out.  Bring on the attack of the man thigh, and I am a one man circus!

I can’t believe that I putting pictures of this on net.  But if my humiliation can bring a little laughter to your day, then I guess it is a price worth paying.  Yes I am having to work hard to convince myself of that!

June 1, 2008 – Sunday

Today we had a wonderful time of worship.  Between the Lord’s Supper service, music, and preaching the time was from 10 AM to 1 PM.  As usual it was beautiful and sincere.  During the Lord’s supper service I had the privilege to share the Scriptures.  We talked about the past, present, and future in relation to remembering the Lord’s death and resurrection.  

The past – Jesus filled the Old Testament prophecies concerning His death and resurrection – see Isaiah 53. And we look back to what Jesus did on the cross as the substitute for our sin.  Our Savior the Righteous One who gave His life for sinful people like me and you.

The present – As the Apostle Paul instructs us, we examine our hearts and confess any sin – because sin hinders fellowship with God (I Corinthians 11:17-34).

The future – Our Savior is Risen, and He will return for us, and we will share the Cup with him in the New Kingdom (Matthew 26:26-30).  The certain hope of all true believers is this: Our future is with our King!

Pepe, Judy, and I went to lunch, and we had a good time and a profitable conversation about church life.

 

 

Erika

May 31, 2008

Saturday was a wonderful day.  It started with another morning of teaching.  We finished Matthew 5 and 6. As usual the class asked great questions, and we had a good time.  After lunch, we headed to Tehuipango in the mountains.  Driving straight there it is a good 2 hours, but we needed to pick up people in several villages along the way.  I drove the blue Suburban that was packed solid with humans, but I don’t think there was a single complaint!  We arrived at our destination at 4:30 PM and began getting ready for a time of praise and worship and teaching with over 200 of our Indian brothers and sisters in Christ.  We started about 6 PM and were packed and ready to leave around 11:30 PM.  It was a beautiful time as musicians from many places shared their music.

One of the first people I saw was little Erika from Atlahuico.  She came up and gave me a big hug!  It was a moment of pure joy – so familiar and yet so special.  The love of Christ in the hug from her transcended all barriers of language and culture!

Here is something that should encourage all of you – especially those in dcf and particularly the dcf music team.  At the time of music last night in Tehuipango – I could hardly believe my ears when I heard Holy (a song by Waterdeep that some of our dcf band taught the musicians here in Spanish) being sung loudly in NAHUATL (the indigenous language)! How cool is that?  Praise the Lord!

I was asked to teach at the meeting, so I gave two short lessons.  One for unbelievers on God’s love and provision of salvation through Jesus Christ.  The other for the believers out of John 15:9-12,

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and 
that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

After the meeting we had a wonderful time of fellowship over bowls of Pozole (a delicious soup – check out the gigantic metal tub they served it from in the photos). There was enough for everyone to get a bowl. We then made our trek back to Rio Blanco, but this time we needed to take a group to Zoncolco.  So down the mountain for nearly 2 hours and then up to Zoncolco. Now this is a road that is just being built, and I have never driven on it before – and it is 1:30 AM.  I think you would be hard pressed to find a road like this in the States.  It has no guard rails (most roads here do not), and if you misjudge things by a few feet, then you, your passengers, and your vehicle will plunge hundreds of feet to a fiery ball of death!  Praise God for His continued traveling mercies.  

After dropping our passengers off in Zoncolco we got on the autopista (Interstate) and headed back to Rio Blanco.  I was following Juan, but I was asked a question, got distracted, and missed our exit.  I was a little frustrated with myself because the next exit was a good 5 minutes away.  However when Juan went back to look for us; there was a bad wreck caused by a drunk driver.  Perhaps the Lord spared us once again.

We arrived back about 2:30 AM.  I had been so tired, but once I got to the house I had a hard time falling asleep.  The last I looked at my clock it read 3:30 AM….just a few hours before the Sunday morning meetings.  It was a very long but valuable day.  I am thankful to God for His provision of strength, and most of all – His love!