Friday, June 09, 2017

Marriage - The Husband Part 1 - Dwell with Her in an Understanding Way

Marriage is the institution that God loves. God desires good for the marriage. God gives instructions to both husbands and wives in order for these unions that He loves to function in a right manner. 

I know there are many issues that arise in many marriages and I'd like to take the time and briefly address, not the problems, but the basic instructions that God has given us in order to examine our own marriages and perhaps adjust our behavior and allow the Lord to adjust our hearts. There are just too many problems within marriages to address them all and then provide biblical solutions. I'd rather spend my time pointing to the solution and allow the Lord to reveal what is specifically not right in your relationship and then trust in Him to help you get aligned with His Word.

1 Peter 3:7 (ESV) - "Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."

God gives the command to husbands: "Live with your wives in an understanding way"

Can we just get one thing out of the way? Can we agree that this is a command and not a suggestion. I remember someone telling me that "delayed obedience is disobedience", and I believe that is true. To know to do what's right and not do it is sin (missing the mark). Emotions and feelings that are hindering you from living with your wife in an understanding way is not strength but weakness. Humility and meekness is a spiritual strength that many don't have the guts to practice. Many would rather make every attempt to hold a personal hurt over someone else in order to make them "pay for the hurt they brought on them".

This is something that is seen in the world, outside the home, but unfortunately I've seen it within marriages many times as well.

#1) To LIVE with your wife is NOT to simply share the same address where you sleep and eat occasionally. To live, or to DWELL with your wife describes an intimate sharing of life. 

To DWELL with each other involves communication (dialogue), working together through issues, making decisions together, considering the other above ourselves, listening as well as speaking, understanding the needs of your wife and seeking to meet those needs (I didn't say all of her desires and dreams but actual needs of love and companionship and demonstrations that she is your one and only). 

Many people joke about how a woman is impossible to understand. 

There is one joke that starts out with a man walking on the beach on a sunny California day. He came upon a bottle in the sand and as he picked it up a genie popped out and tells him, "Thank you for letting me out of the bottle. For your kindness I will grant you one wish." The man thought about it and then asked the genie to make him a highway to Hawaii since he was afraid of flying. The genie gave the man all the reasons why his wish was just too much, it was too involving of much material and it was just not something he wanted to do. 

The man took a few moments to think about what else he would like and then it dawned on him and said, "I want to know what makes a woman tick. How she thinks and what she means when she says one thing, but actually wants something else. I just want to understand a woman."

The genie paused and then said, "Do you want the highway to be two lanes or four lanes?"  LOL!!!

It is NOT impossible to live with understanding with our wives or else the Lord would not have commanded us to do so. Men! It takes work! Are you willing to seek to understand first and be understood second? Are you willing to humble yourself and get your nose out of social media and hobbies and other things if they are hindering your gaining understanding of your wife? Are you truly enjoying a fellowship type of relationship with your wife, or is she just your "partner" in life like a fellow "worker" is?

To dwell with your wife with understanding requires a conscientious and deliberate effort. This requires paying attention and studying your wife. Knowing what makes her laugh and what makes her cry; what encourages her, and what discourages her; what brings her joy and what makes her sad.

Here's the FIRST thing to do men: Learn to DWELL with your wife and UNDERSTAND her (tip: you're not to think of your own needs but hers)

Just one other verse before you think and pray on this: Acts 20:35 - "… Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'".

Friday, June 02, 2017

Never Abandoned

When we think of God sometimes we can't help but think about earthly parents and how they respond to children and raise them. We may even think about the shortcomings of our own parents.

There are good examples and there are poor examples. But God is not the reflection of earthly parenting, but is the perfect Father who cares for His children perfectly.

He gives warnings to serve us as safeguards and sign posts of danger, but at the same time He assures us of His blessings when we love Him through our obedience to Him (John 14:15).

One thing we can be sure of, He never leaves nor forakes those who are His (Hebrews 13:5). He disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6), But He will never turn His back and reject.

God is the perfect Father who will never abandon us. May His love draw us closer to Him and may we choose to live a life that reflects that love in obedience to His Word.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Learning to Walk

No kid learning how to walk and having fallen a hundred times gets up and says, "Maybe this just isn't for me."

Nope! And neither should anyone learning how to walk with Jesus.

John 6:45 – "It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me."

Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 54:13 – "All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children."

As adults we take walking for granted, but there was a time when it was the most difficult thing to do.

If you're just learning how to walk with Jesus, I encourage you to NEVER give up! Keep Reading the Bible, Keep Praying, Keep Going to Church… just KEEP LEARNING.

One day you will look back and realize you've been walking upright for a while with the Lord and you're at peace.

Learn to Walk with Jesus and then Keep Walking.

And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." – Matthew 4:19

Friday, September 04, 2015

Rejoice and Take Joy!

Feeling down, alone, or just out of sorts?

I believe we all do at some point or another. No one is exempt from feeling depressed; even when things seem to be going good and you're surrounded with people, you may feel alone and somewhat empty. It's at that time when we need to look to the Lord and fix our eyes on Him.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 - "Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the LORD, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer's; He makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments."

You often read verse 19, but hardly the verses before it... It puts things into proper perspective and helps you understand in what circumstances you can walk surely upon the dangerous cliffs of disappointment, of lack, of a desert-like season in life and of feeling alone.

Be encouraged, you're not alone. God is with you and He is your strength and He makes your steps sure...have confidence that He will not let you fall.

These verses are a song unto the LORD... praising Him.

Feeling down? Look up to the Lord, He will lift your head up. Feeling alone? Look around, the Lord is with you. Feeling out of sorts? Look within, the Spirit of God is holding you together.

Sing unto the Lord and trust in Him. Praise and Worship Him for He is worthy.

May He be your joy and your strength in all times and in all places.

God Bless you - Pastor Raul

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Idolatry - The Worship of a Whore

Hosea is an Old Testament book that is shocking in its opening, a stern warning in its body and a call to discern the ways of the true God in its ending.

Idolatry is defined by God as NOT ONLY the worship of an image that represents a god, but the turning away from trusting the only true God and turning to trusting in anything or anyone other than Him.

It can NOT only be money, power, intellect, position, favor, possessions etc., but it can also be the arrogance of having and maintaining, in comparison to others, more money, power, intellect, position, favor, possessions etc. There is an arrogance that emanates a stench from such a person that reaches the very nostrils of God.

God hates idolatry and pride is the thought of superiority, which is another form of idolatry, as one puts himself in that place that only God should occupy.

James 4:6 - "But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'"

Israel thought it knew better than God, and trusted in riches, external favor and relationships with others, even worshipping foreign gods. But God deemed them a whore for this. It's a clearly defined position a nation chose and we can easily fall into if we are not choosing daily and even by the moment who is that Person we trust and walk with.

Know that this is who God is and He pursues and loves you perfectly - Hosea 11:4 - "I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them."

There is nothing and no one else that will satisfy a person - only the true God.

Hosea 14:9 - "Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them."

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ephesians 2:10 - You Matter This Much!

Ephesians 2:10 - "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

There are times in my life that I have to admit that I need a little encouragement to keep going and there is no better encouragement that can come my way than from the Lord Himself.

Maybe you're like that also and you need a little reminder of your value in God's eyes. Ephesians 2:10 not only reminds us that our lives have purpose and we are to act in accordance to that purpose, but also that there is a work that God desires to do THROUGH us, and IN us, and BEFORE us.

This is absolutely INSPIRING and AMAZING when I thought about it.

#1 - We are HIS workmanship - Jesus is the Master Craftsman, the Potter and we are His object of art, of beauty - He sees what no one else does; His vision goes beyond the block of wood or the lump of clay; He holds us in His hands for the purpose of making us into a beautiful vessel that honors and blesses Him.

#2 - We are created IN Christ FOR GOOD WORKS - There useful, specific and practical reasons for the work that Jesus is performing in our lives; it is a good reason for good works that are established by our Good Shepherd. This is a plan that He had established BEFORE we were even formed in our mother's womb.

#3 - We are a God's workmanship and are designed to live out this plan in our lives.

AND, there is one more important point to consider - God goes before us and around us and is with us to arrange everything in such a way that we are capable of fulfilling His plans in our lives; we just need to be willing - acknowledging Him, growing in our relationship with Him through reading His Word, prayer and fellowship, and being aware of our surroundings so as to respond in ways that He is glorified.

God makes sure that everything is perfectly arranged for you, so that you may walk out the plans that He has established for you to accomplish - you are loved and valued that much!

This day matters and so do you.

All to His glory - Raul

Friday, November 07, 2014

Focus on YOUR Church

My Dear Wormwood,

You mentioned casually in your last letter that the patient has continued to attend one church, and one only, since he was converted, and that he is not wholly pleased with it. May I ask what you are about? Why have I no report on the causes of his fidelity to the parish church? Do you realize that unless it is due to indifference it is a very bad thing? Surely you know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that 'suits' him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches. - C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Focus on the church God has placed you in, get to work in building His kingdom from there.

Bringing our effort into a collective focus brings heat; anything else is a division of sight, cold blindness, or at best lukewarm spew.