Respect dare series – day 9 – Gentle spirit

1 Peter 3:1-4

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

Let us develop our character, and leave our husbands’ to God. I am hungry for more of the Lord. I don’t want to go before the throne of God and hear Christ say: “you were neither hot, nor cold”. I want Him to say: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You blazed hot for me. You allowed me to refine you into pure gold. You walked in my ways and you walked with my Spirit. You delighted in my Word. I am well pleased with you!” Sure, hey?

That’s my ambition and goal. I have a way to go, I know. But I want to be focused on drawing closer to God every day. I want to hear His heart every day. And I want my relationship with Him to be so pure and passionate that Glenn delights in it and is spurred on by it. I want to put on my new self, walking daily in the gentle and quiet spirit that only the Holy Spirit can work in me.

My action for today: One big way that I can be a witness in the midst of today’s society is by how I walk in respectfulness towards Glenn. He is the head of the home. Submission is a choice. I choose to submit to Glenn and respect his leadership. I will faithfully pray for God’s guidance and hope to speak wisdom to him to help him lead well.

My prayer for today:  Make me a respectful wife and pure, faithful servant of you, my Father. Keep me in purity of mind, body, soul and spirit. Make me hot as coals in the flame for your Kingdom. Cloth me in your gentle Spirit so that my words and actions may imitate His. In Jesus’ name, Amen.    

Get the fire blazing hot!

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Respect dare series – day 8 – Intercede

Luke 18:1-8

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'”

And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

1 Thessalonians 5:17

. . . pray without ceasing,

I want to be 100% faithful in presenting God with requests on Glenn’s behalf. I want to pray constantly and not lose heart.

God has especially been laying on my heart the need to intercede for Glenn. I can be quite sporadic with this and I feel the need to become both intentional and constant in it. I am trying to make it a daily undertaking to trust the Holy Spirit to highlight areas where I need to be fighting for him.

My action for today: Last night I was praying during the night for him. I will keep praying and allowing the corresponding peace flood in. I will also go for a beach walk to specifically intercede for Glenn. And not just for today; I want to make this a habit. I want to do it intentionally until it becomes second nature.

My prayer for today: Keep me praying; keep me interceding; and keep me in your peace. Amen

Spend time in prayer**

 

**Image by Lucky Gumbo, curtsey of The Inductive Bible Study Companion; Unlock the Word ©2015

Respect dare series – day 5 – Safe place

Proverbs 31:12, 18-19

She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life . . . She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.

It’s easy to become self focused and forget to look out for the needs of our spouse, and stop seeking to do them good. I often use motherhood as an excuse not to help out. Mostly it’s a fairly legitimate reason, but often I could help more if I prioritise Glenn and let some of my own ambitions go, or at least be chipped away at more slowly. Glenn has a fair bit going on his head at the moment and to juggle on his plate. I want to be a willing helpmate and hard worker that helps him bear his load.

My action for today: Take home group for Glenn tonight.

My prayer for today: Please, Father, work in me a new spirit. Let your Spirit work change in me so that I look less and less towards my own needs and interests, and more to those of your Kingdom. Let it start with my first charge – my family – and go out from there. Help my hands not to be idle, or caught up in irrelevant tasks, but let them be willing and hard working for your Kingdom. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Some of our home group family

Respect blog series – day 4 – Confidant

Proverbs 31:10-11

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 

What a privilege to be the keeper of our husband’s confidences. Few things make my heart gladder than sitting on the couch with Glenn, listening to his deepest thoughts, treasured ideas, and confidences. It brings closeness and intimacy into our relationship. But it also requires risk. And there are only so many times he will open up to me if the result is judgement, disdain, belittling, criticism or other negative response.

I have to train myself to treasure these moments. Even if I think a dream is far-fetched or improbable, it builds love and trust to be the encouraging voice. Wisdom can be shared in love, caution can be shared alongside enthusiasm; perspective can be brought in down the line. My first job is to be a safe place for confidences, and a championing voice to ideas.

My heart is learning to treasure every small moment of openness between Glenn and I.

My action for today: Be still and listen. Wait for Glenn to speak. Being at home far more than Glenn, thanks to our little one, means that I’m often the one eager to share and chat. Today I choose to wait. To pause. To keep quiet. I wait upon Glenn’s confidences – small or big, seemingly insignificant, or deeply intimate; it doesn’t matter, they all build intimacy and trust.

My prayer for today: Let me be a trustworthy and safe confidant for Glenn. Lord, I desire to hold him up. I desire to be a wife who can be trusted by my husband’s heart. Let me be gain for my husband, always. Help me to keep quiet at times so that he can speak. Let me treasure each moment of intimacy, and each moment of passing fellowship. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Building his safe place

Respect Dare series – Introduction

Well, this is challenging. I like to keep things like this private normally, but feel God asking me to share this with you. It is easy to live our faith out privately, but then we don’t learn and grow from each other. I was recently on a retreat with some beautiful Christian women and it was wonderful to share our journeys of marriage and motherhood together. So I am going to share what God has been challenging me on recently – to journey with Him to learn how to respect and love Glenn better.

A while back I went through the book: The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband by Nina Roesner. I enjoyed doing it because it helped me get past myself, and focus on God and Glenn. This time around, I felt God challenge me to complete a version of the respect dare He had for me. For the next 40 days, I’ll share a summary of what He took me through and worked in my heart.

Before I start though, I’d like to add a note that Glenn and I have a good marriage and so what God challenged me to do, or how He challenged my thinking, might be very different to a woman in a marriage doing poorly. That said, I pray that my journey will help you grow and help your marriage or future marriage.

Be blessed

Going deeper in our marriage

At home

One of God’s main words for me the last 12 months have been: “it starts at home“.

First and foremost this has meant putting Him first in the home environment. We cannot minister to others if He has not ministered to us. We cannot introduce the Holy Spirit to others if He is not evident in our lives.

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.  And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.  1 Thessalonians 1:4-7

As we set up home there is always something to do – planting an orchard, establishing the garden, planting vegetables and herbs, looking after animals, and renovating the house – it has been a challenge to lay aside the busyness of the day to start and end it with God. When I focus in on Him at the start, I am more aware of Him throughout the day and can work with a heart of worship. When I rush into the work, I often become grumpy and easily frustrated.

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35

But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. Luke 5:15-16

Secondly, this has been lived out through learning to put Glenn second only to God. It isn’t so hard to put him before others, but it can be very hard to put him before myself some days. We’ve been sharpening one another as Proverbs says:

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 12:17

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. Proverbs 31:10-11

Walking in covenant

Walking in covenant

Thirdly, He has begun to prepare my heart for motherhood. A large part of this has been learning to be okay “accomplishing less” in a work sense, in order to meet the new demands of my body. I know that this is just the lead up to greater sacrifices of time and energy once our first precious gift arrives. It has also meant rewiring my thinking to see ministry as a family call, not an individual one. And, of course, a large part of this will be keeping my family as my first ministry.

We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments . . . Psalm 78:4-7

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3

An excellent wife who can find?  . . . She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:10a, 27-28

Heart Issue #3a; Malachi 2:10-2:16

Today we look into the third issue in the hearts of the returned exiles:

Issue #3 Israel, a polluted people, ask: “Why does He not (accept our offerings)?”

In this next section we see God addressing two specific issues in their marriages. We will address the first only in this blog (hence the title, #3a)

The first issue in their marriages is that they were again marrying foreign women who are leading them into idolatry! Ezra 9:13-14 and Nehemiah 13:3 also speak words against the returned Jews marrying foreigners. Why was it wrong to marry foreigners? Should we only marry within our nationality, race, or culture?

We know that there were allowances for foreigners to enter into the congregation of God. For example, Exodus 12:37-38 makes reference to a mixed multitude that went out of Egypt and Exodus 12:48 allows for foreigners to be circumcised and then keep the Passover with the people of God. We also know that Ruth and Rahab were both foreign women who married into God’s people and were held in honour.

But then we also come across passages such as Numbers 25, or Exodus 34:13-16: “You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.

It was not the marriage per se that was wrong, but the resulting idolatry as they took on of the gods of their spouse! The sin of idolatry was one of the primary sins the people of Israel were called out for before they went into exile. The original readers could not bring offerings to God and expect His favour if they were transgressing the covenant in other areas of their lives.

We see this same principle commanded in the New Testament in Matthew 5 when Jesus tells them to tear out their eyes or lose a member if it is the cause of sin:

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:29-30)

We know that God is not saying to literally cut of their hands; rather, Jesus wanted to show them the seriousness of their sins in His eyes. For the original readers, the Lord was calling them to stop the cycle of idolatry.

This leads us into application for our lives.

Malachi; What's happening in your heart?

Malachi; What’s happening in your heart?

Healthy Heart Habit #3a = Pure hearts; pure lives

Believers are called to cast off things of the world and serve God alone. We are to be cut off from the ways of the world, living as the light in the spheres of society. Ask yourself:

Are you living according to your culture, or assimilating the Word of God into your heart and living out a Kingdom culture?

Think about the following verses through the day:

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)

. . . you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. (Romans 2:21-23)