God's plan for marriage is given and repeated in the Gospels and in the Epistles. (Gen 2:24, Matt 19:5, Eph 5:31. As we all know, God's plan is not always our plan. Marriage as God's plan is perfect in it's organization; one man and one woman in a lifetime commitment. Frankly, that's asking alot. That's a big commitment for life, to spend life with just one husband in all our flaws and flesh.
The marriage covenant has 3 parts according to Gen 2:24.
Adam and Eve...God introduced these two himself and then established a bond. He wanted to ensure they stayed together, forever and always. A tight bond that would hold them together through good times and bad. He established this for your marriage as well. Although in many marriages this 3 prong approach is not 3 pongs. Some are just 2 or maybe even 1. Let's just talk about how these three things are significant.
I remember when my husband and I were first engaged, that my future mother-in-law told me that she was sad, she'd be losing her son. Of course I said "don't be ridiculous" but she said, the son is supposed to leave his mother and cleave to his wife. Now, after 15 years I understand what she meant. It wasn't that he was "leaving" her for good but that he would come to need and respect what I could provide as his wife. I might not make my carrot cake like his Momma did, but he still loves my carrot cake. He wouldn't dare compare. He doesn't call his Mom if we have a fight or a difference of opinion, he calls me. We work it out. When we first got married we built a house not far from my parents. My Mom told me that when they built their house, not far from my grandparents (Dad's parents) that my Granny and Papaw never bothered them and stayed out of their business. They were there if they were needed. It was out of respect that they did and out of love that they let them be but were there if they were needed. So, after seeing this passed down through the generations, I have to say, I see why it is important for husband and wife to cleave to each other. It builds a stronger relationship when you work out on your own. It allows you to fully cling to one another.
To be joined and become one flesh seem like the same statement. Joining however involves the joining of life, responsibilities, finances, etc. One flesh involves intimacy not related to the other. Different couples have different opinions on what should be shared and what should be kept separate. They may share bills but not bank accounts or bank accounts and bills. The point is, that there is a joining of life and responsibilities. My husband and I believe in the what's his is mine and what's mine is his. That's what works for us. We share everything. We don't have the "it's my car, house, money, etc" outlook. Everything is "it's ours", no matter whose name is signed on the dotted line. It works for us.
Intimacy generally isn't as hard for most. It's usually the one thing we get right in the beginning but sometimes, not. Some couples struggle with this. Some struggle with the commitment of monogamy and staying faithful. However, it is usually the prong that makes or breaks the marriage. Remaining intimate and loving towards each other can become hard. We all go through times when we don't feel like we did in the beginning. These times just need a reset button. You go back to focusing on why you loved a person to begin with, what changed, why it's different, and what can you do now to light a new spark in your marriage.
One unit, working together. This is the unit that Satan works the hardest at tearing apart. The bonds are impossible for him to break but he uses a carefully planned strategy to break the unit. God never intended for man to be alone. The very bone which He made woman came from man himself. There were no parents in Eden but God was not speaking to the present, He was speaking to the future. We are to lay aside our old loyalties and lifestyles for a new plan. One that goes from separate dreams and goals to joined dreams and goals with unconditional commitment and love. This combined unit will be strong and lasting. No other relationship, even that of mother and child, is to surpass that of a husband and wife. Marriage is a threefold miracle.
I remember a time when my husband and I struggled with one or even all of these three prongs. However, through prayer and open hearts we persevered and on the other side, when we looked up, we saw we really did have the marriage we dreamed of. Pray and pray for open hearts. Pray for healing and give God praise for what He is about to do. Praise Him.
"This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh...
Amazed? Relieved. Excited! Adoring.
What must have Adam thought of this beautiful creature standing before him on the Father's arm? One thing is certain, he recognized immediately that she was from him. His thoughts may have gone something like this....
"She is of me. She gets me. She understands me. She will know my strengths and weaknesses. She feels my pain and my hurt. She will help me seek relief and rest when I need it. She'll be fun to be around. We can explore the garden together."
I was sitting in church listening to a sermon from a guest preacher but my mind was going back towards this study I wanted to work on. So, I opened up my journal and started scribbling thoughts and verse and just trying to open up to the lesson God wanted me to learn that day. My husband was sitting next to me watching. He's always gets to witness the Spirit move after I do a Bible study, read, or discuss a new revelation, or sometimes even when I write something down and it later is more significant than we realized at the time. That's the spirit and today was no exception. I had just written the sentences below when something happened that made us both take a breath and smile.
She is tuned to her husband. That isn't as easy for us these days as wives but it's important to be aware of it. We were created to be in tune with our husband, whom we love.
Not 5 minutes after I wrote this thought down did our preacher say the words below.
Just like when tuning piano's the tuner uses 1 fork. Thousands of piano's will be tuned to just 1 fork. So, they are tuned to each other.
He went on about how beautiful the sound is when many piano's play together that have been tuned by the same fork. Just like we are to be tuned to our husbands, we are also to be tuned to the Holy Spirit to be unified.
These word choices that God had given me and our guest preacher that day were not by chance. We were tuned to the Spirit. The Spirit will always show up and show unity in your life when you turn your heart to God. Unity is what we seek. Understanding of each others needs that runs so deep we meet them before we realize we have.
We all seek to be understood. We all want nothing more than for our husbands to understand us. But first, we must learn to understand them (and maybe even ourselves). Just as Adam knew that they were tuned to each other, your goal in your marriage is to be tuned as well. Unity in your marriage, that is tuned to the Holy Spirit, allows for your marriage to reflect God's beautiful plan for families. Pray and prepare for unity because God is about to do something great.
Ephesians 4:2-5 says
with all lowliness and gentleness, love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all, and in you all.
You don't have to worry about how the unity will happen. You simply need to pray for it.
Speaking of prayer, this is the part that matters most. This is the part that God really wants you to focus on. Write down all the things you are praying for and "nail" them to your wall. Put them in a place where you can pray and spend time with Him and pray over them. Sometimes answered prayers don't always look like answered prayers at first so keep trusting. Pray for the unity that you seek in your marriage. Unity is what marriage was designed to do. Look for aspects in your relationship, life, work, time, etc that need more unity. We all seek to be understood and our husbands are no different. We are no different.
"...He brought her to the man." Genesis 2:22
Can you even imagine what it must have been like for Eve? Her very first experience was in the presence of God. She saw Him first. God, in all His Glory, was all she needed and known, nothing less. He created her, understood her, cherished her, loved her every fiber and yet, He walked her right up to Adam and gave her away. Everything she had ever known about love and life was perfect and full. Now this glorious woman was standing face to face with man, her man, her counterpart. I'm sure she didn't also know he would behave like a man, treat her differently than God, she had no idea the difference.
Man's love would be different than God's. She doesn't know yet that his love will be less than and flawed from what she had already experienced.
God's love for us is perfect and we can not compare it to anything here on earth. Christ's love for his church, his people, is one we strive for. At this moment in time, Eve and Adam are untarnished and probably are in awe of one another. Eve will step away from her Father's arms into the loving arms of man. I can't even fathom that. Can you? I know when my Daddy gave me away at our wedding I was going to miss him so much but had to trust my new husband could be the man I needed him to be, as best as he could. Do husbands disappoint? Do they come into marriage knowing exactly what to do? They fall short. Just like we do as wives. It's a lifetime of learning how to live together. Does our marriage sometimes leave us feeling hopeless? Sure it does. Can our husbands be better men? Can they be more? Can they be that comparable companion that meets at least some of our needs. Yes! We aren't studying on them ladies. We are studying on our role as wives and how to improve our marriage and what we have to work with can seem like the pits or we can learn and nurture it and make it beautiful. We have that power.
Where we tend to fall short is that we are guilty of seeking our own fullness in our husbands. We need them to love us a certain way. We may crave more kindness, more touch, more sweet words, more gifts, and I could go on and on. The reality is, our fullness is found in Christ Jesus alone. We can't be their everything and they can't be ours. Only the God that created us out of complete love can fill us and satisfy. Our husbands can not be given that great responsibility of pleasing and satisfying our needs. They can not possibly meet our expectations on their own. They need Christ and so do you.
Our frustrations with our husbands will always come from their inability to fulfill our expectations.
What do you do about this? You pray and you seek your fullness from God. The Father made you to seek Him, Christ will lay down everything to win you, and the Spirit is calling out to help you.
Out of the ground God created every beast & bird; even Adam... ref, Genesis 2:19
Woman was different. She was created from life. The first mother, who would create and carry life was herself from life. One man, also became one woman. I am focusing all my attention on the significance of Genesis 2:19-23 today.
I wanted to focus here on the significance of woman not being created like all the others. She was created from man, for him. A perfect partner.
Adam said, "bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh" (v 23) He stood astonished and amazed. Go back to the list of words God used to describe his comparable helper.
It is believed in some doctrines that Adam himself possessed characteristics of both man and woman. When God took from Adam, he took the feminine part. We aren't talking physical parts necessarily, we are talking about emotions and our nature as women. It's believed that the naming of all the animals had a feminine influence. Consider this, the influence was done so without inhibiting Adam from his task of naming. It was simply an influence, one that was so great it is demonstrated even today in the language of other cultures.
He took away from Adam to give him Eve, creating his feminine counter part as a walking, breathing, loving woman and leaving him with the masculine.
All that to say...you my friend, were never an after thought.
There are many analogies for the significance of taking from Adam and creating a woman. Let's focus on what this means for you, as a wife. It is simple. God dreamed you up. He knitted you together with each fiber of your being. He created you for a purpose. Being a wife to your husband is part of His plan. He created you!
If you believed God would create the perfect wife for your husband, do you believe you are his perfect, comparable companion? If God had laid your husband down in a deep sleep, would He have pulled a rib from him and created you? Your answer is "Yes!" Even if you feel differently, the truth is "Yes".
You, girl, were created to be the perfect compatible, comparable counter part to him. Do you ever feel that is not true? Do you believe the devil is always out to discredit God's Truth? Don't you for a second believe Satan's lies! As hard as it is to perfectly love, you were still created to be everything your imperfect husband needs. With marriage you have to put feeling aside sometimes, put circumstances aside, and look truth right in the eye.
Genesis 2:18 says "I will make him a comparable helper."
As I was preparing for this day's study I back tracked all the way to the beginning. Something inside me just wanted to know more about the first lady, the very first wife according to God's Word. When I read the verse my immediate thought went straight to Jesus. He told all of us he would send another helper. (see John 14:16) God Himself would send His Spirit to help us. When we see the word helper here it is describing function rather than worth. I also looked up the scripture in various different text and found that the word comparable was substituted for the words below..
The reality is, the world has worked mightily to change the truth of our power as wives to our husbands. There is great power in knowing the truth of our roles as wives. Saying "yes" in a marriage ceremony isn't just saying so to get married and call your husband as such. It's saying "yes' to God's divine plan as a helper, a wife.
Let's get to the heart of the conversation and strip away the idea or feeling that a helper is some how less. Let's use a physical task of lifting a log as an example On one end of a log is a man who is lifting, dragging, pulling, fighting, and struggling with the log. He begins to tire and feel the task is just to much. Then, along comes a helper who lifts the other end. The helper helps him carry, maneuver, place, and set the log until the task is complete. The helper made the job easier, right? It was less stressful and perhaps even enjoyable if the helper was good company to be around. They can celebrate the triumph over a heavy obstacle or even move to the next, accomplishing much more work at a comfortable pace that is probably just more enjoyable because of the companionship.
Did you imagine the helper as another man or as his wife? Either way, the same exact logic applies to your role as helper to your husband. You do make life better, easier for him. In turn your reward comes with respect, love, appreciation, etc. Even if you don't always feel it or even if it's not recognized for what it is.
As our husbands helper we are to be just that, a helper and not a hindrance. Becoming a hindrance to our husbands by not helping, putting them down, by nagging, or picking fights also hinders the blessings. The reality is, our husbands are not perfect, they can't do all that they are created to do without us. We aren't servants, we are helpers; we should be equally yoked. Your husband isn't meant to walk this journey of life alone. He is meant to walk it with you. I encourage you to reflect on your role and take notice of all the little things you do that are a blessing. Those little blessings you bring are magnified when we praise our Lord Father for allowing us to be the blessing.
While in the midst of working on this book our family had two new little ones join us through the foster system and of course my writing took a back seat to a 2 day old infant and a 17 month old toddler. Eventually, I was called out by the Lord. He uses various means of preparing your heart for something that is about to happen in your life. After nearly 9 months of being a foster family I began to feel a deep call from the Lord to return to Him like never before. A call to begin fighting the spiritual battle that was taking place around me from the place of prayer. Just before that call to fight something spiritual happened, I came face to face with Jesus. One evening as I was laying down I felt in my spirit that He was very near. Suddenly it was as if I was in His presence. I realized that all this time that I had been torn between prayer and the spiritual battle that goes on in the foster care world, I had relied on Him very little in comparison to what I should have been. At that moment I realized He was in complete control and that He was very near to us.
It was then that I could see His Majesty. I have been in awe ever since. If you can’t see something continually you tend to forget it’s there. That’s what I had been doing my whole life. I was remembering Christ was there for me only when I needed too. I called on Him when it was important to me instead of knowing He went before me to such a degree that I could see Him doing so. My veil had been lifted. Like a bride on her wedding day, before the veil was lifted I knew He was there. I spoke to Him, I sensed His presence, and from time to time I could hear Him in my spirit or feel Him move around in my life. After the veil was lifted I could see Him. He was right here with me. He is surrounded by and in control of the whole universe but yet, He is with me. A real presence.
This moment was very important. This revelation changes how I approach everything. Sure, I fall back into old habits and try to take control but then He reminds me. Just weeks after realizing that I have Jesus right here with me whenever I need Him in a very personal way I started seeing a real need to press into Him. Signs from all over started pointing me back to prayer; a video from Beth Moore, an audio book by Priscilla Shirer, and a reminders of how powerful prayer is. So, I went back to my dedicated space for prayer. I got in the center of my home, in the quietness of my prayer room and I wrote out all the things I need God to guide me on. I needed Him to give me wisdom, to bless my family, to work the supernatural in situations that I could see no way out. Then He answered…
With my prayer list on display right in front of me I bowed my head in reverence and I called His name. As I as thanking Him and asking for His guidance and blessings tears started rolling. I had opened my Bible in preparation to read and as I looked down in mid prayer I saw the words “…will no longer be victims.” My heart stopped. That was exactly how I had been feeling. My husband certainly did not make me feel this way but our circumstances did. On my prayer list were prayers for my husband, our home, land, business, work, children, etc. We needed blessings. Then the Lord showed me in His Word that His Blessings are abundant and there for the taking.
Read Ezekiel 24:25-31
He is prepared to give us not only what we need but also our hearts desires as He sees fit. If we are walking the path of righteousness towards furthering His Kingdom then He certainly will bless us. For those He is going to use us as examples of what He can do for those who call on His name and seek His face
Every bit of today’s study was brought out after making a prayer list that concerned my husband, family, and home. It included financial responsibilities, help raising our children, and advancing my husband’s work as well as my business. Your list will look vastly different than my own but will probably include many of the same elements. I encourage you today, after reading the passage from Ezekiel begin to make your prayer list. Do so with the belief that God’s promises always hold true and that your prayers are being heard. Make your list so that you can check off when you see Him working in those areas and when those prayers were answered. Once you have made your list, hang it in a place where you can see it. Pray over it daily and with each breath believe that He is working on answering them. We may not always receive the answer we expect but if we are aligning our requests with His Will for our lives, you can be certain that you will be able to check of those answered prayers.
When I studied on this verse I began to feel as though it should have been written for Day 1 of this study.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”
When you decided to do this study you may have thought that it was a good “idea” to do a marriage study. I beg you to take this verse to heart and give your marriage your full attention. Decide now to get rid of all distractions that might make you lose focus on the “work” at hand. Today and everyday for the rest of your life you will be glad you did.
What are your current distractions? Don’t just think about them, write them down. Look them dead in the eye and tell them “no more!” Your marriage needs you to identify the things that are keeping your mind and thoughts busy but are also not necessary. Could it be social media? Maybe it is other relationships? How about trying to be super mom? Might it be your checking account? Whatever your distractions are, give them a name and a place to go. You truly need to spend some time studying on Biblical marriage and in prayer without distractions. If you’re going to have a marriage that you can honestly say you’ve given “all your might” to, you need to address the things that are hindering you.
What are your future goals for your marriage? Has anyone ever asked you that? No one has ever asked me. When I was reading this verse and writing on my note pad it was as if it became necessary to think about where I wanted my marriage to take me in this life. I wrote that I want to grow old with my husband, that we will build our dream home and sit on the porch and hold hands while we rock. Our children would always know where to find us and we would have each other no matter what this crazy world brings. One of the songs we danced to at our wedding was “Grow Old Along With Me”. Those words ring in my ears as I imagine our life together. Our journey through this life is like being in a boat with oars in a great ocean and our one goal is to make it to the other side. We can either row together while enjoying the company or we can fight and scream our way across and never enjoy the view.
No marriage is without sacrifice or compromise. We must choose to enjoy the earthly pleasures of marriage and life while it lasts because death brings an end to that pleasure. Enjoy your relationship and enjoy the work you put into your marriage. Read Ecclesiastes 9:9 as it is also a plea to do just that. When Ecclesiastes was written the author, who we believe is King Solomon, did not have the joy of knowing Christ as a savior. Death, as a concept, was written as shadowy and dark. Now that we have Christ we know we will see our loved ones again after our earthly death and we will stand before God and answer for ourselves as wives. That very thought makes me stand up a little straighter and love a little harder.
Our toil in this lifetime will be the same toil our sons and daughters perform. It is never ending. I love that in Ecclesiastes that there is so much of it dedicated to how pointless our toil is in the eternal perspective. We work so hard to have "things" but do not put the same effort into the parts of this life that are really the most important and impactful. Our relationship with our husband is to be a good one. One we need to work at from time to time simply to give it meaning other than existing. Enjoy your life with your husband whom you love. He was given to you to love and comfort, support and lift up. Weather the seasons and remain grounded in prayer for him.
At the moment I am writing this, my thoughts are swirling in my head about this topic and the distractions are…distracting me. It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and while I sit here and try to sort out my thoughts my husband and boys are outside my window tossing a football around. I have a stack of note cards with information I have studied on “gentleness”, I have my first 9 days printed and ready for a editing. As I’m typing this my baby boy comes in says “hi momma”, hugs me and leaves to go back out. My carpal tunnel is acting up. I put some oils in my diffuser and turn on a “thunderstorm” as a white noise and begin.
When I think of gentleness I think of a new mother touching her baby’s cheek for the first time. I think of a stranger feeding a homeless man on the street in a subtle way that goes unnoticed. I think of a nurse who leans in to an elderly patient and speaks loving words of strength. I think of a daddy reading a Bible story to his children after tucking them in at night.
You see, gentleness is the hallmark necessary for Christian unity. It’s that type of gentleness that can bind us all together even in times of turmoil or distress.
Read 2 Samuel 22:36
What does David say has made him great? God’s__________________.
Our God is gentle. Ephesians 4:1-3
How do these 3 verses apply to your walk today?
Yesterday, I took a break from writing and worked on some things on my blog that have needed tweaking for a while. During my break from research and writing it left a little place for the devil to find a foothold in order to whisper doubt about this study. I heard words like…
What makes you think you are worthy?
Why does anyone need to listen to you?
Did you and your husband go to bed with hurt feelings last night because actions and words?
Why are you wasting your time?
Then I sat down with every distraction, with a voice telling me not to bother and I prayed. The song “Let it Rain” was playing and I pray even now that God rains His blessings down on this study. This is not about me in any way. I do not seek to profit from this study. I only wish to spend this time serving God has He has directed me to do. Until the day I die I will be learning how to love my husband because my love is so imperfect. God’s gentleness in leading me back to my work here and keeping me humble so that I can bear to do His work and not my own. I pray that as you read this you know that all is being done to keep a unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…within your marriage.
The Greek word prautēs means both “gentleness” and “meekness” the word that refers to a humble, submissive attitude that is the opposite of pride. It is strength that is submitted to God and channeled into service for others.
You see, God knew I would need this lesson for myself today and He allowed the devil to sift my thoughts to bring forth that doubt so that He could put it away for good.
Matthew 11:29 demonstrates just how much our sweet Jesus was gentle and lowly. Don’t get me wrong, when necessary He could turn a few tables over in His day but to those who believed and sought after Him, those who needed Him most whom He could speak life into, He was gentle and lowly. He gives us true rest.
Read 2 Corinthians 10:1
Paul writes about how hard it is to live up to this characteristic when you don’t stay close to Christ. What word does he use to describe how he acts towards others when he is not with Christ?
Read Colossians 3:12
The Bible says that we are to “put on” certain characteristics. Put on meaning that we wear them like a robe. Why do we need those things? What is Paul talking about here?
In contrast with putting to death their old sinful natures, Christians are told to “put on” (Gk. enduō) qualities of mercy, kindness, humility, and love (the agape kind). These things bind Christians, who can only receive those things “in Christ”, in an unbreakable fellowship.
Why is that so important? Why must Christians be so gentle with each other?
How does this translate to our marriage?
The quality of the heart is counted as being more influential than outward beauty in wining an unbelieving husband to Christ (1 Peter 3:1-4). The gentleness of a woman towards her husband is precious to God. I am not always gentle nor have a heart of gold.
A lesson I am always learning is that God is perfect, I am not. I am not, they are not, and this world is not but He is!
Throughout the years I have found that any unhappiness in my marriage truly came from having unrealistic expectations. Maybe the reason I had to wait until today to work on this study was not only that God needed to sift me and bring my doubt to the surface and He needed to “gently” show me that my expectations were the source of much of my own doubt and misery.
I have this dreamy idea in my head that when my husband is home on the weekends that we are like kids again, we are laughing, loving, and listening. The reality this weekend was that we had to be at two rainy football games in two different cities for 2 different boys at 2 different times. We had to part ways. We came home like drowned rats and sat on 2 different couches. I cooked dinner while he sat with an ice pack for his back that’s been bothering him and all the while I tried every way from Sunday to get him in the kitchen with me. By bedtime I was resentful he never left the couch except to come to the dinner table and then when bedtime came had his own expectations if you catch my drift. I pulled the covers up over me, laid facing the edge of the bed, and tried to pretend to be asleep. It didn’t work. In the end I told him what was bothering me and he said, “Let me go ahead and tell you that tomorrow may not be much different so go ahead and lower your expectations. That way you won’t be so disappointed.” Ouch! He was right. He wasn’t gentle about it but he was right. My expectations were unrealistic, as dreamy as they are, they just aren’t realistic in my house. The huge disappointing reality was that when we put our own unrealistic expectations with those of our spouse it can get pretty overwhelming. We have to remember that our loved ones are not perfect, but that our God is. Having a gentle spirit towards our spouses could resolve many of those expectations.
Read Deuteronomy 32:3-4
Soak that in and then read the next two versions.
No one is perfect, only God is. I have really got to give my husband a break.
Have you expected your husband to live up to your expectations? To fill you up? Make you whole? To keep a promise? To respond to your requests? To be your Savior?
As gentle as I can be, here is the truth. They can’t. They were not created for any of those purposes.
God gives you the grace every day to be free of unrealistic expectations – theirs and yours. You can stop being hard on yourself for not being the “perfect wife” and stop being hard on your husband for not meeting your unrealistic expectations. Romans 12:2 here girls! We are learning here I know.
Read Philippians 4:5
Why is it so important that you be gentle with your husband? Why is it also important to release him of your unrealistic expectations?
I am praying and hopeful that you, my sister, have not only resolved to give your husband a break but to also give yourself one as well. Choose to be gentle with yourself and with him. Something I want you to do is write on a piece of paper every unrealistic expectation you have for yourself and your husband. As you write each one I pray you feel the weight of them lifted off. See, our Jesus does not expect you to carry all of that. When you are finished with your list say these things words and throw it away.
Dear Father, as I pray now at the feet of Jesus, I declare before the cross that I lay down all of my unrealistic expectations for myself and my husband. My husband was created just like me to need a Savior and only You, Jesus, can be that for us. You, oh perfect God, will be my fulfillment and joy. I release my husband of the responsibilities and expectations that I have placed on him and I release myself as well. All I ever needed was Jesus for whom I am grateful. Lord, bless our marriage and give us the Holy Spirit by which we will partake of the fruit and live the life you intended us to live in your perfect Will. Thank you Lord. Amen.
If we are free from God’s holy expectations of perfection by His grace then our husbands should be free of ours for them. You will be amazed at the gentleness that follows.
I love reading my Bible. When I have time to sit and not worry about what the kids are doing or what chores need to be done, I just read. God reveals so many things when I spend time with Him. His Word becomes so personal to me and He will do the same thing for you. When do we find time to read and pray? Some of us have to carve out time, maybe in the fringe hours of the morning before the house wakes up, maybe while the kids are all at school, maybe after everyone has gone to bed or even during your lunch hour. We all crave a time of peace.
Catherine Marshall once said, “The purpose of all prayer is to find God’s Will and to make that Will our prayer.” In those moments when we find God’s Will, we find peace.
Peace has so many meanings such as rest, security, ease, quiet, to keep silent. Peace is used many times in the Bible and in the original Hebrew word, shalom, it means peace as it is found with Him, to be with Him, perfect peace, and completeness.
Take a look at Romans 5: 1,2
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
The hinge word is peace. Underline it in your Bible.
Peace = with Him, such as to be at, perfect peace, completeness.
Peace is a gift from God. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
In both Old and New Testaments, peace is described as the result of having a right relationship with God and with others. The Greek word eirēnē has the meaning similar to the Hebrew world shalom. A sense of well-being and fulfillment is the spiritual, peace that comes from God and alone is dependent on His presence (Gal 5:22)
Spiritual peace is experienced during times of trouble and turmoil by believers who walk in the Spirit despite everything going on around them. This is the promise of God (Ps 29:11). Watching the news every evening is enough to cause even the godliest, most optimistic woman to want to stay in bed and pull the covers over her head. It’s scary out there girls and a girl name Abigail knew that it was.
In 1 Samuel 25: 1-42 we find a story about Abigail. Abigail was a very intelligent and beautiful wife but married to a wealthy scoundrel named Nabal who was harsh and overbearing. Some women today are in unhappy marriages by their own choice but Abigail probably entered this union by no choice of her own because arranged marriages were most common. This woman of faith acted humbly and wisely by giving David and his men food to save the lives of the household.
Read 1 Samuel 25:1-42
Nabal did not appreciate what David had already done to protect his fortune. When David’s men asked for help and were denied David wanted revenge but God sent a woman through the wilderness with sustenance and appreciation. She admitted that her husband had made a mistake and should not have turned away David’s men but that she was sorry she did not greet them first. David spared their lives and thanked Abigail for obeying the Lord by seeking them out and providing what they needed. Most importantly he thanked her for stopping him from murder.
Abigail offered hospitality in the face of hostility, she was an intercessor for God. Ultimately, Nabal died of “natural” causes. When David learned of his death, he pursued Abigail as his wife.
Intercessor is one who is in such vital contact with God and with his fellowmen that he is like a live wire closing the gaps between the saving power of God and the sinful men who have been cut off from that power. ~Hannah Hurnard
While we may not currently have an army camping out in the woods behind our houses and war going on in our community, we may have a war going on right in our home. Hostility and words as weapons can bring a great deal of damage to a marriage. When you become aware that your home is no longer at peace and that the crisis is escalating it is time to ask God to give you discernment to think quickly and act decisively.
You have the power to intervene with lovingkindness on your lips and grace in your heart. Concern yourself with all that you have to offer and use the resources God has placed for you to use. Like Abigail, seek God to help find a peaceful solution to a possible explosive situation.
Can you think of a time when your husband could have used your peaceful intervention?
What about right now?
Is there a situation that calls for you to pray and seek God?
Is it possible that your husband currently needs gentle words?
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1;6
Picture this with me, pages and pages of print outs of the study I posted online years ago, a plan or outline on a white board drawn out for this book, me sitting at a desk scribbling notes about which studies to move around and use where and notes to double check to make sure the decisions I made were correct. Now, picture me writing the word “goodness” at the top of a note card for day 8. I stared at that card and the constant thought was “What is goodness exactly?” So, I started studying from lots of sources, reading old devotions, scriptures, and references. The verse that I wrote first on my note card was Philippians 1:6 and I went on writing more.
You know how I know this study is being written for you with the help of God? He does these little things for me like putting all my mess together so neatly. I pull out my file folder were I have the old study that has been edited once and still has lots of scribbles and post it notes attached to it. I find the one originally titled Thanksgiving and Prayer; only I couldn’t read the title as it didn’t print in color but I saw the word “goodness” at the top. When I was initially shuffling through all my papers I had scribbled “goodness” at the top because upon glancing I thought it might fit that topic. I finally sat down to read it to see if it was going to fit what I had researched. I still like what God had to share the day it was written originally. Then I see it…the verse. The very first verse I had typed in that study was Philippians 1:6. Tears welled up! He cares so much about us, do you know that? How in the world can He take this mess and make it so beautiful? When I’m feeling lost, He always lights the way.
There is nothing sweeter to me than hearing a child talk to Jesus like He is a friend. I know my favorite is listening to my babies pray. They love Jesus. At the dinner table they tell him so and at night they lay in bed and have conversations with Him. Wouldn’t it be nice to be more like little children? They are so humble and pure. I love to hear them thank God out loud for whatever they can immediately think of or what has been on their hearts and sometimes just whatever is in sight distance. They are comfortable in the role of the one giving thanks to God for all His goodness.
A friend and I were talking about our husbands and how they were not comfortable praying out loud in front of people. They are intimidated by others who are good at speaking “Christianese” when praying in front of others. You know the ones, their voice rises and falls to stress the importance of the important words. Some people just have that dialect and tone that makes their prayers seem…professional. I have prayed for my husband on this matter for years and to be honest, myself as well. I want us to be comfortable praying in public, in front of strangers, and even in front of our own family and not feel we have to pray any certain way. We don’t have to speak “Christianese”, while it’s awesome to hear, God just wants to hear that our hearts are thankful for His goodness.
Sometime ago I had written on a slip of paper “Philippians 1:3-6 & 8-18”. Just below that I wrote, “blog, share about husband.” I had written on that slip long before this devotion was even thought of. Actually, I found it in my Bible as I was getting ready to do this devotion. It had been written and forgotten. I honestly can’t even tell you what my initial reason was for writing the verse down, but I knew it would be important.
Read Philippians 1:3-6
When I read these opening lines that Paul wrote to the people of Philippi I pause at verse 5. Here Paul is acknowledging their financial support. At this time, he only alluded to receiving the gift; later he would thank them specifically (Phill4:10-19). Paul was in prison when this letter was written and what little goodness he as experiencing he was certainly thankful for.
Let’s read verse 6 again.
What is Paul confident about?
Do you believe that God has created a good work in you?
Paul also outlines many things we should be doing and considering as we work on our marriage.
Goodness is the result of love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness at work. (Gal 5:22,23) It is the outward expression of the inner change of our believers hearts.
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:11,12
God counts our marriage worthy of its very calling, to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ.
Take a moment to think about recent conversations. Have you felt nourished by encouraging words? How did those words lift you up? How did you respond?
Think about a time when someone’s language wounded your spirit. Maybe you were shocked by a thoughtless comment from a neighbor or struck down by a destructive argument with a family member or friend.
Words are powerful when we speak them to each other. How can we show others God’s goodness with our words? Where do we draw that goodness from?
We all know what foolish talk and cruel words can do and how they wither our very spirit. Just as even foolish words can bring death, words have the power to bring life. Truth, when spoken with love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness can lift up a discouraged soul, restore dignity to the oppressed and heal broken hearts. God places great importance on our words. Paul also said Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6
Your words have the power to breathe life into your marriage or put a nail in its coffin. You can wound your husband’s spirit or protect your husband’s dignity. Choose your words wisely.
Let’s do something to help inspire us. Let’s make a list. Grab your journal, a sheet of paper, the back of a napkin or right here in your book and write some words that you like to hear. Let’s challenge ourselves to use the words like these today to lift up our husbands.
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I am married to my high school sweetheart. We've been pressing ahead together for over 24 years. We have 3 boys of our own and 2 foster babies. I wrote this Bible study years ago for me and shared it on my blog. It is very dear to my heart. It's been tweaked and reformatted and I'm proud to be bringing it back to you. Over the years I received countless emails from women who credited this study with changing their marriage for the better. Since removing it from my old blog I have received just as many emails asking when it would return. I hope you enjoy spending your time in God's Word with me.