Category Archives: Marriage

In Faithfulness

On Thanksgiving day, I came down with a minor cold that turned into what the doctor called a raging sinus infection. One round of antibiotics and three weeks later I was finally well again. On Christmas Day, I woke up with a cough and developed a fever throughout the day. Four days later, that is still where I am.

Having only been well for ten days, I was not excited about the prospect of moving into another illness. Almost immediately, the Lord put this verse on my heart. Psalms 119:75 “I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” In faithfulness God afflicts me. That moved my thoughts away from my own misery and onto my faithful God. It reminded me that nothing I consider good or bad comes into my life without God allowing it. He promised me, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Whenever discouragement started to set in, I quoted the verse to myself or to Steve, if he was nearby.

What is God’s faithfulness? Strong’s Concordance defines the Hebrew word this way: literally firmness; figuratively security; morally fidelity: set office, stability, steady, truly, truth, verily.

Here are some things we can note from Scripture about God’s faithfulness. “Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth” (Psalms 119:90). We are told His faithfulness is to all generations. He doesn’t pick and choose generations to receive His faithfulness. 

“Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds” (Psalms 36:5). Faithfulness that reaches to the clouds is a limitless amount of faithfulness. Only God has that much faithfulness. 

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ). This verse highlights Gods’ faithfulness despite our unfaithfulness. We deserve to be consumed but His compassions don’t fail and His faithfulness is great. Again we see in this verse God’s faithfulness even though we are not faithful. “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Even though physically I have been quite miserable these past few days, I feel blessed that God brought His faithfulness to mind early on with this illness. I, so quickly, fall prey to self-pity when God wants me fully engaged in Him and in this case His faithfulness. I have often repeated Psalms 119:75 these past four days, and it gives a special bit of joy in the midst of physical pain. The joy is there because God is faithful and He in his faithfulness allowed my affliction. 

In the November Mom’s Corner, we talked about not fretting over things that displease us and choosing instead to be thankful. Now I want to challenge you to consider God’s faithfulness in the midst of your trial or tribulation. Memorizing the end of Psalms 119:75 wouldn’t be hard -only six words – thou in faithfulness has afflicted me. Then the next time you want to feel sorry for yourself for whatever reason, remind yourself that God in His faithfulness has afflicted you. Then you will worship your Triune God for His faithfulness.

P.S. As the corner goes out, I am fully recovered. I know that a cold/flu virus is nothing of an affliction compared to what many are dealing with. May the Lord encourage each in their afflictions in His faithfulness.

Any Problems?

When someone asks you how you are doing, often the response is predicated on the problems we are facing. No problems equals a great day. However, if you are alive, working, and interacting with others, likely you are dealing with problems of one degree or another. How do you respond? Feel sorry for yourself? Be grumpy? Go around with a sad face? Do your “best” to make others as unhappy as you are? Maybe you’ve been there and done that but are willing to try something else. 

Here are some thoughts. First, what is in your power to resolve? Whatever is, allocate time and energy and then deal with it. 

Next, consider if any of it is my fault or something I need to take responsibility for. May we be quick to ask the Lord, “Is it I?” Amazing how often we either are the problem or hold the keys to the solution. If so, we must own up to it and resolve it. 

Consider if the Lord may be chastening you (Hebrews 12:5-7). 

If not chastening, maybe God wants to use afflictions to grow you. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Seek your wife’s input. We can be blind to something she has been concerned about and praying about (Proverbs 27:6).

Sometimes what we need most is a right perspective. As children of the Lord Jesus Christ (if saved by faith in His shed blood for our sins), nothing can afflict us that He doesn’t permit. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3).

Read the Psalms if you want the right perspective on suffering and resting in the tender care of the God of the universe. He is good, always good, always. 

Ouch

If you or someone you know has peripheral neuropathy you will have a practical understanding of how important it is for feet to communicate injuries (for example) back to the brain. A person with neuropathy might step on a nail and not even know it needs to be treated to prevent infection. If left untreated, serious infection sets in, and the danger of foot amputation is real. 

The body gives us a good example of how important communication is in life. Communication is the lifeblood of relationships. No communication, no relationship, and poor communication yields a poor relationship with the potential of severance. How many divorces might not have happened if communication had been diligently worked on?

Teri and I have been married 49 years. We know each other quite well, and you might  expect that by now communication is easy, having had so much time to “practice.” Yet, we are often amazed how we can still sometimes misunderstand each other. It continues to take effort to communicate well, but it is worth it. Oh my brothers, we communicate with those we value.

Communication takes your time and energy. Get rid of distractions, and make dedicated time with your wife a priority so you can talk. 

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). I have never had a husband tell me he regretted time spent nurturing communication with his wife. Love her by well by communicating with her. 

Everyone Has Them

Everyone has standards by which they make their choices in life. I admit, I can’t possibly know the mind of anyone when I say that everyone has them, but I’m confident. If you are the exception and don’t have them, I would love to speak with you. 

The Christian’s rule of standard/faith is to be Scripture. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Then why is it that Christians can be worlds apart in the choices they make? Is it possible some are seeing Scripture as simply a list of commands and prohibitions and everything else not specifically mentioned is a freedom, while ignoring global verses similar to some of these? 

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23).

”I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Not the Spirit of Fear

It seems that it doesn’t matter where we are in life, there are things that come up that can create fear in us. I recently had one of those related to a back injury that wasn’t getting better right away. So then the fear – what if? Remember when our daughter-in-law, Anna Marie, had breast cancer three years ago? What if? What are your fears and the what-ifs that are wrapped around them? How do you deal with them?

In 2 Timothy 1:7, God clearly gives us His mind concerning fear. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” No doubt about it – the fear is not from Him. He gives us three important things that are our weapons to use against fear – power, love, and a sound mind.

The word “power” in Greek is dynamis, like we get our word dynamite from. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, it means “force (literally or figuratively); especially, miraculous power.” That reminds us of what Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” And then in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” We have His power!

Love in this verse is agape love – God’s love for us. Paul prays for believers concerning this in Ephesians 3:17-19, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” That love gives us the assurance that God is in control and that we can rest in what He tells us in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Finally, He has given us a sound mind, which here means self-control. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” That sound mind doesn’t let fear dwell in our thoughts. We are to use self-control to take fear captive and in its place, speak the truth of God to our hearts. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee” (Psalms 56:3). 

That trio of power, love, and a sound mind are God’s incredible weapons to keep us from living in fear. Do you have 2 Timothy 1:7 memorized? It isn’t a long or hard verse, but it is what you need to combat fear. If it is in your mind, you can call on it any moment, even in the dark of night and any other time your Bible isn’t at hand to open up. 

You have your own fears – big ones and little ones. How do you respond to them? How much time do you give them? Do you find yourself saying that you just can’t overcome them? Don’t give in to your own lies. You can overcome them because God hasn’t given them to you. Instead, He has given you what you need to defeat each of those fears – power, love, and a sound mind. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).

Playing with fire

I remember in my teenage years I referred to my smoking habit by saying, “I can quit anytime.” We often have inflated confidence that we can stop an addicting habit. Somehow it doesn’t seem so bad if an addiction is merely “a choice,” and we think we are in control. I’m guessing quite of few of you can relate because you were once a slave to smoking. 

Smoking is one thing, but drinking alcohol is in a whole different solar system. Smoking is now less socially acceptable, while drinking is widely accepted as long as it isn’t “excessive.” Even in many Christian circles, drinking in moderation is “fine.” But I challenge you to consider: Is it wise?

Seriously, have you ever heard of a husband abusing his wife or threatening to kill her while under the influence of tobacco? Alcohol undermines what self-control and inhibitions a person has. It clouds judgement and destroys relationships. It feels good and cries “give me more.” Alcohol destroys lives. Might it be similar to the fool who justifies drug use by saying, “Sure it can be addictive, but I only use it in moderation.” 

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1).

“Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” (Proverbs 23:31-32).

If you are still not convinced, next week I will share why I decided to never drink alcohol even in moderation. 

Oh No

Teri was aware of our morning, wake-up alarm sounding, but I wasn’t stirring to turn it off. She hopped out of bed to turn the ceiling fan off. When she returned, I hadn’t yet rolled over to turn the alarm off and the light on, which would have been my norm. She waited a bit with the alarm now sounding its loudest. She decided she would gently try to wake me by patting my exposed arm. She touched my arm. Still, no movement and my arm felt cold! Could her worst fear be true?

Brothers, death is a part of life and inevitable. When one in a marriage is gone, memories remain. I understand that regrets tend to push their way in quickly. If only I’d have been more loving, patient, gentle, affirming—an endless list. 

Then there are those marriages where a spouse is broadsided when the other leaves declaring, “I’ve had enough. It’s over, and I’m not coming back.” 

Brothers, the best time to improve a marriage is now—not tomorrow. Invest in your wife, love her, in Christ lead her. Be dead to irritating things she does or doesn’t do. 

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:25-28). 

Encouraging or Dampening

Walking around the convention hall one couldn’t miss the sparkle of sheer delight in many mom’s eyes. They were thrilled to be at a homeschool conference hearing about and seeing the tools of their trade. WIth all the things an average mother does in managing her home, these moms were special because they added homeschooling to an already full mommy’s plate of daily tasks. These were the elite of the elite, the “Navy Seals.” the “Green Berets” of moms in the trenches of raising children. They had not chosen the easy way of sending their children off to school. They were not just doing a job, but were delighting in it. The time Teri and I dialoged with them was energizing. 

There was another aspect that was so good for Teri and me, yet, heart-rending. Those were the stories that tore your heart in two – stories of hardship, struggles with children (with no easy answers), and of the tragedies of life. 

What broke my heart most were the dads who stood lifeless or like a wet blanket in response to their wife’s excitement. She turns to him with an excited, hopeful voice, “Honey look at this.” He replies with a flat, dull, indifferent tone, “Ya, I see it” or something negative. 

Dads, we are the blessed of the blessed of the blessed to have wives who will invest their lives to school our children. May we love them in word and deed, honor them, and thank them. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Please don’t forget that it takes a mother to be a father.

Straddling The Fence

Being double-minded is a curse. Besides being uncomfortable, it sets a horrible example for the children and makes it impossible for a wife to follow. “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21). (A modern-day example would be to substitute “the world” for “Baal.”)

Often a man thinks he can cherry-pick what he likes from both the world and the Lord, when in fact it doesn’t work that way. Neither a man’s wife nor his children and most importantly, His Lord are pleased. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

It begins with a choice. Choose to follow one, and put away the other. “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD” (Joshua 24:14).

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

Put away double-mindedness. Be strong in the Lord, my Brothers. 

Next To My Salvation

I’m eternally grateful to Jesus Christ for His gift of salvation through His shed blood on the cross for my sins. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

 Next, I’m eternally grateful for His gift of my precious wife of many years, Teri, mother to our eight children, and a 30-year homeschool veteran. When most today want the easy life, this woman invested her life in our family in obedience to her Lord Jesus. What a delight she is to me.

Moreover, there are countless women who look to Teri as their mentor and encourager. We hear from them as they share their gratitude for how her articles and Titus2 resources have benefited their walk with the Lord, their lives and helped them have more peace-filled and productive homes. Might your wife benefit as well? 

The Managers books (Homes, Chores, and Schools) are practical, giving long-term benefits: Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit continues to be one of our most popular books. And finally, for ladies toward spiritual growth Sweet Journey and Sweet Relationships and specifically for wives, My Delight.