Category Archives: Marriage

Words are Cheap

There is a common saying: “Words are cheap.” Likely we are all guilty of saying something that sounds good but has no heart-backing and certainly no follow-thru in actions. How often do you tell your wife that you love her? Do your attitudes and actions sound a loud “Amen”? How much does she really mean to you, and how grateful are you that God brought her for your helpmeet? 

If you are a dad then she is (normally) the mom. Do you desire that your children learn to love and honor her as their mother? Oh, my brothers, demonstrate it. A woman who will invest her life in raising children is worthy of praise, but a mom who will homeschool them is worthy of love and honor many times over. Sadly, many moms don’t even get the words.

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). When we do, hopefully our children will follow. Look at the blessing they receive in so doing. 

“Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Deuteronomy 5:16).

Mom’s Corner Novemeber 2023 – To Fret or Be Thankful

Feelings of disappointment flooded me, as I came out of my visit with a second podiatrist for help with a heel malady that hasn’t resolved itself since beginning earlier this year. Even though I liked and interacted with this podiatrist better than the previous one, the appointment hadn’t met my expectations. I expressed those thoughts to Steve and then dwelt on them in my mind.

Steve encouraged me that Scripture (Psalm 37:8) says that fretting doesn’t lead to good outcomes. It is true. Through my reactions and thoughts, I was fretting and that was making me discouraged, glum, and unhappy. Not the emotions I wanted to carry through the day.

In a recent morning Bible time, I read, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15 ) and was pondering using it as the theme for a November Mom’s Corner, since this is Thanksgiving month. I hadn’t planned to be a poor example of it, though!

I have two verses memorized that also directed me with what to do rather than fret, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). And then there was this one, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

There are key words and phrases from these three verses that give us critical information for the path of thanksgiving:

  • sacrifice
  • praise to God/unto God
  • continually
  • thanks to His name, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • in every thing
  • will of God
  • always for all things

Why would thanking God be a sacrifice? Could it be because our flesh wants to do exactly what I did – dwell on the negative, allow disappointment to direct my thoughts, and fret? So to combat the flesh, we are to make the sacrifice of praising God. That is even defined in Hebrews 13:15 as our lips – speak it out loud – giving thanks to His name, continually. We choose to worship Him in thanksgiving rather than worshipping self in self pity.

Next we learn how often this thanksgiving is to happen – continually, in everything, always, and for all things. That is quite inclusive. It doesn’t give room for worry, fretting, complaining, or negativism. Thanksgiving and negative emotions don’t coexist well. Sometimes it is easy for us to forget that mindset of continual thanksgiving and to move into critical words and thoughts. Perhaps those kinds of wrong thoughts and words, should remind us that we aren’t giving thanks, continually for all things in God’s name. Then we can repent and go back to those right and godly thoughts.

A key verse that helps me in this thankfulness process is our beloved 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.” When it doesn’t look like something we would want to be thankful for, we can say this verse to ourselves or even out loud to another. That reminds us of God’s goodness, His faithfulness, and His ability to work in ways we can’t envision.

As we prepare to celebrate our national holiday in the United States of Thanksgiving, may I encourage you (and me) to be thankful, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but as a sacrifice to God continually for all things in His name.

Trusting Jesus,

Teri Maxwell

March 2022 Mom’s Corner

Are You a Dripping Woman?

Scripture presents us with quite a contrast between a contentious, dripping wife and a virtuous one whose husband praises her. It also tells us this: “Every wise woman buildeth her house:

but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands” (Proverbs 14:1). My heart is to be the helpmeet to my husband, Steve, where I am building my house and he would want to call me “blessed.”

Here we see contention and dripping:

“. . . the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping”(Proverbs 19:13).

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike” (Proverbs 27:15).

Have you ever considered what you might do that would be contentious like the annoying drip, drip, drip of water? Dripping isn’t outright bad, is it? Isn’t it more of an irritation? Perhaps you are aware of some things in your life that are similar to dripping, and maybe you should ask your husband if there are others. Wouldn’t you like to work on getting rid of them?

Drip, Drip, Drip . . . Answering for Another

I didn’t ask Steve about my dripping, but recently I discovered one of mine. I answer for Steve instead of letting him answer for himself. I didn’t even realize I did that until he mentioned it in connection with something else. He is gracious enough to be quiet about it when it happens. In our discussion, it was obvious he didn’t appreciate it and that I do it rather frequently. Drip, drip, drip. He is very capable of answering for himself! I might try to justify answering for Steve by saying I am being a helpmeet. But the reality is that I don’t always know the answer he would give, and if he doesn’t view it as being a helpmeet, it certainly isn’t.

Drip, Drip, Drip . . . Critical Spirit

From my past, I can share a few more you might consider. What about being critical of what he does or how he does it? The critical, contentious wife points out the negative rather than focusing on the positive. I remember one time Steve saying to me, “I don’t know that I can do anything to please you.” That came because he would work to improve in one area I had criticized him about only to be faced with a new one. Drip, drip, drip. That is a discouraging way to live.

Drip, Drip, Drip . . . Correcting

Then there is correcting your husband. How often does he not have the details right in something he is talking about, and you step in to fix it? Drip, drip, drip. We justify this one by thinking it is important to have things accurate. In the end, it comes out more as pride. I have it right. He has it wrong. I watch men clam up and give the conversation to their wives rather than continue on with her correcting of him.

Drip, Drip, Drip . . . The Better Idea

My third one is having better ideas. When Steve presented an idea, if I agreed with it, I had a way to improve on it rather than just jumping in with enthusiasm to go with it. And of course, if I disagreed, it spoke that right out as well. In the normal course of husband and wife communication, that will be part of it, but when it is the habit, it can be drip, drip, drip. Steve felt blessed when I could agree with him and join in a plan without having to change it to what I wanted.

This is the godly wife:

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:10-12).

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Proverbs 31:28).

Dry up the Drip

I expect if you are a wife, you would like to be a virtuous woman whose husband blesses and praises her. Do you have any of these drippings that might move you away from that? Are there other drippings that you are aware of?

Could I challenge you to evaluate if there is any dripping going on in your life and then ask the Lord for His grace and strength to dry them up? If you aren’t a wife, these same things can apply to any relationship.
If you would like more encouragement and challenge on being a godly wife, you might be interested in My Delight – a book for Christian wives.

Trusting Jesus,
Teri Maxwell

Just an Hour

Imagine that tomorrow you wake up with a strange pain. It is not a muscle ache or something you have ever had before, but something totally different. As the morning passes, it is growing massively in intensity. Regardless of what was planned for your day, you head to Urgent Care. The day is spent running tests. Finally, you are told you have a terminal disease and will die very, very soon. 

You return home with the pain lessened due to medication, but you are thinking of end-of-life details that must be attended to quickly. You have an awareness of every minute passing and things to be done. High on the list are people you want to say goodbye to before your disease renders you unconscious. Then there are those you know who have rejected Jesus, both family and friends. The list is long, and time is short. 

Then the regrets begin of all the time that you wasted. It wasn’t sinful, or you wouldn’t have done it. You justified it because of being tired, bored, or wanting something pleasurable. But there was no profit in how the time was spent. That time is now gone for eternity and can’t be reclaimed. Oh, how foolish you were. “Oh God forgive me.” You fall asleep in a drug-induced coma with a heavy, heavy heart. 

 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalms 90:12).

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.