Read: Ephesians 5:22-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church
and gave Himself for her. - Ephesians 5:25
When my wife had dental surgery, she was out of commission
for the weekend. While she was recuperating, I had the daunting
task of taking care of her and the kids. I cooked, washed dishes,
made special trips to the store for her, and bathed the kids.
hen I saw all I had done, I thought to myself, I deserve
extra credit and reciprocal service when she gets better. Before
I gave myself too many pats on the back, however, the Holy Spirit
reminded me that what I was doing was my privilege and duty as a
In Paul's time, many believed the husband's needs dominated
the household, and the wife existed to fulfil his needs and to
serve him. The Christian view was quite different, however. Women
were seen as persons of equal worth. The wife was transformed
from an accessory to a person of intrinsic value, becoming the
focus of her husband's concern. Instead of demanding that she
live for him, he was to serve her!
Ephesians 5:25 portrays Christ as loving the church and
giving Himself for her. And verse 29 indicates that Jesus
nourishes and cares for her. As husbands pursue Christlikeness,
they have the privilege and duty to sacrifice, nurture, and care
for their wives. - Marvin Williams
Despite the faults that spouses have, Their marriage still can
thrive; But both must look to God for help - He'll keep their
love alive. - Branton
IF YOU THINK IT'S POSSIBLE TO LOVE YOUR WIFE TOO MUCH, YOU
PROBABLY HAVEN'T LOVED HER ENOUGH.
Read: Judges 2:7-19
The Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hands of
those who plundered them. - Judges 2:16
The book of Judges is an account of God's people descending
into spiritual indifference and rebellion. After the death of
Joshua and his peers, the next generation "forsook the Lord God
of their fathers, ... and they followed other gods from among the
gods of the people who were all around them" (Judges 2;12).
This dismal record of wavering allegiance hardly seems the
place to find spiritual heroes, yet four people from Judges -
Gideon, Barak, Samson. and Jephthah (chs.4-16)--are named in the
New Testament book of Hebrews (11:32). Along with Noah, Abraham,
Moses, and other notables, they are commended for their faith.
Judges, however, presents these men as flawed people who
nevertheless responded to God's call during a time of spiritual
darkness in their culture. The Bible honors them for their faith,
not for their perfection. They were recipients of God's grace as
surely as we are.
In every generation, God raises up people who are true to
Him and to His Word. The measure of their lives and of ours is
not the absence of failure but the presence of God's gracious
forgiveness and the faith to obey His call. All of God's
champions are unlikely heroes. - David MaCasland
Heaven's heroes never curve their name On marbled columns built
for earthly fame; They build instead a legacy that springs Out of
a life lived for the King of kings. - Gustafson
FAITH IN CHRIST CAN MAKE EXTRAORDINARY HEROES OUT OF ORDINARY
Read: Lamentations 3:19-32
His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, great is
Your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:22-23
On a teaching trip to the Bible lands, our study group had
just spent a restful night at our Tiberias hotel. When I awoke,
I went to my window and gazed at the beauty of the sunrise on
the Sea of Galilee. As I thought ahead to the places we would be
visiting that day - the same places where Jesus had walked 2,000
years before---I was excited about the opportunities of the day
that had begun with the splendor of the sunrise.
We don't need to be in Israel, however, to be amazed at what
God gives us each day. Every morning of life offers us new
challenges and rich blessings as we walk with Christ. Despite
mistakes we may have made yesterday, choices we regret, and
heartache we have endured, God is merciful to us. The sunrise
reminds us of His faithfulness and of the new start each day
Perhaps it was the simple joy of a beautiful sunrise that
prompted Jeremiah to write, "through the Lord's mercies we are
not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new
every morning; great is Your faithfulness" (Lam.3;22-23).
Each new day the Lord gives to us - whether in the Bible
lands or at home - is an expression of His faithfulness and
provides opportunities to live for Him. - Bill Crowder
Lord, in the hush of early dawn, When all the world lies
sleeping, I place my life and all I love Into Thy gracious
keeping. - White
THE BEST REASON FOR HOPE IS GOD'S FAITHFULNESS.
Read: Psalm 23
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He feeds me beside
still waters. - Psalm 23:2
Our office is a busy puce where things sometimes feel like
they are moving at breakneck speed. This often involves meeting
after meeting, hallway conferences, and an avalanche of e-mail.
In the midst of this extreme busyness, I sometimes feel the need
to escape, to decompress. My response? To create a quiet place.
On those days [when I have no lunch meeting, I retreat to the
quiet of my car. I gab some lunch and sit in my car, where I can
read, listen to music, think, pray and be refreshed.
I think this is the essence of what the shepherd-psalmist
points to in Psalm 23:2. He sees the Good Shepherd bringing him
to "still waters" - that is, waters to rest by. It pictures a
quiet place, a retreat from the pressures of life, where you can
rest in the presence of the Shepherd of your heart and be
strengthened for what lies ahead. Even Jesus withdrew to a
solitary place to pray and commune with the Father (Mark 1:35).
We all creed retreats in our lives, not only because of the
overwhelming nature of life, but because of our dependence on the
resources of the Master. In our fast-paced days, it is essential
to find a place of solitude, "a place of quiet rest, near to the
heart of God." Where's yours? - Bill Crowder
There is a place of quiet rest, Near to the heart of God,. A
place where sin cannot molest, Near to the heart of God. - MaAfee
WHEN WE DRAW NEAR TO GOD OUR MINDS ARE REFRESHED AND OUR STRENGTH
Read: Ephesians 5:6-17
When He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain
by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. -
The evening is one of my favorite times of day. It's a time
to look back, take stock, and reflect on the events of the day -
whether good or bad. When weather permits, my wife and I walk, or
sometimes we'll just fix a pot of coffee and talk with each other
about our day and what we've accomplished. It's a time for
careful thought and evaluation, for thanksgiving, and for prayer.
Our Lord had a similar practice during His earthly ministry.
At the end of a wearying and demanding day, He went up on a
mountain by Himself for a few moments of reflection and prayer in
the presence of His Father (Matt.14:23).
The value of the quiet presence of our heavenly Father and
the careful examination of how we have engaged life on a given
day has great significance. Perhaps this was the goal of the
apostle Paul's challenge for us to redeem the time (Eph.5:16);
that is, to make sure we are making the best use of the time God
gives us for living and serving.
As the day winds to a close, take some time for quiet
reflection. In the serenity of the evening, we can, in God's
presence, get a more accurate perspective on life and how we are
living it. - Bill Crowder
I come aside from the world of strife, With its burdens, trials,
and the cares of life, To a beautiful, quiet, restful place,
Where I commune with my Jesus face to face. - Brandt
THERE WILL BE MORE REFLECTION OF JESUS WHEN THERE IS MORE
REFLECTION ON HIM.
WHICH WAY AM I GROWING
Read: Galatians 6:7-10
Whatever a man sows, that he will reap. - Galatians 6:7
Some folks grow old gracefully, while others become grouchy
and ill-tempered. It's important to know which way we're growing,
because we're all growing older.
People don't get irritable and shorttempered merely because
they're getting older. Aging doesn't have to make us
hypercritical and cranky. No, it's more likely that we've become
what we've been becoming all along.
Paul wrote: "He who sows to his flesh will ... reap
corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will ... reap
everlasting life" (Gal 6:8). Those who pander to self-interest
and think only of themselves are sowing seeds that will produce a
harvest of misery in themselves and in others. On the other hand,
those who love God and care for others are sowing seeds that, in
time, will yield a harvest of joy.
C.S.Lewis put it this way: "Every time you make a choice you
are turning the central part of you, the part of you that
chooses, into something a little different from what it was
before." We can choose to submit our wills to God each day,
asking Him to give us strength to live for Him and for others. As
He works in us, we will grow in grace and in kindness.
So the question we need to ask ourselves is: Which way am I
growing? - David Roper
Surer than autumn's harvests, Are harvests of thought and deed;
Like those that our hands have planted, The yield will be like
the seed. - Harris
THE SEEDS WE SOW TODAY DETERMINE THE KIND OF FRUITS WE'LL REAP
LIVING EVERY DAY
Read: Proverbs 15:15
All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry
heart has a continual feast. - Proverbs 15:15
When Tama Lee Owens celebrated her 104th birthday, she
credited "laughter, the Lord, and the little things" for keeping
her going. She still finds enjoyment each day in talking with
people, taking a walk, and reading the Bible as she has done
since childhood. "I don't know how long He'll let me stay here,"
she said. "I just thank the Lord for what He's given me already."
Most of us won't live 104 years, but we can learn from Tamer
Lee how to enjoy each day that we are given. Laughter - "A merry
heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart
the spirit is broken" (Prov.15:13). True happiness begins deep
inside and emerges on our faces.
The Lord - "The fear of the LORD is the instruction of
wisdom, and before honor is humility" (v.33). When God is central
in our hearts, He can teach us His way through every experience
The Little Things - "Better is a dinner of herbs where love
is, than a fatted calf with hatred" (v.17). Maintaining loving
relationships and enjoying the basic things of life are more
important than wealth and success.
Not all of us will live a long time, but we can all live
well each day - with laughter, the Lord, and the little things in
life. - David McCasland
The world is filled with so much good, Little things that bring
us pleasure - But Christ can fill our lives with joy, Beyond all
earthly treasure. - Sper
HAPPINESS IS NOT A DESTINATION BUT A DAY-BY-DAY JOURNEY