Kenneth Maresco, a pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, recently preached an excellent sermon on Fellowship from 1 John 1. This sermon totally gripped my heart. I felt as if I needed to listen to it time and again and take very detailed notes. The application is gripping and compelling. What a picture of fellowship there is in these words. May the Holy Spirit use it in your life as well.
For today’s Marriage Monday, here are some excellent questions/practical tips from Stuart Scott’s Exemplary Husband on leading and loving your wife.
What Are You Portraying?
“Husband, are you portraying Christ’s demonstration of love and leadership to the Church? Or do you perhaps see yourself in one or more of the following roles?
• A king lording it over his vassals—dictating and waiting to be served.
• A hireling over sheep—leaving when the going gets tough and not willing to sacrifice.
• A tolerant roommate—making no commitment, ignoring sin and doing his own thing—just basically sharing expenses and a roof.
• A business partner—splitting and doing everything 50/50, with equal benefits and equal say.
• An irresponsible steward or drifter—leaving responsibilities undone, letting others take care of your responsibilities, or just going with the flow with no purpose or direction.
• A preoccupied worker—staying too busy and distracted to fulfill marital responsibilities (lack of involvement).
• A patrolling supplier—provides sustenance, room, clothes, etc., and offers a level of protection over his interests, but is not personally involved.”
Ways You Can Show Love To Your Wife“We must put off any ideas that love is unnecessary, a sign of weakness, or a feminine characteristic. Clearly, increasing in love for our wives must be a major pursuit. The exemplary husband’s wife will never accuse him of not loving her because the message will be loud and clear.
“Every husband should think about and investigate specific ways he can show love to his wife. Below is a list of basic ways we can show love to our wives. It is up to each of us to make application to our own marriages.
To Love Your Wife:
• Prefer her over yourself.
• Show interest in her interests.
• Encourage her with words of appreciation.
• Brighten her day with an unexpected card, note, flowers, or gift.
• Spend time with her having fun (what she enjoys).
• Spend time listening with interest to her concerns while showing compassion, giving her encouragement from God’s Word, and helping her find a solution; all in that order (trust me!).
• Help her when she looks as if she needs it (don’t wait to be asked!).
• Do chivalrous things to let her know how special she is to you (open doors, wipe off benches before she sits down, pull out chairs, etc.).
• Show her non-sexual affection.
• Seek to please and satisfy her during sexual intimacy.
• Confront her sin in love, pray with her about it and encourage change.
• Pray with her and lead her spiritually (Read Scripture with her). See to it that she is serving and using her spiritual gifts within the church.”
For today’s Marriage Monday segment, I am busy this week preparing for our HomeWord worship service this Friday night. Last time we introduced roles and then tonight, we are going to launch into the role of the man. It seems to me that more and more in our culture, we are seeing an increase in the feminization of men. This summer at a youth camp we attended, I spoke to a single college-aged woman who was simply wanting men to be men and take the lead. This is certainly true in marriage.
All men, I think, find it easy to drift into passivity. We don’t have a plan. We don’t have goals that we want to accomplish when it comes to our marriages and families. When we do get time with our wives away from the children, we are asking her what her thoughts are and in doing so, in some cases, surrending the leadership to which we have been called. Rather than walking into these times with our wives in loving leadership, we walk in blind asking them to set the spiritual direction and goals for our relationship. We must recover Biblical manhood. This is like Piper called, “torching a glacier.” This isn’t easy. It takes hard work to be a godly man.
I remember studying “A Godly Man’s Picture” with some men a few years ago. We were looking at characteristics like faithfulness, lover of the church, basic piety stuff. They both told me they weren’t interested in the study any longer because and I am quoting here, “IT WASN’T PRACTICAL.” Here we were dealing with the core component of what it meant to be a godly man (relationship with God) and it wasn’t practical. With all of this onslaught, our greatest need as men, then, is to simply be the disciples we have been called to be. Jesus has called us first and foremost to follow Him. We should follow Him, then. We shouldn’t put up excuses as to why our children, wives and family is not godly. That is our responsibility and it falls to us to lead in word and example. So this is my call to men. Are you ready to be the man God has called you to be. Let’s quit playing games and step into obedience as followers of Christ. Let’s glorify Him by being obedient to His Word — especially those parts that speak of our loving leadership. May the result be that families are reformed for the glory of God…
I absolutely loved 3 recent posts by Thabiti over at Pure Church. These posts quote Jonathan Edwards from Michael Haykin’s book, A Sweet Flame: Piety in the Letters of Jonathan Edwards. Here is how Thabiti introduces these recommendations for growth:
On June 3, 1741, Jonathan Edwards wrote a letter to Deborah Hatheway. Mrs. Hatheway was converted during the awakening in New England and, since her church was without a pastor at the time sought Edwards’ counsel on how to grow as a new Christian. Edwards replied in a short letter with 19 things Hatheway should think and do.
You can read the 19 things in the following posts: Recommendations 1-6, Recommendations 7-11 and Recommendations 12-17. Evidently, 2 of the 19 were absorbed in the others during the editing process by Haykin. Nevertheless, these are very practical and wonderful blessings we read from the pen of Edwards. They are well worth your time and energy to take up and apply to your own life, whether you are a “new” or “old” Christian.
John MacArthur answers over at the Pulpit Magazine blog. In Part 1, MacArthur introduces his subject–the Church. Part 2 answers that the church is being built by Jesus Himself. Part 3 explains how the church is an outworking of an eternal plan. Part 4 simply states that the church is the most precious reality on earth. And the conclusion of the series focuses our vision on how the church is an earthly vision of heaven. These articles were a great blessing in reinstilling in me a love for God’s bride–the Church. I commend them to you.
In their recent book on Relationships, Paul Tripp and Tim Lane say:
We are well aware that we are smack dab in the middle of God’s process of sanctification. And because this is true, we will struggle again. Selfishness, pride, an unforgiving spirit, irritation, and impatience will certain return. But we are neither afraid nor hopeless. We have experienced what God can do in the middle of the mess. This side of heaven, relationships and ministry are always shaped in the forge of struggle. None of us get to relate to perfect people or avoid the effects of the fall on the work we attempt to do. Yet, amid the mess, we find the highest joys of relationship and ministry.
What is this hope and confidence? It is rooted in the Gospel itself. You can have hope, even if you are in the midst of conflict within your marriage, because as a sinner, you can conquer sin in the Gospel. The negative can be healed and restored. That is the Gospel’s work. Therefore, take hope today. The Gospel is able to make your marrriage all God intends it to be.
9 Marks also has their July/August ’07 News online. Check it out as it relates to the gospel.
The latest HeartCry Missionary Society Magazine is online. The back cover summarizes the content of it so well in a quote by Adoniram Judson — “The motto of every missionary, whether preacher, printer or schoolmaster, ought to be Devoted for Life.”
Over at the New Attitude Download page, they have posted videos with some speakers from this year’s conference who are interviewed about various ways their messages can be applied. They are worth your time in checking out…