Examine It Again

Last Monday, I was mad at David. I wanted to rearrange the basement for Thanksgiving and he wouldn’t even look at the plans.

I ranted to God. “I know there are three in this marriage. I won’t give up, but I’m getting nowhere with David. You be my husband.”

“Good,” God replied, “go put away David’s clothes.”

(Years ago, our children were not putting their clothes away. David had me pile his clean clothes next to theirs. After work, he put them away. He led by example. He was showing them that I was not the maid.)

I put his clothes away.

God worked on David’s heart and you know the rest of the story. It’s amazing the difference a week can make.

Leviticus 13:5, “On the seventh day…examine it again…” The Message

Today, all the furniture is in place. There are pictures on the wall. The ironed tablecloths are on the tables and dressers. The Thanksgiving tablescape and candles are ready. The table is set and waiting under dust covers.

Through the week, I learned a new approach to dealing with problems in a relationship:

  1. Exclude them from the conversation. The Israelites excluded one from the congregation, (see Leviticus 7:21). I excluded him from the conversation. I stopped talking to David about the problem and talked about it with God.
  2. I choose my attitude. On the hardest day, I studied Proverbs 17:22. It talked about a cheerful heart. The cross-reference verses talked about a peaceful heart, (Proverbs 14:30), and a happy heart, (Proverbs 15:13). I took a break from the basement and finished a Christmas project. That made my heart happy.
  3. Let God pick the time for the conversation. I wanted David to accept my reasons for rearranging, (see Leviticus 10:20). He didn’t on Monday but did on Thursday. I had to let God choose the time for the conversation.
  4. Wait until evening, (see Leviticus 11:24). Give yourselves a day to cool off and ponder the conversation. Look at the issue from their perspective.
  5. It might take a week, (see Leviticus 13:5). We are an instant society. We want problems solved now. We want everyone to agree with us. But God is not dealing with just the problem. He is dealing with hearts. Each heart has to come into submission to God before the problem resolves.

Have you had a problem resolve in a week?

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Fight for Your Wife and Home

Derek’s favorite childhood book was “I Love You Forever.” It tells how a mother rocks her son to sleep every night. First as a baby, then a toddler, then a boy, then a teen. Her boy grows up and moves into a house across town. His mother puts a ladder on top of her station wagon and drives to it. She climbs into his window, picks him up, and rocks him, back and forth…

Saturday night, I dreamt about that book. Derek and Rachel bought a 2 story house. I woke up from my dream thinking, “I need a longer ladder.”

Then I shook myself. I waited almost 26 years for him to move out. I’m done rocking him! I guess adjusting to an empty nest may take longer than I thought.

Nehemiah 4:2, “…Do they think they can get everything back to normal overnight? …” The Message

Marriage is like a wall. You set this boundary around yourself and your spouse. What many do not realize is you work on it. Every. Day.

Nehemiah 4:6, “We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and halfway to its intended height because the people had a heart for the work.” The Message

In the beginning, we had a heart for the work. It’s “You and Me Against the World.” But as the years go by, it is easy to neglect it.

Your wall will not look like your parent’s wall. It will not look like your friend’s wall. God designed your wall. It will protect your marriage while you fulfill His purpose for you as a couple.

Saturday night, before we went to sleep, David and I prayed. “We are empty nesters now. We were youth leaders when we were young. You called us to serve on worship teams during our entire marriage. Now that we have freedom, show us where we are to serve together.”

Nehemiah 4:9, “We countered with prayer to our God and set a round-the-clock guard against them.” The Message

In the wedding, Pastor Josh Cody instructed Derek and Rachel to fight. Fight for their marriage. Fight for each other. Keep God first and He will fight for you.

Nehemiah 4:13-14, “So I stationed armed guards at the most vulnerable places… (14) …’Don’t be afraid of them. Put your minds on the Master, great and awesome, and then fight for…your wives and your homes.’ ” The Message

Guard the vulnerable places. Don’t be afraid. Look to our great and awesome God. Fight for your wife and your home.

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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He wept

The Fishels had Sunday off from the worship band – two were on their honeymoon. As David and I sang in the congregation, my mind kept returning to the wedding.

Derek started it. (He says I did.) He was halfway down the aisle to escort me to my seat. I turned to David and asked for his handkerchief. I wanted it for emergencies. When I looked back, Derek’s eyes were glistening and that made me cry.

He gave me a hug and said he loved me. I told him I wasn’t going anywhere. We laughed and cried all the way down the aisle. That was nothing compared to the tears when he saw Rachel.

❤ ❤

Their first date was on the 22nd. Her birthday is on the 22nd and they got engaged on her birthday. Her favorite flowers are sunflowers and “brown-eyed Susan’s.” They set the date for September when her flowers were blooming. But, if they waited until 2018, the 22nd was on a Saturday. Their engagement was for 18 months.

Derek watched the wedding party come down the aisle. Then he faced the front for Rachel’s father to walk her to the outdoor arena. He turned as the chorus of the song started – “Marry me.”

He tried to hold back the tears but broke down. We could see all the love he has for Rachel. All the longing during the long engagement. And all the wonder as he viewed his beautiful bride and realized, “She chose me!” He walked down the steps to claim her.

❤ ❤ ❤

During the worship service, as I remembered Derek’s face, Jesus spoke to my heart.

“That’s how I will look at you during the marriage feast in Heaven. I went through so much. I suffered. I died. I waited. I longed to pull you into my arms.

Like Pastor Josh, who officiated, God is on the throne waiting to unite us. He loved you so much that He let Me go. I came to earth to pay the price required for your entrance into Heaven.

He watched Me suffer. After I defeated Death, Hell, and Satan, He resurrected Me. I went home to Heaven to build you a mansion.

And Allison, Pastor Josh’s wife, is like the Holy Spirit. Unobtrusive and in the background but stepping up as God directs.

(Allison explained the cross and cord ceremony. Derek and Rachel braided together 3 cords attached to a cross.)

Allison pointed out the third chord is God. You need Him to make a strong marriage. The Holy Spirit is always drawing us closer to God.”

I cried during worship – overwhelmed by the love Jesus has for me. They say “men don’t cry” but Jesus wept, (see John 11:35). And when Ezra saw the sin that separated the Israelites from God…

“Ezra wept…” Ezra 10:1. The Message

Weddings are wonderful. Honeymoons are heavenly. But they pale in comparison to when we unite with our Lord Jesus Christ.

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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My Heart Leaped for Joy

It’s wedding week. The song, “Goin’ to the Chapel” is running through my mind.

Psalms 122:1, “When they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of God,’ my heart leaped for joy.” The Message

When the exiles returned to Jerusalem, they rebuilt the Temple. Their joy was boundless as they were able to worship in Jerusalem again. They sang songs on their way to The Temple.

“Hezekiah is known for preparing Jerusalem for a siege by carving a long tunnel from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam. Rabbis said the pool’s water was the purest on the planet because Mount Zion is its source.

Every year during the Feast of Tabernacles, water was taken from the Pool of Siloam in golden pitchers and carried up to the Temple in a huge procession. People sang the Song of Ascents, silver trumpets were blown on the Temple steps, and the entire city was lit up with torches. It was called the most joyous time in Jerusalem when the water was poured out on the altar as an offering to the Most Holy God.”

“Rivers of Living Water” by Gordon Robertson in “Frontlines,” September, 2018

Psalms 120-134 are the “Psalms of Ascent.”

Psalms 122:4, “The city to which the tribes ascend, all God’s tribes go up to worship, to give thanks to the name of God – this is what it means to be Israel.” The Message

A wedding is similar to the ascent on the Feast of Tabernacles. Everyone is in their best clothes. The place is lit up and filled with music. The bride walks up the aisle to the altar. Everyone wishes happiness for the couple.

Christ is the key to a successful marriage. He loved us so much that He gave everything – including His life. Seeing His sacrifice, we can’t help but love Him, respect Him, and submit to Him.

King Xerxes tried to create respect for each husband by enacting a law. It didn’t work.

Esther 1:22, “…’Every man is master of his own house; whatever he says, goes.’ ” The Message

Jesus showed us how to do it. The more love you give to your wife, the more respect you gain. The more respect a woman gives to her husband, the more love she receives, (see Ephesians 5:22-23).

If your wife doesn’t respond to what you say, check your motives. Will your decision benefit the family or just yourself?

A master is responsible for nurturing everyone in his household:

  • Are they getting enough sleep?
  • Are they getting enough food?
  • Do they have time with you that is free of distractions?
  • Do they have time alone to develop their God-given gifts?
  • Do you spend one-on-one time with each of your children?
  • Do you regularly share a physical love with your wife?
  • Do your hobbies take up most of your free time?

If no one is listening to you, maybe it’s because you are not listening to them.

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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A Circle of Quiet

Derek texted me: “UPS shipment today wedding stuff”

Me: “Not our anniversary gift?”

Derek: “Sheesh”

Me: “I couldn’t resist.”

Reflecting on our marriage, I thanked God for holding it together when we were falling apart. I tell brides that marriage takes 3. Stick to your vows and cling to God. Let God thump your husband on the head when he gets out of line!

Sometimes, we get in God’s way trying to correct him ourselves. That is God’s job. Unfortunately, it works both ways!

Marriage is hard work and everything is against it. There is a hurricane of evil trying to tear us apart.

Psalms 74:12-13, “How blessed the man you train, God, the woman you instruct in Your Word, (13) providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil…” The Message

* * * * * * *

“…How happy we are if the hurricanes that blow across life’s raging sea have the effect of making Jesus more precious to us! It is better to weather the storm with Christ than to sail smooth waters without Him.” J. R. Madcuff, “Streams in the Desert,” August 28

Instruction in God’s Word is the secret of a long, successful marriage. David and I both read and study the Bible every morning. I found the reward for daily devotions while studying Proverbs 14 today.

Proverbs 14:26, “Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.” New International Version 

* * * * * * *

“…the godliness of parents will result in blessing for themselves and their children (20:7)…” New International Version Study Bible Notes

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 20:7, “The righteous lead blameless lives, blessed are their children after them.” New International Version

The Bible gives practical advice for staying married and having a fulfilling marriage. We are to love each other as Christ loved us.

Romans 12:10, “Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” The Message

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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David and I at the restaurant

Husbands

My husband has always showered me with compliments. He tells me I’m beautiful. He calls me “hot.”

This year, I learned the true meaning of “hot.” It came in a flash. He refers to them as “flashes of hotness.” He is a wise husband. Zechariah was also a wise husband.

Luke 1:18, “Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.’ ” New Living Translation

Zechariah called himself old but referred to Elizabeth as middle-aged. That’s funny because verse 7 said they both were very old.

I will always look younger than my age because my husband tells me I am!

Dear Father God,

Thank You for giving me a man I can grow old with. We are grateful that You brought us together when we were young. It hasn’t always been easy. Some days he called me other words, like stubborn, not beautiful. But as long as we purposely draw closer to You, we find ourselves closer to each other. Bless our marriage.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Cistern

I’m so excited! We are getting away for a “Weekend to Remember” Marriage Retreat! You get married “For better or worse;” you decide to work to make your marriage better, or it will get worse! I’m sure they will use verses from the Bible in their materials. I thought of Proverbs 5:15 when I read today’s verse.

Leviticus 11:36, “However, if the carcass of such an animal falls into a spring or a cistern, the water will still be clean. But anyone who touches the carcass will be defiled.” New Living Translation

I understood why water from a spring would be clean. The spring is constantly providing fresh water and the old water overflows the pool and drains away. The contaminants are eventually flushed out. But I was unsure about ancient cisterns.

Cistern – a tank for storing water, especially one supplying taps.

Cistern. . . a receptacle for water conveyed to it. . . .a place where water rises on the spot [is] a fountain. The scarcity of springs in Palestine made it necessary to collect rain-water in reservoirs and cisterns. biblestudytools.com/dictionary/cistern

Proverbs 5:15, “Drink water from your own well [cistern]. Share your love only with your wife.” New Living Translation

Many ancient cisterns were on the roof of the house, collecting rain-water, and were always available. They would climb the external stairs to the roof and open the tap to get the water they wanted.

A wife collects your love: compliments, non-sexual touches, gifts, “that look,” sweet nothings, etc. and stores them in her heart, much like a cistern. A husband can tap into it and the love is always there.

Have you showered any love on your wife today?

Dear Father God,

Hidden throughout the Bible are the secrets to a happy marriage. Marriage is important to You. Thank You for giving us guidelines to a healthy, happy marriage. Show me this weekend the things I need to learn. 

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Wells in the Desert of Your Marriage

Riding home from church last night, I was telling my sister-in-law my plans for Saturday.

“We are going to “The Word Shoppe Christmas Open House” and then to “Hobby Lobby” and I plan on getting to eat out and do a little Christmas shopping…”

“Christmas shopping?” my husband interrupted, “I don’t want to even think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving!”

And like a snake, the dialogue of the Christmas activities discussion/argument we have every year, jumped up to bite us.

Forgetting my sister-in-law and nephew in the back, I said in exasperation,

“WHY DID WE GET MARRIED?”

Softly, my sister-in-law said, “You can’t send him back. The warranty is expired and there are no returns.”

(Awkward!)

Marriage is like the Israelites 40 years in the desert. It’s hot, uncomfortable, exhausting, irritating, and you don’t see how your basic needs will be met. All along the way there are snakes that bite you, see Numbers 21:4-8.

“The Israelites may have been plagued by snakes for some time since there is no indication that the Lord took away the serpents as they had requested. Apparently, they carried the bronze snake with them, setting it up wherever they camped, and gave it a permanent location once they were in Canaan. It still existed during King Hezekiah’s reign; he destroyed it because the people had begun to worship it (2 Kings 18:4).  Jesus used the illustration of the bronze snake to illustrate the necessity of his crucifixion (John 3:14, 15).” ESV Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible Notes

God provided a way to deal with those serpents – look to the cross.

Even in the desert, God provides an oasis.

Numbers 21:16-18, “And from there they continued to Beer; that is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, ‘Gather the people together so that I may give them water.’ Then Israel sang this song: ‘Spring up, O well! – Sing to it! – the well that the princes made, that the nobles of the people dug, with the scepter and with their staffs.” ESV

“…they might be in want of water, though they did not murmur as they had been used to do; and without their petition for it, the Lord promises to give it to them…” Gil’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, see here.

Not only did they refrain from murmuring, they had to work for it.

“…they were told to dig for water instead of receiving it from the rock, showed the end to be at hand and the transition shortly to be made from miraculous to natural supplies.” Pulpit Commentary, see here.

Especially during transitions, we have to give each other grace…and space.

“To be happy in a relationship, you must give each other space…Love is like a plant; when you smother it, it dies, but when you give it air, it thrives…There’s only one person who can “fix” you and that’s God. As you become more spiritually healthy, you’ll become more emotionally healthy and when that happens you’re more apt to find your needs being met.” www.facebook.com/TheWordForYouTodayUSA/

Dear Lord,

Thank you for always being there. The closer I get to you, the closer I feel to David. Thank you for forgiveness and that you love me just the way I am. Thank you for patience. Please send a little extra to David…he’s going to need it. 

Amen

Beating the Odds of Divorce

The statistics for divorce are appalling. They are even higher for a second or third marriage. But you can beat the odds by using the principles in the Bible.

The first time I heard this verse quoted was by a newly married man. It was his 3rd marriage and her 2nd. The odds were against them. But it has been almost two decades and they are still going strong! We read their secret today.

Deuteronomy 24:5, “If a man and a woman have been married less than one year, he must not be sent off to war or sent away to do forced labor. He must be allowed to stay home for a year and be happy with his wife.”

He quoted this verse when he was asked to serve on the church board. They cut out all extra activities and concentrated on their work and their marriage for that first year.

What if you are not a newlywed? Is it too late?

No! The secrets to keeping a marriage strong can be found in 1 Corinthian’s 13.

He Liked Her!

“Sex Sells.”

“Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes to the bone.”

Esther had a beauty that went clear to the bone. Her beauty outshone the sexiest women.

King Xerxes had been king for three years when he deposed Queen Vashti, (Esther 1:3). He had a Queen and a harem of wives. After the girls spent one night with him, they were sent to his harem, (Esther 2:14).

He had a different, beautiful, young girl every night for several years before he even saw Esther, (2:15). I’m sure all of them tried to be sexy to win Queen Vashti’s crown.

Not Esther. Look at the verbs in today’s verse.

Esther 2:17, “Xerxes liked Esther more than he did any of the other young women. None of them pleased him as much as she did, and right away he fell in love with her and crowned her queen in place of Vashti.”

He liked her. She was pleasing or pleasant. Then he fell in love with her.

“Beauty is as beauty does.”