I was very moved this week by God's Word in Genesis. He created the world in six days. Over the course of these days, on every day except two, the Bible says, "God saw that it was good." On day two nothing was mentioned, but on day six, after creating Adam and Eve it says in Gen. 1:31, "God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good." Then He rested.... I appreciate His example of daily reflection. Illustrated is His clear desire to do good and feel at peace about what He had achieved. I am especially touched by His comment in Gen. 1:31. At holidays, like most people, after spending days preparing a holiday meal and getting the table set just right with all the right linens, tableware and food I am just a little giddy. Weeks of prep and work are done. Now we sit back and enjoy. After pictures of course. :) I have such a feeling of satisfaction seeing a well executed holiday. Imagine how God must have felt looking at a beautiful and uncorrupted Earth where a week before there was nothing. Very good is a tame assessment. We serve an awesome God. His example of reflecting daily over His accomplishments has touched me deeply. Rob has a business planner (The High Performance Planner) that asks you to evaluate your day every evening. It asks questions like, what was a moment I really appreciated today, situation I handled well, did I guide and treat others well today, etc... I realize now this daily reflection is a great way to follow in our Fathers footsteps. So now at the end of my day I also reflect. It has encouraged me to live more intentionally. At the end of the day I want to be able to sit back in peace and say, it is good. I hope this encourages you. Questions, comments & insights welcome. :)
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,And strength to your bones.
The story of Adam and Eve teaches many lessons and raises many questions. One of those questions for me is, why did Eve bite that apple. She is in direct communion with God who has provided all that she and her husband need. Can you imagine a world where you are surrounded by creatures that we have never even laid eyes on because so many are extinct, but in danger from none? Marveling at His creation while spending your days communing with God and your spouse? My husband and I dream of a life that we can have a homestead on few acres where we can grow our own food. Fruit trees, vegetable gardens, chickens running around free and a cow to milk. We want to have a large multi purpose building for holding church services. Live close to running water for baptisms and have a separate house on the property for missionaries or brothers and sisters who need help. Boiled down, we desire Eden. We have met many Christians with a similar desire. It seems hardwired into our being. A life focused on God and surrounded by His creation with an opportunity to serve. What could be better than that? They had it and tossed it away... Why? It is easy to shake your head at Eve, but let's look at the anatomy of the "fall." In Genesis 3 the cunning serpent asks Eve about the fruit of this tree. "Did God indeed say you can not eat of every tree?" She responds accordingly that God told her she would die if she touched or ate from it. The serpent continues his campaign by undermining her trust in God by declaring what God has said is not true, God just doesn't want you to be wise like Him... She took the fruit and ate it. It wasn't exactly a hard sell. Eve's lust for things became greater than her love for God. She had also stopped trusting Him. Trust had to go before obedience. It seems a good practice to daily ask ourselves, am I fully trusting God? How do we know if we are? Obedience to His word. The serpent certainly deceived Eve as she asserted, but her lack of faith/trust in God allowed her to be deceived. She started trusting other things over God's word. The tree wasn't going anywhere. Why didn't she just ask God? Trust was gone. What might tempt us to trust others over God? Taxes/accountant, Trouble/lawyer, problems at home/friends who are not Christ centered and so many other ways. We can have many serpents in our lives. We need to remember the Lord teaches in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that bad company corrupts good character. When possible, we should try to be in fellowship with people that are of the same spirit. We must trust in the Lord with all our hearts, and lean not on our own understanding. Trust in God is vitally important. Perhaps that is why our forefathers made "In God we trust" the official motto of the USA and even had it printed on our currency. Perhaps it is to remind the people of this country that our hope, faith and trust must be in God. I hope this study has been a blessing to you. Thoughts and comments are welcome!
Genesis 2:18 "Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.
If you are married, your role in your marriage, as a woman, is your husbands helper. To some this brings warm fuzzies and to others, you are maybe looking for the comment button. How does much of the world view this role? Weakness. How does God view our role? Proverbs 31 suggests respectable, honorable, virtuous and praiseworthy. The uplifted example of womanhood is a dynamic woman. She is busy at home, Titus 2:5, but she also has a respectable home industry, makes wise real estate investments, serves the poor, instructs with wisdom and so much more. She sets the bar high! Her husband and children are proud to say, "that's our girl!" The title helper does not suggest Eve is less capable or even under Adam's authority. That comes later after she got snacky. Eve was created to be a co-laborer with Adam. I have held tools as my husband changed the brakes on our car and he has helped me fold laundry. The same dynamic likely exists in most households. Eve's role changed drastically in Genesis 3:16. God, in this passage, establishes Adam as the head of the household. This is how God designed marriage. Husbands are the head of the household, but we are still co-laborers. I love how a seminary professor lovingly described it. Women were not created for the "grunt work." We are capable of amazing things. A wise husband will encourage his wife to discover her God given gifts and talents and use them to serve God and to perhaps create a home industry of her own. The title of helper can be twisted into a place where it is paralyzing to a woman's ability. Don't let it be. Remember Proverbs 31, but please also remember, that awesome woman of God made sure she saw to the needs of her family first. That being said, it is a beautiful thing when a husband lovingly and wisely leads his family as he is led by the Lord. How then can we help him do that? First, let him lead and pray for God to lead him as he leads your family. This can be a hard first step. In our marriage I held tight to the reigns. My upbringing left me in a place where I felt the need to be in control. That order is unnatural. It leaves a man feeling emasculated. That is not of God. It causes dysfunction in a relationship and it did in ours. When we became disciples (followers of Christ) in our early 20s, stepping down was one of my biggest issues. It took me years to fully submit to my God and respect my husbands role as head of our family. Great first steps if you want to honor your call and have not already, can simply be to consult your husband when making important decisions. If you come to a place that you disagree, look to the Bible. It is the standard. "What does the Bible say about it?" ended a lot of disagreements in our home. If you still disagree and the decision is life altering, not what to eat for dinner, set up time to talk with a Pastor. Additionally, as a wife I have found some of the best ways I can help my husband are encouraging him, being respectful, being patient, being helpful at home, following the Lord and being available physically and emotionally. This includes simply listening. Everybody wants to be heard and to feel like their thoughts have value. Active listening demonstrates that. With the many balls I juggle, I need to remind myself daily that I need to find time to put them down and have time to focus on us. The role of wife is multifaceted and of vital importance. As women, how we execute this role can have a profound and eternal impact on ourselves, our husbands and our children as well as our family and friends. Being married while essentially leading my family was like driving a car with a doughnut. My generation will get that. It is a small tire. It is not the size of the other tires. You have to drive slow, otherwise you will have a blowout. It will get you safely to a shop, but it is uncomfortable and clear to everyone, especially those along for the ride, that something is not right. That was our relationship. We were rolling along, but out of sync. When we made this shift, I oddly felt like I was losing something. I lost nothing. I got back the man who I fell in love with. I gained a highly functional family. I gained peace. I am grateful to have found this simple truth in God's word. We have been very blessed by applying God's principals to our marriage. I hope this encourages you to do the same if you haven't already.
I decided to do a study of the women of the Bible and thought, who better to start with than Eve. Eve is a bit loaded. She is the first woman to step into the role of wife and mother. I gleaned a lot. What I picked up from her story was transformational to my marriage. One thing that stuck out, and what I will focus on today, was Genesis 2:24. Upon marriage God considers a husband and wife "one." Based on the scripture a person may think of this being strictly a physical/primal perspective, but if you look in Matthew 19:5 you will see it is much deeper. This "oneness" is clearly spiritual. The actions of a husband or wife are not without effect. Every choice we make will help or hurt us and ultimately our whole family. The day we say I do, we are in this thing together. So choose wisely. There is a saying, "there is sin in the camp." This is a tilt towards Joshua 7. Achan sinned. The whole camp suffered for it. Whole families can suffer for the admonishing of one. Love and lead your children well. Be in their lives. Keep the lines of communication open with them, but don't get lost in them. It is easy. Especially being a homeschooler. They can become your world and that can leave your spouse feeling neglected, lonely and angry. The same is true of professional endeavors and sometimes hobbies. When you are so busy with other things and people that you have little time for them, your spouse can feel part of a world they no longer see where they fit into. This is fertile ground for trouble. It can come in the form of a "supportive" co-worker filling a void emotionally that can become physical, substance abuse, gambling and in extreme cases suicide. It is important to remember to keep your spouse second, only to God. Make time for your beloved. Pick a day and have a weekly date night. Even if you stay home, plan it out and make it special. Think honeymoon special. Be creative. There are games you can download online. Not cyber games, but printable. Unplug from the world and connect with your spouse. Take time each day to catch up. Even if you are away on business. Stay connected. If your relationship has grown cold, it may take time. First and foremost, do your best to draw closer to God. Second, become the best version of you that you can be and encourage your spouse to do the same. Last but not least, love your spouse well by God's definition of love. Your family will be blessed for it.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.