THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

October 31, 2018

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

This week I continue the series about marriage.

Last week I shared about the responsibilities of the wife, as set in scripture. This week I want to continue in Ephesians chapter five and write about the God's plan for marriage regarding the husband.

Ephesians 5:25-31 (TPT) says, "And to the husbands, you are to demonstrate love for your wives with the same tender devotion that Christ demonstrated to us, His bride. For He died for us, sacrificing Himself to make us holy and pure, cleansing us through the showering of the pure water of the Word of God. All that He does in us is designed to make us a mature church for His pleasure, until we become a source of praise to Him -- glorious and radiant, beautiful and holy, without fault or flaw. Husbands have the obligation of loving and caring for their wives the same way they love and care for their own bodies, for to love your wife is to love your own self. No one abuses their own body, but pampers it -- serving and satisfying its needs. That's exactly what Christ does for His church! He serves and satisfies us as members of His body. For this reason a man is to leave his father and his mother and lovingly hold to his wife, since the two have become joined as one flesh."

Just as "wives have to submit to their husbands" is pounded into our heads, "husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church and died for us" is the one line that is iterated to the men. So we enter the marriage with those two thoughts: wives have to submit to their husband, and husbands have to love their wife enough to die for her.

I think most men hear that and think, "Oh! I could do that! No problem!", while thinking in the back of their mind, "What's the chance that I'll actually have to die for her?!?" Their thoughts are along the lines of, "If our house is broken into, I'll protect her and take a bullet to keep her safe, if necessary. (While thinking, "But if I do, she better grab the phone and call the police!") In the grand scheme of things, few men have been called upon to die for their wife, so many take this lightly. They feel as if they just have to have the willingness to give their life for their wife, if necessary; but really don't think that will ever happen. So hearing this, they don't fully understand what the scripture is saying; and fail to read the entire passage in order to receive the full command given to them.

Husbands are to demonstrate their love for their wife in the same way that Jesus demonstrates His love for the church, His bride. How does Jesus do that?

He loves us unconditionally, regardless of our mistakes or how often we mess up. He quickly forgives. He has great compassion for us. He pursues us, even when we've been stinkers and don't deserve to be pursued. He always wants the best for us. He listens to us. He has un-ending patience. He protects us and provides for our every need. He is steadfast and strong, dependable and faithful. He cherishes us. He sees us as His special treasure. He is always near when we need Him. He is with us in sickness, health, good times and bad times, and will never leave us. He showers unexpected blessings upon us -- just because He delights in us. That is just a few ways that Jesus demonstrates His love for us. One of the biggest is that when we were still sinners, He died for us. He gave Himself, suffering and dying, when we least deserved it.

Jesus calls us His beloved. He calls us His bride. Husbands, let me say this: your wife is not "my old lady" or "the old woman" or the old hag, nag, or bag. From the day you marry her until the day one of you die, she is your bride! When you stop thinking of her as your bride, and start putting other less-desirable labels on her, is when you will stop treating her as your treasured beloved. She never stops being your bride, and you should never stop thinking of her as your bride.

That works both ways. Wives, your husband should never be called or thought of as "my old man", but as your most beloved husband; your lover, your protector, your provider, the one whom you can depend on and trust. Just as you think of Jesus as your beloved bridegroom, you should also think of your husband in that same respect.

Consider this: Do you think that Jesus ever gets to the point where He takes us for granted, or He stops thinking of us as His beloved bride and starts referring to us as My old lady or the old woman or another degrading term? I understand that sometimes this is said and done in humor or an attempt at humor by the husband, but honestly, it shows disrespect for the woman that God blessed you with as your wife. She should forever and always be your bride!

Jesus sacrificed His own wants and desires in order to do what was best for His bride, the church. He came for the purpose of giving His life, but when it came time to actually be tortured and crucified, Jesus prayed to the Father and said, "If it be possible, please let this cup pass from me! Nevertheless, not My will, but Your will be done." He was here on earth in human form, and at that moment, knowing what was laying before Him seemed overwhelming and too much. But Jesus was willing to go through it, if it be the Father's will, out of love for His bride.

Sometimes men, you may have to sacrifice your own desires and wants in order to do what is best for your bride. It probably won't require torture or dying, but it likely will require you being selfless and giving up something that you want. If you do it, then want applause from your wife or want to make sure you get her praise for your selflessness, you're going to become angry or bitter or offended if her response isn't as wonderful and heartfelt as you think it should be. If you do it while saying, "I just want you to know what I'm giving up for you," wanting her to feel guilty for your sacrifice (and hoping that she says you don't have to do it) then it's not going to mean as much to her. If you do it selfishly, you're going to want due praise and attention and thanks. If you do it purely out of love and devotion to your wife, she will know that and it will mean the world to her.

Jesus serves and satisfies the members of His body, His bride. He does it because He likes to pamper His bride and make us happy and bring us delight and joy. He doesn't sit on His throne and demand our loyalty, although He deeply desires it. He serves us.... He satisfies us... He pampers us.... He takes pleasure in giving us good gifts... He blesses us.... and takes delight in doing those things.

What is the result? As His bride, it makes me want to please Him in return and honor Him. I desire to serve Him and my heart overflows with so much love. I am committed to putting Jesus first and honoring the vow that I made to Him, regardless of what life throws my way. I delight in giving gifts to Him. I take joy in being with Him and spending time with Him is my most favorite thing to do. I thrive and excel under His praise and encouragement. In His presence is my favorite place to be. Hopefully, that is how you feel, also.

If the husband fully follows the example given by Jesus in how to fully love and care for his bride, then he can expect his bride to respond in kind.

When we were dating, Jon and I saw the play entitled Annie Get Your Gun. In it is a popular show tune called, "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better." The song is sung between the lead man and woman, and basically it is the two of them arguing, thinking that they can do certain things better than the other. The main lyrics is, "Anything you can do, I can do better; I can do anything better than you."

Jon and I have jokingly brought that song up several times during the past thirteen-plus years. We have never been serious, thank goodness, but if we are competing in a game or whatever, one of us might laughingly start singing that line, "Anything you can do, I can do better!"

Sadly, that's not a joke between many couples. They are always in competition with one another and feel as if they have to prove that they are better or more capable than their spouse. Perhaps they lack self-confidence or self-worth and are always struggling to validate themselves.

Putting your husband or wife down and criticizing them, whether in private or public, is never okay. Belittling your spouse is never scriptural. You can't show true love and follow the example set before us by Jesus when acting this way. It's never okay.

Honestly, I think that there is one word that best sums up how Jesus is as a bridegroom to His bride; and the example and expectations of of God regarding the husband. That word is gallant.

Gallant means: brave, courageous, valiant, lionhearted; but it also means chivalrous, princely, gentlemanly, honorable, courteous, polite, mannerly, attentive, respectful, gracious, considerate, and thoughtful.

The descriptions of gallant perfectly describes Jesus. It is a perfect description of Him as our Bridegroom and how He loves and treats His bride. Therefore, I believe that in following the example set before him by Jesus, gallant is what all men should strive for as husbands in how they love and treat their bride; as well as in how they show respect for others.

I encourage you men to become gallant, godly men of God and husbands! And when they do so, wives react as true godly ladies, being courteous and thankful.

When both the husband and wife study and strive to follow the instructions given to them in Ephesians chapter five, I believe that they will obtain a level in their marriage that they have never experienced; as well as being mirror-images of Christ and His bride, the church, reflecting to the world what God's plan for a godly marriage looks like.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

God knows the desires of our hearts. But sometimes, He waits for us to speak them aloud, and ask for them.

Husbands also want their wives to ask for what they desire. But that's because we usually don't have a clue what women want. Of course, we need to say what we want, too; often many times.

Thankfully, God is unendingly patient, and His mercies are new every morning. He never gives up on us. Husbands aren't always so patient, even if we know we need to be.

We need to try to remember again and again and again, that however we want God to be toward us, forgiving, patient, giving, etc., we should be that way toward our wives, too.

ON THE MENEWE:

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajita Soup

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 cup salsa

2 cups frozen corn

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1-1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Spray your crockpot with cooking spray. Add chicken to the bottom of the crockpot.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, salsa, corn, black beans, water, cumin, and cilantro. Pour over the top of chicken.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Remove the chicken and shred with two forks. Place back into the crockpot and add shredded cheese. Continue cooking until cheese has melted, about 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Suggested toppings: sour cream, diced tomatoes, cilantro, diced avocado, tortilla strips

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

I think most little girls grow up dreaming of what she desires in a husband and daydreaming of what he may look like and what career he may have. What will his hair and eye color be.... will he be a minister, police officer, doctor, construction worker, businessman, fireman... etc, etc....

I grew up thinking that I would marry a preacher. I sang and played piano, so thought I'd make a good preacher's wife. Maybe he would even be a good singer and we'd sing together. We could either pastor a church or evangelize. If I didn't marry a preacher, then maybe I'd marry a singer and we'd travel all over the country on a big bus and sing at churches and at other venues.

God knew exactly who I needed as my husband, and Jon is neither a preacher nor is he a singer. I didn't even know what an engineer or a computer programmer was until I met Jon! I mean, I had heard of train engineers, but had no idea that there were so many other different fields in engineering. I never envisioned myself married to a geek!

I'm thankful that God, in His great wisdom, knows exactly who to put together as husband and wife. When we truly pray and ask for His plan for our life, what He does often amazes us. Jon and I are truly very different from one another, but God knew that neither of us needed someone exactly like us, but we each needed someone who would sharpen us and make us better and stronger and wiser individuals.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

If you want God to close and open doors, let go of the doorknob. - TobyMac

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org