Monday, March 26, 2007

Pray For Your Beloved ~ Sacrificial Love

This week, we're going to pray for our husband to love us. I have often wondered at Scripture instructing husbands to love their wives. Why would it state what would seem to be obvious? Well, maybe it's not as obvious as it should be, or perhaps godly love is not so naturally attained. We will discuss and pray about the passionate love later, but this week we are focusing on sacrificial love.

Scripture gives specific instruction to husbands on loving their wives, but as I was reading through various verses, I was impressed with the example that God gives husbands in Joseph. The Gospel of Matthew gives us an account of this amazing man. "And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit'...When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus." Matthew 1:19-20, 24-25 ESV. What a testimony of sacrificial love! Here is a man who must have felt betrayed and deeply wounded when he found out that Mary was with child, and yet he didn't want to bring shame upon her. Once God had made His plan apparent to Joseph, he willingly took Mary for his wife, and "knew her not" until after the baby was born. Now that's sacrificial love! He was married without the physical benefits of the sexual relationship for the duration of her pregnancy, plus the 33 days of purification after the birth of the baby (see Lev. 12:4).

God intends for the husband/wife relationship to be a model of the relationship between Christ and the church. Christ loves His church sacrificially, having given up His life for her. This is how God wants men to love their wives. "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV

I think it is not an easy task for our husbands. I know that often I am not very loveable, and yet, that is what he is called to do. He is to love me in a way that sanctifies me; in a way that shows the world what Christ's love looks like. What an awesome responsibility!

Perhaps it is made easier for them if we fulfill our responsibility to be submissive and honoring to them. If we graciously accept the place God has given us, as co-heirs of grace ~ yes; but following joyfully, embracing our role as his helpmeet. "Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are co-heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." 1 Peter 3:7 ESV

I will gently remind you at this point, that this is not about *you*. The point of this week's prayer is not to cause you to be discontent. Nor is it for you to suggest to him how he might behave, or just plain nag at him. Our desire should be to see our husband become more Christ-like, for God's glory and for his good. We will benefit, that's true, but that is a blessed side effect, not the purpose. So lift him before the Throne of Grace, fully believing that God will draw him to Himself, and refine him further into the image of Christ.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Who Are You?

I love being my husband's wife! I am honored when people make the connection of who I am.
"Oh, you're Coach Dole's wife."
"You must be Mrs. Dole"
"Are you Charles' wife?"

I have heard women lament "losing" their identity when they got married. I don't think that we "lose" our identity when we marry, but what if we do? The Bible gives us the "one flesh" mandate in Genesis. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Gen. 2:24 ESV That entails a whole lot more than the sexual relationship. We should be one in purpose, vision, flesh, spiritually, ~ everything.

My Beloved works at the local grocery store. They have a stock clerk who can never remember my name, so she calls me Mrs. Charles. She always apologizes, but I love it! It is who I am. Other than being known as a child of God, the best thing I can be known as is the wife of my Beloved! Is he a perfect man? By no means. In fact, he has plenty of faults. ;-) But, he is the one I was created for, and he loves me - with all my ugliness. I decided a long time ago that God called me to be a wife and mother. If that is all I am known as, then so be it. I love it when young people come up to me, and say, "You're Coach Dole's wife, aren't you?" or, "Are you Will/Levi/Garth's mom?" These are my God-given responsibilities and priviledge! That is my identity. Being your husband's wife is your identity - embrace it!

Marriage is to be a model of Christ and the church. Should the church want an identity separate from that of her Lord? If she isn't easily identified as Christ's bride, then what is she? Nothing. In the same way, what am I if I am not easily identified as my Beloved's bride?

I am an extension of him and his household. The things I do should reflect positively on him. People should know that if I am involved in something, my Beloved has given his blessing, and by proxy he is involved as well.

So, today I ask you, "Who are you?"

Monday, March 19, 2007

Moondance Monday

"Well, it's a marvelous night for a Moondance,
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance..."
Van Morrison, 1970 Caledonia Soul Music

Initiate, dear sisters! Are you a wife who initiates love making with her husband, or is it always up to him to initiate intimacy? Surprise him tonight, and get things started. There are many and various ways to go about it. You know your husband, and so, you should know what would get his "motor runnin'", so to speak.

Some ideas might be:
*Put on some sexy stockings under your everyday dress/skirt and give him a glimpse now and then throughout the evening.
*Whisper sweet somethings into his ear, giving him a preview of things to come.
*Give him a neck and shoulder rub, hinting that it's "just the beginning".
*Slip him a love note as he walks in the door.
*Get into bed before him, and be waiting...with an inviting smile on.
*When he walks in from work, ask him if he has a few minutes. Tell him you have something you need to talk over with him in private ~ then have a quick session of lovemaking.
*Set up a "code" word or phrase that will signal to him that he has something to look forward to at bedtime. Men enjoy knowing that they are definitely going to be making love *tonight* (or this morning, this afternoon, or whenever), and if they can talk about it in an un-obvious way, it's even better.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pray for Your Beloved ~ Leadership

This week we are praying for our husband's leadership abilities. God expects His sons to be leaders. They are to take the lead at home, in the church, and at work. They are not necessarily going to be *in the lead* in all those areas, but to be kept from being led astray, they should have the qualities of a leader.

In Genesis, we have the dominion mandate, "And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" Genesis 1:28 From the beginning, God has expected His sons to take dominion. Webster's 1828 dictionary defines dominion as: "1. Sovereign or supreme authority; the power of governing and controlling. 2. Power to direct, control, use and dispose of at pleasure; right of possession and use without being accountable; as the private dominion of individuals." Telling man to take dominion was another way of saying, "Be a leader."

At home, God expects men to lead. This is clear from the order given to us in Scripture. 1 Corinthians 11:3 tells us, "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God."; and Ephesians 5:22-23, "Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior." The "head" of the wife is her husband. He is to lead her, and that is difficult to do if he's following from behind. He is not only to lead his wife, he is to lead his children as well. Psalm 78:5-7 says, "He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children," and Ephesians 6:4, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." God speaks directly to the fathers in the teaching of the children. Even if Daddy cannot be there to physically teach, he should be the one who is directing the education of the children.

We also need to pray for them to be leaders at work. For instance, where my Beloved works, there are only a few Christians, and so it can be difficult for him to stand firm. Not because he is especially weak, but because he is a sinful human, and we often sink to the lowest common denominator. I make it a practice to pray for him regularly to be a godly man, to be a witness to those at work, and for people to notice a difference in him and the way he lives. These are all a part of being a leader and not a follower. I want to encourage you to pray with confidence! These are prayers that God will answer. Although my Beloved does stumble, he is known as someone who people can go to when they are having problems. If they are short of money, and need groceries or gas, they know that they can go to him, and if he can, he will help them. He is a man of "good repute." While his personality plays into this, I believe that much of it is God's faithful answer to a wife's humble prayer.

May God bless you as you lift your husband before Him this week.

Scripture references taken from The English Standard Version

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Pray for Your Beloved ~ Integrity

Webster's 1828 dictionary defines integrity as: "The entire, unimpaired state of any thing, particularly of the mind; moral soundness or purity; incorruptness; uprightness; honesty. Integrity comprehends the whole moral character, but has a special reference to uprightness in mutual dealings, transfers of property, and agencies for others.

It has been said that the true test of character is how we behave when no one is watching. The believer knows however, that someone (God), is always watching. Integrity entails more than how we behave when *no one* is watching, it specifically refers to how we behave in dealing with others. God desires for men who belong to Him to walk in uprightness and honesty. He thought so much of Job, that He directed Satan's attention to him. "And the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.'" Job 2:3 ESV (emphasis, mine).

How often do we hear someone talk about Christians and they are derogatory, because the people they have come into contact with have been dishonest, or disloyal, or any number of negative things. How this must grieve the heart of God. Everyone admires a man of true integrity, and yet, they are rare. This week, I want to encourage you to pray for you husband to be a man of integrity. Many Christian men have good intentions, but often life gets in the way of them following through, and thus, exhibiting true integrity. Pray that God would enable them to be more than good intentions, but that they would be men who follow through. Pray that they would have integrity in every area of their lives; at home, at church, at work. Pray you husband would be characterized by integrity; that when people think of him they would think of someone who is morally sound, pure, incorruptible, upright and honest.

"The righteous who walks in his integrity - blessed are his children after him!" Proverbs 20:7 ESV What a precious things that our husband's integrity brings blessings on our children! This is something that even non-Christians can recognize. Whether your husband is a believer or not, pray for his integrity. The effects will be far-reaching.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Predictable = Boring?

Well, it's Saturday, and that means...
Or maybe it's Thursday and...perhaps Monday is the day...
Although some may think it's boring, we have found having a "regular" night for love making to be fun! ;-) All day on that particular day, looks are exchanged, questions asked, "Is it Saturday?" , and anticipation builds.

Predictability can be exciting! Of course, I'm not encouraging you to keep to one day a week, because variety is the "spice of life" as well. If you're looking to shake things up a bit, if you want to put the sparkle back into your beloved's eye ~ try being predictable!