A Thinking Marriage

Many years ago, I discovered a few secrets that transformed my marriage. Don’t get the wrong idea. We didn’t fight. We didn’t have major issues—well, that’s not exactly true. My major issue in marriage was between my ears. It was an attitude issue. It was wrong thinking.

For example, I’ll share some of the problems I had, along with others that are typical.

  • He didn’t …
  • I hate it when he …
  • Why can’t he …?
  • I wish he would …
  • I know he could have …
  • I feel lonely.
  • I do all of this (accompanied with a list). Doesn’t he see?
  • I need a hug / kiss / whatever.
  • “Mr. Smith” gives his wife roses. Why doesn’t my husband?
  • “Mr. Smith” takes his wife to beautiful restaurants and on cruises—unlike my husband.
  • My husband never tells me he thinks I’m beautiful. (“Mr. Smith” compliments me at work.)
  • My husband spends too much.
  • My husband is cheap.
  • My husband is great with the kids and others. Why isn’t he sweet with me?
  • My husband is grouchy.
  • My husband is (anything negative and judgmental).
  • My husband doesn’t lead the family spiritually.
  • I don’t see my husband praying, reading his Bible, etc.
  • My husband doesn’t pray with me.
  • My husband is not Spirit-filled.
  • He leaves his clothing on the floor.
  • He forgets to clean up after himself.
  • He doesn’t even notice he (something else that bugs you).

We could go on and on.

Looking back over my list, I can make a few observations:

  • I am thinking only about what pleases me.
  • I am thinking about his shortcomings.
  • I am comparing him to another man/men.
  • I am judging his spirituality, motives, actions, etc.
  • I am actually thinking I know better than he does.

Let’s turn this around. Would you like your husband to think these same ways about you? Of course not.

The Bible gives us the perfect outline for marriage. Of course, there are instructions for husbands, but we’ll limit this blog post to our side of the issue and see what we can learn—specifically what kinds of thinking we’re supposed to use. The Bible is the most amazing Book. It’s God’s Word. And, one thing that surprises me is there aren’t a lot of key passages written for wives. So, God makes it easy for us. Let’s explore them.

Read these passages looking for how a wife is to think about her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:2-5 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

Obviously, this is mostly about the physical relationship in marriage, but we can learn something about communication, here. It’s obvious that the husband and wife both have a say in their relationship—a mutual understanding—even when it comes to prayer and fasting.

1 Corinthians 7:34There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

A married woman cares about pleasing her husband.* It’s the major difference between her and a single woman.

Ephesians 5:22-24, 33   Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing…. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Submission has gotten a bad rap. Submission is actually accepting that one’s husband is the head of the family, just as Jesus is the head of the church. It is the position of leadership in the family—a reflection of the way He ordered the Godhead. Wives are not less than their husbands, but they yield to their husband’s leadership. (You can’t have two leaders.) This passage says in everything, and uses the term reverence, which means respect. This is talking about voluntarily yielding to your husband’s leadership.

Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

This is the same concept of submission we saw in the Ephesians passage, above.

Titus 2:3-5  The aged (mature) women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Mature Christian women are to be examples and teachers of a godly lifestyle, which includes loving their husbands and being obedient to their own husbands.

1 Peter 3:1-6   Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

This passage begins with the believing woman who’s married to a man who isn’t born again. The word fear is a biblical word which means respect. Then, the passage talks about the adorning of women. It says the outside fancy stuff isn’t what a Christian woman should be known for. She should be known for a meek (strength under control) and quiet spirit—which God values. It goes on to say that women should recognize their husbands as heads of their households and gives the example of Sara.

So, if we put all of this together, what kind of thinking should we have towards our husbands?

  1. Respect. It doesn’t say he has to earn it, deserve it, or even that he has to be a believer. A Christian wife is to show respect to her husband.
  2. Submission. Submission is yielding. It means the husband has the last word. The couple can discuss anything together openly, but the decision—and its consequences—are the responsibility of the husband.
  3. Love. Our thinking should be motivated by love.

Many years ago, I turned around my negative thoughts about my husband. I started respecting him, loving him, and dwelling on what is good about him. I recognized his position of leadership in our family. I turned my marriage around.

Because, when you obey the Bible, wonderful things can happen.

*Note: Pleasing one’s husband, obedience, and submission are not talking about accepting abuse. If your husband mistreats you, please reach out to someone and get help. You might want to read my posts about spousal abuse: https://intheway-lk.blogspot.com/2017/09/i-will-make-you-submit-domestic-abuse.html and https://intheway-lk.blogspot.com/2017/06/ten-red-flags-in-relationships-how-to_3.html.

Trans Formed

Today, people are transforming themselves from what they are to what they think they should be. It’s happened all through history, though now, transitioning is more accepted in mainstream societies.

As children, we used to do this through make-believe play. I’ve been a princess, a pirate, a gypsy, and more—with the help of a few costume pieces and lots of imagination.

The transitions happening today aren’t child’s play. They include, but aren’t limited to, gender dysforia. A person thinks he should be in a different body, so the medical community helps him transform his body. They use drugs, surgery, and hair removal to achieve this. It changes the person’s outside, but it will never change his DNA.

It’s a lot like me “being” a pirate when I was a child. I could act the part, look (more or less) like a mini-pirate, but the truth was I was still a small girl dressing up.

Some time ago, I watched a video of a young woman who’s convinced she’s a cat. She talks in purrs, dresses in a costume complete with tail and ears, and she scratches and meows. I’m not sure if she’s seriously delusional or if she has a deep need for attention, but she’s obviously a person in a cat costume, acting out cat behavior. She isn’t and never will be a real cat. She won’t land on her feet if dropped from a high place. Sad, indeed.

Did you know the Bible says that people should be transformed?

  • But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).
  • But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life (Romans 6:22).
  • And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2).
  • But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).

There’s a lot of confusion in this world. Did you know that Satan and demons can morph themselves into looking good? And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Leaders can make wrong acts seem right.

This is what God says about them. Read carefully; it’s strong talk about topics that affect us today. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (Romans 1:22-32).

Wow! Let’s take this passage apart, so that we’re understanding what God wants us to know.

  • People who say they know it all are actually displaying their foolishness.
  • The people described in this passage represented God as an image that wasn’t God—idolatry.
  • When they worshipped other things, God gave them free reign to exercise their own lusts. These desires include all kinds of deviant sexual activities as well as the list of wicked acts, which includes boasting, disobedience to parents, envy, and breaking promises.
  • The people who sin in these ways, deserve death. (Keep in mind, they have already rejected God.) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).)
  • It’s also a sin for others to derive vicarious pleasure from those who do these things (Hollywood films, TV, reality shows, etc.).

It shouldn’t surprise us that the world is getting worse. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13).

Thankfully, there’s hope!

God can transform hearts. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).

God can heal hurts, and He forgets our sins. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:7). For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more (Hebrews 8:12).

God can give us joy. Jesus said, These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full (John 15:11).

Do you need God to transform your life?

Let the Lord take it and make it beautiful. Go to Him. Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

If you are a born again Christian, do you have sin problems?

God can transform you, too. This verse was written to Christians: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Outrage

As I watched the people in the gallery cheer and clap over Governor Cuomo’s signing of the new abortion bill allowing abortions up until birth, I was overcome.

How could a room full of beautiful women be happy about this?

How could any woman be okay with this?

Why wouldn’t a person hang his head in shame for approving such a thing?

But, I saw a table of people smiling and looking very pleased with themselves for allowing abortion up until the moment of birth.

And then, they lit up the World Trade Center pink—in celebration of abortion!

I cry with the shame of it.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines abortion this way: “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.”

If someone is no longer pregnant, something awful has happened to the baby. Either it happened naturally, as in a miscarriage, or it was induced. In every case, abortion results in “the death of the embryo or fetus.”

Death.

A baby’s death.

It is federal crime in the United States to disturb the nest or egg (unborn bird) of the bald or golden eagle.

There are rules and regulations about mammals, lab animals, and pets, especially dogs and cats. They must be handled mercifully. They must not suffer much pain. They should live in a controlled climate. You can’t starve your pets or mistreat them.

And, that’s good.

One of the things that outrages me about today’s ruling is that abortion has been going on for years already, some as late as birth. Partial-birth abortions are done at the moment of birth, when the head crowns, and a little afterwards. Yet, the progressive state of New York makes killing its little ones a badge of glory.

I am angry.

So is God.

He insisted on judgment for abortion and murder of the mothers. Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border (Amos 1:13).

For accidental death caused by foolish fighting, the Old Testament Law says, If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine (Exodus 21:22).

God is the Giver of life. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

God is the Designer of the human body. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:13-16).

God loves His creation. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Genesis 1:31). For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

One of the Ten Commandments is: Thou shalt not kill (Exodus 20:13). Anyone who does an abortion causes a baby who was alive to die. That is active killing, and God does not approve.

Abortion has been legally allowed in the United States since 1973. Over 60 million babies have been killed since then. (Compare that with the 11 million people who were killed in the Holocaust over a 4-year period.) More than five Holocausts of innocent babies have been murdered—and only in one country!

I sincerely hope that Governor Cuomo and others who were smiling at that table become a catalyst for outrage.

Decent people don’t kill.

Decent people don’t murder babies.

Decent people don’t smile, clap, and cheer about dead children.

God hates killing and is pro-life.

Today, through my tears, I am outraged.

A Phrase for 2019


A lot of my organized friends have already chosen a word or a theme for the new year. The more “with it” friends had chosen theirs before the end of last year. Instead of thinking very deeply in December, I was visiting with my family. So now, home again and jet lagged, I have time to meditate, pray more, and look somewhat sanely at the year ahead.

It’s already full of mountains and valleys. It’s unsure. I find myself wondering, anxious, and questioning.

It’s barely begun.

I’m the kind of person who likes to know what’s going to happen, so I can prepare.

But, who can prepare me for the unknown? Who can lead me through the labyrinth of this year? Who will take me by the hand? And, whom can I trust—completely?

Who’s the best provider? Who will show me the way, if I am only willing to trust?

I’m sure you’ve guessed. The Lord. God.

He has led me all my life. Even before my birth He knew me. He saved me when I was a young lady. He has led me in so many marvelous adventures and carried me through the awful times. He’s the One who knew my limits when I couldn’t take any more. He’s the One who meets me through His Word.

The Lord is amazing. He knows everything—all about 2019. Time doesn’t limit Him. He is everywhere, all the time, preparing my way. He hears my prayers and knows my needs before I even know them myself.

So, I will trust.

Remembering His faithfulness through my fifty-year walk with Jesus, I know by experience that He delights in doing the impossible—in surprising me with His goodness. (Though, why should I be surprised? God is good.)

God loves and cares for me. It never ceases to amaze me that He actually cares for a silly person with an abstract mind. He cares for me personally, and the awesome God who created the universe constantly shows me his love. He loved me so much He gave His lifeblood for me—and is preparing a place for me.

Knowing God’s character, I can trust Him in every detail of 2019.

I told you I can see the bumps and valleys. I have a feeling God sees 2019 as one straight, level line. And my labyrinth? He knows the way. It’s already mapped and memorized.

I need only to hold His hand.

What’s my phrase for 2019?

“trusting God through the labyrinth”

We’ll get through it together—around every twist and turn. And, I promise I’ll tell you all about it as we go!

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man (Psalm 118:8).

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105).

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

A Pessimist’s Secret to Joy

You know the people who see the glass half empty instead of half full? Most of my pessimist friends call themselves realists, and perhaps that’s an acurate characterization. Let’s face it; the world’s a mess. Looking around or just turning on the news is enough to bring a tear to any eye. So, how can we have joy in the middle of a world that’s clearly the pits?

It’s an age-old question. When the children of Israel were carried away to Babylon, they asked, How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land? (Psalm 137:4) The Lord’s people have been asking that question ever since. How can a Christian have joy in the middle of sorrow? How can he rejoice always, as commanded in Philippians 4:4? Isn’t that being unrealistic? Even a little bit goofy? Can a person really have deep, abiding joy? I mean, live in joy?

Yes.

Everyone has emotions. And, everyone passes through unspeakable sorrows. No one is immune from extreme situations that crop up all through his life. Since Adam, there have been pains, sicknesses … and weeds in the garden.

So, what about joy? How does a person get it?

Let’s do a short Bible study together, okay? First, we find references to joy. (There are a lot of them!) Then, we’ll group them together by themes. What are the motivations for joy? What’s the Bible saying? How do we get it and what is its source?

Throughout the Bible, joy is found in:

  • victory over enemies
  • worship
  • the dedication of the Temple
  • offerings, sacrifices, feast days
  • God’s defense, strength, presence, leadership, glory, excellence, might
  • God Himself
  • righteousness, one’s forgiveness, salvation
  • the city of Jerusalem
  • wise discernment
  • parenting a wise child
  • when the magi saw the star of Bethlehem
  • Jesus’ birth and resurrection
  • Jesus’ teaching of the “Kingdom Parables”
  • disciples’ power given them by the Lord
  • Angels have joy over each sinner who repents
  • the Word of God itself
  • serving the Lord
  • prayer
  • faith
  • encouragement from other Christians
  • looking forward to everlasting joy

What’s the source of joy? All through Scripture, it is God Himself. He is the Source. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). When a person is in Christ, he has joy, because he has the Holy Spirit abiding in him. He doesn’t have to manufacture joy. He doesn’t have to make himself walk around with a silly grin on his face, like everything is just wonderful. He doesn’t have to fake it. He already has joy.

Joy begins with trusting Christ in salvation. The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! (Psalm 21:1) Do you know the Lord?

When you trust Christ, the Holy Spirit abides in you and gives you joy. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17). Even the angels in heaven rejoice when someone is saved. Jesus said, Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth (Luke 15:10).

How does a person get saved? It’s only by placing one’s whole trust in Jesus’ payment for his sins on the cross. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:9, 13). Have you called out to Jesus to save you?

You might say, “I’m a Christian and a pessimist. I see the negative side of every situation and every person, too. I’m distrustful of happy people.”

I understand you. And, I fully believe the secret to joy is a matter of focus and trust—in God. In the Scriptures, joy is often accompanied by words like peace and faith and hope and love.

Even when his circumstances are horrible, a Christian can have deep joy. This doesn’t mean he is always laughing ha ha and never feels hurt. It means he knows that the Lord is there with him through the pain. It means he can rely on the biblical fact that God is always good and He cares. It means trust. I love this passage from Habakkuk. Things were going wrong—very wrong—yet the prophet shows his trust and joy in the Lord. Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

Another source of joy is the Bible. Jesus said, These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full (John 15:11). His Word, abiding in us, gives total joy. What a concept! Indeed, biblical thinking, as outlined in Philippians 4:8, shows us how to discipline ourselves into a more positive outlook.

Let’s look at a few more verses about joy. Let them speak to your heart.

  • Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:11).
  • For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
  • Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart (Psalm 32:11).
  • Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit (Psalm 51:12).

And, one more passage. It’s a doxology, a blessing near the end of the Bible:

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling,

and to present you faultless before the presence

of his glory with exceeding joy,

To the only wise God our Saviour,

be glory and majesty, dominion and power,

both now and ever. Amen.

(Jude 1:24-25)