What is your husband's favorite dish? My hubby loves pan cakes. If it wouldn’t be for my vote we would have them on the menu every day. As the name suggests, they are made in a pan. Since moving to Ireland and for the last couple of years I have been trying to bend over backwards to make decent pan cakes but I have failed so many times. I've got so frustrated that I almost quit making them. And, I have spent a fortune on frying pans. The last one I have bought cost €35 and even that one didn’t do the job.
Maybe I cannot cook the way I used to? I often wondered. Or, perhaps the stoves (hobs) in Ireland are just so very different than the ones we used to have in Germany? I’ll have to admit that a few frying pans went into the bin because I’ve bought the wrong ones for the stove. However, the one I have bought for €35 is supposed to be made for all kinds of stoves. It did not work, though — and it almost went into the bin as well. The only reason I have kept it was that it had been so expensive and dear to me.
The other day my husband bought a new hob for me. It’s one of these single hot plates, an induction one. Guess what? Yes! Hubby’s favorite dish came out just fine. Meaning, the frying pan you see in the picture above is perfectly made for the stove.
Having the perfect appliance but using wrong cookware on it will not lead to good results. And, even the best cookware won’t work on the wrong appliance. Sometimes we are so eager to find the perfect match that we rush into something we might deeply regret later on.
God knows us well. He has made us!
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18)
God made us for (our) man. He has made us the perfect match for the one He has made us for. F. B. Meyer wrote in his commentary that Eve was, therefore, given to crown his bliss; taken from his side, as afterward the Church from the opened side of Christ. What a wonderful thought.
One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. (Psalm 145:4)
We need to hear the Word of the LORD, what He tells us to do in Deuteronomy 6:4-9
4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
According to verse 7,
Your husband and you decided to start family worship at home but you are unsure of how to do it? Don't worry. There is help out there to get you started.
Joel Beeke, writes in the second chapter of his booklet Family Worship* about Joshua 24. Later on he refers to Deuteronomy 11:18-19 which is a review of Deuteronomy 6:6-7. (Ever heard a preacher tell you that if it is repeated it is very important and that we need to pay special attention to the words?) Later on, in the same chapter, he tells us a little more about the how-to of family worship: Instruction in the Word of God, Prayer, and singing praise to God. He continues to give more practical tips on time and place of worship.
If you are not yet in the habit of doing family worship at home, I urge you to take the opportunity to download this 35-page booklet which will give you a great insight into the importance and will give you a good start of how to do it. At the end of the booklet he will get into Objections Against Family Worship and Motivations for Family Worship.
*Family Worship, by Joel Beeke: You can find, read and download it at NTS Library
The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible: This Study Bible contains the complete KJV text, notes/comments on verses, and at the end of each chapter you will find Thoughts for Personal/Family Worship which digs deeper into the chapter and how it relates to other parts of the Bible and offers some questions/thoughts for (Bible study/family/worship) discussion. You can find the eBook there: The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible - EBOOK where you can also take a look at a samples that contains 64 pages.
One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. (Psalm 145:4)
Some of us had been raised in Christian homes, while others had not been. Some of us had been brought up in the training and admonition of the Lord, others had not been. No matter what, after we are born again, we need to be very careful not to fall into the same trap that some of our fathers did.
In Judges we are told over and again how Israel turned away from the LORD. After a while they were in deep trouble. So, in their despair, they cried out to the LORD. He saved them. Then, for a period of time, they served the LORD. But later on, again, they turned from the LORD.
I regret just how often and how easily I have given into peer pressure in my 20s. And then I often wondered how different my life could have been, had I been growing up in a Christian home.
George Grant, author of In the Shadow of Plenty says that the bad influence the pagan nations had on Israel after they have come out of Egypt was not the problem. No, it was that the people of Israel did not want to rely on God alone. They made alliances with others, they did not what God had told them to do, they did not let go of things that God had warned them about. They did not trust that God would supply all their needs and that He would be their King.
I would say that my grandma was definitely a Christian. She read her Bible every morning, and she prayed with us children. She reminded my mom to keep on praying with us and to make sure we would learn the things of God. Well, my parents prayed with us until we were about ten years of age and they sent us to Sunday School and they made sure we had confirmation in the Lutheran Church. But that was about it. I often thought: What happened from one generation to the next? Have you ever asked this question? Maybe you have come to the same conclusion than I did: The next generation was rebellious and did not listen to their parents. So they went astray.
Well, that could have been one of the reasons but perhaps not the reason.
Listen to what Judges 2:10 says:
When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.
They did not know the LORD? They did not know the work which He had done for Israel? Why not? Surely not (only) because they did not want to listen later on in life. Surely also because their parents had not taught them. Their family might have told them bits and pieces but wanted to leave the decision (of whether to be a Christian or not) to their children. Or, their parents have left it to the Sunday School teacher to tell them about God. Yes, of course, a Christian home does not make you a true Christian. God tells us that we must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom. However, God has given these children to us so we will teach them His ways.
More coming up on Monday: Family Worship Time - Part Two, which will include some practical tips and a booklet suggestion.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all."
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.
(Proverbs 31:28-31 NKJV)
This is for you, my precious friend and beloved sister in Christ - and to you, girls, who are insecure whenever praises are directed at you.
Notice that the praises the woman of Proverbs 31 is receiving are not coming from herself, which wouldn't be right (Proverbs 27:2). Instead, her children, her husband, others, and her works are the ones who praise her.
This woman is a great blessing to her family, her friends, and her neighbors. Her children stand up for her mom and call her blessed. Her husband praises her for he is convinced neither his own nor any other daughter could ever keep nor make his house the home his wife does. His love looks beyond her charm and beauty; he acknowledges that because of her love to God she is able to help him in the way she does. Her works are praising her, they speak louder than any words could ever do.
Back to you, my precious friend. ...
Did you see that soft glance in your husband's eyes while you were sharing something about the good old days? Have you noticed how his shoulder moved closer to yours after you've taken your seat next to him? Did you hear his tone of admiration when he mentioned that dish you are cooking so well? How about your children? You may think you have failed in one or another way but have a good look at them! Not too close, my friend! Keep a bit of a distance to see them through the eyes of someone who isn't part of your family. You will see how comfortable they feel in your home and how much they love you.
Myself? At times, yes, I find myself having trouble accepting praise. That usually happens when I'm in doubt of deserving it or if I question the honesty of it. And, sadly, I do find myself desiring approval from others now and then. On the other side, whenever I read Proverbs 31:23, I become more and more aware of what is giving me the greatest pleasure of all (praise):
Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
(Proverbs 31:23 NKJV)
Now, understand, this doesn't necessarily regard his place in the church. It might talk about his achievement at work or a position he is having within the community. A wife has quite an influence in her man's life: she can either support and encourage him and advance his reputation, or she can nag and drag him down. Remember, encouragement and praises mean a lot to your husband. I'll share some ideas about this in one of my future posts.
Heard a great sermon from 1 Corinthians 11 about headship and head covering last Sunday. I want to share a little bit about it and another sermon that was preached in the same church a few weeks ago.
We know the verses in Ephesians that talk about a man loving his wife as Christ loves the Church and about the wife submitting to her husband as the Church submits to Christ. This has always been the picture I have kept in mind. However, things changed after a I have heard a sermon on this a couple of weeks ago and a reminder of it mentioned yesterday.
Think of it, we have to submit to our husband as the Church submits to Christ. But does the individual local church always submit to Christ as the Head of the Church? So, if even the church slips I shouldn't feel that guilty if now and then I don't submit, should I? Well... You see, both preachers mentioned that, in God's order, there needs to be a "loving authority" and a "loving submission". Both of the men pointed to the words found in the first book to the Corinthians and in Ephesians but also to the fact of the relationship between God and Jesus: God being the "Loving Authority" while Christ being the "Loving Submissive" One.
That picture changed everything for me. God, the "loving Authority" sends His Son and His Son responds in "loving submission". I asked myself what would have happened, if Jesus would have said: "Up to this point, yes, but not any further. It's not worth it. Nothing will change by Me submitting anyway." I was shocked about my attitudes and the many situations before in which I doubted that submission was the right way to go.
Nope! I'm not the perfect wife. Not at all! I'm more desperately preaching to myself here. I don't willingly, lovingly submit to my husband all the time. All too often I put my wants, my wishes, my pleasures first. But I also keep reminding myself that God's ways are best and that His Grace enables me to keep my feet on His path.
By the way, in the same passage (1 Corinthians 11) Paul is talking about head coverings. I will not get into details about this symbol today but leave it instead for another day's post. So, if you want to find out more about it, please stay tuned.
But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor 11:3 NKJV)
Let's look at some of the facts about man, as found in Genesis 1 and 2:
Headship was established in the Garden of Eden. It is not a result of the Fall. However, due to sin, men now "naturally" struggle to lead while women struggle to submit.
Adam was to start his own household and to be the head of his wife. Nowadays, men could lead their wives in love and in wisdom, while women could humbly and in meekness follow their husbands' guidance. But, you see, that day, when Eve took of the forbidden fruit, she decided to go her own way. And Adam listened to her and followed her lead instead of obeying God's command.
Now, because of our fallen nature, leading and submitting have turned into something unpleasant, something we want to deny and escape. Men either do not want to rule their own households, or, if they do, they do so in a more or less selfish and abusive way. Women, on the other side, do not want to be told what to do and often take over the lead to rule over their husbands.
If she submits, will she not admit that she is worth less (than her husband)?
Think of different roles: Whenever men of different ranks are sent to war, are the lives of the men with the lowest rank worth less than the ones who have achieved higher ranks? Of course not!
Think of different ages: Is a twenty-year-old mother of less value than the one who is in her forties? Of course not!
Think of different sexes: Is a 4-year-old girl worthless compared to a 4-year-old boy? Of course not!
We, the women, have not been made to be trampled upon by men, nor have we been made to rule over them.
I love what Matthew Henry says in his commentary:
That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her... (Proverbs 31:11 NKJV)
One of the good things mentioned in Titus 2 is love, namely that the older women teach the younger women to love their husbands and to love their children.
When I was a teenager I asked two older women (my grandaunts) how I would know that I love a man enough to get married to him. "Love has nothing to do with it," they replied and that it must always be a marriage of convenience. The two ladies grew up during WWI. Since then, opinions have changed dramatically, and so did the reasons for getting married and staying married. Now, by what standard shall we choose our spouse? We will leave that question open for another day's post. Today I want to introduce what it means to love our husbands.
One grandaunt's husband went to war after their wedding and died, the other never did get married. I often wondered: How would they know what loving a husband really means? Say, is it possible to find out just by reading the Bible? Yes, I think so. But it takes time, good listening (to God's Word) skills and the effort to study the Word of God. After getting the big picture of it, though, more or less unanswered questions might remain especially in regard to what this love should like when the marriage life is getting tough. I couldn't possibly go into all details today. That would be going beyond the scope of this post. However, I will pick up sensitive topics in the near future and I will write about them. So please stay tuned.
Overall: What does loving your husband mean?
Praying for him.
Submitting to him (as long as he doesn't demand of you to go against God's will, of course).
Doing him good all the days of your life.
She is a good wife that is fit to be trusted, and he is a good husband that will leave it to such a wife to manage for him. (Matthew Henry's commentary on Proverbs 31:10-31)