One day a very wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country for the sole purpose of showing his son how it was to be poor. They spent a few days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
After their return from the trip, the father asked his son how he liked the trip. “It was great, Dad,” the son replied. “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Oh Yeah,” said the son.
“So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father. The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
“We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.”
“We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “It showed me just how poor we really are.”
Too many times we forget what we have and concentrate on what we don’t have. What is one person’s worthless object is another’s prize possession. It is all based on one’s perspective.
Sometimes it takes the perspective of a child to remind us of what’s important.
A New Year prayer: “Teach us Lord, to number our days, so that we can present to Thee a heart full of wisdom” (Psalms 90:12)
Spiritual growth and transformation into Christlikeness do not happen overnight. It happens slowly – day by day and little by little. As we sing in the chorus: “Little by little and day by day; little by little in every way, my Jesus is changing me; I am not the same as I was last year; and though the picture is not quite clear, I know He is changing me; Although it’s slow going, this I am knowing – that one day like Him I shall be”. So, let us yield ourselves to the Lord every day this year, so that He can do that work of transformation in us.
Transformed by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word
When the Holy Spirit is allowed to be Lord in our lives, He will liberate us first of all (2 Corinthians 3:17) – freeing us from the power of sin, from the love of money, from the traditions of men that are contrary to the Word of God, and from being enslaved to the opinions of people. The Holy Spirit will then show us the glory of Jesus in the Scriptures and seek to transform us slowly into that likeness, by changing our way of thinking so that we begin to think the way Jesus thought (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 12:2). The Holy Spirit wants to do that work in us this year. So, submit to Him.
Transformed by Praise and Thanksgiving
“Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:18-20). The Holy Spirit wants to give us a spirit of thankfulness that frees us from all gossip, slander, bitterness, and anger. In the seven glimpses of heaven that we see in the book of Revelation, we find that the inhabitants of heaven are constantly praising God. The atmosphere of heaven is one of constant praise, without any complaining or grumbling. The Holy Spirit wants to bring this atmosphere into our hearts and into our homes this year. So, submit to Him.
Transformed by the Grace of God
“The grace of God enables us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live in a righteous, godly way in this evil world” Titus 2:11-12. God wants to transform our thought-life through His grace and make our speech so gracious that it blesses everyone we meet this year (Colossians 4:6). God’s grace also wants to transform the way husbands and wives behave towards each other this year (1 Peter 3:7). And in every trial that we face this year, God can give us grace that is sufficient to meet the need (2 Corinthians 12:9). So, humble yourself in every situation this year – for God gives His grace only to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).
Transformed by Obedience
We are told that Jesus “learned obedience through the things He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). Anything that His Father said “No” to, Jesus also said, “No” to. That involved the suffering of denying His own will always. After years of such self-denial, “Jesus was made perfect” (Hebrews 5:9). “Perfect” here means “complete”. In other words, Jesus graduated from the school of obedience and got His degree. This is the degree the Holy Spirit wants us to get too. So, He will take us through many tests. If we fail in any test, He will give us a chance to do it again! He wants us to get the same “degree” that Jesus got and to make us overcomers (Revelation 3:21)! This is the most important degree that we can ever get. So, this year, let us say “No” to our own will and “Yes” to God’s will in every situation, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Transformed by Encouragement from God
“God wants to encourage us in all our trials, so that we can encourage others with the same encouragement that He gives us in our trials” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). We are surrounded by people who are facing many trials and problems. If we want to help them to overcome, we have to go through many trials and problems ourselves first and overcome. The strength and encouragement that God gives us to overcome in our trials will then be what we can offer to others. God wants to make us a blessing to every person and every family that we meet this year (See Galatians 3:8-9, 14). He wants us to encourage someone or the other every day of this year (Read Hebrews 3:13). May it be so.
If you are a man or a woman and claim to be a believer and part of the church, you are Jesus’s wife. You are His Bride and He is the bridegroom, and if we are His Bride, we need to ask ourselves the question, “what type of wife am I?” Am I asking God to send me a spouse, when I’m not even a good wife to Him. If you are saved, do you recognize you are part of the Bride of Christ? And instead of getting people to try and understand your love language, how about you trying to understand God’s love language.
Do you know what God’s love language is?
A) Quality time B) Words of affirmation C) Gifts D) Acts of service E) Physical touch F) All of the above
Answer: F, all of the above.
First of all, Jesus loves quality time. He loves when you spend time with Him in prayer. He loves when you dedicate the morning and just bask in His presence, and seek His face and dwell in His Word. He loves quality time when you dedicate the evening or when you set apart a time in your life where you’re fasting to get closer to God. You want to hear His voice and want to know His sound, and want to be in His presence. God loves quality time.
The Lord loves words of affirmation, not because He needs to be affirmed, but He knows that when you affirm Him, it affirms you! Can I mess with you a second? You don’t read the Bible for God, you don’t read the Bible for God, you don’t pray for God, you’re not watching this message for God, you don’t listen to sermons for God, you don’t worship for God, all that’s for you. You praying is not going to make God any more faithful.
It’s not going to make Him any more Holy, it’s not going to make Him any more righteous. You worshipping is going to help your mind from worrying, because you can not worry and worship at the same time, and a lot of us has got it muddled. We think we’re doing God a service, because we attend church, because we are giving, because we are praying, because we are fasting, and God’s like… don’t you understand I’m already Holy? I can’t get any holier than I already am. I am in a lane all by Myself, there’s no league, I have no competition. The devil’s not even my adversary, I have no competitors, no adversities! You are doing this for you, you’re doing this for your words of affirmation, it affirms you.
He loves when you use your gifts, why? Because He gave them to you. He loves when you worship, because you are using that gift. He loves when you exercise your gift of artistry, your gift of speaking, that gift of business skills, He loves when you do that, because it shows Him off.
The Lord loves acts of service, when you are serving your community, when you’re serving your wife, when you’re serving in the Church. He loves service because you are His hands and feet, so it makes Him look good when you do this!
And God loves physical touch, you know how you touch the heart of God. Anytime you choose His will over your will, that touches His heart. Anytime you say, “God I don’t want to do this, but I trust you and you’re my husband and I’m going to follow you, and I’m going to submit to you, it gives God glory.
“If we aren’t careful, we can be set up for failure and disappointment if we take our eyes off of our Provider and fix them on His particular means of provision”
“Sometimes God has to remove one thing so that we can be open to what He has next for us.”
“Sometimes God wants to use us first to comfort those in need, even when we ourselves are in need”
The word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook. It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land. (1 Kings 17:2-7 NASB)
God clearly told Elijah to go to the brook, and Elijah obeyed. God miraculously provided for his servant there. And yet the brook dried up. Does that mean that Elijah did something wrong? No! I think it’s meant to teach us an important lesson: that God will always meet our needs, and He intends to use certain means for only certain times.
It is so easy to fall in love with the particular way that God is providing for us — a job we love, a friendship that is fulfilling, a routine that we really enjoy — but if we aren’t careful, we can be set up for failure and disappointment if we take our eyes off of our Provider and fix them on His particular means of provision. In all of our interactions with God, and especially in receiving good gifts for our needs from His hand, we should always seek to make sure that we are trusting God as our provider, and not starting to depend on the specific way He has chosen to provide.
I had a recent experience which helped me see this firsthand. There was a circumstance at work that made me feel that my job was in jeopardy. I was tempted to be anxious because the specific way God had been providing for me and family (ie, my job!) felt threatened. But God brought this story to my mind, and through it, He brought me to a place where I could confidently and restfully say, “(this person) would have no authority over me except what is given by God,” so I do not need to fear what they can do to my job, or the impact that could have on my life.
God did not choose to “dry up the stream” in my case, after all, but I felt it was an important test to ask me what I’m focused on: my Provider, or His provision.
*We can absolutely count on God to provide for the need though, even if the particular way He’s provided is removed.* Seeing God’s faithfulness to Elijah helped give me rest in the midst of my own trial.
The story continues:
Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” (1 Kings 17:8-9 NASB)
It’s amazing to realize that God had already arranged to provide for Elijah, before He even allowed the brook to dry up. What I see here is that sometimes God has to remove one thing so that we can be open to what He has next for us.
And I’ve seen this is my own life too. One simple example is that last year we had some dear friends move away and have to leave our church. I was disappointed at first, as I really felt they were folks God had provided for fellowship and had thus spent a lot of time with them. But now I can see that God had other plans for my life and how I spend my time, and I probably wouldn’t have been as open to new members or to new opportunities to serve if God hadn’t removed the thing He had originally provided. He needed to get rid of the “brook” in order to introduce me to the “widows” He’s currently using to meet my needs.
Praise God for knowing our needs even more intimately than we do, and for supernaturally providing for us in ways we would have never even dreamed of!
The last thing I see in this story of Elijah is there’s an interesting “plot twist!”:
So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” But she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.” (1 Kings 17:10-12 NASB)
Elijah obeys God and goes where He leads, only to find that the widow isn’t able to meet his need after all. This brought a question to my mind: What do we do if it looks like the “provision” God has led us to is really a dead end? Like there’s no water in the “new brook” after all?
Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. For thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain on the face of the earth.'” So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke through Elijah. (1 Kings 17:13-16 NASB)
What I see from Elijah’s response is that sometimes God wants to use us first to comfort those in need, even when we ourselves are in need. Elijah had such complete trust in God his ultimate Provider that he was undeterred by the fact that she didn’t have any bread! And instead of being disturbed that this woman whom God had sent him to was empty handed, he was perfectly at peace, and could minister to her from the rest he had found in His true Provider: God. So he immediately comforts her with the comfort that he’s been given — that if God has a plan to feed him through her, then He certainly has a plan to feed her too — with no concern whatsoever, being convinced that what God has promised He is also able to perform.
What a blessed ministry of encouragement can flow through the one who has surrendered completely to trust in his/ her Heavenly Provider.
I just wasn’t feeling the love. If everyone has a love tank, mine was low. And it was making me cranky. I have read about loving your husband, but love was the last thing I was feeling.
It wasn’t my husband’s fault really. Due to military life, I hadn’t seen him in a month and didn’t get to talk to him as much as when he’s home. I wasn’t getting my quality time. Or my words of affirmation. Or my acts of service. Or physical touch. Or gifts. None of the five love languages and I was feeling it.
The lies began in my mind. “He doesn’t really want to come home.” “He would be texting you more if he really missed you.” “He would have sent you flowers if he really cared.”
I knew I was only feeling this way because my love tank was low. And I knew it wasn’t my husband’s fault at all. I knew deep down he wanted to come home to me just as much as I wanted him to get home. But that didn’t stop me from feeling grumpy. If he took too long to text back, I wanted to lash out. I wanted to say, “Forget it. You don’t really care!”
Thankfully, I’ve read some great books on marriage and I’ve heard some great sermons on being a godly wife. The things I have learned over the years came back to me. I remembered how in one book it told me that I have to give love to my husband even when he doesn’t deserve it. Even when I’m not feeling love, I have to give love.
If I lashed out, it would cause him to lash out, which would cause me to lash out. We would both be hurt and therefore angry at one another. A vicious cycle would ensue and round and round we’d go into a big ugly fight. A fight that would really only be caused by circumstances we can’t change and lies being thrown by Satan.
So this time, instead of throwing angry words and causing a fight, I wrote Travis a big long text telling him how much I loved him and how much I couldn’t wait for him to get home. I went to the grocery store and I bought him a bunch of his favorite foods to have when he got home. I made the choice to love him even though I wasn’t feeling much love.
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” — Psalm 141:3
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” — Colossians 2:20
I realized I can’t show Travis love only in hopes of getting love back. These books and sermons have taught me that love isn’t selfish. It’s the exact opposite. Love is selfless. Love is showing someone you care without expecting anything in return.
“When an action doesn’t come naturally to you, it is a greater expression of love. Ultimately, comfort is not the issue. We are talking about love, and love is something you do for someone else, not something you do for yourself. Love is a choice.” — Gary Chapman (The 5 Love Languages)
By loving my husband this way, I am loving Christ.
Our husbands are merely vessels to Christ. We love Christ by loving our husbands. We serve Christ by serving our husbands. Even when our husbands deserve the exact opposite of love, we should love them because that is what Christ has called us to do. It’s an act of obedience.
“With eyes of faith, envision Jesus standing just beyond the shoulder of your spouse and listening to every word you speak in every conversation, pleasant or tense. When you speak lovingly or respectfully to your spouse, you are speaking to Christ. Your spouse just happens to be there too.” — Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (Love and Respect)
The great thing about love is it can become a cycle as well. When we pour all our love into our husbands, it changes them. It makes them want to love back.
If we love on our husbands, it would cause our husbands to want to show us love, which would cause us to love him better. We would both feel loved and therefore happy with one another. A virtuous cycle would ensue and round and round we’d go into a healthy marriage!
I know this is something I’m still learning. It’s something I will always have to be striving for, always asking God to help me love my husband the same way Christ loves me — even when my own love tank is low. Because when we speak lovingly to our spouses, no matter how they have spoken to or treated us, we are speaking lovingly to our God who so desperately deserves it.
How have you struggled with loving your husband? In what ways, have you loved him even when you weren’t feeling love in return?
***Article and Photo By Tiffany at Seeingsunshine.com
God’s love should be reflected in our actions no matter how big or small the action is. So, let us honor God by serving and giving what He has given us. This is a true act of service to all.
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20-35).
In Gary Chapman’s “Five Love Languages” there is one love language that is called “Acts of Service.” On the website, it says that these are the people that seek action rather than hearing words that pertain to affirmation. Even so, this does not mean that love-affirming words do not affect these people, it is that they view acts of service, both received and shown, as love.
For example, when Mary poured the expensive oil called “pure nard” on Jesus’ feet, she was performing an act of service to Jesus by anointing Him (John 12). But an even better example, the most important example is that Jesus came to serve and to give His life for us so that we could be saved.
“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45).
Faith and Acts of Service
In James 2, the Bible talks about faith and works. The Bible says that “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’ — but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” (James 2:14-16).
Therefore, it is true that actions speak louder than words said. You can have the faith that your spouse will be healed or anything that you are believing in. Prayer is an act of service too. But many times, we believe and do not pray.
Many times, we have faith and do not serve or act. Jesus’ act of service for us was sacrificing Himself by being tortured, bruised, battered, and dying the most horrible death that we deserved. No one can comprehend the love that God has for us by sending His Son to die for our sins.
God did not have to do that, and Jesus did not have to go through with it all. But because of His love, His act of sacrificing His life for us is an act of service that no one could ever do again. My point is that serving one another is truly love as we are called to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Serving Ourselves Vs. Others
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-4).
One of the most difficult things to do in life is denying yourself to others. Showing love for others has our pride submitted to humility and service to God. But if we let our pride, our ways, or our own thoughts rule over our humility, then we are a disservice to God and others. We know what to do but do not (James 4:17) because of prideful, selfish reasons.
Even the smallest acts that are selfish could be that you choose something that you wanted at the supermarket, and you do not ask your spouse if they want something too. That may seem very small and insignificant, but the small actions count too.
Those small actions can lead to greater actions that could negatively affect the relationship. Hebrews 13:16 says,“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
But knowing that you would rather serve yourself rather than others is not showing God’s love and grace to others. As hard as it may be, we have to learn to be more selfless and show God’s love to others.
The Greatest Mission of All
“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love — the perfect bond of unity.
And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Colossians 3:12-17).
Jesus asks us to go into the world to speak the Good News to all, to make disciples, heal the sick, raise the dead, and much more. He has commissioned us to do His work of saving the lost. This is an act of service. We love because He loves (1 John 4:19).
We serve because He served us. We sacrifice because Jesus sacrificed His life for our sins. How could we hold back what we have learned from Jesus and not give that knowledge to others? We are chosen because God believes and trusts us to serve Him by speaking the Good News to the world.
God’s love should be reflected in our actions no matter how big or small the action is. So, let us honor God by serving and giving what He has given us. This is a true act of service to all.
A Closing Prayer
Father, I thank you for giving us these revelations and showing us what true acts of service are. I thank you, God, for giving your Son so that we could live again. I pray for all of us to learn to be selfless and show your love to God to the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
These five categories are how we all give and receive love, which can greatly affect relationships. When we understand the love language of another person, we can more effectively communicate our respect and affection.
A year into joining a church, my husband and I were sitting in a small couple’s group when the leader asked what our love languages were. Perplexed, we had no idea. The leader went on to explain the book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman.
The 5 Love Languages became a New York Times #1 bestseller in the early 1990s and has remained popular for its timeless wisdom and practical help.
This book explores the ways people give and receive love. In the book, Chapman suggests that everyone receives love in at least one of five ways: Quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, and gifts.
The way we love our spouse is how we naturally express it but if our loved one does not receive love in the same way we do, he or she can feel unloved.
These five categories are how we all give and receive love, which can greatly affect relationships. When we understand the love language of another person, we can more effectively communicate our respect and affection to our spouse.
What Are the 5 Love Languages?
1. Words of affirmation. Some people are more attuned than others to hear both positive and negative words from those whose opinions they cherish.
While negative, critical words can tear them down, positive, encouraging words make them flourish. According to Chapman, people with this love language need to hear their partner say, “I love you.”
Even better is including the reasons behind the love through leaving them a voice message or a written note or talking to them directly with sincere words of kindness and affirmation.
2. Quality time. This language, says Chapman, is all about giving your partner your undivided attention. That means dropping everything to give them your full attention, in other words, no chores, no TV, no cell phone, etc.
Other ways to spend time together could include, going for a walk, preparing dinner together and talking while preparing and eating it, sharing plans for the future, making love, and/or creating something together.
Take time every day to do this to fill up their love tank.
3. Acts of service. When acts of service is a person’s primary language, he or she interprets help as a sign of someone’s love.
This language includes anything you do to ease the burden of responsibility, like picking kids up from school, vacuuming, running errands, going grocery shopping, or filling up the car with gas.
4. Receiving gifts. The person who loves this language thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. In short, actions speak louder than words.
These people thrive on gift-giving, and when they are given a gift, it fills their love tank. A single rosebud, a candle, or a note can go a long way toward filling the love tank of someone who understands love as giving gifts.
The act of giving a gift tells your spouse you cared enough to think about him or her in advance and go out of your way to get something to make your partner smile
5. Physical touch. People who speak this love language thrive on any type of physical touch: Handholding, hugs, and snuggling. It is not about sex.
Those actions spell love to those with this primary language. Physical touch is the most direct way to communicate love. It is crucial for the health and well-being of every human being.
Are Love Languages Biblical?
What makes the love languages unique is that they are one of the few methods of extending love that is not self-serving because the giver isn’t looking for anything in return.
It simply means they’ve studied their partner and they want them to feel loved, but if you’re looking for the term love languages in the Bible, you’re not going to find it.
But the concepts are there, and Jesus did an incredible job demonstrating how we are to use them.
1. Acts of service: Jesus’ first love language. “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, because I am. So if I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I’ve given you an example, that you should do just as I have done to you. . . If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:12-15,17).
2. Quality time. Jesus lived with his disciples for three years when he began his ministry. They traveled together, ate together, worshiped together. Do you get the picture?
They were together for daily life. Not only did he spend time with the 12 disciples, but he also often spent even more quality time with Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1-9).
The quality time was even broken down to one on one quality time with Peter. A look at Mark 9:30-31 shows that Jesus carefully guarded his time.
3. Words of affirmation. Jesus often spoke words of affirmation over individuals. We first see this when he spoke about his cousin, John the Baptist when he said that John was “more than a prophet,” and “among those born of women there has arisen no one greater.” These words are powerful because they are indirect words of affirmation.
Other examples of this love language happen in Matthew 12:49 when Jesus outstretches his hand toward his disciples and tells the crowd they are his family or in the book of Mark when Jesus tells a dinner party that the questionable woman “has done a beautiful thing” when she anointed his feet with her tears and expensive perfume.
He also said, “Wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her” (Mark 14:6-9).
4. Giving gifts. Perhaps this one was one of Jesus’ favorites. We see throughout the New Testament Jesus loved to give good things to his people.
Jesus gave the 4,000 the gift of food to eat in Matthew 15.
Jesus gave the 5,000 the gift of bread and fish in Luke 9.
5. Physical touch. Jesus touched often and he made it a point, even though he never needed to touch anyone, to heal them or offer comfort as we see in Luke 7 when the centurion asked for healing for one of his servants.
We see in Mark 1:31, Jesus took Simon’s mother-in-law by the hand “and lifted her up and the fever left her.”
Jesus used all five love languages and undoubtedly, he was a master at matching them with people appropriately.
He is the creator of all things and he teaches us how to love well by example throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Most of us pick up Chapman’s book and think, “If I get this right for my spouse, maybe he will love me how I want to be loved.” But a word of caution, learning someone’s love language is sacrificial like Christ.
He never asked for anything in return, even as he poured out his life. He gave freely with no strings attached. We are to follow his example and love well.
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 3:7-14 (KJV).
“A garden requires constant weeding and caring, if it is to be guarded against weeds and nettles – and so does the human soul.” This is the testimony of a mature Christian towards the close of a rich and full life. Thirty years had passed since Paul’s conversion. During those years God had used him to establish many churches, mightily attesting his ministry with signs and miracles. From the first Paul had spent himself unstintingly in the work of the gospel, travelling constantly and undergoing great hardships. He had come to know the reality of victory over sin as he grew in likeness to his Lord. And among his many joys he had had one unique experience of being, as he put it, lifted up into the third heaven to receive remarkable revelations of spiritual truth.
Yet at the end of all this, he states that he still has not attained to all that God had purposed for his life. Here is one of the greatest Christians of all time saying towards the end of his life that he still needs to press on to the goal. To most believers, alas, salvation begins and ends with the new birth and its assured escape from Divine judgement. Not so for the apostle, nor indeed for anyone else who seeks like him to be a true disciple of Christ. Here in this passage he declares his firm belief that Christ had laid hold of him with a purpose. He, in return, was determined to lay hold of that purpose at any cost. This is a tremendous and solemn truth, that when the Lord lays hold of us at conversion, it is with a purpose extending far, far beyond just the saving of our souls out of hell fire and into heaven. If so mature a man as the apostle Paul had to say at the end of thirty years of untiring Christian service that he had not yet attained, but had still to strive to fulfil all of God’s purpose for his life, what a vast thing that purpose must be.
Paul goes even further in this passage. To him everything that the world considers as precious is worthless rubbish, when compared to this supreme objective of grasping the purpose of God and fulfilling it. He considers this a prize worth the giving up of everything in the world (verse 14). When we look around us and see believers coveting worldly possessions and clinging to material things, giving these a greater place in their lives than the things of God, we are forced to conclude that their Christianity is very far removed from Paul’s.
It is a mark of spiritual infancy to think of salvation only in terms of an insurance policy to escape the flames of Hell. When we mature spiritually, we realize that God has saved us in order that we might walk each day in the pathway that He has already planned for each one of us from eternity (Ephesians 2:10). That pathway was what Paul called God’s purpose for his life. If we are satisfied with having received His grace but are uncommitted to fulfilling His will for our lives, then no matter how thoroughly evangelical we may be, we shall go through life without accomplishing anything of lasting value to God. Of course the Devil’s first aim is by one means or another to blind people to the grace of God in Christ Jesus, thus preventing them from being saved (2 Corinthians 4:4). But if he does not succeed there, then his next aim is to blind that new believer to the fact that God has a very definite plan for him. To a large extent he has succeeded here. There are thousands of true believers who never seek the will of God with any degree of earnestness, even in major decisions that they make in their lives.
The Christian life is depicted in this passage in Philippians chapter 3, as one in which we have to be continually pressing on. No degree of spiritual maturity attainable on earth will ever absolve us from this need of constant urgency. It is because many believers have neglected this lesson that they have no living testimony. Their only testimony relates to an experience in the distant past when on a blessed day they perhaps raised their hand or signed a decision-card in some evangelistic meeting. That was wonderful, but nothing has happened since! Proverbs 24:30-34 with its picture of a garden gone to waste, describes the condition of the man who relaxes after his salvation. A garden requires constantweeding and caring, if it is to be guarded against weeds and nettles – and so does the human soul.
** Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at cfcindia.com / Photo by Markus Winkler at Pexels
A woman that yearns to please God strives to be like this ideal example, but with the understanding that every Christian is a work in progress, brought “to completion in the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Proverbs 31 paints the picture of an ideal woman, the best example of a virtuous wife and mother. This final Proverb echoes Proverbs 1:7 — “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”
What sort of woman is the wisdom literature talking about, what are her qualities, and do they exclusively apply to wives and mothers?
Commentary from the ESV Study Bible regarding Proverbs 31 tells us that the ideal woman is virtuous, strong, and selfless. She does not wait to be served but rises early, even before sunrise, to delegate tasks and engage in business.
She possesses “a range of manual, commercial, administrative, and interpersonal skills.” This woman “opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy” (v.20). She is loving, dignified, and her virtues increase her husband’s reputation: “Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land” (v.23).
She is sharp but honest, engaged in business for the benefit of her household. Above all, she fears the Lord for “a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
What woman can live up to the example given in this Proverb? Every wife and mother looks back at certain events in her life and cringes with painful regret. “But what if I told you that the heart behind Proverbs 31:10-31 is one of celebration, not condemnation?” asks Lysa Terkeurst.
She argues that these words of wisdom, which were read aloud at the Sabbath, are not “meant to tell a woman she is supposed to be more. They are a celebration of who she is.” The Proverb does not describe “a woman with a spotless house” or “with perfectly behaved children wearing matching, designer outfits. Honestly, it’s not even the woman who’s married and has children.”
These words describe “a woman who honors God by seeking Him in everything she does and trusting Him wholeheartedly with her life. She has a heart of reverence that overflows into a life of spiritual maturity and wisdom.”
She is not born this way; she gets there by a process of refinement, which is a work of the Holy Spirit. A woman that yearns to please God strives to be like this ideal example, but with the understanding that every Christian is a work in progress, brought “to completion in the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Just a Wife, or All Women?
One reason a woman might skip past Proverbs 31 is that not all women marry, and not all who marry become parents. Should an unmarried woman, or a wife with no children, still aspire to the qualities of a Proverbs 31 woman?
Marriage is an especially intimate relationship, yet aspects of an intimate relationship are not mentioned by the writer in this piece of wisdom literature. His greatest concern has to do with the woman’s character and how she interacts with people.
The writer is hopeful that the young men of his community will seek out this sort of wife, and that the young girls will aspire to her ideal. But even if they never marry, every female who sincerely loves the Lord is developing the characteristics of a Proverbs 31 woman.
At many times and in many locations around the world (even now), professing faith in Christ has been risky for women. They have had to truly love the Lord in order to endure the ridicule and isolation they sometimes face(d).
One historian wrote that, in his opinion, the church was attended by the “silly and mean and stupid,” and “disproportionately populated by women.” Certainly, the church attracted individuals who needed to be cared for — sheltering vulnerable people has always been a function of the church.
But it took great courage to be a Christian woman. For one thing, many of them attended Christian fellowship without their husbands; they “often converted to Christianity while their male relatives remained pagans, lest they lose their senatorial status.”
One might argue that any woman with a sincere Christian faith is well on her way to becoming the ideal example of Proverbs 31.
Proverbs 31 describes an ideal woman, but also the ideal bride: The church. “God created marriage to be a metaphor of Christ’s relationship to the church,” wrote John Piper.
As such, the selfless, hard-working, considerate, pleasing woman of this Old Testament passage represents everyone who makes up the body of the Christian church. “The union of man and woman in marriage” contains “a truth about Christ and the church,” which is that “God ordained a permanent union between His Son and the church.”
Marriage between a man and a woman should reflect this: The man is the head, giving his life for the woman; the woman submits to the man who lays his life down for her. “Human marriage is the copy, not the original” (Piper).
Taken as a metaphor, Proverbs 31 is not simply describing wives and mothers, but also husbands and fathers; unmarried men and women; couples without children; and those who have survived their spouses.
Anyone who calls himself or herself a Christian is a bride of Christ through the Spirit, which unites the global church. Each person and each fellowship have responsibilities such as spreading the good reputation of the bridegroom (v.23) and caring for the poor (v.20).
Chad Ashby comments: “The church ought to be characterized by […] single-hearted devotion to her Bridegroom,” which is embodied by the Proverbs 31woman. “After all, John Gill reiterates, she is ‘a woman actually married to Christ.’”
Final Words from the New Testament
“Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves” (1 Peter 3:4-5).
God wants his bride to love him, to submit to him, and then he will give his bride discernment. He will increase her courage and soften her heart, so she is disposed to give generously; to act charitably.
He will ensure that when “she opens her mouth with wisdom, […] the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (v.26). His bride is his treasure. We, the church, are his bride.
** By Candice Lacey at Christianity.com / Picture created by Mike Waters at Joyful Toons
Being a woman of bold faith is what we have been called to. Boldness is not a personality trait. Boldness is acting by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s take risks for the sake of the gospel to the glory of God. ~ Heather Riggleman
“You will be a woman of bold faith who empowers and encourages those around you.”
This was declared over me after I handed my life over to Jesus. I was barely toddling in my walk with God, yet others could see the calling and purpose He already had for me.
What Does it Mean to Be a Godly Woman?
But what does it mean to be a godly woman? Becoming a woman of faith is not about perfectly checked church attendance, being the most modestly dress, how much you volunteer, having the best snacks for life groups, or having all the answers in Bible study.
A bold woman of faith has real, bold, Jesus-glorifying, heart-wrenching, deep-in-the-trenches, and fight for God’s truths in the midst of the lies, kind of belief.
John Piper says it best, “The deepest root of Christian womanhood is hope in God,” and “this hope in God yields fearlessness.”
However, becoming her means embodying a warrior willing to bleed for her cause. Becoming a godly woman is digging-your-heels in the dirt when your marriage falls apart, when your child rebels, when your career gets decimated, or when everyone follows tradition without question or when your health fails.
Why? Because we have a very real enemy whose goal is to destroy us. Why was Satan so anxious to have access to us?
Because clearly, Satan was listening when Jesus declared: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).
We are the keys to God’s kingdom! We are the keys to help others unlock their faith. We are the keys to our home and our community.
Our enemy wants to knock us down — blow by blow until we are so bloodied and wounded in our hearts and minds that we lose sight of Jesus.
He wants us so focused on the mess, the hurt, and pain that we forget God’s promises of who we really are: Heiresses to His Kingdom. And the “brutiful” (beautiful and brutal) truth behind this: you will then help others through the sifting.
A godly woman isn’t something that just happens without the “becoming.” Look at our savior:
It’s what Jesus did
He helped others through the sifting
He demonstrated the process of becoming
He was the light of God in a world that didn’t even want Him
Like Jesus — bold women of faith lead others to God
The word “godly” in the Bible means pious or holy. This means we are set apart from all others. Holiness is achieved when we are made new creations in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Born again Christian women are indwelled with the Holy Spirit.
In Him, we produce godliness that molds and shapes us into the image of Christ. A godly woman controls her thoughts and takes them captive, making them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). She also controls her tongue and uses her words to encourage and build up others.
Godly women inspire change. They question tradition for tradition’s sake. They lift up other women gunned down in the trenches.
They impact their community. Their table always has room for one more. They friend the unwanted. They love the rejected.
They speak for those who do not have a voice. They change the world right where they are at all the while keeping their hearts and minds focused on Christ.
Becoming a godly woman means stepping into your God-given leadership. Let God’s voice speak louder than all the others. Here are a few ways to be a godly woman within God’s parameters for us.
Five Ways to be a Godly Woman
1. Always stay in God’s Word. Know what the Bible says. Study it. Read it every day. Understand what scriptures say within context. God’s Word is our go-to source for wisdom, encouragement, and nourishment.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).
2. Pray. Ask God to use your gifts, your personality, and your community to further his kingdom. Ask God to reveal to you the things that matter to Him.
Take all of your hurts, worries, dreams, and petitions to God! Ephesians 6:18 is our battle call, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known”(Jeremiah 33:3).
3. Know the things that matter. Hold firm to the beliefs that God has placed heavily on your heart. When you make a stand for these issues, make sure you know why God stands for them too.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).
4. Speak with gentleness. Always remember who you represent every time you open your mouth to voice an opinion or idea. And always, always speak with love. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
5. Respect authority. All authority comes from God and He calls us to respect those He places in authority over us. This includes husbands, fathers, pastors, elders, and other leaders.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything(Ephesians 5:22-24).
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God (Romans 13:1).
Yet, John Piper once said, “The deepest root of Christian womanhood is hope in God,” and “this hope in God yields fearlessness.”
Becoming a fearless, bold woman of God didn’t happen overnight. Those two years of lost time were spent on my knees in prayer for our hearts and health.
What seemed like wasted time was actually the refining fires that created a boldness for believing God’s truth and promises for my family.
And the more I spent time with him, the more he began to send others in need of a good dose of Jesus’ strong courage my way.
Each of us has causes that make us come alive, things that move us and make us eager to share our vision.
Each woman has a chance to embody what it means to be bold, brave, and fierce for the life she has given. Even though you are not Maya Angelou, Malala, Mother Teresa, or Mary — mother of Jesus, you are still changing the world one breath at a time.
Why? Because being a woman of bold faith is what we have been called to.
Boldness is not a personality trait. Boldness is acting by the power of the Holy Spirit, on an urgent conviction in the face of some threat.
A shy, soft-spoken, introverted, calm person can be bold at a time when a typically driven, outspoken, brash person shrinks back. A Bold Woman for God contains these ingredients.
Spirit-Empowered Courage, Conviction, and Urgency
Meaning — every woman must get uncomfortable for the sake of the gospel. A bold woman:
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