What Is the Love Language of Acts of Service?

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.

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***By Heather Mashburn at Christianity.com

What Is the Love Language of Receiving Gifts?

Making an intentional effort to regularly bring presents to one’s spouse, family, children, or friend with this love language can tell them “I love you” and strengthen relationships through continued effort and acts of love.

According to Dr. Gary Chapman in his popular bestselling book, The Five Love Languages, there are five “love languages,” which communicate love to another person. Every person has their own “language” through which they feel loved. These different “love languages” include touch, acts of service, quality time, affirming words, and receiving gifts.

Based on the information in Dr. Chapman’s book, couples can invest in the quality of their marriage by being aware of their own primary love language and learning how their spouse feels loved through the five languages of love. While this method has been used by married couples, it also is beneficial in showing love to family, friends, and children.

One of the five love languages is receiving gifts. Those who identify with this “language” feel loved when they receive presents from others. Many people may misunderstand these acts as promoting materialism.

However, individuals who identify with this love language are not necessarily focused on the item they receive, but rather the tangible act of receiving an item that represents the other person’s love for them.

To help provide clarity to this topic, this article will look at what receiving gifts mean in regard to showing love to others, what this looks like in everyday life, how this love language correlates to Scripture, and why this information is important.

Representations of Love

A person whose primary love language is receiving gifts feels most loved when they receive gifts from those they love. These presents may be extravagant or simple, but a person with this “language” appreciates these keepsakes because of what they represent.

To them, the gift is much more than a material item since it reminds them that they are loved and cherished by someone. Oftentimes, people who most enjoy giving gifts to others, for special occasions or spontaneously, are the ones who have the love language of receiving gifts.

Throughout time, people around the world in various cultures have understood that giving and receiving gifts convey love to another person. Whether such gifts are jewelry, flowers, cards, poems, or music, gifts do have the power to tell another person, “I love you.”

Thus, those who know someone who values gifts as an act of love need to be aware of how important this is in their relationship. Regularly giving presents to a person who speaks this language is vital to ensuring they feel loved.

Even small gifts, such as a food item or a handwritten note, can make the other person’s heart fill up with the message that they are cherished. Doing this regularly out of a place of love for the other person will make a major difference in one’s marriage, family, or friendship.

With knowing the power of giving gifts, individuals need to be careful not to misunderstand or misuse this love language. First, the person who requires presents to feel loved is not being selfish or greedy.

Instead, they value gifts because of what the item represents. To them, presents have sentimental qualities and cause them to remember that they are loved by the person from whom they received the gift. In addition to avoiding any misunderstanding about receiving gifts to feel loved, individuals must also be aware of the danger of misusing this love language.

Potentially, a spouse or loved one could use another person’s primary love language against them by deliberately withholding acts of love.

Doing this can cause the other person to feel hurt and neglected, which is not a God-honoring way to act. Individuals should use the knowledge of love languages to strengthen their relationships with others instead of causing hurt.

How Can I Do This?

1. Remembering important days and holidays is essential. A wife whose love language is receiving gifts will eagerly await her anniversary and expect a present as a tangible expression of her husband’s love.

If he fails to remember the date and neglects to bring his wife a present, the message expressed to her will be, “I don’t care about our marriage.” However, if her husband remembers and provides a special gift, she will know that her husband does care about their marriage and still loves her just as much as the day they were married.

2. Giving gifts on ordinary days is also important. These gifts do not have to be lavishly expensive or dramatic. Instead, simple gifts on ordinary days of the week can also have a significant impact in expressing love. For instance, buying a friend a cup of coffee before heading to work can demonstrate one’s care.

Also, a parent can lovingly remind a child that they are thinking of him or her by packing a handwritten note in their lunchbox for school. Such gifts are simple, yet profound because it tells others that someone cares for them.

3. Giving gifts should stem from a heart of love toward the other person. A person whose love language is receiving gifts will benefit the most if they receive presents that are given from the heart. Truly, it is the “thought that counts” and not necessarily the gift.

Handing over items with a bad attitude or irritation will not make a loved one feel cherished. Instead, such an action would cause more damage than good. Thus, people must be careful not to present gifts to others by mere habit or duty, but rather from the sincerity of the heart (Romans 12:9).

The Connection to Scripture

Those who do not have the love language of receiving gifts as their own primary love language may find it challenging to understand how giving and receiving presents can be an expression of love to others.

However, the Bible also connects gifts with love, as shown in God’s loving gift of His Son and eternal life through Him. As John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God the Father gave His Son to die on behalf of mankind’s sins, which is the ultimate expression of love (Romans 5:8). Furthermore, salvation is a gift based on God’s graceand received by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Based on Scripture, God clearly communicates in the love language of receiving gifts. He has graciously offered the gift of salvation to all who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection (Romans 10:9-10). Truly, in Christ believers have been given all they need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The love of God is evident in what He has offered as a gift to all humans.

Christians have been the recipients of the amazing love of Jesus. In discussing the topic of presents, however, receiving gifts must be kept in balance with giving to others. Jesus did say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Because of the love He has freely given, followers of Christ can also freely give to others, both in the form of love as well as material needs or gifts.

Since those who value receiving gifts as a form of love are also often the ones who enjoy gifting others to show love, giving can often come naturally. All people, regardless of love language, should strive to give of themselves just as Christ did (John 15:13). In doing so, they can model the wonderful love of God to others.

Why Is This Important?

Generally, Dr. Chapman’s book on love languages has greatly impacted how married couples, families, and friends interact with each other and deepen their relationships.

Both secular and Christian counselors utilize the methods discussed in Dr. Chapman’s numerous books on the topic of love languages for couples, singles, teenagers, and children. Understanding how others feel most loved can enable individuals to love others better in a way that reflects God’s love.

Through knowledge about the love language of receiving gifts, people can be equipped to express love to those who have this primary love language.

Making an intentional effort to regularly bring presents to one’s spouse, family, children, or friend with this love language can tell them “I love you” and strengthen relationships through continued effort and acts of love.

Those who take the time to learn about the “language” their loved ones speak are demonstrating sacrificial love and concern for others, which reflects Christ’s love to a watching world (John 13:34).

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***By Sophia Bricker at Christianity.com

What Is the Love Language of Physical Touch?

Physical touch is more than sex. People who have this as their primary love language express and receive love through hugging, cuddling, holding hands, a back rub, or any other kind of touch that is appropriate in the moment.

Anytime I mention that my love Language is physical touch — it’s assumed that I feel loved through sex. But the love language of physical touch is more than that.

While sex is an important aspect of marriage, physical touch communicates meaningful expressions of love.

In fact, two of my three kids have the same love language I do. Our primary love language is physical touch and quality time together.

What Are Love Languages?

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman became a New York Times #1 bestseller in the early 1990s and has remained popular for its timeless wisdom, practical help, and how it helps us become better at loving those in our family.

Written for married couples, the book and its tips have expanded to help parents understand their children as well.

This book explores the ways people give and receive love. He explains how many of the misunderstandings and problems that arise in marriage is because we don’t know how to communicate love to our spouse.

While words of affirmation may make one spouse feel good, quality time might be the other’s love language. Through his book, individuals in relationships learn to communicate in their partner’s love language, they can strengthen their bond by keeping each other’s “love tank” full of fuel.

These five categories are how we all express our love for another and how we need to receive love. In the book, Chapman suggests that everyone receives love in at least one of five ways:

1. Quality time: Giving your partner your undivided attention like going on a date or going for walks. It’s all about giving the other person your attention.

2. Physical touch: People who have physical touch as their primary love language have a deep-felt need for appropriate touch.

3. Words of affirmation: This love language means these people need to hear how much they are loved, cherished, and appreciated.

4. Acts of service: For these people, the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words,” equals love.

5. Gifts: For some people, what makes them feel loved and cherished is to receive a gift.

The Gift of Physical Touch

Physical touch is more than sex. People who have this as their primary love language express and receive love through hugging, cuddling, holding hands, a back rub, or any other kind of touch that is appropriate in the moment.

Physical touch is the most direct way to communicate love. It is essential for the health and well-being of every human being.

Experts say the first hour of a child’s life is crucial to have skin-to-skin contact. This helps regulate their heart rate, temperature, and breathing. At the same time, a mother’s hormones are regulated as well. As the infant grows, physical touch boosts early child development.

Other studies have proven how detrimental physical touch is through intuitional isolation that is prevalent in orphanages around the world. These children often grow up in environments where touch and emotional engagement are lacking.

Many children who have not had ample physical and emotional attention are at higher risk for behavioral, emotional, and social problems. It’s clear, God created physical touch to be a powerful force of love.

What Is the Love Language of Physical Touch?

Jesus used physical touch often and made it a point even though He could heal people with just His Words. When the children came to Jesus, we see that “he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying hands on them” (Mark 10:15-16).

In Matthew 18:14-15, we read, “He touched her hand and the fever left her.”

When Jesus saw Simon’s mother-in-law lying ill, he “took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her” (Mark 1:31).

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him (John 13:5).

In Matthew 17:7, we read, “Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.”

These are just a few passages of Jesus’ time on earth when He chose to use His hands to show His love for the world.

God created us to enjoy skin-to-skin contact because it triggers the release of certain hormones associated with pleasure and bonding as a couple.

Oxytocin is the bonding hormone, and it is released along with the rest of the feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine.

To some degree, we all need physical touch in our marriages but for those whose love language is physical touch — it’s critical.

But this type of love comes down to timing because it is primarily made up of small gestures like having your spouse put his arm around in public. It could be a hug before leaving for work, a kiss when you get home.

How to Love Someone Whose Love Language Is Physical Touch

When you hug, use both arms and your whole body, and linger for a moment in the embrace. A rule of thumb is 30 seconds, 60 is heavenly!

Give them kisses often. Whenever your spouse is feeling blue, holding them closely can make tears disappear. Cuddle in bed together. Snuggle on the couch or hold their hand. Take them dancing for date night.

Make a point of maintaining physical contact when you’re both out for events. Kiss them hello and goodbye. Kiss them in places besides the lips, like her forehead, collarbone, the back of her neck or hand. Rub her shoulders when she is stressed out.

When you hug, use both arms and your whole body, and linger for an extra moment in the embrace. Spontaneously give them a little back rub or back scratch. Always hold hands when you’re out and about. Enjoy the public displays of affection, holding hands, cuddling, and kissing!

If you’re in a marriage or dating someone who has physical touch as their love language, be sure to ask what touch makes them feel most loved and what annoys them.

These physical displays of affection are a gift and matter more than words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and gifts.

Remember Jesus modeled physical touch and used His hands to heal. In the same way, this is an immense gift to give to your spouse.

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**By Heather Riggleman at Christianity.com

What Is the Love Language of Words of Affirmation?

This love language is also the only category that involves verbal expression. You can spot people whose love language is based on Words of Affirmation because those people don’t hesitate to cheer others on. So, making them feel valued with words is love.

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).

Scripture has much to say about the power of words. After all, words matter, and when it comes to our relationships, “the power of life and death” is held by the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).

Given the weighty influence of our words, it should come as no surprise that in matters of love, the “Words of Affirmation” category reigns supreme as the most common of the love languages.

What Are Love Languages?

A “love language” is a way that a person emotionally expresses and acknowledges love. Dr. Gary Chapman is a pastor and relationship expert who authored the best-selling book, The Five Love Languages.

In his book, Dr. Chapman identified five love languages that he noticed were being emotionally “spoken” by the married couples he counseled during his extensive career as a marriage counselor.

In particular, Dr. Chapman found that people tend to show affection in the same way that they like to receive it. In other words, the things that one person does to show love are the types of things that that person would like done back to feel loved.

For example, if you feel most in sync with your spouse during a romantic dinner, then Quality Time is your love language. If you’re thrilled by the thoughtfulness of a surprise gift, then you speak the language of Receiving Gifts.

Do you feel the most connected during moments of intimacy? If so, then your love language is Physical Touch. If considerate acts definitely speak louder than words for you, then you’re fluent in the Acts of Service love language.

Lastly, if you enjoy singing your sweetie’s praises and you’re overjoyed when they sing yours, then Words of Affirmation is your love lingo.

For purposes of this article, let’s zero in on the love language of Words of Affirmation, and consider ways in which you can show love through the power of your words.

What Are the ‘Words of Affirmation’ Love Language?

Think back to a time when you were told that you had done a good job on something, or when someone thanked you for your effort. Perhaps it was a boss, a friend, or a parent who recognized your hard work and verbalized their approval.

Those simple words of appreciation may have buoyed you for days or made you feel more connected to the speaker.

When it comes to married couples, Dr. Chapman tells us that words of affirmation make up the most common love language. This love language is also the only category that involves verbal expression.

You can spot people whose love language is based on Words of Affirmation because those people don’t hesitate to cheer others on. These are people who notice other people’s moods, celebrate other people’s accomplishments, and grieve when others grieve.

By the same token, these are the same people who are moved when others express their appreciation for them through words as well.

If your spouse’s primary love language is rooted in words of affirmation, here are four ways you can speak love to your beloved.

1. Call Your Spouse Just to Say, ‘I Love You’

If your loved one is reassured by words of affirmation, a phone call during the workday that may seem like an inconvenience to you may mean the world to them. The phone call doesn’t have to be long or consist of a litany of reasons you love your partner.

Rather, the phone call can simply be a quick “check-in” to make sure your sweetie is doing okay and to let him or her know that you love them.

Keep in mind that if verbal communication is hard for you, your sweetie would be over the moon if you jotted down your I love you in a quick note, email, or text.

Whatever your mode of communication, remember that sincerity is key. The effort you make in letting your loved one know that they are cherished won’t go unnoticed.

2. Speak Love by Being a Cheerleader

You know your spouse better than anyone. You know when they’re insecure or overwhelmed, hurting or just plain bummed out.

Your sweetheart may be having a string of bad days or they may be reeling from some recent bad news. Whatever the case, your words of encouragement may be the fix they need to steady their steps or bring some much-needed light to an otherwise gloomy day.

Whether it’s a simple “you’ve got this” before a big meeting, or a comforting “I’ll wait up to hear all about it” after a long day away from home, your heartfelt words of support go a long way to making your significant other feel loved.

And never underestimate the power of reassuring words on a sticky note smoothed onto a mirror to help your honey start his or her morning with a little more confidence.

3. Stick Up for Your Better Half

When you look at the love of your life, you may not be able to imagine anyone who doesn’t see all of the same qualities in him or her that you see.

Nothing bursts this bubble faster than when someone you know disparages your spouse. This can be especially hurtful when the critic is a friend or relative.

If you want your marriage to thrive, take your cue from longtime, happily married couples who say that the success behind their union is based on their united front. Use your words to show that, no matter how others may criticize your spouse, you are on your spouse’s side.

You don’t have to be rude to your loved one’s critic. But you do have to verbally assert that you love and stand by your spouse, and will not accept anyone’s insulting words pointed in their direction.

This will mean the most to your spouse when they hear you sticking up for them. If that isn’t possible, then be sure to communicate to them how you came to their defense outside of their presence.

4. Thank Your Spouse for What They Do

In a perfect world, couples would go around thanking each other every time they did something to make the other’s life a little easier.

The “thank yous” would flow like water whenever one of you got up with the baby in the middle of the night, drove the kids to their sports meets, or brought home dinner for a surprise date night in.

In reality, it’s easy to fall into a daily routine of checking off boxes on your to-do list and forget to express gratitude for all that your spouse does to keep your household running smoothly. Yet, gratitude matters, and telling your spouse how thankful you are for all they do can go a long way in making them feel valued.

For some people who speak the Words of Affirmation love language, a blanket “thank you for everything you do,” will make their heart swell. For others, they’ll appreciate your attention to detail in highlighting the specific things they did that you’re grateful for.

What Does This Mean?

For many couples, expressing words of affirmation can mean the difference between an evening spent enjoying each other’s company or an evening spent trying to figure out what triggered your sweetheart’s cold shoulder.

When you take the time to build up your spouse with words that resonate most in his or her heart, you’ll be doing your part to improve communication between you and your beloved. You’ll also be bolstering your marital bond in a way that will help stand the test of time. God bless your union!

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***By Dolores Smyth at Crosswalks

The Need for Revelation and Power

In Ephesians 1:17, 18, Paul had prayed that the Christians at Ephesus might receive revelation from the Holy Spirit. At the end of this first half of Ephesians, in chapter 3:16, Paul prays that they might receive power from the Holy Spirit. These are our two greatest needs – revelation and power. The Holy Spirit alone can give us both. The entire Christian life is dependent on the Holy Spirit. First of all, the Spirit gives us revelation on what God has done for us in Christ. Then, He gives us power to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, obeying all that the Lord has taught us.

In Ephesians 3: 18 & 19, we see that we can experience the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ (there are four dimensions there and that itself goes beyond human knowledge!!) – only along with ALL the saints. We can never grasp the love of Christ all by ourselves. We need the other members of Christ’s Body. And further, we need ALL the members of Christ’s Body, not just those in our own little group. That is why our hearts should always be open to ALL believers, even to those who don’t agree with us, and even to those whom we would consider a bit extreme. We may not be able to work with all of them, and we certainly will not be able to meet all of them on this earth. But our hearts should be open to all of God’s children. Our hearts must have room for as many brothers and sisters as God has children – both barbarian and cultured.

That is why we need to be open to read the writings of ALL godly people – and not just to the writings of our favourite authors. Let me warn you, in advance, that in my lifetime, I have found very, very few believers who have such an open heart. But those are the few who are truly spiritually wealthy. The remainder carry on with their poverty-stricken, sectarian attitudes and live and die as Pharisees, missing out on the wealth that could have been theirs if they had been humble enough to accept all whom God had accepted.

Let us meditate carefully on the first three chapters of Ephesians and ask the Holy Spirit to give us revelation on these glorious truths. Once you have got revelation, you will be ready to seek the Spirit for His power to live an overcoming life, full of purity, humility and love. Then we will be able to put away ALL unwholesome words from our speech, and ALL anger and ALL bitterness from our hearts (Eph.4:29, 31).

Then wives will be able to submit to their husbands as the church is to Christ, and husbands will be able to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Eph.5:22, 25). Then we will be able to overcome Satan at all times (Eph.6:11-13). And then we will have the power to “become imitators of God” (Eph.5:1).

God is able to do far more in us and through us than we can ask or think.

To Him alone be all the glory (Eph.3:20, 21).

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** Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at CFC India.com / Photo by Avery Nielsen-Webb at Pexels

12 Wonderful Responsibilities God Has Given to Women

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen. 1:27).

Countless millions of women around the world faithfully strive to honor God in all their vocations in life. Here are twelve wonderful responsibilities God has given to women:

1. To Love, Believe, and Respect the Lord

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates. (Prov. 31:30-31)

And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. (1 Cor. 7:34)

2. To Support the Gospel Work of the Church

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. (Rom. 16:1-2)

Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Phil. 4:3)

3. To Be Diligent in Her Vocations

And every skillful woman spun with her hands, and they all brought what they had spun in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. (Exod. 35:25)

She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. (Prov. 31:16)

She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy. (Prov. 31:20)

Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. (Acts 9:36)

One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. (Acts 16:14)

4. To Be a Wife

And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Gen. 2:22-24)

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt. 19:4-6)

5. To Be a Mother

And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” (Gen. 21:6-7)

Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. (Prov. 23:25)

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. (1 Tim. 5:9-10)

6. To Care for Her Household

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. (Prov. 14:1)

She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens. (Prov. 31:15)

So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. (1 Tim. 5:14)

7. To Be a Helper to Her Husband

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Gen. 2:18)

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.” (Prov. 31:28-29)

For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. (1 Cor. 11:8-9)

8. To Love and Respect Her Husband

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Eph. 5:33)

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. (1 Pet. 3:1-2)

So train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:4-5)

9. To Submit to Her Husband

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor. 11:3)

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Eph. 5:22-24)

10. To Be Respectable

“And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.” (Ruth 3:11)

Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. (1 Tim. 2:9-10)

Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. (1 Tim. 3:11)

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, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. (1 Pet. 3:4-6)

11. To Learn Quietly in Church

The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. (1 Cor. 14:34)

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. (1 Tim. 2:11-13)

12. To Teach What Is Good

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Prov. 31:26)

He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately. (Acts 18:26)

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5)

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** By Beautiful Christian Life

Are the 5 Love Languages in a Marriage Biblical?

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.
  • Jesus gives sight to a blind man in John 9
  • Jesus gave the gift of healing and a new name to the woman who bled for years in Mark 5
  • He gave children to women who suffered from infertility like Hannah, Sarah, and even Samson’s mother. 

This list could go on and on. Jesus was a giver of gifts but the biggest gift he gave us was our salvation through his death on the cross. This was his ultimate love language and gift.

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.”

When the children came to Jesus, we see that “he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying hands on them.” (Mark 10:15-16).

What Does This Mean?

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.

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** By Heather Riggleman at Christianity Today / Website: http://www.heatherriggleman.com/

What Does it Mean to be a Proverbs 31 Woman?

The older women in the church are charged with teaching the younger women and girls the skills and character traits necessary to take care of their homes and families.

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?

What Is the Meaning of a Proverbs 31 Woman?

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.”

Characteristics of a Proverbs 31 Woman

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.

The Christ and the Church as the Proverbs 31 Wife

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.

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** By Candice Lacey at Christianity.com / Picture created by Mike Waters at Joyful Toons

12 Wonderful Responsibilities God Has Given to Men

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).

Millions of men around the world faithfully strive to honor God in all their vocations in life. Here are ten wonderful responsibilities God has given to men:

1. To Work

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)

2. To Be Courageous

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

3. To Be Strong

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

4. To Love

And he [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39)

5. To Be a Husband

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

6. To Be the Head of His Wife

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:23-24)

7. To Serve Sacrificially

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:25)

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

8. To Be a Father

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. (Proverbs 23:24)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (Hebrews 12:7)

9. To Be Compassionate

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. (Psalms 103:13)

10. To Provide

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

11. To Be Accountable

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

12. To Be Honorable

The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him! (Proverbs 20:7)

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)

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**By Beautiful Christian Life / Picture created by Mike Waters at Joyful Toons

10 Things to Do While You’re Single

Contrary to what some people think, being single is not a curse.

The time you spend single – which may be a temporary life stage, or could be your whole life – is actually a gift, if you treat it as such. It gives you the opportunity to do some things that would become more difficult after marriage, and properly prepare for marriage – if that is your goal.

So how do you get the most out of your singleness?

  1. Use time wisely.
    You’ll never have more free time than you do right now, as a single person. If you’re tired of hearing that over and over from married people, it’s because it’s true. They’re all speaking from experience. So how will you use this time? (1 Timothy 4:12)
  2. Go somewhere difficult.
    You can always travel, but you can’t always travel anywhere. Marriage, kids, and even older age can make many trips more difficult and complicated. But right now, you can travel pretty much anywhere that your car or an airline will take you. So see the world. Go somewhere that needs Jesus and share Him there. (Romans 10:15)
  3. Work to learn, not just to earn.
    Having things like a family and a mortgage do cost money, requiring a reliable income and somewhat limiting your job options. If you’re single and relatively young, you can prepare for that now by learning the skills you’ll need to get the job you really want. Look for a job that will actually pay you to learn those skills – it may not pay much, but that’s OK, because you only have one mouth to feed. (Proverbs 22:29)
  4. Get to know the Bible.
    Continuing on the “learning” topic, the best time to learn your Bible is now. Again, you’ll never have more time to study, and you’ll never have more years to benefit from learning it and putting it into practice. There’s no better “skill” to learn than to know how to navigate and utilize the Word of God. You’ll learn who God is and what He desires for you, and be able to give Godly counsel to others when they are in need. (2 Timothy 3:16)
  5. Pursue purity.
    One of the greatest gifts you can give your future spouse is to limit the amount of baggage and bad habits you bring into the marriage. And there is no better time than now to learn how to be faithful in a relationship. If you practice blindly following your sexual urges, you’ll develop the habit of always following your sexual urges – even if they lead you outside your future marriage. (1 Corinthians 6:18)
  6. Pray for your future spouse.
    Pray how? Well, you can start by praying this list for them. Pray that they would be using their singleness well and preparing for marriage. Pray that they would know God and walk faithfully with Him. Pray that you both would trust His timing and not get derailed by “shortcuts.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
  7. Join a church and serve there.
    This seems like a no-brainer, but I had to put it in the list because for some crazy reason singles seem slow to join and get involved at a church. I don’t get it. If you’re a Christian and part of the body of Christ, you’re not meant to live outside the body – it would be like your pancreas trying to survive outside your own body. God made you to be alive in His church. So find some imperfect church that teaches the Bible and join there. Come under the elders’ authority. Serve and give there. Share your talents there so that you might experience life as it was given to you to experience. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
  8. Get a roommate.
    Nothing will prepare you for marriage better than having a really dysfunctional roommate. I’m serious. Some single people say “I like living by myself.” Well, then you are going to HATE marriage. I’d practice living with roommates now. Work through conflict with them. Practice communicating well with them. (In case you think I am talking about someone of the opposite sex: I am not. Read this.) (Proverbs 27:17)
  9. Build healthy habits.
    Taking care of your body gets more and more difficult. At some point in life your metabolism slams on the brakes, but your eating habits and exercise habits continue as before. So train them well now. Scripture says your body is a temple. It doesn’t need to be a chiseled temple that you stare at in the mirror, but it should remain a healthy temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  10. Look for a spouse.
    Disregard this one if you don’t want to be married. If you do, however, you can be sure that a spouse will not fall through the ceiling into your lap. (If they did, go back to number 4.) To find a spouse, you need to be where future spouses are – see also number 7. (Proverbs 18:22)

What’s the best way you’ve spent your single years?

Consider taking a summer or a year to invest in missions.

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** This article is by [The Porch Dallas] website. / Photo by Andre Futardo at Pexels