Troubles In Marriage

Proverbs 19:13
“the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping.”

Proverbs 21:9
“Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”

Proverbs 21:19
“Better to dwell in the wilderness,
Than with a contentious and angry woman.”

Solomon seems to be an expert on dealing with a contentious wife. He speaks of living with her as being like a dripping faucet, or a leaky roof. He suggests that it is better to find a corner of the housetop to live on, rather than be in the house with her. He later states, you are better off homeless and living in the wilderness, than remaining in the home with her continual nagging. Solomon’s statements serve as a good illustration of what not to do in a marriage.

First, we find clear application for the wife. Simply put, do not be contentious. The word contentious means to be argumentative, quarrelsome or even combative. It speaks of someone who is always finding fault in what another is doing. Paul explained that the role of the wife is to honor and support her husband. A wife should be actively involved in building her husband up, so he can become the man God intended him to be. Constant nagging, belittling and opposing, undermines the work God wants to do, rather than accomplishing it. Peter put it like this,

1 Peter 3:1
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives”

Second, we find application for the husband. It may be true that living on the roof or out in the wild is better than living with constant contention, but it is also true that it is much better to live in a house without it. If we examine the life of Solomon we find that perhaps he was the cause of the contention. Scripture instructed the king to have only one wife. That was always the plan of God for mankind. Solomon ignored the Word of God, as it related to marriage, and multiplied wives unto himself. In addition to his many wives he also had a long list of girlfriends. It is no wonder his wife was contentious. If a husband does not treat His wife the way the Bible describes, he has little to complain about when she does not treat him the way he desires. Instead of multiplying wives, Solomon should have been multiplying the expression of his love toward the wife he had. In the same way, a husband should not be looking at what is wrong with his wife as an excuse to mistreat her, but instead should be desiring that his wife be the most loved woman on the planet.

If husbands will seek new ways to express love to their wives, and wives will seek to build up their husbands, we will have a whole lot less contention in the home, or men living in the wilderness.

Pastor Jim

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Privacy Please

Zephaniah 1:5
“Those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops;
Those who worship and swear oaths by the Lord, But who also swear by Milcom”

Zepheniah was commissioned by the Lord to warn the people of coming judgment. In order to prepare the people for what was ahead, he explained the reason they were facing judgment. His message was both clear and simple, they must change their ways if they were to avoid what was ahead.

The first infraction the people were guilty of was worshipping the hosts of heavens on their rooftops. In ancient times rooftops were considered a part of the house and were used for family gatherings. It was on a rooftop where Bathsheba bathed, Peter rested and had a vision from heaven, where husbands are exhorted to flee from a contentious wife, and where the people of Judah were practicing idolatry.

Zepheniah’s ministry took place during the reign of King Josiah, who had brought about great reforms in the nations. Much of the idolatry that had plagued Judah for generations had been removed from the public sector. The problem was, while these idols had been removed publicly, they still remained in the private life of the people. God’s judgment would come because public reform was not affecting private living.

We are told the people continued to worship Baal, the sun, moon and stars, and Milcom, the false god of the Ammonites. Essentially, they were turning worship into syncretism by blending the worship of the true God with idols. Tragically, this is a common practice today. Many who claim to be followers of Christ, seem to pick and choose verses they like while ignoring others. By doing so, they are essentially creating a god of their liking, rather than submitting to the God of Scripture. This synchronistic idolatry ultimately caused Judah to turn back from following the Lord. When public commitment does not change private living we will ultimately turn our backs on the Lord as well. It is in private where the real roots of the Christian life are developed.

What you do with your early mornings will chart the course for your entire day. Jesus rose a long while before daylight, departed from others, and spent time alone with the Father. His life was a pattern set for the rest of us to follow. It is important to begin each day with the Lord, in His Word, allowing Him to remove from your private life anything that does not belong.

Pastor Jim

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Who Is Mr. Clean

Proverbs 20:9
“Who can say, ‘I have made my heart clean,
I am pure from my sin’”?

Sin is a plague that has infected every man. Paul explained to the Romans that it was by one man (Adam) that sin entered the world, but that sin spread to all men because all have sinned (Romans 5:12). David, looking out at the world, and looking in at his own heart, declared that there were none righteous, not even one (Psalm 53:3). Most of us are familiar with the story of the woman who was caught in an adulterous relationship and brought before Jesus. After hearing the charges brought against her, by her accusers, Jesus responded by inviting those in the crowd who were without sin, to throw the first stone. One by one her accusers dropped the rocks and departed, for they were all sinners (John 8:3-4). The truth that we have all sinned, makes Solomon’s question all the more striking. Is it possible for anyone to proclaim that their heart is clean, and they are pure of all sin? Scripture boldly declares that it is.

When Jesus hung on that rugged cross, He bore the penalty for all sin, and shed His blood to provide atonement. It is at the cross where the sinner can be cleansed of all sin. No matter how deeply we may have been submerged under the weight of sin, it is at the cross where the weight is removed and we are washed and forgiven. David rejoiced over the blessedness that comes with the forgiveness of sin when he declared,

Psalms 32:1-2
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.”

Forgiveness and cleansing from all sin, can be found at the cross. No matter who we are, or what sin we are bound by, when we come to the cross, the blood of Jesus washes us white as snow, and we are forgiven. It is then, and only then, that we can proclaim, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure of all sin.” Sadly, many make the mistake of ignoring, justifying or explaining away sin, rather than coming to the source of cleansing. We are not made clean by our own declaration, but by receiving the One who washes sin away.

Will you come to the cross today? Will you confess your sin, and allow His blood to wash you clean? If so, then you can declare, “I am pure from my sin.”

Pastor Jim

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Stand Watch

Habakkuk 2:1
“i will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected.”

Even for those who have committed themselves and their ways to the Lord, life can be tricky. We face difficulties that create confusion in our lives, and even darken our view of God. Hymn writer Edward Mote wrote of times when the darkness veils God’s lovely face. Habakkuk was experiencing one of those times. The conditions of life were causing him confusion, and he did not know how to reconcile what he was experiencing, with what he knew to be true of God. He writes this book to explain what he did in his trying times and what he learned from the Lord.

First, let’s notice how Habakkuk responded when life confused him. We read, he set himself in rampart to watch. This is a reference to the job of a watchman. In ancient times, cities were protected by high walls and guarded night and day by watchmen. Their job was to keep their eyes focused on the horizon for anyone who might be a threat to the well being of the city. Habakkuk declared, he would set watch spiritually, and wait for instruction from the Lord. He expected to hear from God and to be corrected by Him. Learning to wait on the Lord is an important part of our relationship with God. We must understand that He wants to instruct us, but also wants to use the time to teach us to trust and listen. Waiting on the Lord is not a passive activity, but should include prayer, reading the Word, receiving counsel from godly friends, and keeping our eyes open for ways to be used by the Lord.

Second, notice that God answered Habakkuk. He instructed the prophet to write down the message he was about to receive. This message was not for the prophet alone, but for every generation that would follow him. His message was both simple and profound. God explained that in the midst of confusion, the just must live by faith.

There are two theologically-filled words in God’s statement. The word ‘just’ refers to the person who has had their sins forgiven and is a relationship with God. This happens today, when we trust Christ as our Savior and Lord. The second is the word ‘faith’. This word means to trust. Habakkuk is being told, the solution to his confusion will be found in trusting in the person, promises, and ways of God.

Whatever you might be facing, keep in mind, God is forever faithful. He may allow things into our lives we would never choose for ourselves, not because of a lack of love for us, but as an expression of His unending love. One day, our trying time will come to an end. Until then, let’s sets ourselves in rampart and wait upon the Lord.

Pastor Jim

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Impulsive

Proverbs 19:2
“Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge,
And he sins who hastens with his feet.”

Marketers have realized that people are impulsive by nature. As a result, it is common to find a variety of “impulse items” located near the checkout stand, in just about every store. These items are things we did not plan to purchase, but bought on a whim, and include items like gum, candy or DVD’s. For the most, part these are not high dollar purchases, and getting caught up in the moment, will not break most budgets. Buying an unplanned Snickers bar on the way out of the convenience store, will probably not have long lasting economic repercussions on your life. If however, you purchase big ticket items, without giving adequate time to consider all the ramifications, that can be very costly.

The same is true with all decisions in life. You do not need to call a church prayer meeting, or spend time fasting, when you are determining whether to order chicken or fish. The big decisions, like who you will spend the rest of your life with, should however, be considered slowly, carefully, and with wise counsel. Solomon is reminding us, when we rush into things that we should walk slowly towards, we will end up in sin.

“Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge,
And he sins who hastens with his feet.”

Notice the contrast he makes between impulse and knowledge. Knowledge is something acquired over time, with careful study, examining correct resources. I remember a cartoon as a child where Bugs bunny spent the day explaining the story of the founding of the United States to his nephew. He told wild stories of rabbits influencing the greatest moments in American history. His nephew was an avid student, hanging on every word Bugs shared. The next day he came home from school with a dunce cap on his head. It was not that he didn’t acquire knowledge; it was that he went to the wrong source. The same can happen to us. If we want to avoid making foolish, hasty and impulsive decisions, we need to look into the Word of God for guidance. It takes time to uncover the path God would have you walk, but it is worth the time it takes. Before making another big decision, and perhaps another big mistake, take time to consider the Word and to get some healthy Biblical counsel.

Pastor Jim

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Jealous

Nahum 1:2-3 “God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; the LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies; the LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.

Nahum gives us essential insight into the true nature of God. He declares that “God is jealous.” Jealousy is a common term in our vernacular; usually used in reference to relationships. The dictionary defines jealous as, “feelings of envy or suspicion.”

We have all felt the effects of jealousy in ourselves, seen it in others, and even read about it in the pages of our Bibles. We know that both Joseph’s brothers and Saul were plagued by jealousy, which caused them to do things harmful to themselves and others. The Hebrew word for jealous literally translates as, “becoming dark red”, and illustrates the emotions that stem from jealousy. Psychologists tell us Jealousy is birthed out of concern for self, is often coupled with possessiveness, suspicion, and commonly produces rage, and even a desire for revenge.

Without question, jealousy is a character flaw, yet we read, “God is jealous.” In order to properly understand what Nahum is saying about God, we must realize, the jealousy of God is quite different than the jealousy of man. God is jealous, not because He is selfish, but because He loves us so much, and wants what is best for us. God’s jealousy is not a character weakness, but strength. It does not cause Him to be resentful against us, but reveals His deep love and desire for our best. We read much more in Scripture regarding the Jealousy of God.

First, He is Jealous for his glory or His name.
Exodus 34:14 “. . .for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God, . . .”

As a result, He will not allow false worship, because false gods cannot save sinners. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

Second, He is Jealous for His law.
Exodus 20:5 “You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,”

Sin is destructive to the individual committing sin and to those within his or her circle of influence. When a man commits adultery, he, his partner and his family, are all drastically and negatively effected by his actions. God must judge sin for the sake of those who are impacted. Like a doctor removing a cancerous cyst, God must deal with sin lest it continues to destroy.

Finally, God is Jealous for his people.
Zechariah 2:8 “For thus says the LORD of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.”

2 Corinthians 11:2 “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”

God will not tolerate infidelity. We are His alone; we may not have other ‘gods’. We are to love Him first. It is because of His great love toward us that He is our best, and wants what is best for us.

Pastor Jim

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Friends

Proverbs 18:24
“A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Friendship is one of the most important parts of life. We were not designed to live in isolation or face all the struggles of life alone. We have some wonderful examples of friendship in Scripture. We are told that when Jonathan met David, he loved him as his own soul. He expressed this love by taking his armor and giving it to David 1 Samuel 18:4). As the son of the king, this action showed he believed David was the chosen of God to reign in the land. From that time forward, Jonathan lived to encourage David to be the man God had called him to be. His actions illustrate Paul’s words to to the Philippians.

Philippians 2:3
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

Barnabas, in the New Testament, is also a great example of friendship. When Saul of Tarsus first met Christ, no other Christian would have anything to do with him. The church basically thought his conversion was an elaborate ploy to get close to Christians, in order to imprisoned or killed them. It was Barnabas who risked it all and befriended Paul. After meeting with him, and seeing he had, in fact, given his life to Christ, Barnabas stood up for Paul to the other church leaders (Acts 9:26-27). Later, Paul was given opportunity to serve the Lord alongside Barnabas.

Both of these examples reveal the benefit of godly friendships. All of us long to have someone in our lives who would act like a Barnabas or a Jonathan. Solomon gives a practical tip as to how to develop and keep godly friendships. He writes,

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

If we desire friendship, we must be friendly. Instead of looking for someone who will come alongside and support us, we should be looking for others who we can come alongside and support. One of the simplest ways to do this is at church. It is not uncommon for people to enter a church, sit by themselves, and leave without ever making contact with any other believers. After weeks and weeks of this, they may start to think the church is an unfriendly place, because no one has reached out and befriended them. While that may be true, it is equally true, they have not reached out to anyone else. One of the best ways to establish friendship, is to look for someone who is sitting alone and join them. Ask them if they want to grab a coffee or get a meal after church. I am not suggesting you use the church as a place to get a date, but as a place where you can establish godly friendships, which will help you walk with the Lord. instead of looking for someone to be the friend you need, look to be the friend someone else needs.

Pastor Jim

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