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Posts from the ‘Relationship’ Category

9
Dec

How to Defy Sinful Desire

By faith Moses . . . [left] the fleeting pleasures of sin . . . for he was looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24–26)

Faith is not content with “fleeting pleasures.” It is ravenous for joy. And the Word of God says, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). So faith will not be sidetracked into sin. It will not give up so easily in its quest for maximum joy.

The role of God’s Word is to feed faith’s appetite for God. And, in doing this, it weans my heart away from the deceptive taste of lust.

At first, lust begins to trick me into feeling that I would really miss out on some great satisfaction if I followed the path of purity. But then I take up the sword of the Spirit and begin to fight.

  • I read that it is better to gouge out my eye than to lust (Matthew 5:29).
  • I read that if I think about things that are pure and lovely and excellent, the peace of God will be with me (Philippians 4:8).
  • I read that setting the mind on the flesh brings death, but setting the mind on the Spirit brings life and peace (Romans 8:6).
  • I read that lust wages war against my soul (1 Peter 2:11), and that the pleasures of this life choke out the life of the Spirit (Luke 8:14).
  • But best of all, I read that God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11), and that the pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8).

As I pray for my faith to be satisfied with God’s life and peace, the sword of the Spirit carves the sugar coating off the poison of lust. I see it for what it is. And by the grace of God, its alluring power is broken.

9
Dec

Jesus Keeps His Sheep

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31–32)

Though Peter failed miserably, the prayer of Jesus preserved him from utter ruin. He was brought to bitter weeping and restored to the joy and boldness of Pentecost. So Jesus is interceding for us today that our faith might not fail (Romans 8:34).

Jesus promised that his sheep would be preserved and never perish. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27–28).

The reason for this is that God will work to preserve the faith of the sheep. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

We are not left to ourselves to fight the fight of faith. “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

You have the assurance of God’s Word that, if you are his child, he will “equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:21).

Our endurance in faith and joy is finally and decisively in the hands of God. Yes, we must fight. But this very fight is what God “works in us.” And he most certainly will do it, for “whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:30).

He will lose none of those he has brought to faith and justified.

10
Jul

The Role of the Husband

This article is to remind husbands of their roles and to advise the ‘wanna-be’ husbands of what is in store for them. If you are a man, please read and take note. If you are a woman, send the article to your husband or fiancé.
With the proliferation of wrong stereotypes by both our Nollywood and Hollywood; what with ‘reality’programmes like “House-husbands”, sitcoms like “The Simpsons”, “My Family”, that portray the husband as slow and dimwitted; Tim Gunn’s “Tim Gunn’s Guide to style  and the fashion show “Queer Eye for the straight Guy” that encourage men to get in touch with their feminine side (whatever that means) ; the average man on the street has no clue as to roles and responsibilities of the husband demanded by God in marriage.
What does the Bible say about husbands? Ephesians 5:21-33
From the very beginning, God designed someone to be in charge, and someone to help. Someone to be, as it were, “in authority,” and someone to be “in submission.” Someone to be the leader and someone to be the follower. Someone to provide and someone to be provided for. The man has the role of the headship, and the woman has the role of the one for whom that headship is to be provided. The man is the one who protects, provides, preserves, and cares for the woman who is “a fitting,” or “suitable helper” for him.
The Husband is the leader. “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. ” 1 Cor 11:3. The husband is to oversee everything that happens in the house – spiritual and physical. The husband should not only cater for the physical needs and leave the spiritual matters to the wife. The wife should not be one to initiate prayers in the family. The Husband should provide the spiritual cover over his family and the spiritual direction for the family. The great English war hero, Field Marshal Montgomery said these profound words to his young troops, “Gentlemen, don’t even think about marriage until you have mastered the art of warfare.” Life is a battle and the family needs a relevant, prayerful husband and father. The Husband should also know that in leadership, respect is not taken but earned. Yes, the bible says that the wife should be submissive to the husband, but it also says clearly that Christ died for the church when we knew Him not. Christ, the leader, died for his followers, the church. The Husband must love the wife unconditionally for the wife to submit. Being the head does not mean master as in a master-slave relationship, nor does it mean a relationship like a general to a private in the army. It is more like a partnership where one is the leader, guide and director.
Use this guide to evaluate your leadership in the home (culled from The Maxwell Leadership Bible – John C. Mawxell)
a)      Initiative: Do I give direction and take responsibility for my primary relationships?
b)      Intimacy: Do I experience intimacy with God and others through open conversation?
c)       Influence: Do I exercise biblical influence by encouraging and developing others?
d)      Integrity: Do I lead an honest life, unashamed of who I am when no one is looking?
e)      Identity: Am I secure in who I am in Christ? Or am I defensive?
f)       Inner Character: Do I exhibit the fruit of the spirit in my life, including self discipline?
The husband is the Provider.  God expects the husband to work and provide for his family. He is responsible for the food, shelter, clothing and education. He must also see to it that his children learn how to work so that they can make a living for themselves. The Bible states, in 1 Timothy 5:8,  “But if any man does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. ” Marriage is a financial venture and the husband has a responsibility to finance, support and provide for his family. This is talking about money. As a husband, your earnings are not your own but belong to your wife as well as your children. Even if your wife earns more than you, the primary role for provision is still with you, the husband. She can help since she is your helpmate but it is your job.
The husband should also provide for the spiritual needs of the family. Every day he should confess the right words concerning his family.
The Godly husband prays for/with his wife regularly. He does not allow corrupt communication to proceed out of his mouth towards his wife, but only that which is good for edifying so that his words minister grace to her. He only speaks words that encourage her in her walk of faith. He gives his wife the honour, respect, goodwill and kindness that is due her.
The husband (father) participates in raising the children in the family. Proverbs 17:25 states that “A foolish son brings grief to his family and bitter regrets to his mother.” While Proverbs 15:20 states that “a wise son makes his father happy.” The difference between a foolish son and a wise son is often the difference in the teaching the fathers have given their sons. The Father is attentive to the needs of the children; in attending tea parties at their schools, playing with them as often as he can. He teaches them about God and good character. He impresses the word of God diligently in the hearts and minds of his children. He does not provoke his children to anger but rears them tenderly in the training, discipline, counsel and admonition of the Lord.
In conclusion, I will like to share with you “The Ten Commandments for husbands”
Ten Commandments for husbands
1)      Thou shalt not take thy wife for granted, but will honour and respect her as thy equal. (1 Pet 3:7)
2)      Thy highest allegiance, except God, shall be to thy wife, not thy relatives or friends. (Gen 2:24)
3)      Thou shalt frequently tell thy wife how important & valuable she is to thee. (Phil 2:3; Prov 31:10-11)
4)      Thou shalt hold thy wife’s love by the same means that thou won it. (Sos 5:10-16)
5)      Thou shalt actively establish family discipline with thy wife’s help. (Eph 6:4)
6)      Remember to do all the little things for thy wife when you say you will. (Mt 5:37)
7)      Keep thine eyes on thy own wife, not thy neighbor’s. (Prov 5:15-20; Job 31:1; Jer 5:8)
8)      Thou shalt make every effort to see things from thy wife’s point of view. (Gen 21:12)
9)      Thou shalt not fail to kiss thy wife every morning. (Sos 8:1)
10)   Thou shalt not be stingy with thy wife when it comes to money (Esther 5:3)
5
Jul

How to Damage Your Relationship

  • Dateless days: Relationships are like flowers; they need the frequent care of water, nutrients in the soil, and daily sun light. Relationships similarly can’t grow without frequent care of one-on-one time, such as date nights. The time of couples focused on one another, creating emotional connection and building a stronger connection in the relationship. Don’t forget to water the relationship with adding on Dates!
  • Computer love: Electronics are becoming more and more part of the Nigerian routine; however, the technology of text messaging and internet can create a wall between two people. I often see couples sitting side by side out to dinner, yet they vanished away into their own individual electronic worlds. Technology is getting in the way and distracting them from the relationship.
  • Friendship Focal Points: For social butterflies, socializing is key and very significant for maintaining relationships. The problem for couples is when either one or both people put more emphasis on friendships and don’t create a healthy balance. When friendship is the main focal point, then the relationship shifts to the peripheral vision.
  • No “Check-ins:” Quite frequently, partners may hear different messages than what their partner is actually meaning to say. The problem is that the simple step of checking in is overlooked and then reactions take over, starting the communication war.
  • Back Burner Choices: When life gets tough, substance (such as drinking, shopping, eating, etc) is used to help alleviate stress and take away the emotional pain. Unfortunately, the choice of substance automatically puts the other partner on the back burner…creating the feeling as if they aren’t willing to navigate through the rough times by the side of their partner.
  • Unsafe Zones: Safety is the comfort of your partner knowing that they can rely on you, get comfort from you, and know the . When someone criticizes, gets angry quickly, speaks down to, or over looks your emotional needs, it can create the sense of “it isn’t safe and my needs won’t be met.” This tends to push away partners and have them get comfort on their own or look for it in other ways
  • Avoiding Tough Topics: Many people avoid tough discussions with their partner as a way to keep the relationship tightly connected; however it doesn’t create space to resolve issues. The partner on the receiving end may feel as you “go away” or “don’t care,” creating a feeling as if they have to hold on tighter, cling on, and get you to open up…which can actually push you further away.
  • Email Snooping: An insecurely attached relationship can feel terrible, with fear and overly concern with what the other person is doing. Some partners take it upon themselves to do the investigation and search through emails to either confirm or deny their worst fears…a way to get comfort for their worry. The problematic part of this email snooping is that the insecure attachment does not get resolved, and the distress in the relationship becomes magnified.
  • Holding on Too Tight: When the attachment is not secure, it can create a terrible feeling of fear of losing the relationship. Some people may want to feel secure and take away the discomfort by holding on very tightly and squeezing their partner extremely hard that they can’t breathe. When the holding is too tight, the partner on the receiving end will need to take a breath of air by pulling away….and the cycle of keeping the relationship insecurely attached continues.
  • No Follow Through: Many people tell their partner one thing, and then do something different. For example, saying that you will be home by 6:00pm and then come home at 7:00pm. No follow through shows your partner that they can’t rely on you.
  • Infidelity: An affair on the side WILL damage the relationship
2
Jul

Living Through Grief

Do you feel overwhelmed by grief and sorrow? Perhaps a loved one has died … or your spouse has left you … or you have lost something very precious, such as your job, your health, your home, or a relationship. No matter how deep your pain, God can help you find comfort and hope. As you read this booklet, pray that He will bring healing to your broken heart.

The Facts on Grief

 

Understanding the nature of grief can help us better cope with loss. Grief is a natural, healthy process that enables us to recover from terrible emotional wounds. William Cowper, the English hymn writer, said, “Grief is itself medicine.” People may say, “Don’t cry; your loved one is in heaven.” That may be true, but it’s important to deal with the very real pain of loss. We should not feel guilty for grieving because it is a necessary part of God’s pathway to healing.
The grief process is like sailing across a stormy sea. When we first experience a great loss, we are launched into a tempest of emotions. We feel surrounded by darkness and heavy waves of anguish. Comforting words are drowned out by howling winds of sorrow. We feel lonely and out of control as we are swept toward a new destination in life.
This journey through grief has four phases:
  • Shock – In the days and weeks immediately following a devastating loss, common feelings include numbness and unreality, like being trapped in a bad dream.
  • Reality – As the fact of the loss takes hold, deep sorrow sets in, accompanied by weeping and other forms of emotional release. Loneliness and depression may also occur.
  • Reaction – Anger, brought on by feelings of abandonment and helplessness, may be directed toward family, friends, doctors, the one who died or deserted us, or even God. Other typical feelings include listlessness, apathy, and guilt over perceived failures or unresolved personal issues.
  • Recovery – Finally, there is a gradual, almost imperceptible return to normalcy. This is a time of adjustment to the new circumstances in life.
These phases vary in duration for each person, so we should not impose a timetable upon anyone. Some people need a year or two, while others may take less time. Holidays, anniversaries and birthdays can trigger intense grief, especially the first year.
Healing a broken heart is similar to healing a broken leg. Rushing the process can actually hinder our long-term recovery, like removing a cast before the bone is strong enough to bear weight. Grief that is left unresolved may trigger depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other serious problems.
God’s Viewpoint
Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 says “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Many Bible stories demonstrate how God comforts His people in times of sorrow and loss. Job clung desperately to God, despite catastrophic loss and unhelpful friends. David, a man after God’s own heart, openly grieved the death of his son.
Jesus is our best role model for combining faith and grief, as revealed in John 11:1-45. When He saw Mary and Martha in anguish over the death of their brother Lazarus, He wept and groaned. Although Jesus knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, He still allowed Himself to feel – and express – the depths of human sorrow.
We can take comfort in knowing that Jesus has experienced all of our pain, including loss, rejection, betrayal, and dying. As our Savior and Redeemer, He took all our sins to the cross and forgives us when we ask. As our Good Shepherd, He leads us safely through “the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4b). Remember, a shadow indicates that there is a light on the other side!
Deep faith in Christ does not prevent grief when a believer dies, but it infuses grief with hope! For Christians, death is a passageway to eternal life (see John 5:24). Paul said, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21b). He also said, “I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died” (1 Thessalonians 4:13b-14, NLT).
Well-meaning people may say, “Jesus took your loved one away,” but that can cause people – especially children – to be angry at God. 1 Corinthians 15:26 says death is our last enemy. Therefore, we can say, “Death took our loved one away from us, but Jesus took our loved one away from death!”
If we don’t know whether our loved one believed in Jesus, we must simply trust God. The Bible says, “The Lord … is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). The thief on the cross turned to Christ in the last hours of life (see Luke 23:39-43). We do not know what happens in a person’s final moments between life and death, but God does – and He decides who enters His heaven.
The Holy Spirit – also called the Comforter (see John 14:26, KJV) – can give us God’s peace, even in the midst of suffering. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The peace of God does not come from our circumstances, but from drawing close to Him.
Jesus promised, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). God beckons us into His loving arms so He can heal our wounded hearts.
Managing Grief

 

Grief can affect our thinking, behavior, emotions, relationships, and health. People may experience sleeplessness, exhaustion, indigestion, lack of appetite, or memory lapses. Recognizing that these are common reactions to grief can help us minimize them by reaching out to friends, joining a prayer group, or asking a pastor or Christian counselor for assistance.
One of the most difficult tasks for a bereaved person is adjusting to the new environment without the loved one who has died or moved away. When is it appropriate to put away a loved one’s things, make lifestyle changes, or form new relationships? We will find the answers as time passes and recovery progresses. God will show us His timing and His direction as we seek Him.
Here are three steps to recovery
  • Grieve – Though grief is bitter, we must let sorrow run its natural course. Isaiah 53:3b describes Jesus as “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Denying or repressing pain can lead to emotional problems.
  • Believe – We need to put our faith in God’s promises, trusting that our Heavenly Father knows best and that His understanding is perfect. Isaiah 55:9 says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
  • Receive – God desires to give us comfort, but we must reach out and accept it. Through prayer and meditation on His Word, we can find a place in God’s presence where He will wrap His arms around us as a loving father would console a hurting child.
These are some Scriptures that can bring hope, strength and peace:
  • Psalms 16, 23, 34, 91
  • John 14:1-27
  • 2 Corinthians 5:1-9
  • Philippians 4:6-13
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  • Revelation 21:1-22:5
Helping Others Through Grief

 

The Bible says, “Blessed be the God … of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). A silver lining in sorrow’s dark cloud is that God can use our experiences to reach out to others with compassion and comfort.
Everyone grieves differently – depending on personality, religious beliefs, maturity, emotional stability, and cultural traditions. Here are some general counseling guidelines:
  • Ask God for guidance about when to speak and what to say. Use this booklet as a guide.
  • Encourage the bereaved person to share his or her feelings, then be a good listener and don’t judge what is said. Romans 12:15b says, “Weep with those who weep.”
  • Avoid platitudes. Let the person feel sorrow without implying that he or she should “cheer up” or “be joyful in the Lord,” as this could give the impression you are questioning the person’s spirituality.
  • Don’t push or preach, but if the person indicates an openness, pray and share meaningful Scriptures.
  • Do simple things without being asked, such as bringing a meal or mowing the lawn.
Grief will visit our lives many times because we love others, but the Lord promises to be with us forever, even in the midst of our darkest hours. God bless you.
By CBN.com

 

27
Jun

Covenant Relationships

The concept of “covenant” is important in our faith because of its role in our relationship with God. Examples of God’s covenant with his people abound in Scripture: God’s promise to Noah never again to destroy the earth comes to mind; God’s covenant with Abraham, to give him a son and many descendants, and to bless him, is another example.

meganne_forbes_sacred_relationshipS274Consequently, Christian families also thrive by having “covenant relationships.” This begins with marriage. However, in the secular realm, marriage has been reduced into something less than a covenant. Marriage has become something like a loose contract. It has a solemn-sounding promise, but also easy stipulations for getting out of that contract. In several states, marriage can be broken simply based on “irreconcilable differences.”

As Christians, our relationship with one another is based on “covenant.” This means that there are principles involved much greater than a simple contract implies. And this applies especially in the case of marriage. A few states have even enacted (non religious) laws that allow a couple to enter into a “covenant marriage.” For a Christian, this implies that a marriage is a solemn pact. Although there can be troubles along the way, but marriage is not an institution to be entered into easily, nor broken recklessly.

Scripture tells us that marriage is not just a bond between a man and a woman, but also a lifelong commitment to duty. Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph 5:25). And to the wives, Paul said: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (Eph 5:22). Marriage is a calling to mutual service and love, to live with respect and grace. God’s will is for marriage to be a “wonderful relationship” that reflects his love towards us.

A wonderful relationship cannot be easily broken. It is not a simple contract, but draws us together in every way. Paul’s excellent reflection on love states:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1Co 13:4-7)

He concludes this description of love by saying in the next verse: “Love never fails.” (1Co 13:8)

Covenant relationship gives us the opportunity to reconcile when there is discord. It recognizes that there can be anger and disagreement in families, but love always protects and gives hope. It is an encouragement for us to work on our marriages, and not abandon them. And it recognizes that marriage is a wonderful gift from God.