Wednesday, October 18, 2017

God’s Design for Your Unique Marriage Differences


woman hugging husband both smiling
Western culture's movement away from God provides a rich opportunity for Christian men and women to reveal what following God's design for male and female can really look like and, in the process reveal God’s heart. The opportunity must be seized — and by God's grace, it can be.

Husbands have the distinctive opportunity to reveal God's loving, self-sacrificing movement into people's lonely hearts by the way they treat their wife. And wives have the unique opportunity to reveal God's invitation for empty people to be filled with His strengthening presence by the way wives respond to their husband.

At the risk of being a little bit inappropriate, I believe God designed the physical relationship of a husband and wife as a metaphor for their personal relationship. I believe the primary things my wife, Rachael, wants (the things that she's open to receive from me) are to be noticed, to be treasured and to be cherished in the deepest part of her soul. And God has designed me, as her husband, to remember His design and move into the deepest parts of her emotional being.

The woman is open to receive. The man is designed to move. When I recognize that Rachael longs to rest in the presence of a man who's strong enough to not be thrown by the difficulties of life and still move toward her, then she can rest in the strength of that man. That's what she longs for. So, do I remember how God has designed my wife, and do I see her and desire to embrace what is deepest within her?

Perhaps as never before in the history of Western culture, we need to recapture a fundamental truth about Christianity: God always does what He does for His own glory. Let me put that same thought another way: Because God, as the three-person divine community, is the supreme model of perfect and joyful relating, He created us male and female. Not merely to procreate and enjoy pleasurable sex and fulfilling relationships but to put His relational style on display, especially in marriage.

Husbands displaying traits of Jesus
Jesus, under authority from His Father and in the power of the Holy Spirit, moved from heaven's joy-filled community into earth's misery-stained chaos to sacrifice himself for the eternal joy of God-rejecting rebels. The Hebrew word for male in Genesis 1: 27 implies one who moves. It follows that husbands, uniquely designed to reveal God's way of relating, are called to display the way Jesus moved to meet others' needs by moving sacrificially toward their wives with her well-being in view.

Wives displaying traits of Jesus
Now resurrected and returned to the divine community, Jesus invites us to move toward the Father with confidence that He will warmly receive us and, by His Spirit, provide everything we need to carry out His plan for us. The Hebrew word for female in Genesis 1:27 implies one who is open to receive. It follows that wives are specially designed to open themselves, not to all movement, but only to godly movement from their husbands, and to receive such movement with godly delight. In so doing, wives reveal the way Jesus opened himself to invite our movement into the relational joy of His divine community.

Couples modeling how God relates to us
Movement and invitation: the two-part rhythm of how God relates to us. The Gospel of Christ reveals the nature of divine relating: movement into the heart, invitation to delight. The marriage of a man and a woman puts divine relating on display for others to see and to be drawn into the relational beauty of God. It can only achieve God's purpose when a marriage is a God-glorifying covenant between a male and a female.
God's design is sheer beauty, and it leads to joy. Both male and female are called to equally high ground in God's plan, to the privilege of putting Jesus on display by how each gender relates. Christian men and women have the opportunity to show the satisfying beauty of God's design, nowhere more clearly than in a Christian marriage.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

SELAH

Question: "What does "Selah" mean in the Bible?"
Answer: The word selah is found in two books of the Bible, but is most prevalent in the Psalms, where it appears 71 times. It also appears three times in the third chapter of the minor prophet Habakkuk.

There is a great deal of uncertainty about the meaning of selah. Most versions of the Bible do not attempt to translate selah but simply transliterate the word straight from the Hebrew. The Septuagint translated the word as “daplasma” (“a division”). Well-meaning Bible scholars disagree on the definition of selah and on its root word, but since God has ordained that it be included in His Word, we should make an effort to find out, as best we can, the meaning.

One possible Hebrew word related to selah is calah, which means “to hang” or “to measure or weigh in the balances.” Referring to wisdom, Job says, “The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold” (Job 28:19). The word translated “valued” in this verse is the Hebrew calah. Here Job is saying that wisdom is beyond comparing against even jewels, and when weighed in the balance against wisdom, the finest jewels cannot equal its value.

Selah is also thought to be rendered from two Hebrew words: s_lah, “to praise”; and s_lal, “to lift up.” Another commentator believes it comes from salah, “to pause.” From salah comes the belief that selah is a musical notation signifying a rest to the singers and/or instrumentalists who performed the psalms. If this is true, then each time selah appears in a psalm, the musicians paused, perhaps to take a breath or to sing a cappella or let the instruments play alone. Perhaps they were pausing to praise the One about whom the song was speaking, perhaps even lifting their hands in worship. This theory would encompass all these meanings—“praise,” “lift up,” and “pause.” When we consider the three verses in Habakkuk, we also see how selah could mean “to pause and praise.” Habakkuk’s prayer in chapter 3 inspires the reader to pause and praise God for His mercy, power, sustaining grace, and sufficiency.

Perhaps the best way to think of selah is a combination of all these meanings. The Amplified Bible adds “pause and calmly think about that” to each verse where selah appears. When we see the word selah in a psalm or in Habakkuk 3, we should pause to carefully weigh the meaning of what we have just read or heard, lifting up our hearts in praise to God for His great truths. “All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name. Selah!” (Psalm 66:4).

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

According To Science, This Is What Jesus Would Actually Look Like:



By Abby Heugel


Christianity is the largest religion on Earth, and a central figure of this religion is Jesus Christ, who you've probably heard of.

When you picture Jesus Christ in your head, what do you see? A white man, long blonde hair, and blue eyes? There have perhaps been more depictions of Christ than anyone else in history.


But just because everyone seems to insist that Jesus looked like a typical white male, that doesn’t make it accurate. Just ask forensic anthropologist Richard Neave.


Neave developed an image of the Christian figure that is pretty far removed from the face we’re used to — but one that was informed by historical evidence and computerized tomography.

But before we get to his images, we have to wonder how we came about our current depiction of Jesus. 


His appearance isn’t described in great detail in the Bible. It only mentions that Jesus “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”

Not too specific.

It's thought this description of Jesus was intentionally vague so it could appeal to members of all ethnicities.


However, Jesus has been largely depicted as primarily Caucasian, until now…

Here's what Jesus really looked like, according to Neave:


He has a darker complexion, darker eyes and a more wide-set nose, and his hair and beard are more coarse as well.

So how did he go about constructing this image?

He started by taking three skulls from Israeli archaeological sites near where Jesus was believed to have been born.


He was then able to use computerized x-ray and ultrasound techniques to construct a model of Jesus’ face. Based on anthropological and genetic data, he came up with the image pictured above.

If you think about it, his depiction makes sense.


Jesus was born in the Middle East, so he would look like those around him — not the way he’s so often portrayed in the West.

Yet a lot of people, including then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly, are convinced of Jesus' whiteness, along with that of Santa.


“Jesus was a white man, too,” she said. “It’s like we have, he’s a historical figure that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa, I just want kids to know that. How do you revise it in the middle of the legacy in the story and change Santa from white to black?”

Her assessment is understandable, but flawed — especially bringing in Santa.


We tend to project ourselves onto the people we look up to, and without an understanding of the historical context, it can be easy to accept the image of Jesus that has been most commonly depicted throughout the centuries.

But remember that the Bible itself says Jesus wasn't much to look at.


He most likely wasn’t the handsome, glowing, muscular man we’ve become accustomed to.
But in the end, does it really matter what he looked like? While we like to put a face with the name, if you’re religious, his teachings should be what take priority.

It is, however, certainly something to consider.

Monday, August 14, 2017

SEXUAL INTEGRITY AT A GLANCE


August 14, 2017


Do you consider yourself one who has sexual integrity? It would be easy to say, “Sure, I have sexual integrity–I have never cheated on my wife.” But let’s take a deeper look at this term and perhaps discover an area of weakness that we may not have previously considered.
When you think of sexual integrity, what comes to mind? For me, I consider great men of faith who have stayed with one wife and have never strayed from their original promise to love and to cherish ‘till death. Billy Graham is one that comes to mind. He lived out his strong faith and commitment to his bride by establishing some very solid boundaries that served him well throughout his life and marriage. I also think of those who failed in this regard. Over the years, we have heard countless stories of men and women of faith losing their careers, their ministries, and their families due to lack of sexual integrity. I’ve often wondered, how does this happen and what can I do to be a man of sexual integrity? In consideration of this question, I’ve decided to take a look at David.
You’ll recall that David began his meteoric rise to “fame” in the book of Samuel, when God used the prophet Samuel to anoint David as the next King of Israel. David, the boy, then went on to defeat the giant and then on to prove himself a great commander and defender of God’s people. In fact, he was referred to by the LORD as a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).
Then, one evening, this King, this man of God, this great defender of the people of God, lost his footing and fell into sexual sin. As he stood on his roof that night, he gazed at Bathsheba while she bathed. He lusted after her and brought her to his home and lay with her. While the sin of lusting and adultery were bad enough, he then planned a “hit” on Uriah to make way for him to marry his newfound love. How did this happen, and how can we avoid this breach of sexual integrity in our own lives and ministry?
Let’s take a look at the progression of events that led to David’s sin. First, he saw Bathsheba bathing. He didn’t just casually glance and look away; he allowed himself to gaze upon her and found that she was very beautiful to behold. The extended gaze turned into a decision, the decision to bring her to his home. He then proceeded to action by following through with his desire and sleeping with this married woman. Fearing his sin would be found out, he proceeded to attempt a cover-up by having her husband killed in battle.
The progression of events began with a simple glance that turned into something much more. Consider this powerful example and examine your own life. Do you allow your eyes to wander and gaze upon things you shouldn’t? Do you allow your gaze to linger when women wear tight or revealing clothing? When you see a provocative commercial on television, do you quickly divert your eyes, or do you find yourself “taking it in”? Has your wife “caught” you inappropriately looking at someone or something?
Are you guarding your heart by what you take in through your eyes? David didn’t set out to commit adultery and then murder, yet it happened. Do you want to live a life of sexual integrity, honoring the Lord, your spouse and your family? Be mindful and intentional of where you allow your gaze to fall, asking the Lord to give you strength.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

WASHING TOILETS


..."those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled' Daniel 5:19

Paul desired a career in the building industry. Early in his career, he was working with a large ministry to help direct several of their construction projects.

As the projects were completed, Paul was asked to stay on for future projects. To keep him busy he was given a number of jobs - one of which was cleaning toilets. He recalls getting down on his knees each day and complaining to the Lord, "Lord, I'm a college graduate!"

Discouraged, Paul told the Lord, "I will not leave here until You promote me. Please give me contentment with my circumstance."

Paul felt totally forgotten by God. A few months later, Paul received a phone call from a man in the Midwest who owned five successful businesses who wanted to interview Paul for a job. This came as a total surprise to Paul. As he drove to the interview, he told the Lord, "I only want your will in my life, nothing else. I am content to remain obscure for the rest of my life if I have You. You must override my lack of experience for me to get this job."

The owner of the company asked Paul a surprising question: "If I asked you to clean a toilet, what would you do?" Paul sat there, stunned. He wanted to burst out laughing. Paul assured him that he would simply pick up a sponge and start cleaning.

Amazingly, Paul was hired even though other candidates were more qualified. After several months of success Paul asked his boss why he hired him. His boss replied, "Paul, I still have a large stack of applications from people who wanted this job. Do you remember the first question I asked you in the interview? I asked each one the same question. You were the only one who said he would clean the toilet. Paul, I am a wealthy man, but I grew up dirt poor. I clean my own toilets at home. I can't have people running my businesses who are too proud to clean a toilet."


Sometimes God places us in situations to see if we will be faithful in those before He is willing to promote us to greater things. 

Blessings upon you

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

4 PERIMETERS TO PROTECT YOUR MARRIAGE


“Megachurch Pastor Shocks Congregation With Abrupt Resignation After Confessing to a Moral Failing.”

“Pastor Resigns After Admitting Infidelity.”

“Pastor Steps Down After Cheating On His Wife.”

The headlines aren’t the only ones screaming when a pastor’s marriage fails. The cries over broken marriages ring out from wives, children, and church members. And it's not only pastors who need to protect their marriages,  we all do!

Some say 1 in 2.7 men will cheat on their wives. Others say 60% of men and 40% of women will have an affair. Other numbers hit closer to home: 30% of male Protestant ministers have had sexual relationships with women other than their wives. The numbers may vary, but the risk is clear. A minister’s marriage, like all others, is under threat of destruction.

“Perimeter protection is the first line of defense in providing physical security for a facility.” So says the Handbook for the U.S. Department of the Interior in discussing the protection of its facilities.
My choice of reading materials aside, the principle of using perimeter protection to protect our nation’s facilities is also one that can prove invaluable to the protection of your marriage.

Let’s look at what we can learn from the life of King David and his perimeter violations.

VISUAL PERIMETER
According to the government handbook on perimeters, “Every vulnerable point should be protected to deter or prevent unauthorized access.” The first vulnerable point that must be protected with a perimeter is the eyes.

“One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful…” (2 Samuel 11:2).

The importance of guarding the visual perimeter cannot be overstated. Jesus put it this way: “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). There may be times when you can’t avoid looking at a woman. But you can avoid looking at her with lust.

David’s problem wasn’t that he happened to catch sight of Bathsheba. The difficulty came when he kept looking with lust in his heart. Be on your guard when you find yourself looking. And looking. And looking. That long protracted looking with lust can lead to a violation of the next perimeter.

MENTAL & EMOTIONAL PERIMETER
Once the eyes have allowed a perimeter violation, it’s not long before curiosity kicks in. After his unhealthy gaze upon Bathsheba, “David sent someone to find out about her” (2 Sam. 11:3). The mind soon becomes engulfed with what the eyes persist in feeding it.
A violation of the visual perimeter will require the enforcement of the mental and emotional perimeter.

Alarms will sound when this protective perimeter is violated. You find yourself thinking about this person more often than before. Then a Google search provides more information. You reach out to connect with her via social networks. You find yourself looking over her Facebook profile regularly.

This could be followed by an inordinate amount of texting, messaging, or posting. You may justify that chat as innocent conversation between co-workers or newly found friends. But, it won’t seem so innocent when you are looking back while in the midst of marital chaos.

David progressed from dwelling eyes to a dwelling mind. When the mind becomes engaged, you are proceeding further into dangerous territory. It is at this point that David’s son Solomon gave us great wisdom: “Above all else, guard your heart” (Prov. 4:23a).

The reason we are to guard our hearts so much is because “everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23b). If they remain unchecked, the mental and emotional violations will soon flow into the physical.

PHYSICAL PERIMETER
It wasn’t long before David went from thinking about it to acting on it. “Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him” (2 Sam. 11:4).

Emotional proximity leads to the desire for physical proximity. How can you tell if you’re setting off this perimeter violation alarm? Consider the following questions.

Have you begun to look for times when you might coincidentally run into the other person? Are you trying to arrange meetings at work or social gatherings? Are you having extended “working” lunches with her? Are you lingering with her after other gatherings?

Each perimeter violation brings you physically closer to this newfound adventurous romance. And it brings you closer to the destruction of your marriage.

SEXUAL PERIMETER
It started with a gaze over the balcony. That led to the stirring of thoughts in the mind. The emotional focus brought them closer. A trajectory had been set in motion and it could only lead to one thing.
“And he slept with her” (2 Sam. 11:4).

Defending at the outermost perimeter is the easiest and most effective defense. At the visual perimeter, David could have turned around and gone back inside. At the emotional perimeter, he could have focused his thoughts on other things. He could have decided against having Bathsheba brought to him. But now she was in his room and they were on the verge of a sexual perimeter violation.

In the heat of passion, it is not impossible for you to retreat from violating the final sexual perimeter. But it’s highly unlikely. After all the perimeters were violated, “the woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, ‘I am pregnant’” (2 Sam. 11:5).

Like the pastors in the headlines above, David was now facing the real-life repercussions of his perimeter violations.

PROTECTED
God tells us that “a wife of noble character is her husband’s crown” (Prov. 12:4). You are responsible for protecting your relationship with the precious jewel that is your wife. As with most valuables, an effective protection system can help guard that asset.

First, guard your eyes – “the eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light” (Matt. 6:22).

Second, “guard your heart” (Prov. 4:23).

Third, set up a physical buffer zone and do not “stray into her paths” (Prov. 7:25).

Lastly, do not violate the perimeter of sexual infidelity; for “whoever does so destroys himself” (Prov. 6:32).

Healthy, God-honoring marriages don’t often make headlines. But by setting up these four perimeters today you can protect your marriage. And a thriving marriage is great news for all!

Blessing upon you!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Good Friday a solemn day for reflection


BY ZACK LASALLE | THE DAILY IBERIAN       Mar 29, 2013

Two days before Easter Sunday, Christian churches of varying denominations will commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ in their own ways on Good Friday.

The Rev. Scott Bullock, pastor of First United Methodist Church in New Iberia said Good Friday is a somber, reflective day for his congregation. He said the church is stripped of its flowers and many of its adornments Thursday in preparation for today’s service.

“It’s a meditative service meant to reflect on the death of Jesus Christ, so it’s a somber sort of setting that reflects the content of the service,” said Bullock.

Bullock said the 6 p.m. service will include the reading of the Passion Gospels, hymn singing, many lit candles and will end in complete darkness. The Passion Gospels are considered the Gospel’s of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and are read from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday by several Christian denominations.

At First Presbyterian Church in New Iberia, the Rev. Pat Wadsworth said there is no service at all on Good Friday. He said regular services are held the day before on Maunday Thursday in commemoration of Jesus’ Last Supper, but that today is a solemn day.

“For many people Friday is a sad day,” said Wadsworth. “So people don’t really want to do anything that could be seen as celebratory.”

The Rev. Ed Downs of First Baptist Church in New Iberia said his church also chooses not to hold any services on Good Friday. He said when he came to the church 15 years ago it did not hold any Good Friday service and he continues the tradition simply out of preference, but said other Baptist churches may choose otherwise.

St. Marcellus Catholic Church on Avery Island Road in New Iberia will observe a service Good Friday where there will be no Mass, but a Way of the Cross ritual will be demonstrated, said the Rev. Gene Tremie. The Way of the Cross marks 14 moments in the period leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. Tremie said he knows of other Catholic churches that perform a Rosary or walk with a cross through town, but St. Marcellus does not.

“Good Friday is an essential part of what we believe,” said Tremie. “As I’ve heard said, ‘There is no Christian without the cross of Christ, and there are no authentic Christians who are not in some way crucified.’ If you were launching a rocket, Good Friday would be the base you leave from, undergoing death to have new life.”

Margaret Matthews, who works for the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, said its service will be “quite in line with the liturgy of the Catholic Church.” She said the noon service on Good Friday will be more silent than other services, abstaining from processional music in observance of a “day or mourning.”

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