To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

New Husbands

If you are a Christian man anticipating being married then be aware of the call for you to caringly lead your wife. I particularly want to urge you to think about your responsibility to lead your wife spiritually. Your wife will flourish through your exercise of servant leadership. If you wimp out and expect her to lead spiritually or if you act out the domineering tyrant role you have failed in the godly call upon you.

So what are you to do?:

  • You are to lead your wife in church attendance. Church on a Sunday should not be greeted with a should we or shouldn’t we dilemma. Rather, unless health, hazard or hardship get in the way you will be there. I particularly urge husbands to think about your first Lord’s Day together as husband and wife. I find it shocking that a husband would cop-out and not make sure that the first Sunday morning of marriage finds them among God’s people to worship the Lord.
  • Right from the start make your home a place of worship. You must be leading in this. There should not be a day ever that goes by without you and your wife praying together. Furthermore, you must make sure you read and study the Word together.

Quiet Time.

Here is another quote from the interview with Victor Jack that I quoted from yesterday I have always maintained a regular time of Bible reading and prayer in the morning. For me this is indispensable; for my own spiritual growth and often this prepares me for situations and individuals I meet during the day.

So taking our cue from these observations may I take the liberty of asking you how it is with your ‘quiet time’? How are you getting on with seeking the Lord? Now I know you may be an owl and are freshest later in the day. But it is a good practice to get the pump of your life primed in the presence of the Lord. I have written about personal devotions here and that may be of some use. Whenever you approach your drawing near to God the most important thing is that you actually do it.

If you are too busy to do it, then you are too busy.

The full interview is on pp14-17 of the June 2018 Counties Ignite magazine which can be found here.

 

What You Pray.

At pages 14-17 of the Counties Ignite magazine for June 2018 which can be accessed here, there is an interesting interview with Victor Jack. I was particularly struck by this statement “I had the privilege of being raised in a strong and stable Christian environment. My parents prayed that all of their sons would become Christians, be useful in Christian work and marry women who were totally committed as Christians. They saw their prayers answered for all seven.”

That really challenged me as regard to what I have been, am and will be praying for my four sons. Those three prongs to prayer of conversion, service, and wives committed to the Lord have been stimulus to my prayers. Moreover, we believe that our God hears our prayers when we pray in His will.

So might you be similarly stirred to pray for your children, the children in your church, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews and more.

 

The When Of Fasting.

When should we be fasting? The call to fast seems to clear in scripture. The fact that our Lord assumes that we will be fasting in the Sermon of the Mount (see Matt. 6:16) would give clear indication of the appropriateness of fasting. However, when should we be fasting?

Generally

As we see Anna giving herself to fasting and prayer; She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying (Luke 2:37b), we see something of what the devoted believer should be like. Individually believers, sometimes on their own sometimes in agreement with others, should have fasting included in their devotion to the Lord.,

Moreover our Lord saying “when you fast” (Matt. 6:16a) indicates that in the regular course of our lives we should be being constrained to give ourselves to fasting to reinforce our praying. This draws us into the point that fasting as a spiritual exercise is always connected to prayer.

Specifically,

Here I am thinking about when a church should be called to fasting. I suggest that this should be a part of church life, but not a regular part of church life. It should be that we are called to give ourselves to fasting in special circumstances.

In Acts 13:1-3 for example we read Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. Here we see the general worshipping the Lord and fasting, but then they specifically fasted and prayed about the sending out of Barnabas and Paul.

If the elders of the church are calling the congregation to fast about an issue too regularly then the impact is lost. Special calls for the church to give themselves to these disciplines should be given, but only in certain pressing situations.

Moreover, I would say they would generally be for matters bearing specially in the life of the church. It is things that particularly affect us that should lead us into this prayer and fasting discipline. In bolstering this argument I would see that the church at Antioch quoted above fasted about the issue of sending out Saul and Barnabas, A furtehr relevant incident is when Esther is facing the necesstity of going in to King Artaxerxes, there we read in Esther 4:16-17 Esther relaying to Mordecai to “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, day or night. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.” So Mordecai went and did everything Esther had ordered him. Again an issue pressing upon the Jews led to the Jews being called to fast.

So if the elders of a church are never calling the church to fast then there must be something wrong. But similarly if the elders are calling the church to fast about too many things then something is also wrong.

 

Those are thereby some thoughts on when we should be fasting. The matter needs to be considered generally and specifically.

 

 

 

 

Sisters Ministry.

This scripture appears in Titus 2:3b-5.  The Word says concerning the older women in the church that they are to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Could it be that I have just mentioned the most disobeyed portion of scripture in the Bible.

Amidst all the debate and dispute about the role of women in the church and whether they should have leadership / preaching roles, a scripture which clearly mandates a ministry for mature lady believers is largely ignored. I am not sure why it is. But I do know that our churches lack so much as a result.

Perhaps church leaders should pair the ladies up more; that is older ones with younger ones. But the thrust of the passage seems to be that the women through knowing this Word should get up and act upon it. How many younger sisters would just love a word of encouragement from an older believer. As they sink in a morass of nappies, washing and crying babies would not a kindly sister come stand encourage them in this vital ministry?

Oh what a lack there is here! Perhaps you feel you are not old enough. Well very likely you are older than some other sister and you can get on and serve them through your loving prayerful interest and advice. Perhaps you don’t feel qualified enough. Well the scripture does not talk about that it just infers you should get on and do it.

So older sisters be praying for those you can help and get on and help.

I have written at more length on this subject here

 

I want today to seek to elucidate how, right at the beginning of the Bible, the pattern I outlined on Friday is operative. Let us look at Genesis 2.

  • God’s People. Here we find Adam and then Eve being added, by his side (see Gen. 2:22-23), So we have the original people of God.
  • God’s Place. In Gen. 2:8 we read The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there He placed the man He had formed. The Lord God could have given Adam the whole planet as his place; after all it was within His gift to do so. But rather, he just gave him a garden in Eden. He wanted Adam and Eve to have a specific place in which to live for and experience God.
  • To be for God’s glory:
    • Obedience was the foundation to the joyous experience of God’s people having fellowship with God, And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” (Gen. 2:16-17
    • Service. Adam is called to serve the Lord by working the garden and watching over it ((see v15). Moreover Eve is called to his side to be a complementary helper (see v18). Eve was to help Adam in serving the Lord.
    • Worship. When all the forgoing is happening then is fulfilled the worshipping of Romans 12:1. There we read: brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.

Bible Overview.

As we study scripture it is good to have an overarching frame within which to develop our understanding. So easily we get mired in the detail of books and passages and lose any sense of a coherence to the biblical message.

I want to suggest to you a certain frame which reasonably gives a means of understanding the whole of Scripture. When we understand the Bible to be about the following then we have a handle on helpfully and healthily studying scripture:

  • God’s people
  • In God’s place
  • To be for His glory (and that means obedience, worship and service)

If you start thinking about scripture within that frame, I am convinced your appreciation of the Lord and His ways and your involvement therein will start to progress.

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