Posts Tagged With: husbands

Why Church Leaders Need Prayers And Encouragement

 

Sometimes I listen to my pastor on Sunday morning and can’t help to marvel at the knowledge that God has given him. I notice Elders counseling with various members of our congregation multiple times a week.

They have it all together, don’t they! Of course our leaders don’t fall into the same temptation that the rest of us do, right? They know the Bible forwards and backwards. They are the ones that we go to for counsel. They have a good knowledge of the Scriptures and put it to work. The time they spend studying God’s word is evident. The wisdom that they each contain and their desire to follow it is undeniable. They are men of God. They would never ever fall to sin, right?

Wrong! Very, very wrong!

First, let’s be clear about who the leaders of the church are. We often think of the pastor as the leader and that’s true. He is a leader but he, alone, is not “the leader”. When we speak of the leadership in our churches, that also includes the Elders.

Please remember that our pastor and Elders are human too. This is too easily forgotten. Sometimes we hold them in such high esteem that we forget that they too have a family with needs. They too have a wife that would like a little bit of attention once in a while. They too are tempted to sit in front of the tv instead of sit in front of their Bible. They are not above any sin.

We too often forget that there is a spiritual warfare going on all around us. Think about it, who would Satan love to see fall? Who does Satan target? Who can do the most damage to Christ’s name?

Someone in leadership.

And when Satan attacks these men, do you know where he most often strikes? In their families. Because if he can destroy the leader’s family, he can destroy his ministry and discredit any teaching that he has done. Ouch!

All too often we forget to pray for these faithful men. We may feel that they are so much above us that we mistakenly think that they don’t need our prayers. But nothing could be further from the truth. They need prayers as much as anybody does. Perhaps more.

Because right now, as you are reading this, Satan is attacking. He is scheming. He is planting seeds of discontentment in your pastors’ family. He is doing all he can to create discord and chaos.

If you have the thought that your leadership doesn’t fall into temptation, remember King David. He was chosen by God to be king. He was the first Godly king and was blessed greatly by the Lord. He is remembered as one of Israel’s greatest kings and is described as a “Man after God’s own heart,” (1 Samuel 13:14). But he fell into the temptation of his lust for Bathsheba. And Christ came from his family! Nobody is above sin. Nobody!

So what can we do to help them?

1. Pray, pray, pray!!! I cannot stress this enough. Pray that the Lord will give them strength, wisdom, and diligence with their time. Pray that God will give them rest. Pray that they will have unity with their wives and children. Pray for their whole family.

2. Encourage them. Sounds simple, right? Yep, it is. Yet it is something that few of us often do. It does not take long to write out a simple note letting them know of the appreciation you have for the time they have devoted to their ministry and invested in you.

3. Encourage their wives. Usually wives are behind the scene. But your leadership could not do their job as well as they do if their wives were not supporting them. Realize that they make sacrifices too for the sake of the Kingdom. And this sacrifice is often a loss of time with their husband. They choose to share their husband with you. And on occasion, I’m sure they would like to know you appreciate this.

4. Be respectful. Remember that your leaders are husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons. While they would really like to attend every function that the church hosts, every birthday party that they are invited to and visit with each church member every Sunday morning, they just can’t do it all. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. They MUST make time for their family too.

Please don’t misunderstand me, we ought to take advantage of their wisdom and counsel. To seek Godly influence and instruction is a good thing. No pastor, Elder, any of their wives or children would ever want you to feel like you could not speak with them.

It is a good thing to develop relationships with our leadership. They need friends too. Nobody wants to feel left out. This also gives us a window into their everyday lives so that we have a better knowledge of how to pray for them.

What I am saying is that they do have a lot of responsibilities. If you invite them over for supper and they decline, please don’t be offended or get upset. Just realize that it may be an opportunity for him to reconnect to his family. He is working hard to guard time with his family and not allow Satan a foothold there. Grant grace and be respectful.

While this post is meant to be about the necessity of praying, encouraging, supporting, loving, and being respectful to our leaderships and their families, the truth is that we all need these things. We all need to be prayed for. We all need encouragement. We all need to respect one another’s time. Truly, we each need to realize that Satan uses busyness to whittle away our family time. We must diligently guard against that and our church leadership is no different.

Even the notion that church leaders have it all together is an attack on their family. Because it is 100% complete deception. Just because God has placed them in a place of leadership does not mean that they are immune to sin. It means they are attacked more.

The reality is that church leaders are just like you and me, someone who is striving to model Christ. This month is Pastor Appreciation Month. So it seems fitting that this would be the perfect time to begin storming the gates of heaven for them, letting them know how much we appreciate their investment in us, and the sacrifice their families make for us. Let’s do all we can to encourage them and their family. Let’s show them that we support them, love them, and value them and their time.

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Faithful Sacraficing Fathers

 

A lot of people dote on mothers for the sacrifices they make. And truly, they do. I know because I am a mother. I gave up a career to stay home with my children. I give up things I want and time to myself for the sake of my children. And that’s okay. That is what I feel I need to do to be the mother that God has called me to be.

But what about Fathers? Don’t they make sacrifices too?

Absolutely!

When I first met my husband, I was astounded by the volumes of sports one person could fit into his life. Nearly every day he would be watching a game somewhere and then that night he would watch another game somewhere else. And that one game he would be at would not be enough. Oh no! He would also have to take a long a small radio so he could listen to an addition game(s) taking place at another location. He has even been known to drive two hours away just to be in range of a radio station that would be broadcasting a high school game that he was interested in. And I have not even mentioned the time he spent playing sports. To me, this was unbelievable! I thought sports ruled too much of his life. And maybe they did. But he enjoyed them and did not have any other commitments. So is this really that much different than me spending all that time reading, shopping, or wasting time surfing the net?

My husband still enjoys sports a great deal but they no longer consume his life. Why? What changed? The answer is simple, yet can be complex — he got married, had children, came to know Christ, and desired to be an imitator of our Heavenly Father.

Because he loves the children and me he may have given up some sports. But we were not responsible for the change in his life. That would be God our Father. And God is a perfect Father. He disciplines as needed. He loves and shows grace when needed. His timing is always perfect. He always has patience. He always supplies for our needs. And so Fathers, who is it that you should look at to learn how to be a good Father? That’s right, our Heavenly Father.

And does that mean that you must put away selfish desires? Does that mean that you must make some sacrifices for your family? Well, yes it does. To learn how to be a good Father, you must study the Father. This means studying His Word, maybe learning catechisms, and perhaps spending time studying together with a brother in Christ. This might mean that you are spending time preparing for a family study. This might also mean that you are spending more time on your knees praying for guidance, wisdom, and mercy.

Men, you have been called to be leaders of the family. That is no small thing. And behalf of women everywhere, I want to say, “Thank you for doing this.” I am glad it is not my job! Your significance as head of the family is enormous. And I know that you must feel the weight of this calling. But again, look to our Heavenly Father. Look at how He faithfully led the children of Israel even through their rebelling and idol worship. Look at how He continues to lead us even today. After all, we still go through times of rebellion and idol worship (because let’s face it, our hearts are idol factories).

I understand the burden of this tall order. But men, there are some things that God just created you to be able to handle better than women. And why is this? Because we, ladies,  are the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7). We draw strength from you. We also feel very cared for and loved when we see you handling situations that seem overwhelming to us.

There will be times that you will fail. There will be times you won’t want to lead. You won’t always make the perfect decision. And that’s okay. You will not be perfect on this side of grace.  We don’t expect you to be perfect. It only makes you human, just like us. That reminds us that you need grace too.

As the case with my husband, he still enjoys sports. And I still think he is a sports nut. But the way he enjoys them has changed quite bit. Right now, he enjoys watching and coaching our older son in baseball, basketball, and soccer. He enjoys playing football with both of them in the yard. He takes pleasure in taking them to watch the local baseball team’s home games. A few years ago, he was asked to be the announcer for our local high school football games. He gladly accepted. And he takes our son with him.

And I love, yes love, watching all these things. I love the way he shares his passion of sports with our children. I love that he does not put sports ahead of our family. If our family cannot participate in it, he doesn’t do it. This is the man that God has called him to be, and I love it!

 

To Fathers everywhere, Happy Father’s Day. And thank you for being faithful to God’s Word and the sacrifices that you make daily!

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Christ and Marriage

 

My husband and I have been married now for nearly fifteen years. How is that even possible? I still remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the first time I saw him. I remember the first time I talked with him. Our first date. Our first breakup. Our second first date. The courtship. The proposal. The big day. And one of my all time favorite memories, waking up next to him the first time and thinking, “It really happened. We’re really married. He’s mine!”

And it was wonderful.

The first week was wonderful. The first year was wonderful. And in general, married life is wonderful. But I would be lying if I said it was perfect. Or if I said every moment of my fifteen years was wonderful.

Marriage is hard. And marriage is work. But there has never been anything like my marriage to remind me of Christ’s love. Confused? Let me explain…

My husband knows me, he REALLY knows me. He knows the me that doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. He knows the me that feels sad, weepy, and depressed. He knows the me that has short patience. He knows the me that sings at night when I think everyone else is sleeping. He knows the silly me, the grouchy me, the light-hearted me, the stressed out me. He knows me like nobody else knows me. He is the one person on earth that truly knows me and still chooses to love me. There is nothing desirable or lovable about me. But he loves me anyhow.

I remember a time when I thought that I would never be closer to anybody than my sister. And we will always be best friends. But she is no longer my very best friend. That would be my husband. And why? It is nothing against my sister. I love her dearly. But there is an intimacy in marriage that cannot be duplicated. Part of it is physical, yes, but there is much more to it than that. It is the comfort we give one another. The help we are able to provide. The council we receive from each other. The little things we do to surprise one another. The quirks that we each have that no one else knows about.

Yesterday I had a rough day and was very discouraged. I had taken just a couple steps in the door when my husband asked what was wrong. He had not seen my face. He just knew by my posture or the way I was carrying myself that something was wrong. I find that amazing. He knows me so well that all I have to do is take a few steps and he knows my mood.

I am not a perfect wife. Far from it. I fail to meet my husband’s expectations. I frustrate him. I disappoint him. I am not always as submissive as I should be. I get angry with him. Yet, he still loves me. He still seeks to provide for me. He still honors me. He chooses to love me.

By watching him demonstrate love, patience, and tenderness, I am also watching him mirror Christ. This causes me to realize my own sinful desires. His continuing forgiveness makes me love him more. I do not want to hurt him, yet there are times that I do. And does he remain bitter or constantly remind me of those times? No, not at all. (And yes, if you’re wondering, I’m talking about both, my husband and Christ).

I really believe that God instituted marriage to be a reflection of Christ and His bride, the church. (The reason God hates divorce so much). Do we, as a church, ever let Him down? Do we fail to meet His expectations? Absolutely! And He still chooses loves us even though there is nothing desirable about us.

And what is amazing is how well He knows us. He knows our strengths and our shortcomings. He knows all of our needs before we even realize we have them.  Even as well as my husband knows me, Christ knows me better. I don’t even have to walk across a floor for Him to know how I am feeling.

As wonderful as I have just made my husband sound, he is not perfect either. Nor is his love perfect. It can’t be. He’s not Christ. So I have to marvel at Him! I cannot even fathom His love or comprehend His patience. His greatness is simply out of my grasp.

But His love has shown me something even greater; it has shown me true, sinless love. When Christ willingly laid down His life as a ransom for my sins, He demonstrated what true love looks like. He also created in me a new heart. He did this for my husband as well. And anyone else He has called to Himself. And with this new heart comes a new ability, to love one another unselfishly. Sure, we fail. We aren’t perfect. But this again brings me back to Christ and His amazing love. When I fall on my face to repent of my sinful desires, Christ reminds me of His great and perfect love for me. Don’t forget the cost of His love. When I ask my husband for forgiveness, very gently he reminds me of his sweet love. And both remind me of the new heart that He is creating in me.

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Mundane Motherhood

 

As wives and mothers, our lives can be fairly mundane. We prepare meals, wash clothes, clean the toilet, wipe noses, change diapers, vacuum floors, and countless other jobs that would be impossible to list here. It is very easy to get caught up in all the daily needs. The world is brimming over with nearsightedness for motherhood and if we are not exceptionally careful, we forget why we are even doing the things we are doing.

It is when the mundane looms larger than eternity that we forget who we are, who our husband is, and who our children really belong to.

But ladies, I am praying that you do not forget your importance as a wife and/or mother. Keeping this in perspective will help our eyes to stay focused on the horizons of eternity.

Think about it this way… If you are a wife, you are a wife because that is what God has called you to be. Your influence upon your husband is greater than you may think and more powerful than you will probably ever know. He cannot be the man God has called him to be without your support. God blesses him through your service and honors him through your love.

Even as precious as your children are to you, they are even more precious to God. As much as you love them, God still loves them more. God has entrusted them into your care to raise for Him. What you invest in them is an offering to God.

Much of what we do is hidden from the public eye. Most will never be acknowledged by anyone. But we are not wasting our life. Nothing we are doing is done in vain. We are investing time and energy for the building of the Kingdom. It is not our job to be leaders of the church. It is our job to raise leaders for the church.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ,” (Colossians 3:23-24).

I often hear that verse speaking straight to me. We receive very little remuneration here on earth. But if we keep our eyes focused on Christ, then we don’t want to. We want to receive our rewards in eternity, remembering that He is our prize.

So who cares if we don’t get thanked for remembering to cut the sandwich in half before we give it to our preschooler? It has not gone unnoticed. God has observed.  Your obedience and dedication to your family shines like a bright light before them and up to Him. What you are doing is not easy, but continue on. Remember that you are a servant of the One True God. Do all to please Him!

 

“But the wisest of women builds her house,” (Proverbs 14:1).

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Ladies, Ask For What You Need

 

I have decided that time spent in Scripture everyday is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

When I was a new mother I just could not seem to find the time to fit it in. Between changing diapers, wiping noses, cleaning up the spilled milk, painting over the crayon on the wall, fixing meals, folding  laundry, and washing dishes, washing dishes, washing dishes (we didn’t have a dish washer at that time and they never seemed to stop), all my time seemed to be occupied. At the end of the day I was simply worn out. But the worst thing was that I was starving spiritually and I knew it.

My husband, on the other hand, grew a lot during this time. He would get off work and tell me he needed to study. He would go in our room, shut the door, and be in there for nearly an hour.  All the while I was screaming inside, “When do I get to study?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy he got to study. I’m thankful he was growing so much and I got to serve him in this way. Yet, I craved that time alone with the Lord too.

Ladies, here is my point, it is not wrong or selfish to ask for what you need. I don’t think my husband realized I was not getting time with the Lord daily. I don’t think he knew that I was starving because I never told him. Our husbands do not always know of every single thing that we need, especially when we act like everything is fine. If I would have asked him to please keep the children for me so I could have half an hour to study the Scriptures, I’m fairly confident he would have gladly done it. He wants a Godly wife and a Godly mother for his children. He wants me to grow and mature as well.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.”  –Ephesians 5:25-30

Of course my husband loves and cherishes me. Of course my husband loves me as Christ loves the church.  Of course he wants me to be nourished.  He would not have entered into marriage with me if he did not. So why on Earth do we think it’s selfish to let them know what we need?

I know you may be thinking, “But how does he not know I need________?”  Or “Why doesn’t he realize I need ________? I have dropped so many hints!” Ladies, I do not profess to know much about men but one thing I have learned is for the most part, men can be quite oblivious to our needs (I’m trying to be nice here). “Doesn’t he know that I need to go to the bathroom without a little person watching? Doesn’t he know that I need to take a walk by myself once in a while? I need that time alone. I need that peace and quiet!” The answer is that he probably doesn’t know. You seem okay with it so why should it bother him? If you need this time alone, tell him!

Think about it ladies, men are called to be head of the household (Eph 5:23). That means it is their responsibility to provide for the home, you and your children. That means that all decisions are ultimately his responsibility. That is no small task! If he makes a wrong decision for the family, it’s his fault. If he makes a wrong move at work and loses his job, what is he going to do? How is he going to provide for you and the children? To be quite frank, I’m glad it’s not my responsibility!

 But it does make sense that they have enough going on, plenty on their plates that they may not be quite in tune to our needs, even if we do drop very good hints. He loves you. He chose to marry you because he wants to spend the rest of his life with you. You!  Not your sister. Not your best friend. Not his next door neighbor or even the girl he had a crush on in High School. But he chose you. He loves you.  He wants what is best for you. And he wants to know your needs too!

 

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