Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces (Matt. 7:6)~~ Ever see someone “in a crowd” hatefully go off…. making a public scene, simply because they over-heard someone share some basic truth of God’s love? Possibly it’s even happened to you. You express your reverence to God and get teased, ridiculed or challenged on the stage in front of the crowd..all to minimize you and the Word you carry. We see it all the time whenever the truth of God is given. There is always an opposing point of view that has a burning desire to make itself heard. You know what they say: If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, typically the one who barks the loudest is the one that got hit! Perhaps and most likely, the person that went ballistic-berserk is the one that got hit by the rock of the Spirit’s conviction..so to speak. Spiritual “dogs” if you will, are attracted to really filthy things on the ground (in the world). They like what smells rotten. They like to feed on what shouldn’t be fed upon. They like to bite people or other dogs. As it is with spiritual swine, they will walk on what’s priceless, holy things are of no value to them. They will come back at you, brandishing their own ‘memorized’ scriptural favorites with verses like Matthew 7:1, saying “Judge not, lest you be judged.” In the unbelieving and the rebellious mind, quoting this verse is a way of defending what he or she loves doing so that you don’t bother him or her with the truth that convicts. Some don’t want to be confused etc.. by the facts. They don’t want to take responsibility for their wrong-doing’s or have to change themselves and their ways. Some people actually do love their dark sinful “party habits” and selfish pleasures more than they want imputed righteousness freely given by God, so they just get angry at us. Some feel angry at God, believing that He has let them down. It’s a cruel world we live in and some want to blame Him without looking at their own wrongs. Or.. maybe the one who quotes this verse might want to ward off what they see as a smug, holier-than-thou, arrogant type of carnal believer who tends to be a finger-pointer and very accusatory. When the Holy Spirit is working on someone to lovingly bring them to repentance and faith, because they have been prayed for, or witnessed to before.. the spiritual battle that is going on for his or her soul can get pretty fierce. It can get more intense the closer they get to making a decision for Jesus. And the devil really doesn’t want to lose any of his own that he has in his grasp, and he will all-out fight for them so that they can stay in spiritual chains and one day be with him forever in Hell. Unbelievers and the rebellious in God’s eyes, have great value – each one of them just like you do. That’s why we must trust and obey Jesus and fight the good fight of FAITH, but not be angry at or strive with people. There is a lot at stake and sometimes a lot going on around us in the spirit world – if you will. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:12). We certainly can’t see the inner heart and spiritual condition of a person. We are not called to attempt to judge a person’s motives, for only God knows their motives. So, there will be times when God doesn’t want you wasting your kind words of truth with “closed minded” sinners in an effort to help them. This might sound crazy, but why force a Message upon those lost individuals who absolutely refuse to hear it? He rather wants you and I to live the life, to be His faithful witnesses all the time. While it’s important for all to hear God’s Word and be led of the Spirit every day.. sometimes you and I speak the loudest through our actions in being a witness for Christ (Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only – James 1:22). We must decide not to react in the flesh, but to respond in the Spirit of love. By faith rest in the Lord and choose to be an overcomer full of God’s Spirit and Word. Opt to be victorious today, not needing to prove a thing to anybody. People are worth fighting, not with, but for… on our knees. The unseen spiritual battle is ultimately the Lord’s. Be strong in the Lord and the power of HIS might!
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh (Eph 5:25-31) ~~ Marriage Is one big journey from selfishness to selflessness. A husband in God’s will for marriage will give up everything he has in order to make sure his wife has what she needs. No matter how big the sacrifice, meeting her needs becomes his priority. When a wife is dealing with a troubling situation the husband should be willing to be the bad guy. He’ll get as dirty as he has to in order to keep her clean. Helping her character remain clean is important, and the best way to do this is by learning and living according to the Bible. Ephesians 5 calls husbands to “present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle.” Men, Our charge is not to dog our wives, or point out their shortcomings, but to do all we can to reveal the true beauty we see inside her. Yes, the “church” has some issues, but Christ sees something different. Just the same our wives have some issues, but we are to see and reveal her beauty. Most people treat themselves better than they treat others. We make exceptions for the same mistakes we condemn in other people. But with our wives, if we are to be Ephesians 5 husbands, we should love and treat her the same way we do ourselves. Ephesians 5 husbands treat their wives with the utmost care and concern. One of our biggest roles as a husband is to become one with our wife. The Bible actually says “one flesh.” That means to become closer to her than anybody or anything else on this earth. Even if it means separating from other people or things that come against your union. Once you become one, nothing can keep you apart.
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you rise up. I am familiar with all your ways. Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. For you were made in my image. In me you live and move and have your being. For you are my offspring. I knew you even before you were conceived. I chose you when I planned creation. You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I knit you together in your mother’s womb. And brought you forth on the day you were born. I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. For I am the perfect
father. Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. My plan for your future has always been filled with love. Because I love you with an everlasting love. My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. And I rejoice over you with singing. I will never stop doing good to you. For you are my treasured possession. I desire to establish you with all
my heart and all my soul. And I want to show you great and marvelous things. If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. For it is I who gave you those desires. I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. For I am your greatest encourager. I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. He is the exact representation of my being. He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. I have always been Father, and will always be Father. My question is…Will you be my child? I am waiting for you.
Love, Your Dad Almighty God
Obviously, I’m not a relationship expert. But there’s something about the ups and downs of marriage after 18 years that gives one perspective of things … I can’t say I’ve always done all of these things the right way …maybe in some cases even at all, but there’s some good advice here that I’m glad to have now rather than being on the other side of a divorce proceeding thinking of the advice I wish I would have had.
1. Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.
2. Protect your own heart. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to EVER let anyone or anything else enter there.
3. Fall in love over and over again. You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else or seal you out completely, and you may never be able to get it back. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were courting her.
4. Always see the best in her. Focus only on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you know without a doubt that you are the luckiest man on earth to be have this woman as your wife.
5. It’s not your job to change or fix her… your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it’s what you wanted or not.
6. Take full accountability for your own emotions: It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and she CAN’T make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.
7. Never blame your wife if you get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU. They are YOUR emotions, and your responsibility. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed. You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them… when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by her, and you will wonder why you ever were.
8. Allow your woman to just be. When she’s sad or upset, it’s not your job to fix it, it’s your job to HOLD HER and let her know it’s ok. Let her know that you hear her, and that she’s important and that you are that pillar on which she can always lean. The feminine spirit is about change and emotion and like a storm her emotions will roll in and out, and as you remain strong and unjudging she will trust you and open her soul to you… DON’T RUN-AWAY WHEN SHE’S UPSET. Stand present and strong and let her know you aren’t going anywhere. Listen to what she is really saying behind the words and emotion.
9. Be silly… don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.
10. Fill her soul everyday… learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and validated and CHERISHED. Ask her to create a list of 10 THINGS that make her feel loved and memorize those things and make it a priority everyday to make her feel like a queen.
11. Be present. Give her not only your time, but your focus, your attention and your soul. Do whatever it takes to clear your head so that when you are with her you are fully WITH HER. Treat her as you would your most valuable client. She is.
12. Be willing to take her sexually, to carry her away in the power of your masculine presence, to consume her and devour her with your strength, and to penetrate her to the deepest levels of her soul. Let her melt into her feminine softness as she knows she can trust you fully.
13. Don’t be an idiot…. And don’t be afraid of being one either. You will make mistakes and so will she. Try not to make too big of mistakes, and learn from the ones you do make. You’re not supposed to be perfect, just try to not be too stupid.
14. Give her space… The woman is so good at giving and giving, and sometimes she will need to be reminded to take time to nurture herself. Sometimes she will need to fly from your branches to go and find what feeds her soul, and if you give her that space she will come back with new songs to sing…. (okay, getting a little too poetic here, but you get the point. Tell her to take time for herself, ESPECIALLY after you have kids. She needs that space to renew and get re-centered, and to find herself after she gets lost in serving you, the kids and the world.)
15. Be vulnerable… you don’t have to have it all together. Be willing to share your fears and feelings, and quick to acknowledge your mistakes.
16. Be fully transparent. If you want to have trust you must be willing to share EVERYTHING… Especially those things you don’t want to share. It takes courage to fully love, to fully open your heart and let her in when you don’t know if she will like what she finds… Part of that courage is allowing her to love you completely, your darkness as well as your light. DROP THE MASK… If you feel like you need to wear a mask around her, and show up perfect all the time, you will never experience the full dimension of what love can be.
17. Never stop growing together… The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Atrophy is the natural process when you stop working a muscle, just as it is if you stop working on your relationship. Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.
18. Don’t worry about money. Money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it. It never helps when teammates fight. Figure out ways to leverage both persons strength to win.
19. Forgive immediately and focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past. Don’t let your history hold you hostage. Holding onto past mistakes that either you or she makes, is like a heavy anchor to your marriage and will hold you back. FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM. Cut the anchor loose and always choose love.
20. Always choose love. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. In the end, this is the only advice you need. If this is the guiding principle through which all your choices is governed, there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage. Love will always endure.
In the end marriage isn’t about happily ever after. It’s about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come. Marriage is life, and it will bring ups and downs. Embracing all of the cycles and learning to learn from and love each experience will bring the strength and perspective to keep building, one brick at a time.