Tuesday, September 5, 2017

How Is Your Wife?

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to make her hoy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  (Ephesians 5:25-28 CSB)

War, violence, unrestrained anger, race riots, rampant drug addiction, human trafficking, hatred of Christians, compromising and apostate believers, hurricanes, floods, on, and on, and on it goes. The world's need for the church to carry out its missions has never been greater. Where do we start? Should we head to Houston, load the truck with supplies for the shelter in Beaumont, invite a family of a different color over for dinner, lobby Congress for more money for drug treatment, leave home to share the Gospel in a hostile country, or walk down the block praying for our neighbors?

We start in the wedding chamber. Whether she is saved or lost, weak or strong, sick or healthy, rich or poor, loving or nagging, our wives are our first and foremost field of mission. We are commanded to demonstrate and proclaim the love of Christ to all those in need of redemption. How we treat her is perhaps the most reliable test of our true Christian character. If we do all these other things and do not have love, especially for our brides, what are we?

This morning I prayed with a group of pastors from across the country. As we came to the point of praying for our greatest concerns, almost every pastor asked for help in ministering to failing marriages. As I examine my own life, all the busyness, the ministry, I am convinced that my wife contributes more to me than I to her. And yet I am to be like Christ to her. I am to lay down my life for her, not her for me. If I gain the whole world, but fail my Jerusalem, what will I have gained? So, brothers, before we go expecting great things from God and doing great things for God, let's ask ourselves some important questions.

"Am I treating my wife like Christ treats His church?"

"Does she experience the love of Christ through me?"

"When she fails, does she hear a message of redemption and forgiveness from me, or criticism and condemnation?"

"Do I live to lay down my life for her, or do I expect her to lay hers down for me?"

Friday, September 1, 2017

After The Flood - Do Not Forget Tomorrow

     Anyone who has suffered a tragic loss knows something. Whether it's a death, a fire, or a flood, they know that most of the help from others comes in the first few days. That help is essential, invaluable, and appreciated. Thousands have risked their lives and exhausted their resources already to rescue people from the destruction of this hurricane, but the work is not done. Previous survivors know that the hard work is about to begin. After rescue comes recovery. More are needed then than now. Family, friends, neighbors, volunteers are needed to mudout and rebuild.
     After someone dies, everyone shows up. Friends and food are there. The day after the funeral, it's mostly just a couple of close friends and family. Two weeks later, the survivor finds herself sitting in an empty room alone. The same thing often happens after disasters, but it doesn't have to happen.
     Thank God for the outpouring of brotherly love we see today in the wake of Harvey. This storm has tested our responsiveness, but the recovery will test our character. Give now, go now, but let's make sure we don't forget to go in the coming weeks and months.
     Put some reminders on your cellphone calendar. Set 3 events on it; 1 in 2 weeks, 1 in 1 month, and 1 in 3 months. Entitle each one, "Volunteer To Help." Set an alarm on that day. When it goes off, pray immediately for the people recovering. Next, call your pastor, or someone in your church who does disaster relief, or some friend or family member you know who lost everything and ask this question, "What can I do to help?" Then help.
     For those who are members of our church, take steps today for tomorrow. Here's how you can do that. Get a 5 gallon bucket and fill it with some things from the list below, then bring it to the church. We will send it all with our own NAMB Disaster Relief Mud Out Teams who will deploy next week. If you can't find a bucket, no problem. Just bring the items to the church.

Rubber Gloves, Dust Masks, Germ-X, Measuring Tapes, Flashlights (with batteries), Utility Knives, Carpet Knives, Chalk Lines, First Aid Supplies, 2 Quart Bleach, Hydrogen Peroxide, Wash Cloths, Goggles, Work Gloves, Ziplock Bags