Christian living

Lessons From A Dysfunctional Marriage (Part B)

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Continued from the previous post

So far, Jacob’s love for his wife, Rachel demonstrates to us that love can exist even in a dysfunctional marriage. This man did some unexpected things for his wife.

Application for husbands:

Husbands, love your wives.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, – Ephesians 5:25

 

You can love your wife even when she is complicated to deal with. Rachel was not easy to love. She seemed to want everything and then some; never content.

Your wife is designed and wired to receive your love. She has that as a basic need. Love is not an emotion, but an act of the will. You must be captivated by something deeper than just the physical attributes of your wife – something about her character, inner beauty and the decision you made to love her – that is how Christ loves the church. He valued us to the extent that He was willing to die for our sake – and He did! Your love will lead you to treat your wife as something valuable and precious to you. Your love will direct you to invest in and pay a price for her.

How much are you willing to spend on her?

How much time are you willing to spend with her?

Jacob’s love for Rachel was so patient that it didn’t consider her complexity

One would think that Rachel was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside, but that is far from true. She is not the best example of a wife. In addition to being a thief and a liar , she was an envious woman. Rachel had everything that a woman would want – great physical appearance, married from wealth into wealth, and husband’s love. Can you imagine, the man wept for her, but she was never satisfied. She had what her sister didn’t have and she wanted what her sister had. Greed!

 

Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die!” – Genesis 30:1

A spirit of discontentment can lead one to live a miserable life – always grumbling and complaining. So, to fulfill her own desires, on two occasions she gave Bilhah, her maid, to Jacob to have children with. She named the second son Naphtali because she wrestled with Leah.

3 So she said, “Here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her, and she will bear a child on my knees, that I also may have children by her.” 4 Then she gave him Bilhah her maid as wife, and Jacob went in to her. 5 And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6 Then Rachel said, “God has judged my case; and He has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan. 7 And Rachel’s maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Then Rachel said, “With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and indeed I have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali. – Genesis 30:3-8

Contentious woman?

 

Rachel wants even what Leah’s 4-year-old child had collected. When Leah questions her behavior, Rachel puts a ‘payment’ on it. She was aware that Leah was empty of her husband’s love.

14 Now Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

15 But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?”

And Rachel said, “Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.” – Genesis 30:14-15

Calculating and conniving woman?

Eventually, Rachel conceives and bears a son. She names her first son Joseph, which means God will add me another (Genesis 30:24). One would think she would be so grateful that her problems would cease.

Discontentment is a spirit

The spirit of discontentment can cut short one’s life. It led to Rachel’s death when she was bearing a second son. She was so dissatisfied that she wanted even what her father had. Remember we mentioned earlier that Rachel stole from her father (without Jacob’s knowledge). The idols she stole were the equivalent of the title deeds of the possessions of Laban. As they left Laban’s home he pursued them to recover his idols and this offended Jacob, who unknowingly placed a curse on his wife, saying, “With whomever you find your gods, do not let him live” . (Genesis 31:33-35).

Discontentment or dissatisfaction is an issue of the heart. It has nothing to do with what you have or don’t have in your life. Believe it or not, contentment is not about the amount of money you have in the bank or how educated you are or how many children you have.

How is your contentment level as a wife?

Are you a satisfied woman?

Are you always murmuring and complaining?

 

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, – Philippians 2:14

 

After their release from bondage, the children of Israel allowed the spirit of discontentment to creep in among them. They complained.

 

That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” – Numbers 14:1-3

Are you always comparing yourself with others and have to always be #1?

This is a killer of most marriages today: competing with others and comparing yourself with them.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. – 1Timothy 6:6

 

May God bless your heart so that you will be content and save your marriage.

leslyicdigitalLessons From A Dysfunctional Marriage (Part B)
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Lessons From A Dysfunctional Marriage (Part A)

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Soap operas can be interesting and a little far-fetched, too. When I was younger, I enjoyed watching them but as I got older, wiser and busier, they’re no longer my cup of tea. Nevertheless, I still get a good share of them from the Bible. The story of Jacob and Rachel Genesis 29:1-12 is one of such soaps.

The story of Jacob, the swindler, who later God changed his name to Israel, spans a whole ten chapters of the book of Genesis. Chapter 27 gives an account of how he received his blessing from his father, Isaac by treachery. Although old and dim sighted, Isaac could tell that something wasn’t right when Jacob presented himself for the blessing; the voice and skin texture didn’t match. Nevertheless, Isaac must have remembered this prophecy:

 

23 And the Lord said to her:

“Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.” – Genesis 25:23

 

After usurping his brother, Esau, (Genesis 27:36) to avoid his wrath, Jacob escapes to his maternal uncle, Laban’s home. (This is the same Laban who negotiated Rebekah’s dowry when Eliezar was sent by Abraham to find a wife for Isaac.)

In the East, he arrives by a well where he meets some people; they engage in a conversation and he learns that they knew Laban. They also inform him that the shepherdess who was coming in their direction is Rachel, Laban’s daughter. Jacob tries to get these people to water the sheep and then go feed them, but they say that they’re waiting for everyone else to come so that (in numbers) the stone can be rolled for the flock to be watered. Translation: Man, this stone is too heavy for the few of us – we can’t, so let’s wait for more manpower.

 

Jacob’s love for Rachel was so deep that it could wait

 

Jacob sees Rachel and is instantly love-struck and energized. Not waiting, he rolls the stone all by himself and waters Rachel’s sheep (Genesis 29:10)! Then kisses[i] Rachel, and weeps aloud (Genesis 29:11).

Far from infatuation, Jacob’s love propels him to offer to work (without pay) for 7 years for Rachel’s hand in marriage.

 

20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her. – Genesis 29:11

 

Isn’t it noteworthy that true love CAN wait?

 

Jacob’s love for Rachel was so determined that it could never give up

 

Something bizarre happens and Jacob ends up with the wrong woman.

 

25 So it came to pass in the morning, that behold, it was Leah. And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?” – Genesis 29:25

 

The swindler has just been swindled! Unbelievably, Jacob doesn’t throw in the towel. He serves Laban still another seven years for the love of his life (Genesis 29:30b).

 

To what lengths can you go for the woman that you love?

 

Jacob’s love for Rachel was so considerate that it could protect

 

After being married many years, when time came to leave Laban’s and journey back home, Jacob’s love for Rachel can be seen in how he planned the procession. He puts Rachel behind everybody so that should they come in the face of danger, the last shall be saved. He protected her and the sons she bore to him Genesis 33:2.

 

Jacob’s love for Rachel was so patient that it could endure

 

Suffice to mention here that Rachel’s initial struggle with infertility was not an issue for Jacob. He loved her, regardless.

 

Is your wife conscious of your love right now? Does she sense anger, bitterness or coldness from you today or is it love?

 

At 147 years old, Jacob was still talking about Rachel, who had died many years before.

 

7 But as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died beside me in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was but a little distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).” – Genesis 48:7

 

Rachel was not forgotten by Jacob.

 

Continue reading here.

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[i] This kiss is the kind of holy kiss mentioned in 2 Corinthians13:12, Romans 16:16, 1 Peter 5:14 – it is not sexual

leslyicdigitalLessons From A Dysfunctional Marriage (Part A)
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The Power of A Weeping Husband

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Although you might wonder for a moment when you see tears flowing down a woman’s face, most of us take it as normal. Yes, it may even make us a little uncomfortable because we know something is wrong, but a weeping woman seems pretty ordinary. It is typical for the simple reason that women in general experience higher levels of emotional stimulation – and are prone to not only talk about what they are thinking and feeling, but also to demonstrate these feelings with their tears, facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language – than men. And it’s alright. Men, by and large, just find it easier to be less expressive, however there a few that defy the odds.

I read the story of Michal, Saul’s daughter who helped David escape when the king sought to kill him (1 Samuel 19:8-12) After his escape, David undergoes a strange kind of amnesic attack and he ‘forgets’ that he has a wife at home. He proceeds to marry two more; Abigail and Ahinoam (1 Samuel 25:39b-43). Meanwhile, Michal his wife, is given to Paltiel as a wife! This new husband adores Michal to the point that when David returns to reclaim her – more like a trophy than a wife (2 Samuel 3:14), Paltiel cannot bear the thought of losing her, so much so that he follows, weeping (2 Samuel 3:16)! Oh, the love he had for her!

Besides Paltiel, we see Jacob weeping out aloud when he saw Rachel (Genesis 29:9-11). This is a man that was overcome by emotion. Talk about love at first sight! Even though these men wept for the women that they loved, their weeping had no lasting power.

Have you ever seen a strong man weeping? There’s one who wept for his bride and the sound of his weeping is still felt today. The power of a weeping husband can be seen through Jesus Christ. He wept with loud cries and tears offering up prayers and supplications (Hebrews 5:7). Why? He looked on man’s wretchedness and had compassion. He was in anguish, yet had mercy for He had to fulfill His purpose on this earth.

On His final trip to Jerusalem soon before His crucifixion, Jesus comes close to the city and weeps over it Luke 19:41-44. Jerusalem is lost and Jesus is in sorrow over the future of this city (Luke 13:34). What was that future? In AD 70, just under four decades from the time He wept over it, over one million of Jerusalem’s inhabitants perished in one of the most ghastly sieges in recorded history, and other thousands sold into servitude that no one would buy any more slaves.

Jesus wept (John 11:35). Many are quick to point out that this is the shortest verse in the Bible, but aren’t able to give you reasons for the Master’s weeping. The death of Lazarus wasn’t the reason Jesus wept. He wept because when He saw the pain felt by the bereaved, this deeply moved and troubled Him in spirit (John 11:33). Weep with those who weep, says Romans 12:15b and so He did.

Our Savior wept (and still weeps) for all the lost souls – He is disturbed by our blinded eyes. For this reason, He suffered in obedience and was made perfect; therefore became the source of eternal salvation to everyone who obeys Him (Hebrews 5:8-9). This is the power of a weeping Husband: He moves us to fall in love with Him. His weeping opens the eyes of our understanding to see that His death on the cross was not in vain. Like Peter, it should drive us to our knees in repentance (Matthew 26:75). This weeping has power to redeem and transform. The weeping Husband is the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in Him will live even if he dies (John 11:25). And the bride of Christ said, Amen!

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Why Are You Single? Mom Wants to Know

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I recently sat at church watching two kids roam up and down the aisle as their mother chased after them. The father set back swiping his finger across his iPad as my friend turned to me with a smirk on her face.

“Your future.” She said.

“Girl, you know you’ll get there first.” I replied.

“God forbid.” She screeched.

These were the type of conversations we had while getting a glimpse into the lives of the married couples at church. As we went out for walks, stopped by Starbucks for coffee, wrestled with menu items during ladies night, or just walked around throughout our day.

We all had a strong opinion on marriage and parenting. Unfortunately, most of it was negative. Sure our parents wanted us to get married, we shared stories of our family members trying to set us up on blind dates, of friends swearing they had found the right person for us, of church members, aunties, and even our dear mothers asking “Why are you single?”.

We had created a circle around us where our calendars were filled with outdoor activities, concerts, dinners and fellowship events. Each week we would text or call each other to ask what we were doing that weekend.

We were laughing at marriage. In fact, we were standing strong against it. Remembering the mother that struggled with her three sons at the restaurant, the husband that handed over his daughter with a soiled diaper to his wife, or simply the lack of affection we witnessed by watching other marriages.

Deep down we are just scared to accept someone into our comfortable circle and independent routine. Sure we may have witnessed a few problems in marriages, we may expect our future husbands to help us with the kids or even have a less traditional view of marriage. But, for many of us “single ladies” I realized our perspective on marriage was based on 1) our parent’s marriage and 2) our analysis of other marriages.

The problem is a five-minute glimpse into someone’s life says very little about that person let alone a marriage. It also makes the assumption that all marriages are the same, that we are doomed to repeat the problems of our parent’s marriage or we too will become the wife chasing after her kids down the aisle at church.

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. 2 Corinthians 10:12

As a single person I’ve stopped comparing myself with others, I’ve also made a conscious effort to redefine what my marriage will look like when I get married. To take the positive qualities of my parent’s marriage and to work on the things I’m concerned about. I’ve realized that being open to marriage is the first step to marriage. Understanding that the comparisons I had about other marriages are probably far from the truth.

Now when my mother asks me about marriage I am clear about my fears and why I am still single, I understand that meeting the person God has for me is important, but so is accepting that marriage requires constant work. That it is sacred and should not be based on my fears, for God commands us not to live in fear.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

We Want to Know:

What have you learned about being a single Christian?

Has your perspective about marriage changed over the years?
 

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Crazy Love

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The first time you fell in love everything in your life seemed to change. You acted crazy and were unstoppable. Isn’t that just how our lives ought to change, if we truly fall in love with the Lord? This experience is life-transforming.

Total surrender to God brings you total contentment – in this life and the one to come. Crazy Love is not about working harder, but recognizing who God is, discovering how “crazy” His love for us is, in addition to falling in love with Him. For the reason that you’re head over heels in love with Him, everything in your life changes.

Being wildly in love with God makes us realize that life is all about Him – not about us in any way. Having the God-experience is the greatest thing any human being can have on this earth and ultimately in heaven. Do you go about life with the verity that possibly today you will go to meet your Maker? If we live with God’s single-most goal for us – Himself- then we’ll be prepared when that time comes.

The parable of The Farmer Scattering Seed is not foreign to many churchgoers, yet most have fallen in the dangerous trap of assuming that “I am good soil”. However, if truth be told, we have thorns that stifle any seed that is in us. We have no idols, we say. But how crazy in love with God can you be when the pursuit of money, pleasure of sin, wild love for some sport, busyness of activities and other commitments are heaped right on top of this relationship?

All or nothing; no partials and no leftovers – this is the relationship God wants from us. This may be uncomfortable but where is it written that He has called us to be comfortable? As difficult as it may appear, He wants us to trust Him with complete abandon. God wants us to put our trust solely in Him, so much so that our lives cease to look anything like that of unbelievers. God wants us to trust Him because He is true regardless of our situations or their outcome.

When we are crazy in love with God, we will be more concerned about the Kingdom. We will be doing things to make His name, rather than our own, be known. Actions like helping the poor and giving will stem out of this love for God. Devote to live every day as if it is your last before you come face to face with Jesus.

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To Ignore, Friend or Unfriend?

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We are in an era where social media is very common. I believe many of us have at least one Facebook account. Have you ever received one of those friend requests…you may or may not know the person but you engage in a little mind debate: To friend, or not to friend? Some people have hundreds to thousands of friends. Seriously, it’s a lie – there’s no way you can have all those “friends”.

Any way, numbers multiply joy and there is benefit in having friends, companions and acquaintances. It is God’s will that people have different levels of access into your life.

Who are my friends?

Definition: A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

Although Jesus was called a friend of sinners, (Luke 5:30) not all people had the same level of access to Him. Some were closer than others (Proverbs 18:24). When Jesus was going into the mountains to pray, He called Peter, James and John out of the 12, to go with Him. When we prove ourselves trustworthy, we increase in levels of friendship with Jesus.

Jesus taught that we love everyone including our enemies (Matthew 5:44).

Important to understand is this: Friends can influence your life. Take some time to read 2 Chronicles 18:1-16 and you will discover the following:

►Friends can bring you to battles that are not yours.

►Friends can influence you to disregard the Lord.

►Friends can use/misuse you.

►Friends can put your life in danger.

To ignore, friend or unfriend? That is the question.
12 Kinds of friends to avoid

Avoid people who:

1. …walk in idleness (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

2. …take a reproach against their neighbor. (Psalm 15:3)

3. …stir controversies (Titus 3:9-11)

4. …love arguments (2 Timothy 2:23)

5. …are immoral (1 Corinthians 5:11)

6. …are hot-tempered (Proverbs 22:24)

7. …entice to sin (Proverbs 1:10, Psalm 1:1)

8. …are fools (Proverbs 14:7)

9. …are drunkards and gluttons (Proverbs 23:20)

10. …are mockers (Psalm 1:1)

11. …are gossips (Proverbs 11:13)

12. …are violent (Proverbs 16:29)

Friends you need:

►Those who love at all times; when you are well and when you are sick (Proverbs 17:17, Mark 2:1-4)

►Those who are wise (Proverbs 13:20)

►Those who will tell you the truth even at risk of losing your friendship (Proverbs 27:5-6)

►those who are true friend – like Jesus (John 15:13)

To answer the question of, To friend, or not to friend, you will need to do three things:

1. Evaluate your friends

2. Take some to the outer court

3. Bring some into the inner court

Some people have so many friends such that they have no friend. Do not be like them!

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