Family Head (Ephesians 5:23)

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (Ephesians 5:23)

Christ as the head of the body is the savior of the body. The reference to savior in this passage is not the salvation of the soul, but the saving of the body or the church. This savior is the deliverer or preserver of the body. A closer look at this verse reveals that the husband as head of the home is the savior or preserver of the home. As husbands and fathers, we are to nurture, love and protect those in our home.

Husbands can accomplish this by providing emotional security to their family members as they accept them for who and what they are and not strive to push them into being anything different than what God has planned for them. Love is a decision and action and should be displayed by men as they place their family member’s needs above their own and meet those needs through verbal expression and quality interaction. As leaders of the home, husbands are to protect their family from destructive people, attitudes and influences. All of these are the actions of the head of the family, which is the savior. There is never a time that the leadership of the family should be passed over to another.

Therefore as you face life, it is imperative that your recognize your responsibility and influence as the family head. Their protection and deliverance depends on you.

Caves, Dens and Strongholds (Judges 6:2)

And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. (Judges 6:2)

The children of Israel had disobeyed The Lord and began to fear the gods of the Land. Because of their disobedience, The Lord allowed the Midianites and associated countries to oppress them. Instead of recognizing their error, repenting and seeking The Lord, they dug out dens, caves and strongholds for them to seek refuge from their oppressors. Their actions of self preservation were just as sinful as bowing to the idols of the land: the latter involved seeking deliverance by a false god and the former involved them delivering themselves or being their own god.

Our lives have not been much different. Like Israel, hypothetical caves, dens and strongholds are things that flesh driven man creates to deal with the consequences of his sinful actions. While lost in sin, we too developed our self defense mechanisms or our own methods of refuge just as the Israelites did. Some of our self defense mechanisms also may have been developed during times of backsliding or wandering away from God. Either way, we all have them. Today, they may be one of our greatest enemies and the cause for more of our failure at living by faith than our spiritual enemy. Our actions of self preservation may occur when we dominate those in our environment while striving to control all aspects of our lives or it may appear as an over indulgence in work to achieve security through recognition or avoidance of rejection. Self preservation may occur when the believer tries to escape his circumstances by either physically running away or by escaping through drugs, alcohol or any other method of mood altering.

While in the midst of a trial or difficult circumstances, stop and check yourself. Honestly look at what you are doing and determine if you are trying to bring about a resolution to your problem. If you are, that action is just one of your coping mechanisms. If you are exercising it here, then you are more than likely doing it in other areas of your life. That hypothetical cave, den or stronghold needs to go. You can get rid of it by repenting and confessing. Afterwards, ask God to guide you to him for refuge and deliverance. The process will occur over and over and is nothing more than becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Gaining Understanding (Proverbs 2:9)

I don’t understand why God has allowed this to happen. It does not make any sense. It’s useless. Have you heard these terms before? Have you said these or similar words? One of my favorite songs that we sang in the nursing home ministry back in the early 80’s was Someday, He’ll Make It Plain To Me. There are some situations in life that we will not be able to understand until we get to the other side in glory, but there are many times that we will be able to make sense of events that do not seem to make sense. How we can gain this ability is found in Proverbs chapter two.

Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
(Proverbs 2:9)

There is a blessing to be received for memorizing scripture, but as with all spiritual blessings it is dependent on the condition of the heart and not the action performed. When I was the principal of a Christian school, we had children memorize a portion of scripture each month. It was a mandatory obligation for which many waited until the end of the month to achieve. For those who did the task out of obligation, I believe that they received little or no benefit from the task because Proverbs 2:1-2 indicates that those receiving and hiding the word of God as a treasure are doing so in the hope of gaining wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Scripture memory out for obligation purposes falls short of this.

God later promises to those, whose hearts are crying out or seeking him as a hid treasure, that they will gain and find what they seek and also gain protection from God. It is after this that God shares that the result of receiving God’s word as a treasure will bring an understanding of every good path. From this we can be confident that if there is a way to know and understand God’s ways, it is through hiding God’s word in the heart of a person truly seeking him.

Being Poor Brings A Blessing (Matthew 5:3)

Blessed are the poor in spirit:for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3

Bad attitude, strong willed, heavy handed, and high minded are all terms that we have heard and to some degree understand. However understanding the term poor in spirit is another story. Sometimes to understand a term it may be best to consider the opposite. By doing this, it can shed light on the original meaning.

The opposite of poor in spirit is rich in spirit. When a person is rich, they, in a simplified definition, are considered as having all the resources necessary to do whatever they please. A person who is rich in spirit will be self willed to do and act in any manner that they desire. However, a person who is poor in spirit will see themselves as inept or unable to do or be as he wishes. This is how you and I were when we came to Christ. We formerly were self willed, independent and running our own lives, but by the sovereign work of God and the calling of the Holy Spirit, we came to a point where we recognized ourselves as weak, hopeless and beggars before God. When we did, we finally trusted Christ and the richness of his salvation and the presence of his spirit in our hearts made us supremely blessed. However, the position of poor in spirit is not simply for salvation.

When a person is poor in spirit, he chooses to empty himself. Just as Christ emptied himself to become man or he submitted the free working of his divinity to his father, we too must empty ourselves and submit ourselves to the father. We do this when we recognize that we don’t have any rights and we determine that for our lives, we don’t have any say.

Paul exemplifies this in II Corinthians 12:11: I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Mark records Jesus as saying, And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. (Mark 10:44)

The secret to the blessed life is always contrary to worldly wisdom. The secret to getting, is giving, the secret to living is dying and the secret to success with happiness is to give up or to give up on yourself and submit to God.

Do you want to be happy? Then see yourself as poor and dependent on God and he will bring blessings to your heart.

Praising God And Others (Psalm 148:13)

Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. Psalm 148:13

The word of God is filled with principles for living. When we follow them, we place ourselves into the position of receiving the benefit or promise that they claim. Some of the principles are clearly stated, but others are a bit obscure. This passage contains a principle that we can generalize to all areas of our lives.

The previous verses in this psalm command all that is in Heaven and Earth to praise God. The reason for giving praise is because The Lord’s glory is above all that is in Heaven and Earth. The principle is that when you encounter anyone who can do something beyond your scope of ability, give them praise. Fathers, if your son can do anything better than you, praise him. You may have athletic ability and your son may be very lacking, but there are skills that he has that you do not. Identify those skills and praise him for them. Moms, if you have strength with fashion and decor in the home, but your daughter does not, recognize her abilities and praise her for them.

When we praise people for their strengths, we become an encouragement to them and we also recognize what gifts God has given to people for aiding us in our lives. Because of that, we will appreciate them more or maybe for the first time. We also will have other recognized reasons for praising our God.

Fear The Lord (Psalm 147:11)

As a kid growing up, did you try to satisfy your parents? Many of us strove to bring them satisfaction by getting good grades in school or by displaying proper behavior. However there were some who sought to bring satisfaction by engaging in activities that interested a parent. I wonder how many boys have played ball as a means of satisfying their father. Their reasoning may have been since baseball means everything to him, then if I am good at baseball, I too will mean everything to him. That situation or anything similar to it is a sad state to be in. Thanks be to God that we do not need to live in that manner to be pleasing to our father in Heaven.

What brings pleasure or satisfaction to God is when we fear him. Fearing him and being afraid of him are not the same thing. When we fear him, we have great respect for him. Many men enjoy hunting and when they do, they have great respect for the rifle or shotgun in their hand. They recognize that it is not a toy, but something to be feared. Those who enjoy cooking recognize that the stove or any other appliances can be very helpful, but at the same time can be dangerous and cause great harm if not used carefully.

I first recognized this term when I worked at a steel mill in eastern Pennsylvania. While making steel, there were times when additional scrap metal or ingredients needed to be added to the furnace. For this to occur, a mechanical arm would remove the top of the furnace similar to removing the top from a pot on the stove. When ingredients were added to the molten mixture, flames would shoot 50-60 feet in the air. It was a dangerous time. As a safety precaution, each time the lid was removed an extremely loud siren would blast through the building. When I heard that sound, I would immediately stop what I was doing and check my location to where the furnace and crane would be. It was a moment of fear, but I was not afraid. In fear of the situation, I took precautions to make sure my actions would keep me safe.

We can fear The Lord by following the same precautions. As situations arise in life, we need to step back and take a moment to recognize God’s voice and to gain his perspective as to how we should act or respond to those circumstances: to make sure that the action we do will be safe or pleasing to him. When we do, we are fearing The Lord. God does not want us to be afraid of him. He wants us to love him. However, he does want us to fear or respect him each moment of our daily lives. It is at that moments when we fear him that our lives are pleasing to him.

God’s Support (Psalm 145:14)

The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. Psalm 145:14

Every year I look forward to growing tomatoes in my garden. My plants usually grow more than seven feet tall and yield large softball sized fruit. Because of this, I would drive poles into the ground and tie the plants to the poles. As the plants grew and bore their heavy fruit, the poles would prop up the plants. Did you know that The Lord does the same for us?

When he upholds us, it can also be said that he is propping us up. When we fall, he brings the support into our lives to keep us standing and from falling again. Falling down does not necessarily mean falling to sin, but it can also mean being fallen, cast down or bowed down from the burdens of life. From this verse we can be assured of the promise that when our hearts are fallen from the burdens of life, The Lord will be there to raise us up and provide the support needed for us to stand.

If you are fallen, don’t plan on remaining there because The Lord is behind you and ready to pick you up.