FAITH BLOG

SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT

Psalm 85 is a remarkable prayer of faith, especially considering the situation in which it was written. The community of God's people has experienced blessings in the past, but now is experiencing hardship. 

8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly. 9 Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.  12 Yes, the LORD will give what is good; and our land will yield its increase. 13 Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.   Psa. 85:8-9 and 12-13, NKJV

In the 85th Psalm the Psalmist is recounting God's favor for His people by bringing them back from captivity. But, why were they in captivity? Much of the Old Testament is filled with the Israelites' obedience, disobedience, obedience again, disobedience again, etc. In times of sin and disobedience God sent prophets to warn the people that as judgment for their sin, He would send other nations in to conquer them.  We used to have a phrase in our Old Testament  Walk Thru seminar that said.  ”Shape up or Ship out” - It always got a big laugh in our event but it’s also such a great short word picture of how God warned His people in the OT that judgment was coming for disobedience. 

Finally after years of their continually falling into sin, God sent the Assyrians and Babylonians to conquer Israel and  Judah and to carry off many of the people into captivity. In this Psalm the Lord has returned the Israelites to their own land. The Psalmist here correctly knows that it is God alone who they must turn to for mercy and help. 

God loves His people; but He also uses punishment much as we would for our children. We do not punish them because we are angry, but because we are trying to direct them in the right way to go. He is also not slack in giving us good things. Those good things don't always just mean more money or material things for ourselves, but the whole land increases its yield, and God makes His footsteps our pathway. 

Pray today that you would be aware of God's presence today as He makes His footsteps your pathway; be sure to thank Him for it, too. 

Posted by Jerry Hull with

R E S P E C T, find out what it means to me ...

If you know the song, it was performed by a woman, but did you know it was written by a man! Although I do want my husband to have respect for me; what I truly want is to feel loved and be loved by him.

There are two words as women we tend to dislike: submit and respect both found in Eph. 5: 22-33. The Greek word for submit is Huppotasso, meaning to PUT ONESELF (I put myself, it is not Manuel’s responsibility) in rank (not value) under our husbands. The Greek word for respect is Phobotai, to fear or revere, meaning I respect, venerate or notice him, regard him, honor him, prefer him, defer to him, praise him and love and admire him. I want us to notice, they are two words, therefore, two different attitudes, and two differing actions. But I’d like to think of these two words as bookends. Bookends bring support, stability; bookends strengthen the whole by holding things together. Bookends work in tandem; they must work together for the greater good. They work better together. It’s a great privilege and a great responsibility. AND it’s not easy.  So how do I do it? I had to learn several things. 

My submission to my husband stems from my submission to Christ.

I must focus on God’s command to me, not on God’s command to him. The call of God to me is to trust and obey Him. My worth is not derived from my husband’s love for me. His love can affect how I feel about me, but it does not determine my worth. My true worth is rooted in God’s image of me (AS dearly loved children, Eph. 5.1) God’s image of me must be my image of myself. Since God loves me, I am to value myself as God does – or at least move in that direction as I mature in Christ. I won’t attain this here on earth. I can, though, experience a greater sense of self-worth as I commit to believing that God declares I have worth to Him. When Peter refers to us as a weaker vessel in 1 Pet. 3:7 like copper (stronger), I am like porcelain, if we clash, copper will break porcelain, but I do not lose value b/c I am more breakable. My husband’s view of me should not be the basis of my self-image or worth. God’s image should be the foundation.

I defined it above – I respect, venerate or notice him, regard him, honor him, prefer him, defer to him, praise him and love and admire him. Notice, it is unconditional. There is no condition or circumstance or situation that warrants my disrespect. But I think it is best learned (at least it was for me) to learn what it is not.

Disrespect means to hold in contempt—it is the feeling that a person (in this case, my husband) is beneath consideration, not worthy of or deserving my respect, consideration, regard, honor, preferences, love, admiration or praise…

If God is commanding me to respect my husband, He must need it. He wants it b/c he needs it. Remember, God created us different. My husband’s needs are not the same as mine.

I needed to see my husband as different, not wrong.

Respect is something I do, not feel. Respect is something I display from the inside out. It is about being a respectful wife, not about my husband being respectable.

I had to change the way I processed the issue of my disrespect. I could no longer think my husband needs to change his unloving manner far more than I need to change my disrespectful demeanor.

My disrespectful attitude/demeanor is manifested in my tone, my words, my look, my body language – rolling eyes, pointing finger, hands on hips, sighing or grunting w/ disgust or disdain.

Unconditional means there is no condition or circumstance or situation that justifies me to show contempt to my husband. Unconditional does not mean that you don’t confront issues. Unconditional means you respectfully confront. You give your husband a gift of a respectful delivery, you give your husband a gift of respectful demeanor and you give your husband the gift of respectful words. There is no conversation, no situation or circumstance that ‘causes’ you or ‘forces’ you to speak with contempt. That is our choice. Whether I like it or not, my countenance often reveals my heart. What I say is far less impacting than how I say it. I can be right, but wrong at the top of my voice!

My disrespectful behavior reveals that I am disrespectful. Manuel does not make me disrespectful. My response is my responsibility.

Are you struggling with respecting your husband? May I recommend the book, Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerich.

Posted by Patti Calderon with

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