Wednesday, February 22, 2017

An Excellent Wife: How To Nurture Your Marriage

God created marriage. In His perfect wisdom, He designed man and woman to complement each other and to enjoy a permanent and complete union with each other. In Genesis 2:18 He said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” After the Lord created Eve, He then said, “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

When you take time to nurture this oneness with your spouse, you bring honor to God and acknowledge His ideal design. As you love your marriage partner, you are showing love and obedience to God as well. And as an incredible result, you’ll experience the fullness and blessings that God designed for a married couple to enjoy! Take time now. Set aside five minutes and pray, “Lord, how can I express my love today?” Then write down every way you can think of to tell your honey, “I love you.”

“Nurturing oneness” in your marriage should be something you think and pray about every day. Make it a priority to find new ways to show your love.

by Elizabeth George (LINK

I posted this list in 2016 but thought it was worth re-posting as part of "My excellent wife" series I am doing this year. To nurture oneness one needs to be active in making sure you do things together, oneness will never happen if you are always off doing different things to your husband. It is ok to have different interests and  hobbies but not all the time — otherwise it is like two ships passing in the night. 

  • Watch a romantic movie together whilst eating popcorn!
  • Go for a romantic walk to watch the sunrise or sunset
  • Write a poem for your spouse and frame it
  • Gather up your favourite photos and create a collage to hang in the bedroom
  • Make a book about why you love your husband and why you are thankful for him
  • Candlelight dinner for two with the best china
  • Family picnic on the rug in the living room (if cold) or outside if sunny and warm
  • Make the entire day full of his favourites: the breakfast of his dreams, the dinner of his dreams, TV that is his favourite, his music, etc. Don’t say anything about it, surprise him all day long
  • Learn how to dance together — this can be great fun (for some!!)
  • Create a CD with songs that make you think of your sweetheart, and give it to your husband
  • Turn off the TV and lay a boardgames on the floor surrounded by nibbles and lots of pillows and candles
  • Leave little notes in his lunchbox so when he opens it at work he finds these beautiful notes. 
  • Choose specialty foods, such as wine, cheese, fresh bread/dessert from a favourite bakery and enjoy in front of your warm fireplace
  • Write a “Top 10 Reasons Why I Love You” list.
  • Create your own bookclub of two —choose a book in which you are both interested, fiction or nonfiction. Read a new chapter each night before bed. This cozy tradition will allow you to spend some quality time together and often makes for thought provoking breakfast conversations.
  • Bring homemade cookies or brownies to his office
  • Stash a love note in his shoe, on the steering wheel in the car, on the bathroom mirror 
  • Write a love letter and post it to your husband
  • Share a bath
  • Make a homemade gift
  • Treat your husband to a massage
  • Go for a drive, buy an ice-cream and go for a short walk together
  • Take you husband on a mystery day out and take a picnic lunch with you. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

An excellent wife: Is the crown of her husband

Proverbs 12:4

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.

"Behind every great man is a great women" — I'm sure you have all heard this quote. 

But it is true — a wife can either build her husband up or pull him down. She can be an encourager or discourager, she can make him strong or make him look like a fool and as wives we play an important part in our husbands lives. In other words, a wife can bring the greatest joy to her husband or the greatest misery. 

In the verse, it talks about a crown which is conveying the idea of honour. A excellent wife will bring honour to her husband but one that chooses the opposite will bring shame like the rotting of his bones (which sounds terrible and the smell would be far worse). In Proverbs 31, verses 11 and 12 we also read about the virtues of an excellent wife "The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil, All the days of her life." Once again the husband has no concern as he knows his wife will never hurt him by her words or actions and he is proud to be seen with her and show her off to all his friends and family. Not only does she behave like a model wife in public, but behind closed doors he knows that she will only do him good and never evil. One mustn't be all smiles and perfection to the public, but at home be disrespectful and nasty. Being an excellent wife is a 24/7 requirement. 

A wife's role is complementary to her husband and in a loving relationship this is easy to do. Who wouldn't want to build up their husband and be proud when he does well. But it can be much harder when the relationship is rocky and the husband isn't always very pleasant. Regardless of his behaviour, your behaviour needs to be Christ-like as you are answerable to what you do and not what your husband does. The verse doesn't have a sub text of "only if he is nice" — we need to do the right thing regardless and in those situations it takes more effort and more thought than for those wives in happier marriages.

Being an excellent wife requires much pray as it doesn't always come easy — though prayer we need to ask for wisdom, humility, patience's and a respect for our husbands position. And by our actions, we women can change not only how the world sees our men, but how our men view themselves. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Art Friday: Cats and coffee

I want to apologise to any non-cat people for this weeks Art Friday!!

Todays art is all about cats drinking coffee (or tea). True!!  😂😂

Did you ever imagine there would be a collection of art out there that is dedicated to this topic. 

If nothing else, I do hope it made you laugh and smile today!

Ryan Conners' Cat Folk Art
Becca Joy Campbell (1988-2014) — Cat Kitten Tea and Cake Chocolate

Cats (Loki and Rothko) drinking Dragonwell green tea at Verdant Tea by artist Francesca Buchko

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Women of the Bible: Esther

Esther was a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin who grew up as an exile in Persia. Esther was an orphan who was brought up by her older cousin, Mordecai.

In Chapter one of the book of Esther we are introduced to King Ahasuerus who decided to display his abundant wealth for 180 days (a man who ruled over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia). As if not enough, it is followed by a seven day feast. A lavish display of his power indeed. On the seventh day of the seven day feast, King Xerxes summons Queen Vashti in order to display her beauty to all the people. She refuses to come and is eventually banished from the kings presence as a punishment. A new Queen is sought.

In chapter two Esther is chosen to be Queen. She goes through twelve months of beauty treatments before meeting the King which sounds quite extraordinary  (six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and preparations for beautifying women). Chapter two also records the good deed of her older cousin, Mordecai in saving the Kings life by alerting him of an assassination attempt on his life. This deed is recorded in the record books and later serves as a blessing for Mordecai in the future.

Esther had not revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it. (Esther 2:10)

In Chapter three Haman (the son of Hammedatha the Agagite) is honoured by the King and given a high position in the kingdom. Haman is annoyed with Mordecai because Mordecai refused to kneel down to him. Haman's anger leads him to plot the execution of all the Jews in the kingdom.

And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions. (Esther 3:13)

In order to prevent the execution of all the Jews, Mordecai calls on Esther to intercede to the King. The only problem here is that the King does not know that Esther is a Jew. Esther has no idea of how the King will respond to this news. Although God is never mentioned in the book of Esther we can see His acts in the background. Nothing takes God unaware.

Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai:“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:15)

In Chapter five Esther approaches the King and invites him and Haman to a banquet. This is an attempt to get the timing right before she informs the king about Haman's plot to kill the Jews of which she is one. At the same time Hamas was plotting to kill Mordecai. Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows be made, fifty cubits high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.” And the thing pleased Haman; so he had the gallows made. (Esther 5:14)

Chapter six God moves to save the Jews. The King cannot sleep and asks for the record books to be read aloud to him. The deeds of Mordecai in saving the king in the past are read out.

In chapter seven Esther reveals to the king that she is a Jew and that Haman has plotted to kill them all. Events now take a drastic turn for Haman who ends up getting hanged on the gallows he erected for the death of Mordecai. In Chapter eight, nine and ten all the Jews are saved and Haman's children are killed.

Then Esther said, “If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Jews who are in Shushan to do again tomorrow according to today’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.” (Esther 9:13)

What can we learn from Esther: 

* Esther knew how to be submissive and obedient to Mordecai, even when she was a young woman. She trusted his judgement and was willing to follow his instructions. 

* Even though her life wasn’t going smoothly when Haram was threatening to kill all the Jews, she showed great wisdom and prudences in her attitude, for she carefully weighed up the risks of acting against doing nothing. She wasn’t a woman that acted on impulse. 

* She shows real sympathy and care for her people (just as Abigail does with her household). Her heart went out to all her people  and she knew that she was willing to die in order to save them. 

* She shows great courage to go before the Kind not knowing his reaction.  The Queen took her life in her hands by coming without being invited. A very brave and strong woman and the one the king listened to. 

* Esther showed patience and wisdom in the way she made her request to the King. She didn’t blurt it out, she was calm in her approach, took her time and behaved with great care. Surely she was guided by God’s unseen hand. Many women, when upset or cross tend to blurt things out to their husbands and their husbands find this difficult — we too need to remember to remain calm when discussing issues that we are passionate about. 

* She wasn’t greedy, she could have taken anything she desired as she waited for the King, instead she required nothing. 

And remember—Your background does not hinder your future with God. Esther was an orphan. God still exalted her and used her. Some of Jesus' disciples were fishermen, tax collectors and one was a doctor. Your background does not determine what God can do with you. Your faith does.

We will also be faced with obstacles and problems that will need solving and at times we will need to make decisions on our own. We need to be brave like Esther, have her courage and calmness, her patiences and wisdom (later on we will read about Abigail wisdom and her courage).  We also mustn't be afraid of talking with our husbands and sharing our plans and ideas, submission doesn't mean keeping quiet— we need to be more like Esther. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Random Word: Failure

One thing which is common to all people is that we all fail. There is not one person who hasn’t failed – some more than others.  We can fail at many things — simple things such as a driving test; learning a new skill or to complete a project on time. Or much bigger failures such as a marriage breakdown or debt from overspending. For Christians however, there are certain things we need to avoid and these are much more serious failures — keeping away from sinful activities (ie drunkenness, gambling, sexual promiscuity etc.); love of money, failing to trust the Lord in all things, using the Lord’s name in vain and there are many other examples. 

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. (James 3:2)

But the most important thing is how we handle failure. The Canadian actress Mary Pickford reportedly said “To fall is not to fail, unless you fail to get up again”. The Bible also has something to say about this – these are the words of the wise man Solomon: 

For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. (Proverbs 24:16)

Failure should never stop us from getting back on our feet and trying again. We all make mistakes and we all fail — but acknowledging our failures and doing something about them is what is important. 

If we fail a driving test, we need to learn some more and re-try. If we struggle with saving money, seek help, ask for advice on what you can do. If our marriage is struggling, talk to a marriage counsellor or work out where the problems are and start fixing your marriage.  If you find yourself in places that are likely to lead to risky behaviour, avoid these places—ask a friend to pull you up if you are heading in the wrong direction, seek help. 

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)

Failure isn’t limited to the young, we all fail, men and women, young and old. Men of strong faith are just as liable to fail as their weaker companions, and often they fail in a most appalling way. We shouldn’t get over-confident that we won’t fail, as this is probably the time when we will! 

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Some of our failures are due to selfish desires—gambling, having an affair to name two. We can also fail our families by being too career focused (this can affect men just as much as women) and not paying enough attention to our families or not being home when they need us. Women can get so carried away with their homes, it becomes an idol and once again they fail their families and God. 

We need to accept that we have failed in the past and work hard to make sure we limit our failures in the future. The worst thing we can do is worry about past failures for this will just compound into yet more failures in the future. We need to train hard, we need to pray lots and we need to have our focus on God and not on ourselves.  God does forgive our sins and He does help us up when we fall. But He isn’t happy if we keep failing on the same things, this means we haven’t learnt from our failures and we see nothing wrong it what we are doing. If you see a friend constantly making the same mistakes, step in and help. God is displeased if you sit back and do nothing, He wants friends to help each other. 

Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, one will lift up his companion But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Many women often think they have failed when it comes to rearing their children, keeping their homes clean, cooking healthy meals or caring for their husbands. Women tend to be harsh on themselves and most do not fail at all and really are doing a good job. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail or think you have failed. Just keep on trying and pray if you feel that you are heading in the wrong direction and just remember . . . 

I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Art Friday: Thomas Joseph

Artist: Thomas Joseph 

I think I have posted this guy before, but I can't remember when!! I have done so many of these art Fridays that I have lost track of who I have share and those I haven't!!  Anyway I don't think it matters a great deal as these are so much fun and cheery that they will be bound to brighten up your day. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

An excellent wife: My husband's greatest asset

Asset: a useful or valuable thing or person. An item of property owned by a person or company, regarded as having value.

I read a story in which someone referred to a woman as her husbands asset. When the woman looked up asset in the dictionary, she was deeply touched by the compliment. Our husbands may have valuable assets such as land, but aside from monetary value, don't we all want to be our husbands most valuable asset/possession? Knowing my husband is completely satisfied with his choice of a wife and that he feels he could never replace me is a huge compliment. (source: Discovering My Place by Mary Burkholder)

We can find 3 verses in Proverbs that talks about the importances of finding a valuable woman as a wife—ones that will become their husbands greatest and most cherished assets (isn't that what we all want to be?). 

Proverbs 18:22 says "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favour from the Lord." — if a man can finds a Godly woman to be his helpmate he will gains a blessing from the Lord. It is important to find the right woman to marry. 

Proverbs 19:14 declares "Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,  a prudent wife is from the Lord", with prudent meaning wise and understanding, just the sort of wife a man should be looking for. Men in the past inherited their wealth from their fathers, but only God could deliver a prudent wise woman to become his wife.

King Lemuels' mother offered the following advice to her son "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies." (Proverbs 31:10) — a good wife is very hard to find and very precious (like rubies that cannot be found anywhere), the sort to look out for are those women who are very capable, intelligent, hard working with morals above reproach. 

In Ecclesiastes 7:28, King Solomon tells of seeking a valuable woman with no success — Which my soul still seeks but I cannot find: One man among a thousand I have found, But a woman among all these I have not found. Despite all of Solomon's wealth and belongings, he was unsuccessful in finding a valuable wife. 

Anyone can cook and clean for your husband, but only YOU can be his wife. It is a very privileged position and one that God looks favourably over.  What makes us valuable women? How can we be our husbands greatest asset?

We need to look at Proverbs 9:10—"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom", as women we need to have much wisdom to be submissive, prudent and virtuous. We also need to fear the Lord which helps us have a proper respect for our husbands.  Not only will our husbands find us valuable, but a godly woman is very precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:4)


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