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Tuesday, 7 January 2020

A Choosing of a Life Partner

With a grateful heart to the living God, I welcome us all to the new year. I do not take for granted the grace to be alive and be able to share interesting and impactful stuff with you on this blog. I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. I pray that we will all experience the goodness and grace of God like we have never done before in our lives. In Jesus name our best years lie ahead of us. 
I welcome us all from the holidays as we launch back into God's grace for our marriages. We finished our study on the marital life of Abraham and Sarah last year and we are beginning the new year looking at the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah. The story of how Abraham got a bride for Isaac is found in Genesis 24 and I believe that is a very good place to start our study from. 
The first thing I want us to look at is found in Genesis 24:7, Abraham had walked well with God enough to trust Him to pick a fitting and suitable wife for his son. He had no criteria, he had no preferences, and no adjective or clause of his personal opinion did he state as he sent his chief servant to go in search of a wife for his son other than what God chose and had in mind for him. 

Genesis 24:7 
The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, "To your descendants I give this land,' He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there."

Abraham's singular concern was that he wanted a wife for his son from among his own people, he understood God enough not to want Isaac to be equally yoked with people who didn't know God. Other than this, he let God decide for his son. He left that task that belonged to God for God to handle by Himself. 
Many parents have landed their children in messy and challenging marriages simply because they tried to do in the lives of their children what God alone should be doing. The assignment of selecting a life partner for our children belongs to God alone. We read in Genesis 2:18-30 how God came about the idea of a suitable helper for Adam. It wasn't Adam's choice to have a wife, it was God's idea. And upon God realizing that Adam needed a suitable helper, He formed Eve from the rib He had taken from Adam and brought her to him to be his wife. 
By the time we walk through the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah, we will notice the loads of benefits that Isaac enjoyed simply by the wonderful choice of a wife that God made for him. The first thing we will find out is that Rebekah was a very beautiful woman. She was a supportive wife and she was a wife that Isaac loved dearly. It was easy for Abraham to rest in death with full assurance that all was well with Isaac his son. God can never give you anything less than the best when you trust Him totally with this vital choice of a spouse either for yourself or for your children and wards. No criteria or preference you have can be better than God's choice for you and/or your children. 
It is time that we understand that whether as a parent to a child of marriageable age or you are one that feels convinced that you are ready for a life partner, that the first thing is to go to God in prayer having faith, confidence, and conviction that God alone that find for you a fitting and suitable spouse. Let Him take the responsibility of choosing for you. He will do an excellent job of that responsibility. He will provide for you a spouse that will give you peace. And when the storms and challenges of life raise its head, God will be there to protect you and fight for you. 
It's interesting to note that even after Adam and Eve sinned and God made pronouncements on them, He still took the time to make tunics of skin and clothed them (Genesis 3:21). He never stopped showing them love and protection. He will do the same always for your marriage. 

Thursday, 12 December 2019

In Conclusion

In the midst of too many things to do, I have been struggling with keeping pace with the marriage blog. But just two days ago I discovered tons of comments on the blog that was awaiting moderation. And to the glory of God and to my heart’s delight I read so many of them and praise God that people are been blessed by the content of this blog. I will try to add the checking comments for moderation as part of my routine, may God help me to be consistent in it.
In the past couple of posts, we have been looking at the marriage of Abraham and Sarah and personally, I have learned a lot from Abraham’s wife Sarah. And so, we will move to the next couple of interest which is Isaac and Rebekah, but before we do that, we will try to summarize all that we have learned from the marriage of Abraham and Sarah.
The first thing to understand about that couple is that Sarah single-handedly built her marriage without the support of her husband. Marriage is not a 50-50 contribution quota. It is a 100-100 contribution quota; by simple arithmetic, when you add 50 to 50, you arrive and a 100, but when you add a 100 to another 100 you arrive at 200 which is twice as much as what you get when you only give half of you into the process. Irrespective of Abraham’s shortfall, Sarah didn’t allow that prevent her from giving her all into her marriage and as such God will not allow her to go into her grave without reaping of the harvest of all that she had sown into the marriage. Because God is faithful, if you are not yet reaping the desired harvest from your marriage whether you are the husband or wife, its important that you check the quality of your seed.
Another lesson that I learned from that marriage is that Abraham being a friend of God didn’t translate to Abraham being a good husband. His desire for an heir totally blinded him from his responsibilities as a good husband. And so that man being a pastor and being passionate about the things of God does not automatically make him a good husband. As a wife to a pastor or non-pastor, you need to always be in the place of prayer for the leading of God on how to manage your marriage well. Relying alone on the fact that your husband is a man of God who truly fears God and as such would be an excellent husband is dancing on self-deceit. Always trust God to perfect all that concerns your marriage.
Another lesson that I took away from this is the fact that just because your spouse is failing in his/her responsibility to you as a wife or a husband doesn’t mean you should fail in your responsibilities as a wife or a husband also. Two wrongs never make a right. We will all give an account to God and you can’t tell God that because your husband or wife failed then you failed also.
I very understand the fact that its really a good feeling when you show love and respect to your spouse and you get love and respect back in return. Its not just a really good feeling, but it’s a booster to your will to commit yourself more into the marriage. It encourages one to give more as you know that you are a priority to your spouse. But the work of building a successful marriage is not hinged on emotions alone. The bedrock of a successful marriage lies in divine wisdom, the wisdom that comes from God alone.     
When you give so much in your marriage and it seems there is nothing to show for it, that is not the time to stop giving your best, understand that seeds take time to grow. And the seed that is not well nurtured will die a seed and never germinate. So, you keep sowing and keep praying.
Sarah laughed last, and that husband Abraham must have loved and respected his wife dearly after God finished vindicating her. The Bible said he wept and mourned Sarah for days after her death and then bought a special burial place for her. The seed of Sarah, Isaac, was the only child God reckoned as Abraham’s son.

Sometimes it can be tough to be caught in the position in which Sarah was and still maintain one's cool and trust in God, 
having faith in the marriage. But there is always grace available in God if we try and not give up. The God who stood by Sarah is ready, willing, and available to stand by you and with you as you sow your seeds in your marriage.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

The Seeds of Sarah

This is my first post for the month and before we discuss the marriage issue, I will want to appreciate my God, the giver of life and the giver of His word for the abundant grace we have to see the last month of the year 2019. God has really been good to us despite all the challenges of the year. Through the times are tough, but we are tougher. We give all our praises to God.
So, we continue in our discussion on the marriage of Abraham and Sarah. It is interesting that when Sarah asked Abraham to take her maidservant as wife and have a child by her, he agreed without hesitation, but what got my attention again in this story is that when Sarah told Abraham to send the bondwoman and her child away, he became reluctant.
But before we discuss that, we will notice something interesting about the husband Abraham in Genesis 17. It was in Genesis 16 that Hagar and Ishmael came into the picture of things, and the first thing God was going to say to Abraham in Genesis 17:1 was, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me and be blameless.” Between the time of God's visitation in Genesis 17 and the birth of Ishmael in Genesis 16 was about 13years. If God ever spoke to Abraham in the 13years that he fathered Ishmael, we don’t know but there was no record of such speaking until Genesis 17.
From my observation, the purpose of God’s visitation in Genesis 17 was to reinstate His covenant of making Abraham a father of many nations and at this time God demanded circumcision from Abraham and his entire household as a constant reminder of that covenant. He also changed Abraham's name from Abram to Abraham, all in the bid to instilled in Abraham's consciousness the covenant between them. It appears to me that Abraham probably didn’t understand God’s mission and so he kept whining about wanting a son till he got himself into sin.
But the interesting part of all the communication between Abraham and God is the position of God with regards to Sarah. Yes, there was a covenant that Abraham needed to be constantly reminded of, and a covenant can only be fulfilled through a covenant partner. As far as God was concerned the promised child can only come from Sarah the covenant wife. In God's faithfulness, Sarah could not have made all those sacrifices for nothing. What profit could her obedience to God and her husband yield to her if she went into her grave childless? God would never allow His children to trust Him in vain and He brings the harvest when it is sweetest the most.
In Genesis 17:15-19 we read about the discussion between God and Abraham on the issue of the covenant child, and in Genesis 17:17 Abraham fell facedown and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” and then he went on to beg God to pour the blessings on Ishmael instead saying, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”
That for me was a selfish way to think by Abraham. He had fathered a child and that was just okay, but as Sarah mothered a child? Did that bother Abraham at all? Did he care if Sarah went to her grave barren? If he believed God when God promised him a child in Genesis 15 and it was credited to him as righteousness, then why could he not believe God on behalf of Sarah in Genesis 17. Was it all over and okay now that Ishmael has been born? These are my reasons for respecting Abraham so much as a friend of God and as a man of faith but not as a husband.
After all of this analysis, what is the lesson to hold onto in this part of the story of Abraham and Sarah’s marriage? Again, I will focus on the wives. To be a wife like Sarah takes a lot of effort but to reap the same reward as Sarah did is a very sweet experience. Against all the odds that we see coming from Abraham who happens to be her husband who should love and protect her and also is a friend of God without changing status, yet Sarah stayed by his side as his wife, obeying God and obeying her husband and when the time came for God to bless her came, He found her at the right place. She was still situated within the covenant of God in Abraham’s life.
So many times, as wives we seek the validation of our husbands, and in truth, we are not wrong, doing so. But when we don’t get the validation we need what do we do? When their love is not coming forth or their cooperation is lacking, do we just pick our bags and move. There is are blessings that your sacrifices have accrued to you but those blessings need to meet us at the right place.

The situation in your marriage will not always be pleasant but the sacrifices of obedience, submission, patience, positivity, perseverance and long-suffering that you have sown into it, will yield a bountiful harvest of joy and laughter, peace and love for you as long as you always keep God as your focus.  

Friday, 29 November 2019

The Sacrifice May be Big, But the Harvest is for Sure Bigger

A lot of times when I consider the man Abraham, I marvel at the strong bond between him and God. This was a man that God would say of in Genesis 18:17 that “shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” But in all of Abraham’s believe and walk with God, his life as a married man leaves a lot to be desired of.
In Genesis 15:2-6, Abraham petitioned God for a son, he didn’t want a servant in his household becoming his heir and to that end, he did nothing wrong. Immediately he made that request, God promised Abraham a son and even sons as many as the sands of the seashore and as the stars in the sky and we are told that Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness.
But in the next chapter (Genesis 16), we read that Abraham’s wife had borne him no children, but she had an Egyptian maidservant. She told Abraham to take the maidservant Hagar and sleep with her and have children with her and Abraham agreed.
Now reading this on the surface, everyone will blame Sarah for taking such a call. And bad as it may look, I would rather blame Abraham for agreeing to such a call. Remember he is the husband, the head of the home and the leader of the family, he bears the responsibility of that decision far more than Sarah his wife. He had spoken with God received God's promise on his request, so what went wrong? 
The second puzzle that came to my mind on this matter is that; what would make Sarah consider giving her maidservant to her husband to be his wife? I am trying to put myself into Sarah’s shoes and imagine what will make me marry another woman for my husband because I can bear him no child. It's not just about Abraham not having children, it’s about Sarah also not having children. And this gives me so much respect for the person of Sarah at how much she was willing to sacrifice for the happiness of her husband even when it hurts her deep inside.
No woman in her right mind would be willing to make such an offer except for the level of the sacrificial heart such as Sarah had. We remember that in Genesis 12:10-20, she made one of such big sacrifices for the peace of her marriage based on her trust in God. Again, here we see Sarah making another of such sacrifices. As far as she was concerned her husband’s happiness was of big importance to her. But did Abraham feel the same way towards his wife? Was he willing to sacrifice as much for the happiness of Sarah his wife? That much we might never know as it was not stated in the scriptures, but all that we know is that Abraham agreed to Sarah’s offer and took Hagar the maidservant as wife, slept with her and she conceived for him. But if you ask me, I will say that Abraham was been insensitive to the feelings of his wife by agreeing to her offer.
The beautiful aspect of this story is that even though Abraham did to see and appreciate the sacrifices of Sarah, God did and that is why there remained a promise-child that could only come from the womb of Sarah. That child Isaac was the only child God reckoned as Abraham’s child and all of God’s promises and the covenants God made with Abraham was made manifest through that one child Isaac.
So, as wives, we take our learnings again from the life of Sarah. What sacrifices do you need to make for the peace and progress of your marriage that you are not making yet? Are you holding your husband’s attitude and negativity as a reason for your own failures as a wife? If Sarah didn’t do that, then you shouldn’t. I know and acknowledge that it can be tough been a sacrificial wife to a none appreciative husband but your validation does not reside in your husband, it rests in God. What your husband fails to see, God sees them all and the harvest of the sacrifices you sow in your marriage is far bigger when it is God watching over your seed to bring about a harvest than the acknowledgment of your husband.
As a wife, if you have not started sowing those sacrificial seeds in your marriage, then start now because it is only those who sow that expects a harvest. And if you have been sowing please don’t stop and seeds need time to grow. But your harvest is sure and far bigger than the weight of the sacrifices you have made and are making. Just keep trusting God and keep on sowing those seeds. I have been there before and so I know.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

When Obedience Doesn't Make Sense

And so, we move on in our study of marriages in the Bible and in particular the study of Abraham's marriage. There are so many lessons to learn from the marriage of Abraham and Sarah.
Genesis 12:10-20 tells us about how Abraham continued with his journey of the call of God in his life. It was in Genesis 12:1-3 that God called Abraham to embark on a journey leaving his father’s household behind, but still within that same chapter, we read something interesting that Abraham did.
In Genesis 12:10-20 we read that there was famine in the land and Abraham went down to Egypt, but just before entering into Egypt, he called his wife and told her not to say she was not his wife but his sister. The first thing that got me wondering is that if Abraham whom we read of in later books of the Bible that he was a friend of God and he believed in God and it was created to him as righteousness could not trust God to protect him from the hands of the Egyptians without putting his wife in harms way then there is a need for men to be very careful. Even those who are considered men of God. I respect Abraham so well as a man of faith, but as a husband, I believe he didn’t do so well.  
But that said, the lesson in this passage is for the wives reading this blog. I am trying to imagine what was going through the mind of Sarah when her husband made that proposal to her. Was she so in love with Abraham to have obeyed him so blindly or was she more of a woman of faith than her husband to obey her husband as the Lord had asked her to do even in the face of danger?
Going by the report of her in 1 Peter 3:5-6 and the way God defended her all through her years of marriage, I want to believe that she was more of a woman of faith in God than a woman in love. I do not believe that Sarah agreed to lie about her status as Abraham’s wife just to show her love to her husband, it would have been a situation of trusting God to protect her as she obeys her husband as He (God) had asked her to do.
Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18, and 1 Peter 3:1-6 all says the same thing; “wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord,” and what we see Sarah display in Genesis 12:10-20 is the height of what God is calling the wives into in their marriages, and God will surely defend our obedience to His word for our lives.
When I first had the divine revelation of Sarah’s obedience in marriage, it felt like an impossible thing to do for us in our generation today. It’s almost just impossible for a woman to put herself in harm’s way like Sarah did just in the bid to submit to her husband in fulfillment of God’s instruction. To us it cannot be God telling us to obey His words to that extent; God can’t be so cruel. More so, when adultery is a sin, and then we run through the many what-ifs in our minds and tell ourselves God will understand if we disobey just this one time.
But for Sarah, she never doubted God. For her, there were no what-ifs, her husband said it and she did it anyway. And God in His usual faithful manner came through for her just at the right time when she needed Him to. I have also trusted God for this kind of submission in my marriage. My husband has never asked me to deny my identity as his wife but I have learned to obey him on so many occasions where we have extremely different and conflicting views about situations and instructions he has given. I have learned to obey him even when it wasn’t in any way or form convenient for me to obey. And not once have I had to regret such acts of obedience since I have allowed God to take the wheel of my marriage. And above all, I have earned my husband’s respect and trust simply because I obey God in obeying him.  

Saturday, 23 November 2019

First Lesson from Abraham's Marriage

I guess the next marriage to learn from would be the marriage of Abraham. Though Noah’s life came before that of Abraham, little was said about his marriage. So, we can as well just move on to Abraham. The first thing that came to my mind in the marriage story of Abraham is found in Genesis 12:4-5. When God called Abraham and he obeyed, he didn’t set out alone, he set out in the company of his wife Sarah. I understand that he also took Lot his nephew with him but we will notice that by the time we get to chapter 13 of Genesis, he had to drop Lot off. But the journey of his life, his obedience to the calling of God over his life was done with Sarah his wife right by his side.
Bearing in mind that Abraham and Sarah were no longer two but one, we will appreciate why Sarah could not be dropped off. In the same manner, the Abrahams of today, husbands of today need to understand fully that there is no calling on their lives, there should be no pursuit in their lives that warrants the husband leaving his wife behind.
In thoughts, actions, plans, and purpose of a man, he needs to carry his wife along with him as he journeys on, in order to attain good success in his life’s journey. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work,” this is just as simple as it is, planning for two and planning with the other in mind and engaging the other in mind as thought is more rewarding than planning alone. Even Jesus says in Matthew 18:19 that if two agree as concerning anything they ask for; it will be done for them by our Father in heaven.

The fact that Abraham journeyed on in obedience to the call of God for his life and carried his wife along is one big lesson I want to start the gleanings from Abraham’s marriage with. Marriage is not a competition between two intelligent individuals. It is not a superiority contest between a man and his wife. But rather it is a man on a journey to a Promised Land in the company of his suitable helper, his destiny helper, the embodiment of God’s favor for his life whom he is assigned to love with his life, cherish, hold in high esteem and respect well so that nothing will hinder his prayers.

Friday, 22 November 2019

When the Sons of God Marry the Daughter of Men

So, we continue in our gleanings of the word of God for marriages in the Bible that we can learn from. Between the time of Adam to Noah and then to Abraham nothing much was said about marriage other than the fact that the men were having children and we know that these children were conceived by their wives. But nothing definite was said concerning marriage. But just as I am about to jump to the marriage of Abraham, my attention is drawn to Genesis chapter 6.

Genesis 6:1-3
When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

You might wonder why the sons of God marrying the daughters of men became something of an issue to God for Him to declare that His Spirit will not contend with man forever. Before this chapter, we will notice that men were leaving for up to 900 years and more. As a matter of fact, if not for the fall of man at the garden of Eden probably man would never have had any business with death. God did not forbid Adam from eating from the tree of life, so to say, that God’s plan was actually for man to live forever. But now, man not was just having death to deal with, man’s life span was being cut short and you wonder why?
When I began to seek the face of God for a clearer understanding of this matter, the Lord dropped in my spirit that the sons of God should be seeking God for a wife and not choosing wives for themselves. Beyond the beauty of the daughters of men lies hidden virtues and vices that only God knows about. It is only God who owns the ability to choose the appropriate and fitting wife of the daughters of men for the sons of God. This act of inappropriate independence by the sons of God was enough to cause God to make the declaration that His Spirit will not contend with man forever. If man had begun to exhibit independence from God and choose wives for themselves then they are indirectly telling God they don’t need Him any longer.
The interesting thing is that we still have many sons of God in our generation who still see the daughters of men that they are beautiful and they marry any of them they choose to without first seeking the face of God. As we proceed in our study on marriages in the Bible, we will come across the making of a life partner. And I am sure it was discussed earlier in the study of the marriage of Adam and Eve.
When God was to make Eve, He made her to the specification fitting for Adam. He made Eve as a helper suitable (fitting, ideal, comparable) to Adam. So, she was not just any woman, she was made specifically for Adam. In the same way, God has painstakingly made a wife suitable to, fitting to, ideal for every son of God He created. Without God, the sons of God cannot identify the daughters of men that God has created for them as wives. So, in the cause of marrying as they chose, they were mismatching each other. So to say, that they were marrying wrongly and that alone was enough to make God declare that His Spirit cannot contend with man any longer.
I have spoken to men who after marriage have concluded that they married the wrong woman. Some men have even gone the path of getting a divorce. But I dare to say that two wrongs never make a right. If you didn’t seek the face of God before marrying your wife and things aren’t going right, divorce is not the way out. There is no point when you invite God into your marriage that He doesn’t step into it, to right all the wrongs in it. He made that woman you call wife, and He can remake her into the woman fitting for you when you let Him and yield to His intervention.
Marrying wrong is not a death sentence, and seeking a divorce is also not the remedy. At whatever point you call God into the situation and let Him turn around the situation for good, yielding to His leading and following every instruction He gives to you, then you are on the road path to a beautiful marital experience.