Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Wow, Christ loved us so much that He died for us on the cross. What a gift. Are we willing to die for our wives? This is the ultimate sacrifice. This love is not the sappy love that the world talks about, but the deep love that Christ has for us. As we strive to obey the Lord, we must strive to have a deeper love for each other.
1. How do you show others you have Christ-like love in your life?
2. How does it make you feel to know God loves you so much He sent His only Son to die for you?
Challenge: Live your life showing others that God sent his Son to die on the cross to save you from sin.
“Children, obey your parents.” We are all children, and we are to obey our heavenly Father. The scripture tells us this is the first commandment with a promise, “things will go well for you and you will have a long life on earth.” When we obey the Lord and follow the path He has for us, no matter what challenges we face, the Lord will be with us and see us through.
1. Are you following God’s plan for your life?
2. What are you doing to make sure you are obeying God’s plan?
Challenge: Obey your heavenly father and seek his will for you each day.
The writer of proverbs is telling us that a mother who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Her children will bless her and her husband will praise her. We are to fear the Lord and keep Him at the center of our lives. In my own life it is amazing how keeping God at the center, keeps things in perspective. Mother, Father, Son, or Daughter, keeping our focus on God and following his will is the most important thing we can do.
1. What are you doing to keep God at the center of your life?
2. What can you do to show that you fear God?
Challenge: No matter what challenges you are facing this week know that God is by your side. He is the center of your life.
As fathers, Paul tells us we are to raise our children in the “training and instruction of the Lord.” We are not to “exasperate” our children. What a challenge, we all know how trying children can be. How do you think God feels with us? We constantly exasperate Him. We read over and over in the Bible of how the Israelites turn to their own ways. We are guilty of it in our own lives, trying to do it our own way instead of God’s way. Let us be careful to study God’s word and follow His instruction; just as we are to do with our children.
1. Why do we always want to do things our way?
2. How can we follow God’s instructions?
Challenge: Make it a priority to study God’s word and see what his instructions are for our lives.
Talk about the commandments to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. Talk about them when you sit, walk, lie down, and when you get up. That really encompasses all our activity. In all we do, God should be at the center. Any movement we make, any action we take, we must think about God and talk about God. Our decisions, choices, and actions must start and end with God. For our families to be on the right path, God must be a part of them.
1. Does it come natural to include God in all aspects of your day?
2. Where do you most often exclude God?
Challenge: Today bring God into an activity that you normally do not. Ask him for guidance as you go to work or school.
Friends recently built a new home and did much of the work themselves. On the boards that made up the structure of the house, they wrote bible verses that were important to them. This is a great example of the Lord building a house. Through premarital counselling, I was taught as a couple grows closer to God, they grow closer to each other. Think of a triangle with God at the top point, man and woman at the bottom. As you focus on God, your relationship grows stronger. A home will be strong only if God builds it.
1. Where is God in your relationship triangle?
2. What changes do you need to make to get God at the top of your triangle?
Challenge: Talk to God and ask him to reveal how you can start to put him at the top of your triangle.
God created the structure for our family. In all of his perfect plan, he designed the family. The family is to follow the example of Christ and His love for the church: self-sacrificing, loving, giving, and honoring. We can look to 1 Corinthians 13 for a description of God’s love as an example of how we should love others. We are to be patient, kind, without envy, boasting or pride, not rude or self-seeking, not easily angered and keeping no records of wrong. Wow, to love and be loved like that!
1. Have you had the opportunity to see a family you admire?
2. What are the things that stand out to you?
Challenge: Incorporate into your life something you admire from the family mentioned above.
God took a rib from Adam and formed woman. When Adam saw Eve he recognized that she was perfect for him. From that very moment they were to become one flesh, a union established by God. They were to be partners and mates designed for each other by God for a life together. This is the beginning of the very first family that God created.
1. Do you remember the first time you met your mate, your best friend, or your favorite relative?
2. How was your life changed by that meeting?
Challenge: A man and his wife were designed by God for each other, to be united and become one flesh. Let your spouse know how special they are to you. If you aren’t married, tell your friend, parents, or sibling how important they are to you. They are a gift from God.
God said, “let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” God was used to being in community within the trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). He recognized it was not good for man to be alone. Adam was alone while the animals were created – the beasts of the field, the birds of the air. After naming all the animals, Adam had no suitable helper. God does not mean for us to go through life alone. It is not good for us to be alone.
1. Describe a time in your life when you felt alone.
2. What changed that for you?
Challenge: If you are going through a time of feeling alone – know that is not what God desires for you. Make a point to be with other people. You can sign up for a small group. There are groups that meet almost every day of the week. Pick one that fits you.
The sword of God’s Word is not just a way for Christians to search their own souls, though; it is a mighty weapon against any adversaries. All the other pieces of armor are defensive, protecting us, but the sword of the Word has wisdom that can pierce the armor of the enemy. This doesn’t mean that we can randomly throw Bible verses at opponents and hope they stick. Remember that Jesus himself IS the Word of God. Building up a relationship with Him through prayer and Bible reading, then relying on the Word in times of trouble, is the best way to sharpen our swords.
1. Have you ever quoted Bible verses to someone to try to win an argument, only to fall flat?
2. How can you trust in Jesus to fight your battles for you?
Challenge: Check your motivations the next time you are in a dispute or feel attacked. Pray ahead of time, if possible, that you will put yourself under Jesus’ protection and that He will direct your words in the way He wants them to go.
This devotional is written every week by Hillcrest members.
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