It is significant, too, that the Scripture assures us that the same God who must resist the proud always stands ready to give grace to the humble, The Bible advises men and women to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. It is my opinion that if our humility had to show itself only under the hand of God, it would be a relatively easy gesture.
If the Lord should say to me,”lam coming and will stand at the front of the church and I will expect you to come and kneel before me and humble yourself,” it would be an easy thing for me to do because I know that no one will ever lose face in kneeling humbly before God Himself.
Any man would feel just as proud as ever even though kneeling before the eternal Majesty on high. But God knows our hearts and He doesn’t allow us to fulfill His demands for humility with a mere gesture.
God may use people whom you think are not worthy to shine your shoes and in a given situation He will expect you to humble yourself meekly and take from them whatever it is they are pouring on you. In that spirit of meekness you would be humbling yourself under the mighty hand of God!
Think of the example of our Savior, cruelly beaten and cut with the lash. That whip was not wielded by an archangel but by the hands of a pagan Roman soldier. The abuse that was heaped on Jesus did not come from any multitude of the heavenly host-but from wicked, blasphemous and dirty-tongued men who were not worthy to clean the dust from the soles of His sandals.
Jesus willingly humbled Himself under the hand of men and so He humbled himself under the hand of God.
Taken from the book “I call it Heresy” by A W Tozer
Published by Gospel Literature Service
American Calvinist Baptist Minister and Author John Piper’s wife Noel Piper writes about their successful marriage. An article ‘Will you cleave and leave your man? – letter to a would-be adulteress’ in desiringgod.org, talks about her convictions and habits for keeping her marriage from turmoil and sensual encounters.
She writes, “I understood — as well as a person can at the beginning of the rest of her life — the happy, solemn weight of promising to be faithful to him until death parted us, no matter what challenges God might bring into our lives. It didn’t seem possible I would ever want anything else.”
And she willfully and wholeheartedly took the oath, “Noël, do you take John to be your wedded husband to live together in holy matrimony? Do you promise to love him . . . and forsaking all others, be faithful only to him so long as you both shall live?” There was not a doubt in my mind or heart when I declared, “I do!”
Like many others she also experienced the tempting storms in which their marriage could have been ship-wrecked. But God held them together.
“How could I have known that the worse of “better or worse” would lead to a season of sleepless nights when I wondered how I could keep on? I felt desperate for something different. That’s the time in our marriage when I would have been most likely to turn to someone else. But thank God, it didn’t happen. He held us together. There were a few habits that helped.”
She formed some practical and tough habits which is the embodiment of love and dedication to her husband John Piper. These habits are still relevant in these post-modern times where people tend to be unfaithful at least in social media. Try these habits to keep the marriage safe and pure.
- “Not flirting with other men.
- Avoiding men who seemed too interested.
- Not meeting alone with any other man.
- Having regular devotions together with Johnny.
Faithfulness required more than four habits, but these four have been central and essential.”
Men can also follow the habits. For her the hardest habit was the last one; to having devotions together with her husband. What she learnt from her parents – togetherness in prayer inspired her to keep the promise.
“The last is the hardest, but most important. My appreciation for it began, as with many things, with my parents. It is amazing my parents stayed together. About twenty years into their marriage, their rampaging differences seemed about to rip them apart.
Through even the most difficult months — years, really — Daddy and Mother took us all to church every Sunday. And every evening of the week, one of us kids was sent to the front porch to holler down toward the pasture and out toward the woods, “Sto-o-ory and pra-a-yers ti-i-ime!”
After all nine of us kids (later we were ten) had tumbled into the living room from the barn and creek and kitchen, Daddy read the next passage in our years-long path through the whole Bible. Then we kneeled at our chairs and took turns praying”
And she had questions and doubts of wandering away from the sanctity of their marriage. But she chose the path of faithfulness and it yielded great results in their personal lives. And for the millions of people who read and watch John Piper and his family, their life is a perfect example to follow.
She asks herself some important questions, and she picked up the right answer.
“What did it boil down to during my darkest nights? I was saved from wandering by some form of this question: What kind of a cleaver am I? Am I the deadly implement who will split my family — with a husband and five children — into shreds? Because, with or without divorce, that is what unfaithfulness will do to us.
Or will I cleave to the husband God has given me? Will I cling to my marriage and pray desperately for something different? I chose to cling, and God is still proving his faithfulness. He will do the same for you.”
Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept undefiled .. Hebrews 13:4
By Prakash P Koshy
Being content and happy pay rich dividends in our lives. If we have an attitude of looking on the bright side of life, there is a chance of good health. According to a report appeared on Daily Mirror regarding optimism and health, people who have high optimism may engage in a healthy lifestyle that minimizes health risks and increases health and well-being. Perhaps, when people have a positive outlook on life, they undertake actions more likely to produce good outcomes. Research team led by Dr Eric Kim of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston conducted a study on 70000 women about the positive effects of optimism. They found out that optimistic people a third less likely to die from conditions like cancer, heart diseases and stroke than more pessimistic people. Dr Eric Kim said, “While most medical and public health efforts today focus on reducing risk factors for diseases, evidence has been mounting that enhancing psychological resilience may also make a difference. Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviours and healthier ways of coping with life challenges.”
Christians have one of the greatest optimistic teachings imparted by our Master. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6: 25-26). While the world’s optimism is totally depend on things on earth, a Christian’s optimism is completely relied on his faith in Jesus. Biblical optimism does not give much stress on earthly things. It can cope with any hard situations because it believes that “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Randy Alcorn’s writing about Biblical Optimism is an eye opener. “If we build our lives on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ’s eternity-shaping redemptive work, we can be optimists. Why? Because even our most painful experience is but a temporary setback. Our pain and suffering may or may not be relieved in this life, but will certainly be relieved in the next. That is Christ’s promise—no more death, crying or pain; he will wipe away all our tears (Revelation 21:4). Indeed, any other foundation is sand, not rock. It will inevitably disappoint us.”
Jack Wellman in Patheos.com puts reasons for Christians to be optimistic. “Don’t we have every reason to be optimistic? We have had our sins forgiven (Colossians 1:14). We have had the righteousness of Christ imputed or accounted toward us (2 Corinthians 5:21) and we who have repented and trusted in Christ have eternal life (John 3:16). This means that when Christ returns, we won’t have to face the so-called second death (Revelation 20:14) and that gives believers every reason to have optimism about their future.”
“Christ said to His disciples, who would suffer much, “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Our optimism isn’t “health and wealth gospel” wishful thinking which claims that God will spare us from suffering here and now. Peter said, “Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13). Christ’s future glory, in which His children will participate, is the reason for our present rejoicing while suffering,” writes Randy Alcorn. Biblical optimism is much higher than the worldly optimism. It is rejoicing in sufferings and it helps us to trust in heavenly things, not the things on earth.
By Prakash P Koshy