DEVOTIONAL

 
I DO EVERY DY
 

By Carlos Santiago
One day, I told my wife I felt God calling me to quit my job and go into full-time ministry.

“I don’t think you heard that right,” she said.

I was confused. I tried to explain, but the more I did, the more she dug in.

“If you want to do ministry, go ahead, but leave me out of it. And don’t quit your job—we have a mortgage.”

I’ve been a Christian for a long time, so I know the drill. As the husband, the spiritual leadership is my responsibility.

Was I supposed to “assert my spiritual authority” and quit without her blessing? What would that do to her? Our marriage? What others see about Christ through us?

As I struggled to lead my wife in a direction she didn’t want to go, I decided to look closer at the leadership style of Jesus.

Jesus faced resistance, and even though “all authority on heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:18) was given to Him, He never ordered us to follow. Instead, He was patient and kind. He didn’t brag about His special calling or coerce us in any way. He put our needs first.

What my wife needed most was to hear from God, not me.

So I tried to make it easy for her to do that. I encouraged her to make friendships with mature Christian women, attend Bible studies, and go on women’s retreats.

In the meantime, I did ministry work on the weekends while making preparations to one day leave my job.

It took a few years, but my wife eventually heard God’s call, too.

We were then able to enter ministry the same way we started marriage—as partners.
In this episode of FamilyLife Today®, Dennis Rainey encourages men to intentionally lead their families.

 
THE GOOD STUFF: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

 

ACTION POINTS: How can you help your spouse hear more clearly from God? Do they need encouragement? Help with chores? A night without kids? Ask them. Then pick one thing you can do this week and do it.

 

 

 
 
 
 

TODAY’S NEW TESTAMENT READING

NEW TESTAMENT READUNG IN BROWN

View today’s reading at Bible Gateway

Matthew 27:27-50

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.

38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Love Without Bias

 

NIV DAILY DEVOTIONAL

 (Acts 10:6–16)

The man wept as he told how his mother had treated each of her children in an equally rotten manner. One after another, she had driven her children away. They had moved to other places just to escape her tirades about their tragic worthlessness. Even now, when her children return to celebrate her birthday or some other holiday, the mother only adds to their guilt by caustically reminding each about how they have abandoned her.

I admire this man and the way that he, in Christian faith, has chosen to remain close to his mother. He cares for her because she is his mother and because there is no one else left that she has not sadistically forced away with lacerating venom.

Like that cruel mother, judgment and prejudice often influence how we view others. We see it in Peter. Years of social training had identified the “OK” people and the “not OK” people, similar to how religious instruction shaped his views about animals for sacrifices. For Peter, some people were acceptable, some tolerable, some to be avoided altogether.

In situations where prejudice pulls our noses into the air and causes us, like my friend’s mother, to become equal opportunity disdainers, that intolerance bites and hurts and destroys. But that can be counteracted with another form of prejudice: the discrimination of love, which chooses to care even when social convention says otherwise.

This is the lesson God taught Peter that day in Joppa when he showed Peter a large sheet containing all kinds of animals, reptiles and birds and ordered him to kill and eat them. When Peter objected, saying he had never eaten anything impure or unclean, God told him not to call anything impure that God had made clean. This vision was an object lesson to show Peter that the Good News of Christ’s sacrificial love is for all people, whether Jew or Gentile. This was a revelation to Peter, who had been taught to distance himself from non-Jews.

Although this passage is a wonderful story of equality, it also teaches us that sometimes there is a good side to discrimination. The beauty of family life is found precisely in its inequalities. In a family we learn that persons are to be loved uniquely, not equally. A wife does not love her husband because he is just one of the crowd that hangs around, but because he is uniquely her spouse. Nor does a father treat one child the same as another child. True love discriminates.

Parents who try to love all of their children in exactly the same way become frustrated to the point of incompetence. It is in the family that we learn to esteem each person greatly, not because each is a cloned pea in a pod, but because each is unique and different. It’s the same in marriage; we learn to love each other uniquely, rejoicing in our differences and learning how those differences can enrich and enlarge our relationship.

—Wayne Brouwer

Taken from NIV Couples’ Devotional Bible

 

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