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Archive for the ‘1 Kings’ Category

Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat. 1 Kings 1:2 (KJV)

Julie Edgar[i] continues her list of six marriage mistakes that women make and how avoiding them can make their marriage better.

  1. Mismatched Communication Styles. Some women repeat their complaint or a concern a few times to try to get their husband’s attention. Many men will interpret that as nagging, but it may just be about having different communication styles.  Remember to pause to let your spouse absorb what you’re saying and have a chance to validate what they’ve heard.  Some marital problems are “perpetual”, they simply cannot be fixed.  The key is accepting that some things will not change, picking which battles to “fight,” and working on the things that can change with mutual effort.
  2. Not Making Sex a Priority. Whether it’s business, fatigue, or the responsibilities of maintaining a household in order, many women don’t make enough time for sex. What is true is that what’s best for a husband and wife, and for their marriage, is a healthy sex life.  What their kids need more than anything is parents who have a strong, positive marriage as it ensures them the safety of home.  Women need to build in time to make love with their husbands.  It is cannot be left up to chance because a healthy sex life is the result of spending alone time together, building anticipation throughout the week.
  3. Forgetting to Cherish Their Partner. Some women get so focused on kids, work, and home that they forget to make the small gestures that go a long way to solidifying their marriage. They can be smiles, eyecontact, hugs, or touching, or verbal comments like “I agree with that” or “good point” or even the word “yes.”  Listen, express agreement, appreciation, or affection; those all send out a positive message which builds your husband and your marriage.

It isn’t that difficult to maintain a good relationship, but it does require some intentionality on your part.

Father God, help me to cherish my spouse and to express it by listening and with a good sexual relationship with them.

[i] Ibid.

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Mom’s brain

Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son. 1 Kings 3:26 (NKJV)

 

The artist Sarah Walker once told writer Adrienne LaFrance[i] that becoming a mother is like discovering the existence of a strange new room in the house where you already live.  Women to change the moment they become pregnant.  Some of the changes are very obvious – their body changes, their appetite changes, their hormones change.  But other changes are not as outwardly evident . . . because they are neurological in nature.

According to LaFrance, “scientists are only recently beginning to definitively link the way a woman acts with what’s happening in her prefrontal cortex, midbrain, parietal lobes, and elsewhere. Gray matter becomes more concentrated. Activity increases in regions that control empathy, anxiety, and social interaction. On the most basic level, these changes, prompted by a flood of hormones during pregnancy and in the postpartum period, help attract a new mother to her baby. In other words, those maternal feelings of overwhelming love, fierce protectiveness, and constant worry begin with reactions in the brain.”

Researchers are mapping a pregnant woman’s brain to try to understand why so many new mothers experience serious anxiety and depression.  It is estimated that one in six women suffers from postpartum depression, and many more develop behaviors like compulsively washing hands and obsessively checking whether the baby is breathing.  As brain researcher Pilyoung Kim explains, “Mothers actually report very high levels of patterns of thinking about things that they cannot control. They’re constantly thinking about baby. Is baby healthy? Sick? Full?”

The brain changes prepare the mother to receive, protect and nurture her yet unborn child.  God programed women’s brains this way, what we call a “mother’s instinct,” so she would surround her child with what he/she would need to survive from their earliest age.

 

Father God, thank your for designing mothers in such a way that they begin to care for their children from before they are even born.  May all children born, especially our own, enjoy such loving care as comes from You, our Father and Creator.

[i] http://m.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/what-happens-to-a-womans-brain-when-she-becomes-a-mother/384179/?lang=en&utm_campaign=10today&flab_cell_id=2&flab_experiment_id=19&uid=19455910&utm_content=article&utm_source=email&part=s1&utm_medium=10today.0109&position=6&china_variant=False(accessed 1-10-15)

 

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Scripture: So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food.  5But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, “Why is your spirit so sullen that you eat no food?” 6He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.'”    7Then Jezebel his wife said to him, “You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

Observation: Ahab, the King of Samaria, wanted to have the vineyard which was next to his palace and which belonged to a man named Naboth.  But Naboth wanted to keep it because it had belonged to his family and wanted it to remain so.  Ahab was very upset and went into his room, got in bed, and would not eat.
When Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, asked him for his behavior, and Ahab told her, she told him to eat and be happy because she would get him Naboth’s vineyard.  She then wrote letters on Ahab’s behalf to have Naboth falsely accused of cursing God and the king, for which he was stoned.  She then presented Naboth’s vineyard to Ahab.

Application: If it were not so tragic, this story is almost comical.  An adult, Ahab, pouting like a child because he couldn’t have someone else’s toy, or vineyard.  We can almost imagine Ahab sulking, furrowed brow, hungry but refusing to eat, maybe even crying – the normal reactions of a child who’s not getting his way, but certainly not the reactions of a mature adult.
On the other hand we have Jezebel, an evil, wicked woman, but also an enabler of her husbands immaturity, selfishness, and childish behavior.  It was convenient for her, however, to keep him that way because then she could control him in other ways, like by furthering the worship of Baal in Israel unopposed by her husband.
Sometime ago I heard of a guest psychologist that Oprah had on her show – the topic was on marital relationships – in which this doctor said something to the effect that women who treat their husbands like children eventually stop finding them undesirable because a woman wants a man and not a child as their husband.  There are women who seem to enjoy being in charge at home and being the ones to tell their husbands what to do, and when, and how.  They treat them as a mother would treat a young child.  In more ways than one they are emasculated by not being allowed to “wear the pants” in the family.  But these very women, eventually don’t find their man sexually attractive and don’t realize that they’re the ones who have turned them into less than a man.
If a man is to grow up, so he doesn’t pout like a child when confronted with challenges and difficulties, he needs a supportive spouse, not one who will enable his moodiness.  God designed woman to be a help-meet, not above nor below man.  The best help a woman can give her husband is to believe in him, encourage him, and express appreciation and admiration for him.

Prayer: Father, may we be true help-meets to our spouse so that they will grow and mature as they help us grow and mature.

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Scripture: “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love.    (1 Ki 11:2 NKJV)

Observation: Solomon, as wise as he was, married hundreds of women, many of who were from the people God had forbidden Israel to have any relationship with.  It was these women who led him to commit idolatry, the sin for which Solomon’s children lost the kingdom God had give to David.

Application: As we read of the lives of David and Solomon, both had several things in common: Both were chosen to be kings of Israel, both were prophets, both were inspired, both did many good things for God and for his people, both had multiple wives.  But where they were different was that David remained loyal to God while Solomon worshiped the idols that his wives brought with them from their own countries.  Without going too deep into the implications, I think we can safely draw a few conclusions:
1. God knows the danger of entering into a marital relationship with someone of a different faith and forbids it.  While many Adventists have led their spouses to God and to the church, the number of Adventists who have left the church because of their spouses is alarming.  Marriage is such a powerful emotional relationship that some people may be driven away from God by their spouse.  From the very beginning we observe the power of this relationship when Eve led Adam to sin by eating of the forbidden fruit.  Adam could not see himself with Eve and chose to die with her rather tha live without her not trusting that God would do what’s best for him.
2. Adultery must not be the worst of all sins.  While we would not condone adultery at any time, at the same time we should not make it the worse of all sins and shun people who commit adultery.  In David’s case, not only did he commit adultery but tried to cover it with murder, and yet God said of David that he was a man after His own heart.  Solomon had multiple wives, and yet God blessed him with great wisdom.
3. What God DOES take great offense at is idolatry – turning away from Him to worship other gods.

Again, we do not wish to excuse adultery in any way, shape, or form.  We do discourage marrying someone of a different faith.  We must never turn from God to worship idols, whatever and whoever they may be.

Prayer: Father, may we always worship You and never idols, may we always be faithful to You and to our spouse, and may Your love always cover us.

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Honor Your Mother

Scripture: Bathsheba therefore went to King Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king’s mother; so she sat at his right hand. (1 Ki 2:19 NKJV)

Observation: Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, came before the king to speak on behalf of his half-brother Adonijah. With the respect she deserved, Solomon rose from his throne and not only honored her by having a throne for her, but before all the people watching, the king bowed to the ground before her.

Application: There’s an age, the early teens or even pre-teens, when some children, boys in particular, seem uncomfortable being seen with their parents for fear that their friends may make fun of them. It’s not that boys are embarrassed of their mom, it’s just that they don’t want to be called “momma’s boy” by their peers. I guess I skipped that stage, had friends who didn’t make fun of me, or simply didn’t care, but for me it was a matter of joy and pride to be seen or to be with my parents and live with no regrets because I loved and cared for my mother for the last seven years of her life while she lived with us. This respect is not only one of God’s commandments, it is their due for the love, care, and sacrifices on our behalf.

Prayer: Father, thank You for our loving parents and for the opportunity You give us to show them our love and respect. May we take advantage of the opportunities You give us to take good, loving care of them.

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Mom’s Love

Scripture: Then she said to him, “My lord, you swore by the LORD your God to your maidservant, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.’    (1 Ki 1:17 NKJV)

Observation: Absalom’s brother, Adonijah, decided to make himself king of Israel since his father David was old and getting closer to his death.  Bathsheba, mother of Solomon, asked David to fulfill his promise to her to elevate Solomon to the throne which is indeed what David did, not just to respond to her request but also following God’s plan and will for David and his family.

Application: Second only to the love God has for us is the love that mothers have for their children.  In fact, that love is so special that God uses it as illustrations of his love for us in various places in the Scriptures.
Among the Jewish people, the love of mothers for their children is legendary and is credited for the great success of so many of them.  They joke about the mothers who while holding their babies in arms or when they’re still small children they introduce them as, “this my Aaron, the doctor,” or “this is my  David, the lawyer,” and when they leave for school they make sure their children have their books while other mothers may be more concerned as to whether their children have their lunch or are properly clothed to go outside.  In the gospels, John and James’ mother asked Jesus for a special place for her sons, next to Jesus.  As upset as the other disciples were, we sometimes are annoyed with mothers who are too proud of their children and would like for the rest of us to admire their children.  If they wish to be proud of their kids they have ever right to do so, but not try to force them on us.
As a father who loves his daughters dearly, it may sound “unfair” that the love of fathers is not shown as prominently as that of mothers.  But the reality is that carrying a child inside for the months of pregnancy makes those children much more a part of them than they are of the fathers.  But it doesn’t mean we as fathers cannot develop a strong bond with our children.  I am blessed to have a very close, strong relationship with my daughters and we enjoy spending time together.  But I also recognize that there are many things where they and their mother have a stronger bond – like shopping, or talking about clothes.  Some time ago I heard that James Dobson, the famous Christian psychologist, claims that the most strained relationship today is that between men and their sons.  Since I don’t have sons I don’t know why that may be, but we as parents should still try to maintain and nourish close, strong bonds with our children.

Prayer: Father, thank you for our children and for the good relationship we enjoy with them.  May those bonds be strengthened each day.  And bless us, when our relationships are strained, and bring healing to them.

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