Friday, 18 April 2014

Are You Good at Taking the Temperature?

When it comes to the temperature levels in a room, my wife and I have considerably different comfort levels.  She has a fairly narrow range.  I think her range is 71 degrees, give or take a half a degree.  On the other hand, I am always cold.  I would wear my winter jacket in the middle of summer if I wasn’t self-conscious about being ridiculed.  It does me little good to go to the thermometer because regardless of what it reads I know I’m cold.  However my wife can check the thermometer and turn the thermostat up or down depending on whether she is hot or cold.

Thermometers record the ambient temperature while thermostats control and regulate the ambient temperature.  Most of you probably have known that fact since you were three.  But it is also possible to sense the “emotional” temperature of a room.  If I come home and my wife has had a particularly trying day I can sense it.  It could be her body language, facial expression, tone of voice, or most telling is that I don’t get a hug and/or kiss when I grace her with my presence.  I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve, as the expression goes, and my wife knows pretty quickly how my day has been.  My wife is not only a good thermometer she is an incredible thermostat.  If I do come home with a case of the grumpies she is quick to snap me out of it.  Usually I am able to respond and that changes the mood for the balance of the evening.

Being a guy I am not nearly as good at being a thermometer or a thermostat.  I’m convinced that at birth most men get an oblivious gene.  I am not very good about picking up subtle signs that things in Camelot are not as they should be.  Fortunately for me my wife is willing to say “I need a hug”.  I can’t tell you what a blessing that is.

Too many wives feel they should not have to provide their husband with an emotional clue and they are right.   They believe “he ought to know”.  When he fails to see that you are frazzled and his first question is “what’s for dinner” you want to hit him over the head with the pot roast that you didn’t get made.  Why - because the washing machine broke down, your three year old attempted to flush the cat down the toilet and your mother called to tell you how fabulous your sister is.

Figure out a signal between the two of you to avoid either of you having to guess.  The one who had a good day gets to be the thermostat.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Old Has Gone and the New Has Come

Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come.  2Corinthians 5:17

The old has gone and the new has come.  At times it seems like the old comes back what happened to the new, where did it go?  As a believer have you ever asked yourself this question? 

This verse seems much clearer to me if I accept that I am comprised of three parts.  One part is my physical body.  The second part is my soul, which houses my mind, will and emotions.  The third part is my spirit.  Because I am born into Adam my spirit is dead at birth. 

When I accept Christ as my Lord, my spirit which was dead becomes alive in Christ Jesus.  The Holy Spirit inhabits my spirit and my spirit is now without blemish from God’s perspective.  Hence I am a new creation, the old (spirit) has gone and the new (spirit) has come. 

When I say the “old seems to come back” I am referring to behaviors which are not ones that endear me to my wife, friends or co-workers.  In actuality what is happening is that my spirit which is now perfected in Christ is at war with my soul.  Sometimes my mind, will and emotions win and at times I surrender to my spirit and behave in a way that honors God.

The sixty-four thousand dollar question is, “once I have become a new creation in Christ why would I ever let my soul, my old sin nature, dominate my behavior?”  The answer is the Fall, Satan, sin and free-will.  God puts an incredible premium on free-will, so much so that He will allow me to make some bad choices. 

The good news is that I do have a choice.  I can say “Get behind me Satan.”  I can say, “Sin is not my master, for I am not under the law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)

I am indwelt by His Spirit which gives me the power to love my wife as I ought. The Spirit enables me to be other-centered, to put my wife’s needs ahead of my needs.  Sadly the war between my soul and my spirit will continue until the day I am called “Home.”  However the more often I make the right choices, the more likely my brain will relinquish control to my spirit.  Ladies these same concepts apply to you as well.

Monday, 14 April 2014

How Well Do You Know God?

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:9

Isaiah 55:9
Regardless of your answer to the question posed above, you can never know God well enough.  First of all this verse in Isaiah tells us that we will never begin to comprehend the ways and thoughts of God.  Yet one thing I am reasonably sure of and that is that God wants us to continue to grow in our knowledge of him throughout our entire life.  It is not that He is withholding the information.  In part the problem is we are incapable of understanding much of what God could reveal to us.  And we are somewhat limited, humanly speaking, to learning about Him primarily through His Word.  The more we learn about Him, the more we love and appreciate Him.

How well do you really know your husband /wife?  Most of us are dynamic beings, in the sense that we are forever changing.  The person I am today is different in many ways from the person I was 30 years ago.  To know me then is not to know me now.  However many of the changes have been reasonably subtle over a number of years such that they may not be noticeable to a casual observer.  

I proffer that we would all do well to spend as much time learning about the God of the universe as we can.  My love for God continues to grow as I begin to get a greater glimpse of who He is and the magnitude of His grace.  To think that my very next breath and the one after that and the one after that comes from the One who created heaven and earth just boggles my mind.  I am one of seven billion people on planet earth and He knows my every thought (of course that’s not all that challenging).

I contend that we could all enhance our marriages if we would become students of our spouse.  What makes them tick?  Who are they at the very core of their being?  What are their values?  What are their dreams and concerns?  How do they view the world around them, what pleases them and what scares them?  Obviously there is no end to these questions and once I think I have the answers they will change.  I subscribe the more we know our spouse the deeper will be our love.  The more we know God, the deeper our appreciation for the gift of His Son.