Always Remember

Steve Arterburn

 

Have the benefits of your transformed life caused the memories of your previous lifestyle to fade? Do you remember what you once were before Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit entered your life? Can you recall the darkness before you experienced the light? As you see the lost around you, are you aware that apart from God’s grace, you’d be lost too ‘ right there amongst them?

Men, you should never wallow in, or be a slave to, your past. But, don’t ever forget where you came from, and how you were brought to where you are now. Paul told Titus: ‘Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy’But then God our Savior showed us His kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit.’

You’ve lived in sin. Your heart was acquainted with pain, hopelessness, and spiritual confusion. Remember, you were saved because of the love and kindness of God’period. You didn’t save yourself. And you weren’t saved because you were good, or because your life was so resplendent that God was put in your debt.

Don’t ever forget this, guys. It will keep you humble and it will give you hope for others.

Uncommon Story, Common Problem

Steve Arterburn

God often gives difficult and unusual assignments to His servants. But in the Bible, in the case of Hosea, that’s an understatement. God commanded him to go and marry a prostitute. He said, ‘This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me.’

 

Hosea’s marriage to the prostitute, Gomer, was a metaphor for the way God loves His sometimes faithless, shameless, and spiritually adulterous people. At one point, in broken-heartedness and righteous indignation, God threatened to cast His people off due to their flagrant infidelity.

 

But God is always faithful’even when His people aren’t. So amidst His grief and anger, He proclaims His undying love. Again Hosea’s marriage provides the powerful picture of this: ‘Bring her back to you and love her,’ God commands Hosea, ‘even though she loves adultery.’

 

To be sure, the book of Hosea is an amazing testimony of God’s steadfast love. But it’s also something else. It’s an uncommon story about a very common problem: marital infidelity.

 

Should we suppose that God wants his men to marry prostitutes? Of course not! But Hosea does show us that a husband can be faithful, even to an unfaithful wife. And at times, guys, every relationship needs such selfless love. There may come a time when your bride breaks your heart and causes you shame. It could be adultery, or a vast array of other issues. In that time, remember the way God loves you. Remember His words to Hosea: ‘Bring her back to you and love her.’

Respect

Steve Arterburn

Everyone knows Rodney Dangerfield got no respect. His twin brother forgot his birthday, and his bank offered him a gift if he’d close his account!

 

Can you relate? Men’especially married men’often feel their need for respect has somehow gotten lost amidst the world’s preoccupation with love. It’s not that men are against love. It’s rather that they perceive it differently than women. For a man, love is spelled r-e-s-p-e-c-t. They usually express and receive love via respect. And that’s something women often miss.

We men, however, are guilty of forgetting the flip side of this coin. We prefer to mope around doing Rodney Dangerfield impersonations, taking solace that our friends are equally disrespected. But the truth is there may be a good reason why we’re missing out on respect from our wives: maybe we’re not loving them well!

‘Husbands, love your wives’ is a repeated instruction that the apostle Paul gives us in the book of Ephesians. It isn’t rocket science. To get respect requires giving love. And whether you’re single, a newlywed, or married forty years, loving that special someone involves a universal yet entirely unique ingredient: loving her the way she wants to be loved.

Don’t do the typical ‘man’ thing and toss out generic signs of affection. Discover’or in the case of you relationship veterans, remind yourselves’what things matter most to her, and what she appreciates receiving from you the most.