Monday, December 8, 2008

Where the Grass is Greener

If you have been married for any length of time you have had moments of unhappiness. Remember, your vows predicted it: in SICKNESS and in health, for richer or POORER, for better and for WORSE. Every marriage is going to be a struggle. Sometimes when the struggles are prolonged people began to think about getting out.

Across the fence they see pasture, that is, greener grass. They see a friend or co-worker of the opposite sex who listens to them. They see this person in all their good moments. They don't see their bad attitudes. They don't have to live with their bad choices. They don't see them when they are unattractive. They only see them in the sunshine.

If it is not another person that people see, perhaps it is the peacefulness of the field. No more fighting. No more rejection. No more animosity. Married folks began to think that no spouse would be better than a spouse they have learned to loathe. They think the peaceful field is easy. They don't see the forest just beyond the field that they must pass through later. They forget how much they need someone to hold their hand.

If you are married, I want you to know that the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. You made a commitment before God and many witnesses that God wants you to keep. Your co-worker or close friend is not your spouse. Though different, they have just as many problems and weaknesses. If you hop the fence you will find the ground muddier than you thought it would be.

The grass is actually greener on your side. If it is not, it is because you have not cultivated it as you should. Think about it. You can only work the ground on your side. You can only plant the seed on your side of the fence. God will help you to grow what you have sown. He can change the soil. He can do what you think is impossible in your field if you let Him.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 5 that married couples are one flesh, and that they should nourish and cherish their relationship. This means submission to one another in the fear of God. This means learning to be unselfish. This means making sacrifices like Christ made for the church. This means the washing of water by the Word.

If we will search deep within ourselves and look at our spouse again in the love of our vows, we will remember where our happiness has its brightest hope. We will see where the grass in truly greener. It is greener with them alone, in God.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul..." ~ (Psalm 23:1-3a)

Monday, December 1, 2008

When Selecting the Elders...

When the congregation of the Lord's church in which you reside engages in the process of selecting men to serve as elders, there are several things you can do to ensure success:

1. Study. Every member should not only study the sections of Scripture that list qualifications (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1), but also all the other passages that refer to the elders. Using a complete concordance, search for the words: elder, bishop, pastor, overseer, et cetera. Study these in context. Study them completely. Define the terms and write down a list for yourself both of qualifications and duties for this position.

2. Talk to fellow Christians. It may be difficult to talk to members of the local body about this sometimes, but it is helpful to see the perspective of other Christians whom you respect. This is not gossip. This is a discussion of the direction of the church and the men that can fill the office. Make sure to never allow the selection of these men to get political. Make - the qualifications of elders, the selection process, and the duty of the members to obey the elders - subjects of devotionals and Bible studies. The church needs to work together in this effort.

3. Take a look at yourself. One of the difficulties that arises during the selection of elders is the magnifying glass effect. We are quick to disqualify qualified men because they are not perfect. I have often heard that it is better to have no men serving as elders than to have unqualified men serving. While this may be true, we need to be sure not to add more guidelines than we have been given. No man being considered is perfect. He must be an exemplary Christian, and he must meet all the requirements the Holy Spirit has given. If God could only use perfect men, then He would have stopped the commission at Jesus Christ.

4. Pray. Pray and pray some more. Pray for God's will to be done. Pray for the church to grow. Pray for the men who serve and who will serve. Pray for church unity. Pray for church-wide humility. Pray for brotherly love. Pray for God to work on every heart. Pray for God to accept the decision. Pray for His providential care for the leaders and the church. Pray that souls will be saved. Pray that the truth will be taught and defended. Pray for your overall attitude and involvement in the kingdom. Pray that more men will want to serve as elders in the church.

"This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work." ~ 1 Timothy 3:1