May 16

Today's Bible Readings
     Numbers 25
     Psalms 68
     Isaiah 15
     I Peter 3
''Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered ."  (I Peter 3:7)
  It is obvious that we live in a culture that is in disarray.  When we look at the homes of our nation, we discover a real mess. Can you blame it on the woman? No! Can you blame it on the man? The Bible says “Yes”, for the man is responsible. Some women have to take over as the head of their home because there either is not a man in the home, or there is not a man who will take the leadership role. In some homes are spineless, weak, ineffective men who do not provide quality, adequate leadership for their wives and children.
  Our text gives us a snapshot of the kind of husband that every wife needs. There is no place in Scripture where so few words give us such a complete picture of this kind of husband. He is exhorted to ''dwell with his wife'', and the word dwell in this verse means with intimacy.  It means to “let them into your life.”  Many men shut their wives out, and fail to share with them their innermost emotions and feelings. Intimacy involves far more than just a sexual relationship. It is a blending of two lives. There is one verse used four times in Scripture about the marriage relationship. We are exhorted that a husband should "leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife, and the two become one flesh." In this one statement, it speaks of the legal part of marriage, leaving one family to become another and the sexual part becoming one flesh. It also speaks of two lives cleaving together in intimacy. This is how a man is to dwell with his wife.
The Scripture also says he is to “do it with understanding.” There is a weakness in most marriages in the area of communication. The reason for that is that most husbands and wives do not understand each other. Men and women are different, and husbands need to study their wives and understand them. This begins by reading the manual which is the Word of God. Then he says to ''give honor to the wife.'' This means to commend her, not just for her physical beauty, but for her inner beauty, her character traits. The wife knows that her outward beauty will pass with the passing of time, but her inward beauty, her character traits, will only become stronger and more beautiful with the passing of time. It is important, also, for the husband to let his children hear him commending their mother for her inward beauty.
  The wife is called the weaker vessel in our text. This does not mean that she is weaker physically, emotionally, or spiritually. It means she is more fragile, like silk compared to canvas. The husband is to have great respect for her as the more fragile, precious, coveted member of the team.
  Now, the reason all of this is so important is because this husband and wife are heirs together of the grace of life. The strongest prayer partners on planet earth are the husband and wife who pray together. We have discovered that our children never faced a problem that could not be solved when we prayed for them. The exhortations of this verse must be obeyed in order that the prayers of the husband and wife team are never hindered.
Now that we have been married for 52 years, I am seeing my wife demonstrate the marriage vows in ways that teach them to me more deeply than I have ever understood them before. How wonderful it would be if every married man and woman would devote themselves to this passage, and that every man would determine in his heart to be the kind of husband his wife needs.
Reunion is a rugged, mountainous, volcanic, Indian Ocean island 700 kilometers east of Madagascar. It is the largest of the Mascrene Islands, and has a population of approximately 750,000 souls. Although Catholicism is the professed religion of over 80% of the population, there is a synthesis of Hinduism and African witchcraft that is the faith of half the population, and probably 90% are involved in it in some way. This comes from a dark legacy of slavery in this country. Pray today for the handful of real believers who can make a difference for God in this African country.
     ''In essentials - unity,
          In non-essentials - liberty,
              In all things - charity."