My wife, Amanda Clouse, is the love of my life and I have no idea what I would do without her. She has made me who I am. The Lord has put the most amazing woman in my life. We joke around with each other sometimes and say my life would be quieter without her, or less stressful and we laugh about it, but I always come back to knowing that this woman is the love of my life and made me who I am.
It has been hard the last year because I have not had a lot of time with her. With school, working a lot of hours, church and everything else, it seems like we don't get a lot of time together. Yet, lately I have felt so much closer to her. She has been so supportive of me with my school work. It reminds me of Proverbs 31:10 which says "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies."
One of the things I need to work on is reading the Word with her and praying together. We need to grow together as a couple in the Lord and keep the Lord in the center of our marriage. Last night I asked my wife if she would pray with me and we prayed for the country in the wake of this storm and for our family. I could tell it meant a lot to her to pray together. We always pray before our meals and such, but this was time with just me and her and I could tell it meant a lot. THAT gentleman is what is most important in our marriage. Keep the Lord in the center of it and don't stray off that path.
So many men in our age keep themselves so busy trying to support their family, busy themselves, go out and hang with buddies after work, or even overdo themselves helping in ministry that they often forget what they have at home and that their families need them. That is why there is such a problem in our households, and why there are so many broken homes.
My wife and my daughter are the most important gifts that God has given me. He has given them to me to take care of, provide for them, teach them, guide them, and protect them. It is hard work, but someone has to do it...and men, that is us. We have to financially support our homes, but also give up ourselves to them.
I love you babe and I will see you soon!
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
I recently took a spiritual gifts survey in my Church Ministries class to find out where my strengths are in ministry. Spiritual gifts are gifts that God has given me as a Christian to use for His work. I found out that my spiritual gifts lie in Pastoral work, Exhortation and Administration. But what exactly are spiritual gifts? Where do they come from? How do the spiritual gifts differ from the fruits of the Spirit? Also, we will answer questions about speaking in tongues as being one of those spiritual gifts.
Spiritual gifts are gifts that God gives to certain individuals through the Holy Spirit. If you read through 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 in the Bible you will find that each gift is given through the Holy Spirit. There are many different types of gifts, but they are all given through Christ. These gifts are “Word of wisdom, Word of knowledge, Faith, Gifts of healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Distinguishing between spirits, Tongues, Interpretation of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:8-10 KJV) You could right entire thesis's on each gift because there is so much to know about each one. The intent of this paper is to describe where they come from and what is their purpose? I refer to The Great Commission when asked how do we use them. Matthew 28:19-20 states that we are supposed to go out to the ends of the Earth to preach the gospel and spread the news about Christ. God or the Holy Spirit gives us certain gifts to go out and be able to perform this daunting task. These are the Spiritual gifts. But how do Fruits of the Spirit differ from our Spiritual gifts?
The fruits of the spirit, which are found in Galatians 5:22-23 are “...love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” The Bible states that anyone who becomes a Christian receives the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13-14) As soon as you accept Christ into your heart, these are things that happen and you build on in time. As far as Spiritual gifts go, these are what you need to work on and build. If God has given me the gift of Word of Knowledge, and I never read His Word, I am wasting a gift. It is something that I need to build strong. When I build upon my Spiritual gifts it shows spiritual maturity. One of these spiritual gifts is one I believe that you don't just pick up, and that is speaking in tongues.
Speaking in tongues is a controversial issue today in the Christian church. Is it right or wrong? Is it done correctly? What are the rules in speaking in tongues? According to Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry “Speaking in Tongues” by Matt Slick; “Speaking in tongues is the New Testament phenomena where a person speaks in a language that is unknown to him. This language is either the language of angels or other earthly languages.” Mr. Slick goes on to quote 1 Corinthians 13:1 where it says that it takes love to speak in tongues. The purpose of speaking in tongues is to speak to God out of love. To praise Him, to pray to Him, but you must have love for God, or it is worthless. I do believe to speak in tongues you have to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. What I mean by this is that you have to be a Christian. As a Christian, you become baptized in the Holy Spirit. According to 1 Corinthians 12:13; “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body...” or Mark 1:8 where John the Baptist says “I baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” I don't believe that speaking in tongues is the deciding factor if you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues is one of the Spiritual gifts and I don't believe that everybody has that gift. I will use me as an example, I have never spoke in tongues, but I do believe that I have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is just not the spiritual gift that God has endowed me with.
I do believe that speaking in tongues is still valid today. I do believe that there are many times when it is done incorrectly though. It says in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 that “they shall fail” but I believe this is in reference to false prophets and those who speak in tongues and do it wrong. There are requirements to speaking in tongues. These requirements are found in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40. Why would God give us these rules without Him wanting us to know how to do things correctly?