Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. (1 Peter 4:16, ESV)
The Son of God suffered and died at the hands of lawless, immoral men. Christians ought not expect better treatment when they are faithful to the Lord. Commit yourself to live your faith courageously. There will be those who will try to silence you with intimidation, humiliation or worse. Do not be ashamed of Christ! He despised the shame of the cross for our redemption and his present glory at the right hand of God (Heb. 12:2). Give honor to God by being faithful to Christ – no matter what others say or do to you because you are a Christian.
Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. (1 Timothy 5:5)
Prayer is the faithful expression of a Christian’s dependency upon God. The woman in our text was really a widow, with no child or grandchild to care for her (1 Tim. 5:4). For her, prayer was not optional, it was life-sustaining. She would not survive without God. How and why do you pray? Do you pray as if your life depends on God? Do you pray knowing that without God you would not survive? Or, do you pray as an occasional afterthought? Do not take God for granted. Let us “pray without ceasing”, knowing our life on earth and throughout eternity depends on God (1 Ths. 5:17).
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. (Mark 1:35)
Prayer is the purposeful expression of one’s mind to God. It was first on Jesus’ mind of a morning, and his example urges us to pray each morning as we rise to face the day. Prayer is deliberate, not haphazard. And so, Jesus gave sufficient time to pray. He did not rush through prayer, but lingered in it as he spoke to his Father. Jesus went to a solitary place to pray, teaching us to do our best to remove distractions when we pray. Before the duties of the busy day engulf you, remember to pray. Linger in prayer to the Father, and be strengthened for the day ahead.
The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness. (Proverbs 16:31)
The aged man or woman ought to be shown respect. Too often the elderly are forgotten by family and friends too busy to be bothered. How sad, both for the aged as well as those who carelessly dispose of them. (Remember, if you are blessed with a long life you will be the aged person one day. How will you want to be treated then?) Nevertheless, the aged are held to account by God. Being elderly does not give one the right to be cranky, unkind and mean-spirited. The honor of old age is observed in the righteous example that is consistently lived in spite of the constant realities of life’s last days. If you are young, show respect to the elderly. If you are aged, remember that your example of righteousness benefits many others, bringing glory to you and to your God.
Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)
Parents who are teaching their children to be obedient are laying a good foundation for them to also obey God. By obeying their parents, children learn to show respect, to be responsible and to be prompt in fulfilling their duty. “A child left to himself brings shame to his mother”, but a child who receives correction “will give you rest” (Prov. 29:15, 17). God is pleased when children obey their parents. He is also pleased when parents do the difficult but necessary work of training their children to obey father and mother — and God.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22–24)
There is no greater expression of love than Christ’s love for His church. His sacrificial death on the cross is the model for how husbands must love their wives (Eph. 5:25). At the same time, the church’s loving devotion and submission to the Savior is the wife’s model for yielding to the leadership of her husband. The church’s role is not to lead Christ, but to follow His leadership. There must be a leader in a marriage, and God has given that role to the husband. Wives are to yield to the leadership of their husbands just like the church does to Christ. Marriage thrive when husbands are servant-leaders (like Christ). Marriages flourish when wives are devoted helpers who respect their husbands and yield to their leadership (Eph. 5:33). God’s plan for a successful marriage works!
Husbands, likewise, 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. (1 Peter 3:7)
Husbands, the Lord is speaking to us! What He says here ought to grab our attention! It is so important to God that we husbands live with our wives in an understand and honorable way, that if we fail to do so, He will not receive our prayers. Our spiritual life is hindered – we sin – when we mistreat our wives by not learning to understand her. Respect your wife by giving your time and attention to improving your relationship with her. Listen to her and really communicate with her about your life together. She wants to share her life with you. That is what God wants for you both. After all, isn’t that what you wanted when you said, “I do”? It takes hard work, but she is worth it. And what’s more, your soul (and hers) is worth it.