The Sabbath Issue

Chapter 11: Principles of Righteousness - Part 2

* 2. MARRIAGE. But who should pray over the food? This brings us to another area that must be in Divine Order - Marriage.

Ephesians 5:23: “the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the Church, and is the Saviour of the Body.”
It seems to me that the husband should take his place as the head of the home and either pray or invite his wife to pray. When Hilary prays: “kill anything deadly in it” - it causes me concern that she knows something that I don’t! 

Before we were married, when Hilary and I were just friends going to the same Church, we were a bit competitive with each other in terms of leadership. But I thank God for Hilary, that she has been a wonderful wife, supporting and respecting my leadership in the Marriage. Husbands, take your leadership, for the husband is the head of his wife, but let it be a loving leadership for husbands are commanded to love their wives: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church” (Ephesians 5:25).

Wives - encourage, submit to and respond to his loving leadership (do not fight it): “Wives, submit (respond) to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). 

Husbands, you are not to dominate her but treat her as your equal. Hilary and I always discuss issues with the aim of coming to agreement, and she is always free to say if she disagrees. There is a balance between male and female viewpoints. Each brings a different perspective and often it’s when they are combined that 
you get the right way forward. Only very occasionally we have not been able to agree, and then Hilary has trusted me to God and graciously submitted to my decision (for a decision had to be made). 

The analogy of the husband being the head of his wife is helpful. Both need each other and nothing much can be done unless they are working together in harmony. Husbands - listen to your wives, like a head listens to his body. A wise head will listen to the signals of his body and respond and cares for it. If it says: “I’m cold”, the head responds and provides extra covering. If she signals that she needs your attention and love, you better listen or there will be a price to pay! The head by itself is unaware and insensitive to much 

that is going on, and needs the input from his body. Likewise a man is unwise to make decisions concerning their life together without listening to his wife first. Likewise, when she has an instinct about something they should do, she should tell him and let him process it, rather than acting too quickly, so that they can act together in agreement. Often Hilary will pick something up that I was insensitive to, but it needed to be thought through more before the right action could be taken. Often a quickfire reaction based on partial information will do more harm than good. So each will have part of the answer, and both need to respect and receive each others contribution. “Vive-la-difference”, as the French say! 

One problem with men, is that they are insensitive and don’t listen well. For example, if there is something wrong with their body, they are less likely to get it checked out with a doctor, than women. That’s one reason women tend to live longer, because the earlier you can diagnose something, the better chance you have of overcoming it. It’s called male-pride. We think we have to be strong and macho, and so we struggle through without asking for help, because that would be showing weakness. We are like that on the road when we get lost. Rather than asking someone for directions, a man will continue to try sort it out himself, and only when he is totally lost and desperate will he look for help! 

But a husband must realise that he needs his wife - her help, her support, her unique wisdom. He is not designed to do it all by himself. He needs to listen to her, discuss it with her, combining her thoughts with his to come to a decision, hopefully that they can both agree upon and be happy with. Things will go much better for him if he loves and honours her in this way, and she needs to respect and encourage him in his role as head of the household.

So, we also need to apply God’s principles to how we structure our Marriages. Now, every Marriage is different, each has a different mix of personalities, so how it will work out will differ from Marriage to Marriage. God gives a lot of freedom for couples to 
chose how things will operate in their Marriage. But freedom does not mean a free for all. Although God does not lay down strict laws covering every detail of how we should run our Marriages, He does give us His Principles of Righteousness (right living) to apply. 

Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His (Principles or Ways of) Righteousness, and (then, but only then)all these things (blessings)
 shall be added unto you.”

We must put God first, by applying His Principles of Righteousness to our eating, our marriages, our finances, our church-going, and our working and resting, if we want to see His blessings released. 

* 3. FINANCES: We must order our finances and take dominion over them, otherwise will get into a mess and the bondage of unnecessary debt. That means having some kind of BUDGET (some will have more strict budgets than others). On the one side is our INCOME, on the other side is our OUTGOINGS. These two must BALANCE - for we must live within our means (the danger of credit cards is that we avoid this reality for too long, and so don’t exercise proper discipline over our finances). We must be realistic in our spending, based on our income. The Spanish villa, the yacht and the expensive holiday may have to wait!

In our financial planning (our budgeting), we need to have priorities. The first Principle (Priority) is to remember what it is all about: 
PUTTING GOD FIRST. We need to find a way to do that in a practical way in our finances, by giving Him the FIRSTFRUITS.

Financial Principle (Priority) 1: PUT God first - FIRSTFRUITS
Our first Priority in our Finances is to PUT God first - by giving Him the FIRST-FRUITS.

Proverbs 3:9,10: “Honour the LORD with your possessions, and with the FIRST-FRUITS of ALL your increase (profit, income); 
so (then) 
your barns will be filled with plenty, 
and your vats will overflow with new wine.” 

The more we align our life to God’s principles, the more we can enter in and enjoy His life and blessings. Honouring God in giving Him the First-fruits is the first Financial Principle to apply to release His blessing into our finances. In our Financial Planning, we should FIRST of all decide what we will give to God, and then budget everything else accordingly. Notice that we are not to give God our ‘2nd-Fruits’ or ‘Last-Fruits’! We should not wait to see what is left after we have done all our other spending, and then give to God out of that, as this would be giving God our Last-Fruits! 

What is the Firstfruits? I believe it is the Tithe. Now we are not under the Tithe-Law of the Law of Moses, where we would be under Divine Judgement if we do not tithe. So we are not under the Tithe as Law, but we should still tithe to Jesus, our High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:8), on the same basis that Abraham tithed to Melchizedek (as an act of faith, in obedience to a Principle of Righteousness). We are to walk in the footsteps of our spiritual father Abraham (Romans 4:12). In Genesis 14:20, Abraham (representing true believers) tithed to Melchizedek (representing Christ, our High Priest), not in obedience to any Law (he was free to tithe or not), but to acknowledge, honour and trust God as his Source and the Lord of all his finances. Thus he put his finances into God’s hands, releasing God’s blessings upon them. It is no coincidence that soon after this God said to him: “I am your Shield, your exceedingly great Reward” (Genesis 15:1). 

Thus, we are to tithe today, just as Abraham did before the Law: 

Hebrews 7:8: “Here mortal men receive Tithes, but there (in Heaven) He (Jesus, our High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek) receives them, of Whom it is witnessed that He lives.” 

It is a New Testament teaching (confirmed in the teaching of Jesus): Matthew 23:23: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay TITHE of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the Law: Justice and Mercy and Faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” 

Luke 11:42: “Woe to you, Pharisees! For you TITHE mint, rue and all kinds of herbs and pass by (neglect) Justice and the Love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” 

In other words, we ought to Tithe, as well as walk in justice, mercy and faith. It is not one or the other, but both! 

I am grateful that early on in my Christian life, I had a revelation of the rightness of Tithing, and I decided to implement it as a principle of my life and it has blessed me. It is big enough to make it an act 

of faith and significance, rather than of just tipping God (so that you would not do it unless you were not a believer), but it is not so big that it is impossible to do - the Government takes much more! Tithing is the right thing to do. It honours God. I believe that it is the number one way to put God first in your finances.

2. The 2nd Priority in our financial planning is our ESSENTIAL (unavoidable) BILLS and EXPENSES (including our TAXES).

3. Our 3rd Priority is to REPAY our DEBTS. It is not a sin to borrow, but we should never get into debt beyond our means to repay (that’s one danger of credit cards). It is OK to have mortgage, but you must be realistic about your ability to repay. When we have a debt, we must make it a high priority in our financial planning, to repay it as soon as possible, for debt is a bondage and: “the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). Plan in your budget how much you can set aside towards paying it off and deny yourself of other things until it is done.

4. Our 4th Priority, when we are debt free, is our SAVINGS. Decide and plan how much you want to set aside for Savings. 

There are 2 kinds of Savings:
(1) Short-term Savings (for holidays and sudden emergencies). Occasionally, there will be large one-off expenses, some 

predictable, some not, that will happen, like the washing machine breaking down. This is not necessarily satan at work, but simply because machinery will break down every 15 years or so. If we regularly set a certain amount (percentage of income) aside, then when the need arises, the provision will be there. Thus by good financial planning we can be prepared, saving ourselves much stress.

(2) Long-term Savings (these are our storehouses for our future and to ultimately pass onto children or other good causes). These include pensions, investments and property. As Joseph stored grain 
during the 7 tears of prosperity for the 7 years of famine, it is wise to save during periods when we are earning well, in preparation for times when our income is not so good. But this won’t happen unless we plan it, as we tend to spend any money that’s available.

In our budget, we must decide what to set aside for Savings (e.g. 5-10%). By doing this, we are taking dominion over our finances. 

5. Then, by comparing our ingoings and outgoings thus far, we will have a realistic idea of how much money we have left, that is free for extra spending and giving to the Lord, and to those in need.

As we put God first in our financial planning our needs will be met: “all these things will be added unto us” (Matthew 6:33), and we will also have enough to be generous to others.



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