The  Fruitful  Vine

"Thy wife shall be as a FRUITFUL VINE by the sides of thy house." Psalm 128:3a

Removal of Unwanted Plants                        by  D.  Bixler
With All My Heart                                        by   D.  Spearman

Removal of Unwanted Plants

by D. Bixler OH

Like as a weed is pulled by the roots from the earth,
And laid aside in the sunshine to dry.

So must the weeds be pulled up by the roots in our life,
And laid aside in the sunshine to dry.

It is best to not let these weeds take root; but weeds, as in the physical, come up everywhere. Don't they come up in our spiritual life the same way? When they do come up, they must be taken care of.

A weed robs the life and nutrients from the soil so that the other plants cannot grow. It does the same in our spiritual life.

If we do not deal with the weeds in our life then we are robbing ourselves from what the Holy Spirit has long ago planted in our hearts to grow. A weed, in order to grow, will take the necessary things needed to allow that growth.

Sometimes, in our physical garden or flower bed, it is easier to let the weeds grow and not pull, especially if you're busy or tired or so forth. So it is again the same in us. It is easier not to deal with these weeds but let them have growth.

We can't! We can't! We can't!

The other plants are dying. Your inward love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance has been robbed of growing any bigger.

But wait! There is hope! If you pull up those weeds in your life, what happens?

Compare physical to spiritual again. When you pull up the weeds in your physical earth, the plants continue to grow bigger. They do not have to go back to a complete seed to begin to grow again. It is the same in our life. If we pull up the weeds then our love, joy, peace, and so forth can begin to grow bigger.

Don't let the weeds destroy the other plants altogether. Deal with them before it is too late!

God is wanting the weeds out of our lives.

With All My Heart

by D. Spearman

How many of us ladies remember our wedding vows; those promises we made before God and man that we would do for our betrothed? How many single ladies know what the standard marriage vows consist of? I had attended a few weddings prior to mine, but I guess I really never paid any attention to those vows. In my own wedding, they merely were a part of the ceremony.

I called many pastors of different denominations to ask about the wedding vows and their origins. The first thing I found was there are two parts to the ceremony. The first is called the declaration of intent. This says "to love, honor, cherish, and obey" or "to love, honor, comfort, and keep". Usually the pastor will ask the couple these questions and the couple replies "I do" or I will". The second part are vows the couple repeat, "For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health". The declaration of intent is the attributes you agree to have during those times listed in the vows. The vows are basically the same in all denominations, but the declaration of intent can be different in many ways. Some churches have a selection from the couple can choose from. Others can write their own. Many of the declarations are geared toward equality and sharing. This is not so bad in itself, but what does God Word say our declarations should be?

Most pastors said the Scriptures concerning marriage or womanly attributes could not be related to this time in history because women are not thought of as property like they used to be. Now they are of equal status.

This concept of the Scriptures not being useful to a godly marriage today, is most disturbing. The Bible gives us our guidelines on how to live a godly life. God says He changes not. These words from divine inspiration can be applied at all times.

God did not include a lot on marriage in His Word. He left it up to the head to decide who takes out the garbage and if he will help with the housework. He does give us the attributes that we should be striving to possess in our marriages for both man and wife. I want to concentrate on the wife's side of the bargain.

According to the six different denominations I enquired into, all include the words honor, love, and cherish at some point of the ceremony, but none include the word "obey". The words most used today are "love, honor, comfort, and keep". These words date back to 1661. Some churches did not change them until the 1900's. The words obey and serve originated with Martin Luther. Today, obey is present in the vows only when requested. I had one pastor say he refuses to include it even when it is requested!

One pastor told me the Christian movement did a lot for the liberation of woman. That is good. But let's not get the terms liberality and equality mixed up. There STILL has to be an order that is established in every home. If no one is over the other, what do they do when there is disagreement? The strongest willed person wins, not the better idea. To me that does not sound much like equality! Amos 3:3 says, "How can two walk together except they be agreed?" It is much easier to obtain agreement if there is a mutual agreement on the chain of command. What is the chain of command? Many stop at the wife listening to the husband. But the husband has someone he is to listen to also. So, the chain of command is God, husband, and then wife. I have experienced great liberality when I am willing to follow this chain of authority.

The main reason the Declaration of Intent was changed was to include those who wanted to marry and were not Christians. At one time in the Roman church, one was not considered married unless they were married by the church, and they were not permitted to marry unless they were of that religion. Many pastors said the vow "obey" may subject many women to abuse. That may be true since the non-Christian husbands do not acknowledge the authority put over them. But let us look at the vows and the impact they have on a Christian marriage; to those that follow God's order.

               First, let us look at the "traditional" four words in the declaration of intent.

LOVE - is an intense affectionate concern for another person. To enthusiastically desire someone and delight in them. To need someone so much, you thrive on them for your very existence.

The wife is never told directly to LOVE her husband in the Word. We have to look at the word REVERENCE to find it. Ephesians 5:33 "and see that the wife reverence her husband." Reverence means to regard with respect, love, and awe. Regard means "to look upon or consider in a particular way; to admire". Awe means "to be totally captivated by someone".

We can relate to this, can't we? When I married my husband, I thought he was the greatest man in the world. My words and actions showed it. Just before we were married, my father asked me why I was getting married. I said that I love him. His reply was, "That's no reason to get married!" How true!!

Love is an emotion that can waver back and forth. What makes it falter more than anything is the lack of respect from one spouse to the other. After a while the newness will wear off. Maybe we begin noticing their bad habits a little more. Maybe he looks a little unkept more often; he might have put on a few more pounds.

For whatever reason, things just do not stay the same. If we are not careful, we can dwell on these things and start complaining within ourselves, then outwardly. What makes it worse is the lack of communication that occurs. The wife becomes more frustrated. When a wife is frustrated, she tends to lose her respect for her husband. She starts viewing him with disgust, just waiting for a wrong move so she can make him hurt like she is hurting. Through all of this, the feeling of love is depleted. We have a better chance at keeping the love, if we can keep the respect, that feeling of "awe". Sometimes they may not deserve it, but if we continue in it, we will reap what we sow.

CHERISH - When we committed to the word cherish, we said we would hold dear and value our husbands highly; we would keep them in mind. We would take care of them, treat them tenderly, foster them, nurture them, cultivate them. In other words, we would do all that we could for their benefit.

"But she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband."   I Corinthians 7:32b

Careth means "to be anxious about, take thought". Please means "through the idea of excited emotion. TO BE AGREEABLE, to seek to be so".

World means "an orderly arrangement, to tend, take care of." So the wife takes careful thought as to how she may seek to be tending and caring, in an orderly way, to please her husband.

"Aand thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee." DESIRE means "a sense of stretching out after, a longing".    Genesis 3:16b

HONOR means "to show great respect for, to bring or to CAUSE honor; a reputation, a good name". We should be honoring our husband and not tearing him down to those that know him. This especially applies to our children. We must build love, honor and respect for their father in them, so they will have a better understanding of their relationship to their heavenly FATHER. I Peter 3:6 tells us, "Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him Lord whose daughters ye are as long as ye do well and are not afraid with any amazement." Lord means "supreme in authority". This is a respectful title which gave honor to her husband.

OBEY is TO HEAR and carry out the instructions or orders given to be guided by; or submitting to the control of". Many women have problems with the idea of submission. I know, I was one of them. But there are more Scriptures to back this attribute up than any of the others mentioned, and this is the one most often left out.

"Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands AS UNTO THE LORD."  Ephesians 5:22

"Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is FIT (proper) in the Lord." Colossians 3:18

"Obedient to their own husbands that the Word of God be not blasphemed."   Titus 2:5b

"Likewise ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands; that if any obey not the word, they also may without the Word be won by the conversation of the wife."   I Peter 3:1

These three terms referring to obedience are the same word, HUPOTASSO. It means "to obey, be under obedience, submit SELF unto". HUPO means "under, an inferior position or condition, covertly (protected by a husband, a covering) or moderately (reasonable limits)."

TASSO means "to arrange in an orderly manner, to assign a certain position". WE assign ourselves to the inferior position under our covering - our head.

This submission is by our own doing. Our husband does not MAKE us submit, but we are admonished to submit OURSELVES. Why?

James 4:10 says to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will LIFT us up. Again, there is liberality in obedience.

Now let us look at what is considered the standard Declaration of Intent used today. The only words not yet mentioned are comfort and keep.

COMFORT means "to soothe in time of grief or fear, to relieve, or aid". This is the capacity to give physical or Spiritual ease and well being. We should be cheering our husbands on, lifting their countenance when they are in distress.

In Genesis 2:18, the Lord saw the need for the husband to have a helpmeet. That helpmeet ended up being the woman. Helpmeet means "to aid and succor". Succor means "help or relief rendered in danger, difficulty or distress".

KEEP is "the act of guarding and defending; to have the care of". It also means "to continue SOUND, SWEET, and FRESH or to endure in like manner"!

Titus 2:3 says we are to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good and obedient to our own husbands so the Word of God is not blasphemed. First, let us take out the words "keepers at home" by itself. This means to be that hedge around our husbands and to guard our home from any ungodly influences. The rest of the Scripture has to deal with remaining sound, sweet, and fresh! Why? It says to do this for the sake of the Word of God.

When I said my vows, I did not have a relationship with God. My vows were just part of the ceremony. I made this commitment through lip service. But now God is requiring it, from my heart.                                      To be continued....

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