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A Husband After God's Own Heart

(Paperback - Jan 2004)
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Overview

A more fulfilling marriage is within the reach of every husband--and getting there is not as difficult as you might think.

In A Husband After God's Own Heart, bestselling author Jim George points you to the little touches that can bring big results. They're based on clear and simple priorities found in the Bible, and they will help. make you the husband God meant for you to be bring you and your wife closer together as a team improve your listening and communication skills strengthen your marriage and family relationshipsadd more fun to your times together

Especially valuable are the "Little Things That Make a Big Difference" applications at the end of every chapter. You'll be amazed at how small steps, in the right direction, can help you enjoy a better marriage.

Details

  • SKU: 9780736911665
  • SKU10: 0736911669
  • Title: A Husband After God's Own Heart
  • Qty Remaining Online: 8
  • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
  • Date Published: Jan 2004
  • Pages: 232
  • Weight lbs: 0.62
  • Dimensions: 8.48" L x 5.56" W x 0.61" H
  • Features: Table of Contents, Price on Product, Bibliography
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical; Sex & Gender | Masculine; Topical | Family;
  • Awards: 2005 Gold Medallion Book Awards (Finalist - Marriage)
  • Category: MEN
  • Subject: Christian Life - Men's Issues

Excerpt

1

Growing in the Lord

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you.

MATTHEW 6:33

 

When I was a young boy, I couldn’t wait to grow physically. At each phase of my early life, I wanted desperately to have the physical maturity to compete in sports at the next level.with the big boys! And even while I was at one particular point of growth, I exercised daily to develop my body to compete in sports at the next level.

On the other hand, when it came to growing in the mental area, I wasn’t quite as motivated. My parents didn’t have much formal education, so they were happy with whatever I accomplished in school. Surprisingly enough, with all of my efforts to succeed in the physical area, I ended up excelling in school in the mental arena.

And then there was the spiritual area of my life. I would like to report that my spiritual growth, which started when I was just six years old, was a magnificent upward spiral, and that it had few, if any, valleys. But no. Sad to say, my spiritual growth in those early years was an up-and-down roller coaster. And the downward drop on that roller coaster continued on into my early adult life and had a serious effect on my marriage.

I’ll share more about my spiritual growth and the how to’s of growing in the Lord throughout this chapter, but for now, I want to make the statement (and I’m sure you will agree) that spiritual growth takes even more effort than physical growth.

It’s true that spiritual development takes terrific effort. But, my friend, it’s also true that the rewards are great, especially when it comes to being a husband.and that’s what this book is all about. I want us to note how growing in the Lord occurs, and how that growth gives essential help for you and me for our life in general and our marriage and family in particular.

And keep this in mind as you read: No matter how old you are or how long––or short!––you’ve been married, the day you accelerate your growth in the Lord is the day your marriage is positively impacted, improved, and strengthened!

First Things First

If you’re like most men and husbands, you’re probably extremely busy. You’re out there in the world every day, working and slaving away. Then, when you get home, more work awaits you—the work of taking care of your home and finances. And if you have children, you get home only to switch hats and try to be a good dad. With all these responsibilities, it’s easy to conclude that there just isn’t any time for growing spiritually.

Well, my new friend, that’s why we want to start our study of what it means to be A Husband After God’s Own Heart with this most strategic topic. Why?

Spiritual growth determines priorities. Spiritual growth is the key to all that’s important in your life. That’s what Jesus meant 2000 years ago when He told a listening audience not to be anxious about life and living. He said, “Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ ” (Matthew 6:31). These things are definitely needful, but they are not what’s really important. They are not your first priority.

What is really important is your spiritual growth. Why? Jesus went on to say that instead of worrying about the necessities of daily life, you should “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (verse 33). In other words, you are to seek a life of spiritual growth and following after God’s priorities for your life. Then, friend, God will provide for you and your family. That’s God’s promise! Seek God.and have everything! Seek the world.and lose everything (Luke 9:25). The right choice seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

Put first things first
and we get second things thrown in:
Put second things first
and we lose both first and second things.

Spiritual growth promotes purity. Besides determining a man’s priorities, spiritual growth also promises help in the area of purity. In Psalm 119:9 the psalmist asked the question, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” (NASB). Of all the questions men ask me, most of them deal with the area of purity. With all that is going on in our world today, Christian men are having a hard time staying pure, thinking pure thoughts, and developing pure habits.

But this is not new. Temptation and sin have been around since the beginning of history. God knows the struggles we face. In fact, God faced those same issues firsthand in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:17-18). And God says we can have victory. How? In the psalm I just shared, the psalmist answered his question on purity in the same verse with this advice, “By taking heed according to Your word” (verse 9). Victory is ours if and when we heed God and His Word. So spiritual growth— through prayer, study of the Bible, and obedience—is the answer. Again, the psalmist follows up his earlier question of purity with this answer: “With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:10-11).

Do you struggle with purity? If so, you are not alone. The Bible says that temptations are “common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). No man is immune to sexual temptation or a myriad of other kinds of temptations (verse 12). But there’s hope!

Continuing on in 1 Corinthians 10, the Bible reports that God has provided a way of escape (verse 13). And what is the way of escape? Answer: Growing in the Lord and His grace! The process of growing in the Lord exposes us to the spiritual resources that we have been given to fight the battle and gain the victory in the areas of our struggle, whether it’s with physical temptations like lust, or with other kinds of temptations like pride, greed, or anger.

Let’s not be like the rich man I read about in the newspaper who died of starvation. He had all the resources needed to live well, but he was too stingy to use some of those resources and therefore starved to death. God has provided the resources for you, my friend. Make it your business to find out what those resources are. Then use them to gain the victory in the battle for purity.

Spiritual growth produces discernment. As we move through this book, I will talk constantly about leadership––leadership as a husband, leadership as a parent, leadership in the many areas of your life. God’s husband knows where he is going. God’s husband also knows how to get there, and he is able to guide his wife and children. How is this possible? Because God’s kind of husband has God’s wisdom and discernment.

Where does a Christian man get this wisdom and discernment? I think you know the answer––from God’s Word. And why is spiritual wisdom important? “That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 4:14). Our wives, our families, and our churches need godly men who have discernment––discernment to deal with life and life-issues on a spiritual level. That maturity comes as we grow in “the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (verse 13). Such maturity is called Christlikeness, which means to live and act as Christ lived and acted.

Growing in the Lord is essential for becoming a man
of right priorities, a man of purity, and a man of
spiritual perception.

Not only do we need discernment for understanding the Bible, but we also need wisdom for the everyday decisions we must make as husbands, fathers, employees, and employers. Again, spiritual maturity is the answer. The writer to a group of Jewish Christians in the first century laments over their lack of growth. Hear his disappointment:

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe (Hebrews 5:12-13).

God is speaking to you and me today through this same text, and He is just as concerned today with our maturity as He was 2000 years ago with those readers. We as Christian husbands need to be teachers of spiritual things—if not verbally, then at least with our lives.

How does one remedy a lack of maturity? How does one gain the maturity needed to make wise and godly decisions?

The inspired writer goes on again to give us the answer:

Solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (verse 14).

Growing in the Lord is essential for becoming a man of right priorities, a man of purity, and a man of spiritual perception. I pray that you have long ago recognized this fact and are well on your way along the road to maturity. When I think of you, I feel like the apostle John when he wrote to his readers, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). But if you haven’t been aware of your need to grow in the Lord, I hope and pray that you have at least had your eyes opened to the absolute necessity of spiritual growth.

Deciding to Grow

One of my favorite men of the Old Testament is Joshua. Why him? Well, he was a great man who made the right choices in important decisions throughout his lifetime. For instance,

·        Joshua was a man of great humility. He made a decision early on in his life to nurture the heart of a servant. How could he not be humble? After all, he was Moses’ understudy for 40 years. This was the Moses whom God described as “very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). And Joshua was called the servant of Moses (Numbers 11:28).

·        Joshua was a man of great courage. Talk about “peer pressure”! Joshua made a decision to go against popular opinion and, along with Caleb, gave a positive report about the Promised Land that the Israelites were told to enter, giants and all (Numbers 14:6-9)!

·        Joshua was a man of great faith. He made a decision to trust in God’s ability to defeat the people inhabiting the Promised Land. Ten of the men who were sent to spy out the land came back with stories of “giants” and pictured themselves as “grasshoppers” next to these giants. Joshua and Caleb, however, had faith in God and declared, “If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us” (Numbers 14:8)! Joshua’s decision, shared by Caleb, earned them the privilege of being the only men of their generation to enter the Promised Land. All the others had weak faith and chose poorly. God reports that Joshua “wholly followed the LORD” (Numbers 32:12).

·        Joshua was a man of great integrity. Even toward the end of his long life of service, Joshua was still making decisions for himself and for his family to serve the Lord, and not the false gods that surrounded them. And with the strength of his great faith, he called others to commit themselves to the same standard as well. Joshua exhorted, “Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15).

I think you can see why Joshua was such a key figure in the Old Testament and why I admire him so much. He was constantly making the hard decisions––the right decisions––decisions to serve God and not follow after the world and its allurements.

You and I need to respond to Joshua’s challenge to “choose today whom you will serve.” And don’t fail to notice that Joshua, as the leader of a nation, included his family in his commitment: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (verse 15). My friend, Joshua’s resolve needs to be ours as well. Again, growing in the Lord will help strengthen your resolve to be a godly husband who will stand up in the midst of an evil society and declare his commitment to lead his family away from the world, toward God, and into service to God. Perhaps this is a good time to ask God to give you Joshua’s resolve as you read my personal prayer of commitment. May it be yours as well!

Dear God in heaven—the God who blessed Joshua for the decisions he made to honor and follow You—may this be a new beginning for me. May I resolve that, as of today, my life will better reflect Thee.that I will seek Your righteousness with my whole heart.that I will make a daily commitment to grow in my relationship with Your Son, my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Dear Lord, my desire is to be a husband who leads by example, loves sacrificially, and serves selflessly. May I become a husband after Your own heart. Amen.

Reaping God’s Blessings

I recently read a quip that suggested, “If you don’t like what you are reaping, change what you are sowing.” Perhaps you know that some things aren’t quite right in your home. You know that somehow your spiritual growth (or lack thereof) is connected with what’s not quite right in your life and marriage. But, with all the pressures of family and job, you can’t seem to “fit in” growing in the Lord. So you struggle on.

Friend, I just described my life in years past. I was sowing selfishness and personal gratification. I was living a life of personal ambition. My goal was to be a highly successful executive for a big company. I was off doing my own thing, and, believe me, God was not part of the equation! And my life and my marriage were reaping frustration and disappointment. My wife was even on the verge of leaving me.

But then a change came. By God’s grace, we became a Christian couple. Ours became a Christian marriage. With God’s help I began to change what I was sowing, so to speak. And I have to say, it wasn’t easy. One day I would sow a bag of good seed. The next day the bag was full of bad seed. But I desired to grow, and I sought help. I found men who could disciple me and show me what it means to be a husband after God’s own heart. Slowly I stopped living a life of selfishness and personal gratification and started to more and more consistently live for Jesus Christ. As I was growing in the Lord and learning how to love my wife, God began to bless. And He blessed, as Ephesians 3:20 says, “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”!

God will bless you and your marriage when you
follow His blueprint.

Marriage is a great invention of God. And a marriage where the husband desires to love his wife as Christ loved the church is a true witness to the reality of the Christian faith. But a marriage that honors Jesus Christ is not easy to come by. If you want this kind of marriage, then, like me, you are going to have to work at it.

God wants to bless you and your marriage. And, brother, God will bless you and your marriage when you follow His blueprint. I trust you have made some significant commitments while reading this chapter. And I pray you have committed to growing in the Lord. That’s where you and I must start. It will require work, but oh, the blessings that await you!

How’s Your Heart?

You may or may not have read my book A Man After God’s Own Heart, but in that book I constantly challenge the man reading it to check his heart. The title of that book was taken from God’s description of King David as found in Acts 13:22. David wasn’t always the man he should have been, but deep down in his heart, God could see that he had a desire to follow after Him.

I’m going to now pick up where I left off in A Man After God’s Own Heart and ask that same question again. How’s your heart? Do you truly want to grow spiritually? Do you want to follow God and His commands for your life? These are hard questions, but they must be asked.and they must be answered. It’s critical right now to stop and answer. Is your answer yes or no?

You may want to say yes, but perhaps you are thinking, I can’t live that kind of perfect life! I’ve tried, and I end up stumbling and falling. I can’t be perfect. Well, brother, relax! I’m not talking about perfection. David wasn’t perfect, and I’m not perfect. In fact, no man is perfect (Romans 3:23). The only man who was perfect is Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Hebrews 4:15). No, what I am talking about is progression. Yes, like David, you and I stumble and fall at times. Yet God’s man––God’s husband––gets up off the deck when he’s fallen, seeks forgiveness, and moves on. Even though you might go two steps forward and one step back, that’s still progression! And that’s spiritual growth!

Once again, how’s your heart? I believe you do have a heart for God and the things of God. And I believe you want to be a husband after God’s own heart. I know I do. So together, let’s keep moving through this book. And together, let’s keep growing spiritually so we too can grow to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

In the next several pages we are going to continue looking at this vital topic of growing in the Lord as we consider the “little things” you and I can do that will make a big difference in our marriage, but for now, remember.

when you grow in the Lord,
     you grow in your ability to be a godly husband,
        you grow in your ability to be a godly parent,
            and you grow in your ability to lead.
                    So.

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you.
MATTHEW 6:33

 

Little Things That Make a Big Difference

1. Read your Bible every day.

It’s been calculated that if you read your Bible just ten minutes a day, you will read through it in one year. So decide on a time. Then pick a place. Start in Genesis 1:1 or Matthew 1:1. It doesn’t matter where you start.as long as you start! The idea is to regularly and systematically read through your Bible. No other book can claim to be “living and powerful.a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Allow God to work in your life and marriage as you read and meditate on His Word.

2. Go to church every week.

Obviously this isn’t such a “little” thing because church is such a big part of the Christian life. Church is where you and your family can corporately worship God, learn biblical truth from gifted pastors and teachers, fellowship with other believers and couples, and minister your spiritual gifts. It’s true you can worship God anywhere, but God has established the church so that we would worship Him somewhere (Hebrews 10:25). If you can make it to work five days a week, why can’t you make it to church one day each week?

3. Visit a Christian bookstore.

Ask God, before you go into your local Christian bookstore, to show you which books would be helpful to you at this stage of your life and marriage. Then walk in and ask directions to the men’s section for yourself and the marriage section for your marriage. Browse through the titles and prayerfully select those that attract your interest. Also, maybe it’s time to upgrade your Bible with a study Bible that has explanatory notes in it. Or, if you have trouble understanding the language of your present Bible, find a translation that is a little more reader-friendly.

4. Seek out a mentor.

If you’ve ever had a personal trainer or coach, you know how helpful it was in your physical or business training. Well, a discipler or mentor can be just as helpful in your spiritual training. You know you should be growing spiritually, you know you should be improving in your marriage, but you are not quite sure how to get the job done. A mentor can help. Find someone who has gone before you, who is wise and mature in the things of the Lord and can help intensify your training as a Christian and as a husband. Remember, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 NASB).

5. Sign up for a Bible class or Bible study.

God has given “pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints” in the church (Ephesians 4:11).

These men are gifted by God’s Spirit and have studied and prepared to teach God’s Word and assist you in your growth. Usually the size of a study group or class is small, which is less intimidating and gives you more freedom to ask questions. And to make your participation even more beneficial, why don’t you and your wife sign up for a couples Bible class or Bible study together?

6. Pray for your wife.

Prayer is a spiritual discipline. When you pray, you are acknowledging that God is an active participant in your life. Taking time each day to pray will strengthen your spiritual life, which, in turn, will strengthen your marriage and have its greatest impact on your wife.

I think you will agree your wife is a busy lady. She wears a myriad of hats. She has a multitude of roles and responsibilities. And she is the major reason for any good thing that is happening in your life. So why shouldn’t you pray for the growth, protection, and purity of the most special person in your life? Other than a godly mother, mother-in-law, or aunt, you might be the only person on the face of this earth who is praying regularly for your precious wife. Ask her for a photo. Then place it on your desk at work or near your computer. Whenever your eye catches a glimpse of her smiling face, remember to shoot up a prayer for whatever you know she is doing about that time of day.


Excerpted from A Husband After God’s Own Heart By Jim George. Copyright © 2004 by Harvest House Publishers. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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