A Good Marriage – Loved and Cherished – Part 1

Marriage is a covenant between two different and unique people that should never be questioned or dissolved. It is a sacred vow before God to be united for life.

 

There is nothing in a marriage that cannot be resolved if both parties of the couple are humble enough to be flexible, to forgive slights – no matter how huge or earth shattering they are – and to lay down our life for one another.

 

If the circumstances are unbearable, a period of separation for the purpose of reconciliation is much better than getting a divorce. We cannot “move on with life”, but we can trust God to bring about a resolution in His perfect way and timing.

 

If our spouse is abusive, we can get a new phone number, and have a friend read his/her mail before we do, if we fear it is abusive. We can change jobs if necessary, and alert our friends to keep our business private. We do not need to live with abuse.

 

However, divorce is a blight on society and a lifelong wound on our life that never heals. It impacts the children of divorced parents and weakens their resolve to continue in their own marriage and to work out issues with compromise and preferring one another.

 

Cherishing one another is the greatest guarantee against divorce. To cherish means to look at one another with affection and loving consideration; we consistently show love beyond measure; adore one another; dote on each other and cherish one another from deep in our heart.

 

Rather than competing with one another, or expecting our mate to function outside of their calling and provision from God, we can discover our mate’s gifts and talents and depend on them for these traits.

 

We can hire a mechanic or handyman, if our mate is not gifted in that area, or engage a housekeeper or share the chores if our wife works too many hours to keep our home to the standard that we like it.

 

Communicating honestly and brainstorming together to find alternative methods, thinking and behavior is a healthy habit, which prevents bitterness from tearing apart our commitment to one another.

 

If both members of the couple are humble enough to make the effort to change our behavior, as well as to communicate more honestly with each other, then a Pastor, a successfully married older couple, or a counselor may help to improve our communication with one another.

 

We all bask in the Sonshine of a heart-felt compliment. Making each other feel loved and cherished is the best gift we could ever give to one another, to our family and to our children’s future mates.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we have a choice each day to build up or to tear down our relationship with one another. Help us to make it our goal to act loving, to quickly forgive slights, and to readily and patiently bear with one another’s fears and foibles. Remind us not to withhold love or approval, so that we do not compound one another’s self-doubt.

 

Give us Your wisdom to stop enabling one another’s insecurities. Help us to help each other to overcome the lies Satan planted in our heart during our childhood. Help us to help one another to feel unconditionally loved and cherished, not only by You, but by each other as well.

 

Thought for the Day:

We can prevent jealousy and insecurity in our relationship by speaking honestly about what we did with our day, who we were talking to on the phone and why we said or did something with another person in a particular manner that may have appeared as flirting or inappropriate for a married person.

 

Tuning in to God’s Spirit

During our walk with the Lord, He proves to us His love and faithfulness. He shows us that we can place our cares into His capable hand, because He truly does care about each and every one of us, regardless of the burden of our sins and the willfulness of our past.

 

Each new day, our soul is more fully persuaded that His ways are perfect and that our human plans and goals are a mere waste of our time. We dedicate our body, soul and spirit to His will.

 

It is God who actually gives to us the desire and the ability to please Him with our life (Philippians 2:12-13). We escape so many trials when we stop making our own decisions that lead to destruction and deprivation in our life.

 

We learn to rely on God alone and to stand in complete surrender before Him. We stop wasting time on pointless activities and start walking by His Spirit through each moment of our day.

 

We realize with abandon that God is in complete control of the chaos in the world around us. As we walk on His straight and narrow path, we miss the switchbacks, the steep precipices and the rocky road of the broad way.

 

Time is no longer an enemy, but it flows smoothly around us as we walk in God’s ways. We develop Godly habits, thought processes and priorities, which clear our path of any pitfalls.

 

We surrender all to God, and He gives us all things in return. We live in His abundance. We even count tribulation, which may manifest in physical deprivation and struggles, as joyous occasions to see God blossom a miracle from the seed within every trial.

 

We learn, as Jesus did, that without God, nothing is possible; but with God, all things are possible (John 5:19, 14:10). We, like Christ, are the physical manifestation of God to this lost and dying world around us (1 John 4:17).

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us to walk in the Spirit and to no longer allow the flesh, the world or the devil to hinder our walk with You. Help us to rise above the carnal, earthly plane in which our body lives in order to abide in You in our soul and spirit.

 

You make all the difference in our life and You turn us into difference makers in the lives of those You bring into our life. Help us to maintain a heavenly focus instead of keeping our eyes on this earthly plane of existence. Use us to perform Your works in the world around us all of the days of our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

Walking in God’s Spirit prevents us from fulfilling the lusts of the flesh that attempt to pull us back into this earthly realm of existence.

 

Falling in Love More Each Day

When we walk in the light of God’s truth, everyone can see our good works; but rather than extolling us for our efforts, they will give the Glory to God (John 3:21; Matthew 5:16).

 

People know there is something different about a Believer – at least they should know we are different from the world, unless we are still walking in the flesh (Galatians 5:15-26).

 

However, there is a great deal more to our walk with Christ than surviving trials and doing good works. Our intimacy with God increases daily, through deprivation and abundance.

 

We learn wisdom from His guidance and we fall in love with Him more and more each day. Throughout times of both oppression and victory, our walk remains at a steady gait, because of our personal relationship with the God of the universe.

 

Even when we think we are experiencing a dry spell, this is only a time of companionable silence with the Lord. He is waiting for us to break out in songs of praise and words of love and adoration for all He means to us and all that He does for us – even all the little things, which we often do not notice or tend to take for granted.

 

Moses warned the Israelites of this very thing. They continually took God for granted, especially during peace-filled times of blessing and tranquility. Humans always tend to trust in their own resources, especially during good times; and then we fall into the rut of selfishness and pride (Deuteronomy 8:10-18).

 

We see from the Israelite’s wandering in the desert that we often bring trials and hardships on our self. We reap the negative attitudes and behavior, which we allow Satan to perpetuate in our thoughts, words and actions.

 

However, our goal is to walk through each day trusting in the guidance of God’s Spirit. This way we side-step the pitfalls and rejoice continually in His blessings in both the lean and the bountiful times.

 

Prayer:

Father God remind us to continually trust in You, and to follow Your direction for each moment of our day (Proverbs 3:5-6). When you bless us, we tend to trust in our own ability, to take credit for the victories. We forget that we need You for every breath we take. You desire to be more than a “fireman” to douse the flames of the issues of life and to keep them from consuming us.

 

You offer us an intimate relationship with You every moment of the day. We feel Your love cascading over us like a waterfall, Your peace wrapping us in a safe cocoon in the midst of life swirling by all around us, and Your righteousness replacing the negative thoughts, choice and emotions which normally direct our life.

Thought for the Day:

Regardless of our earthly circumstances, God leads us in a level path because of the insecurity of life in this world. – Psalm 27:11

 

 

Jesus, Our Showbread

The Bread of the Presence, or showbread, was placed daily in the Holy Place in both the Tabernacle and the Temple (Exodus 25:30). Once a week, new bread replaced the week-old loaves and the priests ate the old loaves (1Chronicles 23: 29). Jesus is our showbread in the Heavenly Tabernacle.

 

Bread is a continual theme throughout the Bible. The term “bread” in the Bible refers to food in general or is used symbolically as well. To break bread with someone was an act of fellowship and communion (Genesis 14:18).

 

Unleavened bread reminds us of the Israelites exodus from Egypt to a new life in Canaan (Exodus 12:39). Even when Israel rebelled and refused to enter the Promised Land, God sustained them. He gave them bread from heaven – manna – that preserved their lives (Exodus 16:2-4).

 

For Christians, this trek is symbolic of our walk with the Lord in the Kingdom of God. Christians know that in Jesus, who is our True Bread of Life, our lives are lifted up above the mundane, earthly level, and we abide in the heavenly realm with Him (Ephesians 2:6).

 

God’s Word is also our daily bread. As we read, study and share His word, we find that we lose our desire for the matters of this life and this world. Jesus said that His food was to do the will of His Father (John 4:34). As we mature spiritually, this is true in our life as well.

 

God provides for all of our needs. Our bread of heaven, Jesus Christ, nourishes our lives and keeps us safe as we sojourn on this earth toward eternity with Him in heaven. Bread is a powerful symbol of God’s provision. Manna gave temporary life, but Jesus gives us eternal life John 6:35, 51).

 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, You are our bread of life and our living water (Deuteronomy 8:3; John 1: 4). Your Word allows us to live spiritually (Luke 4:4; Hebrews 5:12). Your Word is more necessary to us than food and it is as sweet as honey (Jeremiah 15:16; Job 23:12; Psalm 119:103).

 

Yet, You abundantly provide for our physical needs as well (John 6:1-15). We give thanks to You, for You are good. Your loving kindness endures forever. I give thanks to You, Lord, for Your unfailing love and Your wonderful acts to the children of men, for You satisfy the thirsty soul and You fill the hungry soul with good things (Psalm 107:1, 8-9).

 

Thought for the Day:

Each day, God gives us our daily bread as we read His Word, fellowship with Christ in us, and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit each moment of the day.  – Matthew 6:11

Improving our Quality of Life

We clutter our life by collecting more than we need and things we rarely use. This lack of order effects our soul and spirit as well. We feel confusion within and are troubled by negative emotions because of the chaos.

 

A good rule to follow to prevent this malady is to make sure everything you purchase has a place and to keep everything in its place. Material possessions do not make us any happier and often contribute to our depression when they irritate us with clutter.

 

Keep each room sparsely furnished and make sure you have enough drawers, cabinets, closets and shelves to keep everything organized. If not, give it away to a friend or a charity thrift store.

 

This makes cleaning easier and more attractive to our soul, because we do not have to push the clutter around in order to dust or clean the floors. Seeking material possessions never really makes us happy.

 

We also feel more out of control if we reap too much debt in response to our spending. We tend to feel like a victim and ignore our personal responsibility in our problems.

 

Investing our life and finances in people, ministry and furthering God’s Kingdom is much more rewarding then spending it on more possessions. Mingling with our church family keeps us aware of their circumstances and burdens that we can help to relieve.

 

Prayer:

Father God, giving is a tradition during more than the Christmas season. Your generosity and love are ours all year around; and as we share them with others, we put a smile on every face, including our own.

 

Revive our Spirit within us (Psalm 51:10) with Your wisdom, love, peace and joy all through the year. Make us an instrument of Your love and a channel for Your peace on earth and in the hearts of others throughout our lifetime.

 

Thought for the Day:

Surrendering our budget, activities, thoughts and feelings to the Lord will keep us in a positive mood, which attracts more friends and improves our influence over our own life and the ministries in which we participate with our church family and in our community.

 

 

The Body of Christ – Safety in Numbers

As the body of Christ, we stick together, no matter where we live or how many miles separate us. We can stay connected through social media, even though we rarely see one another face-to-face.

 

In nature, it is the animal that wanders from the safety of the herd that gets attacked by a predator. Satan uses this same tactic on Believers. He finds us wandering alone and pounces (1 Peter 5:8).

 

God created Eve, because He saw that Adam suffered when he was alone. He also created us as His Body, because there is safety, encouragement and blessings when we dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1).

 

Without the Body of Christ we get lonely, roam from the straight and narrow path, and make poor choices. Alone, we are vulnerable, but a three-fold chord cannot be broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). The Body loves us and helps to protect us.

 

When we yoke with Jesus and other Believers, our load is lighter and we help each other with our burden of guilt, trials and storms in life. Our perspective is broadened by seeing things from another’s point of view.

 

Even Jesus chose 12 men to disciple and to keep Him company during His three years of focused ministry on His way to the cross. Daily, they walked together, healed the sick and reclaimed people from the devil’s kingdom of darkness.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to lay down our pride, to take the risks of being vulnerable which are inherent in relationships, and to encourage one another. Remind us that a best friend and prayer partner help us to diffuse our negative feelings and experiences, because they give us someone with which to share our burdens.

 

Friendships can be messy and cause problems in our life, but life is enhanced by transparent relationships, regardless of the ups and downs they may create. Thank You that You are our closest friend and that You always stick closer to us than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus knew the value of walking together with other Saints, although many turned against Him or deserted Him in the final hours of His life on this earth; He chose to live vulnerably in front of both the multitudes and His disciples.

Jesus is Our True Soulmate

God created us in the image of the Trinity as a triune being (Genesis 1:26). We are body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12). At birth, our spirit (pneuma) is dead in sin, which we inherited from Adam and Eve.

 

Yet, at the moment of our salvation, God’s Spirit quickens our spirit; and it is no longer dead in sin, but alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10, 3:3-4). When we pass from this life, our body goes to the grave, but our soul and spirit go to our eternal reward.

 

Our soul (psuche) is the place where our thoughts, emotions and choices are decided upon. It is our deep-seated personality, conscience, appetites and passions; and it drives our body and hinders or promotes our spirit (Psalm 31:10).

 

As we pass from this life, our body goes to the grave. Our spirit and soul go to our eternal home of heaven or hell, depending on our belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior (John 3:18; Luke 16:22-24; Romans 2:9; Psalm 49:15).

 

At salvation, God also delivers our soul from corruption (Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 38:17; Job 33:18). If we allow His influence in our life, God is involved in every nuance of our moods to deliver us from evil (Acts 2:27; Hebrews 10:39; James 1:21).

 

When Jesus returns to earth to bring home His Bride, our spirit, soul and immortal body are reunited for eternity (1 Corinthians 15:45-57; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Matthew 16:26).

 

With an eternity in hell, our soul continues to experience weary, hungry, bitter, grieving, loving, rejoicing, etc. emotions (Psalm 42:2; 107:9; Jeremiah 31:25; Leviticus 26:11; Job 30:25; Song of Solomon 1:7). Yet in heaven, there is no more sickness or negative emotions (Revelation 21:4).

 

The Trinity created us in their image and calls us to surrender our spirit, soul and body to Him (Job 33:4; Genesis 12:5, 17:14; Ezekiel 18:4). With Christ residing within us as our true soulmate, we no longer face the prospect of separation from God in this life and the next (Haggai 2:13; Leviticus 21:11).

 

Prayer:

Father God, many people fail to realize that our eternal state not only involves our spirit, but our soul as well. Our soul registers all of the thoughts and emotions that it does during this life, including pain and joy (Luke 16:22-24). We actually condemn our self to an eternity of torment by our choice not to believe in Jesus as our Savior (John 3:18).

 

Help us to be wise and to respond to Your call when Your Spirit draws us to step out of the devil’s kingdom of darkness and into Your Kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). Remind us that You desire to rejoice over us with singing and You do not want anyone to perish in sin (Zephaniah 3:17; John 3:16-17; 2 Peter 3:9).

 

Thought for the Day:

There is no true profit for us if we gain the whole world, and yet to lose our own soul in the lake of fire for eternity – Matthew 16:26

 

 

 

 

Trust Only in the Lord

Trust must be earned, rather than blindly given; and is more important to a relationship than love. If we spend our time telling little white lies to keep us out of trouble, this undermines the love that others feel for us.

 

When life boils down to the details, we are not even able to trust our self. We often disappoint our self, because we let our self down and then have a hard time forgiving our self.

 

God is truly the only trustworthy being in the universe. He keeps His Word through generations of time (Psalm 147:13). We can trust in the Lord with our whole heart and refuse to lean on our own human reasoning.

 

He will always direct our steps and lead us in His will and way (Proverbs 3:5-6). He preserves our life, and inspires us to devote our time and resources in His service. He is our God and He saves His children who trust in Him (Psalm 86:2).

 

We keep our focus on Him because He never leaves us destitute. He offers us continual refuge under His wings, regardless of how dire our circumstances become (Psalm 46:1-3, 141:8).

 

God is only a prayer away and provides us with all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Psalm 142:5). He hears our prayers and answers us in His faithfulness and righteous judgment. (Psalm 143:1)

 

Prayer:

Father God, even though our food supply stops producing or our drinking water is contaminated, we know that You will faithfully supply all of our needs. We may suffer persecution and hardships on this earth, but You are the strength of our life (Psalm 46:1-2).

 

We give You the praise, glory and honor that is due to Your name, even if we face imminent deprivation in this life. You will always see us through any and every trial, because You walk through it with us and in us (Colossians 1:27, Galatians 2:20).

 

Thought for the Day:
The Lord allows us to hear His promise of unfailing love with each new morning, and calls on us to totally trust His mercy and goodness for our life. – Psalm 143:8

 

 

A Good Marriage – Common Ground

Winning is not the ultimate prize of life; it is the manner in which we finish the race that counts the most. It is often the last straggler across the finish line that receives the most attention, because they persevered to the very end.

 

Winning an argument is not necessary to feel validated either. We can concede that we are wrong, if indeed we are, without any shame or recrimination.

 

We have a viewpoint that differs from our employer’s, friend’s, neighbor’s, child’s, parent’s or spouse’s perspective; but no less right or wrong than theirs.

 

There is nothing heroic about destroying a marriage, because we soon realize that we were acting as pawns on Satan’s game board, playing right into his hands and wreaking havoc for generations to come.

 

If both parties in a disagreement are willing to bear with one another and to lay our life down for each other, there is always a way to peacefully resolve all issues and to avoid fighting and drama.

 

Neither of us is the enemy, we are simply fellow sojourners in this life with equal rights and privileges in the family of God. Quickly apologizing from the heart for any hurt we cause during a disagreement goes a long way in keeping unity in our relations.

 

Repairing our relationships is so much more mature than rending them in half and going our separate ways – leaving a trail of broken hearts and lives behind us. A trained counselor can help us to negotiate our differences.

 

Seeking wisdom from God’s Word and His Spirit during times of prayer can also help us to breach any gaps in our unity. We negotiate until we find common ground on which to stand.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You remind us not to separate what You bind together. You admonish us not to break any vow that we make, but to honor our commitment to one another with charity, patience and kindness. You want us to work together to find an equitable solution to any conflicts in our marriage, as well as in our affiliations at work and in Your Body.

 

Give us Your wisdom to maintain peace and to show Your agape love to those who wound us; to turn the other cheeks and to bear with one another’s idiosyncrasies and foibles. Give us patience to love one another as Christ loves the church; so we can represent living sacrifices as a testimony to an unbelieving world.

 

Thought for the Day:

There is nothing heroic in winning at the cost of someone else’s expense; but in laying down our life and serving one another with the love of our Father toward us.

 

Surrendering to God’s Will

We can develop habits over time to create more joy in our life and to eliminate depression and melancholy. However, it takes a change of focus and total submission to God’s Holy Spirit.

 

Many people live in the realm of “what ifs” and/or wanting what they do not have. They think that happiness will finally arrive when they accomplish their bucket list.

 

We allow circumstances to color our thoughts and feelings, which may diminish our joy. We wait for God to answer our prayers rather than to enjoy the life, which He already provided for us.

 

His peace and joy are available for us each moment of the day and do not depend on circumstances. It is possible to live in an economically depressed area with impoverished circumstances and still have total peace and joy.
There is no guarantee that we will live to see the next moment in time; so focusing on having possessions or certain people in our life will reduce our peace and joy.

 

Without surrendering our will to God’s will each moment of the day, we hinder our effectiveness both in life and in our spiritual growth and ministry.

 

Once we repent of our sins and recognize Jesus as our only Savior and King, the very life of Christ saturates our entire body, soul and spirit. As His Spirit sanctifies us, we see more spiritual fruit and less of a draw from our flesh, Satan and the world.

 

The most critical exercise we can do as a baby Christian is to surrender our will to God’s will. Even as older Christians, if we never surrendered, it is time to do so now.

 

When we totally surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over our life, we feel less and less tension and stress, and more and more of His rest, peace and joy.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we tend to regret the past and fear the future. We spend so much time focusing in these two directions that we waste the current moment. This moment in time is all that You guarantee us.

 

You forgave our past, and it is over and forgiven. We just have to remember to forgive our self too. Remind us that once we do surrender to You, Your Spirit begins replacing our negative personality traits with His spiritual fruit and You flood our spirit and soul with Your love.

 

Thought for the Day:

Our future is in God’s capable hands; therefore, trusting God in the moment provides us with a stress-free life.