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.

 

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God Restores Our Wounded Heart

Do you ever feel like you are drowning in the circumstances of life? They overpower us and drag us down in the pit of despair. My best recourse during times like these is to praise God for who He is, regardless of what I do not see Him doing in my life at the moment.

He has His plans for us and His perfect timing. He often allows trials to drag on and on and cause us discomfort, financial loss, relational discouragement and mental and physical exhaustion.

We struggle with melancholy emotions and fight against bitterness and anger. God always rescues us out of the deep waters of trials, because He delights in us (Psalm 18:16-19).

He may take a while to deliver us, in order to build our faith so that we trust in Him alone, and that we do not rely on our human understanding or resources.

During this time, God also helps us to rise above the “grouchies” and the “mulligrubs”, and to be pleasant to our family and everyone He brings our way, even if we do not feel like it.

One aspect we encounter during tough times is Satan’s lies, which he plants in our soul all of our life. We believe these lies, and allow them to cripple us with depression and despair.

Satan’s lies may even cause us to doubt God’s love, His sincerity in keeping His Word to protect us as our Heavenly Daddy, and that He cares about us enough to allow negative circumstances to come against us.

We may revert to a life of sin and addiction in order to escape the pain we feel – temporary though this carnal reprieve may be. We prolong our agony and suffering by turning away from God to the world, the flesh and the devil.

Instead, we can read God’s Word, which He will use to encourage us through the hard times. He will use it to restore our wounded heart and fill us with His peace and joy.

Prayer:

Father God, we often struggle with the horrific pain of life on this sin-cursed earth. We forget that it takes faith to embrace Your authority over our life, and to reach out to You in our times of need. Help us to continually pursue Your Agape love, regardless of how we feel or what we are going through.

Remind us that others will treat us as we allow them to relate to us, and that we do not have to believe the lies which Satan prompts others to tell us. We often allow them to heap blame on us for what is not our fault, and they control us through their behavior and attitude toward us. Help us to believe the Truth of Your Word and to reject the lies that Satan uses others to hurl at us.

Thought for the Day:

No one can make us feel worthless, because Christ died to show us that we are valuable to Him, His Kingdom and eternity; He reached down from Heaven and chose us before the creation of the world so that He can love us with His everlasting love.

God is Our Vigilant Support

We all have people in our life that abuse us and make us feel small. They attempt to define our value, condemn our short-comings and even blame things on us that are their fault, not ours.

They manipulate us to make them feel bigger in their own eyes. This all stops when we realize that our worth comes from Christ in us, not from other people, and not from any good works of our own.

Jesus is our support and He rescues us from our abusers. He brings us out of places of abuse and delights over us, as He plants us in bright, spacious spots in the earth where He can best use us for His purposes.

Our Heavenly Father created us, because He has a specific plan for our life (Ephesians 2:8-10). He takes our broken lives and transforms them with His love. He heals our shattered heart and strengthens our weaknesses with His righteousness (Psalm 18:16-19).

God draws us out of our own mind, heart and purposes and teaches us to surrender to His will. He gives us reasons to rejoice and sends little hugs to us throughout the day.

He gives us ways to nurture His work in our soul and to make us aware of His presence and Spirit within us. We are never alone again and we have His constant vigil over our life.

Through the years, we develop a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him and we have less of a struggle as He purges our flesh through His sanctifying work (2 Timothy1:3-14).

Prayer:

Father God, help us to develop a clear understanding of Your Word, divine nature and perfect plans for our life. Lead us by Your Spirit each new day so that Your character takes precedence over our fleshly, carnal nature.

Thank You for loving us for who we are in you, and for over-looking all of our idiosyncrasies and short-comings. When we doubt our value in life, remind us to see our self through Your eyes and to reject Satan’s lies which are buried within our soul.

Thought for the Day:

We can lean on the Lord for strength and support through all of our struggles; as long as we do not allow the busyness of our normal schedule to overpower our connection to Him.

 

Who Is Really in Control?

Attempting to control life is an impossible task. Panic attacks, endless worry, attempting to manipulate people and events, and using anger or condescension or guilt to control people’s responses and behavior are all exercises in futility.

 

Controlling also alienates us from the affections of our loved ones. They either cringe when we come around, avoid us or tune us out to protect themselves from what they perceive as emotional abuse.

 

This all stems from a deep seated fear in our soul that life will overcome us and we will drown in despair. Leaving life in God’s capable hands is the only way to face life with confidence and victory (Exodus 14:4; Psalm 127:1; Hebrews 11:6).

 

Living with the knowledge that we truly are incapable, frail and powerless, we thrive in a life of praise for God’s bountiful provision for us in every area of life – physical, financial, emotional, spiritual and mental (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

 

We are confident of His divine presence, power and majesty in our spirit, which conforms our soul by the sanctifying power of His Holy Spirit until we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

 

We come to the end of our self and God reveals to us that we are no longer separated from Him, but living in union with Him to the degree that we will allow Him to function in and through us by His Holy Spirit.

 

He fills us through all of our being with all of His fullness (Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible). We represent Him in our world, because He keeps us, teaches us and showers us with His love, unity and grace (Psalm 121; Jude 24, 1 John 2:27, 4:17)

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for providing each of us with a breaking point in our life that allows us to leave this earthly realm by Your Spirit and to see and hear the heavenly realm right here in our world. We see things from the perspective of Your heart and we walk in the power of Your might; not lifted up with human pride but motivated and empowered in meekness by Your sacred heart (Matthew 5:5).

 

You stripped us of our self-sufficiency and taught us that we cannot ever control life or manipulate people enough to feel safe in this world. Once we realize our insufficiency, You are our sole sufficiency (2 Corinthians 3:5). Life may still make us nervous and the unknown future may still shoot a bolt of terror through our heart, but You teach us to entirely place our every care on Your strong shoulders, because You always care for us.

 

Thought for the Day:
No concern of ours is too small or complicated for God to use to shower us with His blessings, once we totally surrender to His will in all things – whether we suffer deprivation or we rejoice with every good and perfect gift, which comes only from God.

 

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

 

 

How to Love Others as We Love Our Self – Part 2 – Setting Godly Priorities

 

Once God freed me from bondage to codependency and Satan’s lies that others would only love me if I gave myself sacrificially for them, He started me on a liberating journey that taught me how to love others as Jesus loved me.

 

He taught me that I have value in and of myself regardless of what anyone else thought of me or did for me. Self-care became part of my routine instead of an afterthought that never materialized.

 

I learned that I am not responsible for the happiness of others, and to think that I am was an idol in my life. I had to lay my preconceived ideas at the altar of God’s truth and learn a whole new way of living.

 

It is only sinful to care for our self, if we are self-absorbed and self-centered. We are unbalanced, narcissistic and selfish if we think only of our self or of our self first and foremost all of the time.

 

A husband is to love his wife as he loves his own body; and yet, if he hates himself or does not value himself; then he will never learn to love his wife or anyone else either (Ephesians 5:28-29).

 

For most people, however, it is natural to care for their needs as well as the needs of others. Some give to get, but many nurturing, caring people give to bless others; and they end up receiving a blessing in the giving.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You taught us to enter Your rest, so that we are not driven by stress, perfectionism and enabling other people. We have Your abundant life, which starts at the moment of our Salvation (John 10:10). Thank You for teaching us to grow, develop and succeed in this life by living by Your principles.

 

Thank You for teaching me that the more I value myself as You value me, the more I teach other people to cherish me too. As I come to You to meet my emotional, mental, relational and spiritual needs, You help me to set my priorities in the correct order, You remove from my thinking the satanic drives of perfectionism and guilt, and You lead me by Your Spirit to help others only when it is Your will for me to do so.

 

Thought for the Day:

We cannot nurture our self or anyone else if we are burdened by guilt and deprivation, or stressed and overworked all the time; we can learn to nurture our self and others by watching how Jesus lived a balance of self-care and ministry to others.

 

 

A Fruitful Life

One work of the Holy Spirit in our life is to sanctify us by continually, although often slowly, replacing in us the negative attributes of our personality with His spiritual fruit.

 

Galatians 5:22-23 describes for us the fruit of the Spirit…”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

 

Sometimes, it is confusing to put the meaning of these words in simple terms. The definitions I like are:

Love – affection for others

Joy – exuberance about life

Peace – serenity

Patience – willingness to stick with it

Gentleness – compassion from the heart

Goodness – kindness that pervades our entire being

Meekness – humility and service

Self-Control – guided by the Spirit

Faith – trust that God knows what He’s doing

 

When I compare these to their opposites, the negative characteristics cause me to shudder. I certainly want no part of them in my character:

Envy, strife, hatred, bitterness, self-centeredness, pride, criticism, worry, depression, quitters and complainers, backbiters, and people who put work and fun ahead of God. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

 

The Good News is that the Spirit of Jesus Christ within us sanctifies us moment-by-moment! He replaces:

hatred with love,

depression with true joy,

discontentment with peace,

irritation with patience,

criticism with gentleness,

backbiting with goodness,

pride with meekness,

excess with self-control,

and worry with the faith of God as we are controlled and guided by His Spirit.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we thank You for putting Your fruit in us in place of the negative traits we learned from others, those that are ingrained in our personality with which we are born, and those that we develop through the disappointments of life.

 

We give our life to You to mold and make into the divine nature of Christ as He abides within us. We want to be lights of Your character to the world around us, and to have the mind of Christ rather than the whims of our flesh, the world or the devil. Thank You for Your sanctifying work in our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

God replaces our negative character traits with the fruit of His Spirit as we willingly submit to His surgeon’s scalpel, the Word of God, which divides our flesh from our spirit.

– Hebrews 4:12