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.

 

The Invisible Thins of This Earth

Underwater Photography of Blue Ocean

Everything we see in our world today was made from invisible matter and orchestrated by God (Hebrews 11:3). Scientist tout the wonder of the invisible axis which holds our tilted earth; yet they criticize and scoff at our invisible God.

 

We can see, hear, smell, touch, and enjoy the marvels of this world, which we can see; but we cannot see the invisible chemicals and vibrations, which make up these visible wonders. Yet these are still widely accepted as real and true.

 

Skeptics call our faith “blind”, but we have more proof for our faith than they do for many of their beliefs. We enjoy a whole world of visible signs that point to a benevolent Father God (Romans 1:20).

 

We enjoy His blessings each and every day; but many people refuse to believe in His existence as the Intelligent Designer of all that we relish.

 

He loves us so much that He gave us the earth and all of its fullness to enjoy while we traverse this land; and then He shares with us the bounty of His Heavenly realm once we join Him in eternity.

 

God wants to live in union with every human being ever born; but we must be Born Again to have this privilege. The stumbling stone is that we must first admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior.

 

However, most people refuse to admit that they do anything wrong or are in need of a Savior, that they cannot live life on their own and that they are not as wise and self-sufficient as they think they are.

 

Prayer:

Father God, humble us in Your sight and teach us about our desperate need for You in our life. We want to enjoy eternity in Your presence, but we want that union to begin while we are still occupying the earth until You come. We want to praise and honor You with our thoughts, words and deeds.

 

Your Kingdom is an eternal dominion, which endures forever and ever. You are the true and only King of heaven and earth. Your ways are just and righteous and we have no reason to question either Your motives or actions (Daniel 4:17, 34-35).

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus is the Lord of all, and He does not change. – Malachi 3:6

 

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.

 

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

 

 

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

 

Satisfied in Jesus

As we mature spiritually, we walk in godliness with contentment and receive a great advantage both in this world and the next (1 Timothy 6:6-7).

 

Like Paul, we learn contentment regardless of the circumstances in which we find our self – deprived and in want, or pleasant and blessed (Philippians 4:11-13).

 

Contentment drives out striving and stress and teaches us to find our satisfaction in Christ alone. It also prevents us from neglecting our walk with the Lord, or living at ease in Zion (Amos 6:1).

 

We enter God’s rest and abide there even when life threatens to overwhelm us (Hebrews 13:5). Striving causes contention and competition; however, God calls us to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).

 

We have not seen with our human eyes, or heard with our natural ears, or imagined in our finite mind what God prepared both now and in eternity for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

 

He promises us our daily bread and everything we need in order to survive in this world. He clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the air and loves us and provides for us just as richly.

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us to look for Your hand of provision for us in our daily walk and to live in contentment. We thank You for giving us everything we need to fulfill Your will for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

 

Bring us to a place where we cease from our carnal striving and where we set our affection on things above and not here on this earth (Colossians 3:2-17). Give us the divine mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), create in us a clean heart, and renew a holy and purposeful spirit in us (Psalm 51:10).

 

Thought for the Day:

God gives us all good thing to enjoy – every good and perfect gift, which we need as we dwell with Him in contentment and thanksgiving. – Philippians 4:6

 

Fullness of Joy

In the presence of God is the only spot on this earth where the fullness of joy resides. He offers us pleasures that last throughout eternity (Psalm 16:11; 139: 23-24).

 

We often look for natural, human experiences with God, but His ways are so much higher than ours. God enjoys sitting with us in silence; no revelations, no rushing wind, no mighty supernatural gifts deposited in our life. Just golden silence in the presence of our King Jesus.

 

At other times, we need a notebook to keep track of all the ideas He imparts to us during these intimate times of devotion.

 

We may make a to-do list for our day, or a prayer list of people He wants us to lift up in our prayers that day, or people we need to forgive or those from whom we need to ask forgiveness.

 

Only as we deliberately enter the recesses within our own soul, and only as we conquer the clutter in our life and thoughts, and empty our self of selfish ambition and attitudes, can we hope to discover His presence in our life.

 

However, the amount of clutter in our soul leaves no room for Him to make His presence known to us. God will give us a plan to straighten up the inner and the outer clutter in our life.

 

Listening to God with our undivided attention in these times of aloneness is the key to growing spiritually. We find that we look forward to our times alone with God.

 

Prayer:

Father God, when we abide in You, negative emotions such as fear, confusion, distress, distrust, and dread no longer fill every recess of our soul. We learn to trust in You regardless of the natural events taking place around us. We sit with awe-filled wonder at the magnificence of Your will and way in our life.

 

Give us this day only that which we need to serve You; and teach us to wait patiently on You for each new day, hour and moment that You give us to attend to You with our whole heart. We release our negative emotions to You and receive from You the cry of Your heart instead.

 

Thought for the Day:

Ephesians 3:16-19 (Amplified Bible)…“ May God grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]. 17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, 18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; 19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being]]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

 

Bruised, but Not Broken

Violence can break a person, a relationship, personal belongings, etc. Something whole is handicapped now…maybe glued together, but never the same again.

 

Sometimes the fracture is undetectable, but it is there nonetheless – influencing every day of our life, leaving us damaged, cracked, fragmented and wounded.

 

Fear, confusion, insecurity and brokenness leave us vulnerable, crushed, strained and fractured. Ravaged by the choice made by someone else, our life is less than perfect. We often injure others because we are no longer whole.

 

Jesus paid the price to help us to mend from these injuries and flaws. He allowed the Roman soldiers to spill His blood, so we can be healed in body, soul and spirit (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

 

Jesus heals the brokenhearted by the anointing of God’s Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18).Troubles and trials may press in on us from every side, but Jesus breaks the yokes which bind us to them.

 

If we trust in and rely on Him alone, He does not allow life to crush us (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20). He encourages us when we are disheartened to keep us from being driven to despair (Psalms 34:18). He never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5).

 

This persecution reveals the character of Christ in us, as we share in suffering in this life similar to His (2 Corinthians 4:7-12). Our anguish here on earth cannot even compare to the unspeakable glory and joy that God will reveal in us and to us through the power of Christ’s resurrection.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You comfort all who mourn (Matthew 5:4). You require from us a spirit, which is humbly broken and contrite (Psalm 51:17). If we fall upon Christ by faith, we may be crushed; but never broken, because He will save us (Matthew 21:44).

 

Conversely, those who reject Your Son Jesus actually expose themselves to danger, ultimate ruin and eternal destruction (Luke 20:18; John 3:16-18; Romans 11:19; John 15:5). You will not allow the crushed stem to be completely broken or their feeble light to be put out entirely (Matthew 12:20).

 

Thought for the Day:

A bruised and broken life is full of mercy and compassion for others, and God uses us as a conduit of His love to those who suffered what we have suffered.