The Eternal Marriage

One of the great mysteries of the Bible is the connection between Jesus and the Church in a marriage. A husband is exhorted to love his wife in the same manner that Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus literally laid down His life for the Church. How many husbands actually do that for their wife? Most of them get frustrated with their wife’s idiosyncrasies and opt out of the marriage?

 

There is not a problem in a person or a marriage that cannot be resolved with intentional counseling and mutual submission. Except in life or death situations, no reason is good enough to justify divorcing one’s mate. It is a lazy, superficial, self-centered person who files for divorce. They are unwilling to work at becoming one flesh. A time of separation and a forgiving heart will help to iron out even the worst marital issues.

 

Reserving nothing for Himself, Jesus gave His life for His Bride before we even knew or loved Him. His love is unconditional, regardless of our behavior, attitude or expressions. He will never, ever leave or forsake us for any reason or in any way (Hebrews 13:5). Spouses are to follow suite and care for one another’s physical, emotional, mental, financial and spiritual needs despite the reception we receive from our mate.

 

The husband honors the wife as the weaker vessel, and he protects her from the pain and confusion of the world (1 Peter 3:7). He listens to her and cares about what she cares about. The wife respects and encourages her husband. She keeps his home and cares for his children. She supports him even when she disagrees with the direction he is going. Although she does have the option to separate for a time if she feels threatened in any way.

 

There is no man or woman alive who does not grab his/her toe when it is stubbed, or jerk away from something hot or cringe from a hand raised in anger. We are to protect one another in the same way that we love and protect our self (Ephesians 5:28-33). We care about each other’s needs, often anticipating them before the desire is even expressed. God will help us to work out every negative issue in our marriage if we totally surrender our will to His.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You give us a perfect example of loving a flawed mate. Israel failed You over and over; and yet, You continually loved her and honored Your commitment to her. Remind us to feel each other’s pain and confusion as if they were our own and never to break our marriage vows to one another, even when we do not like one another very much!

 

Thought for the Day:

There is no one that loves us better, or cares for our welfare more than Jesus Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer. – Leviticus 25:25; Ruth 1-4

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Let the Weak Say, “I am Strong.”

Most of us feel totally inadequate to face the issues in our life. We pull our self up by our bootstraps every morning, put one foot in front of the other and move forward through the day, doing the best we can. Living in this stress-filled life with no spiritual basis for coping with its issues or making positive choices are more than most people can bear.

 

We struggle with inadequacy, shame, doubt, uncertainty, weakness and anxiety, which end up putting our body in the state of physical and psychosomatic illness. For many people, they have no support system. This is a travesty and drives them to use addictions of all kinds in order to cope with their feelings about life’s pressures (Galatians 5:19-21).

 

There are many paradoxes in the Bible and the one, which applies here, is that in order to be strong, we must first realize that we are weak. God uses the broken and foolish things in the world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). Our flaws give us compassion for other people. We never stand in judgment, because we are just as defective as the next person. However, God is our only judge (James 4:12). 

 

 

God loves it when we come to the end of our self and look up into His waiting, loving face. The weaker and less competent we are, the more God can use us for His glory. Peace of mind and spiritual assurance of God’s presence in our life affects our body, soul and spirit positively and gives us a new life and an eternal hope, which ignites our passion for God (Romans 8:11).  

 

The Creator of the Universe transforms us from the inside out by dwelling within us (2 Corinthians 5:17). He removes our wounded heart of stone and gives us a compassionate heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). God uses our unique idiosyncrasies, formed in us by a lifetime of nature and nurture, for His glory (2 Corinthians 12:9). His Spirit gives us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). The weak can now say, “I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

 

Prayer:

Father God, as a natural, carnal person, we attempt to live independently of You and Your plan for our life (Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10). We live out of harmony with You and reap a wind storm of consequences. Remind us not to depend on our human understanding, but to consult You in every moment of our day. Thank You for Your redemption in our life and for caring about every aspect of it that we face.

 

Thought for the Day:

God changes our life by giving us His new birth and eternal life in Jesus Christ. He takes us from our lowly state and exalts us as co-heirs with Christ of His entire Kingdom.

– Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 4:7

Breathing Room for our Soul

With preconceived ideas of what we want from life, we often miss out on God’s best for us. We toil and strive for fulfillment only to end up disillusioned and frustrated. If we completely surrender to God’s will, enter into His rest and consult Him in all of our decisions, He opens doors for us that no one can close (Ephesians 2:10; Hebrews 4:10; Proverbs 3:5-6, Revelation 3:8). We find complete joy in the Lord (Colossians 2:10).

Positive attitudes enhance our life. Forgiveness allows us to feel kindness and compassion for other people (Ephesians 4:32). Each moment that we hold a grudge, feel resentment or entertain bitterness robs us of our health, wealth and success. Negative emotions and attitudes are red flags, indicating that we are not caring for our soul. We rent our soul out to others, so they can abuse and devalue us.

We all appreciate having a second chance when we fail, so giving someone else that same opportunity will bring us joy, especially when they prove their faithfulness. We can also take complete responsibility for our life, faults and failings. We can apologize for letting someone down, even when we are not really at fault. This keeps peace in our relationships and our life.

Gratitude is another important key to entertaining positive attitudes (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We often have unfulfilled expectations, which make us unhappy with what we already have. God gives us abundant blessings every day, and we fail to notice or thank Him for them. Sometimes, other people bless us, and we fail to show them appreciation too. Start counting your blessings and saying, “Thank you.”

As we renounce the negative self-talk in our life, we gain our identity from God’s love and acceptance. Learning to laugh at our idiosyncrasies, we stop taking our self so seriously. God gives us courage to make changes and to trust Him with our life. Fellowshipping with other authentic Believers, we limit our exposure to negative people. Living by God’s promises will change our future.

Prayer:
Father God, we know that You love us so much that You became a man and died for us on Calvary’s cross. We cherish our life and want to live it for Your glory. You have a perfect plan for each of us. We submit to You and resist Satan, so that he cannot influence our life (James 4:7). Help us to center our time in You and to live in Your will for each moment of it (Ephesians 2:10). Make us a light, which cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14-16); so we can encourage others to come to You too. In Jesus’ name and for Your glory. Amen.

Thought for the Day:
Seeking God’s Will gives us breathing room for our soul. – Psalm 62:2