Shopping Spree

Once every quarter, we take the trek to the area Walmart, and I put everything on the shelves into my buggy; or so it seems! I load up on items from the meat, dairy, fresh veggie and frozen veggie aisle.

As the cart gets fuller, our bank balance gets smaller; and when I get home, I have hours of work ahead of me. I pre-cook all of the meats and veggies in order to preserve their freshness.

This also allows me to have simple, quick meals for the months ahead, and to save space in the freezer. Today, I have been cooking and freezing since 4PM, and it is after 10PM; but I am only three quarters of the way finished with this process.

I wonder, at times, why I put myself through this. However, I enjoy the fruit of my labor on the hectic work days, when I can serve a fully home-cooked meal in minutes instead of hours.

Our Christian walk is very much like this shopping and cooking spree. When we come to Christ as a baby Christian, we have no resources to provide for our needs.

We are extremely hungry for God, as well as to learn about Him and His principles; therefore, we go to every church service, read every book and listen to every radio and TV preacher we can find.

We stockpile this spiritual food in our newly reborn spirit, all neatly categorized and shelved in all the right places. Then, in years to come, we have a storehouse of spiritual food and reinforcement to see us through the roughest trials life has planned for us.

Prayer:
Father God, there is nothing more fulfilling than fellowshipping with You around Your table. We thank You for Your generous provision for us in body, soul and spirit, throughout our lifetime. We give You all the praise and glory for the peace and joy we enjoy in Your presence, regardless of life’s trials.

Remind us to continue to gather Your spiritual food, regardless of how often we read through the Bible or how many verses we committed to memory. Every day with You is “sweeter than the day before” (Robert Claire Loveless).

Thought for the Day:
If you are going through a trial, and feeling famished for the presence of God, remember the first principles you learned when He came in to dine with you that very first time.           – Revelation 3:20

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Choosing a Marriage Partner

Most couples dearly love one another, but have a hard time expressing their deepest feelings. They desperately want their mate to know and love them, but have no clue how to show or share their feelings. We take each other for granted and settle into a stale rut. The old joke states, “I told you that I love you when I married you; and if I change my mind, I will let you know.”

Unrealistic expectations prior to marriage often ruin a couple’s chance at happiness in the marriage. No one can possibly live up to the fairy tale romance we dream about or be the person someone else expects us to be. Many people think that they will change their mate once they get married. One man put it this way, “Honey, what you see is what you get. I’m not changing for anyone or for any reason.”

We end up frustrated, angry, resentful and feeling hopeless, because we are always arguing. If we realize that we are both human, we can both relax a bit. We all have foibles and idiosyncrasies, which make us the unique person that we are. Rather than insisting on our own way, we can find a third choice, which meets both of our needs.

The key to a happy marriage is honest communication. Not brutal honesty, but loving, confident, uncritical expressions of what we want and need. We do not like to guess what our mate expects or is thinking. It puts undo stress on a couple to try to predict what gift our mate wants for special occasions or what behavior they are expecting from us. ( http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ )

There are realistic expectations for marriage, however. We need the same goals, dreams and principles. We need to have similar ideas on raising children, where to worship and how to spend money. We need to laugh together, play together and cry together. We need someone who will accept us as we are and who will support us through the hard times, someone who will love us for a lifetime.

Prayer:
Father God, we know without a doubt that Your love for us is the most fulfilling and the most urgent of our human needs. You do not love us for how we perform, because You loved us while we were still depraved sinners (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10). You gave us the desire to love and to be loved. Remind us to seek Your will for our potential mate and to receive Godly counsel before making the final decision. Thank You for never leaving or forsaking us (Hebrews 13:5).

Thought for the Day:
Both men and women thrive on praise and affirmation, rather than on criticism and unrealistic expectations. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Judging Righteous Judgment

God is the lawgiver and the only qualified judge over any other being. God calls us to rightly discern whether a person’s behavior is righteous or not, but we do not place any judgment upon the person (John 7:24). We continue to love them regardless of their behavior, knowing that God will work in their lives.

God does not want us speak evil of one another (James 4:11), but to edify each other. He wants us to share His grace with everyone we meet. In this way we do not grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:29-30). Gossip only adds fuel to the fire of slander spreading rampant through the church. However, where there is no wood (contention), the fire (gossip) goes out (Proverbs 26:20-21).

God uses the same judgment toward us that we use toward others. If we do not forgive, He cannot forgive us (Matthew 6:14). He reminds us that the faults we see in others are actually magnified in our own life. If we condemn them, we are actually hypocrites. God wants us to deal with our own problems rather than to worry about others (Matthew 7:1-5).

We will all stand before God in judgment one day, and give an account for our self and no one else. Then, He will reward us for our deeds. All authentic Believers will join Him in heaven, but unbelievers already condemned themselves to eternal torment in hell (John 3:18). This can be remedied, however…by turning away from sin and toward God.

In the end, believers and unbelievers alike will bow our knee to King Jesus (Romans 14:11). Therefore, let us not judge one another, but resolve our issues so we do not cause anyone to fall away from serving God (Romans 14:10-13). As we use patience toward each other and don’t grumble, we establish our own heart toward God, and we are ready for His coming (James 5:8-9).

Prayer:
Father God, teach us the balance between those who are spiritual restoring those who are deceived by sin (Galatians 6:1), and judging one another. Help us to pay attention to our own behavior, and to make sure we are walking according to Your principles. We certainly should have discernment and not join our brethren when their behavior is obviously sinful or anti-Biblical, but we do not want to judge them either. We simply love them unconditionally and wait on You to show them Your truth.

Thought for the Day:
Behold how good and pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity. – Psalm 133:1