Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring – A Time of Love

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.   It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

“Love never gives up.  Love cares more for others than for self.  Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.  Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always "me first," doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”  Message

I’m not sure which version I like better, so I put them both.  This particular scripture is so often used in weddings.  When we get married we are more in love with that person than we ever thought possible.  There is nothing in the world that could change our minds on that beautiful day.  Then it’s off to the honeymoon and then home to start a new life together!  Oh, the plans we have! 
Why is it that reality sets in not too long afterward?  “Why isn’t she wearing makeup anymore?”  “When is he going to take a shower, or shave on the weekend?”  Why are we fighting?

I can’t speak for anyone else but me, dear Reader, but I know that I have gone through a lot of surprises in my marriage.  There were times when it seemed to be just not what I expected.  We had a fight and I was heartbroken and disillusioned and all I wanted to do was get out of there.  Has that ever happened to you?  God spoke to me of this very thing, and I wanted to share it with you.

Do not lose faith, His will is being done.  It may feel like winter, dead and cold, but the preparation for spring is here.  This is the time to bid goodbye to all that is gone, and to throw away the old hurtful things.  Make a choice not to live in the past, only learn from it.  God used that time and gave us trials to give us strength and wisdom.

What we learn about Him, each other, and ourselves is key to surviving.  He takes the bad and makes beauty from ashes.  He refines our hearts and fills us with agape love for each other and forgiveness for each other those in the world do not understand.  He shows us our own failures and faults, not to condemn us, but to open our eyes.  We need to see where and how we have walked off the path.

We need to be reminded that all we have, our lives, our marriage, our possessions, our health—it is all a gift from Him, not to be taken casually, but to be appreciated and cherished.  We are granted wisdom and knowledge from the Holy Spirit so that we can understand that!  Nothing we have is throw-away stuff.  God wants us to see how giving He is, and sometimes, how ungrateful we are.  Not to condemn us, but to remind us where it all came from.

His purpose and His intentions for our marriages are for good and to serve Him in faith, together, holding each one up and moving forward, not to think about ourselves first.  Our purpose is to help others in our life, to reach others in the name of Jesus.

God loved us enough to give us someone to begin with.  He gave us one person that we fell in love with, one person to give us friendship, admiration, respect, and love so intense it can make us cry.  He started us out with one person to reach for Him with.  He knows it would be easier serving Him if we had support.  He sent His disciples out two-by-two, partners to spread the word.

He determined our best partner, the one we are most comfortable with, to spread His word.  The one we fell in love with so very long ago.

Satan closed the door on our transparency and made some of us stop being open and honest about our feelings.  He hardened our hearts and caused great damage to the union God had so carefully created.

But in His wisdom, God allowed the pain and sorrow of what we thought was failure to open our own eyes to see we can overcome failure!  We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:13), and with God, all things are possible (Matt 19:26)!  Those of us who are suffering with separation (not because of abuse, but because things aren’t what they expected) should not think their marriages are in vain.  They are going through the fire. They are suffering, yes, and may have forgotten what their vows meant to them years before.  They have grown older, but perhaps not wiser.  But all the time they are under God’s watchful gaze.  He has never taken His mighty hand off their marriage.  He has showered them with His mercy, new every day.  He has forgiven them their transgressions.  Why?  Because they asked, in deep despair, from the core of their being, in humility.

They must cast out the spirit of fear that is over them.  They must be bold, put on their armor and stand together against it.  Each themselves and together as one united in Christ!  They must deny the enemy to keep them separated, for apart they cannot do what God has planned for them to do together.  He will chase their enemies and they shall not come near them.

God has granted them favor, and strength in their numbers.  He has heard their prayers and He has blessed them.  He is united with them, and a three-fold cord is not quickly broken.

They must fight the demons in hell who wish to keep them apart.  They must share with each other what they learned with eager hearts.  They must see the strength they have together.  They needed to learn apart, separate training camps, each being honed in their best gifts of grace.  But they must come together to do battle.  Each has a piece of the weaponry they will use to defeat Satan’s army.  Each has a testimony that together, with the blood of the Lamb, will overcome, not just for them, but will inspire others to fight for what God gave them, what He blessed them with.

Then truly, this will be a marriage made in heaven!  The time to come together to share what God has said is near.  Be prepared.  It may not be easy at first, but it will get easier as their trust grows together!

Spring is here!  Renewal – life once again!  A time of new growth.

He gave us one special person to journey with – one we know better than anyone else does.  One whose faults and defects are part of the package we accepted on our wedding day.  He made us be comfortable with sharing our hearts, souls, and bodies with just one.  We have shared things with that one that nobody else will ever know.

This is God’s wisdom – two become one to serve His purpose.  He sent them out two-by-two, not alone, not randomly, but as one couple that will bring out the best in each other.  Couples whose differences complement each other. 

He has opened their eyes to many things.  They will be better and stronger together because of it. Faith!  Hope!  Trust!  The three main ingredients, along with Love, that God uses to make a blessed marriage.  Don’t throw out the gift.  You can’t see its beauty (the beauty of the season) while it is still in the gift bag.  He is ready to take it out and show the world!

He does nothing by mistake.  We just need to see His purpose.  In faith, with trust.  Be prepared, there is a great day on the horizon, and the season of renewal is near!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fear and Trust

Psalm 56:3:

"Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You."

This is very profound in it's childlike innocence.  It doesn't give any stipulations, it's straight to the point.  Whenever I'm afraid.  Whenever!  All the time when I am scared and not so confident or sure, I will trust in God.  You know, dear Reader, this is actually a very decisive statement.  What is it saying?

I will trust You to take away my fear, to calm my soul.  I will trust that I find peace and assurance that our God is near and He is willing to help me fight.  I trust that God will give me strength to win the battle over dread and worry.

I will find my courage through Jesus.

"Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You." Psalm 56:3

What does it mean to you?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

And the Lord Said...

"I love you!  Good morning!  I bless your day today.  I bring you favor and wisdom.  I address your day today.  I command blessings on your life.

"Be astute and wait for Me.  Do not attempt to do things your own way today.  Understand that I have already placed the special moments of your life in your path for you to walk into.

"As you come to each one, raise your voice and give me praise!  Know that I am God everlasting, and have written your name on My hand!

"Be blessed as you seek Me in the hidden places of your heart and mind today.  I am here, I am everywhere you will be.  Even if you go back in time and remember a day long ago, I too was there.  I know the memory.  I know each one of your memories, the details and the way your heart responded to each one.

"You don't have full recollection of all of them, but they are still part of you today.

"You have always walked in My presence.  You always do, and you always will.

"Do not worry.  You know that worry only wastes time.  Most things people worry about never come to pass anyway.  It takes time away from being in My presence and giving Me praise.  It is just another way Satan has distracted my people.

"Believe Me when I tell you that I will direct your path.  I will lead and guide you.  I will not place you somewhere that will entrap you.  And best of all, I will stay in each place with you."