You’ll Never View Marriage The Same Way Again

Jehovah God gave all the living creatures to Adam to name but there was not a helper for him.  God saw this void and caused Adam to fall asleep.  He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh. From this rib, Jehovah God made woman and brought her unto the man.

Genesis 2: 23 “And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

What is your favorite romance story? After hearing my Husband read a Bible study on this portion of the Bible, I’ve decided that Adam and Eve’s love story is the most Holy experience of love we can find. It was an ordinary morning, in which, we were sharing and talking in private–quiet time.  This quiet time exploded into the sweetness of the Holy Spirit filling our hearts and soul. He is reading the book A Husband Like Him, by Jason Whetstone (2007).A Husband Like Him: Becoming a Christ-Like Leader in the Home  -     By: Jason Whetstone

Woman is the most beautiful of all God’s creations.  She also seems to me to be the most complex.  When God decided to make a partner for Adam, he did not just take the one rib out for the purpose of creating another human.  If that were all he wanted to do, he would have just created a woman like He did with the man.  God is good at what He does, when He made Adam, He made him perfect and whole.  The only thing that Adam could not satisfy within himself was a relationship with God.  Therefore, if God was going to create a companion for him, He needed to make a void in Adam so that he would actually need and desire his partner.  So God removed the characteristics needed to make up a mother, a wife, a sister, a woman, and formed Eve.  Remember, Adam was formed in God’s image, so there could not have been inadequacies.  God removed certain traits out of one (man) and placed them in another (woman) so that there would be a need.  God intentionally made Adam become incomplete and lacking so that the need for the traits that Eve possessed could be fulfilled through unity and oneness.  (p. 27-28)

I hope you didn’t miss the profoundness of this creation and union! The deeper connection that God created is at the very core of a husband and wife relationship. In some ways, I imagine it being the Spirit of the Living God at work within the union! It is placed there by a covenant, and It is our work to discover the depths of it.

Understanding the lack of one that fits into the other becomes a Holy union versus “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” attitude.  The differences were put there by God in order to accomplish greater things. My husband and I often share that our differences are the greatest strength we have in our relationship; however, let’s be honest, the differences can also be the very thing we struggle with in the day-to-day.  The sweetness of the Spirit when we were reading this together was a new understanding of what God intended.

Our world has created a message that women are nags and overbearing and men are portrayed as idiots.  We watch sitcoms and laugh at Hollywood’s creation of marriage. After reading this, is it funny?

Let’s go back-way back-to what God intended.  I’d like to give a personal and most recent example in our marriage.  On the morning we were to sing at a church, I was the mommy-go to person.  Everyone checked into my nurturing love to find affirmation and ask questions about the day.  Honestly, I bubbled up with resentment–wishing folks would take care of that on their own, or, for goodness sake, “Ask your dad!”  He was busy loading the car in the pouring rain and preparing our family to go.  Together we worked to provide our family stability (my husband) and nurturing (me).  An irritant in my mind became a Holy union.

There are some things you can’t write–the soul work that is so deep it has no words.  To see him tear up about his wife’s beauty and the Holy Union of us, created a miracle moment.  He realized how very much I’m needed in His life to walk this journey hand-in-hand.  He took the time, through the knowledge of God’s Word, to solidify my worth and beauty. I am bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh.

Questions to consider:

Does your marriage need to go back to square one–back to Genesis? Have you based your marriage on the world view of romance and expectations?  Are you upholding your union through Godly, tangible ways that support your spouse?

If you are single, remember the Holy union and God’s best.  What are you doing right now to draw close to God? I remember a discussion on “True Love Waits”.  Your true love is Jesus!  No waiting!  The time of marriage may come, but in the meantime, Jesus satisfies and fills.

Men: Women desire to hear from you that they are beautiful–you only have eyes and love for them.  Does your wife know she captivates you?  As the nurturer, she is filled up by Jesus and you to nurture those around her.  When you lead and come along side her in support, love, and acts of service, she can work to her Godly potential.

Women:  Men desire to hear and see from you how they are significant and strong. Tell them.  They, too, want you to desire them above all men, and put them first in relationship and intimacy. Take time away from those you are responsible for, and put him first.  God is our perfect husband (Isaiah 54:5).  When you meet with Jesus daily, He will help you to love yourself and your spouse as God intended.

When both are using their gifts uniquely designed by God, the union is a Holy experience.

Link to book:

http://www.christianbook.com/husband-like-becoming-christ-leader-home/jason-whetstone/9781598867381/pd/867381?kw=a%20husband%20like%20him&mt=b&dv=c&event=PPCSRC&p=1018818&gclid=CMDZgvvP2rsCFXPNOgod31wAqA

Ignite the ordinary

Simplicity in worship.  When I was a young girl in worship service, I can remember the simplicity and a strong sense of togetherness.  Our family traveled to Central Baptist Church to sing this Sunday and it was like going home.  We had a joyful time sitting in Sunday school listening to a message about putting God’s Word first in our lives for 2014, praying for the needs of others, and admiring the plans for ministry opportunities. We were immediately made to feel a part of the family of God.

On the way there, I checked Facebook and saw the magnitude of God at work all around the world.  A friend ministering in an orphanage in Guatemala, a baby being born into the world, a funeral to attend, and a much-needed vacation for a couple.  God is at work all around the world. If you’ve ever done Google Earth or watched a movie in which the camera begins in the sky–the heavens, and then, narrows toward earth, then a country, a village, a street, a home, and an event or person, it reminds you of how vast, yet small our existence is.

As we were singing, I truly felt the presence of the Lord working in me individually, and in my family.  After the program, a woman shared that hearing the song Jesus Loves Me from my youngest reminded her of her mother who had passed away–she sang that song to her everyday until her passing in her home.  It was joyful tears. Simplicity.  She shared that her health has not been good but coming to church helps to get her mind off her pain.

A small gift that was huge in the universe.

Attending the seniors’ Sunday school was beautiful.  I noticed many women faithful to God’s Word.  Only one man was in attendance, and I assumed it was because many of the men have gone on to be with the Lord.  The one man shared with me, after the program, that he joined the women’s Sunday school class when all of his men friends had passed away.  His wife confirmed that there are only 3 couples left–the rest are women carrying on in faith.  This small observance was huge in the universe.

Teenagers running sound, little children holding their Bibles, young couples seeking God’s Word–small occurrences but huge in the universe.

Steven Furtick, a pastor,  had the audacity to pray the same prayer as Joshua–a prayer that stopped the sun.(Joshua 10:1-14) Have you ever read powerful, motivational sermons and prayers only to be discouraged? Consider the power of the ordinary, the small gifts, or the seemingly mundane occurrences.

When you strip the Biblical miracles of their spectacular special effects, a common plot point emerges: extraordinary moves of God begin with ordinary acts of obedience. (Steven Furtick–Sun Stand Sill Devotional)

God may call you to something the world would define as “small” or insignificant but in God’s universe–the sun will stand still!

Allow God to ignite your ordinary.  Churches, stop striving for the latest and greatest and see the simplicity.  Take away the critical white gloves, the striving for significance, and the ever searching for spiritual entertainment.

Ignite the ordinary…..

My husband and I discussed the ordinary, and he shared something truly profound.  He shared that perhaps your outreach is small in number or seemingly insignificant, but this doesn’t lessen the work of Jesus in your soul. Your soul work is just as significant as someone who teaches and reaches millions.

This was not a pride statement but a profound realization that God is at work all around the world, and we should not be in the business of measuring HIS work.

Today, what are your assignments?  Allow God to ignite the ordinary and see just how extraordinary He is in you.

As I was writing that last line, I was reminded of our lunchtime after the program with a beautiful, young couple. A small restaurant in a small town became a joyful reunion and a Holy experience.  Her precious three-year old sharing her child-like faith and joy, and a little baby boy in my arms cooing, smiling, and making faces–pure heaven amidst chips and dip and the sound of Spanish music over muzak.

Our lunch was a divine appointment!  The ordinary was ignited and God was there.

His work truly is extraordinary!

Meeting God in the Broken Places (Rusty Rustenbach)

Watching the video first will move you.  Please consider spending this time with Jesus and meeting Rusty Rustenbach.

A new year is upon us! God specializes in beginnings and new–“His mercies are new every morning!”

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

A precious friend of mine shared a great book called “A Guide to Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer: Meeting God in the Broken Places” by Rusty Rustenbach. When I first purchased it, it was too heavy to consider during the holiday season.  I just picked it back up last night and stopped over analyzing the questions and went for it!

There are too many treasures to write in a single post, so let me share one that, I believe, God is going to use in my life for the new year–a change.

Our reactions to events–Not the events themselves–places us in bondage

The third principle of emotional healing seeks to clarify that our captivity does not come from how badly we were hurt. It comes from what occurred within us as a result of the events.

The simplest of principles can be life changing.  We have a tendency to make things complicated because wounding and hurts are complex–it’s layers upon layers of history, family experiences, and choices.  Where do you start to heal? I found this to be a good place.

When the hurt occurred, how did you respond?  What were your thoughts?  How did you internalize the event?

One example he gave was a parent who seemed physically and emotionally absent while the child was growing up in the home.  Instead of spending time on the event itself, the question was asked, “What did I believe about myself in response to the event?”  Speaking the belief aloud then applying God’s Word through prayer brought healing to this young lady named Sophia.  She shared that “There must be something wrong with me. If I were more like my older sister, then my dad would have spent time with me.”  As an adult, this wound showed up as an enormous struggle in the area of people pleasing. (p. 34)

No matter the source of our wounding, it’s important not to minimize the hurts and deficits we’ve experienced.  This doesn’t mean we are blaming our past, accusing our parents for messing us up, or excusing ourselves because others have victimized us.  That’s not what inner healing is about.  Inner healing is about opening up with God in such a way that He can reveal what happened within us and change us from the inside out.

Oh glory!  Do you not see how life changing this process could be for you? If more time is spent on working through your faulty beliefs about yourself and the world around you due to responses from hurtful events, then you and God can work this out once and for all!  How many of us desire to change the other person, or spend a lifetime desiring for them to acknowledge their part?  What a tangled web of confusion and opportunity for deeper wounding! Reconciliation with others is sometimes impossible, but being reconciled within our souls through a healing relationship with our Savior is possible–He is our perfect counselor.

Be patient through the process and faithful to seek Him. In His time, not ours, God will produce change and inner-healing.  This is not a “cognitive knowledge” of His Word and healing within you, but an experiential knowledge of truly putting Jesus first, talking to Him through prayer, being still, and listening.

The next time you respond in anger, depression, or discouragement to a situation spend time in prayer with God and ask Him, “Where is this coming from?” “What are my beliefs about myself?”  Wait and listen. Then, ask Jesus to reveal what He believes about you-knowing that He is for you not against you and loves you with an everlasting love! Reframe your beliefs through the power of prayer and speaking God’s promises into your life.

I highly recommend this book for individuals and small groups.  It is a personal book, in which, the small group would need to have built trust and perhaps review confidentiality and rapport first.

Also, if you are a counselor, please consider reading the book to help your clients heal.

The author found a pathway out of the wilderness through God’s healing work!

http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Listening-Inner-Healing-Prayer-Meeting/dp/1617470864

Link above is the book if you would like to order.

Superhero –DAD!

My youngest accidentally dropped her tooth down the drain.  She was so upset because she had labored all morning to wiggle that thing free in hopes that the tooth fairy would come that night. My husband quickly ran to her and asked which sink she had dropped her tooth in.  As I was doing laundry, I prayed for God to use that opportunity to show my daughter that her daddy rescues, and he is a hero.  I prayed for a small event in the day to show his love for her.  When he finished his rescue, he came back and said to me, “It’s great to feel like a hero to your daughter!”  I smiled.  He had no idea I had just prayed for God to orchestrate that exchange.

Spend time today praying for God to be in the details of the day–uplifting your marriage, bringing resolution in conversations at work, or understanding with your child. Take action along with your prayer.

How can you build your spouse up today?  No marriage is perfect and maybe you are in a dark place in your relationship. Try spending time recognizing the small things and speaking an encouraging word of gratitude.

The reblog of “Daughters need their Daddies” was a popular read.  Adding to that post, daughters need a daddy to rescue them like a superhero!  When they feel secure in your arms, they have an earthly example of the perfect love they can receive in the arms of Jesus.

No rescue is too small or insignificant.  Every action and word spoken is soaked up by your daughter as “I’m worthy to be loved.”

Proverbs 20:7

The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Psalm 103:13

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Proverbs 4:1-9

Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

Genesis 18:19

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

Colossians 3:21

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Psalm 78:5-8

He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Proverbs 13:24

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Proverbs 19:18

Discipline your son, for there is hope…

Proverbs 13:22

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.

Proverbs 10:1

The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.

Psalm 68:5-6

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Proverbs 3:11-12

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

Luke 15:20-24

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

3 John 1:4

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Galatians 4:6

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

1 Corinthians 3:11

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Matthew 6:9

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Proverbs 14:26

In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.

(http://www.openbible.info/topics/fatherhood)

 

Shining Faces

Wisdom defined is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

Experience is often gained through mistakes and errors in judgment. In Hosea chapter 11, God proclaims His loving-kindness and how He brought His people out of slavery and stooped down to feed them.  “But the more I called to them, the farther they moved from me.” (verse 2)

Specifically God proclaimed that “I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.” (verse 4)

Previous posts have been directed towards marriage pleasing to God.  God has directed my husband and I to focus on God’s definition of marriage.

“Marriage is a spiritual institution designed by God for two imperfect people to be joined together in their dependence upon Him and each other.” (Dennis Rainey,  Moments with You)

Marriage is a covenant and is not to be entered into lightly.  You’ve decided to individually put God first and as a couple to work together with Christ as center.  The Jewish culture passionately upholds that a marriage covenant is Holy–an institution that provides a person the opportunity to become more like Christ.  Applying God’s Word and will to your marriage will create divine opportunities to learn forgiveness, mercy, commitment, and unconditional love. Your marriage is a great adventure.  Imagine what God can do with two committed Christians in a unified marriage!

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My husband and I decided to talk about the cord of three strands on Christmas Eve with our family.  We purchased the cords and a gold loop for couples to braid three cords. Part of the devotional we shared:

Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us that “A cord of three strands is not easily broken”

Since Adam and Eve, God knew that a marriage would only survive this world with Him intertwined and at the very core of all that we do.

For us, we are blessed! We have parents who shared the love of Jesus with us from birth and insisted that we know Him individually.  They displayed a marriage of loving Jesus.  In their marriage, they served and loved God, being a living example of grace, mercy, forgiveness, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health…..

God drew our hearts this year, first, to the truth that all of us—like Mary—carry Jesus within us.  What will we do to show His love?  Secondly, when you consider Mary and Joseph holding Jesus as an infant, they must have wondered—“God, what will we do with Jesus?”  What is your plan for us?  Today, I wanted us to consider as a couple—What will we do with Jesus?

2014 is upon us and we can offer God a changed heart, a renewed spirit, a fresh beginning!

We honored our grandparents and their legacy, recommitted our marriages as the younger generation, and spoke a blessing over the lives of our children and their future mates.

God is calling us with cords of kindness and ties of love!  Will we latch on, seek Him, and answer His calling?  May we seek Your Wisdom God in all we do in 2014!

When errors in judgment and mistakes are made, trust that the Holy Spirit will guide you through those experiences.  Trust in His Word to guide you and be committed to be led by Him–not the world or rationalization of the flesh and feelings.

Ecclesiastes 8:1 “Wisdom makes one’s face shine.”

God IS “sure enough”

I am back at the top of this post adding the “last chapter” of the book!  God answers prayers! Miracles happen! God spoke the verse “A cord of three strands….” into my marriage AFTER He gave the verse to us as a couple earlier that morning.  He chose to orchestrate an entire day filled with confirmation and emphasis on His leading. Quoting my spiritual sister, Melinda, “God IS sure enough!” I hope you will read on…….

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Believe that God Can Move Mountains!

It’s incomprehensible that Jesus can be so specific to our needs.  We thank God for shelter and food but does God answer soul prayers?

Yesterday, my husband and I began the morning writing a post on this blog entitled, “A cord of three strands” and talked about the importance of God in our marriage.  We hurried to the grocery store to find a beautiful statue of Mary and Joseph holding baby Jesus.  IMG_0308Our thoughts had centered around the truth that we, too, have Jesus as a couple, and how will we, as a couple, show this love to others?

Several hours later our family was worshiping and listening to Pastor Stan at Cloverhill Assembly of God.  I’ve sung Ten Thousand Reasons a million times but the lines seemed sweeter.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O, my soul.  Worship His Holy name.  Sing like never before. O my soul. I’ll worship Your holy name.

Your rich in love, and You’re slow to anger. Your name is great, and Your heart is kind.  For all Your goodness I will keep on singing. Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.

The message was about relinquishing, once and for all,  things, relationships, emotions, or addictions that control you.  Prior to the message, a little girl was baptized.  As she was coming out of the water, her hands were raised to offer praise to Her King.  At such a young age, she was bold, deliberate, and uninhibited.  During worship, a woman came forward to share her testimony, impromptu.  She proclaimed the healing power over her marriage and the deliverance of a five-year battle with her husband’s alcoholism.  Can we be bold about change and the power of Jesus?

In the message, he shared the steps to losing control and how to heal.

The steps to losing control

The sin becomes your identity. You describe yourself in relation to your habit. I’m ____________.

The enemy, whose job it is to accuse, convinces you, that you are that sin. He condemns you through your thought world which ultimately becomes your actions, or how you view the world around you.

You begin to rationalize the sin to cope. “Everyone else is doing it.”  “I’m not really hurting anyone.”

You isolate yourself because going to church is uncomfortable and “everyone is judging me” there.

In your isolation, you give over completely to your sin and feel there is no hope. You are completely entangled and can’t see a way out.

The steps to gaining control and change

Get rid of excuses.  We have so many excuses that support or rationalize our behaviors, addictions, or lifestyle that goes against God’s Word, or best for us.  Jesus has called you to something more than your excuses.  One excuse is how busy we are and not having the time to put God first by being in a body of believers faithfully, reading His Word, and prayer.  Make 2014 different.  I was sitting in church fighting against “the rolling list” in my mind of things to do.  No sooner was I struggling that the pastor shared the “what next” syndrome.  We need to discipline our minds to be still and  worship the Lord without distractions.

Take the next step. Perhaps it’s your first step to follow Jesus and make Him Lord of your life.  Whatever it is you need to do to conquer the “thing” controlling you, do it!  He challenged singles to sever ties in which they knew God was calling them out of a relationship in which they were unequally yoked.  Maybe your next step is fasting and praying to draw closer to God.  Jesus told his disciples that some things can only be handled through prayer and fasting.

Make the break.  Stop excuses and be radical. Just as David killed Goliath but radically took it one step further to sever the head of the enemy–make sure you destroy and get rid of what’s drawing you away from Jesus, a healthy life, or your marriage.  Don’t play around.  Make the break.

Fill the void.  Once you are emptied, replace with Jesus.  His love is enough.  When you feel tempted, believe that He is enough to fill your void. Fill yourself with worship, His Word, and prayer.

God confirmed in the message the verse my husband and I shared that morning!

The pastor led us to Ecclesiastes 4: 12!  My husband and I smiled–only God could do this!

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

  • If you are married, consider beginning the new year with a fresh look at the covenant relationship God has given you.  Do a Bible study together.  A great place to start is the book The Language of Love and Respect by Eggerichs, or visiting your local Christian bookstore, or popular bookstore in the area, and find the Christian marriage section.  Choose one together. Make sure you are involved in a local body of believers to nurture your marriage.
  • Is there something you need to get rid of in order to put Jesus first and your marriage a priority?  Are you a cord of three strands–God, you, and your spouse?
  • Perhaps fasting and praying will be the answer to draw you closer to Him. Consider beginning the New Year with a purposeful time of prayer and fasting. This time is not to beg God for answers but to draw close to Him and listen.
  • If you are yoked with an unbeliever, then begin seeking God to heal and restore your marriage through a purposed fasting and praying.  The woman in the service prayed for five years.  Have faith and believe that, in time, God will answer.
  • If you are single, put God first and be yoked with believers to hold you accountable. If you are in a relationship that is drawing you away from God instead of building you up, sever that tie and fill the void with Jesus.

Trust and believe that GOD IS SURE ENOUGH!

Sure enough defined: Glory!
1. Impossible to doubt or dispute; certain.
2. Not hesitating or wavering; firm: sure convictions.
3. Confident, as of something awaited or expected: sure of ultimate victory.
4.

a. Bound to come about or happen; inevitable
b. Having one’s course directed; destined or bound: sure to succeed.
5. Certain not to miss or err; steady: a sure hand on the throttle.
6.

a. Worthy of being trusted or depended on; reliable.