Father, thank You for helping me to understand that the access I have gained into Your grace in which I now stand has come to me by faith. Help me to rejoice in the hope of Your glory! -Romans 5:2
Imagine trying to wrap up 40 days of a marriage study. I wanted it to go out with a bit of a bang, a powerful Word and I knew there was no way I could do it on my own. So, after much prayer before opening God's Word for this last day, I opened my Bible.
At the time that Paul was writing, the Galatian churches were face a double threat. One involved the purity of the doctrine and the other involved the purity of conduct. Certain individuals had come into the area who would "pervert the Gospel of Christ" (Gal 1:7, 5:10) They insisted that while salvation was of Jesus Christ, works were also necessary for salvation. In the book of Galatians Paul destroys all arguments in favor of mixing law with faith. Paul answers this argument by declaring the truth of the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, and the richness of life available when He rules the Christian with whom He indwells.
I believe the reason that this Book was deemed so important for the last day of this study is because the world is about to start telling you that your "works" as a wife are what will save your marriage and He wants the glory of saving it for you. No matter what your marriage looks like at this very moment, He wants to be the One that indwells within it. Boy, that sure takes the pressure off of us. We don't have to worry about how we "perform" as wives as long as we are trusting in Him.
Paul was hot mad when he began writing the letter to the Galatians. He opened his letter with love but dove right into what was making him angry. The world was seeping into what needed to stay pure. Faith in what Christ had done for the world would bring about salvation for the world and that was being perverted by the world.
You have come so far by completing these 40 days of studying on your role in your marriage and through prayer that it is imperative that you not let the world influence your behavior at the close of this day. You are to still continue to spend time in prayer, seek guidance from the Spirit, and have faith at all times that your marriage matters to God.
Be diligent in trying not to win the approval of the world, but of God. If you are trying to please the world, you are not a servant of Christ. Remember, sisters, that the gospel that we believe is not something that man or the world made up, it was received by revelations from Jesus Christ. The life that we live is the result of Christ living in us. Our lives are a reflection for Christ and not of the world. We died to our self with Christ so that we can live by faith in Him who loves us and gave himself for us.
As we move forward from today, we must continue in prayer for our marriage and our husbands. You are running a good race. Don't let the world confuse you and always remember who the author of confusion is, go back to Scripture when you are unsure. Go back to prayer when you need wisdom. Trust the Spirit that gives us victory over sin for the sinful nature desires what is opposite of the Spirit. Sin and the Spirit are always in conflict against one another so that you do not do what you want but what the Spirit want, let the Spirit lead.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law - Galatians 5:22-23
When the world is telling you to be the opposite of these things towards your husband or others, its time to take a step back. It's time to get back into God's Word and seek His Throne room, where you belong. When your husband is opposite of those things and "caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently." (Gal 6:1)
We have a responsibility that is greater than our own desires. We are being called to operate in our new life, as new creations, as something beautiful and pure. Just a few days ago the Bride of Christ as referred to as a "dove, my flawless one" (Songs 5:2, 6:7) Christ sees you through a different lens than the world does. We should also strive to see our husbands through the same lens of Christ. Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
I would like to leave you with this. Years ago, I sat down with my heart and my Bible open and let God pour His love and wisdom into me concerning my marriage. Sometimes, I read what I have written and step back and say "Did I write that?" It's because the mind forgets but it is all planted deeply within me. His Word and my faith in Him changed my marriage. It is different. Our marriage is good. We have had some major battles since I completed this study the first time, some likely would have ripped our marriage to shreds. The devil has tried to chew us up and spit us out. Prayer is what got us through it. Even in our darkest moments, we started seeking light and we always found it in Christ.
I love to ask people I meet how long they have been married, sometimes the numbers astound me. I then like to ask what their secret is and the answer is almost universally, "we never gave up."
Father God, the world will come at us like a freight train. My husband and I will, from time to time, feel like our marriage has taken a beating. We will feel like our marriage is being chewed up and spit out by the world. Father, I ask you today to put a hedge of protection around our marriage, guard our hearts, and send your angels armies out to protect what you have put together so perfectly. Help us to always seek you first when there is a giant standing in front of us or a mountain we must climb. Lord, we trust you. We have faith in you. We look forward to the joy that will spill out and over flow on the world through this gift, this marriage, you have given us. Thank You Jesus for your love and sacrifice as the example of how we should love. Spirit continue to lead, guide, and direct us as we move about this world. Help us to discern what is not of You. Lord, again we thank You for all your blessings, gifts, and favor. Give us the strength and wisdom to never give up. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
God of hope, fill me with all joy and peace as I trust in You, so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. - Romans 15:13
Oh how many times I have gone to my Father in prayer for another's marriage. How many times I have I watched a marriage fall completely apart. How many times I have questioned as to why this happens and why can't "I" help. Then the Lord softly spoke to me concerning this heavy weight of my heart "I don't expect you to to fix their marriage. I expect you to show them what is possible." When I heard in my Spirit these words whispered so gently and unexpectedly I knew that I could hand over all of that heavy weight I had carried to Him. He is going to show you what is possible, what you choose to do with that is up to you.
You're hope for your marriage is not found in this study. It is found in the power of the Holy Spirit.
You have come 39 out of 40 days with me. You have journey through God's Word and He still has more for us. As you yield, the Holy Spirit will share these blessing with you and you can believe that they are coming.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. - Romans 12:12
1 Th 5:17 simply tells us that we are to pray continually and it is of utmost importance that you are faithful with your prayer. Your prayer will unlock the blessings that are waiting to cascade from heaven down on your marriage. Be patient, they are coming as you are faithful and you can find so much joy in that promise, in that hope.
The mind of a sinful man is death, but a mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. - Romans 8:6
I'm treading as lightly as I can here but this must be said and toes will get stepped on. I make no apologies. I experience such negativity and words from wives as they speak "death" over their marriage. They wait until the divorce papers arrive or their husbands to walk out and then I get the email, I get the Facebook message, or I get a text that says, "pray for me, my husband just left", "pray for me, my marriage is over", "pray for me, my husband doesn't love me and he walked out." Ladies, this is speaking death over your marriage before you've even begun to believe that God has something different for you. I'll address this lack of faith in a bit. If you are speaking death and not life over your marriage, not matter how "dead" you believe it is, then stop now. STOP NOW. Jesus raised humans, with hearts that no longer had a beat, from the dead. He surely can raise a seemingly dead marriage. As the scripture above says "a mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace". Speak LIFE! With the power of the Holy Spirit, start telling your giant just how big your God is. Have faith and when you don't have faith, ask for it.
Faith and trust in your God is imperative towards moving forward in your marriage with strength and belief, with joy and hope.
but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him - Romans 16:26
The weight of that scripture is not lost on me. Is it lost on you? The promises of God that were commanded by God to be written for you today so that you might believe and obey him are powerful and real. Your belief level should have just risen 100% straight to the top. Believe and obey.
Adam's belief in God's promises were so big! So, big in fact, that he named his wife based on the promises that God gave. We are coming full circle today from the model of marriage in the beginning of this study to the belief of LIFE through faith here at the end.
Adam named his wife Eve, because she WOULD become the mother of all living. - Genesis 3:20 (emphasis added)
The essence of faith consists in believing and receiving what God has revealed. Consider what God has revealed to you over the last 39 days. Then the Lord showed me this.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.- Hebrews 11:39
When the Lord first directed me to the above scripture I was without a doubt confused. The preceding scriptures went on and on about the heroes of faith and how the world was not worthy of them. Yet, none of them had received what had been promised. The reality is, faith enables us to turn from the approval of the world and seek only the approval of God. If God is glorified by delivering His people, He will do it. If He sees fit to be glorified by not delivering His people, then He will do that. But we must NEVER believe that the absence for deliverance means a lack of faith. That was why He showed me this scripture. To teach me about His ways and not my own. To teach me about faith and trust. God sees the faithful and the faithful see Him.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. - Hebrews 11:13
Lord, increase our faith.
Increase our faith...
so that, for our salvation, we may have a personal trust in You, apart from excellent and praiseworthy works, as we are delivered from our sins and raised again because of our justification. (Ro. 4:5, 23-25, 5:1)
so that in prayer, faith is the "confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us." (1Jn 5:14)
so that when we reference the things unseen of which Scripture speaks, faith will give us substance to them, so that we act upon the condition of there reality, (Heb. 11:1-3)
and so that faith is a working principal in our life, and we are able to use faith as illustrated in Your Word.
Faith looks to the future. That is where the greatest rewards are found.
Without faith it is impossible to please God - Heb 11:6
This kind of faith grows as we study on His Word and participate in worship and prayer. Faith is possible to all kinds of believers in all kinds of situations. It is a necessity for all of God's people.
God has planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. -Hebrews 11:40
What a beautiful ending to a chapter.
Father God, increase my Faith. When my faith feels so small, help me to trust in You completely. Help me to speak life over my marriage with the strength and gentleness of the Holy Spirit. Give me an eternal perspective of what is possible in my marriage and help me see beyond my present circumstances. God of hope, fill me with all joy and peace as I trust in You, so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Help me to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Lord, I want to live as a wife that pleases You. I know that I must have faith in Your dreams and plans for my marriage despite what the world tells me. Lord, thank you for all the goodness You have waiting and see us through the battles and storms that rage. When the world tries to rip us a part, show us how to cling to one another by clinging to You. Holy Spirit teach me to speak life over my husband, our marriage, and our future. No longer will I allow my tongue to speak death. Jesus thank You for Your sacrifice so that I may forever have faith in Your love for us. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My lover is knocking:
"Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with dampness of the night".
- Song of Songs 5:2
When the Lord first gave me this scripture I admit I was completely confused by it but not surprised. I knew He would have much to teach me here and boy did He. Praying for wisdom before starting a new day of study always leads to a deeper lesson for me and I pray that as you read this, you see the importance of this scripture as well and at the end of today's devotion, come back and read it again through the eyes that Christ has opened for you.
I had to back up and read a little more of the verses surrounding the scripture to begin my understanding of it so let me explain to you what I learned. This is "The Bride" telling another distressing dream. Have you ever dreamed of losing something you loved. I have had horrible dreams of losing my husband or even my children through years. It's very distressing. So, the bride here is telling of a dream. I put "The Bride" in quotations because as we know, "The Bride" is also the church of Christ. Jesus is about to show us once again how our marriage mimics the Gospel and the relationship that God desires with us. I am going to scripture dump on you because the Word is where our wisdom is found. Hang with me because it took me a bit to understand where this little journey would take me as well.
Let's start with...
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large group, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shephard. So he began teaching them many things. -Mark 6:32-34
Are you confused? What does this scripture have to do with a verse in Songs? I was completely confused but I promise it all comes together. If you're already seeing the connection, you're one step ahead.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. ˆ- Matthew 9:35-36
Seeing a similarity? Keep hanging with me. I'm so excited for where we are going I can't type fast enough.
One of those days Jesus went out to the a mountainside to pray, and spend the night praying to God. - Luke 6:12
In the words of Jesus: The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.' 'Sir," the servant said, 'what you ordered had been done, but there is still room.' "Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them com in, so that my house will be full.'" - Luke 14:21-23
Let's read the Songs verse above again.
The bride in Songs is satisfied with her washed feet, clean and ready for bed, while the bridegroom, his "head drenched with dew" and his "Hair with the dampness of the night", is toiling for others, working. The state of the bride is not one of sin but one of neglect of service. "The Bride" doesn't want to get her feet dirty and answer the door, later she finds, when she finally answers, that her Lover has moved on and she is such distress because she can not find Him, she is lost and the world attacks her, she realizes all she every wanted was right there begging for her.
Ladies, the Lover of our Soul is knocking on our door and He has worked so hard, day and into the night, sharing the Gospel so that no one is left, that everyone is invited in.
Let's talk about how this applies to our hearts and our marriage.
From day one of this marriage study I have kept the focus on how God's Word can help you become a better wife. I put absolutely no focus whatsoever on how you can make your husband a better husband other than through the power of prayer and despite what many of us believe about our husbands, believe now that Jesus believes your husband is a great man of God. Jesus himself will toil and work, the Spirit will intercede when you do not, to win your husbands heart to the Him. Always remember the world is ready for an attack. I have many conversations, so many, with women who say the want their husbands to pray more, to tithe, to go to church, to seek a relationship with Christ, to be saved, and the list goes on and on. I hear you, my heart always wants my husband to grow in Christ too, and I prayed all those things for him as well. First, we must begin praying for that relationship with Christ to grow; for ourselves and for our husbands. Don't be discouraged because it is your diligence in prayer that will make a difference.
Again so many scriptures were given to me for this days devotion. If you don't have your Bible out or your Bible App open, get ready because here they come and I want you to put the work in here of looking them up.
Matthew 28:18-19 = All authority
Proverbs 1: 20-23 = Wisdom is calling, respond.
Acts 13:46 = Don't reject Him.
1 Samuel 2:8 = He raises the poor up and gives them an inheritance.
James 2:5 = The poor in the eye of the world are rich in faith.
2 Peter 3:9 = He is patient for your salvation.
2 Corinthians 5:20 = WE ARE AMBASSADORS
We are ambassadors for Christ's love. In order to understand the love Christ has for us, we need to focus on our love affair with Him. How can we love a lost and dying world, how can we love our lost husbands, how can we fully love if we don't first love Jesus. We can't. It's time ladies that we recognize that Jesus has already done all we need Him to do and we just need to put ourselves in the vulnerable place of letting Him love us deeply, He can meet that love need we have so that we can focus on our husbands and marriage in prayer.
He has such great things in store for us and our marriage. A heavenly inheritance awaits. Stay the course, stay in prayer.
All scripture points to the Gospel. So, with that in mind, we can approach all scripture as if it's the Good News. As you pray for your marriage and husband today, remember that the "Bride" and even ourselves as wives may be neglecting what we are called to do because we don't want to get our feet dirty. Is it possible that we have found a comfy place and have prepared ourselves for our own rest when Jesus is knocking and asking us to be His hands and feet. If you have given up on your marriage or your husband, is it now time to rise up. Are you satisfied, while He is not?
Enter theThrone Room of God by locking arms with Jesus. Dance before the Lord with joy for what He is about to do just because of your presences and asking, and ask Him all those questions that you have concerning your marriage and your husband. Ask that He rain down His blessings on your marriage and show your husband favor. Let Him show you what is possible. Pray with me.
God Father, all of heaven roars Your name. You are Mighty and how excellent is Your name in all the earth. You set Your glory above the heavens and the earth. When I think that you have orchestrated my marriage as perfectly as you orchestrated the sun and moon and stars, no praise is high enough for how great You are. I thank You for all the blessings You are about to rain down in my marriage. Lord, what a mighty God we serve that the angels bow before You and You are willing to show my husband favor. Remind me that I am a good thing. I adore You God and I am ready to serve You. Show me Lord how I can be Your hands and feet in my marriage and for my husband so that the world can see what is possible. Work Your miracles in my marriage Lord just as Jesus did for the broken and hurting here on earth. All glory, all honor, all praise is to You Lord for you are so mighty in Your ways. Hallelujah, in Jesus Holy name, Amen.
Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, toilet the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? - Isaiah 58:6
Cast all your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. - Psalm 55:22
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-30
For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, "Fear not, I will help you" - Isaiah 41:13
Sisters, I believe with all my heart that this is a topic I could dedicate an entire book to. As women, we LOVE to pick up others burdens and carry them around. Scripture does call us to help others with their burdens (Galatians 6:2). However, as believers in Christ, we are instructed to hand Him whatever it is that is weighing us down.
We when enter marriage with another, we are joined together with each others past. Someone once told me I was lucky to have been with my husband since we were young, that we did not bring anything into our marriage from other relationships. I'm here to tell you, that may or may not be true, we still had baggage. The scares of life shape us and make us who we are and the experiences that cause those scares, the people that may have inflicted the brokenness, can come into the relationship as baggage. Past heart breaks, broken dreams, death, loss, the stripping away of innocence too soon, the relationships that were broken, and so much more; they all are compartmentalized in our brains and we carry them with us. It doesn't matter where you've been or what you've walked through, you have something you are carrying and it's heaviness isn't even meant for you to carry.
We all go through life carrying these things. We can't seem to let them go. Sometimes, we pick up the baggage that our spouse brings and we carry that too. It may not seem like such a big deal at first, I mean, we are called to share in each others burdens and help each other. However, at some point, God is going to call you into "deep waters". There's going to be a journey He needs you to take together in this life. It's going to be scary and hard.
I keep going back to the image of the lonely boat out over the water, the waves crashing with the wind, and Jesus walking towards the boat. (Matthew 14:22-33) Jesus told his followers to get in a boat and go on ahead. He stayed behind and prayed. Before day break Jesus walked out to them and they were afraid. Jesus told them not be afraid and Peter was the brave one who would step out of the boat. At the sound of Jesus' voice he stepped out, fully trusting, but the wind...the wind scared him and he sank. Yes, Jesus saved him upon Peter's call.
Here's the thing. Sometimes Jesus calls us out into the deep. He expects us to walk with Him without fear. Do you want to step out carrying that baggage you've had with you all this time? I'l tell you right now, I did exactly that. I had stood on the shore for years wondering what it would be like to be in those deep waters with Jesus and when I was called out I had so much baggage weighing me down. The deep waters is where you'll find Jesus and it's the best and safest place to be, with Him.
There used to be a time when I had never heard the Lord speak to me. This might be your situation too. I promise, He is trying to help you hear Him. One day during a praise moment between God and myself I felt in my spirit Him telling me "you carried the baggage into deep waters that I never intended you to carry, as soon as you let go, you will float to the top and walk on water with me."
That moment will forever be burned into my soul. I may still, from time to time, pick up baggage but I have learned to hand it over to Christ. He expects us to hand it over to Him. Give it to him.
You know you're carrying something, you may be ready to give it over or you may be in denial. Here is what I want you to do.
You don't want to get out in those deep waters until you've given your baggage over. If you're in the deep waters...let go immediately. Get with Jesus and ask Him to show you what baggage you're are carrying. Ask Him to show you just how heavy it is and then ask Him to take it. Start handing it to Him piece by piece as quickly as you can. Be free of the weight of the past, your past or your husbands. Your freedom to move forward in this life with Christ is waiting.
I knew what I had been carrying. I knew the feelings I associated with what was inside my baggage AND the feelings I had as a result of how heavy they were. Imagine being released of all of that. It is not yours to carry. It's not! I could go on and on with scripture and here are a few more.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:6,7
Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. -Isaiah 46:6
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. -Psalm34:17
No matter what baggage you are carrying around that is affecting your marriage, cast it on Jesus. Give it to Him. Ask Him to help you. I personally, have to ask Jesus to take it from me. Sometimes giving it isn't something I'm able to do because my grip is so tight and I promise, even asking Him to take it, He snatches it right up and it's gone. Free!
Jesus, oh how I thank You for all You offer to do for me. You have saved me and covered all my sin and all my shame. Nothing I could do in this life would have ever been enough. I thank You now for being who You are at all times. Remove from me the heavy weight, the burdens, the baggage, the things of this life that I have carried for far too long. Free me Jesus! Lord thank You for Your mercies. Thank You for providing a Way. I do not want to go through this life drowning in deep waters, I do not want to go through this life standing safely on the waters edge either. I want to walk on water with you Jesus. I want to hold Your hand and know that I have been set free. Father God, bless my marriage through this. Make our marriage one that You can use as an example to others of what You have in store. This life is short and our time here is unknown, Spirit give me the wisdom to know when I have picked up something I should not be carrying and give it straight to You, Help me to NOT cast those burdens onto others through actions or words. Help me to simply give them to you. Teach me how to give the burdens others have shared with me to You. Help me to show others that the can do the same. Help me to show my husband that it is possible. In Jesus Mighty name I pray, Amen.
And said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 18:3
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter. - Luke 18:17
Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. -Matthew 18:4
What is Jesus telling us to do in the above text? Regarding your relationship with God what would this look like? Regarding your relationship to your husband, what would this look like?
One of my favorite things to witness is a couple who has been together for many years enjoying each others company like children do. When I'm in a restaurant I always notice when there is an older couple and I can tell right away if they have a playful relationship. It always does my heart good to see them still enjoying each others company as if they are young again and still in love.
What are some positive changes that have taken place in you since your relationship with your husband began? What about your husband, what positive changes has he made? Have you ever tried to change something about each other? How did that work?
One of first things God pressed on me when we were struggling in our marriage was that I could no longer focus on my husband and how he needed to change? I needed to focus on myself and get out of God's way. If God needed my husband to change in anyway, He was in charge of making that happen. I was not. I needed to move myself out of the way and learn to be softer and quieter, more childlike in my approach to him. Not to lower myself, but so that God could be heard over me. I was the voice in my husbands ear far too many times when God was trying to be the voice.
I needed to learn to have that childlike faith in the Father. I needed to learn to be humble and trusting. I needed to get myself out of the way and focus on my relationship with God first. I humbled myself like a child and handed my husband over as well. If I wanted to see a real change in our relationship, I had to trust that God would do right by us both.
My fondest memories of my husband are when he does act like a child. I don't mean he thinks like a child and makes decisions like a child. I mean he loves me with a pure love that is free. When he scoops me up in his arms, knowing I'll wiggle a little because my love language isn't touch and his is. He holds on tight and while it makes me a bit uncomfortable, it's when I give in that he's at his sweetest. Just the other day he was aggravating me and I pretended to karate chop at him. He wrapped his arms tight around me and I put my hand up like a blade to his neck and said, 'watch out, I've got a mean throat punch" and as my hand touched his neck he laughed and said, "that tickles, if that is what your throat punches feel like you can do it more often." I swear he sounded like a 7 year old but I got tickled at his playfulness. Sometimes, we just need to be like little children with each other, pretending or playing in such a fashion that it makes the stress of the world disappear. My favorite thing to do is to make him laugh, I don't know why he thinks I'm so funny but sometimes he just laughs. Those moments are the ones that mean the most to us.
The Lord has been speaking to me a great deal lately on being more childlike in my relationships with my husband and my children. It's hard to be childlike with my kids and be the adult in charge because I am their parent, I handle their lives as if they are the most important thing in the world but nothing matters more to my children than the moments when I get down on their level and play. I get to know them best on their level of play and thinking. They get to see the child in me that is still there. With all that, their respect grows for me because they know I care about them on a level that is deeper than just being "mom". The same goes for my husband. Inside of him is that little boy who didn't have it so easy growing up. Inside of my husband, that big man, that great man of God, is a boy who loved his big wheel, cherished his hot wheels, loved to fish, and loved to explore nature. Inside of me is that little girl who loved her dolls, loved to climb trees and build things, loved to pretend and play. Sometimes those children just need to play together.
Inside you and your husband, there is the same. I would be willing to bet that guards would come down, stress levels would decrease, and tension would melt away if we could all, for a moment, be like little children. As wives, we can humble ourselves and let God work on our husbands. In the meantime, we need to be His child. We need to let Him love us, and us Him the way children should love and be loved. We need to trust and have faith in such a pure way that we can see only the love our Father has for us. He loves our husbands the same way. Pray with me.
Daddy God, thank you. Thank You for loving us the way a Father is supposed to love. Thank You for loving us so much that You created us to be loved. My husband and I are both Your children. Lord, show us and teach us what it means to be children in Your kingdom. Show us how to do Your work here in this life journey as adults but also to love each other with such a pure love. Show us how to enjoy each others company and spirits. Give us wisdom to understand the child that is inside each of us. Help us to approach each other with the kind of love that mimics Your own for us. Helps us to be forgiving and understand. Help us to be resilient when we are hurt. Help us to give each other the kind of love that we both deserve to experience in this life together. Jesus thank you for being our friend and showing us how important our relationship is in the Kingdom work here. We know that we can not save the marriages of others, but we certainly can be an example of what is possible when a couple clings to you like children cling to their Father or Mother. Spirit impart on us wisdom and grace, give us discernment for each others needs. Thank you for all that you have provided. I claim your healing power over my marriage today. In Jesus Mighty name, Amen.
before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; - Genesis 2:5
There was a time on this earth when it was completely barren of a garden. It was a just a hot, humid dust ball where nothing flourished because there was nothing to flourish.
There was a day just before the planting.
The earth was not capable of bringing forth its own fruit, it was not able to plant itself. Plus, two factors where missing to cause a a garden to flourish, rain and someone to tend it.
Do you ever feel like your marriage is going through a dry spell; no refreshing rain, no tending? Have you ever heard the saying "You may think the grass is greener on the other side, but if you take the time to water your own grass, it would be just as green?" Are you looking at your dry side and peering over to the other side wishing your grass was green and lush again? I can't imagine any marriage that does not experience this. Be patient; water and tend a little to what you've been given.
When the earth was so hot that water existed only in the form of vapor, there could be no vegetation. Rain began to pour, the vapor condensed to form the seas and the vegetation, planted by God, began to to clothe the cool ground of the earth. A garden was in the making. It required His planting, the earth could not do it on its own.
A garden was rising up out of what was once the dry dust. It's vegetation started reaching towards the heavens and became fruitful. This narrative in God's Word was not just a description of the beginning of our world, but of man's relationship to God and in turn, our relationship with our husbands.
I want to talk about this dry time in your marriage because it's important to recognize it for what it is. During this time when things are very uncomfortable, when we begin looking for a sign that there is grass greener elsewhere; it's time to ask God for reassurance concerning your own grass. God created the heavens, the moon, the stars, and all the things we marvel. Even after all that beauty in the beginning there was a moment when, the earth seemed hopeless. Your marriage will mimic God's perfect plan. You feel in love, everything was wonderful and then you start waiting for the garden.
We all know what happens next...
Jehovah himself planted the seeds into the darkness of the earth and that seed held within itself, the miracle of another seed. There may be a time in your marriage when there seems to be no fruit, when there seems to be no refreshing rain, when there seems to be no one tending to the planting of the garden that will ultimately produce the fruit we long for.
I am here to tell you, sister, that you just pray and wait. The rain is coming and the seeds are being planted. The garden is about to rise up. God is not withholding from you the marriage you desire. That is a lie of Satan that was told from the very beginning. God is not withholding. He is simply preparing. I like to call this time a "Delay to Develop". It feels like withholding and we've probably heard it a million times "God is withholding a blessing because you need to..." Nope. Ladies, that is a lie. There is a delay because the miracle is unfolding where you can not see it. The rain is coming, the earth will be quenched, and the seeds will produce fruit.
God's timing is sometimes forgotten in this day and age. We live in a time when we want results, and we want them now. We pray and want to open our eyes and see a miracle. The greatest miracles I have ever experienced in my life were those that I did not know He had coming. I may have given up hope and questioned His will. Then He says, "It's not yours, it's Mine." Isn't it all His? What feels like a withholding in your marriage is actually, God's great love. The disappointments we feel in the wait are His greatest acts of love. We find freedom when we remove the restrictions we have placed on Him and surrender. If you don't believe me...ask Him.
Accepting, knowing, and trusting that even the delays in our marriage, life, and prayers is stepping into hope. When you can strip away your disappointments with God your view of the otherwise changes. You become excited about what He is planting for you. You are encouraged knowing that something beautiful is about to spring up, you appreciate the tenderness that rises out of the darkness and grows so big and strong that in and of itself produces the fruit you need over and over. The miracles are planted and there are miracles within those miracles.
Even in God's Word the garden that He so perfectly planted in the beginning, that was so craved and longed for ultimately is berated by sin. God will plant that perfect garden, because truly your marriage is His, not yours. He will put you on the perfect path surrounded by all of His miracles. The human part of us, the flesh, even after the garden, will wander off the path and into the thorns from time to time. We may forget that He needs us to tend to things, we forget to ask for His help, we try to do it all on our own and we will find that we need His restoration in our marriage. The beauty of it all, is that the garden of this life's journey is nothing compared to the one He has waiting for us in glory. Trust that your marriage, when in a dry spell, is about to unfold many miracles.
Lord Father, I thank You today for your unseen miracles. I thank You for Your perfect timing. I thank You for the dry spells because they too serve a purpose. I thank You for the grass that is greener because it gives me hope. Lord, you are my Lord and I trust Your perfect plan for my marriage. Help my faith when it is small. Help my unbelief when I don't see the miracles. When my marriage feels dry and barren, remind me Lord of Your planting. Thank you Jesus for your great love and redemption. Spirit teach me and nuture my marriage. I come to You, Oh God, asking for your blessings in my life. Send the rain, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.
The Lord is still unraveling and unveiling so many things to me that I do not understand, things that have been taught to me during my 40 years that have been unclear are now coming into focus. The most important being, the Holy Spirit. My relationship with Jesus is beautiful and my growing relationship with the Father, understanding who He is to me, is being perfected. However, years back I felt a stirring in me that something was missing and I honestly didn't know what.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all the things, and bring all the things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. - John 14:26 KJV
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words - Romans 8:26
Out of all of the Trinity, the Person I understood the least was the Holy Spirit. I believe this may be the case for many Christians. His scriptural appearances vary greatly; a dove (Matt 3:16), a gust of wind (Acts 2:2), tongues of fire (Acts 2:3) and no one actually knows what the Spirit looks like. So, you can see why it has been hard for the last 40 years of my life to understand who He is.
He is a teacher, empowered, nurturer, and helper; to start with.
Knowing this, you can see why it became very important for my marriage to better understand who this Person is I didn't know. He interacts in our lives and gifts of the Fruit of His Spirit. We only need to learn to follow His promptings and as our nurturer we can take our pain to Him.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever; the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. - John 14:15 & 16
This scripture perfectly explains my struggle.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. - John 16:13 & 14
I grew up attending two churches, one a "Spirit Filled" church and the other a "Conservatively Spirit Filled". It was very confusing for me as a child, still saved by the grace of God and love of Jesus, but not understanding the third Person. It's all for His glory however.
A few years after my initial marriage study I was sitting in our new church home after a Sunday night sermons. I couldn't move. I felt paralyzed and kept saying to my husband "something is missing". It was so pressed upon me that I was missing something that I didn't want to leave until I had answers. Obviously, we couldn't stay all night and wait. On the drive home with so much passion in my heart I kept saying to my husband "I know I'm saved, I love my Jesus, but I feel like something is missing and I don't understand." He couldn't explain it, I couldn't explain it, but the Holy Spirit was trying to explain it.
I was simply missing a relationship with the Spirit. It's funny how God uses others influence to open your eyes, we are all just testimonies of His glory walking around and the Spirit isn't going to be ignored. You love Jesus? You pray to the Father? Are you working on your relationship with the Spirit? I had no idea what that meant. A few days later I was laying across my bed praying about this feeling that would not settle. It was so deep within me. I looked up and saw a book on my husbands night stand called "Power". It was given to us by a friend whose church we attended a few months earlier. I sat up, opened it, and I read the words that went something like "Do you feel like something is missing?" Well! Yes, Lord I do!
For the next few hours I soaked up every word. Some of it was hard to swallow. Some of it was so brand new to me. I was hungry for it. I realized very quickly that I only needed to invite the Spirit to work in my life, He was waiting on Me to submit and yield to Him.
Just this past year I attended a two Bible conferences. One was the Women of Joy conference and it was amazing. I heard the Lord speak audibly to me in that small voice He uses and answered a prayer before I left that I consider a miracle. That's a story for another day. A week or so later I found myself under the Fire at another conference. I encountered the Holy Spirit like never before and what I walked away with was a relationship that I needed. I heard someone tell this story that another evangelical preacher had shared and I'm sorry to say I don't know his name. The story goes something like this...
When I go to large events to preach in a sanctuary will fill with people. I am put into a room to wait. I stay there quietly wishing I could get out. I've been told to stay here and pray for those coming in to hear me preach but all I really want to do is go out and start praying over, loving, and speaking life into those coming in. I'm locked away in a tiny room when I could be working and moving among God's people. THAT, is exactly what we do to the Holy Spirit. We allow Him into us and we lock Him away. We say to Him, stay right here, pray for me and I'll come get you when I need you to do something big. Instead, what He wants to do is walk with you through your every move, your every moment, your every word in the world and guide you, pray with you, teach you, share God's love. Still, He waits and prays and we feel His presence, we know He is there.
Sister, are you feeling this? If you want to see miracles in your marriage you have to release the Spirit in your life. You have to put on your armor, pick up your tools, and tell Him to show out! The gracious thing that the Spirit does for us is not overpower us, He waits for us to give Him permission to be the Power! Can you imagine what that power will do?
There is a song we sing in church regularly by Jeremy Camp and every time my hands fly up in praise because I know what it means. My desire is to help others understand what I am learning. The song goes.
The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
Ladies, this power is for us. It's in us. Believe!
Are you committed to making your marriage stronger?
Are you ready for the power that Jesus sent to us to take over in your marriage?
I have a word for you... "Your husband is a great man of God."
You may not believe it now, you may not see it now, it may not yet be truth but sister, your husband is being called to be a great man of God.
It took a stranger praying over me during the Fire conference for my eyes to be opened to fact. My husband was not raised in church but had a daddy that love the Lord. His daddy prayed for his children and wife. Tragically, he was taken at a very young age, when his babies were little. He was a great man of God, everyone says so that knew him. When I met my husband when we were 12 years old, he did not know if he believed in God. He was not in church growing up. When we started dating at the tender age of 14, and our parents were driving us to the movies, he still did not believe. Sister, I believed enough for him to catch it. I told my future husband that I had to introduce him to the Savior that loved him more than I did. It didn't take long before Jesus captured his heart and he had much to learn. We've been together almost 26 years and we are both still learning.
Are you praying for your husband to become a great mean of God? Do you see him as that? Do you see past his mistakes or do you see his future self? When Jesus talks about the miracles that happen when we "just believe", He is speaking truth. It's time to let go of all you think you know, and embrace the truth, surrender your life, your marriage in whole (not in part) to Him.
Pray with me.
Lord Father, I want to thank you for all Your grace, all Your mercy, and all Your blessings. Lord, thank You for pressing into me the things You need me to know. I understand that there is so much I may never know until I reach Your presence in Glory, and that there are mysteries you are looking to reveal to me here. I want to receive them all, Father. Thank you Jesus for making a way and being a friend to me during my troubled times and celebrating with me during this life journey. Now, Spirit, I need You. I need You to show up in my life and show out. Teach me about the power of You that resides in Me. Show me how I can pray for my husband and our marriage. Spirit, bring me comfort and wisdom during the hard times. I know that the evil one is lurking to steal, kill, and destroy what God sees as good. My marriage is a good thing, help me to be the wife that sees my husband as You see him.. Lord, thank You for Your patience, protection, and truth. In the name of Jesus, my sweet Savior. Amen
Being raised in church, for me, did not equal an automatic relationship with God as a whole. Walking into the throne room in prayer before the Father was not something I understood and will probably not understand in its fullness until I am in His presence in Heaven. However, it is a place that Jesus has escorted me into many times in my life. When I thought of Father God, many feelings began to rise up in me. I knew when I started my marriage study I would need to enter His presence daily and that felt almost impossible to imagine because of the shame I wore like a garment. However, with Jesus, I found where I belonged, right in my Daddy God's arms.
Daddy God is a description I like to use to help me understand His love for us.
I want to walk you through scripture because, I can tell you about my life long building relationship experience or you can experience Him yourself through His Word. First, let's talk about Jesus, our friend. He's going to introduce us to His Father. Jesus has so much love and honor for Him, we can't help but want to know His Daddy too.
...You are my Son; today I have become your Father. -Psalm 2:7
He will call out to me, 'You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior - Psalm 89:26
I myself said, 'How gladly I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.' I though you would call me Father' and not turn away from following me. - Jeremiah 3:19
Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us?... - Malachi 2:10
Jesus said... In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:16
Jesus said... Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? -Matthew 6:26
Jesus said... No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. - Matthew 11:27
Scripture overload? Maybe. I encourage you to prayerfully read them again. God's Word is full of scriptures that point to His undying love for us. He created us with a purpose, one that He intends to see finish to a flourishing end. How can we know Jesus, and not know Him? We can't; just as He said. However, we have to be willing to step before Him and ask for His provision, protection, and identity. We have to put our crowns on straight ladies and seek Him. Jesus stands at the door waiting to introduce us.
When I was in college, I wasn't in church. I lived away from home for a bit and never plugged into a church local to me. However, one night I had a dream that I remember so vividly. I recall being in a room so very bright it wasn't even white, it was brighter than white. My eyes couldn't see but when I tried to look up, I saw the hands and feet of Jesus. It was assurance that Jesus was there, right in the throne room, waiting on me. It's been nearly 20 years since that night and I remember it like it was yesterday. No, I couldn't see the Father but I sensed His presence. I knew He was greater in that room and I knew that He was waiting on me.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. - Matthew 6:14
Sometimes it's difficult to believe God's truth. They seem so out of reach, like the one above. When I began praying for my marriage it became clear that my prayers for forgiveness were working to release healing in my marriage and relationship with my husband. I needed more forgiveness for my behavior than I needed to forgive my husband for his. I'm going to share with you an embarrassing moment that I'm ashamed of.
My husband worked 6 long, hard years for a company near us. He was never home, always tired, and I craved time with him. I resented the job but knew it was our provision. I would drive myself and our little boys up quite often to try to have lunch with him. He was always under pressure to perform and meet quotas. I only added to that pressure. One day, I picked him up for a lunch break, drove him to grab some fast food with plans to eat in his break room and on the way back with our lunch sacks and kids in the back an argument broke out. I cannot remember what the argument was over, clearly it wasn't that important. Anger rose up in me something fierce like it often did. My not so proudest moment in my marriage was when I reached into the sack as he was getting out of the car and threw his hamburger at him. It hit the ground and as I drove away I watched in my rear view mirror as he knelt down and picked it up. He kneeled down and I'm sure he was furious. I'm sure he was upset about his lunch but mostly, I watched my husband break. He kneeled down to pick up scraps of food, all dignity lost, all honor gone, all the things I needed my husband to be, stripped away.
I had a decision to make as I drove my boys home. They were upset they didn't get to eat lunch with their Daddy, I was upset over words. Words. He's never called me names, he's never belittled me, he has never disrespected me with words. I was simply looking for any excuse to make him miserable, because I was miserable. It wasn't long after that, that I realized I had to do something different. I couldn't keep focusing on making him as miserable as myself. I had to start focusing on how I could be a better me, I was quite sick of the wife I had become. I didn't want to be known as the wife who threw hamburgers at her husband.
"...If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31
Can you think of a time when you dishonored your husband in such a way that it made him less of a man to the world? Maybe not. Maybe you've never done such a thing. However, it's more common than we'd like to admit. What I found is that I needed to forgive, to be forgiven, and to go back to God's plan for our marriage. Boy, did I have so much to learn.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things. - Romans 8:32
That being forgiveness. That being the marriage He intended for us.
Approach the throne of Grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. - Hebrew 4:16
We can enter the throne room of God with no fear of punishment. We can enter His presence to ask for help. Most importantly, we can enter His presence to be reminded of who we are to Him, that includes our husbands. Who is your husband to God? Do you think that God sees the man your husband can be and expects you to help him become that great man of God in this broken world? Do you think that your role is of utmost important to God? He gave us the tools. He gave us His Son. He gave us a crown to remind us that we are His in a world that is looking for hope.
My marriage, ladies, is one that I am proud of. There are plenty of "hamburger moments" to be ashamed up but that's the beauty of what God can do. With His mercies that are new every day, we can leap up off of His mercy like a spring board every morning. We can throw on our armor and walk with Jesus straight to the Father. The door swings wide for His children. So, when I approach our Heavenly Father, I have found that He listens like I need a Daddy to listen. He loves like I need a Daddy to love. He provides like I need a Daddy to provide. He reminds me that He is my Daddy God.
He changes me little by little to become the mighty woman of God He needs me to be along side the husband that He created me to lift up, honor, respect, and pray for. He does the same for each of us, if we will just hold Jesus by the hand and enter the throne room.
Father, I come to you today to ask for forgiveness. I have sinned against my husband. I have dishonored the man You so carefully made and created. I have dishonored You in doing so. I need Your help, Daddy God. I am Your child and I have so much I need, You alone can meet every single one. Show me how I can be a better wife, show me how I can lift my husband up. Show me what honor for my husband can do for him and for our marriage. I thank you Lord for Your grace and mercy. Teach me, help me to be the wife you are calling me to be. Help me to see the little changes and blessings in my marriage as they move us closer to You. Give me a vision of our future together the way You see it. I desire to know Your heart. I claim the promises that You have given. I reject all lies that have been cast over our marriage like a net. Daddy God, I ask that you release our marriage from the expectations of the world where failure is common and quitting is an option. In your Majesty, show me Your expectations and how majestic they are. Create in us a desire to know You first. Help my husband and I to walk in Your glory, hand in hand, to honor You. In Your Beloved Sons name, Amen.
So many of our relationships in our life, including our marriage, directly effect our relationship with Jesus. Instead of allowing Him to be our gold standard we allow our past relationships to tell us how Jesus feels about us.
Greater love has no other than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13
Jesus fills many roles for us during our life and no one role is more important than the other. What I want to focus on today for you is His friendship and love for us. Jesus wants to help release us of mindsets that are not true of Him or of ourselves. He wants to give us complete and total healing from the lies we have attached to Him and to ourselves so that where healing needs to happen in our relationships, especially with our husbands, it becomes possible.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from eh love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord - Romans 8:38-39
Nothing can keep us from Him. We have the power through Him to reveal and remove all that we attached to our relationship to Him that is false. He is waiting for you, friend. Once, we lift these lies we will experience Him in ways that change our relationships with those we love and encounter daily. Jesus was, is, and forever will be God (John 1:1-14) He came to be with us so we could experience Him even today. He can relate to any and all situations we are faced with because he experienced a physical existence with us. He left with us a relationship with Him that means we have a relationship with the Father too. He represents the greatest friendship and love we can ever have. We get to experience Him in every moment of our life. He gave us the ultimate gift, redemption through His sacrifice of stepping down from His Throne to join us, to the gift of His death, and the glory of rising again as Conqueror. Yes, that guy...He is our Friend.
All over the world, every day, relationships are formed and broken; we base them all on how we are treated and how we feel. Not Jesus, He chooses us regardless of whether we like Him or not. He chose us despite how we treat or think of Him. He does this so that it is up to us if we accept or reject Him as friend. Knowing this, how do you know think of your marriage?
Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me. -Revelation 3:20
Once we accept His gift of the cross, we are forever marked by His love. We get to experience this life with Him and He wants to experience it with you. The image of Jesus sitting with me and tasting this life with me blows me away. The Bible tells us that He is not only a friend but also like a big Brother.
Therefore He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He m might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. - Hebrews 2:17
King Jesus is our friend, even better than a brother (Prov 18:24). As a "younger sibling" of Jesus we can access all that He owns. As children of God we become co-heirs of His Kingdom. We can BOLDY go before the Throne of Grace (Her 4:6) because we belong there. We are not simply visitors. While we are there Jesus intercedes on our behalf continuously. He is our Savior, Friend, and Mediator at all times. Our past relationships create in us an expectation of Jesus. It is time to reverse this mindset and let our relationship with Jesus create an expectation of all past and future earthly relationships. We can no longer let the world color the way we see Jesus. We need to let Jesus color the way we see the world.
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools that we have. It is a powerful weapon against the enemy. Unforgiveness chains us to moments in our past that we are not to carry with us and we always hold the key that will release us from those chains, forgiveness. Our guilt and shame are roadblocks to healing and strain our relationship with Christ. Jesus imparts forgiveness on us and we must do the same for others. He wants to take the responsibility so that we can let go and experience freedom.
Any lies that the enemy uses to deceive us regarding our relationship with our husband can cause distance between us and Jesus. It is time, that we ask Jesus to to relate to us each in person on a personal level. It is rewarding to watch Jesus replace His Truth in the areas of pain within our marriage or any area of our life. Jesus heals hurts, removes lies and imparts truth. That's what He does for us. We are going ask our Friend for help. We have so much that needs healing.
In prayer today we are going to ask Jesus to reveal any lies about our relationship with Him that may be effecting our relationship with our husband. We are going to let Jesus expose those lies and where they started. We are going to ask Him to reveal Himself and to help us forgive anyone who taught us this lie. He will remove ungodly mindsets and replace them with truth. It's time to let our Friend, our Savior, heal any brokenness in our marriage that is a direct result of relationship with Him.
For myself, Jesus continues to reveal my spirit of rejection. He heals those moments for me when I experienced them and shows me how to forgive. My spirit and even fear of rejection has caused strains in my marriage, believing that one day I may not be the bride to my husband that he wants or deserves often made me want to go ahead and throw in the towel. Jesus broke those chains for me one by one. Whatever lie your chains have attached you to, will be broken. He promises to do so.
Jesus, I come to You today to thank You for being a Friend to me. Lord, I ask that You reveal to me a lie that has been impressed upon me about You or myself. Show me, Jesus, where this lie was first placed and reveal to me how that made you feel during that moment. I want to feel Your presence during the memory so that I will know how to forgive. I want to see my experience through Your eyes. I ask that you unchain me from the lie and replace that mindset with one of truth. Forgive me Jesus for not running to you before now and believing anything other than Your truth. Cast out all of the ungodly thoughts that I have that tarnish my relationship with You and in turn have tarnished my relationship with my husband.. Help me to see how You love me. Help me to transfer this forgiveness and love to my husband. Lord Jesus, Help me to forgive always. In Your Precious Name, Amen.
Ladies, we are adopted. We are daughters of a Mighty King and He has so much to teach us. The next 10 days are dedicated to that relationship with God: Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I want to unravel for you ideals, religion, and lies. I pray that the next 10 days are the most powerful words you will read in this study. This study is a tool; it's a supplement to the Bible. We are going to dive into His open and living Word and pray for transformation as wives. We will transform our thinking and know that He is the One who orchestrates the parts of our marriage that is at peace and full of love. He walks us through the hard times and stands near us through every fight and ill word. He's just waiting for us to ask for help, seek forgiveness, give forgiveness, ask for wisdom, and favor. He wants us to realize on the very deepest level, our souls, that we are His daughters and He expects us to walk this life as such.
As I prepared for this day's devotion I found myself circling my living room in prayer with arms open wide as if surrounding myself with His presence. Praying for Spirit wisdom and for Him to teach me what I needed to know most. See, we all fall short. We will often find ourselves being the wives we weren't called to be and with a heavy shame I asked for forgiveness for the way I had treated my husband previously. It is hard living with another person and walking this walk. I wanted to open up some scripture for you, like God has opened it for me. Let's visit Matthew 5 together.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything (or anyone) except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. YOU are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let YOUR light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:13-15 (emphasis added)
The Lord speaks to us in different ways; for me, He speaks in vision and images. When I read this scripture I have many images. You are a light. Picture it, a city on a hill, lit by light from within for all to see. I think about the little song I sing to my daughter "This Little Light of Mine." Her favorite part is when we sing "Hide it under a bushel...NO! I'm gonna let it shine." Ladies, we sing these words into our babies but the Lord is singing it into us. We would never want to diminish our children's little lights. We want them to shine so bright and our Father wants the same for us. He wants others to see us and our lights. Our lights from within are completely fueled by His love for us and the relationship He desires to have with us. Jesus did not unveil the Father for us to stay hidden. The veil was torn.
We are called to bring the light to others and especially our spouse. The one person in the entire world the Lord wanted you to cling to and spend your life with deserves your light. He deserves to see your light shine from within and we have got to stop putting "bushels or baskets" over it. We are called to put our light on a lampstand. To stand and be still and to just shine. We don't need to even run around spreading our light, the light attracts, we need only be still.
When we hide our light, we diminish our influence to bring God right into our marriage. Our marriage benefits when we build our relationship with God. As our fuel, our anointing oil, our flames shine brighter and brighter as that strong connection is built. We are empowered to live the way Jesus intended us to live. In His glory, by the Gospel, we have an unbreakable connection that will never fail us in our moments of deepest testing.
We can not fail to pursue a personal relationship with God, we can no longer sit on the side lines and watch the world influence our husbands or our families. We must seek a relationship with God. What does that mean? It wasn't until the last several years, that the Lord truly started exposing for me the lies in my life and where they started. Sadly, many of my influences came from religious encounters as a child. They were so deeply woven into my being that I had no idea they could even be unraveled. I asked for wisdom and I received it.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2
In order to build the relationship I needed to with God I had to transform my thoughts and renew my mind. Have you ever noticed that it seems like "new Christians" have a better grasp for what Christ has done for us than many other people we know. I have and it blows me away. I was saved as a young child and I thank God over and over for that grace in my life. However, I knew that I was missing something. There was an evening at church when I didn't want to leave. I kept telling my husband "I know I'm saved, I love Jesus but I'm missing something." I was. I was missing so much. Shortly after praying for God to reveal to me what I was missing I picked up a book a friend had written about the power of the Holy Spirit. The first words that jumped off the page went something like "do you feel like you're missing something". I did not put that book down.
I was missing a connection with the Spirit. The Spirit is available to us all but I had no clear understanding of what He was in my life. I saw the Holy Spirit as a mist or unclear substance and believed the lie that He was not always available to me. I believed that the Holy Spirit was a spiritual substance and not a Person desiring a very intimate relationship with me. I have a feeling, you may be reading this and say..."me too." The next 10 days, I'm going to introduce God to you as a whole. I want to introduce you to the Spirit as He has been introduced to me. I want you to experience the life changing, marriage changing, belief changing, wisdom growing, Helper that we have waiting for our call.
God communicates with each of us in unique ways. I want to help you experience Him in a way that allows an open line of communication so that you can see and feel His presence in your life. I don't tread lightly here, this is the most impactful part of healing your marriage, saving your marriage, restoring your marriage, redeeming your marriage, and delivering your marriage. If this is what you desire, then the next steps are going to change you, transform your mind, unravel wrong thinking, and renew your mind in the truths that God has for your marriage. It all starts with YOU and your relationship with Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
Until your mind is renewed, you will struggle with mentalities that are in opposition of what God wants you to experience in this life journey with your husband. We are going to confront these mentalities head on with the armor that God has given us, with the Fruits of the Spirit that He has sown into us. It's going to feel like someone pulled a string and you started spinning like a top. You're going to spin and spin and spin and in the midst of it all you will find that your light grows brighter and brighter. The whole world is going to see what God can do in a marriage. It's not my job to save your marriage. It's not. It's my job to show you what is possible. Pray with me.
Father God, I come to You asking that You reveal Yourself to me. I ask that You help me sense, see, and hear You. Help me to discern the lies the world has impressed upon me that hinder a personal relationship with You. Lord, I ask that You reveal Your Holy Spirit to me in such a way that I know without a doubt that His presence is within Me. I need Your Help. My Helper is waiting and I ask that You help me build a stronger connection with You. Lord, I ask that You place in my heart a deep desire to know You. Help me believe during my unbelief that You are for me, Father. Reveal Your love and truth. I have a desire to know Jesus, my Savior, on a deeper more personal level. A level deeper than I know, one that my soul desires. Lord I hand You my life, I surrender my life to You. Show me new and glorious things, renew my mind, transform my heart, and remove ungodly mindsets. Lord, bless my husband through this. Help me show Him the relationship He can have with You. Thank you Lord that You have given me the armor I need to protect myself during this time of fresh renewing. In Jesus' sweet and Holy name, I pray. Amen.
There are so many things that God has unraveled for me over the last few years, just like pulling the string on a sweater, it unravels faster and faster until what was there before needs to be knitted back together entirely. So many things I never understood after being in church my entire life were overwhelming me. The Holy Spirit knows this about me. Recently I began to experience the Spirit as He was intended to be. As I sit here with my essential oil diffuser misting into the air it reminds me of how I viewed the spirit for almost 35 years of my life. As a mist that comes and hovers and can be felt but there was nothing more for me.
A few years ago I sat in our church sanctuary after a service with my heart pounding. I kept saying to myself "there's something more." The journey of getting to know the Holy Spirit like I never had is a story for another day. There are so many beautiful words in the Bible that started to come alive for me as I began studying God's Word with a fresh assurance. One of the words I have been seeking more guidance on is the word "anointing". I found that in my spiritual dry spells is when I needed His anointing to flood my spirit and awaken in me a desire to fully press into the Father.
How do we get to the oil (or anointing) to soothe a dry spell? The olive tree tells us how.
First, the tree itself must be rooted in the right soil, just as we must be rooted in the Word of God and the tree will grow, mature and blossom producing fruit. In biblical times, as well as today, the very best fruit is at the top, it is not the fruit that has already dropped. It is the fruit that must be shaken from the tree. When the tree is shaken, the olives fall from the tree and must be caught gently before hitting the ground, gathered together and washed. Then the fruit must be pressed to release the oil, it must be broken so that the pure oil will flow. The pulp is collected and used again to extract the most precious oil. It is a time consuming process that requires tremendous pressure.
It just so happens, about a week ago, I watched short film on how olive oil is made and it was a very beautiful process to watch.
"Christ, the sinless One, required no preparation for receiving the anointing oil, a symbol of the Holy Spirit" -Hebrews 1:9
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One and all of you know the truth." - 1 John 2:20
"As for you, the annoying you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit - just as it has taught you, remain in him." - 1 John 2:27
"God, your God, has set your above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy" -Hebrews 1:9
"God gives the Spirit without limit" -John 3:34
The anointing oil, being representative of the Spirit of God, is without limit.
Sometimes we feel dry (in our marriage or relationship with Christ), we feel like God is nowhere around. Sometimes we feel like we are not anointed at all. For any number of reasons or any amount of time a marriage can go through a dry spell. When this happens, just remember the olive tree. Olive oil was a staple of the diet in Biblical times. Deuteronomy 8:8 talks about God delivering the children of Israel into a land of milk, honey, wheat, and olive oil (among other things). God's people went through a very rough dry spell in their desert of testing. God delivered them. Olive oil was also used as medicine in Luke 10:34 by the Samaritan. Olive oil was used as lamp fuel (for light) and is the process of purification is described in Lev. 24: 1-2. Finally, olive oil was used for anointing in religious offerings and rituals as representing the pouring out of God's Spirit.
Just the imagery used of a tree being shaken made me hold my breath. Aren't we all shaken? Aren't we sitting here reading this and thinking of all the ways our marriage has been shaken? To have ever gotten to the point of being shaken, means that your marriage is grounded, it is rooted in something good, has matured and has produced fruit, otherwise, you would not be here at this very moment reading this in an effort to do something good for your marriage. Has your marriage felt dry? That's what the oil is for? How are we going to get that oil?
The oil as described started with the shaking of the tree, some stress has to be applied to force that tree to let go of the fruits it is holding on to in order to move forward in extracting the oil. What are you holding on too? Are you bitter? Are you angry? Is the love your marriage drying up? Is there something or someone weaseling it's way into your marriage to separate you from your husband physically or emotionally? Are you ready to let go of the things in your life that you are holding on to so that you can move forward?
Now, remember, when you are shaken and you let go of these things, God is there to catch you when you fall. He is going to gather up all of the things that have been growing in your life and your marriage and He is going to sort them for you. He's going to keep the good and throw out the bad and He is going to use the good, healthy, mature, pure and perfect fruits of your marriage. What God is going to do with those good fruits is wash them, just as Jesus washed us of our sins, God is going to wash your fruits and get them ready. Once your marriage has been shaken, there will be a calm, a tranquility before God brings you through the press. I don't know what your "press" is going to be but God is going to put the pressure on so that you will trust Him, lean on Him, call on Him and give your marriage to Him. After your marriage has been pressed through, what will come out of it is the most pure anointing oil to heal your marriage that God could possibly ever give.
This beautiful anointing is coming to your marriage but you have to be ready for the shaking and the pressing. As God presses you, you press into Him. Seek His guidance through His Word and through prayer.
Father, oh how I need You to pour Your Spirit out onto me. Lord, fill me completely with your Spirit from head to toe so that I can move forward completely filled by You. Press out of me what is not of You so that there is room for you to fill me up. Remove my impurities and prepare my marriage for any shaking and sifting it may need. Lord, I ask you to remove anything from my marriage that doesn't belong, open my eyes to see what You see. Take our good fruits and press them as we press into You. Lord, shake us so that the world cannot. I want You to use our good fruits rather than have the world trample on them.. We trust you with our shaking and that you will catch all that falls away and use it for good. I thank You, Lord, that your are not like man. You are a God of integrity. Your words are an anchor for my soul and You are my refuge. I run to You and I am safe. Sift me Lord, sift my marriage. I will wait for You and the fulfillment of Your words. In Jesus Holy Name, Amen.
"Better a patient man, than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than who who takes a city" -Proverbs16:32
We recently walked through what it means to put on our full armor and be ready for battle. We are in the army of God and are called to do those things but sometimes it is all for not, if we let our temper get the better of us.
I read something once that said, "Love is hard to offend and quick to forgive." If our love wasn't quick to forgive, my husband and I would not have been together for these last 25 plus years. There are days when I wonder if this is true in our relationship though.
I remember a time when my husband came home from a long day at work and barely said two words when he walked in the door, he wouldn't answer my question until he was ready and then made a comment that he knew would rub me the wrong way before going out the door. It wasn't that he was doing it on purpose to be mean, he just didn't withhold his frustrations and I was the one that happened to be in the way. He had something bothering him and so did I. However, I couldn't even react to his snarky comment except to thrust my mop down in the water so hard the water flew of my bucket. Only to think to myself..."why'd I do that, now I have to clean it up." [sigh] It immediately made me think of how we can spill so much over onto others when we are shaken, what do we spill over? Whatever we are full of.
I know it was silly but I anger easily sometimes. It makes me want to scream in frustration that I lack so little self control but screaming probably would look much like self control either. In reality, I know I need to do better. I need to not throw a ridiculous tantrum and try to practice more patience and kindness.
"...the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." -Exodus 34:6
"The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion..." -Numbers 14:18
"...But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love." - Nehemiah 9:17
"But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." - Psalm 86:15
"I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." - Jonah 4:2
I don't know about you but I want to be known in this life for something, I want it to be that I am compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love. These verses strike a cord with me every single time a read them.
Slow to anger...slow to anger...that is something I don't feel I naturally come by. My husband has known me a long time and certainly knows which button to push if he wanted to get a rise. He knows what rubs me the wrong way and how to irritate me and I know I'm not alone. As a "loving wife", I should be gentle and calm, cheerful and self-controlled. I cannot be these things part of the time. I must be these things all of the time, right? If it doesn't anger God, it shouldn't anger me because ultimately my reaction is probably what would have made God mad and not the fact that my husband didn't pick up his own laundry or call when he was going to be late. My emotional self control would do much more for my marriage than a romantic weekend getaway ever could (although, that would be nice).
We need to learn to quickly forgive and forget at a much faster rate. We need to keep our day and our lives better balanced and pace ourselves so that we do not feel the stress of being a wife and/or a mom all of the time. We need to be more grateful for the life and love that we have. How do we do that exactly?
Breathe! We just need to breathe. Standing still, closing my eyes for a second while chaos tries to overwhelm me, and breathe. Isn't that what God commands of us. Be still and know. Be still. Breathe. Then we can thank Him for just being Him. For being the calm in our storm and our strength. Thank Him, praise Him. Just speak His praise out loud. "Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus." Oh how those words take you from a place of less to a place of more; from a place with less hope to a place full of hope. You know that in your thankfulness, that you have allowed God to pour out on your life, everything you need, in His fullness. He will fill you up. So that when you are shaken, you splash Him everywhere. There will be mess then to clean up. Let Him fill you. So, now...you can let it go. Let go of the anger, let go of the frustration, let go of the weight that you just tried to pick up and carry. He never intended for you to carry that.
Next time you find yourself with your head in your hands and you aren't feeling His peace, do this. Take note. Write down exactly how you are feeling at that very moment. Then, praise God. Just jot down or say out loud a truth about God. (i.e., "Lord, thank You for...") After a moment of praise, take note. Write down how you feel after your praise. I promise you, He will take you from a moment of feeling less to a feeling as though He is about to do something amazing, something more.
The reason we get so angry is simply because things aren't going the way we want them to go. We were not in complete control of the circumstance. It cannot be that hard to start letting God handle it and trusting that that He has our best interest at heart. Even if things aren't going our way, being slow to anger, is a virtue that can save a marriage.
Father, I thank You that You have mercy and grace in Your heart for me. I will continually bless and praise You. Your word is true. Your love never fails, and Your mercies endure forever. I am blessed that you are slow to anger and let love abound. I can put my trust in You because my hope, confidence, and expectation is in You. I will not let my anger cut off my hope and blessings a day more. Holy Spirit, be my guide, rain down on me the fruit of Your Spirit that gives me the patience and long-suffering that I need. It is a fruit that you can bestow so that I can continually hope in You. Your heart is for me and I know that You will not withhold from me these things that I ask. These are the ways in which I can become more like Jesus and You give them freely. Teach me to breathe and rejoice, breathe and rejoice. Thank you Lord for all You have done, are doing now, and about to do in my marriage. My husband and I need You're presence Lord and Your Peace. Thank you Father. In Jesus Holy and Mighty Name, Amen.
"For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future" -Jeremiah 29:11
I can't read that verse and not immediately want to jump to this one.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." - Psalm 139:13-16
Give Him your heart. You can trust Him with it, He made it. He made you special and you were chosen to be here in this moment at this time. You are so very special to Him that you were carefully and thoughtfully and fearfully created and crafted and designed by God your Father. Before He even created this world, He had a plan for you. You are no accident, no after thought. He didn't make you up as He went along. He created you and willed you into this life for a purpose. He chose your parents and wove you together in the womb. He knew where you would be born among your generations before you and what order you were to be born. He even planned and chose for you your spiritual heritage. Some parts you may not consider beautiful, but He does. Some parts you see as He does, gorgeous. You're a perfect creation with the desire to seek out your Father's love. He gave you everything you need to overcome everything that needs over coming, even your heritage if needed.
In a previous days devotion I asked the question: If God made you to be the perfect wife to your husband, do you believe that you are her?
There are some days when that answers feels like a firm and solid "no". There are days when you may want to shout "absolutely". Hopefully, the "no" days are very few. There was a time in our marriage when the "no" days out weighed the "absolutely" days. Now, there is not question, even on our hardest days my answer is always "absolutely". God has invested so much in you and your marriage that you may not even see or know. You may be two imperfect people that He created perfectly, people the world has broken and sinned against, but He created you BOTH exactly as you should be. You then chose each other to walk through this life journey together and He will bless it.
An incredible amount of effort and time was used to design you. Our Father focused and made you one of a kind. He did not take the safe route and just start making copies of people. No, He took His time and did it right when He made you. He did the same thing for your husband. He planned and thought about you so extensively, far beyond the age of this earth. He knew your soul before it was placed in His earthly creation. He smiles when He looks at you and He smiles when He looks at you and your husband together. He is waiting and watching for you both to acknowledge His presence and all He has to offer you in this life.
The world needs the two of you to remain faithful in your marriage and to each other. The world needs you. You are both bringing something special that no other couple of individuals in the world can bring. You each have gifts, that when combined, have the power to change peoples thinking about what marriage should look like. Other people you know, need to see what God has done. God gave you the power to show the world what is possible when it comes to marriage.
We don't know what God's plan is. We don't know what our future chapters look like or even how long He has written them, our days are ordained. During that time, God does not promise that things won't get hard or painful. He doesn't promise that we will have worry free days until we take our last breath but what He does promise is, we can run to Him. He promises that He can turn the pain and hard stuff into beauty and dancing. His power and promises are all tied together with the love that He has for you. You and your husband were both created to be loved by Him, to seek His love, and to desire that relationship.
We are to not just to know there is a God or believe that Jesus walked on this Earth. We are also to have a relationship with Him that is intimate. The intimacy was designed from the very beginning and when He released you into this world He wanted nothing more than you to turn back to Him and embrace His love. Graft into Him. Jesus said "I am the true vine, and my Father is the Gardener..." -John 15:1 If we will remain in Jesus, Jesus will remain in us and God our Father Gardener will take care of the rest. He will surround us with beauty and pull the weeds for us. He will help us to bear fruit and trim away the things in our life that prevent us from being fruitful.
Your marriage was written into His chapters. As the Author and Perfecter of our lives you can trust that the life He has for You was designed for something more beautiful than you can imagine. He will continue to place in your life, everything you need to strengthen your marriage.
Lord, I present myself and my marriage to You. I desire to draw nearer to You with my entire heart. I give myself back to You . I want to be holy and acceptable to You. The world changed me and it's influence does little good. My life is in Your hands today, just like it was the day You first thought of me until the moment You created me. I give You my heart and all of the pains and disappointments. Create in me Daddy God, a clean heart, and renew in me a steadfast spirit. Lord take my marriage and transform it into Your image of marriage. Make my husband and I like You. Show us why You created us. I believe Your Word. You are the vine and I am the branch. I will abide and remain in You all of the days you have ordained in my life. Without You I can do nothing. I need You and Your presence at all times. Lead us and guide us by Your Spirit. We want to have the fruit that remains and is waiting for us. We desire and ask for godly character a we abide in You. Show us Your ways. Lead us down he path of righteousness for Your name's sake. In Your name Jesus I pray, Amen.
"All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for EVERY good work." - 2 Timothy 3:16-17, emphasis added
That also includes His guidance for His children. He will do whatever is possible to help you know His will for your marriage. It is essential, however, that you watch for His hand in your life so that your are able to discern the circumstances for what they are. He will create them as He opens and shuts doors, just let God be God.
"Call me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." -Jeremiah 3:33
Sometimes it feels like you aren't sure what doors to walk through. As husband and wife, that is when it becomes very important to pray together. God has never failed us when we ask Him to reveal His will. Sometimes He shuts other doors, sometimes He makes the path straight, sometimes He shines a light for us. Watch for His favor and use what He gave you. He gave you eyes to see and ears to hear.
His Word also speaks. When you begin to see His Word as a living, life breathing Book you will begin to stop reading as mere stories and black and white words. Before even opening His Word, ask for guidance like He offers in Jeremiah 33:3 and His Word will change how you read and what you receive. It will begin to speak to you in the places that need filling up with Him. He may guide you but He will be clear in His guidance. He may never give you the full picture but being obedient to His will and keeping an eternal perspective of your marriage will change you and guide you.
Read Acts 16:6-12. Paul and Timothy were actually forbidden by the Holy Spirit to got to Asia. Their course instead was straight to Macedonia, led by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. One door closed and another opened. God has inherently equipped you with what it takes to know His will. Asking for the Holy Spirit for His help in discernment can be the key to making sure the doors opened are wide. Prayer opens them wide just like the gates of heaven.
In 2011, around the first week of September, just after labor day; my husband lost his job. The job he'd had for 6 years. I was probably the only woman whose husband had lost his job in that tanked economy and was happy about it. Number one, I knew the job was slowly killing him and number two our marriage had been suffering. A week before he was given the "pink slip", we'd had the biggest fight of our marriage. One that made me call it quits. I was done. My husband was completely miserable and he was making all of us miserable. I knew the instant that I saw him when he walked through the door and started to hand me his release papers that it was God. Sure, circumstances may have led up to that day but if it had not been for God stepping in I am not sure I would have had the strength to keep trying. Because I knew that this was a God thing, I knew that He was in control of our lives and was working on something big. In the mean time, my husband and I had more time to study God's Holy Word and to spend more time with our Father. We are leaning on Him and seeking out His Will for us. Sometimes, when things get so bad that we feel we can not go any further, God steps in and takes over.
Can you look back on any situation in your life, that at the time you thought was devastating, and now you see how God used that circumstance to give you better than you ever imagined? have you ever seen him take pain and hurt and turn it into something healing and beautiful?
There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under the heaven. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to more and a time to dance... - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Sometimes, it's just time to walk through another door.
Looking back, years later, I definitely see that our Father had better things in store for us. It was one of the best door closings of our lives. We definitely wanted to be where He needed us to be and where we would find Him working. I have learned since, in the face of tragedies and disappointments to say immediately; "Well, God's got something better for us." He has been very faithful on this matter of door closing. The doors that opened have led us far beyond our expectations and imaginations.
Watch Him work. You've read your Bible, you've asked for guidance, you've prayed diligently for His help, now watch Him work. When your marriage goals and desires line up with His will for you, amazing works begin to happen that can only be explained by Him. As our marriage is a reflection of the Gospel so is the Great Commission in application as well. You're marriage is a reflection of what God can do for others.
Lord Father, I will hope in You. I will live to serve you with gladness and live righteously. I will praise Your holy name forever. I partake of Your mercies that are new every morning. Your love for me never fails, and Your mercy endures. Lord, I ask that You cut off and close doors to the things in my life that are preventing me to walk in you will. Lord, I ask that you cut off and close all doors for my husband if anything is preventing him from walking in Your will. I am blessed because I put my trust in You. I thank You, Lord that your heart is for my marriage and I will continually bless You and praise You. Lord I ask you today to make our path clear as husband and wife. Show us with all certainty the doors we should walk through. Your Word is true, Lord I thank you that with Your mighty hand you close doors. Just like closing the door to the ark, You protected your creation from the Great Flood. Lord, protect my marriage. In Jesus Holy name, Amen.
"Therefore I urge you, (sisters), in view of God's mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will e able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will." -Romans 12:1-2 with additional comment
Last night I had an awful dream. My dream was about my husband and I. At times it was weird and didn't make sense. My dream was that I drove my husband away. He was simply no longer interested in me and actually would much prefer someone different all together. When I woke up my heart was broken, my mind went directly to what I would do to keep my husband. It made me feel as though I would do anything to keep him and I wanted the "courting process" to start all over. I wanted to be delightful to be around and willing to put his needs before mine. I wanted to say..."Shove over world and leave us alone!"
Have you ever felt or even considered that the living sacrificial relationship you have with God also mirrors one you have with your husband. Have you ever felt the need or desire to lay it all down for him?
Now, I know my husband isn't leaving or looking, it was just a dream, but it does make me think about how willing I was in the beginning to please him. I would dress nice and talk sweeter...that was in the beginning. The beginning was many years ago. Should that change? Does it change? Do you think our husbands would appreciate if we went go back to those days? What if you set out to win your husband heart every single day? Just like God does for us.
When I think about what a godly and virtuous wife or woman would be like I immediately think on Proverbs 31:10-31
10Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Maybe we should read through those again....
The virtuous woman brings her husband pride, she is not lazy, she does good by her husband and puts much thought and effort into her responsibilities, every one of them. Her words are thought out, she is kind, she is not vain and she is always prepared. When I personally read through all these things that describe the virtuous woman, I make a mental list of all the things I am not.
There was a time when I read through these and thought, I'm not doing too bad. I think I might work on one of these I'm not doing well though. Proverbs 31:15 was the one I chose. Which one would you choose? I definitely have the desire to take care of my family and it would not hurt me at all to wake up a little before them each morning and get it together. I could spend time in prayer, put on my armor, and adjust my attitude. So many little things can be accomplished by getting ahead of my family during the day. I'm not the best at it but my alarm goes off every morning before my husbands. That was my desire. Yours may be totally different.
Why is this all important to consider?
It would not have been placed in God's Holy Word if it was not important. We surely do not want our husbands studying on these things for us. Instead, have a talk with God about the things you can do better or work on. Reflect on your marriage in the beginning, in the "courting" or "honeymoon" stages when your best foot was put forward and think of one thing that you did then for your husband that you no longer do that he might still appreciate. If he appreciated the efforts then, he will appreciate them now.
The Bible has so much to say about the body. God cares about your body because He dwells within it. If you want to know what God has in store for you, what His will is for your marriage, offer your body to Him as a living sacrifice. Do all you can to present it as the best possible self you can. Take care of yourself, get rest and sleep, eat well, exercise, avoid anything that may compromise your health. Study His Word, guard your tongue, protect your eyes and ears from what you see and hear. Not only do you deserve to take care of yourself but God expects you to take care of you. If you aren't taking care of yourself, how can you possibly give your marriage, husband, or family the care it needs.
The relationship of the believer to Jesus Christ is as the relationship of husband and wife. You share, you belong, you are one; emotionally physically, mentally, spiritually one. Yes, you are two separate creations of God but He has called you to be one.
Father, I want to know You more intimately. I give my life to You, my physical body was created to worship You and You perfectly dwell within me. Spirit teach me to take better care of myself, show me what God says is important for me, make His will for my life evident. I want to glorify Your name in all that I do and say. Keep my mind alert, train me up as a child of Yours. Lord, I ask that you continue to put a divide between myself and the world. The world does to offer me a thing that is of value to You. Only Your goodness and grace that meets my every need is acceptable. Show me Lord where there needs to be pruning in my life, show me where I can flourish for your Kingdom. Give me an eternal perspective so that I can see farther. I know You never reveal the full picture of our purpose but step by step You guide, guide me. I give you my life and my body so that I may serve and be Your hands and feet in this world that does not know You. Thank you Lord for promises. Thank you Lord for reminding me that I am Yours. In Jesus Holy Name, Amen.
"Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist". -Ephesians 6:14
The thing about a lie is, once it is told, it is sure that the truth will be revealed. Once the truth is revealed, trust is lost. The thing I have learned about the belt of truth is that it holds all of the rest of the armor in place. A life of integrity, with a clear conscience, can stop the enemy in his tracks without fear. Jesus instructs us to be ready and dressed in Luke 12:35. Prepare your minds! This is His instruction for us. Make sure your conscience is clear because to be fully dressed means the belt of truth is buckled and everything is firmly in place.
Satan is a liar.
"You belong to the father, the devil, and you want to carry your father's desire. He was a murdered from the beginning, not holding the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." -John 8:44
Straight from our Saviors lips he explains that you can not be the daughter of the King and be the daughter of the devil. Who's your daddy? You can make mistakes in your life, you will sin, you will live in the flesh, you will be human; our Heavenly Father knows this. What you need to know with all certainty is that you are His. You are the daughter of the King, the Lover of your soul, the One who created you, the One who blesses your spirit, and the One who will go to battle for you; need I go on? Know who you belong too. Remind yourself daily. It is essential to buckling on your armor and letting the belt of truth do it's job.
The belt does hold all the parts together that we previously studied. There is a reason I gave them to you backwards. I wanted you to mentally strap each peace on each day and understand their purpose leading up to the truth. With the belt of truth holding it all in place you WILL BE victorious.
The belt also held the sword. The Sword of Truth the truth of God's Word goes together. Unless we practice the truth, we cannot use the Word of truth. Once a lie gets into the life of a believer, everything begins to fall apart.
King David lied. His lie and deceit grew and grew. He lied about Bathsheba and it was all down hill from there until he he confessed and cleared his conscience. It was a brutal lie that cost lives. Psalms 32 and 51 tell of the price he paid.
Since we are fighting against our enemies in the spirit world, in the heavenly places, we need special equipment for offense and defense. God has provided it all, the full armor, the "whole armor" for us. It is important that we do not leave off one single part. Satan will look for the unguarded areas and he has an army following him. Do not let your guard down. Do not forget a piece. (Eph 4:27) "Do not give the devil a foothold."
Paul commands his readers to put on the armor, take up the weapons, withstand Satan. We do it all by faith. We know that Christ has already conquered Satan. We know that the spiritual armor and weapons are available, by faith we accept what God gives us and go out to meet the foe. His fiery darts and lies cannot touch us. The day is evil, and the enemy is evil, but...
"if God is for us, who can be against us?" -Romans 8:31
"God is with her, she will not fail. He will help her at the break of day" -Psalm 46:5
Ladies, you are equipped. Before your feet hit the floor every morning, even if you have to set your alarm 5 mins earlier, lay in bed for just a bit and put your armor on. Empty your mind of the world, ask your Daddy God to capture your worldly thoughts and put on your armor. He created us to be warriors. We are in the army now! We are to strap on our armor and secure it with truth and study His word.
5 mins in the morning will set the entire tone of your day. Sometimes we do forget and we are hurried. We start our day with a jolt and try to move forward. We become of no use and feel beat down. Recently myself, I was trying to take care of a business matter that my husband needed me to handle. My entire morning was a mess, I was jolted from my bed as we had over slept. The kids missed the bus, I took them to school and tried to handle my day. It was a disaster for hours and my husband knew it, I made sure he did. I made a few calls and arrangements to meet with others later in the day so that I could go home and regroup. I had a "Goliath" to slay and I was doing it on my own. I gave myself a full hour to get it together and get my armor on and then asked for God's favor. What had taken me hours earlier (and gotten me nothing but an ill argument with my husband) was accomplished in less than 30 minutes with my armor on.
I cannot stress enough the difference that is made when you are prepared. Again, Jesus was very clear that we are to be dressed and ready (Luke 12:35) We are to prepare our minds. His words, not mine. If you do these things and still have a trying day, just image what it could have been like without your armor. The good news is, Christ can redeem it all and restore what is lost. Just ask. Just believe. Let's pray for ourselves and our husbands today.
Father God, I come to You today to thank You for Your mercies that are new every single morning. I praise You for Your sovereignty. Thank you for my whole armor, that every piece was considered and that every one protects me. Lord, teach me to be faithful in putting my armor on, teach my husband also.. Remind me when I'm missing a piece. Isaiah 40:31 tells me that if I wait for You Lord I will gain new strength and renewed power; that I will be lifted on wings and rise over the enemy like an eagle. From on high Lord, You will help me see where the Liar lurks. He can not hide from You. You promise that I will run and not grow weary; that I will walk and not grow tired. Lord, help me. Help my unbelief Lord when my faith feels too small. Remind me whose I am every morning. I believe Your Word. Without you I can do nothing, not for myself, my husband, or my family. I need You and Your presence in my life. Lead me and guide me by Your Spirit. Show me Your ways. Lead me in the path of righteousness for Your name's sake. In Jesus Holy name, Amen.
"...with the breast plate of righteousness in place"... -Ephesians 6:14
I'm going to be transparent here. For many years the word "righteous" put a bad taste in my mouth because of the context it is so often used in when describing someone who thinks they are better than all the rest and judges others based on their own goodness, "self righteous". So, I struggled for years with understanding righteousness and what it meant concerning God. I have devoted prayer to asking for God to open up His Word to help me better understand what His righteousness means.
My study Bible took me on so many paths throughout scripture, it was quite a journey and created quite a reflection for me. Let me take you on the journey too.
"Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist" - Isaiah 11:5 referring to the coming Messiah.
"Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning." - Luke 25:35 regarding the return of Christ.
"Prepare your minds for action, be self-controlled; set your hopefully on the grace to be given to you when Jesus Chris is revealed." - 1 Peter 1:13
"he put on righteousness as his breastplate." Isaiah 59:17 in reference again to the coming Messiah
"Put on faith and love as a breastplate" - 1 Thessalonians 5:8
I began to notice that all the references were in preparation and referred to putting on on the armor. The breastplate literally guards the heart.
This piece of armor, made of metal plates or chains covered the body from the neck to waist, both front and back. It symbolizes the believer's righteousness in Christ as well as his righteous life in Christ.
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" - 2 Corinthians 5:21
"...and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" -Ephesians 4:24
Guard your heart.
For years I had a Sunday School teacher whom I admire as a godly wife and mother say at the closing of every class..."guard your heart and guard your marriage". You could call it part of her life song. She so pressed into us the importance of guarding both. The reason we must, at all times, protect our heart is because Satan will go straight for it and in turn his goal is to get at our marriage.
Satan is the accuser, but he cannot accuse the believer who is living a godly life in the power of the Spirit. No, we aren't perfect in and of ourselves. We hope and strive to be more like Christ and walk this journey with Him. The life we live either fortifies us against Satan's attacks or makes it easier for him to defeat us. When we put on the breastplate of righteousness, we are not only guarding our hearts with the righteousness of Christ but we are telling the world that we are going to live a life that fortifies us against Satan.
We stay away from the things of this world that Satan could use to attempt to destroy our lives and our marriage. We are careful about what our eyes see and our ears here. As children of the King, we must protect ourselves so that Satan can not use our own actions it against us. When Satan accuses the Christian, it is the righteousness of Christ that assures the believer of his salvation. But our positional righteousness in Christ, without practicing and walking out that righteousness daily, only give Satan the opportunity to find a foothold to attack us. We must be diligent to "guard our hearts and guard our marriage" and not be tempted by the world.
Satan wants to wear you down and make your marriage feel loveless and miserable. Trust me, I walked out miserable for far too long many years ago. He wants to tarnish your marriage because doing so makes that picture of the gospel that your marriage represents appear tarnished too. He wants it to fail and be destroyed and the world has everything in it he needs to accomplish that goal. Guard your hearts and guard your marriage. Your Father gave you everything you need for unity in your marriage along with His desire for unity. The one thing Satan wants to do is divide and he will use what every unrighteousness in the world to do it. Put on that breastplate every single morning while His mercies are new. Decide for yourself and your husband that you will remain guarded.
Father, thank you. I cry out to you today as I put on my armor that You have bestowed. I claim victory over my marriage because I believe that the effective prayers of the righteous make Your heavenly power available to guard our hearts. Give me a steadfast spirit to be watchful of the enemy and his attempts to create a divide between myself and my husband. Lord, I yield to the Holy Spirit as he Helps me in my weakness and I plead the same for my husband. I pray the Spirit teaches us how to remain in your righteousness. Let all the days of our marriage and lives serve Your purposes here on earth. Release your power and glory upon our lives. I find the hope of our future in Your presence. Let the power of the Holy Spirit fill every area of my life with Your wisdom and courage. I know that I am called to wear this armor because of the battles we can not see. Give me strength to withstand. In Christ Jesus name I pray these things, Amen.
...and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace. -Ephesians 6:15
I think this piece of armor may very well be my favorite to study. It's such a beautiful thing to read about. Often, when we talk about the feet being fitted we have the image of the sandals worn into battle, how they are sturdy leather with the spikes coming out of the bottom. They definitely aren't meant for style or comfort but are purely for function. However, when I read deeper into God's Word on the subject these are the words I love most.
...How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. -Romans 10:15
This verse is in reference to a scripture in Nahum.
Look, there on the mountains the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! - Nahum 1:15 and then they celebrated because those feet of peace mean that no more will they be invaded, the enemy has been destroyed completely.
Isaiah goes on to share...
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" -Isaiah 52:7
Sister, when we are being called to be the hands and feet of Christ, we typically find ourselves being the hands more than the feet. Many of us have servants hearts and our hands are always serving but, we are called to do more. We are called to strap on the shoes of the gospel and go out and tell others of the peace that Christ brings. If we are called to do this in the world, don't you think we are first called to do this in our own home. We are first called to tread on the foundation that God has set for our families, our marriage.
While the Roman soldiers wore shoes with hobnails to give them a better footing for battle. We are called to wear something slightly different. If we are going to "stand" against and "withstand" the enemy we must make sure that our feet are strapped with the gospel of peace. We are to walk out the Gospel every single day. Because we have the peace of God that comes with the Gospel, we do not need to fear the attack of Satan or of men. we must be at peace with God and with each other if we are to defeat the Devil. (James 4:1-7)
The shoes also represent to us that we must be prepared each day to share the Gospel of peace with a lost world. The most victorious Christian is a witnessing Christian. The most victorious marriages are also a witness to the world of the Gospel. The number one purpose of your marriage has always been to represent the mystery of the Gospel. Your marriage is active and living and serves as a witness to the world of the love Christ has for His Church. We aren't perfect, we are broken people who live life in a broken world and we are called to do our very best with such conditions, but that's where the Gospel comes in.
If we wear the shoes of the Gospel, then we have the "beautiful feet" mentioned in Isaiah and Romans. Satan declared war, but you are an ambassador of peace within your own home first and then to the world. As a believer, you take the Gospel of peace wherever you go. Just as God reached out and found us and made us a promise, loved us, and continues to love us despite our faults, you are to do the same for your husband.
I don't know where you are in your marriage, if you're engaged, dreaming, newly married, decades in, full of love, loveless, full of memories, or memories not yet created. The good news is, that your marriage is so sacred to our Father that it is literally designed to reflect the Gospel of Jesus, a gospel of love. Whether broken or strong, happy or uninspiring, new or old, your marriage matters. You have a choice to be the good news every single day. Yes, the world needs you to be those beautiful feet on the mountain but so does your husband. Some wives are blessed to have husbands that are great men of God and some wives are hitting their knees praying for their husbands salvation. No matter where you are in your marriage, not matter what it looks like from the inside or outside, your marriage is cherished by the One who loves you most. Walk with footsteps that are readied with the gospel of peace.
Lord, I give You the glory that is due Your name for the work you have done here today. All blessing and honor and glory and power be to You. You are great and greatly to be praised. I bless You and magnify Your Holy name, Lord, in my worship and praise for You give me the wisdom to share your Gospel message. Place on my lips the words that the world needs to hear. In my marriage Lord, let it be a reflection of Your story of love and redemption. You are great, and You are a miracle worker. My marriage needs a miracle, it needs Your divine touch. Teach me Lord how to be ready with Your good news. Let me remember Your loving intentions for my marriage through hard times and the good. Lord, restore time that has been lost, and redeem words that have been said that do not reflect Your love. Magnify Your love for us through the representation of my marriage to others. Let your glorious ways be known on the earth and Your salvation among the nations. Thank you Jesus. Amen
...take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. -Ephesians 6:16
You may already be familiar with the verse above, perhaps you even know how to take up your shield of faith. Can I take a you a bit further in scripture so your understanding of the shield has a fuller meaning.
...he is a shield to those who walk in blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. -Proverbs 2:7-8
Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. - Proverbs 30:5
..."Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." -Genesis 15:1
You are my refuge and my shield, I have put my hope in your word. - Psalm 119:114
Psalms is full of references of how our Father is our shield. So many of us refer to our shield of faith as something that involves our own strength, that it's power is dependent on our faith or lack there of. What God's Word says over and over, is that He is our shield. He is were we draw a faith from. We have faith in Him and not of what we can do on our own. On our own a shield is heavy, on our own our shield is hard to carry, on our own our shield requires maintain and work to keep it sturdy and functional.
With God as our shield, our faith is unwavering. It may be heavy for us but for God we need only stand behind it.
With God as our shield, we have faith to move forward.
With God as our shield, we have faith to get closer to the enemy with our Sword.
With God as our shield, we have faith that are protected.
With God as our shield, we have faith that we are hidden from attacks.
With God as our shield, we have faith that He can give us rest during battle.
With God as our shield, we have faith that we are not alone.
With God as our shield, we have faith we are cared for and never forgotten.
With God as our shield, we have faith that the enemy will let down his own guard.
The shield was large, usually about 4 feet by two feet. It was made of wood, and covered in tough leather. It as curved and polished so that it was slick. As the solider held it before him, it protected him from spears, arrows, and fiery darts. The edges were designed so that they could interlock others and form a larger barrier against the enemy. This suggests that as Christians it is important to bring our Shield of Faith to battle when we meet together and that we do not battle alone. The faith mentioned here is not a "saving" faith, it is a living faith. It is trust in the promises and power of God.
Faith is a defensive weapon that protects us from Satan's fiery darts that are directed at our hearts and minds: lies, blasphemous thoughts, doubts, desire for sin, and hateful thoughts towards others. It is our faith that quenches these darts. We never know when the Devil will fire a dart but sure enough he is looking for an opportunity. He's look for you to let your guard down. This is why we must always walk by faith and use our God given shield.
I can recall one particular time that my husband and I both let our guards down. We received such an attack that we didn't know if we could survive it. We were both so very wounded and hurt. Our brokenness was exposed and it all came at a time when we were walking the very path God had called us too. We are following direction from the Lord in our lives. One that changed the history and make up of our family simply because we stayed the course. We let God heal, we showed Him our wounds and battle scars. By His stripes, we were healed, our marriage was healed. We may have had our helmets on and our swords ready but without our shield the enemy gained entry into parts of us that hurt the deepest.
Our God is Mighty! He is loving and forgiving. Praise Jesus!
Our Heavenly Father would not tell us to not be afraid over and over if He didn't understand our nature of fear, worry, anxiety and how we get dry mouth, cold heath, sweaty palms all wrapped up with a racing heartbeat when ever we are under attack. The Devil is fully aware of how we react in dire situations. This is why he is hiding and lurking, waiting for the perfect moment to attack. He's waiting for that moment when you say "I got this God. I'm good now."
God is always there. He is listening to your prayers for your marriage. He hears your cries for protection. He is ready to reaffirm to you His promises for your marriage and light the way in His direction. When you pray, it's your opportunity to lay wide open your fears so that He can cover them and protect you from them. His promises for your future are protected, He is your shield. Don't let your fears and mangled thoughts steer you off the path He has for you, call on Him to be your protector. Hit your knees and rest within Him when the battle is too much, when the arrows keep coming, hit your knees and let Him cover you with your shield of faith.
Father, I choose today to be a victor with Your as my protector. I refuse to be a victim of circumstances surrounding my marriage and in life. Lord, I lift my marriage and my husband up to you today so that you may cover them. Protect us from the fiery darts the Devil has seen fit to aim at us. Release your power and glory upon my husband and I. I will raise my voice to You and enter Your Heavenly throne room until I see a revival in my marriage like no other . I will not be moved, afraid, or shaken. I will rest in You and beneath your protection. My shield of faith is You Father and all of your promises. Let the light of Your glory shine and flood our marriage so that others can see what is possible. Lord whatever adversity we face, help us face it together, help us to lock our shields and move forward during battle to slay the enemy and be overcome only by the power of Your love for us. Thank you Jesus, Amen.
Satan wants to attack the mind, the way he defeated Eve. (Genesis 3; 2 Corinthians 11:1-3) It's referred to as "the fall". It changes history. It takes place in the midst of a perfect paradise among sinless people. It all begins with Satan and his disguise. He was clever, shrewd, and cunning. The Bible never tells us why he approached Eve but we can all agree it is probably because God never told her of the prohibition directly, do not eat the fruit. She had taken it at Adam's word and not God's direct word. The Devil began the entire conversation by questioning God in Genesis 3:3..."but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" Eve exaggerated God's command. Funny how those last two sentences are something we tend to do from time to time. We question God. We exaggerate His commands or just the opposite and ignore them completely. Usually exaggeration is used to make our God Father seem so unjust that we just can't possibly live out what He expects of us. Or the exaggeration is simply because it was not conveyed correctly to us by another. Either way, that is why it's important to read His Word for ourselves.
Genesis 3:5 is just a straight up lie in that we cannot be like God. The entire temptation was tied up at the end with a perfect little lie. "...you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Being like God has nothing to do with knowing good and evil. God is good all the time because He is good. The temptation to be disobedient simply involved gaining knowledge without first being obedient. Proverbs 14:12 says that our ways may seem right but our ways end in death. Every temptation is to go your own way and not God's way.
Genesis 3:6, the tree is attractive to the eye, appealing to the appetite, and enticing to ambition. Simply by listening to another creature rather than God means that they sinned. They believed his lie. In Genesis, it goes on that Adam denies responsibility (Gen 3:12), then Eve copied his response (v13) and God judges the serpent (v14). Later in Rev 12:9 the serpent is identified as having the intelligence of Satan. He is charming and deadly and represents opposition to God. Before passing judgement on Eve, we see the first prophesy of the Messiah (v15), notice God does not "curse" her like he does the serpent and Adam.
Satan does want to attack the mind. Christ defeated Evil. The Helmet of Salvation that we are about to discuss is a God given weapon. It refers to a mind controlled by God and His Truth.
The Helmet of Salvation (Is 59:17, Eph 6:17, 1 Th 5:8) protects our minds from the world. As women and wives it is important that we receive the responsibility of acquiring knowledge through His Word. Too many Christians have this idea that intellect is not important, when in reality it is a vital weapon against evil. It's essential to our Christian growth, service, and victory. When we dig into God's Truth and learn what God has to say in His Word, then He is able to control the mind, and if He controls our mind, Satan cannot lead His children astray. When Paul taught new Christians the truths of the Word of God, it was the helmet of their salvation that protected them from Satan's lies.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sort of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. -Ephesians 6:17
If we haven't been fitted with our helmet of salvation then we are subject to be a casualty in battle.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (what you can see), but against the rulers, agains the powers, against the world forces of the darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (what you can't see) -Ephesians 6:12 with additional comments)
Our salvation is our eternal security with Christ and the full inheritance promised to us that we have been given because of our relationship with Him. It includes all our blessings, all of our status, and all of our identity. Everything from Him we have received enables us to live in victory for Him. When you choose to use this divine weapon of power you cut our enemy off before he has a chance to enter.
Put on your helmet of salvation.
You're salvation is a gift. There is no exact formula or fancy prayer that needs to be said in order to receive it. If you belief Christ, as the Son of God, died for you because of your sin, you only need ask Him for salvation. Ask Him for your helmet. He has it ready, it fits you perfectly and He's just waiting to place it on your head. You are always welcome to contact me or you may be more comfortable seeking out a friend if you have questions but the prayer is yours to say, the asking comes from your heart and your lips.
Ladies, your God given helmet is there. If you ever have questions about what thoughts might be going through your head, ask God to capture them and let no others enter. Your helmet might just need to be set back on straight. Remember always that you are an intelligent woman and your salvation is secure. No lies the Devil tries to tell you are to enter your thoughts.
While this devotional is about your personal armor, your armor is intended to be used in all areas of your life that need protecting. Our marriage is vital to the Kingdom of God. As we discussed previously, it was designed. It has a purpose in His Kingdom work and when you start putting on your armor, piece by God given piece, you will find that you are ready for battle. All you need do is protect your husband and your marriage. The Lord will guard you and fight for you. Remember the war has already been won, it's the battles that need conquering in our lives. It's the little battles the Devil wants to win. Don't let him. Don't let him have your marriage! Fight for it. Set your helmet on straight and lift your Sword!
The next few devotionals coming up will help you become fully equipped and ready for all battles if you don't already feel equipped. Know, that you have everything you need now.
Father, I come to you today and ask you to set my helmet of salvation on straight. Capture all thoughts that are not of You; lead me daily to Your truths and promises for me and for my marriage. Lord, protect my husband, help him to put on his armor every morning. Cover us in your grace and protection. Send out angel armies to stand guard against the evil one who seeks to destroy my marriage and relationship with my husband. Lord, reveal to me any aspect of my marriage that needs prayer and put a halt to all things within that are putting a block on our blessings. Holy Spirit, I ask that You intercede in my prayer and open my eyes. Unveil before me the things I cannot yet see so that I know where the attacks come from. Lord, expose the enemy and bring him into full view. Help me to see only what you need me to see. Keep my focus on Jesus. Blind me to the human drama, places, events, and people that can be seen because my battle is not with them. Lord, within my salvation is the power to defeat the evil. The won who is an imposter, whose wings you clipped on Calvary. The imposter does not stand a chance against me, my husband, or my marriage as I am clothing myself in Your armor.
Well friends, we are half way through this study. If you've made it this far I am giving you a heads up, the next 10 days will be the most challenging. After day 30 you will be able to look up and see the difference these many days of prayer and studying God's Word has made on your marriage. You may even already see a difference. I encourage you to keep running this race until you reach the flourishing end. Today we are going to to start in Colossians.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you are called to walk in peace.
Does peace rule in your marriage? It's a simple question but I want you to be honest. Do you feel as though you are always in the middle of a mess? Does chaos seem like part of your everyday? I am here to tell you that our Father has something much better. Jesus came to us to bring us something special.
A friend of mine pulled me aside one day after a good cry I was having and told me a story. I had heard the story before but let me share it with you too. She said, "remember the Bible story about Jesus and his disciples in the boat during the storm. The waves were crashing and the disciples were afraid. They went to Jesus in a panic, not believing he could calm the storm, and woke him from his peaceful nights rest for fear they were about to drown. When they did, Jesus got up, calmed the storm and when all was calm he turned and said 'Where is your faith?' They were shocked. The could not believe that even the wind and rain obeyed Him." (Luke 8:22-25) My friend said, "just get in the bottom of the boat with Jesus and lay next time him in peace". Whoa! Point taken.
Jesus was ruled by peace. His heart was never in fear of the storm. He could sleep straight through it with no fear of drowning. He paid it no mind. Jesus said...
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid. -John 14:27
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. BUT take heart, I have overcome the world. -John 16:3
Jesus says all this. We get the impression that He came to this world to hand out peace freely like tossing gold coins in the air, we would collect it like the treasure it is. However, Jesus wants you to know that the peace He gives is actually a Sword. He wasn't bring you peace, He was bringing you the power to receive your peace in such a way that it was a weapon for the enemy.
What started this whole search for answers on peace and the sword? During my study time I followed a few side notes around in my Bible before landing on ...
Do not suppose that I have come to bring you peace to the earth, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
What? Wait a minute. I thought all that talk about having peace for myself was just a given. It was just handed over to me. Boy, was I wrong. Jesus said some things too that made me keep digging...
For all who draw the sword will die by the sword. -Matt 26:25
What is your weapon? When there is a struggle in your marriage, when you are fighting, when you're not speaking, when you are pushing buttons...what is your weapon? Ephesians 6:17 instructs us to use one weapon and one only. The Sword of the Spirit.
The Sword of the Spirit cuts through the mess and the chaos. It is sharper than a double edge sword. The sword is both offensive and defensive. It is a weapon belonging to the Holy Spirit. It is used to protect and defend. I don't know about you but if I am trying to rescue my marriage or learn to be a more prayerful wife. I want something at my disposal that I can use to defend and protect. However, with such a weapon comes a great amount of training. You have to know how to handle your Sword (Word of God, the Holy Scriptures) 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Evil requires us to know. The Sword is used offensively to demolish evil strongholds in our marriage. It is used offensively to correct errors and falsehoods that have been spoken over our marriage. 2 Corinthians 10:4 & 5 tells us that the Word is living and active. The Sword is double edged. When a sword is double edged it has the ability to cut in every way, to easily penetrate. It reaches straight to the heart. Knowing this, I go all the way back to Matt 26:25. For all who draw the Sword (or live by the Sword), die by the Sword. What that means is...
We will open God's Word daily and die to our self.
Dying to oneself is a concept that can be hard to understand. If you are struggling with this, maybe I can help. To die to self is simply the act of setting aside what we desire in that moment and focus instead on loving God with our whole hearts. We value others as much as we value ourselves. (Matt 22: 37-39) We are no longer focused on ourself and self-centeredness but are open hearted, ready to follow Christ who cares more deeply for others. Matt 16:24 is where Jesus explains that we must deny ourselves (die to self) and take up our cross and follow Him.
The Sword of the Spirt, God's Holy Word will penetrate your heart, it will reach it and when it does, by simply opening His Word. You will die to self. In order to have the peace Jesus left for us, you must take up the Sword he brought to us.
To truly want what is best for your marriage you have to train yourself on how to handle such a powerful weapon. You will die to self daily so that you can have the view Christ has for your marriage, for your husband.
You're in the army now ladies. The next 20 days will be full of God's Word and prayer to protect your marriage. You will be equipped and your eyes opened. You will gain strength in Christ Jesus and become an influencer in your marriage through prayer.
Father, I cry out to You that you will make me a house of prayer for my marriage. I believe that within my identity of Christ is to also be a house of prayer. Holy Spirit, fill me with Your knowledge of Your will. Give me all that I need in wisdom and spiritual understanding. Lord, let me be a vessel that you can use for your glory. Fill me up with all of You so that I will overflow with your glory onto my husband. Give me grace to become a laborer of intercession for the release of power over my marriage, to win my husband to you, to give my marriage to you. All that is on earth belongs to you, Revive my marriage and impact it with your gospel daily. As I yield to the Holy Spirit daily, teach me to pray. Give me a unbroken, focused spirit to intercede for my marriage. I offer my life as an offering to You. Let the days of my life and the days of my marriage serve Your will and purpose. Amen
If two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? -Ecclesiastes 4:11
Time spent together is vital to the health of a marriage. Without spending time together we can't share, laugh, cry or enjoy each others company. When the opportunity arises for us to spend time with our spouse and we don't, our marriages become resentful, stagnate and sometimes even die. As obvious as this fact seems, many marriages today are time starved. They are time starved, touch starved, and dream starved. When we don't take time for one another we begin missing out on the elements of life that connect us. Human touch is vital to our well being. Communicating our hopes and dreams is vital to prosper. If we were to put dots on our marriage time line of all the moments we spent time with our husbands, would our time line become like a beautiful string of pearls or would it be full of gaps and piecing pieces?
God's Holy Word, that is alive, is calling us to spend time with Him. In doing so, we then spend time in prayer. It's essential, we speak to our Father and He speaks to us through His Word. His Spirit moves and the communication is made complete. This is an example of our our marriage should be. It is a structure that is in place for perfect communion with the Lord. Jesus Christ made the way for this to be possible. He wants no less for your marriage.
Usually a lack of time spent together is simply a matter of poor planning or we just aren't really good at saying "no" to those that want commitments from us. When our commitments start to outweigh our available time, aspects of our marriage start to suffer. We are all surrounded by people that demand our time; employers, kids, church, school, etc. If you happen to have a husband that doesn't speak up, he's liable to end up at the bottom of the list. The flip side is if a spouse is too vocal, they are often accused of being selfish, manipulative, controlling, etc. We simply can not let aspirations for our life negatively affect our relationship with our loved ones. Just as they should not negatively affect our relationship with Christ.
Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Psalm 85:9-11
It really doesn't matter why couples find themselves not spending enough time together; what does matter, is that it is a problem that is recognized and remedied. Spending time together should be high on the priority list and it should stay there. Your marriage could depend on it. In order to gain more time with your husband, start by devoting more time to prayer. Ask God to show you what our time means to Him. Ask God reveal to you what is missing from your marriage that time spent together can remedy. It may just be that it is time for you both to dream again, to learn to love again, or simply to adore the presence of one another.
Plan a date night, date lunch or romantic evening, just the two of you. Leave all distractions behind and dedicate time together. It's important to put it down and stick to it. Make time spent together a priority.
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:13-15
In 2009, when I first wrote this devotion there was a new study out called You Can’t Be Happier than Your Wife: Happiness Gaps and Divorce. All these years later and these findings are still true. When I read this article I was surprised at many details I would have never considered. Did you know that 2/3's of all divorces filed, are filed by the wife? Did you know that when the wife did most of the housework, if her income was higher than her husbands or if they were from different social backgrounds, then the divorce rate was higher? Fear not, desperate housewives your marriage isn't doomed, neither is the successful business woman's or those of different backgrounds. As a matter of fact in the marriages where the woman was a housewife or student, chores where shared, and/or backgrounds where similar, things were looking pretty sunny not a cloud in the sky.
What the study suggests is that too large of a "happiness gap" is what spurs on a divorce. Now, that I get. It's not about the housework, the money or social background differences, it's simply about happiness. It seems to me that because it is women that are filing for divorce at a much higher rate than men, means only one thing...the men are happy and they didn't think divorce was necessary. They still think they can fix all things.
What about us women? When that happiness gap gets bigger and bigger we don't know how to close it. We throw our hands up and say "I'm over it!" Right? Well, the way I see it, if you are still hanging in here with me, you haven't thrown your hands up, you aren't "over it" and you are willing to close the gap so that you and your husband are both equally happy.
Now, this study only gives worldly suggestions to how to solve the problem, like sharing responsibilities, giving equal time to responsibilities, etc. It also tells us that we should be careful about "keeping score". We should be careful when thinking that responsibilities should be shared equally. Keeping score can lead to resentment. What it suggests to me is that communication is critical because expectations can simply go unnoticed. Asking for help in a nice way is going to always be much better than complaining that your husband "never helps out."
What the study doesn't tell us is that we have a manual that is written to perfection as a guide to our happiness. You guessed it, God's Holy Word, our divine Bibles have the answer.
Give me your heart...and let your eyes delight in my ways. -Proverbs 23:26
"Delight", I love that word. It makes my whole outlook seem brighter. In order to be happy, we need to find delight in one another and the things we do for each other. To find happiness in my marriage is what is at the top of my list. I want to be happy when I am a friend to my husband, I want to be happy when I fold his clothes, I want to be happy when we have time to spend with our children, I want to be happy!!!
My husband is the first to say "our marriage isn't broken, what's to fix". He's happy! However, I'm the one that finds myself crying sometimes because he doesn't have time to talk to me during the work day or goes to sleep as soon as he hits the pillow, instead I should be happy he is willing to work so hard. I could rattle down a whole list of reasons why I need to be happy but instead, I need to apply what I already know and start being happy with where my marriage is headed. I am delighted that God has a plan for us!
The good news is, that if your have a happiness gap, God has what you need to close it. It may take a bit of shameless persistence to close that gap but it will be worth it. Luke 11:5-10 is the parable of a persistent friend. Matt 7:7 has the same message. Ask. Seek. Knock.
For everyone who asked receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
If you want to know the first step and most important secret to closing your happiness gap, the above scripture is it.
Drop something you normally feel you need to do and spend time in prayer for your marriage. Ask for happiness. Seek happiness. Bang on Heavens gates for happiness. God will give, show you, and open up the possibilities. Also, take a moment to find delight in your husband for the sake of your happiness.
The Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire. – Isaiah 58:11
God's plan for marriage is given and repeated in the Gospels and in the Epistles. (Gen 2:24, Matt 19:5, Eph 5:31.) As we all know, God's plan is not always our plan. Marriage, as God's plan, is perfect in its organization; one man and one woman in a lifetime commitment. Frankly, that's asking alot. That's a big commitment for life, to spend life with just one husband in all our flaws and flesh.
The marriage covenant has 3 parts according to Gen 2:24.
Adam and Eve...God introduced these two himself and then established a bond. He wanted to ensure they stayed together, forever and always. A tight bond that would hold them together through good times and bad. He established this for your marriage as well. Although in many marriages this 3 prong approach is not 3 pongs. Some are just 2 or maybe even 1. Knowing these things to be true, as scripture is true, it gives us something specific to work on and pray for.
As a mother of boys, it breaks my heart to say, but one day each of my sons, as they marry, will leave our care and join their wives. We will always and forever, God willing, be here for them but were are not called to provide or make decisions concerning their new life together. We are to simply to equip, set an example, and pray. We are to be here for them if needed but expect them to consult their wives and not us with matters concerning their marriage. Our sons will leave and we will honor us to do so. They will always know where to find us.
We are to be united as I talked about in yesterdays devotion and become one flesh. We will discuss this soon. If any of these three truths are out of place in your marriage, it is time to pray for rectification. John 14:13-14 says that "I will do whatever you ask in My name that the Father may be glorified in the SOn. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." That is a powerful promise.
I remember when my husband and I were first engaged, that my future mother-in-law told me that she was sad, she'd be losing her son. Of course I said "don't be ridiculous" but she said, the son is supposed to leave his mother and cleave to his wife. Now, after 15 years I understand what she meant. It wasn't that he was "leaving" her for good but that he would come to need and respect what I could provide as his wife. I might not make my carrot cake like his Momma did, but he still loves my carrot cake. He wouldn't dare compare. He doesn't call his Mom if we have a fight or a difference of opinion, he calls me. We work it out with each other or we work it out in our prayer closets. When we first got married we built a house not far from my parents. My Mom told me that when they built their house, not far from my grandparents (Dad's parents) that my Granny and Papaw never bothered them and stayed out of their business. They were there if they were needed. It was out of respect that they did and out of love that they let them be, but they were there for them if needed. So, after seeing this passed down through the generations, I have to say, I see why it is important for husband and wife to cleave to each other. It builds a stronger relationship when you work on your own marriage It allows you to fully cling to one another.
To be joined and become one flesh seem like the same statement. Joining however involves the joining of life, responsibilities, finances, etc. One flesh involves intimacy not related to the other. Different couples have different opinions on what should be shared and what should be kept separate. They may share bills but not bank accounts or bank accounts and bills. The point is, that there is a joining of life and responsibilities. My husband and I believe in the what's his is mine and what's mine is his. That's what works for us. We share everything. We don't have the "it's my car, house, money, etc" outlook. Everything is "it's ours", no matter whose name is signed on the dotted line. It works for us and what works for us may look different for your marriage.
Intimacy generally isn't as hard for most. It's usually the one thing we get right in the beginning but sometimes, not. Some couples struggle with this. Some struggle with the commitment of monogamy and staying faithful. However, it is usually the prong that makes or breaks the marriage. Remaining intimate and loving towards each other can become hard. We all go through times when we don't feel like we did towards each other in the beginning. These times just need a reset button. You go back to focusing on why you loved a person to begin with, what changed, why it's different, and what can you do now to light a new spark in your marriage.
One unit, working together. This is the unit that Satan works the hardest at tearing apart. The bonds should seem impossible for him to break but he uses a carefully planned strategy to break the unit. God never intended for man to be alone. The very bone which He made woman came from man himself. There were no parents in Eden but God was not speaking to the present, He was speaking to the future. We are to lay aside our old loyalties and lifestyles for a new plan. One that goes from separate dreams and goals to joined dreams and goals with unconditional commitment and love. This combined unit will be strong and lasting. No other relationship, even that of mother and child, is to surpass that of a husband and wife. Marriage is a threefold miracle.
I remember a time when my husband and I struggled with a prong or two. However, through prayer and open hearts we persevered and on the other side, when we looked up, we saw we really do have the marriage we dreamed of. Pray and pray for open hearts. Pray for healing and give God praise for what He is about to do. Praise Him.
"This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh...
Amazed? Relieved. Excited! Adored.
What must have Adam thought of this beautiful creature standing before him on the Father's arm? One thing is certain, he recognized immediately that she was from him. His thoughts could have possibly gone something like this....
"She is of me. She gets me. She understands me. She will know my strengths and weaknesses. She feels my pain and my hurt. She will help me seek relief and rest when I need it. She'll be fun to be around. We can explore the garden together."
I was sitting in church listening to a sermon from a guest preacher but my mind was going back towards this study I wanted to work on. So, I opened up my journal and started scribbling thoughts and verse and just trying to open up to the lesson God wanted me to learn that day. My husband was sitting next to me watching. He's always gets to witness the Spirit move after I do a Bible study, read, or discuss a new revelation, or sometimes even when I write something down and it later is more significant than we realized at the time. That's the Spirit and today was no exception. I had just written the sentences below when something happened that made us both take a breath and smile.
She is tuned to her husband. That isn't as easy for us these days as wives but it's important to be aware of it. We were created to be in tune with our husband, whom we love.
Not 5 minutes after I wrote this thought down did our preacher say the words below.
Just like when tuning piano's the tuner uses 1 fork. Thousands of piano's will be tuned to just 1 fork. So, they are tuned to each other.
He went on about how beautiful the sound is when many piano's play together that have been tuned by the same fork. Just like we are to be tuned to our husbands, we are also to be tuned to the Holy Spirit to be unified.
These word choices that God had given me and our guest preacher that day were not by chance. We were tuned to the Spirit. The Spirit will always show up and show unity in your life when you turn your heart to God. Unity is what we seek. Understanding of each others needs that runs so deep we meet them before we realize we have.
We all seek to be understood. We all want nothing more than for our husbands to understand us. But first, we must learn to understand them (and maybe even ourselves). Just as Adam knew that they were tuned to each other, your goal in your marriage is to be tuned as well. Unity in your marriage, that is tuned to the Holy Spirit, allows for your marriage to reflect God's beautiful plan for families. Pray and prepare for unity because God is about to do something great.
Ephesians 4:2-5 says
with all lowliness and gentleness, love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all, and in you all.
You don't have to worry about how the unity will happen. You simply need to pray for it.
Speaking of prayer, this is the part that matters most. This is the part that God really wants you to focus. There will come a time in your marriage when it is critical that you pray. Many lose hope and believe that failures are irreversible. They are not. Write down all the things you are praying for and "nail" them to your wall. Put them in a place where you can pray and spend time with Him and pray over them. Sometimes answered prayers don't always look like answered prayers at first so keep trusting. Sometimes in the hidden places we can not see is were God is working His biggest miracles. Psalm 2:8 tells us that if we as Him, He will give us the nations of our inheritance and the ends of the earth for our possessions. Will He not give you the thing you are praying for most in your marriage? Pray for the unity that you seek in your marriage. Unity is what marriage was designed to do, be unified. Look for aspects in your relationship, life, work, time, etc that need more unity. We all seek to be understood and our husbands are no different. We are no different.
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. -Colossians 3:14
I am married to my high school sweetheart. We've been pressing ahead together for over 24 years. We have 5 beautiful children; 3 by my own body and 2 through foster to adopt. I wrote this Bible study in 2009, years ago, for myself and shared it on my blog. It is very dear to my heart. It's been tweaked and edited many times and I'm proud to be bringing it back to you. Over the years I received countless emails from women who credited this study with changing their marriage for the better. Since removing it from my old blog I have received just as many emails asking when it would return. I hope you enjoy spending your time in God's Word with me.